May 4, 2012
Cygnis Media Editor
Gamification and User Experience Design
Games in the early days were supposed to be kid’s fun thing. But as the time passed by games are no more considered as the mindless fun thing. The games today have become so addictive that the users would play them for hours and wouldn’t get bored.
Game developers use some techniques to engage users with their games. The correct term used for these techniques is “Gamification”. It can be defined as the non-game processes or applications used from game design mechanics to engage users i.e. enhancing user experience. The most common misuse of gamification is that it is being used in marketing, with only one thing in mind i.e. “To Sell the Product”. However, the right use of gamification is to enhance user experience for purchasing and using the product. Gamification is not something that you put in the application after all the designs are finalized or the development has started, it is a part of the design procedure.
How to use Gamification in UX Design:
We discussed about the UX design in our previous blog entry, for those who have not gone through it yet. Normally a lot of thought and time is put in to use gamification in UX design for a particular game. We have compiled a list with which you can identify a few of the areas to consider when using gamification for your application.
- User Interfaces: With the technology improvement, a number of user interfaces have been introduced. For example, mobile users would have a different experience of an application in relation to the web interface users. We need to make sure that our product has the capacity to run smoothly on any of the platform the user is using.
- Location Based Websites: There are a number of applications which can only be used from selected locations. At the backend of the system, it is a very simple task to identify the user’s location. But, if the user is informed that the application they are using already know the current location of the user and is going to provide the most relevant results based on the location, it would build confidence of the user.
- User’s Feedback: We all know, none of the system is 100% completed without the user’s feedback. Ask users to let you know about their thoughts regarding the application you have created and take actions accordingly. Remember, not all of the feedback is actionable from your end; you just need to consider the things which would help make the user experience better.
- Content Value: No matter what the design looks like, your content is also very important. As this is the only part which is used with Gamification to present information in a nice and understanding way. Design is something that enhances the value of the product, but content creates the value.
- Engage Users: User engagement is one of the basic tasks for gamification theory. There are a number of ways through which, user would want to use the application again and again. For example, Angry Birds (the game) awards the users with three stars completing the task according to the requirements. I am sure most of the users must have played a few levels again and again to gain the three stars.
When not to use Gamification in UX Design:
Gamification has its own limits and conditions. Here is the list of things you should not do while using gamification in UX design:
- Sell the product: Before making the website look attractive and making sure that the content represents what you want, you should work on the product itself. As the ultimate goal is to sell the product and not the user experience.
- Websites and Difficulty Levels: TWhile playing a game you must have been a t a place where it gets really impossible for you to clear the level, and you try it over and over. This is acceptable when a user is playing a game, but on the website user shouldn’t have to think at all i.e. the required information should be presented in a manner that user doesn’t have to think about his next step.
Gamification, unfortunately is being used the wrong way. However, we are confident that with time the usage of gamification will be rectified. We have covered a few ways to use gamification. Remember, the goal is to enhance the user experience, as it is the only reason people come back to your website. Make sure that user experience doesn’t end up being in the middle of the ultimate goal i.e. Selling your product.