Building highly responsive designs has become more of a norm rather than a trending exercise today. Additionally, many other factors contribute to user experience like ease-of-use, appeal, discoverability, simplicity, and above all, the ability to drive emotions toward a product or service through design.

There’s always scope to add a “fun” element to the UX and make it more enjoyable. Making designs immersive with AR and VR is a booming trend, while Gamification’s technique makes the interaction more productive by adding game-like elements to the experience. It creates an environment of growth and accomplishment and a spirit of competition that drives the business mission.

Gamification is a potent tool for increasing user retention, promoting learning and growth, and producing excitement and interest in your user base. Thus, many enterprises reap this technique’s benefits to motivate their employees to perform better and customers to stay engaged in their products and services.

Let’s delve into the details of this exciting method in UX design and how it could benefit your organization.

What is Gamification?

Gamification At Work: What is Gamification? | Interaction Design Foundation

It employs game mechanics in non-game/productive activities or real-world environments, such as websites and mobile applications. Gamification designs emphasize human-focused motivation as opposed to a function-focused design. This enhances user engagement with an interface because of fun features such as leader boards, badges, jackpot points, etc., in an existing system.

Some companies let their employees or customers monetize the points won or avail perks based on what they’ve won. With Gamification, designers tap the intrinsic motivations of users, so they enjoy engaging more.

The Appeal of Gamification in UX Design

Gamification is fun because it appeals to these eight Core Drives that motivate us towards certain activities. UX designers have to factor in these drives while designing a Gamification-centric app or website.

The fundamental psychological principle behind Gamification is to provide positive reinforcement for each action taken. Many organizations are taking it seriously because:

  • Gamification creates immediacy or relevance for users in an application or website.
  • It incentivizes users to achieve goals and helps overcome negative associations with the system. Users end up completing tasks they would not have done otherwise since they are motivated by rewards.
  • Multiple techniques like gameplay, rules to goals mapping, countdowns, rewards for completing a certain percentage or level of tasks, etc., can be applied.
  • People become more accustomed to a design through interactions to solve challenges.
  • Gamification uses learning and knowledge sharing in a more fun way.
  • Social elements and integration with social media let users share their digital universe experiences.

Benefits of Gamification for UX Designers

  • They can increase user engagement for their designs while making it fun and interactive.
  • For a website that promotes learning, Gamification improves knowledge absorption and retention.
  • Gamification helps reveal specific player behavior and learning experiences as a feedback mechanism that improves the design features and performance in a testing environment.
  • They can improve the discoverability of a website’s different features by using fun elements and driving curiosity.

Benefits of Gamification for Employees (through In-house Apps)

Employees Motivation

Gamification is used to create an environment of healthy competition that drives better performance in employees. Contests in a game will be considered fun and less impactful than a failure at work. It also improves team spirit among employees.

Cost Reduction

Many companies try to reduce staffing costs by training their existing employees with necessary skills (like programming or team management) through Gamification.

Team Building

A common goal with a shared vision in a gaming environment can bring people with different opinions and perspectives. This unison can raise their spirits to perform better as a team and enjoy the fruits of victory together.

Accelerate Productivity

Incentivizing efforts influence better productivity through performance. Rewards like pay bonuses or paid leaves or awards can keep the employee’s motivation engine running.

Reduce Stress

A fun UX design for a Gamification activity can reduce stress, which is essential for better performance and more significant employee outputs.

Fast Staff Training

Employees learn better and faster when the course is fun and has rewards in the end. They complete the training faster with better understanding when there is a reward associated with it.

Benefits of Gamification for Businesses

Key Principles of Gamification Design

Gamification is based on the following principles, and much of it is not in the regulations themselves but how they execute.

Language and useful information architecture are fundamental in making a user feel sure, not a simple checklist of concepts and mechanics.

Challenge Users

The primary task is to invite a user to participate in a challenging contest. The application should set a straightforward task (challenge) for the player with clear rules, conditions, and terms of fulfillment with the most significant transparency level. If they seem too complicated, users will quit immediately. Some tips include,

· Providing users with ideal and timely prompts and options to push themselves.

· Displaying visuals that promote a user’s urge to win and compete.

· Giving users opportunities to display their earnings to others, encouraging other users to improve performance and compete.

Support Falling Forward

It is important to encourage users to continue trying, playing, and participating in the Gamification system that you create with motivational cues and messages. This includes insistence by offering users the chance to play again (go back to your app) through push-notifications, reminders, or even alerts.

Encourage Consistency

Encourage users every time they fail, hinting that consistency is the key to winning. Regardless of winning or losing, consistent upliftment is essential to keep players excited and motivated to move ahead. Consistent and comfortable language and copy are critical to demonstrate that users are making progress.

Provide a Rewarding and Exciting Experience

The Gamification experience must be exciting and promising. Rewards provide a logical conclusion to the whole process. The desirability of the prize must evoke feelings of delight, enjoyment, and excitement.

Additionally, other UX design elements like color, animations, iconography, and customizations will evoke excitement and create a unique environment for players with specific achievements. This can be executed by including analytics that generates animations, attention-grabbing icons, and components that lift and move with interaction.

Personalization and Ownership

Personalized content and design evoke a sense of pride and ownership in users. Rolling out bespoke experiences to users based on their tastes, and one which they could personalize themselves is a vital aspect of Gamification design.

This complements all the other Gamification principles, and lets players take ownership of the application in the most comfortable way. Include a feature to allow a user to decide their avatars or profile pictures, customize their interface by changing colors or styles of onscreen elements, and earn awards and achievements for doing so.

Here are some of the hacks to use to make your app very interactive with Gamification.

  • Virtual money – Although this is only virtual, people are motivated to perform some tasks to gain it. It is the best tool for encouragement, if not a reward.
  • Push notifications can be used as reminders in an app or a challenge to give the player essential information about performance, timelines, competition, etc.
  • Status – This includes the status of the various player levels or performance levels. Users enjoy getting a new status, especially if they are competing for a goal.
  • Tips – For new players, tips help discover the workflow of the Gamification platform. They simplify the experience and navigation of a website/application.

Gamification Challenges & Tips for UX Designers

UX designers must balance “fun” and the subject matter tonality while considering the users’ preferences. The degree of Gamification won’t be the same for corporate and personal environments. Designers face some challenges while inserting Gamification into UX, which include:

Lack of Autonomy – Encourage voluntary user actions. Taking away the users’ control can only pull them away from using the app/website. It would be best if you don’t push players to adopt desired behaviors but insert subtle elements/prompts which guide them toward a particular experience while giving them control.

Missing Relevance – Users need to feel relevant to the brand’s objectives. Customizing your design’s content and tone to players fosters their loyalty. If there is no relevance, users would prefer another platform or step backing from using your platform.

Not Meeting Competence Levels– If users are not comfortable playing, they stop discovering your design since it becomes too overwhelming or confusing. Try to use easy to identify icons, language, and process flows for an average user caliber to boost engagement.

Lack of user curiosity – The element of human curiosity drives discoverability, especially for mobile app Gamification. The UX designer must plan each step to spark interest in the user to move ahead.

The role of gamification in creating user engagement — a UX case study | by  Riya Samuel | UX Collective

Too Many Features – Building a game or Gamification platform requires precise planning of its features. Overdoing the features or adding irrelevant ones would weigh down the fun while defeating incentivizing users to complete real-world tasks.

By understanding these four phases of a user’s Gamification journey, a UX designer can ideally plan the processes with the right mix of features.

Types of Interactive Game Mechanics for UX Improvement

Wrapping up

A successful UX design covers increased user engagement through pleasurable activity and satisfying the design’s original purpose. Gamification is an experience you should “tailor” carefully into your design and not a feature you insert abruptly.

Radiant Digital can help you step up your Gamification plan for an optimized UX design.

Connect with our UX Gamification experts today! by Gabriel Manfredy, Radiant Digital
Principal UX Designer
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