Gamified UK Blog http://www.gamified.uk Thoughts about Gamification, Technology and Games Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:11:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Exploring the Player User Type – with archetypes http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/19/exploring-player-user-type-archetypes/ http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/19/exploring-player-user-type-archetypes/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 11:05:19 +0000 http://www.gamified.uk/?p=3312
To finish off my little look at the sub-types from my User Types, I want to take a new look at the Player User Type. I have done a deep dive on this before,...

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To finish off my little look at the sub-types from my User Types, I want to take a new look at the Player User Type.

I have done a deep dive on this before, but I wanted to simplify it a little.  Essentially the Player is motivated by rewards, plain and simple. They will do similar things to the intrinsically motivated group, but only if there is a reward at the end of it!

Player User Type Broken Down

Player User Type Broken Down

  • Self-Seeker: This group of users will act in a similar way to Philanthropists. They will answer peoples questions, share knowledge and be helpful – but for a cost. If there is no reward, don’t expect them to get involved! They can be useful, however if they are being asked to get involved for rewards, expect quantity over quality!
  • Consumer: Consumers will do what is needed to get rewards. If that requires them to learn new skills or take on challenges (like an Achiever), then they will do it. However, if they can get rewards for just doing what they were already doing – even better. Think of them as the ones who will enter competitions just for the prize or who shop at one store just for the loyalty programme.
  • Networker: Where a Socialiser connects to others because they are looking for relatedness, Networkers are looking for useful contacts that they can gain from. They follow the big influencers on social networks, not because they are interested in them, but because they hope it will get them noticed, increase their influence and lead to reward.
  • Exploiter: Like Free Spirits, these guys are looking for the boundaries of the system, where they can go and what they can do. However, for them it is a way to find new ways to rewards. If they find a loop-hole, don’t expect them to report it unless they feel others are earning more than them exploiting it! They are the most likely to exploit the system (you could say cheat!). They are also the people who will build things just to sell. Think of Second Life. Loads of people started to build things – some realised that as well as being fun, they could make some money from selling items. For a few this turned into a way of making a living. They stopped making things for fun and just made them for profit.

The Player User Type is important to recognise as most people coming into a gamified system are probably there initially due to rewards (points, prizes etc). The trick is to try and convert them from being reward oriented into intrinsically motivated users (Socialiser, Free Spirit, Achiever, Philanthropist). There is some evidence to show that the extrinsic types will convert to their analogous intrinsic types (so Networker -> Socialiser etc) but it is not a dead certainty in all cases. Design for the intrinsic user types that benefit your system, but include reward paths for the onboarding process for best effect and greatest coverage.

Some Super Archetypes

Continuing the Superhero themed archetypes for my User Types, here are the Player User Type versions.

Player User Type Super Archetypes

Player User Type Super Archetype

Deadpool: The Merc with a Mouth. In it for the money, fame and glory – at least that is what he would have you believe.

  • Lex Luthor (Self-Seeker): Lex is an incredible man. A genius and the equal to many super heroes. However, he chooses to use this to gain rewards and very often this is by means that seem philanthropic at the time. New inventions that look like they could save the world, but are actually designed to help him take over the world. Positioning himself as a political power (he was President for a while!) just to reap the benefits and the power.
  • Cat Woman (Consumer): Physically on par if not superior to the skills of any mortal Superhero, she has shown that she can do the right thing when needed, however she tends to use her skills to rob the very rich.
  • Networker (The Penguin): Oswald Cobblepot runs a nightclub in Gotham – as well as a highly profitable crime ring. Using his social connections he is a fountain of information for a price. Those connections are also of great use when it comes to fencing stolen goods. Again, known to do the right thing from time to time as an informant for Batman (which gives him some freedom in the City), but still craves wealth and power.
  • Exploiter (Doctor Doom): Victor von Doom is a genius scientist and inventor. He exploits anything and everything he can in order to gain power from technology to even magic – as long as it gives him the edge over the Fantastic 4. Exploring the boundaries of this world and more and making new and more powerful weapons after every defeat.

Look out for all of this being combined to replace a large chunk of the current User Types page soon!

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CaptainUp is back on the blog http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/15/captainup-back-blog/ http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/15/captainup-back-blog/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 13:07:37 +0000 http://www.gamified.uk/?p=3300
I was recently contacted by the guys from CaptainUp (www.captainup.com). For those that don’t know, this is a free / affordable platform for gamifying websites and until recently I had been using it for...

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I was recently contacted by the guys from CaptainUp (www.captainup.com). For those that don’t know, this is a free / affordable platform for gamifying websites and until recently I had been using it for about 2 years. Then I stopped and they were interested to know why.  The main reason was how intrusive it was to my readers, with popups and flashes and the like distracting from the content.

So they asked if I was willing to try something – a package they wanted to test that was less invasive and focused more on just gently thanking my readers for their loyalty.  So it is, CaptainUp is back on the blog – just slightly more low key.  You get one popup asking you to join my little club. After that there is always a small bar at the bottom of the page that will let you join should you wish. There is a leaderboard as well. Badges can be earned for simple things such as liking and tweeting. There are a couple of missions as well (more to come). The first you should try is the Onboarding one. See the progress bar on the left of the page? Click it and it will show links I feel all my readers should have looked at to understand my content better

progress

I aim to contact top followers from time to time with offers and just general thanks as well as try to add some more fun stuff to the blog. I will also integrate the blog login with the gamification stuff as soon as possible, bit for now it is separate. This is just here as a way for me to try and nurture a community rather than bribe you into actions, so we shall see how it goes.

As part of the process, all scores from before 2 weeks ago have been removed as the new badges and points and stuff all carry different values now. It’s just a game after all ;)

Let me know what you think?

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Disruptor Superhero Archetypes! http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/13/disruptor-superhero-archetypes/ http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/13/disruptor-superhero-archetypes/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:48:34 +0000 http://www.gamified.uk/?p=3270
I love superheroes, I make no apology for that! A while back I did a post that compared my User Types to various superheroes and super-villains. I thought it would be fun to do...

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I love superheroes, I make no apology for that! A while back I did a post that compared my User Types to various superheroes and super-villains.

User Types Superhero Archetypes

User Types Superhero Archetypes

I thought it would be fun to do the same thing for the Disruptor sub-types. It has caused me some issues and I am not totally convinced by one of them, so I would love to see your comments or indeed conversation in the forums about how this could be improved. However, until then – here are the Disruptor Superhero Archetypes!

Disruptor Superhero Archetypes

Disruptor Superhero Archetypes

Magneto: He represents a bit of everything so is my choice for the overall Disruptor. He wants change, his way and will use any method possible to assure it!

  • The Joker (Griefer): He is the ultimate Griefer. He just wants to destroy people and create chaos. It may be because he feels there is a reason and that destroying the people will destroy the system, but it is probably just for fun!
  • Ra’s Al Ghul (Destroyer): Ra’s has a belief and that belief is that the system is broken and needs to be destroyed. Unlike The Joker though, he wants to destroy the system itself (the people are just collateral damage) and rebuild it into what he feels is the “right” system.
  • Nick Fury (Influencer): Nick is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D and the man who brought together the Avengers. His mission is to protect the citizens of Earth and will use any means to motivate those around him to help him do this. He uses his influence to convince both superheroes and senators alike to bring about a change for the better.
  • Jim Gordon (Improver): James Gordon the head of Gotham Police Department, as corrupt a police force as there has ever been. He has spent much of his life trying to find all of the problems in the department and the city and fix them – rebuilding and improving the system from the inside.

I will combine this with the last article soon, but for now – enjoy and as I say, let me know if you have other thoughts!

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Exploring the Disruptor User Type http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/09/exploring-disruptor-user-type/ http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/09/exploring-disruptor-user-type/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 10:37:32 +0000 http://www.gamified.uk/?p=3244
As time passes and I learn more, I often re-evaluate my past blogs and ideas – none more-so than my User Types! Now, don’t panic, I am not about to release version 3 –...

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As time passes and I learn more, I often re-evaluate my past blogs and ideas – none more-so than my User Types! Now, don’t panic, I am not about to release version 3 – the User Types Dodecagon. The purpose of this post is to just clarify my current thinking around the disruptor type, based on what I know now.

The basic idea is still the same. Disruptors disrupt a system in some way. This may be by acting on users or on the system itself. As with the Player type, the Disruptor type is a group rather than a single type. However, I don’t tend to go into the detail as the effect on your design is generally similar for all the variations of the type.

Going into a deep dive, we get these 4 main types of disruptor:

Disruptor Type Broken Down

  • Griefer: This is our Killer (yep, finally I have an answer for those who kept asking where it was!). I have chosen to use Bartle’s description from his 8 types, because this is the pure arsehole type. They want to negatively affect other users, just because they can. It may be to prove a point about the fact they don’t like the system, it may just be for fun. They have no place in most gamified systems, so you need to find ways to either change their minds – or get rid of them.
  • Destroyer: This type of user wants to break the actual system directly. This may be by hacking or finding loopholes in the rules that allow them to ruin the experience for others. Their reasons again may be because they dislike the system or it may just be because they find it fun to hack and break things. If you can’t convince them to at least convert to an Improver, then you have to get rid of them.
  • Influencer: These users will try to change the way a system works by exerting influence over other users. This is not to say they are a negative type, far from it. If they feel the system needs to change and you actually allow them a voice to help change it, they could become massive advocates. Make use of them or lose them – worse still the could end up switching to a Griefer!
  • Improver: Improvers will interact with the system with the best intentions in mind. They may hack it or find loopholes, but their aim is to change the system for the better. They are similar to the Free Spirit type in reality, they want to have the chance to explore the system, find problems and try to fix them. Take care of these users as they can help you massively. Mistreat them and they may well become Destroyers.

As you can see, the Disruptor can be a complex type and whilst they make up a very small percentage of the overall user group, they can be very powerful. Handled correctly they could help improve your system, handled badly and they may destroy it.

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4 essential Neurotransmitters in gamification http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/05/neurotransmitters-you-should-know-about-in-gamification/ http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/05/neurotransmitters-you-should-know-about-in-gamification/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 10:10:31 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=3209
Well, here we are in 2015 and I thought I would start with a heavy post, so strap in! In gamification there is often a lot of mention of things like “Neuroscience”, “Neurochemistry”, “Neurotransmitters”...

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Well, here we are in 2015 and I thought I would start with a heavy post, so strap in!

In gamification there is often a lot of mention of things like “Neuroscience”, “Neurochemistry”, “Neurotransmitters” or “Brain Chemistry”. In particular you will hear people speak about neurotransmitters such as Dopamine.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit signals around the brain. They all have different functions and have different effects on us. In this blog I am going to discuss 4; Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins (DOSE).

I am not even going to pretend to be an expert in this, but I wanted to present a few things here that you should know about and more importantly, know what they actually do. What I have outlined here are by no means the full functions of these neurotransmitters, merely the functions we are interested in with regards to gamification.

Dopamine

What-is-dopamine
When I first started investigating gamification, everyone was talking about dopamine. It was considered to be the “pleasure” drug in the brain. Getting a reward (such as a digital badge) was thought to release dopamine which gave you pleasure. It turns out this is not actually quite right.

Dopamine has many functions, but I only want to talk about a couple that have relevance to us in gamification.

  • Motivation: It is released before an event that requires some sort of response, pleasurable or otherwise, and drives us to act. So when it comes to a reward, dopamine is released in anticipation of receiving the reward, rather than after (1) (known as incentive salience).
  • Learning: It is thought that dopamine plays a major role in associative learning, i.e. forming associations between an action or activity and its consequences (2). Andrea Kuszewski puts it rather nicely;
    • Excellent learning condition = Novel Activity—>triggers dopamine—>creates a higher motivational state—>which fuels engagement and primes neurons—>neurogenesis can take place + increase in synaptic plasticity (increase in new neural connections, or learning). (3)

Increasing Dopamine with gamification

New experiences trigger dopamine (novelty as mentioned above). So create systems that allow discovery and exploration. Your free spirit user types will enjoy this! Anticipation of potential rewards is another way, so creating manageable goals (think SMART) can help. Andrea wrote a great series on the role of dopamine (and oxytocin) in sex and pleasure. The third part of the series concentrates on how ambiguity, suggestion and so on can increase pleasure (4). It is worth keeping this in mind with your systems.

Oxytocin

1280px-Oxytocin_with_labels
Oxytocin is key to how we bond to others (mothers to babies, lovers, friends etc). It can give us a strong feeling of contentment. Studies have show that this can even occur remotely, with Paul J. Zak suggesting that using social networks like Twitter can create a similar reaction to falling in love! (5). Oxytocin has also been shown to increase trust in groups, altruism in individuals, arousal, bonding and much more.

However, there is a flip side to to this. Previously thought to just promote the nicer side of social bonding, strengthening your feelings and reactions in social situations may not always be positive. In reality it could lead to strengthening feelings of anger and dislike depending on the situation. (6)(7)

Boosting Oxytocin with gamification

Interestingly, oxytocin is released when we are engaged with a strong narrative. This would seem to be part of why stories are more memorable than just pure facts (or dull PowerPoints!). It accounts for that feeling of being there as you feel empathy towards the situations in the story (8). Actually, and this is a slight tangent, stories affect our brains as if we were experiencing the events ourselves – worth remembering that!

Add social aspects to your system. As mentioned above, using things like twitter can create bonds and feelings as strong as falling in love. Socialiser types will love it.

Create a system that allows for altruism, giving to others selflessly can help create bonds and will release oxytocin – this is what the philanthropist type lives for!

Also – go and hug someone – seriously!

Serotonin

304px-Serotonin-2D-skeletal.svg
Serotonin is a mood regulator. If you have enough you will be happy, if you don’t – you will be miserable (put very simply!!) (9). It is triggered when you feel wanted, important and proud. This could be when we are thanked or have achieved something that required true effort. When people feel that they are unappreciated or worthless, they will have low serotonin levels.

Increasing serotonin levels with gamification

First, make sure your system records achievement in some way (even if it is badges!). Serotonin release can be triggered by remembering past experiences where you felt wanted or important. Having badges or trophies that remind users of past success and the pride they felt at the time can do this. Also, give users the ability to say thank you to each other in some way. This could be a simple thanks or like button or a system of kudos like stars and voting. It could be you set up a system where you can send virtual gifts as thanks (also potentially triggering oxytocin release for the giver – another big hit with the philanthropist types!). Anything that makes your users feel wanted and important to you and other users.

Endorphins

Beta-endorphin_1-9
Endorphins are opioids that we produce naturally as a reaction to certain stimuli. When they are released, we feel good. Actually it can be a lot stronger than that, we can feel high or euphoric – it is very morphine in fact. They also reduce pain and fatigue in response to stress (or indeed pain), giving us our “second wind” that helps us push through. It is what gives runners the ability to keep going when they think they are done for physically (10). It is also released during less physical activities – such as video games. Overcoming the challenges in games can stimulate the release of endorphins, making gamers feel better about themselves and giving a sense of achievement (11).

Boosting Endorphins with gamification

The easiest way to boost endorphin release with gamification is create situations where your users will feel they have achieved something. Rather than giving rewards for clicking buttons, you need to create challenges that actually require skill and effort to complete. If they feel they have worked hard they will get that feeling of fiero and with luck a hit of endorphins. The achiever type and player types will love this!

Conclusion

These are a small selection of neurotransmitters that people speak about in gamification, but there is a lot more to it. Check the references below to find out lots more.

Really the point of knowing any of this is to understand that gamification can be used to influence mood and behaviour at a chemical level in the brain – making it very powerful if done properly (and potentially harmful if you get it wrong).

A huge thanks to Andrea Kuszewski for her help with sense checking this post! If this topic interests you, check her out!

Bonus User Types round…

  • Achiever (Mastery): Endorphin, Dopamine
  • Socialiser (Relatedness): Oxytocin, Serotonin
  • Philanthropist (Meaning / Purpose): Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin
  • Free Spirit (Autonomy): Dopamine
  • Player (Rewards): Dopamine, Endorphin, Serotonin

References

  1. John D. Salamone, Mercè Correa. The Mysterious Motivational Functions of Mesolimbic Dopamine. Neuron, 2012; 76 (3): 470 DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.10.021
  2. Puig MV1, Miller EK. The role of prefrontal dopamine D1 receptors in the neural mechanisms of associative learning. Neuron, 2012 74(5):874-86 DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.04.018
  3. Kuszewski, Andrea. “You Can Increase Your Intelligence: 5 Ways to Maximize Your Cognitive Potential.” Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Jan. 2015. <http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/03/07/you-can-increase-your-intelligence-5-ways-to-maximize-your-cognitive-potential/>
  4. Kuszewski, Andrea. “The Science Of Pleasure: Part III- The Neurological Orgasm.Science 2.0. N.p., 26 Aug. 2010. Web. 30 Dec. 2014. <http://www.science20.com/rogue_neuron/science_pleasure_part_iii_neurological_orgasm>
  5. Zak, Paul J. “The Top 10 Ways to Boost Good Feelings.Psychology Today. N.p., 7 Sept. 2013. Web. 01 Jan. 2015. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-moral-molecule/201311/the-top-10-ways-boost-good-feelings>
  6. Concordia University. “‘Love hormone’ oxytocin carries unexpected side effect.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2014. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122112626.htm>.
  7. The Dark Side of Oxytocin.” Association for Psychological Science RSS. N.p., 29 July 2011. Web. 04 Jan. 2015. <http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/the-dark-side-of-oxytocin.html>.
  8. Weldone, Michele. “Your Brain on Story: Why Narratives Win Our Hearts and Minds.Pacific Standard. N.p., 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 26 Dec. 2014. <http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/pulitzer-prizes-journalism-reporting-your-brain-on-story-why-narratives-win-our-hearts-and-minds-79824/>
  9. What is serotonin? What does serotonin do? Medical News Today. Medi Lexicon International, 1 Sept. 2014. Web. 27 Dec. 2014.
  10. Hacking Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, & Oxytocin.” The Utopian Life. N.p., 14 Oct. 2014. Web. 02 Jan. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thai-nguyen/hacking-into-your-happy-c_b_6007660.html>
  11. Lee, Kevan. “Games and Your Brain: How to Use Gamification to Stop Procrastinating.” Buffer Social. N.p., 27 June 2013. Web. 01 Jan. 2015. <https://blog.bufferapp.com/brain-playing-games-why-our-brains-are-so-attracted-to-playing-games-the-science-of-gamification>

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Top posts of 2014 http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/01/top-posts-2014/ http://www.gamified.uk/2015/01/01/top-posts-2014/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 09:29:10 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=3203
Well, Happy New Year everyone. 2014 was a good year for gamification, but 2015 is where we will come of age I feel. Below are a couple of top 10’s for my blog. The...

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Well, Happy New Year everyone. 2014 was a good year for gamification, but 2015 is where we will come of age I feel. Below are a couple of top 10’s for my blog. The first is based on page views for blogs just posted in 2014. The second is based on comments for blogs in that year and the final is page views for all content on the site.

It looks like defining gamification was a big thing in 2014!!

Page Views for 2014 posts

1) Defining gamification – what do people really think?

Posted on April 16, 20142014 Blog Round Up year summary As many of you know, I recently took exception to a particular definition of gamification that was doing the rounds. However, the positive effect was to make me think about what it really means and also started to make me wonder what other people think of it.  So, I asked them – I did a… More…

Posted in Gamification, Opinion

2) 4 part SAMR Model to Analyse Gamification

Posted on November 12, 20142014 Blog Round Up year summary I love coming up with new models and frameworks, I find them really handy and hope that when I share them that others do as well. However, I am also a great believer in not reinventing the wheel! Recently I happened to see a comment from one of my favourite people on Twitter, Alice Keeler,… More…

Posted in Education, Gamification, Gaming

3) Flow & gamification: a misunderstanding

Posted on July 8, 20142014 Blog Round Up year summary Flow. A popular concept in gamification, goodness knows I have spoken about it often enough – just last week in fact.  It was that article that actually made me realise that there is a distinct misunderstanding of flow as Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes it. The image below is how we in gamification tend to view it,… More…

Posted in Gamification

4) Points and Badges in Gamification – Not totally evil.

Posted on March 17, 20142014 Blog Round Up year summary Over the last few days, the conversation about the use of points and badges has come up several times with several different people. The stock answer in gamification these days is that points and badges are bad gamification. They are meaningless and we should be looking at intrinsic motivation more – yet almost every implementation… More…

Posted in Gamification, Loyalty

5) The EEEE User Journey Framework

Posted on April 30, 20142014 Blog Round Up year summary Over the past weeks as I have been re-writing chunks of my book and preparing for various talks, I have been trying to consolidate a lot of my ideas. This has so far lead to four basic frameworks. RAMP, GAME, EEEE and User Types. There is a big infographic at the end of this post… More…

Posted in Gamification

6) The Language of Gamification – Short Glossary [Updated]

Posted on September 19, 20142014 Blog Round Up year summary As I rewrite my book, I realise that there are many terms that I have been using that may not be known to non-gamification people. When I started writing it was with the intention of using plain language. Sadly, that is not always possible. So I have started to build a little glossary of terms… More…

Posted in Gamification

7) GAME: A design process framework

Posted on May 7, 20142014 Blog Round Up year summary Quite some time ago I released my little design framework. Well as I have been condensing my thoughts and ideas, I decided it was time to make it a little easier, so I came up with GAME. Gather Gather information by asking; What are you gamifying Why are you gamifying it Who are you gamifying… More…

Posted in Gamification

8) A response to Gartner’s new definition of gamification

Posted on April 5, 20142014 Blog Round Up year summary On April the 4th, Brian Burke, via his blog announced that Gartner had changed its definition of gamification. It would be; “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals” http://blogs.gartner.com/brian_burke/2014/04/04/gartner-redefines-gamification/ At first I chuckled. This was very similar to the definition I use in my… More…

Posted in Gamification, Opinion

9) Non-Competitive Leaderboards

Posted on June 23, 20142014 Blog Round Up year summary Leaderboards are evil. They create competition in environments that may not benefit from competition. They make more losers than winners and only engage the top 10 players on the board.  Right? (out of context quotes ahoy!) Well, yes and no. In reality it is not quite as simple as that. It all comes down to… More…

Posted in Gamification

10) Gamification: The users perspective

Posted on July 24, 20142014 Blog Round Up year summary As a gamification designer, it is easy to get hooked up on the intricacies of the system. The feedback mechanics, the game mechanics, the economy and the cleverness of it all. It is also easy to think, “this is going to be great” when you have a new idea and then spend waaay to long… More…

Posted in Gamification, Gaming

Comments for 2014 Posts

 

 

Overall Page Views across the site

  1. User Types Hexad
  2. Differences between Gamification and Games
  3. A Simple Gamification Framework / Cheat Sheet
  4. The Intrinsic Motivation RAMP
  5. Game Mechanics in Gamification
  6. Defining gamification – what do people really think?
  7. Gamification Inspiration Cards
  8. What’s the difference between Gamification and Serious Games?
  9. The Fun Survey
  10. Gamification Examples and Case Studies

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2014 Blog Round Up http://www.gamified.uk/2014/12/29/2014-blog-round/ http://www.gamified.uk/2014/12/29/2014-blog-round/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 10:26:30 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=2952
Wow, nearly 90 posts this year! 2014 saw some fantastic speaking opportunities, a new deck of cards, a new theory around fun (that I really need to finish soon!). Massive thanks to all of...

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Wow, nearly 90 posts this year! 2014 saw some fantastic speaking opportunities, a new deck of cards, a new theory around fun (that I really need to finish soon!).

Massive thanks to all of you, roll on 2015!!!

1) 2014 Blog Round Up


Posted on December 29, 20142014 Blog Round UpWow, nearly 90 posts this year! 2014 saw some fantastic speaking opportunities, a new deck of cards, a new theory around fun (that I really need to finish soon!). Massive thanks to all of you, roll on 2015!!! [list-posts vars="year=2014|posts_per_page=-1"] More...

Posted in Year Summary

2) 3 C's to reduce negative uncertainty


Posted on December 17, 20143 C's to reduce negative uncertaintyI have spoken about mystery and the like in the past and you would be forgiven for thinking that uncertainty sits in a similar space. The difference is that mystery or surprise are designed and deliberate. TL:TR? Defining Uncertainty In this instance I am defining uncertainty as "The lack of certainty. A state of having… More...

Posted in Gamification

3) 7 Rules for Gamification


Posted on December 10, 20147 Rules for GamificationI just thought as I had not written a post for a few days (researching for a couple of good ones!), I would put up my 7 rules  for gamification. Be sure that adding gamification adds benefit for the end users. Extrinsic rewards (points, prizes etc) can engage over short periods such as onboarding /… More...

Posted in Gamification

4) 5 tips for good Gamification I learned from designing games.


Posted on December 1, 20145 tips for good Gamification I learned from designing games.Gamification often takes and claims inspiration from game design. One of my side hobbies is making the occasional game, as well as spending the last seven years reviewing games for my site yars.co.uk. I thought I would just put a few gamification ideas into context based around my personal knowledge of games and game design.… More...

Posted in Gamification

5) Is it gamification if....?


Posted on November 20, 2014Is it gamification if....?This is a question I get asked all the time. Is it gamification if x,y or z.  Depending on my mood and their question, I answer a little differently at first but always end the same way. Is it taking something that is not a game and making it more game like in some way?… More...

Posted in Gamification

6) Do we need Gamification?


Posted on November 17, 2014Do we need Gamification?As my mind relaxes from last weeks SAMR analysis for gamification article (which has been my most popular post ever I think!!), I got to thinking - do we need gamification, why does it actually exist? Gamification has been born out of 1 core problem, engagement. People wanted new ways to keep potential users of… More...

Posted in Gamification

7) 4 part SAMR Model to Analyse Gamification


Posted on November 12, 20144 part SAMR Model to Analyse GamificationI love coming up with new models and frameworks, I find them really handy and hope that when I share them that others do as well. However, I am also a great believer in not reinventing the wheel! Recently I happened to see a comment from one of my favourite people on Twitter, Alice Keeler,… More...

Posted in Education, Gamification, Gaming

8) Randomness, Serendipity and Gamification


Posted on November 10, 2014Randomness, Serendipity and GamificationRecently I have been trying to write a few games, just for fun, with my daughter. There area  couple of card games and I am trying to make a single player board game. Making a game with a 7 year old is an interesting experience. I got asked to go into her room as she… More...

Posted in Gamification

9) Game Mechanics in Gamification - Revisited


Posted on November 3, 2014Game Mechanics in Gamification - RevisitedMany moons ago I wrote about a massive misunderstanding in gamification around game mechanics and what they actually are. There were several lists around that said they were key game mechanics, which turned out to be very little to do with actual mechanics. Fast forward almost 2 years and, well it is getting better, but… More...

Posted in Gamification, Gaming

10) Using fantasy in gamification


Posted on October 31, 2014Using fantasy in gamificationFantasy is not the sort of thing that most companies would think of first when they wanted to motivate and engage employees. It sounds a little too un-worky. If I have learned anything over the years though, fantasy is essential if you want people to break out of standard ways of thinking. Fantasy is a… More...

Posted in Gamification

11) Have a Batman break to keep motivated.


Posted on October 27, 2014Have a Batman break to keep motivated.Last Friday, I began a little experiment – Batman’s big day out. It was the start of a series of little bits of fun I will be capturing and putting up on social media, following the story of my little LEGO Batman figure. Now, the point is I wanted to have a bit of fun… More...

Posted in Gamification

12) 10 iOS Apps I just can't live without


Posted on October 20, 201410 iOS Apps I just can't live withoutI thought whilst I was listing things, I would give a list of my essential iOS apps. I find these types of lists interesting, so hope you will as well! 1. Evernote - Free (with pro options) I genuinely could not function without this app. I have it on any device I can! If you… More...

Posted in Opinion, Technology

13) List of my own favorite blog posts on Gamified UK


Posted on October 16, 2014List of my own favorite blog posts on Gamified UKHere are some of my personal favorite posts on Gamified UK - what do you think? [listly id="T1h" layout="gallery" show_header="true" show_author="true" show_sharing="true" show_tools="true" per_page="25"] More...

Posted in Gamification, Gaming, Loyalty, Technology

14) Gamification to encourage my daughter to read more


Posted on October 14, 2014Gamification to encourage my daughter to read moreAs any regular reader will know, I spend a lot of time gamifying my daughter, in a good way. She has taught me a great deal about what does and doesn't work in the real world. Most recently I was trying to encourage her to read more, so decided to test out my EEEE framework… More...

Posted in Gamification

15) How to Use Game Thinking


Posted on October 8, 2014How to Use Game ThinkingA while back I started to introduce my alternative catch-all to Gamification, that is Game Thinking. Game Thinking takes four common components of game like or games based solutions and puts them under a single banner. Those are Playful Design / Game inspired design, Serious Games, Games and Gamification / Motivational Design (more on that… More...

Posted in Gamification

16) Critisism - well a rant really.


Posted on October 6, 2014Critisism - well a rant really.This is a rant - you will find no insight here.. Move along... I've written about criticism in the past, but wanted to bring it up again just for fun. A couple of days ago, I received some criticism. Nothing to major, but for some reason it really set me off! I Am pretty good… More...

Posted in Opinion, Rants

17) Gamification: Novelty is not enough


Posted on September 30, 2014Gamification: Novelty is not enoughRecently the following video has been doing the rounds. It shows a great idea to get people to stop at crossings when the red light shows. The idea is that rather than a boring red man stood there you get a real time animation of someone dancing in a booth a little further away. They… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion, Rants

18) My 3 main focuses for rewards and feedback


Posted on September 29, 2014My 3 main focuses for rewards and feedbackOne of the key things that I consider when looking at anything in gamification is how feedback is going to be handled. For me, feedback is anything that gives a user some understanding of progress and achievement. This can be something as simple as a message that says "You have completed the survey", to a… More...

Posted in Gamification, Loyalty

19) Forget loyalty, how about liking?


Posted on September 24, 2014Forget loyalty, how about liking?Over the last few months I have seen more and more people in gamification changing their messaging. Rather than speaking about gamification, they have started to speak about loyalty. It makes sense, with gamification you are trying to guide people and engage them with your products, services or whatever - it does seem to follow… More...

Posted in Gamification, Loyalty, Opinion, Social Media

20) The Language of Gamification - Short Glossary [Updated]


Posted on September 19, 2014The Language of Gamification - Short Glossary [Updated]As I rewrite my book, I realise that there are many terms that I have been using that may not be known to non-gamification people. When I started writing it was with the intention of using plain language. Sadly, that is not always possible. So I have started to build a little glossary of terms… More...

Posted in Gamification

21) 2 major lessons Apple has just taught us about loyalty


Posted on September 16, 20142 major lessons Apple has just taught us about loyaltyAnother 6 months - another set of Apple tech announcements and pending products. Bigger phones, better software and a Watch (which I will probably speak about soon enough around what this could mean to personal gamification!). They also gave every iTunes user a gift. How awesome is that! Well, as it turns out not very.… More...

Posted in Gamification, Loyalty

22) Gamification: Pervasive User Centric Design


Posted on September 11, 2014Gamification: Pervasive User Centric DesignA spelling mistake, auto-correct and a lack of concentration led me to researching totally the wrong thing recently.  I was looking into a blog on Persuasive design, but ended up looking at articles on Pervasive design by mistake! It triggered some ideas and things I had been thinking about a while back, so I ran… More...

Posted in Gamification, Loyalty

23) 4 gamification lessons from the arcades


Posted on September 4, 20144 gamification lessons from the arcadesWhen I was young, one of my absolute favourite things in the world were arcades! When ever my parents took me on holiday, I would pray that nearby would be an arcade. The lights, the sounds, the smell - everything about an arcade filled me with joy and excitement. Row upon row of cabinets fighting… More...

Posted in Gamification

24) Indirect Incentives: Good or Bad in Gamification?


Posted on September 4, 2014Indirect Incentives: Good or Bad in Gamification?First things first, what do you think of the new blog theme? Playing with the Hueman theme to see how it goes. I have also removed a large number of poppy uppy things! Recently I heard an interesting idea on how to indirectly incentive employees to do a particular voluntary task. The plan was that… More...

Posted in Gamification, Rants

25) 1 element that makes Godus sticky, but suck as a game


Posted on September 2, 20141 element that makes Godus sticky, but suck as a gameIn this article I am discussing the iOS version of Godus I love god games, games where you get to influence the development of a world. Sim City, Civilisation and of course Populous we all favourites as I grew up. Now the original designer of Populous, Peter Moleneux, has given us a new vision of… More...

Posted in Gamification, Gaming, Loyalty, Rants

26) 4 tips for creating viral content #gamification #icebucketchallenge


Posted on September 1, 20144 tips for creating viral content #gamification #icebucketchallengeA couple of days ago I got nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a viral awareness campaign that has been knocking around the internet for a few weeks now. A person is challenged to pour a bucket of ice water over their… More...

Posted in Gamification

27) [Updated] Defining fun - some research results


Posted on August 27, 2014[Updated] Defining fun - some research resultsUPDATED 27/08/2014 After a few more responses, I have realised I missed off Learning as a type of fun!!! As many of you will have seen by now, I am running a short survey on what people find fun. So far I have had 155 results, for which I am truly grateful! Of course, I… More...

Posted in Gamification, Gaming

28) Just rewarding activity is not gamification: stop it!


Posted on August 21, 2014Just rewarding activity is not gamification: stop it!I have promised in the past not to write about the dangers of extrinsic rewards anymore. However, can't stand reading about gamification being a failure anymore, when the articles proclaiming this almost always start with "gamification is about awarding points, or physical rewards to people for doing dull tasks". No quoting from Dan Pink or… More...

Posted in Gamification, Rants

29) S.M.A.R.T Gamification - Goal Setting


Posted on August 8, 2014S.M.A.R.T Gamification - Goal SettingIn one of those "D'oh" moments, it occurred to me that management types have been promoting one of the core components of gamification since at least the 80's! We all agree that one of the main aspects that forms good gamification is good goal setting (at least I hope we all do by now). Well… More...

Posted in Gamification

30) Dynamic teams: Learning from the kids


Posted on August 5, 2014Dynamic teams: Learning from the kidsThe other day, I had the joy of taking my eldest daughter to a theme park (Chessington World of Adventures). We had an amazing time, finished off with a visit to what I thought was a sort of soft play area. It turns out it was way more awesome than that. It was a steam… More...

Posted in Gaming, Opinion, Technology

31) Altruism: Kindness begets kindness


Posted on July 30, 2014Altruism: Kindness begets kindnessOne of the ideas that has always fascinated me is altruism within random groups. The idea that if you do a good deed and others see it, they will also be more likely to do a good deed. I have been testing this idea on my drive into work for a few months now. In… More...

Posted in Gamification

32) Gamification is sh1t. Let's make it better.


Posted on July 28, 2014Gamification is sh1t. Let's make it better.I thought that might get your attention. Excuse the contrived use of the 1 in shit there as well, firewalls can be so jumpy about certain words. Now back to my point. Gamification, in far too many cases right now,  is indeed shit. I am not saying gamification itself is bad, just a lot of… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion, Rants

33) Gamification: The users perspective


Posted on July 24, 2014Gamification: The users perspectiveAs a gamification designer, it is easy to get hooked up on the intricacies of the system. The feedback mechanics, the game mechanics, the economy and the cleverness of it all. It is also easy to think, "this is going to be great" when you have a new idea and then spend waaay to long… More...

Posted in Gamification, Gaming

34) Playful design vs Game inspired design


Posted on July 16, 2014Playful design vs Game inspired designWhen I first started to describe Game Thinking, I talked about gameful design or game inspired design. Part of me was always split about what I really meant. In my mind, these ideas were based on user interface more than anything. So creating menu systems that mirrored ideas seen in games, or creating slightly more… More...

Posted in Gamification

35) A small gamification victory with my daughter!


Posted on July 14, 2014A small gamification victory with my daughter!Whilst I spin through a really busy time, I wanted to share with you a minor gamification victory with my daughter. Anyone who has read my blog in the past, will know that I have been trying to use gamification around my daughters behaviour for a few years now. Not all (any) attempts have been… More...

Posted in Gamification

36) Flow & gamification: a misunderstanding


Posted on July 8, 2014Flow & gamification: a misunderstandingFlow. A popular concept in gamification, goodness knows I have spoken about it often enough - just last week in fact.  It was that article that actually made me realise that there is a distinct misunderstanding of flow as Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes it. The image below is how we in gamification tend to view it,… More...

Posted in Gamification

37) User Types - an expansion to consider


Posted on June 30, 2014User Types - an expansion to considerI have not mentioned User Types for at least a couple of blog posts - so though it was time to mess with your heads a little. When I first started the user types, there were four intrinsic types (Socialiser, Free Spirit, Achiever, Philanthropist) which represented the four intrinsic motivators I speak about in RAMP… More...

Posted in Gamification

38) The Flow Shift and Bounce


Posted on June 27, 2014The Flow Shift and BounceThis is more a thought and possibly even a question to those who know more than me about the Flow concept.  I have spoken about Flow in the past and use it as a core principle to engaging long term design. However, recently it occurred to me that long term exposure to extremes in frustration… More...

Posted in Gamification

39) Non-Competitive Leaderboards


Posted on June 23, 2014Non-Competitive LeaderboardsLeaderboards are evil. They create competition in environments that may not benefit from competition. They make more losers than winners and only engage the top 10 players on the board.  Right? (out of context quotes ahoy!) Well, yes and no. In reality it is not quite as simple as that. It all comes down to… More...

Posted in Gamification

40) What can a toilet teach us about gamification?


Posted on June 12, 2014What can a toilet teach us about gamification?Another talk, another idea. Having just done a really fun talk for KMUK, a new analogy came to mind to illustrate using simple user experience to change behaviours. One of the things we are trying to do to save the planet, is use less water. The way this is often done is offering the user… More...

Posted in Gamification

41) Losing the game of life


Posted on June 9, 2014Losing the game of lifeI was thinking how depressing life is recently. Hear me out! We are an evolved species, we can think and act for ourselves. We have reached a point where we no longer have to hunt for food or build our own shelters (unless we choose to or in certain cases of poverty - you know… More...

Posted in Opinion, Rants, Technology

42) Lowering barriers with Gamification


Posted on June 6, 2014Lowering barriers with GamificationI did a very enjoyable talk at the Knowledge Cafe the other day. The audience was made up of various interested people, varying wildly in age - but with a majority belonging to Knowledge Management. It stood out for me in two ways. The first was the fact it was the first time I had… More...

Posted in Gamification

43) Focus - it's like a learning super power


Posted on May 28, 2014Focus - it's like a learning super powerThis is a picture of my daughter playing Toca Pet Doctor. What can you see? A child. A tablet. A game. A table. And a dress in the background? What else? Focus. Pure and laser like focus. My daughter is about 2 years old. I got Toca Pet Doctor for her today as a treat.… More...

Posted in Gamification

44) Engagement - What are we talking about?


Posted on May 28, 2014Engagement - What are we talking about?Engagement. A word that is thrown about in gamification with all the abandon of a child dancing and singing to Frozen... The thing is, what exactly are we talking about? What is engagement. As ever, I took to the dictionaries to see what the word on the street is. Looking up engagement is a fruitless… More...

Posted in Gamification

45) Why User Types?


Posted on May 26, 2014Why User Types?Second post in a day, not very SEO clever, I know. I wanted to take a moment to explain my view on User and Player types and their use in gamification. First up, some bullets so you get the idea quickly. What User Types are not; Perfect Applicable to every situation or project The same… More...

Posted in Gamification

46) Gamification World Congress 2014


Posted on May 26, 2014Gamification World Congress 2014Wow, what an amazing couple of days. Last week was Gamification World Congress 2014, the biggest Gamification event in Europe and I think in the world with over 600 people. They all came together over 3 days to celebrate the best Gamification has to offer in 3 days packed full of talks  (seriously 9 am… More...

Posted in Gamification

47) Mystery, Curiosity and Surprise


Posted on May 20, 2014Mystery, Curiosity and SurpriseMost people seem to like surprises and mystery. It also seems that curiosity has the power to drive us to do strange and counter-intuitive things. We like to know what is in the mystery box, what is behind door number 3, what happens after the season finale, what the red "do not press" button actually… More...

Posted in Gamification

48) OnBoarding, Tutorials and Learning by Doing


Posted on May 15, 2014OnBoarding, Tutorials and Learning by DoingFor me one of the most effective uses of gamification that I see in education (at the moment) is the inclusion of things like onboarding and tutorials. When I was young, games came with manuals that you could knock a donkey out with. They had all the instructions, keyboard overlays, back stories and more! It… More...

Posted in Gamification

49) A few videos for you and a design worksheet


Posted on May 13, 2014A few videos for you and a design worksheetHi all. Not got a blog ready yet, but thought I would post a few videos for you. The first is about my User Types. I made it for Victor Manrique's Iversity gamification design course (he has kindly agreed to let me post it here). The others are some little test videos I have been… More...

Posted in Gamification

50) GAME: A design process framework


Posted on May 7, 2014GAME: A design process frameworkQuite some time ago I released my little design framework. Well as I have been condensing my thoughts and ideas, I decided it was time to make it a little easier, so I came up with GAME. Gather Gather information by asking; What are you gamifying Why are you gamifying it Who are you gamifying… More...

Posted in Gamification

51) Why do we use game related words in gamification?


Posted on May 5, 2014Why do we use game related words in gamification?And, is it ok? The quickest answer is ease and lack of maturity. It is easy to borrow words from games like quests, missions, achievements, trophies, player and the like. It is easier than finding gamification or more "businessy" alternatives. The reason for this? Gamification has not yet matured enough to have its own set… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion

52) The EEEE User Journey Framework


Posted on April 30, 2014The EEEE User Journey FrameworkOver the past weeks as I have been re-writing chunks of my book and preparing for various talks, I have been trying to consolidate a lot of my ideas. This has so far lead to four basic frameworks. RAMP, GAME, EEEE and User Types. There is a big infographic at the end of this post… More...

Posted in Gamification

53) Looking back at my life - Computer games are in there!


Posted on April 28, 2014Looking back at my life - Computer games are in there!As I turned 36 yesterday, I started to reminisce a little about what things have helped define my life. I am not talking about family or friends, but actual things. The first that came to mind was Games, more specifically video games. Now, I am too old to be a millennial - so I of… More...

Posted in Opinion

54) A look at Wikipedia's definition of Gamification over the years


Posted on April 24, 2014A look at Wikipedia's definition of Gamification over the yearsJust out of curiosity, I had a look through some of the historical pages on Wikipedia's Gamification entry. It was an interesting time line of the evolution of our definition of gamification, first added in October 2010 it seems. Take a look. It is interesting to see that it puts emphasis on technology based solution… More...

Posted in Gamification

55) Making motivation worse with Gamification


Posted on April 22, 2014Making motivation worse with GamificationWhen people talk about gamification, it is pretty certain the word "motivation" will pop up. "We want to engage and motivate our people, gamification is definitely going to be the answer for that!". The trouble here is that gamification is AN answer, not always THE answer. People lack motivation in job for a number of… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion

56) Ark Group KM Conference


Posted on April 17, 2014Ark Group KM ConferenceGamification is a hot topic right now. Gartner even has it at the top of its hype cycle right now. But, what is it and has it taken off in the world of Knowledge Management? Wikipedia defines gamification as; the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving… More...

Posted in Gamification

57) Defining gamification - what do people really think?


Posted on April 16, 2014Defining gamification - what do people really think?As many of you know, I recently took exception to a particular definition of gamification that was doing the rounds. However, the positive effect was to make me think about what it really means and also started to make me wonder what other people think of it.  So, I asked them - I did a… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion

58) A few gamification tips


Posted on April 14, 2014A few gamification tipsWhilst I am away for a few days, I though I would fill the gap with a quick post for you all. A few gamification tips. Define your goal, you can't expect anything to work if you have no reason to use it. Extrinsic rewards like points and badges are useful for short term engagement… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion

59) Why am I interested in Gamification?


Posted on April 9, 2014Why am I interested in Gamification?This is a question many ask me - including myself! The answer is complicated I suppose, but worth mentioning here. Many feel that gamification is nothing more than an invention of consultants hell bent on making money from corporations who want to control their employees. In some instances this may even be true! The fact… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion

60) What gamification is to me - My definition


Posted on April 8, 2014What gamification is to me - My definitionAs you know, over the weekend I picked a fight with Gartner over their redefinition of gamification.http://blogs.gartner.com/brian_burke/2014/04/04/gartner-redefines-gamification/ and http://gamified.uk/2014/04/05/a-response-to-gartners-new-definition-of-gamification/ The conversation turned to a bit of a bun fight, so I have now stepped away a little. However, it got me thinking about my own definition and why I use it and what gamification in… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion

61) Competitive Silos or Collaborative Success


Posted on April 7, 2014Competitive Silos or Collaborative SuccessOne of the most popular uses of enterprise gamification is to create competition. I don't mean in the form of marketing campaigns, I am talking about internal competitions between employees. Sales leader-boards, fitness competitions, who is best at social etc. The idea is to drive employees to want to be better than the others. Being… More...

Posted in Gamification

62) A response to Gartner's new definition of gamification


Posted on April 5, 2014A response to Gartner's new definition of gamificationOn April the 4th, Brian Burke, via his blog announced that Gartner had changed its definition of gamification. It would be; “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals” http://blogs.gartner.com/brian_burke/2014/04/04/gartner-redefines-gamification/ At first I chuckled. This was very similar to the definition I use in my… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion

63) Winning isn't everything - demotivating by allowing a win state


Posted on April 3, 2014Winning isn't everything - demotivating by allowing a win stateMost people like to win. There is something deep down inside all of us who love to be the winner, to experience the rush that comes with beating something. It may be a game, it may be winning at sport, it may be collecting all the Pokemon. Whatever it is, you get a huge feeling… More...

Posted in Gamification

64) Gamification and Habits


Posted on March 31, 2014Gamification and HabitsI will state now, I am not claiming to be an expert on habits, however - I wanted to share some thoughts on how gamification can help with habit building. There are several habit or behaviour models out there. My two favourites are Nir Eyal's Hook model and BJ Fogg's Behaviour Model. For the sake… More...

Posted in Gamification

65) Challenge the Rut


Posted on March 28, 2014Challenge the RutSo, two weeks and I have maintained a blog per working day. Yay me. The question is, why? Why have I suddenly gone from one blog per week to one per day. I don't need the coverage or the readers - they have all been more than happy with one per week. I certainly don't… More...

Posted in Gamification

66) Points & Badges Video Tutorial


Posted on March 27, 2014Points & Badges Video TutorialThe fourth video in my series of tutorials (finally!!) This one is just a short (10 minute) look at points and badges in gamified systems and how to make some use of them. Not all that different from my Points and Badges: Not Totally Evil blog post, but also talks about balancing and best use… More...

Posted in Gamification

67) Mechanics and ideas to support your gamified systems


Posted on March 26, 2014Mechanics and ideas to support your gamified systemsA slightly cheating post today. Here are the mechanics and ideas that I have been using when supporting certain user types. I wanted to present them in a non usertype specific way. So instead of Player, here you see "Short term engagement, Activity". This should help people see a little more clearly how to support… More...

Posted in Gamification

68) Gamification Design vs Game Design


Posted on March 25, 2014Gamification Design vs Game DesignYesterday I posted a tweet that got a few nice retweets. Is there a middle ground where game designers and #gamification designers can meet and create amazing things? Surely yes! — Andrzej Marczewski (@daverage) March 24, 2014 It is no secret that I would love to get the games industry to become more involved in… More...

Posted in Gamification

69) Gamification: Low tech real-time feedback


Posted on March 24, 2014Gamification: Low tech real-time feedbackUsing gamification on my kids is nothing new. I have openly written about my failure as a gamifier when it came to my eldest daughters reward chart!  However, now I am trying a little experiment, one that is nice and low tech and involved no points or badges! On our fridge we now have this… More...

Posted in Gamification

70) Put up or Shut up and stop moaning about gamification.


Posted on March 21, 2014Put up or Shut up and stop moaning about gamification.So, for my final post of the week (as I seem to have subconsciously challenged myself to blog all week), I want to throw a curve ball out there. If I am honest it is a brain dump and a rant. So strap in and enjoy the ride. I have talked about gamification being a… More...

Posted in Gaming, Rants

71) Rules, magic circles and other ways to avoid misfortune


Posted on March 20, 2014Rules, magic circles and other ways to avoid misfortuneA while back I wrote a piece called Rules Rule, but Shouldn't Rule Everything. The upshot of the article was that you have to have rules for things to work, but you also have to understand the rules to be able to bend and break them when needed. Rules are really important in gamified systems,… More...

Posted in Gamification, Gaming, Opinion

72) First considerations of Gamification


Posted on March 19, 2014First considerations of GamificationOn thing I am asked more than any question when it comes to gamification, is how do I get started. What is the first thing I should do. The answer they are hoping for normally is something like "Download this great framework and slap it on your product - job done". However, this is never… More...

Posted in Gamification

73) The Hero's Journey of the User


Posted on March 18, 2014The Hero's Journey of the UserWhat follows is a little bit of fun, but one that may help you take another look at how you are planning your user journey in gamified systems. In story telling and therefore in games there is a structure that is well know and well used called the Hero's Journey or Monomyth.  It was first… More...

Posted in Gamification, Gaming

74) Points and Badges in Gamification - Not totally evil.


Posted on March 17, 2014Points and Badges in Gamification - Not totally evil.Over the last few days, the conversation about the use of points and badges has come up several times with several different people. The stock answer in gamification these days is that points and badges are bad gamification. They are meaningless and we should be looking at intrinsic motivation more - yet almost every implementation… More...

Posted in Gamification, Loyalty

75) Activity Loops in Gamification


Posted on March 10, 2014Activity Loops in GamificationMany moons ago, I wrote a piece on Feedback Loops a system used in games to help balance or unbalance a system. Whilst I was designing the boards for my gamification inspiration cards I started playing around with the idea of activity loops. These are essentially the same idea as feedback loops, but rather than balancing… More...

Posted in Gamification

76) Gamify your drive home


Posted on March 4, 2014Gamify your drive homeOne of the day to day activities that I gamify in my life, is driving. More specifically, driving economically. Best of all, you don't need to have some expensive gamified car (like the leaf) or any apps. My car, like most now, has an on-board computer. I have this set to always show me my… More...

Posted in Gamification, Gaming

77) Gamification Inspiration Cards


Posted on March 3, 2014Gamification Inspiration CardsIntroduction | About the cards | Want to buy a deck? | More ways to play Introduction I don’t know what it is, but I love cards.  I think it stems from my parents, who were avid Bridge players. We always had several decks Bridge cards lying around. I like how they feel in your hand, how they smell, how they… More...

Posted in Gamification

78) Gamification User Types: Free Spirits


Posted on February 24, 2014Gamification User Types: Free SpiritsI thought I would dig into some of the User Types a little more deeply from time to time. This week I would like to look at Free Spirits - as they have been causing a little confusion for some. These types are looking for autonomy and some form of freedom, both of "movement" and… More...

Posted in Gamification

79) What if they don't want to play?


Posted on February 19, 2014What if they don't want to play?Before I launch into this weeks (slightly late) blog, I just wanted to shamelessly tout for your vote!. GSummit have a vote going for the top 10 most influential people in gamification. If you think that I may fit in there, I would really love a vote. You can vote for more than one person… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion, Social Media

80) Gamification in Change Management processes


Posted on February 19, 2014Gamification in Change Management processesWhat follows is the abstract fro a Bachelor Thesis by Raphael Schönen A while back he interviewed me and a few other gamification experts to help with his theses. If you want to find out more, please contact him at raphael.schoenen@web.de This bachelor thesis is an initial scientific attempt to determine the relevance and implications of Gamification… More...

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81) Superheroes and Gamified UK


Posted on February 10, 2014Superheroes and Gamified UKHello one and all. This week, I don't have much for you! It happens from time to time, but I thought I would share a couple of things with you. First, thanks for all the responses to the User Type survey. If you have not done it yet, please do http://gamified.uk/UserTypeTest/user-type-test.php , if you did it… More...

Posted in Gamification, Gaming

82) Narrative, story and gamification


Posted on February 3, 2014Narrative, story and gamificationWhenever I speak to people in the circles within which I hang out, one of the things I keep hearing is story and narrative. "You have to tell your story", "What is the narrative?", what is the companies story". To be honest it drives me a little nuts, but that's by the by. The fact… More...

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83) Employer Values


Posted on January 27, 2014Employer ValuesFirst things first, thanks to everyone who has completed the User Types 2.0 survey. If you have not done so, please take a few minutes to fill it in. I am trying to make this one a little more scientific so that the results can be used to help us all build better systems!. Check… More...

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84) Europe's Only International Forum Dedicated to Driving Consumer Revenue and Engagement using Game Thinking


Posted on January 23, 2014Europe's Only International Forum Dedicated to Driving Consumer Revenue and  Engagement using Game ThinkingThe UK’s first meeting dedicated to gamification has been announced for March 26-27th in London. Leading international gamification experts are due to speak at the first ever Enterprise Gamification Europe, a two-day event dedicated to helping marketing and digital professionals marketers and apply gamification  to help improve their business modelling in the ever-changing, completive and… More...

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85) The Puzzle of Problem Solving


Posted on January 20, 2014The Puzzle of Problem SolvingFirst off, can I ask you all to go and take my new User Types test? I really want to test it out. Let me know if you think to results are fair or way off. Ping me on twitter (@daverage) and thanks! This week I wanted to outline my process of problem solving. This… More...

Posted in Gamification, Opinion

86) Nabu Smartband from Razer


Posted on January 15, 2014Nabu Smartband from RazerI don't often post press releases here, but this one excites me! Razer is a company that has produced gaming peripherals for years now. Used by pros and casual gamers alike, they always produce distinctive and interesting kit. So when they announced they were going to release a fitness like band, I had to find… More...

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87) 3 Layers of Motivation


Posted on January 13, 20143 Layers of MotivationThe more I consider motivation, the more I realise it is one of those things we in gamification use as a catch all. It's a bit like how we treat the term "game mechanics" and, well, gamification! Generally speaking, you will hear the terms intrinsic and extrinsic when motivation is spoken about. You will hear… More...

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88) Gamification: Overjustification Effect and Cheating


Posted on January 6, 2014Gamification: Overjustification Effect and CheatingHappy New Year everyone. I was going to start the year with a little article on how I problem solve, but an opportunity arose to write about something that I have been wanting to write about for a while! When extrinsic rewards go bad A couple of nights ago, I was bombarded with notices about… More...

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89) Top 10 Posts and Pages from 2013


Posted on January 1, 2014Top 10 Posts and Pages from 2013Happy 2014 everyone! Just a quick post to show you all what the top 10 pages and articles have been on my blog in the past 12 months. It fills me with joy just how popular the User Types have been! Marczewski's User Types Marczewski's User Types and Nicole Lazzaro's 4 Keys 2 Fun Game… More...

Posted in Gamification

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3 C’s to reduce negative uncertainty http://www.gamified.uk/2014/12/17/3-cs-to-reduce-negative-uncertainty/ http://www.gamified.uk/2014/12/17/3-cs-to-reduce-negative-uncertainty/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:55:24 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=3003
I have spoken about mystery and the like in the past and you would be forgiven for thinking that uncertainty sits in a similar space. The difference is that mystery or surprise are designed...

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I have spoken about mystery and the like in the past and you would be forgiven for thinking that uncertainty sits in a similar space. The difference is that mystery or surprise are designed and deliberate.

TL:TR?

Defining Uncertainty

In this instance I am defining uncertainty as “The lack of certainty. A state of having limited knowledge where it is impossible to exactly describe the existing state, a future outcome, or more than one possible outcome.” 1

Uncertainty can be both negative and positive. As with mystery, sometime snot knowing all the details leads to a healthy curiosity and motivates you into “opening the box” (though that didn’t work out so well for Pandora…). There has be research done on how uncertainty can actually boost motivation as well. A paper called “The Motivating Uncertainty Effect2 This study showed that if people were given a limited amount of information about the reward they would receive, it could actually boost motivation.

People invest more effort, time, and money to qualify for an uncertain reward (e.g., a 50% chance at $2 and a 50% chance at $1) than a certain reward of a higher expected value (e.g., a 100% chance at $2). This effect arises only when people focus on the process of pursuing a reward, not when they focus on the outcome (the reward itself ).

There is a nice caveat there though, that it is only effective when people are focusing on the process not the reward.

Here I am focussing a little more on the negative effects of uncertainty and how you as a system designer can reduce them.

To give this a little context, consider an employee in a large company. There are redundancies happening in the company for various reasons. They are uncertain about how this will affect them. This could be because they have not been communicated with properly (or at all), it could be because they did not understand the communications – it could even be that whilst they have had clear communication, they don’t trust the source of the information or the information itself.

Stress

Studies have been done on how this kind of uncertainty can increase stress levels in people 3 and stress can have extremely negative effects on people’s motivation 4. When people feel that they don’t have control of their future they begin to experience an increase in psychological strain – stress. In the above example, the employee does not have enough information to be able to predict the future outcome and has no control over it. This leads to negative uncertainty and thus stress.

For some, knowing if the outcome is negative can help just as much as knowing of the outcome is positive. For others, knowing that the outcome will be negative is just as stressful. Again, this will be because they don’t have enough information to predict the future after the negative outcome.

It is useful at this point to get a better understanding of stress. Things that cause stress can be called “Stressors”. Stressors are broken down into two main types; Challenge Stressors and Hindrance Stressors. Challenge Stressors are associated with with a more positive aspect of stress, providing more focus on the task at hand. Hindrance Stressors are associated with negative stress, reducing productivity in individuals as well as motivation. Both can be broken down into work related and non work related 5. The above example demonstrates work related hindrance stressors. The employee is uncertain of their future as a result could become demotivated 6.

Put simply, some stress can be good for development, the wrong type or too much can lead to reduced motivation and satisfaction (and other stress related issues).

Reducing Uncertainty

The upshot of all of this; negative uncertainty -> negative stress -> reduced motivation, productivity, frustration etc. Whilst the effects can vary from person to person, it makes sense that whatever you are designing, be it a gamified system or an enterprise transformation programme, you should have some tactics to reduce uncertainty!

  1. Communication
    • Communicating with the target audience is essential. To reduce the chances of uncertainty, you need to give them as much unambiguous information as possible. This may mean not telling them things that are not set in stone. The aim is to give them the right amount of knowledge to understand and predict what the future may hold. In gamification, think about how you would onboard people into a system. You would give them just enough to understand what is happening then and what will happen next, without giving them too much and potentially confusing things. In our example of uncertainty around employment, keep the employee informed and make access to the information they need simple.
  2. Control
    • One major issue that causes stress in uncertainty is a feeling that the person affected has no control of the situation. In gamification, this will be about choices as they onboard and as they move through the system. It will also be about knowledge again,. if they have a good understanding of what they are doing, they have a level of control. In our employment example, give them a chance to have their voice heard. If they feel they are being listened too, they will feel they have some control. If outcomes are negative, make sure they know there is support for them to help take control of their future.
  3. Care
    • If someone does not trust you, they will not believe or trust what you are telling them. If you have shown a history of caring and consideration towards them, they are more likely to trust you. With gamification, this is all about looking after them in the early stages and then giving enough support over time that they feel safe. For the employee this boils down to consistency of message and honesty. If they feel you are telling them the truth and that you are at least consistent with what you are saying and how you are saying it, they won’t be taken by surprise when things happen. Better still, whatever is happening try to make people feel that you have their best interest at heart beyond the immediate decisions. If there is something negative about to happen, they need to know that you care enough to help them face the future after.

 References

  1. “Uncertainty.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty>.
  2. Shen, Luxi, Ayelet Fishbach, and Christopher K. Hsee. “The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect: Uncertainty Increases Resource Investment in the Process of Reward Pursuit.” Journal of Consumer Research (2014): n. pag. Web. 21 Nov. 2014. <http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/ayelet.fishbach/research/Uncertainty_JCR.pdf>.
  3. Bordia, Prashant, Elizabeth Hobman, Elizabeth Jones, Cindy Gallois, and Victor J. Callan. “Uncertainty During Organizational Change: Types, Consequences, and Management Strategies.” Journal of Business and Psychology 18.4 (2003): 507-32. Web. <http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/B:JOBU.0000028449.99127.f7>.
  4. Amah, Okechukwu E. “Challenge and Hindrance Stress Relationship with Job Satisfaction and Life Satisfaction: The Role of Motivation-to-work and Self-efficacy.” International Journal of Humanities and Social Science 4.6 (2014): 26-37. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.
  5. Kurtagh, Michael. “Individual Factors That Affect Job Performance.” : Types of Stressors. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://org330.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/types-of-stressors.html>.
  6. Staufenbiel, Thomas, and Cornelius J. König. “A model for the effects of job insecurity on performance, turnover intention, and absenteeism.” Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 83.1 (2010): 101-117.

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7 Rules for Gamification http://www.gamified.uk/2014/12/10/7-rules-gamification/ http://www.gamified.uk/2014/12/10/7-rules-gamification/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 15:20:17 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=2947
I just thought as I had not written a post for a few days (researching for a couple of good ones!), I would put up my 7 rules  for gamification. Be sure that adding...

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I just thought as I had not written a post for a few days (researching for a couple of good ones!), I would put up my 7 rules  for gamification.

  1. Be sure that adding gamification adds benefit for the end users.
  2. Extrinsic rewards (points, prizes etc) can engage over short periods such as onboarding / enrol and enthuse phases.
  3. Intrinsic motivation is essential for long term engagement and if you are looking for quality and creativity over quantity.
  4. Be open about what data is collected and why. Trust is essential.
  5. Define clear goals.
  6. Define and collect metrics.
  7. Be flexible and adapt as user needs and behaviours change.

That’s it for now, got stuff on uncertainty as well as team work and collaboration on the way soon.

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5 tips for good Gamification I learned from designing games. http://www.gamified.uk/2014/12/01/5-tips-for-good-gamification-i-learned-from-designing-games/ http://www.gamified.uk/2014/12/01/5-tips-for-good-gamification-i-learned-from-designing-games/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 13:33:16 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=2937
Gamification often takes and claims inspiration from game design. One of my side hobbies is making the occasional game, as well as spending the last seven years reviewing games for my site yars.co.uk. I...

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Gamification often takes and claims inspiration from game design. One of my side hobbies is making the occasional game, as well as spending the last seven years reviewing games for my site yars.co.uk. I thought I would just put a few gamification ideas into context based around my personal knowledge of games and game design. I am y no means an expert, but I hope you will find it interesting.

Tl;TR?

First up, points. I have made games with point systems and I have made games without. Generally I use the points as a way to represent progression and skill – ie, the higher the score, the further your skills have progressed. This is intrinsic on its own, it is a way for the individual player to see how they are doing and if they are improving. This only works if the points reset each time, that way the player can easily see that if they score higher next time – they have improved. Cumulative points don’t allow you to do this, they just show how many points you have collected over time, which is a little less useful. You could consider a personal leaderboard, that just shows the player their scores over time for an exercise- thus easily showing them their improvement.

As well as this, I have combined points with group leaderboards to allow people to show off their score and compete with others to gain higher scores.  For some this competition is fun and is a way to compare their skills to those of others.

The key learning from the use of points and leaderboards has been that they are not the reason people play the games. They play because the games are enjoyable – fun if you will. They offer challenge, require skill and keep the player informed of progression. Without the points, they would achieve some of this, but many players would suggest to find a continued reason to play if there was no way to measure their progress!

The other type of game I have played around with is based purely on narrative. These were games with a purpose, they were intended to make some kind of point. The picture below is from a game called Context. It asked you to make decisions with carrying degrees of context, giving you more of the story as you made each choice. No points, no leaderboards, however every choice had an outcome that had some meaning.

My current project is a simple card game that I am designing with and for my 7 year old daughter. The development of this has taken time, with me creating complex and what I thought was interesting mechanics and rules initially. Over time, these have been cut away to a few simple core mechanics that allow the game to be picked up quickly by my daughter, but takes time to actually learn the tactics for. I suppose this advice would be keep it simple to pick up, but ensure there is depth as well.

Magical Kingdom Cards

Magical Kingdom Cards

Lessons learned

  1. Keep the player informed of their progress. Points (non cumulative and cumulative) can be used to do this.
  2. Group leaderboards are a way to generate competition between players as well as give players a chance to see how their skills match up to others. This is fun for some, but not for everyone.
  3. Giving players choices that have a meaningful outcome is a powerful way to keep a player engaged without points.
  4. The same can be said of a good narrative.
  5. Keep onboarding simple, but ensure as skill increases there is depth and challenge to the “game” to keep better players engaged.

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Is it gamification if….? http://www.gamified.uk/2014/11/20/gamification/ http://www.gamified.uk/2014/11/20/gamification/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:35:48 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=2924
This is a question I get asked all the time. Is it gamification if x,y or z.  Depending on my mood and their question, I answer a little differently at first but always end...

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This is a question I get asked all the time. Is it gamification if x,y or z.  Depending on my mood and their question, I answer a little differently at first but always end the same way. Is it taking something that is not a game and making it more game like in some way? If it is, then you could call it gamification – but you are likely to get people complain one way or the other!

As you may or may not know, I have spent a great deal of time trying to organise my thoughts on this and define gamificaiton, which is how I settled on Game Thinking. This is my umbrella term that covers everything from making interfaces look a little more “gamey”, to making full fledged games.

The reality is we will probably never totally agree all the time on this. A better questions is “Does this solve the problem”, or “Is this the best solution for the users?”. It doesn’t matter if you use gamification or games or ninja monkeys. As a gamifier, you are a problem solver. Your job is to solve an issue the client is having. The likelihood is you will favour a solution with a game like flavour – but I would think that you would not reject a solution just because it is not “proper” gamification.

Never reject an idea or a solution that may be better than yours because you don’t know how to or have the expertise to execute it. If the answer is to create a game, it doesn’t matter if you think that is true gamification – it is still the answer and you should do what you can to facilitate it!

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Do we need Gamification? http://www.gamified.uk/2014/11/17/need-gamification/ http://www.gamified.uk/2014/11/17/need-gamification/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:29:07 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=2914
As my mind relaxes from last weeks SAMR analysis for gamification article (which has been my most popular post ever I think!!), I got to thinking – do we need gamification, why does it...

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As my mind relaxes from last weeks SAMR analysis for gamification article (which has been my most popular post ever I think!!), I got to thinking – do we need gamification, why does it actually exist?

Gamification has been born out of 1 core problem, engagement. People wanted new ways to keep potential users of their content engaged over time. Now here content can be anything from website blogs, to education to jobs! It is getting harder and harder to keep peoples attention in a world where new content is being created and pumped out to the masses every second.

I found this great site – http://www.internetlivestats.com/one-second/ which actually visualises what is happening on the internet every second. It recons that there are currently about 8,000 tweets sent per second! The web shifts 24,360GB of traffic per second, Google is searched 46,368 times per second.

People are distracted to say the least, either at work, at school, during leisure time or just on the bus – it is hard to get noticed and when you get noticed, you have to stay noticed!

Gamification was born in its current state to try and help keep peoples attention focused on what you wanted them to focus on, so games or PBL systems were added to create a bit of novelty as well as a reason to keep repeating actions (such as coming back to a website, or entering more data). With these systems in place, there was more than just the core content to keep you interested.

The trouble here is, gamification isn’t addressing the core problem of engagement. It is being used to distract you away from the core problem, rather than fix it! As Frankie Boyle once said “Ooo, look at the shiny shiny…”.

At the 2012 GSummit, Dr Richard Bartle gave a presentation about a game designers view of gamification. In his conclusion he gave what I feel is the single finest line against a lot of gamification we have seen in the past.

Game designers find gamification weird

–We would be appalled if our games were so bad we had to bribe people to play them

The video below starts at the conclusion slide, you can rewind to see the rest. Actually it is an interesting talk as he is introduced as having created the Player Types that are core to all gamification design, however by the end of it he says actually – it shouldn’t be! Love it :)

As time has gone by, gamification has evolved and people are looking more at what I would call “Motivational design” or “Intrinsic motivation”. They are looking at how to redesign experiences such as education or careers to improve how they motivate people. When you look at games, you can see this in action all the time. Most don’t play the game purely for the shiny stuff, like the PS4 Achievements. You play the game because at some intrinsic level it is enjoyable and that motivates you to continue to play. It could be the story, or the nature of the action. It may be that it gives you a chance to create and explore. For some, the achievements will then motivate them to play differently (eg, exploring every corner of a game to find new achievements and trophies).

No longer are we just talking about sticking a patch on broken systems, we are speaking about redesigning them and making them more about the individuals experience. Learning at your own pace in a way that suits you. Working with a carefully constructed career path, measurable and achievable short and long term goals. Websites with points and badges… oh wait…., well not everything is perfect yet! However, even there people are looking more at user journeys and ways to create either narrative or mission structures around consuming content.

Do we need gamification? No we don’t. However, that is in the same way as we don’t really need mobile phones or cars. We could function just fine without them in the past, but now we have them they make everyday life easier. The same should be true of gamification. It should make life either easier is some way, more enjoyable or at least an improvement on what was there before. Personally I feel that striving to achieve that certainly makes it a worthwhile pursuit!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or by doing the quick poll below.

Do we need gamification?

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4 part SAMR Model to Analyse Gamification http://www.gamified.uk/2014/11/12/analysing-gamification-samr-model/ http://www.gamified.uk/2014/11/12/analysing-gamification-samr-model/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 11:33:13 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=2883
I love coming up with new models and frameworks, I find them really handy and hope that when I share them that others do as well. However, I am also a great believer in...

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I love coming up with new models and frameworks, I find them really handy and hope that when I share them that others do as well. However, I am also a great believer in not reinventing the wheel!

Recently I happened to see a comment from one of my favourite people on Twitter, Alice Keeler, that mentioned something called the SAMR model. Now, knowing that Alice is an awesome thought leader in the education space, I knew this was probably a model I wanted to look up – and I was right.

What is SAMR?

SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition. It is a model that is used in education to analyse and validate the potential of new technology in the classroom.  They idea is that you put the new technology in question, into one of these four categories.

Generally they are described like this;

  • Substitution:  The technology is a direct replacement for something, e.g. ebook readers vs textbooks.
  • Augmentation:  The technology is a replacement for something with added functionality, e.g. using voice to text or dictionary functions on an ebook reader.
  • Modification: The technology allows for a significant change, e.g. using cameras to record and reuse material from the classroom.
  • Redefinition: The technology allows for the creation of completely new ways of working that were previously not possible. e.g. the use of video conferencing to connect classrooms in different countries.

As soon as I saw this, I knew it could be used to help me solve one of the problems I have been having with gamification – analysing its potential or how it is currently being used, in a way that was simple to understand. I mentioned it to Alice, and she agreed totally and here we are now.

SAMR for Games and Gamification (Game Thinking)

First things first, this is work in progress, but we wanted to get it out and see what people thought! However, this is what we have so far. First, the definitions of SAMR in a gamification context.

  • Substitution:  Using games or gamification as a substitute for traditional methods without enhancement.
  • Augmentation: Using games or gamification as a substitute for traditional methods with added enhancements.
  • Modification: Using games or gamification to change or redesign previous methods.
  • Redefinition: Using games or gamification to radically alter methods in a way previously not possible.

Gamification uses a lot of techniques that all work in different ways depending on their context. For instance, using a leaderboard online could be seen as a simple substitution or maybe augmentation of standard practices in sales. However, if you are using the leaderboard as a global tool to enhance social discoverability – that could be modification or even redefinition. So you have to consider context at all times. Below are some examples of where some common game thinking would sit in this model, considering most common usage.

SAMR for Gamification Game Thinking

As you can see, I have also indicated whether things are likely to be transformative or just iterative. Alice gave me a few ideas of how this could look with real world examples in eduction – I added a few others as well. This should give you a better idea of how important context is when analysing your gamification initiatives.

SAMR for Gamification Examples

SAMR for Gamification Examples

This model is a really good way to look at gamification and how the methods you are using will actually impact or change what is currently being done. If you are just substituting, does that actually add anything of value to the user? If you are redefining, have you considered the impact to the user – have you built a good onboarding system for instance?

For you to play with

In honour of Alice, who is a massive advocate of the Google suite of office tools, I am including a link here to a slide deck that has these images and a couple of blank worksheets.

SAMR Model for Gamification on Google Slides

We really want you to go and have a play with this and leave some feedback. We both agree that this could be a really useful tool and want to be sure that what is here truly represents the best use. Be sure that this is just the first post about this, we will revisit soon.

Massive thanks to Alice Keeler – if you don’t follow her on twitter- sort it out!

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Randomness, Serendipity and Gamification http://www.gamified.uk/2014/11/10/randomness-serendipity-gamification/ http://www.gamified.uk/2014/11/10/randomness-serendipity-gamification/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:34:35 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=2878
Recently I have been trying to write a few games, just for fun, with my daughter. There area  couple of card games and I am trying to make a single player board game. Making...

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Recently I have been trying to write a few games, just for fun, with my daughter. There area  couple of card games and I am trying to make a single player board game.

Making a game with a 7 year old is an interesting experience. I got asked to go into her room as she had a new game she wanted to play. She had made a game board with LEGO. You had to get from one end to the other, with certain bricks having modifier effects on the game (move faster, move slower etc). She said I could go first, so I asked “how do we decide how many spaces to move?”. I expected a dice or something, but no. Her answer was “just pick a number between one and ten”!

I was baffled, but did as I was told. I chose the biggest ten, assuming she would do the same, as this was the quickest way to win. However, she chose seven – she genuinely randomly chose a number in her head!

It was at this point I began to realise just how important randomness is to enjoying games. I couldn’t just choose random numbers, it made no sense to me as I could win by just choosing the biggest or the “right number”. Of course, I let her win, but still! If you have my sort of brain, where you like logic, you analyse the situation and work out the best solution – i.e. how to get to the win state fastest. Now, if there had been a dice added, that would change the dynamic. Rather than being able to choose the best route, you would have to work out based on the random number you had been assigned by the dice.

This got me thinking about randomness in general and how it is or could be applied to normally predictable things. So I built a random story builder. It has about 15 books in it from Project Gutenberg and randomly chooses paragraphs from the books and puts them on the screen. Of course most of the outcome is rubbish, but every now and then you get a great combination of a Grimm fairy tale, Dantes Divine Comedy and Frankenstein that makes you chuckle. It has no practical use (except as a more interesting version of Lorem Ipsum), but it is a bit of random fun.

Another example of this sort of fun is Rory’s Story Cubes. These are a series of dice with icons on them. You role the dice and have to build a story using the icons to inspire you. I play this with my daughter all the time. I also use them to try and inspire new ideas when my mind is drawing a blank. The random nature of the dice means that you have to remove all of your pre programmed ideas of structure and go with the flow.

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Steve Jobs, it turns out, was a great believer in serendipity. This is the idea that random happenings can lead to great and unexpected outcomes. He built the offices at Pixar studios with central toilets, ensuring that people from all over the company would randomly run into each other. Marissa Mayer famously banned working from home, citing (among other things) that incidental meetings around the office lead to new insights that would not happen otherwise. On the site, I have a link called “Page Roulette” which will just take you to a random page. You may like it, you may not – but it is fun to find out just because it is a journey into the unknown. I love the “random article” button on Wikipedia for this exact reason!

In gamification, we are no strangers to randomness, I have spoken about random reward schedules (and their potential dangers) in the past. But this is generally relegated to just surprises than changing something that is usually totally predictable into something that isn’t.

When planning your user journey, think of ways to take people out of the predictable linear from time to time. Give Free Spirit Explorers something to look forward to! When building your systems, think how you can create moments of serendipity, where ideas and people may randomly collide to create wonderful new innovations.

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Game Mechanics in Gamification – Revisited http://www.gamified.uk/2014/11/03/game-mechanics-gamification-revisited/ http://www.gamified.uk/2014/11/03/game-mechanics-gamification-revisited/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 15:54:07 +0000 http://www.gamified.co.uk/?p=2862
Many moons ago I wrote about a massive misunderstanding in gamification around game mechanics and what they actually are. There were several lists around that said they were key game mechanics, which turned out...

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Many moons ago I wrote about a massive misunderstanding in gamification around game mechanics and what they actually are. There were several lists around that said they were key game mechanics, which turned out to be very little to do with actual mechanics. Fast forward almost 2 years and, well it is getting better, but there is still a lot of people getting it confused. That is easily done as even in game design circles there is an argument over what they truly are, but there is a general high level agreement at least. As I summarised in my post:

A distinct set of rules that dictate the outcome of interactions within the system. They have an input, a process and an output.

So if we take shooting in Space Invaders.

  • Input: User hits fire
  • Process / rules: Bullet speed, bullet vector, position of enemy
  • Output: Miss, nothing. Hit: explosion, score increase.

Some started to use the phrase Gamification mechanic, to get around this problem. Sadly this suffers the same issue. Let us look at something that is often referred to as a mechanic in gamification, Epic Meaning. Now, this is something I use in gamification all the time, creating a sense that what you are asking of the user has a purpose or meaning greater than just the activity they are being asked to do. If you consider a car, every part has to work perfectly for the car to perform, from the smallest cog onwards. If we look at the idea that a mechanic is a set of rules that take an input, do something to it and then output something, how does Epic Meaning fit in?

  • Input: Well, it doesn’t really have one. Person is in the system
  • Process / rules: creating an atmosphere or narrative around meaning. This would break down into many many different elements in the system.
  • Output: The user feels a sense of purpose and greater meaning

Ok, that was hard! The reality is, you can’t break something like Epic Meaning down like this, so it isn’t really a mechanic. It is the outcome of many different mechanics and interactions within a well designed system. Let’s look at our space invaders example a little more and see what else is going on though.

  • User hits fire”. This requires an interface initially, that takes the users inputs and interprets them. This then triggers the creation of a bullet graphic on screen.
  • Bullet speed, bullet vector, position of enemy”. The intrinsic rules of the game dictate how fast the bullet will travel, where the position of the player with determine the exact direction it will take. More intrinsic rules will tell the game where the enemies are and if they have been hit by the bullet.
  • Miss, nothing. Hit: explosion, score increase”. If the bullet misses, obviously nothing happens. If it hits an enemy (which will have several rules defining the hit area) , there will be some sort of visual feedback. If the enemy only takes one hit to kill, you get an explosion. If it takes more, you will get some sort of other feedback showing you were successful but have more to do. You will also get more feedback showing you an increase in score. If it is the last enemy, you may also move on to the next level (progression).

What would be more help in Gamification?

It may help when looking at gamification to consider the following sets of things it could be. There is cross over in some of them, so this is a general guide, obviously based on the MDA framework.

  • mda-expanded-2Mechanics: A set of rules that define what can be done in the system. These are defined by the designer.
  • Schedules: Rules that define how and when certain things happen in the system, such as how many points lead to the next level, when badges are given, needing to have x & y to get z etc.
  • Dynamics: How the mechanics and the user act together in real-time. Mostly out of the designers control and can lead to unexpected / emergent outcomes.
  • Feedback: Representation of the results from actions taken in the system. Points, badges, progress bars, messages.
  • Tokens: Virtual items. Points, rewards, collectables and even points are all tokens.
  • Interactions: Points of contact between the user and the system, such as a mouse click.
  • Aesthetics: The emotional response of the user to the system. Joy, fear, frustration etc.

Taking a common gamification example, how could these be used to describe some of what was happening in a hashtag based competition (Tweet the hashtag the most sort of thing)?

  • Mechanics: Calculation of user tweet and retweet totals.
  • Schedules: After 10 retweets of the hastag, the user gets a badge. Final win condition.
  • Dynamics: Some users may decide to spam their networks if there are not explicit rules preventing them ie. The “game” allows it.
  • Feedback: Users are sent an email to thank them. They are also given points, badges and a position on a leaderboard.
  • Tokens: The user is given redeemable points.
  • Interactions: User creates a tweet with the correct hashtag and send it.
  • Aesthetics: Some users will enjoy being on the leaderboard. Others may be frustrated by how other users decide to play.

Obviously there is a lot more going in, but you can see the basics there and why it is so hard to talk about real mechanics in gamificaiton. I have not even spoken about the fact we need to consider motivation of the user to actually do something. Many of the things that are spoken about as mechanics are really motivations or drives! Last time I wrote about this I asked the question, does it matter? Then my answer was

In the grand scheme of things, probably not. However, as I said at the start, as gamification matures so should the language used to describe it.  It is fine to steal ideas and phrases for other disciplines, but as we abuse them they begin to lose their meaning. 

I have changed my mind a little. It does matter actually. If we want people to take us seriously, we need to show we understand what we are talking about. Game designers already think we are sheep spouting psychobabble, why give them more ammunition by misusing their terminology.

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