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Continuing on from last week’s headline grabbing “The Death of Gamification” post, I want to talk about another aspect of gamification that should be kept simple.
In many cases, gamification is meant to add some kind of layer of engagement to a process and possibly even fun. What it is not meant to do is add extra effort for the end user. With that in mind, how you integrate it into your tasks or processes is critical.
If a user thinks that it is too much effort to play the game, they just won’t play. It should all be as seamless as possible.
Automate everything that can be automated. If it can’t be automated, do it in the back office without the user seeing it. In cases where the gamification layer actually needs input from the users, such as Quora or Yahoo Answers, it has to be as easy as possible and the rewards should definitely be automated!! At no point should the users feel like they have to go out of their way to be involved in the “game”. In the cases where user interaction is needed, be sure that the reward is worth it. Nothing is more likely to stop users interacting, than if they can get the same value reward by doing nothing! (Hindsight Edit – This applies to simple grinding tasks. If the user is intrinsically motivated, they will keep doing the task whatever extrinsic rewards there are.)
After all, for the most part, we are trying to make things more interesting, more engaging and more productive for everyone. If your integration makes it harder to achieve their task, it is hardly worth it.
KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!