Reading Time: 3 minutes (ish)
Hi all. Well, this is my first try at a video blog. It took far to many goes and as you can see, the version I had to go with has terrible lighting and a really bad angle. (This is due to a lack of Malteser boxes to balance the iPhone on – true story!). In this 9 minute video, I explore the role of fun in gamification – as I currently see it. Let me know if you like this format and I will see if I can do more of them in the future.
The Script. I kind of stuck to it!
Hi, and welcome to this, my first video blog. Thanks for watching and if you are a regular reader of my blog, thanks again! For the rest, the address is at the bottoms of the screen.
I thought doing a video blog could be fun, may have been wrong as this is about take 20, but still. Fun is in the eye of the beholder. Which brings me to our topic. Gamification and fun. One of the reasons I started to write about Gamification, was it sounded like it should be fun, but no one ever seemed to mention the F word, or at least very few. So, if you read my blogs you will know I mention it quite often. It wasn’t until a chat with Scott Schnaars, from Badgeville, that I questioned this approach.
First, let’s get a definition of fun. Fire up google and type; define fun. You get the following.
Noun: Enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure: “anyone who turns up can join in the fun”.
That is all very subjective. All words that have very personal meanings to each of us. What’s fun for one may be torture for another.
I have been trying to get motivated to run for ages. I have tried lots of iPhone apps to try and Gamify the process, but to no avail. Then I was told about Zombies Run. You are put into a story, where a small settlement is trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. Your job is a runner, getting supplies and the like. As you run, you collect items and get story updates by radio. From time to time you will need to outrun a zombie horde by picking up the pace. When you our are finished, the items you collect can be used to fortify our settlement. For me it is great fun and has really helped get me off the sofa.
However, generally, by its nature, Gamification tends to be involved when we are wanting to alter behaviours. This is usually for a purpose that goes against our “normal”.
Daniel Pink talks about what motivates us as human beings ,in his book, Drive. For a quick overview, check out his TED talk – The Surprising Science of Motivation. He defines three things. Autonomy, mastery and purpose. When you are forced to do something, you are breaking the autonomy part of this. You can’t force people to have fun.
For example, many companies have mandatory computer based training. What can happen is that someone is told they have to make the training more engaging. They decide that this must mean make it more game like. The trouble is, they are not game designers. What you end up with is often a patronising mess, with cute graphics and meaningless events. What should have been a 15 minute video and quiz takes half an hour and the end user has really gained nothing.
So, should those involved in Gamification ignore fun. If we can’t please everyone, should we bother at all? Of course we should. There is nothing wrong with trying to make things more enjoyable. If all manage is to raise a smile, you have improved the user experience. The trick is to not just add things for the sake of it. Focus on mastery and purpose. Make them feel like they have achieved something. Test. Test on real users, introspection is fine, but you must try your “game” with the people it is aimed for. As I say, what you find fun, others may find patronising.