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I 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 expression, in your system. This can come in several forms, but for our purposes I want to concentrate on two main variations of our Free Spirit.
[inlinetweet tweeter=”daverage” suffix=”#gamification”]Free Spirits want to explore your system or change it in some way [/inlinetweet]
This type is interested in finding the boundaries of their environment. In a gamified system, this will be expressed by looking for other ways to achieve things, or loopholes that allow them to access new and interesting stuff.
If you have created some sort of virtual world as part of your gamified system, they will find the cracks in it. If you have a bug that means that going to the edge of the map makes you fall to infinity – they will be the first to find it.
If you want to engage this kind of user, you have to give up a little of the control you may want over the system. Allow them to choose how they journey through it. For example, if you are creating a gamified learning experience, let them choose how they progress by giving multiple paths to mastery.
In any system, give them secret things to find as rewards for just “poking around” the system (Easter eggs).
The other major group of Free Spirits are the creators. As the name suggests, they like to be creative! Rather than just exploring the physical boundaries of your system, they like to change and modify them as a form of self expression.
Keep them engaged with simple things like being able to customise their avatars, changing the colour and layout of their home-screens. Let them build widgets that they will find of use or that allow them to broaden the boundaries of the world they see.
Allow them to create content, from virtual items to simple creative writing. It all helps them to express themselves.
If I was to give an example of a game that appeals to Free Spirits, it would have to be Minecraft. A game that contains almost no boundaries for the free spirited amongst us. Huge worlds to explore, with treasures to find at every turn – plus you get to recreate the whole world in any way you see fit!
Within a gamified system, Free Spirits may not have much obvious benefit. However, that does not mean you should not cater for them. A Free Spirit that is not engaged and possibly feels left out, can easily become a Destroyer type Disruptor, who will try to find all the bad things and the loop holes and try to exploit them – just to express themselves. Also, if you look after them, they can create great new content for you as well as generate ideas. Again, this can lead them to becoming one of the greatest assets you have when looking for an Improver type Disruptor. If nothing else, it does not take much to keep this small group of users at least content if not highly engaged!