My 3 main focuses for rewards and feedback

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One 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 full virtual economy working with points, badges, levels, leaderboards, trading, prizes etc! They are all just there to keep the user informed.

I feel there are three important aspects that need to be considered when designing feedback and rewards for any system though. It should be – cue another mnemonic – RIM…..!

Relevant, In-Time and Meaningful

feedback and rewards

Relevant, In-Time and Meaningful

Relevant

The feedback needs to be relevant to and in context with the activity. If you are clicking a like button – is it relevant to suddenly be given a certificate by post? Would it not be more relevant to have a little “thank you” or a point added to an experience system?

In-Time

Does the feedback need to be instantaneous, or can it wait? For instance, in a game you get several types of feedback. When you miss time your jump, you die. The feedback is immediate – it has to be! If you gain experience, you often get a little notification on the screen – however, if you are in the middle of a frantic battle, is that actually of use to you. A sudden light flashing up telling you you have levelled up, may be just distracting enough to get you killed! It would surely be better to wait a moment, until the fighting has died down a little and then give the feedback. That, or wait until the level has ended and than congratulate and give the feedback.

In gamification, this could be seen as using a monthly leaderboard rather than an hourly one. If people are not going to be checking hourly, why feedback hourly? Judge the best and most impactful time to give feedback and rewards.

Meaningful

This is the most important category for me. Many systems reward everything. Clicking, registering, logging in. Soon you have awards and badges for everything you have done. They become meaningless very fast as they took nothing to achieve! Use feedback and especially rewards to celebrate and record actual achievement. Then it will have some meaning to the user. If everyone can have the “I clicked like 10 times” sticker, it means nothing. However, the “I just scored 100% on my exam” sticker is harder to get. If you then make that reward transferable to real life – so maybe that sticker gets them priority somewhere else for instance, it has true meaning to them.

Bonus round

The ever awesome Richard Wallace has suggested that personal / personalised should be a fourth key consideration. Taking a quote from his comment below (which I have included below I full, along with our twitter conversation).

personalization is more based on social (personal, peer or inspirational) relationships and/or personal preferences (information, trends, interests etc).

I agree this could really help any reward or feedback. As such and after much thought and conversation, I leave this here as a bonus for you. For me, this is all part of meaning, but I am definitely not always right, so here is the full comment and subsequent conversation. Thanks Rich.

Comment

Andrzej, I agree with the feedback you’ve suggested but I’d like to suggest one more.
Personalised – I think this differs from the above as I would define it in relation to things that relate the individual (or their role) either socially or preferentially. For example: That fellow team members (or friends) are participating the same activity, show their progress or actions etc in comparison with a desire an action to simulate similar behaviors.
I believe this differs from relevance as you’ve defined that as context with the activity, whereas I think personalization is more based on social (personal, peer or inspirational) relationships and/or personal preferences (information, trends, interests etc).
(PRIM perhaps?)

Twitter

Andrzej Marczewski (@daverage)
03/10/2014 14:47
@rich_wallace got me thinking now. Maybe personal could sit connecting relevant and meaning in the image. Mmmm.

rich_wallace (@rich_wallace)
03/10/2014 18:43
@daverage obviously in the latter trying to interpret the user experience but also for the business goals….

Andrzej Marczewski (@daverage)
03/10/2014 18:49
@rich_wallace yeah. Tough one. Still not sure of it is right to separate it from meaningful. Personal is not always practice ;-S

rich_wallace (@rich_wallace)
03/10/2014 20:05
@daverage but I think relational (social) is such a strong driver in most humans that it is almost a separate focus.


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7 Responses

  1. rich wallace rich_wallace says:

    Andrzej, I agree with the feedback you’ve suggested but I’d like to suggest one more.

    Personalised – I think this differs from the above as I would define it in relation to things that relate the individual (or their role) either socially or preferentially. For example: That fellow team members (or friends) are participating the same activity, show their progress or actions etc in comparison with a desire an action to simulate similar behaviors.

    I believe this differs from relevance as you’ve defined that as context with the activity, whereas I think personalization is more based on social (personal, peer or inspirational) relationships and/or personal preferences (information, trends, interests etc).

    (PRIM perhaps?)

    Rich.

    • Hi. I tussled with that one myself. I feel it sits under meaningful in some way (though should really expressly say that). If it is not in some way personal, then it will always lack some level of meaning!!
      Thanks as always!!

      Andrzej Marczewski
      Excuse the brevity, Sent from my phone.

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Andrzej Marczewski
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Gamification Consultant. I love to write about it, talk about it and bore people to death with it! If you really want to get to know me, check out the About page.

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