User Experience, Gamification and Consistency
So, once again toilets have taught me something, this time about consistency, and I wanted to pass that on to you. It will seem really simple, but it is something that happens on a regular basis and is annoying as hell. Let me tell you a quick story.
I was at Heathrow airport, as I often am these days. One of my first activities was using the toilets. I followed the signs, turned left into the male section and thought nothing else of it. That is until I needed the loo a few minutes before boarding.
I followed the signs, turned left into the male section – only to find that in this set of toilets, left was the ladies section, not the male section as it had been in the previous toilets. You will be glad to know that I noticed before actually walking in!
So what happened? Well, there was a lack of consistency in the user experience. I had expected that left would be the male toilets, based on my previous experience. That is something that we as human beings do all the time, we base our predictions and expectations on our previous experience.
When you are designing your solution, be it gamified or not, you need to be consistent in how people experience it. If a search bar is on the top right of the first page, that is where it should stay in all subsequent pages. If a user earns 10 points for liking a page, they should always earn 10 points – unless there are clear and simple rules explaining why this might not happen.
Experiences should also be consistent between people. If one user is getting 10 points for an activity and another is only getting 5 – you better have a really good explanation!
Keep it consistent and keep it simple!
In other news, Game Thinking is getting an update soon 😉