I’m Dyslexic and it isn’t a Superpower!

Byp5ttxubl0 I 8217 m Dyslexic and it isn 8217 t a Superpower

I’m dyslexic. I was diagnosed 30 or more years ago. So I say with all respect, stop calling Dyslexia a superpower. It belittles & glamourises a condition that is, to many, crippling and leads to terrible anxiety and self-esteem issues.

When I was young, I was labelled stupid by my school. In fact, my maths teacher even told my Mum – to her face – that I was dumb and should just be left to get on with it. I am very lucky my parents took me to a specialist in the early 90s to get a diagnosis to force the school to “reassess” their opinion. I was the first in my school! Read More ...

Gamification Challenge: Can You Defeat Bigotry?

As I walked through town recently, I was reminded rather forcefully that homophobia and bigotry still exist in a big way.

As my family and I were walking through a charity store, a man was loudly saying the following to his 3 or 4-year-old son.

Don’t tell me you kissed a boy. Stop kissing boys, it ain’t natural!

I am a parent to two girls, both of whom are open about the fact they don’t label themselves in any specific way when it comes to their preferences towards gender. Hearing this made them both upset and mad as hell – as it did me.

So here is my challenge to you all. How would you use gamification to try and solve this kind of bigotry, to get through to this kind of Neanderthal that it is not ok to be like that?

My way involves behaviour modification and counting lost teeth, which is just as unacceptable in this day and age!

You and I have all the theory in the world by now and have applied much of it – but in reality, this is the sort of issue we should be trying to turn our skill to in our own time. Is the answer to creating training programmes that we have to somehow encourage them to take? Is it more about changing the way the government treats this sort of behaviour? Is it a social change that will take decades, but needs the likes of us to guide and design? I think we all know the answer, but I refuse to believe that we can’t make any impact on this problem, that there is no way with all our knowledge on behaviour that we can’t somehow make a difference.

Or is that where gamification becomes a lie? Is it just about making more money for others? Has my faith over the last 10 years or so been totally misplaced?

Prove me wrong, prove that gamification is more than a way to make people take mandatory training, buy more products or click more links. Prove to me that my children don’t have to live in a world like this and that we can make a real difference.

Who’s with me?

Gamification can be so much more than points if we let it.

Just a short plea to the games based solution industry, be it gamification, serious games, VR whatever.

If you are going to use gamification as a selling point, please (please please please) don’t use a phrase like “we gamified the experience by adding points”

I was recently on a webinar where a developer was showing off an amazing VR experience, which had narratives and gameplay and was really superb. They then used the above phrase. “We gamified the experience by adding points”. Read More ...

Game Based Solutions – Focus on Outcomes not Methods

After a lovely 3-week break from writing (my longest since about 2012!!), I am back.

I will get back to the “Introduction” series next week and will hopefully compile them into a new book soon as well.

But I wanted to just share a little thought with you.

Gamification, as a term, seems to be getting less popular. Sure, it is still getting search a lot, but I am seeing fewer people using the term to sell products. It is often relegated to the second or third thing on their list if selling points, rather than the first thing as was popular a few years ago.

This is exactly what I have predicted in numerous posts and interviews over the years and fills me with happiness. Why? Because it means that gamification is no longer a trend, it is becoming part of good solution design. That said, I am a little disappointed that it has still not made it into the Oxford English Dictionary (see the header image)!

However, there is still a familiar issue, one that I have been fighting for years. The need to talk more about the method of solving problems than the objectives and outcomes of solving the problems.

This is why I often talk about Games Based Solutions rather than specifically gamification. I solve problems using solutions based on or inspired by games in one form or another. That could be gamification, serious games, simulations, game-inspired design – and so on. The specific method is much less important than the desired outcome and meeting the objectives of the desired outcome!

Don’t get bogged down in terms, let the word gamification pass into natural language and we can all just move on with our lives.

Until then, we still have to keep using it!

See you all soon 😊

The Piano Staircase isn’t Gamification – But That’s Okay!

There are many examples that get rolled out again and again when it comes to gamification. Several of them come from an experiment that Volkswagen did a few years ago called The Fun Theory. Two very popular ones where the Speed Camera Lottery and the Piano Staircase.

The idea behind the staircase was to see if people would use the stairs rather than the escalator next to it. And, unsurprisingly, the number of people using the staircase did increase. Sadly, the experiment didn’t’ last very long, so it was not possible to understand if this was just due to novelty. Also, there are no statistics on how many people’s behaviour was changed to the point they continued to take the stairs after the piano was removed.

Those shortcomings aside, it is a cool little experiment and does show how changing the environment in an intelligent way can have dramatic effects on people’s behaviour.

However, it is not gamification. What are the rules? What are the individual’s objectives and goals? Where are the progress and feedback loops? It contains nothing that we would consider to be a game element. It is just a novel change to the environment. And that is ok because it is cool and people obviously enjoyed it, but we just need to stop trying to claim it as an example of gamification!

How Could You Gamify It?

Simple, add some defined challenges and goals.

Think about Guitar Hero. This is a game because it introduces challenges. Lights flash on the screen and you have to match them on the fretboard. You speed and accuracy are measured and feedback is given straight away on the screen. The music just supports the game mechanics. It’s essentially Simon Says with rock music!

If the Staircase Piano had something similar, a set of keys light up to guide you towards playing a tune and at the top of the stairs there is an accuracy score on a monitor – bang, it is gamified (well actually sort of a serious game with purpose…)

As gamification moves forwards, we need to stop seeing interesting ideas and saying they are gamified, without justifying how and why we feel they are examples of gamification – other than “oh, they are fun and cool”!