Gamification is becoming more and more prevalent in the software industry. Many businesses are integrating game mechanics into their customer loyalty programs, websites, and other digital products to drive engagement and increase the adoption of various features. However, while gamification has become commonplace as a trend, it’s not that easy to implement correctly. Many organizations make mistakes when incorporating gaming elements into their products. Let’s take a look at some common pitfalls and how you can avoid them when implementing gamification strategies in your own organization.
A while back I started talking about FUN again. In that post I mentioned the RAMP to Fun, but never actually posted it! So here it is in full PowerPoint diagram glory 😀
This is obviously based on my RAMP, but also on some research I did a long time ago on what people find fun.
The idea is that you need to include elements, mechanics and concepts that people will find fun – even if these do not look fun to you on the surface. As they all hook into core intrinsic motivators – some will find them fun! The more you can link together and embed – in a way that is sympathetic and sensible to the design, the better.
I wanted to ask you guys what you feel your biggest challenge in gamification is? For me, it is getting folks to take gamification as an industry seriously. There are many reasons for this, a lot of which we dive into in the latest Andrzej & Roman Show (Yeah shameless plug)!
Whatever the reason for this may be, it is imperative that you overcome it quickly. I’ve told this story many times, but it is worth repeating. I once sat in a meeting where less than 5 minutes into the presentation, the client just stopped me and said “I hate everything you have said so far. We don’t play games, we are too busy”
Continuing on from Part 1, as is the tradition, where we looked at how they manage your expectations right up to learning how to play, now we are now going to look at how games manage expectations during gameplay. If you have not read Part 1 – head there now! Learning from Games: Managing Expectations – Part 1
Difficulty – Setting the Skill Expectations
Many games, before or during play, allow you to change the difficulty settings. I remember Doom doing this particularly well, using rather grim terminology to set the scene for what to expect! Where Doom chose negative language, making you feel like you are probably going to get destroyed in moments – Duke Nuk’em went for slightly more bravado filled options. “I’m too young to die” became “Piece of Cake” for instance!
With that out of the way, here’s the thing. If you look at Flow or my Engagement Channel stuff, you will see that to enter flow and be truly engaged, the challenge of whatever you are doing should match or slightly exceed your current skill level.
As with my Engagement Channel model, you can soften the impact of a challenge being too much by adding meaningful rewards and you can soften the impact of your skills being greater than the challenge, by adding personal challenges.
However, in games I am seeing more and more games that drop you straight into a scenario where the challenge instantly far outweighs your skills. By all our models, this should lead to instant frustration and most likely disengagement – but it doesn’t always. For some reason, there are some games that I play, that no matter how tough they are and how far off my skills are from the challenge – I keep coming back over and over again. Why? Because they are fun to play!
Does this mean there is another dimension to the Engagement Channel or the our view on Flow?
If we look at BJ Fogg’s famous Behaviour Change Model, we can see that there are three main dimensions in his B=MAP formula. Behaviour = Motivation x Ability x Prompts.
Basically for a behaviour to happen, motivation, ability and prompts all need to align. If a task is hard, but you have high motivation to do it – the right prompt will start to encourage the behaviour. If the task is easy, your motivation can be lower with the correct prompt. A third factor can influence the outcome without anything else changing.
So, how can I steal this idea and start to add a new dimension to my Engagement Channel Model. Well, I’m glad you didn’t ask!
The Engagement Channel Model 2.0
To simplify the original concept, what I am now proposing is that fun can act as a buffer between engagement, frustration and boredom, essentially widening the Engagement Channel.
Now, I am not trying to tell you what your users may find fun, what I am saying is the older I get, the more I realise that fun makes a huge difference to your motivation to do things, even if they are really hard or if they are slightly boring. Adding that element of fun can make all the difference.