I always like to try and simplify concepts to help me explain them to people, hence I keep creating acronym based frameworks!! (RAMP, EEEE, GAME etc.).
Well, my latest is five essential Ps that gamification projects have to have to stand a chance of any success. The scary thing is, that in many projects I have seen, at least one is always missing!
- Purpose: This covers three things in gamification. The first is many implementations lack a clear purpose. They are often the product of a conversation that starts with “I’ve heard about gamification, lets get in on that and gamify something.” The Second is the kind of purpose I speak of in my RAMP framework. A sense that what the user is involved in is worth something more than just earning points. Finally there is the fact that often many users have no idea what the system is for or why it exists!
- Progress: Without progress, there is no way of knowing that you are heading in the right direction and at the right pace. Progress involves feedback, acquisition of skills, development of skills and more.
- Proficiency: Linked strongly with progress, there needs to be some level of improvement and development in skills to keep people engaged. If the system does nothing more than ask the user to click “like” for points, it won’t take very long for them to master it!
- Pride: People need to feel proud of their achievements. If a system gives them no way to feel that, then they will quickly lose interest. Pride is not a bad thing, it is key to our self-esteem.
- People: Your potential users are people, first and foremost. Never treat them like commodities or cattle. You have to understand their wants and needs as much (if not more) than those of the system or the management who commissioned it.
If you build a system with any of these missing, you are in danger of create very shallow layers of gamification that will not hold interest for any length of time. You can also end up alienating and even angering potential users – especially if the purpose part is not completely understood by all!