Trust the process
The development of information technology has made gamification a popular method of enriching the user experience and increase of user engagement. Research confirm that gamification has a promising future, but research has also estimated that most gamification solutions will fail due to poor understanding of gamification design and how gamification should be implemented.
Insert Coin’s approach is via scientific research and the work method is based on deep interviews with gamification experts, internally and externally. The results are that the method is comprehensive, complete and provides relevance for our clients.
The goal of gamification is to increase the user’s positive motivation to take action and engage with the online or offline activities or use of technology. But most of gamification solutions are poorly designed, relating to lack of understanding. The gap between a modest designed gamification solution and a scientifically researched gamification design is often too simple game mechanics.
Gamification design is a demanding challenge when it comes to understand the target group and the journey paths of users. Games are complex, multi-faceted and hard to transfer into other environments, and are as well a motivational system design which adds a psychological approach to user behaviors.
To provide methodological frameworks to the gamification design is crucial to be successful. An isolated gamification designing framework based on design science by researchers (Benedikt Morschheuser, Karl Werder, Johu Hamari, Julian Abe) in combination with deep interviews of experts on theiractual practice, has been developed by method engineering to set gamification requirements.
Summarized has been done related to user analysis and that different activities are needed to describe and cluster user groups e.g. creating personas or categorizing the users with behavior types. In addition to a demographic characterization of target groups the identification of motivational factors is needed, and user goals be highlighted. The use of personas is needed as well as the use of segmentation framework.
The context analysis is often underestimated related to studies, especially in the organizational context to understand the business process, the corporate culture and technological constraints. User analysis is core requirements for successful design of gamification solutions. Definition of success metrics is an important step of context analysis as well.
Identification of user needs, motivations and behaviour in the current system should be defined and categorized. User information is segmented into personas to provide detailed guidelines and support the activates.
Next step in the method is to develop the gamification design. The best practice is when the creation of engaging challenges by user patterns is taken from the core game. Taking the use of game-design patterns and mechanics and combine these elements increase the engaging challenges and motivate the goal-directed behaviours. These methods emphasize the selection of elements which connects with the identified user behaviours.
The mapping of gamification mechanics to user needs and designs needs to be tested and optimized until they reach the level of efficiency and defined goals. The gamification design needs to be conceptualized to as an outcome in this phase. At the end of the journey a transition is performed where the gamification design requires extraordinary skills as human motivation-, game design-, business processes- and technology design skills.
The purpose of implementation is to develop a pilot, which can be used forevolution and gamification design. Implementation is a continuation of the prototyping phase and is an iterative procedure of the development cycle. Continued user testing after each step of the process to optimize the design mechanics. Studies confirm that involving gamification experts is recommended to succeed in a gamification project either if it is a gamification platform or within your own team when it comes to the development process. The developers in the implementation project should have experience of gamification development towards the event-driven architecture of a gamification system.
The purpose of this phase is to investigate if the gamification solution meets the defined objectives. This includes quantitative and qualitative process steps as interviews, surveys, impact studies, A/B-testing and with observations of users while undertaking different actions which is more effective than other process steps. It is important to take a lean manner when it comes to evaluation because there is often no budget allocated for this phase. In this phase only the pilot is launched.
Insert Coin has implemented a launch and post-launch monitoring approach with semi-structured interviews, where each interview contains both, a survey to evaluate model in general, as well as evaluate specific parts of the gamification solution. Gamification is a creative and iterative design process and this technique and framework shall support the gamification method. The user journey
should be integrated in order to invite the gamification design to address the long-term engagement.
Summary – Requirements for gamification projects:
Analyze the user needs, motivation, behaviour and characteristics of the context.
Identify and define clear objectives.
Early stage testing of gamification design ideas.
Adopt an iterative design process.
Implement gamification skills into the game-design and human phycology.
Define that gamification is the right chose to achieve the overall objectives defined.
Implement Stakeholders acceptance to support the gamification project.
Implement 100% focus on the user needs during the ideation phase.
Define the user metrics for the evaluation and monitoring phase for success.
Implement a control system for cheating/gaming the system.
Optimize the gamification system by monitoring management.
Involve the real users in the ideation and design phase.
How to design gamification? A method for engineering gamified
Source: Benedikt Morschheuser, Karl Werder, Johu Hamari, Julian Abe (2017).