Jan Bidner

Who is Jan?

I am a user fanatic. 

From my point of view, it’s all about the user! For me, when it comes to digitally transform our lives – and the world we live in – into something better, it all comes down to us humans and our behaviour and needs.

Regardless of the business or service in question, there are users with needs to fulfill and who behave in a particular way because of it. For the desired effect to occur in the aforementioned business or service the user must be able to understand, have the ability to perform and also the desire and need to do whatever it is that we expect of her. Without active users, there will be no effects and the system is broken.

To me, gamification is about business development, change management, UX and game design working together in a fruitful alliance.

What is your background?

I have studied media and communication, gender studies, literature, and creative writing. I also have a master’s degree in systems science (Informatics) with a special focus on HCI and usability or UX as we call it today. I have worked with design and system development in the IT industry for roughly sixteen years. I started my career shortly after the ‘IT bubble’ burst.

Gamification, what is that?

The definition as I see it is: To use game design principles in non-gaming contexts to motivate and engage the user. And to focus on the design process with different user behavior and human motivations in mind.


Where can gamification be applied?

In all contexts where there is a clear conversion and prospective behavior change. I am thinking foremost in the fields of learning and development, online shopping, loyalty programs, sales, onboarding, rehab, specific social contexts, and savings. When I think about it I can’t really see any limitations at all. The most important factor, I would say, is that you always have to have the user perspective as the main focal point. To get the user to buy, buy, buy can’t – or shouldn’t – be the central goal for a business or a service. This should instead be the effect of creating a great user experience that meets the needs and demands of the user.
Take e-commerce, for example, to only give rewards for completed purchases can easily be cynical and off-putting, not to mention boring.
From the user perspective, it might be more about lifestyle choices, exploring, good deals and to learn more about the products. And eventually to learn more about oneself.
The purchase itself is the least engaging thing for me, but it should, of course, be rewarded. There’s no question about that. But maybe it shouldn’t be a prompted mission…

How do you see the role of UX in gamification?

There are many factors that overlap here. Because design thinking also is about behavior patterns and strategies. The big difference here, I would say, is that gamification takes the more irrational nature of us humans into account. This to a greater extent. While UX is more about optimizing the user experience and to remove all the pain-points for the user it is quite reverse when it comes to gamification. Here it’s more about putting up thresholds for the user to create a little bit of conflict, friction, and challenge.
With this said the question about design and user experience is key here. And that you have a long-term strategy both from a business perspective and from a user perspective. This is what good UX is really about.