According to reward system psychology, as we play games and are rewarded, our brains release dopamine. Thus, it makes sense that you like playing games – your brain likes it.
As a result, we naturally gravitate towards games, even in the world of UX. As such, ‘gamification‘ has become a favourite tool for increasing user participation and strengthening engagement.
Gamification refers to the integration of game-like features or objectives into a digital experience that otherwise would not be classified as a game.
Khan Academy has gamified their learning experience by offering practice exercises and including a progress tracking feature. Starbucks’ app gives the user different levels of membership and rewards their user with stars. Last but not least, Pocket Points gives their users points for being off of their phones and translates these points into tangible rewards.
Though some are subtle, each of these apps has game-like features. They are driving their users to complete a specific task or lesson and motivating them accordingly (with knowledge, access, or rewards).
Now, if you are a UXer, you might already be one step ahead of me: How can we accomplish this in the world of UX?
I present to you, three easy ways you can masterfully gamify your next user experience:
1. Give Your User Something To Complete
With your gamification elements, you should be providing a simple, straightforward objective that can be easily completed. If you want to engage your user, you should be giving them something to strive towards finishing. You can implement this competitive nature in your user through modules or levels that need to be completed, to advance.
If you give your user a way to measure their success, it can also let them track their progress. Going back to our example of Starbucks, a user can monitor their level of membership. Have they purchased enough to become a “gold member”? Starbucks requires users to complete levels to reach this status.
When designing your gamification elements, channel your inner gamer. How can you best engage those playing? Voila! Gamification in a nutshell.
2. Add Rewards To Your App Or Website
As we touched upon previously, our brain releases dopamine when we receive a reward. Thus, if our goal as UXers is to best engage our users, providing rewards would be a useful addition to your gamified app or site.
On a website or an app, intangible rewards could be coins, badges, or points. Some apps, like Pocket Points, even translate these rewards into actual compensation.
Providing a reward system can be an effective way to improve your UX. If your user feels like they are being rewarded for their efforts after they complete a task, they can be more willing to dedicate more effort and time – thus, increasing their engagement with your platform.
3. Integrate (A Little) Healthy Competition
Another thing to consider when gamifying your UX is implementing some healthy competition for your users. Depending on your target user and their competitive drive, this can be a valid source of motivation.
After all, who does not love feeling like a winner? Therefore, another gamified element to add for your UX could be a leaderboard. With a leaderboard, users can monitor how they compare with others, which drives competition and results in higher user engagement.
A leaderboard, or other forms of competition, can provide your users with another way to monitor their task completion and success.
If you want to heighten user engagement, a little healthy competition can be your key to successful gamification.
Taking Your Gamification To The Next ‘Level’
If you want to ‘level up’ your gamification, you can start with focusing on your user and what would best drive them. Cheesy gaming jokes aside, your user should be at the forefront of your mind with any gamified element you add.
If your gamification elements are improving your user’s experience, you are doing your job as a UXer.
Gamification can be one way that you improve the UX you are providing. Use gamified elements effectively, and you can motivate your user to increase their engagement.
Moreover, that is one way that you can master the UX game.
(Lead image: Depositphotos)