Mar 6, 2012
Gamification and User Experience
Games are much more than mindless fun these days. The word on the streets is gamification. You've probable heard of it, but don't really know what it is. Gamification is the use of game design mechanics in non-game applications and processes to engage audiences, which is one of this year's most important web trends, enhancing the user's experience and solving problems. In its talk "Gamification - The New Loyalty " at the 2011 Copenhagen Social Media Conference, Gabe Zichermann (author of the book Gamification by Design, Amazon), explains what gamification is and how it works, check it out: http://vimeo.com/25714530 Gaming elements can be applied to solve problems in numerous fields of life. We suggest you to take a look at this TED talk by Jane McGonigal called "Gaming can make a better world" to get a better idea of what can be achieved through gamification. There is a wide range of gamification techniques, from small games to leaderboards, but maybe the most common and popular of them in websites is the use of profile badges, as made popular by sites like Foursquare. These are small graphics that are given to the user when he or she completes certain tasks. Badges had proven to work for certain sites, but many people dismiss badges, saying that users are so inundated with them that they're losing their charm. The thing is that recognition of different game mechanics is key when deciding which gaming techniques would work better for a certain website or bussiness.Like it or not, gamification is here to stay. Gamification techniques are still in development and there's a lot of room to work. But it's also an exciting tool and we'd love to see what the future is holding for us in this area. For now, we've selected some fantastic websites for you that use gamification to engage their users. Oh! And by the way, you've just earned +1000 points of awesomeness for reading this post!