Smart Gamification

I saw a really interesting Webinar last summer from Amy Yo Kim about Smart Gamification. It’s about taking the best of Gamification and enhancing the User Experience. Also see my blogs on Gameful Design and Life is a Game

Just recently I found a shorter presentation of the same content that she does on YouTube:

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the concept that you can apply the basic elements that make games fun and engaging to things that typically aren’t considered a game. In theory you can apply Game Design to almost anything including Education, Health, Work and more. See Gamification by Industry.
Gamification at it’s core is about fun, rewards and social connections. It has the opportunity to connect people in ways never seen before.

5 Keys to Smart Gamification

Amy talks about the 5 keys to drive user engagement

1. Know your users social style

There are 4 types och basic social style that you can divide the users in: Competitive, Cooperation, Explorer, Expression. Your users is just not one style but a combination of more than one. Get to know the user. Find out what type they are and how to design for them.

Think about the difference in games like Minecraft, Battlefield, Civilization, and World of Warcraft. What styles do they attract?

Social Style

2. Design for their life-cycle stages

Design for users who are in different levels in their experience of the system. Don’t just offer one size fits all users. The beginner must get an immediate onboarding experience that feel engaging without being overwhelming.


3. Put PERMA in activity loops

You want to put more PERMA in the activities the user do so that they feel productive. What PERMA is have I discussed before in my post. In short:

P – Positive Emotions – We all like experiencing positive emotions like joy, peace, gratitude, satisfaction, trust, pride, pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity, or love. These emotions move us along when doing other elements of PERMA.

E – Engagement (or flow) – When a situation, task, or project are in the sweet-spot of our skill and the difficulty we often experience a state of flow. We lose track of time and becomes engulfed in the activity at hand.

R – Relationships – Being social with others is at the core of being human. When having good relationships with others is we are at our best. Co-operation and friendly competition brings out the best in us. Make the user interact with others in the system or have them sharing about content in the system outside it.

M – Meaning – Meaning comes from creating a purposeful narrative about our lives. A story where we are part in something bigger than our-self. We will often sacralize something in the group that brings meaning to us.

A – Accomplishments – We often seek Mastery in some form. And completing our goals and following our core values. Or we can just good feedback and rewards from an activity we are carrying out which also give great satisfaction. Enhance the progress the user is making by giving them great feedback.

You want to integrate thees into activity loop of the current user stages.

4. Light the way to mastery with progress mechanics

It is very important the users feel productive and that they are making progress in their activities.Make the users feel like they are Kicking-Ass.

5. Motivate users with intrinsic rewards

As soon as the basic motivations are taken care of most user will be more motivated by intrinsic rewards than by extrinsic. The 3 major intrinsic motivators are:

Autonomy -> Make the users feel like they are making meaningful and interesting choices.
Mastery -> If it feels like they are getting better they will stay engaged with the system.
Purpose -> If it feels like the time using the system is well spent, it usually is.

These are discussed more in my blog and in Danel Pinks book Drive.

/Michael Sillion
Follow me at Twitter:!/LordSillion


Gameful Design

What is Gameful?

To have The Spirit of the Gamer: someone who is optimistic, curious, motivated and always up for tough challenge.

Then what is Gameful Design?

To create platforms and experiences that empower player to have the spirit of a gamer in real life

Gameful Design includes some of the aspects of PERMA.

P – Positive Emotions – experiencing joy and pleasure.
E – Engagement (or flow) – being consciously involved in our activities.
R – Relationships – having enjoyable and supportive interactions with others.
M – Meaning – creating a purposeful narrative about our lives.
A – Accomplishments – completing our goals and following our core values.

These are the same as the 4 superpowers all gamers have

Urgent Optimism – extreme self motivation – a desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle combined with the belief that we have a reasonable hope of success.

Invoke it by inventing a voluntary goal and provoke curiosity. So that we create doubt about if it can be done.

Blissful productivity The idea that playing in a game makes you happier working hard, than you would be relaxing. Essentially, we’re optimized as human beings by working hard, and doing meaningful and rewarding work.

Invoke it by giving players a concrete new ability – Something small that ads up. Make sure the player can get into flow.

Social Fabric – We like people better when we play games with people – it requires trust that people will play by the same rules, value the same goal – this enables us to create stronger social relationships as a result

Invoke it by helping players to be of service to others – and collaborate from a position of signature strength. There are 24 signature strengths that science have identified.

Epic meaning – attached to an awe-inspiring mission.

Invoke it by doing something an extreme scale and have an amazing story. The brain is basically a pattern and story recognition machine and gets of on all things with a good story. The more Epic the better.

With all this we have created Super-Empower Hopeful Individuals

For more inspiration see:
We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges: How to Re-invent Reality Without Gamification
by Jane McGonigal from GDC 2011

/Michael Sillion
Follow me at Twitter:!/LordSillion