In the past decade, design has shifted towards a more user-centered approach that helps create products and services that respond to users' needs.
Following the user-centered method, designers constantly search for new ways of improving the user experience that depends on various aspects.
One of the most underrated aspects of this approach is emotions and how designers can use basic skills to influence people's feelings.
People in the 21st century have high standards for the products they use. Not only should the product solve the problem they're having or help complete the task they have, but it should also be simple, easy, and enjoyable to use.
But how do you make a product or service more fun and enjoyable to use? This is why the gamification technique was created. Let's figure out what gamification is, how it applies to design, and how designers like you and me can use it to make our products and services more enjoyable to use.
What is gamification?
Gamification is a technique designers use to incorporate gameplay elements into non-gaming settings to increase user engagement with a product or service.
Designers tap into users' intrinsic motivations by incorporating fun features such as leaderboards and badges into an existing system, causing them to enjoy using it more.
The term "gamification" in the context of design is easily confused with game design.
Even though these terms sound similar, they are hardly related.
In the tech world, "gamification" refers to the process of incorporating game mechanics into non-game environments such as websites and mobile apps.
Types of game mechanics
Gamification is a complex design technique that necessitates various game mechanics referring to interactive UI elements.
The main task for designers who use gamification is not to completely transform the product into a game.
As a result, practical game mechanics that are commonly used in design have been identified. Let's take a look at what they are.
Human nature compels us to accept challenges and demonstrate our ability to handle them.
As a result, a challenge is thought to be one of the most compelling game elements motivating people to take action, and it can be a great tool on the way to UX improvement.
It may be good to use some kind of reward to enhance the challenge effect so that users feel even more motivated.
Many games employ a point method to determine the success of their players.
The gamified product can use the same approach that benefits both users and stakeholders: the first can see their accomplishments. In contrast, the others can measure user engagement with the website or application.
Users can be awarded badges after completing the challenge or accumulating a certain amount of points.
People are familiar with this type of virtual reward because it is commonly used in video games. Stickers have also been popular among people long ago, so this reward will be well received.
Furthermore, because badges and stickers can be designed in various ways, they allow for a lot of creative experimentation. Such bonuses can serve as additional motivators.
The competition is what makes the challenge even more appealing to people.
Few things can motivate users more than the desire to be the leader.
The list of "players" ranked in the order "Who has the most badges" can pique user's interest.
However, in some cases, it may have the opposite effect of demotivating people due to the high ranks of others. As a result, this game element should be used with caution.
This game mechanic seeks to make the interaction with the product as simple as possible.
The user should feel like a real player as they embark on their personal journey of product usage.
Let's take an onboarding page where the user begins his journey. An introduction to the features can be provided so that users are not afraid to make mistakes.
When the journey continues, it is advised to use the "scaffolding" method. It refers to gradually revealing features as users gain experience with the product.
This approach helps people avoid mistakes and makes the product more appealing to use. In addition, the journey component can be supplemented with the progress feature.
Designers can encourage users to continue their journey by providing information about their journey's progress.
Many of us may think it's not funny at all, but there is a game element that limits players' time.
For example, in games, tasks must frequently be completed in a limited amount of time, or players lose.
The same method can be used to create a gamified product. Users may be invited to do something only available today.
Constraints cause people to react faster and, in some ways, motivate them to act right now.
We discussed some common examples of game elements in the design, but there is still room for innovative game mechanics that can be used in UX design.
The most important thing to remember is that the product should not become too playful if it does not follow the overall aesthetic strategy and brand identity.
The role of gamification in UX design
Gamification is now widely used in design because it is thought to help solve many UX problems.
The proper use of gamification and well-chosen gameplay elements can become a valuable tool for UX designers on their way to increasing user engagement and conversion rates. So, how exactly does it work?
First of all, gamification adds a fun element to websites and applications. People enjoy the interactive process similar to video games in terms of fun, challenges, and competitive spirit, and they are encouraged to return.
Furthermore, game mechanics are solid motivators for users. The tasks are assigned by the game elements, and those who complete them are rewarded.
Curiosity and excitement motivate people to complete more tasks and spend more time on the app or website.
Moreover, gamification is now perceived as one of the most fundamental design approaches. Many designers have caught on to the hype and are actively using this method in numerous projects.
As a result, many users may have already interacted with gamified products, implying that they expect the same from yours.
To summarize, gamification is a relatively new technique that actively proves its viability as a practical design method.
Nonetheless, its popularity is rapidly increasing, and it has a good chance of becoming the dominant approach in a short period.
Do you want to know how to apply gamification in UX design? Share this post on Twitter and tag @dovhyi, so I know this is something you're interested in.