Ten tips to gamify anything (Part 3 of 5)

The 10 attributes of highly effective and engaging games is the focus of this blog series - a series of five blog posts exploring five sets of game attribute pairs. In sharing these 10 attributes my aim is to highlight how anyone can gamify any experience to make that experience more enjoyable and rewarding.

The first blog post in this series explored the first two attributes of high effective and engaging games - Goals and Rules. The second post explored the virtuous relationship that can be created between Risk and Reward. This third blog-post will outline the game attributes of Feedback and Social (Sharing).

Game Attribute #5: Feedback 

Feedback is an essential aspect of gamifying any experience - especially the experience of change. 

  • Feedback is used to track player progress towards the game’s ultimate goal and performs two important functions within game play:
  1. feedback help a player track progress towards the goal - where am I in relation to the the game’s ultimate goal: and
  2. feedback supports a player to assess their ‘performance’ in how well they are progressing towards achieving the ultimate goal of the game - this is especially important when the risk and reward for playing the game is high.
  • For feedback to be of value to a player (or players) during game play it must contain the following critical elements:
  1. the feedback needs to be immediate
    • We have all had feedback on our performance in completing an important task that arrived hours, days and weeks too late. 
    • For a player to improve their in-the-moment performance within game play they need to receive progress and performance feedback that is timely.
  2.  the feedback needs to be clear and easy to understand (especially in high pressure game situations).
    • In the ‘heat of game play’ receiving feedback that is not clear or quickly understood cannot be quickly applied within the game itself. 
    • As it related to receiving clear feedback, there are two additional considerations when applied to gameplay:
      • Too much feedback can be distracting and potentially overwhelming, and 
      • Too little feedback can result in a questioning how to best apply the feedback provided.
  3. the  feedback needs to be relevant to the context of game and the in-the-moment conditions of game play
    • Feedback that is not relevant to game or the games in-the-moment conditions can be even more distracting that feedback that is not clear or easily understood. 
      • For example, receiving feedback on the quality of a report delivered at work last week when trying to prepare for an important is not relevant to an individual’s immediate focus.
  4. Finally, the feedback needs to be immediately applicable
    • For a player to maximise the impact of the feedback provided the feedback must be applicable - that is, actionable, in-the-moment.
      • For example, a sprinter receiving feedback to “run faster” may be relevant (especially if they are not leading the race) but is is not applicable. However receiving feedback to release the tension in their shoulders, or lengthen their stride at that point in a race is highly applicable.

How to ...

Applying the game attribute of Feedback to the game, Creating & Taking A New Product To Market, I might:
  • use the points system I mentioned earlier to track levels of user engagement with each new prototype of the product 
  • solicit user feedback at point of interaction with each new product prototype - and at 7, 21 and 45 days after the initial interaction with the product prototype
  • track product preorders
  • track referral rates by early users of the product prototype to other potential testers of the prototype
  • I would also track the qualitative metrics focused on establishing the new product's value, viability and virtuousness to a point of elegance.

Game Attribute #6: Social 

The more a game engages the player’s friends and networks in the process of game play the more engaging it becomes and the longer a player will remain engaged.

  • Online gaming is a primary example of how the game attribute of Social - specifically Shared Game Play, can be used  in gaining player engagement and retention.
    • For example, there is a certain challenge in playing against a computer, but playing against friends brings that experience to an all new level. AND playing with friends against other groups of players takes that game experience one step further.
    • Similarly, many gamified fitness apps use the Social angle as well by encouraging the ‘player’ to invite their friends to play (tat is, get fit) with them.
  • The Social aspect of gamifying an experience acts as a way of:
    • increasing social proof that the player of the game is actuality playing the game
    • increasing social validation when others reinforce others efforts in improving a performance within or between games - another form of feedback; and
    • increasing social accountability or commitment to continue to play the game to the best of one’s ability, even if the player does not feel intrinsically motivated to do so. 
  • The social aspect of the gaming experience can become incredibly important when the game conditions become increasingly challenging and the player of the game is struggling to maintain momentum or commitment. 

How to ...

Applying the game attribute of Social (Sharing) to the game, Creating & Taking A New Product To Market, I might:
  • post daily or weekly status updates on my progress on personal or professional social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+
  • Write a longer blog post on my experiences and learning in trying to bring a new product to market and post it on my website
  • invite friends and colleagues to be early users of the product
  • invite 5 other people to a weekend jam-fest where we rapid cycle the design and user testing of the new product on a range of audiences
  • take the product prototype to a relevant industry conference and 'shop it around’

How is your game to gamify your experience of change progressing?

What feedback loops do you need to put in place in your game now to track your progress and monitor your game 'performance'? How will you ensure the feedback you put into your game is immediate, clear, relevant and applicable?

Who are your fellow players in your game of change? Do you have a cheer-squad? If so, how are you engaging them? If not, how can you engage others to support you in successfully traversing the gameplay of your game of change?

My next blog post in this series will explore the game attributes of Momentum and Challenge - sharing the importance of maintaining momentum in your game to increase the likelihood that you will 'win' your game of change, and the importance of matching the challenge of the game with your current level of skill to facilitate full engagement.

Read the next blog in this series.