Achieving Better Engagement Through UX – The Secret to Gamification
Gamification has become a popular tactic in web design since it first burst onto the digital scene over 10 years ago. It’s everywhere you look, both on- and off-screen, and nobody is denying that it can do wonders for conversions – but what about the wider impact of gamification on business and technology? What Is Gamification? First of all, let’s take a look at what gamification actually is. Gamification is where you take something that already exists, such as a website, and add game mechanics to make it more engaging. Game mechanics are simply techniques used by game designers to engage players – in gamification, you take these methods and apply them to things that aren’t games. Why? Because this way, you can increase engagement, motivation, and even loyalty. Think about achievement badges, loyalty rewards, leaderboards, and progress bars; these are all examples of gamification. There are two types of gamification: structural gamification, and content gamification. Structural gamification is where you introduce game elements to the structure of your website. This could be in the form of a progress bar, collecting badges, or creating leaderboards. Here, you can see a great example of structural gamification from the learning site Memrise. Users can see how many points they’ve scored, what level of learning they’re at, view learning streaks, and track how many new words they’ve learned. Content gamification is where you apply game mechanics directly to your site’s content. The trick to this is simply using gamification to enhance the content – for example, you can employ storytelling, characters, and challenges to make the content more engaging. A company that’s well-known for its use of content gamification is Compare the Market, which created a series of meerkat characters to enhance its website and encourage interaction with its product – these characters now lie at the very heart of the brand. It’s important to note that you’re not actually turning your website into a game itself. You’re just adding game-like elements for your users to interact with. Gamification: Hiding In Plain Sight The word gamification was first coined by Nick Pelling back in 2003, but it actually began centuries before, back in the 1800s. Despite its popularity in the digital world, the term was in use even before screens ever existed! Historically, gamification has been used by businesses aiming to reward loyal customers, workplaces trying to engage their employees, and educators finding new ways to teach students. Gamification surrounds us in our everyday lives, from frequent flyer programs to customer loyalty cards promising free coffee. We all fall under the spell of gamification without ever knowing its name. Supermarkets make use of gamification to huge effect – nearly everyone has some kind of points card that they scan every time they go shopping. The points add up to discounts on products, fuel, and can even pay for air miles. This rewards customers for their loyalty and, even more importantly, keeps them coming back time and time again. One of the reasons this method is so effective is that people love competition, and to be rewarded for things – as long as they don’t have to put in too much effort. It’s this love of winning and succeeding that makes gamification so successful when it comes to conversions, both online and offline. Online ecommerce giant Amazon makes full use of this fact to turn customer reviews into a rewarding and competitive activity – locking in engagement from users and promoting product quality control in one move. Frequent and well-rated reviewers can become a “Top Reviewer” and even make it into the “Hall of…
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