Gamification is the incorporation of game-like features and elements into non-game environments like business and education to boost motivation and engagement. Examples of these game-like features are points, badges, and progress meters, among others. Various industries, including marketing, healthcare, fintech, and education, utilize gamification in their web and mobile applications.
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Benefits of Gamification
Games bring players thrill and excitement. What if all this enthusiasm is aimed toward business goals? Motivation can be built on rewards and feedback or healthy competition. For example, businesses can use game elements such as levels and progress bars to show employees how far they have come and how much they have accomplished. It will push them to continue.
Stress is a significant problem for all adults, and games are designed for relaxation. After each positive feedback or received badge, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction makes employees feel valuable and significantly reduces stress. A simple rule of thumb: less stress = better productivity.
Talking about in-house applications designed for training the new staff, gamification is a rather engaging instrument. This can lead to faster learning, better retention, and improved performance.
One way to use gamification for accelerated learning is by creating simulations that allow employees to practice real-world scenarios in a safe and controlled environment. These simulations can be accompanied by challenges and rewards, making sense of progress and achievement that can motivate employees to continue learning.
Another way to use gamification for accelerated learning is by incorporating quizzes and challenges into training programs. These can be used to test employees’ knowledge as well.
Predominantly, gamification aims to increase overall productivity and morale at the workplace. For average customer satisfaction, it is the instrument for better engagement. The application with gamification elements definitely stands out, bringing a sense of innovation and entertainment.
In order to provide all the outcomes mentioned above, it is necessary to follow some principle that makes gamification that efficient.
Principles of Gamification
Goals identify the purpose of the game and the core of motivation. This is the first and the most complicated stage in gamification. Goals must be clearly defined and desired for the user to achieve. What are your users interested in? What do they want to accomplish by using your application? The most prudent option is to allow users to set their own flexible goals.
Progress is a powerful motivator. People are more likely to be engaged and stay committed to a task if they feel they are making progress towards a goal, and games are based on progress and reaching new higher levels.
Continue talking about progress; the feedback on each complete step or task keeps users motivated and makes the goal seem reachable. Since it is a game, sometimes you win, and sometimes lose. In the case of failure, kind, encouraging feedback will keep the user engaged, not desperate.
The reward system is also an instrument for motivation. Even little encouragement is essential on the challenging way to the goal but does not give rewards for anything – it will underappreciate their value. Instead, identify precise requirements for receiving it and bonuses.
Besides requirements for getting an award, there should be a set of rules or instructions for going through the tasks. Without them, users get confused and leave the app. Too many rules are also wrong, so keep the amount in moderation and include only significant ones on the list.
Social media icons for sharing the website content or some milestone achievements and divisions on teams, rate lists, and leaderboards provide social interaction. Desire to stand out with your accomplishments stirs the interest even more.
Do not oblige users to use gamification features, but make them optional. For example, gamification will seem juvenile for middle-aged audiences and make the image of the app and company less confident.
All these principles can be easily implemented via basic gamification elements.
Basic Gamification Elements
The progress bar is one of the essential gamification elements that can be applicable to any step-by-step process. They are efficient motivation triggers as they use one potent psychological trick for attention focusing – The Zeigarnik effect.
People tend to remember and think more about things that still need to be finished. This way, in pursuit of completing incomplete, users will come to the tasks over and over again. Clear indication and visualization of the progress with milestones make the way to the goal less frightening for users.
For example, using the progress bar LinkedIn used to motivate new users to fill in all the required fields in their profiles.
Social media sharing
Social media icons for sharing allow users to show their activities, achievements, and experiences with their friends, followers, and contacts. This integration can increase engagement, as users can effortlessly share their app-related updates and accomplishments with their social network, creating a ripple effect that can reach a broad audience.
Frequent reminders about “missions” or gathering the points is also the gamification element. Pop-ups or emails effectively keep users on track and prevent them from forgetting about the task.
Representations of achievements may be various: from performance charts and leaderboards to badges or stickers.
Accumulating achievements and points, users reach a new level, like in a real game. Each level does not have to bring a new superpower because sometimes realizing that you have done a great job and raised high is enough to maintain interest.
The famous trick for encouraging users to put in more effort. Who doesn’t want to be rich? Even if it is a virtual world. Nevertheless, implementing virtual currency, remember that you should provide something that users can buy for it. For example, Starbucks chose stars as their virtual currency, which customers earn by purchasing a coffee for buying another coffee but for those accumulated starts.
The trigger to earn points is limited valuable resources or abilities. For example, Tinder limits the number of “super likes” available and offers additional ones to buy. Talking more generally, it might be the ability to use premium features.
Instant performance feedback
Instant feedback should follow each step – cheering up, encouragement, and advice. It should be a fun experience, not a burden.
Some of these basic elements are common for all applications, proving their efficiency. Their implementation will not overwhelm the application but will serve as entertaining add-ons.
How to Incorporate Gamification into Your Business Applications
After considering all the benefits, many companies understand the value gamification can bring and start to contemplate its implementation. Before hiring the team of developers, you should go through the first three steps.
- Identify the areas of your business where gamification can have the most impact. This could be in employee training, customer engagement, or product development, among others.
- Determine the game elements that will be most effective in driving engagement and motivation. This could include points, badges, leaderboards, challenges, and rewards, among others.
- Design your gamification strategy, including the specific game elements, rules, and rewards that will be used.
At the research and planning stages, some challenges should be addressed or at least considered.
Challenges of Gamification
Gamification may not be applicable or effective in all areas of a business. For example, some tasks or processes may not lend themselves well to gamification, or some employees or customers may poorly respond to game elements.
The type of game is also an obstacle. Playing games should be an enjoyable experience. Nobody likes to feel like they’re taking a quiz or test. The assessments incorporated into games must align with the learning objectives, as with any other eLearning program.
To encourage adult learners, more than points and stars may be needed. Tokens, badges, or in-game rewards should hold value for the learner. However, successfully navigating a sequence of work-related challenges presented in an eLearning course could be highly motivating. Real-life scenarios, situations, and challenges associated with the job are more effective than traditional quizzes and tests.
Business Cases of Successful Gamification
It’s almost impossible to believe that badges and awards can be harmoniously combined in business applications, but Monefy, Todoist, and many other examples prove that gamification elements can benefit.
Todoist is a cross-platform project management app that helps users track their productivity on smartphones, tablets, and computers. It works as an advanced to-do list, so that is the name.
Todoist includes a reminder feature. You can set reminders for your tasks to ensure you stay on your to-do list and receive notifications or alerts when assignments are due or approaching their deadlines.
Points, Levels, and Social Interactions
Users earn karma points for each completed task, providing visual feedback on their progress and consecutive days of task completion. More points – higher karma level.
Todoist doesn’t hold back when it comes to missed deadlines. It gives negative karma “rewards” as a gentle reminder to stay on track. Also, users can share their karma score with friends on social media.
Todoist wisely avoids leaderboards, as the point system may not accurately reflect comparative productivity between users due to variations in task breakdown and complexity.
Todoist allows users to customize task categories for monitoring productivity across different areas of life, such as personal, professional, or hobbies. Tasks of different types are assigned distinct colors too.
There is also the option of monthly feedback that provides valuable insights to help users maintain a balanced approach to their job or overall life by identifying areas that need more focus or effort.
Salesforce is not the most effortless customer relationship management (CRM) software available, so to ease user adoption, the Salesforce Innovation and Transformation Center (ICT) developed a gamified journey. They claim, “CRM doesn’t have to be just an administrative task, but an exciting dynamic of working with customers on a daily basis.”
The map above is the representation of progress in a storytelling style. Users are used to progress bars, and the impact of the Zeigarnik effect decreases. Therefore, it is necessary to design brand-new catchy progress visualizations to keep users engaged. Salesforce has done this task well. Although middle-aged customers consider this design childish, Salesforce reports the Total Login Percentage (TLP) growth up to 68%.
Points, Achievements, and Feedback
Each challenge is estimated with points according to how well it was done. After every completed challenge, users receive instant feedback about their performance. Based on this data, the system gives badges for the achievements.
This point referred not to the overall system of ranking users but to the types of challenges: Bronze, Silver, or Gold. The Gold Challenges are the most difficult, and only users who have been through previous, simpler ones can try.
Bounty Tasker is another to-do list app that is built as a game, not with gamification elements. It combines a motivating game like the old console one and productivity features.
As in a real game, there are characters, items, and even monsters. To defeat monsters, the user has to develop the character by increasing its level or obtaining powerful equipment. The only way to do it is to stay productive.
Levels, Progress Bars, and Instant Feedback
Each character has its level. The more tasks you complete, the more points you receive, and this way, your progress bar is filled. The higher level, the more difficult it is to fill the progress bar and reach another one.
After each completed task, the app gives immediate feedback about what a fantastic job you have done.
Once you’ve set up a reminder, save it, and you’ll get an alert as soon as it’s due.
Monefy is an application that allows its users to keep track of their finances.
All outgoings are sorted into categories, and every time the user adds new expenses, the chart changes immediately.
Monefy makes sure that you remember financial literacy and your goals. Once in a while, if the user has not opened the app for a long time, Monefy will send a pop-up.
Also, Phaser has a large community and many different available plugins. Although Phaser is used for 2D game development, you can easily involve it partially for some elements.
by Aaron Buchanan.
Pixi.js is an open source 2D WebGL rendering library. It is designed to be lightweight and easy to use, while still providing a powerful and flexible API. Pixi.js is subjectively the best JS library for 2D gamification and objectively the fastest one among its analogs. It perfectly integrates in React and Vue.js and provides a simple API for managing sprites, textures, animations, filters, which you can add on your own as well using built-in asset loader.
by Muhammed Saifudeen.
by Boris Šehovac.
Cannon.js is another physics engine but for 3D. In combination with Three.js, it provides an intuitive way to create 3D simulations and interactive animations. It supports various features, such as collision detection, friction, gravity, and damped motion. Cannon.js is also optimized for performance, making it an ideal choice for creating complex 3D simulations and immersive experiences.
Combo of Cannon.js and Three.js by Hunor Marton Borbely.
Babylon.js is a 3D web rendering engine, claimed to be the most full-fetched one among the currently existing ones. According to the latest Babylon.js 6.0 update, it has Performance Priority Modes, guaranteeing high productivity and smooth animation as efficiently as resources allow.
Talking about the advantages of Babylon.js, the feature of managing fluids as the most difficult-to-manage textures is the most impressive, and integration with Figma will ease the design implementation. Babylon.js succeeds in providing testing tools, too, with its Playground, where developers can check the changes.
by Hitesh Sahu.
PlayCanvas is the most popular game engine because of the few reasons. First, its WebGL authoring environment is packed with the latest features and an intuitive interface. Here you can create animations, gamification elements, 3D models, and a base for the Virtual Reality experience.
It also supports 2D graphics, inputs, audio, and other features. So you can build both 3D and 2D games and experiences. Zero compile time and a tiny engine footprint make the execution incredibly fast. Also, PlayCanvas guarantees a decent representation of your gamification elements on devices of any kind, even iPhone 6 and Chromebooks.
Gamification can serve as an effective tool to amplify user engagement, motivation, and learning. As technology progresses, gamification is set to become increasingly personalized and refined. Integrating gamification into their applications enables organizations to gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining users like LinkedIn, Todoist, and others have done.
Nevertheless, it’s crucial to note that gamification should not be used as a mere ploy. It must be tailored to align with the user’s objectives and offer valuable and relevant services. Gamification should serve as an add-on to the main functionality without becoming obstructive to performing.
Please bear in mind that gamification is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but when executed appropriately, it can provide significant benefits to both businesses and users. That is why contact us to develop an exceptional gamified user experience.