Gamification is hot news- and getting hotter (as articles like this on the company Gigya suggest). The concept is far more complex than simply adding badges or virtual currency to a website, however. The brief tips below, from Daniel Debow of Rypple (in this article), are useful for those thinking about introducing game mechanics:
1. It’s not a panacea. As previously mentioned in this series, slapping badges, tokens and leader boards on product or site without purpose or thoughtful design won’t necessarily make for a more engaging experience. Just as IKEA optimizes each of its locations for flow, your design should have a similar direction and purpose.
2. Gamification is not a quick fix. You need to identify which behaviours you’re trying to augment, or which process you’re trying to improve, and why you’re trying to do it. It takes time to figure out. Iterate frequently, learn from your mistakes, and plan for the long term.
3. Don’t go it alone. If you want to have a big impact, this isn’t the sort of thing you can do in house or on the side. Platform providers, such as BunchBall, Badgeville or Rypple, have the long-term industry experience needed to build great games and mechanics – not you. A good gamification strategy is something you need to get right, and you don’t want to get it wrong.
Interested in finding out more about gamification? As a start, have a look at the articles mentioned by Stephanie Schwab under “More on gamification- Game mechanics and examples.” If you have an interest in the public sector the news articles “Gamification time: what if everything were just a game?,” “Gamification for the public good,” and “DotGovLabs opens to the public” describe very recent examples of game mechanics already at play in the UK government.