I recently wrote two blog post about gamification design theory. One about why good gamification design is complex, the other about clarifying this complexity through my Strategic Gamification Framework. These posts discuss the ‘Why’ and ‘How’, let’s now talk about the ‘Where’.
Good gamification is in it essence sustainable gamification. Solutions in which the user, the technology, but also the business work together. Let me explain these one by one.
As already mentioned before, I strongly believe that a good gamification process should be designed around the end user. Every decisions made during this process should be in favor of this end-user. This is the only way to create a successful gamification project on the long-term.
Besides the user, technology is also a crucial part in a successful gamification project. It might seem trivial to name technology as one of the key success factors, but it isn’t. Research done by Marigo Raftopoulos shows that technology is often the weakest link in gamification projects. Users are very critical these days, saying technology should just work and should therefore be invisible. Although most time is invested in the development of technology, often it is just not good enough.
The last aspect of sustainable gamification is business (goals). Long-term sustainable solutions can only be achieved when backed up by a business or organization. You need people to manage the gamification solution, to make sure new features are being build, that the solution is evolving. Business should manage the economy around such a solution.
How these aspects should work together
Discussing these three aspects is nothing new. We heard about user-centric design before, we all know the technology should work and we need business to start these processes.
But what we don’t realise that well, is that these aspects should work together. Let’s take a look what this means.
If you look at the diagram you see that interaction is the combination of user and technology. The user interacts with the technology. Technology that in its turn is developed by the business. Although the interaction and development can be improved a lot, there is one collaboration between two aspects which is too often overlooked.
Visions should be aligned
Gamification projects tend to start with what behaviour we, as a business, want to see with our target group. That is a good start in itself, but is only going to work on the long-term if the business goals is somewhat the same as what the user want. You simply cannot let users do things (on the long-term) they don’t want to do or don’t believe in.
Therefore it is important to align the vision of your business with the vision of your users. The user should believe that you, as a business, are doing things in the best interest for this user. It’s is the only way to create a long-term relationship with the users of your product.
And this concept of aligning business and users visions ties into marketing, brand identity and loyalty. It is about the quality and service you believe you are going to get from a business.
Collaboration between client and designer
Creating sustainable gamification solutions is besides the collaboration between User motivation, Technology and Business Goals also a collaboration between client and designer. Clients must realise that successful solutions can only be created through certain business goals. This might often require rethinking business ideas. And designers should realise that crafting beautiful experiences is only part of the job. The other part being sitting down with clients, talking about their business goals and aligning these with the to be designed user behaviours.
There is one company (one of my clients) which I think is doing very well on the collaboration between user, technology and business. The company is called WOO Sports and they deliver the WOO, a performance kiteboarding sensor and app. Click here to know more about my part in this project.