Let’s start with the textbook definition: Gamification is the use of game design techniques to solve problems and encourage users to engage in the objective, tapping into the basic human behavior of competing to win and earn rewards.
Some prominent examples of gamified applications around us are: Frequent flyer programs, Flight check-in apps, Personal profile builders, Blogger sites. Not to name social networking sites, as they are games anyway While it’s theoretically possible to convert every single objective whether it be business or education or public affairs into a “game”, in the context of enterprise software it has often caught up with achieving business objectives.
Some of the key principles of gamification:
- Competition : Game definition, addressed through a business objective, e.g. Target Sales for the Time Period
- Points system : A way to quantify the performance / contribution of an individual
- Leader Board : Ranked list of earned points by individuals
- Virtual Awards : Recognition of the winners, e.g. Top Contributor, Platinum Club etc.
Now one can argue that most CRM systems address these principles in the form of sales planning, target distribution, etc. But these are hardwired into the system and often lack the ability to creatively redesign the games. Besides, there are several other business software systems that would qualify to be gamified and you wouldn’t want to hard-wire them – it’s like playing the same Level of Angry Birds every day!
Gamification platforms offer answer to the above, by separating the game content from the business content, yet offering the capabilities for a seamless integration. Just google for “Enterprise Gamification Platforms” to get to know about a few.
Now coming to UX, a simple sample below shows a Project Systems scenario to countdown to the project execution start date, following the game principle of “racing against time”.
Next time when you do UX designs, it might be worth to consider “gamifying” and bring some new perspectives to the game.