Gamification User Experience (UX) topic overview/definition

Gamification: Concept Definition

Gamification is the process of applying typical elements of gameplay to non-gaming contexts. It is typically implemented by designers to increase user engagement with a product or service. Gaming elements such as rewards and competition have the ability to drive—and even change—user behavior, which is useful for contexts that support learning, productivity, and health and safety.

Gamification takes the virtual goal of achievement in a traditional game (e.g., slaying the dragon, saving the princess, or escaping from the island) and makes it a goal in real life. This can be anything from taking out the garbage more often, to eating an apple a day, to closing more business deals. Rewards and competition are often utilized to motivate users to reach those goals. For example, gamified websites or applications often feature locked badges as rewards, and ranking boards to introduce a competitive element.

In order for gamification to work optimally, sufficient intrinsic motivation and challenge must feature in the task(s). Otherwise, the gaming elements might not be enough to effect change in the user’s behavior. In such an event, the designer/s concerned might then need to increase the difficulty via additional rules so as to achieve the level and type of challenge suited to the user’s ability.

Successful gamification of non-gaming contexts also requires a seamless integration of gaming elements into the daily activities of users. Without this seamless integration, engaging in the gameplay becomes a conscious activity—one users will find difficult to incorporate into their daily workflows. Consider the ease of use and lack of conscious direction needed with wearable devices such as step-tracking watches. The lack of seamless integration can make use a chore, thus preventing users from engaging with the product or service long-term, which is needed in order for gamification to change behavior sustainably.

For your convenience, we’ve collected all UX literature that deals with Gamification. Here’s the full list: