Gamification in Design

Today, the gaming industry in the United States and across the world is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are conferences, competitions, and communities everywhere you look. From Mario Kart to Fortnite, the global interest in games is obvious and intriguing. Given the stunning success of this hobby, how can other industries model the same? How can designers tap into the principles of gaming in their work and workplaces? Allow me to introduce you to gamification.

Gamification is defined by Oxford as “The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.” Get it? It’s taking what makes gaming fun and exciting and applying it to non-game scenarios. Buying airplane tickets, learning a language, exercising regularly – all of these are examples of tasks and habits that have been gamified by developers and designers. Think of Google Flights, Duolingo, and Strava.

In the book Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software, authors Janaki Mythily Kumar and Mario Herger explore the ways design practitioners can successfully incorporate gaming principles into their work. In it, they explain ‘Player Centered Design’, a methodology od practically implementing gamification, which involves knowing your player, identifying the mission, understanding human motivation, applying mechanics, and managing, monitoring, and measuring. They make it clear to readers that it’s easy to do this the wrong way, so gamify with care and consideration. After reading this book, you will be confident in your ability to gamify your work. I highly recommend this reading to anyone looking to increase user interest and engagement in their products. Check out Gamification at Work offered by the Interaction Design Foundation today! Let’s go!

Image Source: Allie Smith on