How Can Games Grow Your Business?

Gamification in Perth

Gamification has risen to prominence in the modern digital business landscape as marketers and User Experience (UX) developers have begun to incorporate similar techniques to those used by video game designers to keep players engaged.  

The goal of UX is largely to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction through making it fun, easy and rewarding to participate.  

How Game Design Influences User Experience (UX) and grows your business

To be effective in utilising gamification to enhance your own business model, it’s critical to have a concrete understanding of how different game design features can influence the emotional relationship between a user or customer and your services or products.  

Gamification principles in business have dramatically risen and can be seen as a new paradigm in which businesses recognise and value the importance of making their user’s experience fun.   

This trend towards greater UX through gamification is estimated to continue to rise in the business landscape with the global gamification industry estimated to be worth $11.1 billion by 2020, rising from just $1.65 billion in 2015 according to a MarketsandMarkets report.

With this massive increase in the prominence of gamification, smaller and smaller businesses will begin utilising these principles in coming years rather than the major corporations who initially were using this technique.   

It’s critical your business isn’t left behind because gamification really is a game changer. (*Check out this great article by Get App Lab on gamification trends for businesses in 2018)

Your users will thoroughly enjoy their experience if you provide them with an interactive process full of fun, challenges, and competitive spirit similar to video games, so they are encouraged emotionally to keep coming back again and again.   

This is achieved through the hacking of biological reward systems which release dopamine in the brain as explained in Gamification by Kai Ashford-Hatherly, 2018.

It’s important for gamification developers and UX designers to recognise that they are not trying to fully turn their product into a game and instead simply borrow a few effective design techniques to enhance engagement levels with their users. some of these are as follows;  

Creating a Challenge  

Adding a challenging aspect to participation with your products or services will often encourage users to interact more with your applications provided they’re still simple and functional enough to not tip the emotional response balance away from positive enjoyment and into negative frustration.   

It is human nature for us to naturally be attracted to challenges and we also enjoy proving we’re able to handle or solve them.  

This is a highly effective game design technique and great tool for UX improvement. Rewards can be offered to continue to keep users motivated through more difficult or time consuming challenges.   

Think as simple as a customer striving to get 10 stamps on his coffee card to receive his next espresso free!  

People like having a clear goal to work towards and love being rewarded after this is achieved.

Competition & Prestige 

Humans are natural competitors and love to engage in competition. We see this demonstrated again and again in competitive online multiplayer games which have evolved into the multi billion dollar E-Sports industry in recent years.   

Users love to feel rewarded for their efforts and being better than other users. By creating leaderboards or giving seemingly trivial rewards to more successful users such as exclusive digital stickers or badges, businesses are able to create a level of prestige for things like frequency and quality of engagement.   

It can often be all it takes to completely infatuate users with your business’ product or service.  

Journey 

user’s journey relates to the overall narrative of their interaction with your product or brand from start to finish.   

By improving this game mechanic, UX designers strive to make this process as understandable, simple, easy and fun as possible.

This often involves a staggered release of information on how to effectively participate as the journey progresses so as to not overload users with information too early.  

A short intro to the features required to get started is all it takes to stop users from feeling too afraid they will make an error later on in the process.   

‘Scaffolding’ means to continue disclosing this information in relevant pieces progressively as users become more experienced in a given product.  

Constraints 

It’s counterintuitive to consider adding constraints to any gamified model as we incorrectly believe any restrictions will evoke a negative response in users.   

In reality, by constraining the ability for users to participate by doing things such as limiting the playing time window, creating a more exclusive, finite and fleeting user experience.   

This is why McDonalds runs their Monopoly campaign for only a few weeks each year rather than leaving it as a permanent model. 
Ultimately, the value and significance of game design principles and gamification will continue to penetrate the business world as its value in UX continues to be recognised. If you would like the opportunity to learn more about gamification and how it can improve your own business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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Kai Ashford-Hatherly

Kai Ashford-Hatherly

 Kai is a Game Designer, Game Design Lecturer at SAE, User Experience Specialist & Gamification developer.