A few weeks ago, I received an article on a new web trend called “Gamification”, and when I first heard this I was curious to what this might be. After reading the article I was a bit excited to see that the web is trying to engage their visitors in a different way.
For years we have seen websites that allow users to connect with each other, but not until recently have we seen websites trying to connect with users. In 2014, we are all so used to having technology around us, with lightning-fast access to the web for any information needed; what stops people from passing your website and moving on to the next one? Gamification is a technique used to reach your audience at a more engaging level, by allowing the user to unlock special features and/or earn points for things they have accomplished that is measured by the website.
If you are still confused I will give a great example, Candy Crush uses Gamification by having the users’ complete levels to earn points which will allow them to open more levels and keep them engaged in the game. If Candy Crush opened all levels and had unlimited points and saves from the beginning, this would be thrilling at first, but there is no target for the user to reach and eventually it would become very dull. Another real-world example would be some of the weight-loss programs, for example, where you are rewarded with new food choices based on dietary accomplishments. At the end of the day, we’re taking the same formula from video games, and applying it to business.
At Palm Beach Software Design, Inc. we’re trying to incorporate gamification into some of our applications that follow a particular workflow, for example, we’re working on a web-builder program for one of our clients, and we have come to the conclusion that no matter what we do, the new user is going to be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of features in our software…and we are afraid they will never cross the finish line and complete their website. So we will use gamification to help keep the user engaged by giving them more widgets to play with as they accomplish certain tasks. For example, we will give them a Facebook widget to display on their webpage as soon as they can tell us their Facebook landing page is setup. By giving them goals, and limited access to program features and functionality, we can insure that the user will not be overwhelmed and intimidated in the beginning. We will then keep them engaged by providing small goals to achieve, which will be rewarded with a new feature being unlocked for them.
We want to hear about your next project, and would love to help you design a strategy that will engage and delight users, whether this is for a commercial business application, or your own inhouse system. An engaged user will be more productive, and will also spread the joy of having something fun that they look forward to doing – ie. A more productive customer or employee (or both).
Crystal Darin is the Web Designer at Palm Beach Software Design, Inc.