“Our site is gamified we have leader boards, points, rewards, and badges.”
Not necessarily! Gamification is more about the game design than including certain tools in your application. I am reminded of a bank that asked me to review their website for use of Social Media. At first glace the site looked like it was optimized for Social. I saw the props of note-- like a rating system (stars) to register readers reviews of posts. However, there was no way of eliminating duplicate ratings by users or being able to track who reviewed what content. In short this was a façade and nothing more.
If you are going to gamify make sure you know why you are gamifying and what you want from the players in the game. That will give you your measurement guides. But more importantly it will determine when you are engaging them and what training, support, rewards, and end goals they must meet. In other words, if you want to gamify then design a game not just use game elements for use sake.
Look at the totality of your players. If you review who your players are their needs or skills may reveal distinct groups for game purposes. Those needs may translate (for the purpose of the end goal not the game) into different roles, tasks, or tracks critical to game design. Perhaps certain users’ needs are so diverse that separate games are the best solution.
Do you want the game to be intrinsically or extrinsically motivating? Do you want to give certain users an advantage? Are you creating a complex behavior change? Complex behavior changes may require multi-level gaming or separate games which may lend itself to a road-map for retiring / launching games.
Games may stop working because users get tired of the game or they lose interest. This bears further investigation into reasons for the loss of interest--are rewards backfiring. Identify when a game is no longer viable and don’t be afraid to retire or replace it.
The tools of gamification while eye-catching must have integration and purpose. Purpose must communicate meaningful information to the players and administrators.
Remember--too many tools can confuse players. Confused player mean poor game design (unless you’re going for confusion and disorientation--in which case, please stay tuned for my blog on ethics of gaming).
When in doubt Keep It Simple! Happy gaming!
Noreen Poli is product manager and consultant at Ready, Set, Go Social! Her projects range from award winning methodologies to end-to-end mobile gamified applications. Her background in product management is enhanced by experience in user research, analytics, human behavior, and social giving her a unique skill-set custom made for this era of realtime analytics and personalized products.