The gaming industry is now the largest tech marketplace on the planet, projected to generate revenues of around $140 bn in 2018 and continuing to grow exponentially despite a decade of massive uplift. The implications of this significant cultural shift have not been lost on web developers and site owners. The widespread interest and enthusiasm for online and other forms of gaming naturally opens up opportunities for sites that don’t offer gaming specifically to benefit from some of the techniques and features that gaming has developed to satisfy the demand and needs of users.
This process is known as gamification and it has the potential to revolutionise and energise online user experience in all sectors.
Gamification does not mean making your site into a game, or even necessarily introducing gaming elements into your site interface (though this might appear to be the result). What the term really means is that you adopt some of the principles of game development and interfaces and use them in the functioning of your commercial or general website. What this might look like in practice will depend very much upon the nature of your site and business; but here are some ideas.
Increasing User Engagement
The objective of using games devices and strategies is to get users to exhibit and adopt behaviours that you want them to have. There are two ways you can do this – by making the process of transition fun or by rewarding users for the behaviours you desire (or both!). This could be something as simple as praise or nominal points in some form of rewards scheme. Or it could be the satisfaction of completing a small game (like the jumping dinosaur in the Google waiting screen). The point being that it keeps the user engaged and on your site and gives them a feeling of achievement or value.
The two most powerful principles of gamification that site owners can capitalise on are probably making things fun and social sharing. Users tend to notice less the amount of time or visits they are making to a site if they are engaged and entertained when they are there and, if there is some form of continuity in the gamification aspect, they might well feel encouraged to return and continue with their experience .Devices such as leader boards and progress checks can be useful in this respect; don’t underestimate the power of users seeing their names in lights or measuring themselves against others or their own previous performance! Importantly, they can also feel inclined to share their experience and efforts with other users so it is always useful to consider providing means of facilitating this. It can lead to significant additional exposure and profile at little or no cost to you.
Gamification certainly has a role in modern UX design in terms of engaging and holding users’ attention and making their experience pleasurable and one they wish to repeat. If you would like to learn more about this important development ring us on +44(0)800 0246247 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an exploratory chat on how you might take advantage of the principles and techniques it employs.