Tag Archives: gamification

gamification in UX design

Gamification Mechanics in UX: Smart User Journey.

From the very childhood people start playing games and they never really stop. Game spirit follows us in every sphere of our life revealing its facets such as challenges, achievements, or rewards from time to time. Trying to transfer game features into everyday life is a habit helping people to deal with complicated situations. Such a tendency could possibly cause the appearance of the gamification concept.

 

The word “gamification” stands for the technique of exerting game mechanics into the non-game environment. Designers often use gamification to create effective digital products and secure high level of user engagement. In one of our previous articles, we’ve mentioned common game mechanics such as challenges, points, badges, leaderboards, and journey. Each gamification element serves for certain goals and has a different influence on users. Today’s article is devoted to one of the most commonly used game mechanics called user journey. We’ll define its essence and find out how it works for UX improvements.

 

badges illustration tubik studio

PukaPal Badges

 

What’s user journey?

 

To make pleasing UX design, it’s vital to think out all the stages of user interactions. The thing is that one person may use a product for accomplishing different goals each day, even more, they apprehend the product differently every time. Designers and researchers noticed that experience and user interactions gradually evolve as people gain more skills in using the product. Such characteristics make it similar to a journey which players go through in games.

 

Considering this fact, designers come up with the idea of applying a game mechanic called user (player) journey in digital products. User journey can be defined as user’s progression stages over the time of product usage. Designers create UX that way so that people could go step-by-step through the various features and interactions which gradually change depending on users needs.

 

mobile app design tubik studio

Moneywise App

 

Let’s look at the example. A standard video game always has different levels from the easiest to the most complicated one. This way a player can adapt and easily comprehend how the game works on the easy levels and then constantly learn and make a progress. By the end of the game, a player is usually a skilled competitor who can deal with more complex tasks. If people receive difficult tasks at the beginning, they aren’t able to handle them. Or in case a game only consists of easy challenges, players will soon be bored.

 

The same works with digital goods. A product which has a simple system of interactions often attracts users with its convenience. However, if people use it for a long time and there are no changes at all, they may get bored. In case a product has an enormous amount of features at the start, they may just get lost within it. To avoid such problems, designers need to think of UX as a user journey, guiding them step-by-step to the point of achievement.

 

Stages of a user journey

 

User journey is a game mechanic which aims at making the process of interaction with a product easier and more understandable. A user feels as a real player starting the personal journey of the product usage. Designers plan different stages which a player (user) will gradually go through. Let’s look at the common steps which a user journey includes.

 

Onboarding stage

 

People who only start their journey within a product need to be actually onboarded. It means that users should be offered an introduction to the features so that they wouldn’t be afraid to make a mistake. Also, it is good to present a navigation system if it has some peculiarities.

 

Designers use onboarding tutorials in various digital products. Tutorials appear to users who launch an app or a web product for the first time helping them get oriented within unfamiliar features and controls. One more task designers need to accomplish at the stage of onboarding is user motivation. The product should be presented that way so that people had a motivation to use it more than once. That’s why onboarding tutorials need to contain short but clear info describing the possibilities of a product helping users to understand if a product can be useful for them.

 

tubik_toonie_help_screens_interaction

Toonie Alarm

 

Scaffolding stage

 

When users continue their journey, they go to the next stage of interactions called scaffolding. The step includes disclosing features progressively as the users become more experienced in using the product. Unlike the onboarding stage, users don’t get long instruction. Scaffolding is more like practical part. Users are trained to use a product proficiently, and the more they learn, the more tools (features) they receive. This stage allows users gradually learn more about a product and receive more features as far as they need to use them. Users don’t get a great number of features at once, so the interactions system won’t seem too overloaded or complicated.

 

toonie alarm UI design

Toonie Alarm

 

Progress stage

 

No matter what tasks people do, they always want to know about their progress. Providing the feedback on the results of a user journey, we can inspire them to continue. It’s a core step since people lose the enthusiasm of a beginner pretty soon and they need to be motivated to stay.

 

Some may ask what progress can be in non-game digital products? For example, a social app can notify users when they gained a certain number of new followers or friends. Meanwhile, educational applications can inform users on how much they’ve learned from time to time. All small details matter. Just tell people they achieved something and they get a dose of enthusiasm to continue.

 

blog app design tubik studio

Blog App

 

Endgame stage

 

Designers usually stop at the stage of scaffolding and progress uniting them in the endless loop, where users constantly learn and receive feedback. However, sooner or later people get bored of such patterns and may quit the product. Here is why the endpoint of a journey is also important to be thought out.

 

Endgame stage doesn’t mean that users will receive the message “Thank you for being with us! Bye-bye.” At this stage, proficient users are recognized as experts or veterans and they are usually given some privileges for loyalty. People like to be valued and they often give it right back. It’s not a secret that loyal customers are the best marketing managers for a product. New users willingly follow satisfied users’ testimonials.

 

Why a user journey?

 

User journey is a complex game mechanic which requires deep attention to details. Each stage should be carefully planned and connected to the others. Moreover, it requires long-term plans for future updates, so the process of user journey development may take a long time. Of course, some may ask if it is worth the effort to bring it into a product. Let’s see what user journey can give you back.

 

Clear interaction system. Users receive features gradually at the stage of scaffolding and users learn to utilize a product step-by-step. An approach helps to avoid problems with incomprehensible interactions and functions.

 

Increased user engagement. One of gamification principles is to make users always motivated and involved in “game”. User journey is usually full of different tasks and achievements which people can gain, so users can’t resist game spirit.

 

Customer loyalty. If a product is constantly improved for its users, people really appreciate it. Moreover, if a product has some privileges for loyal customers, people trust it more.

 

Product recognizability. As we said above, satisfied customers are effective marketers for a product. Users willingly share their pleasant experience and it won’t stay unnoticed.

 

The element of fun. As any other game element, user journey is a good way to bring an emotional aspect to a product. People always need some kind of recreational activity so that they could escape from everyday routine for a bit. By adding the fun element into a casual product, you help people reduce some stress and relax for a moment.

 

Animated stickers mood messenger design tubik

Animated stickers for Mood Messenger

 

All in all, we can say that user journey is an effective method for UX improvement. However, a designer and a client should consider the fact that gamification works well not for every product. It depends on a type of an interface, its target audience, and business goals. For more detailed information, check our previous article where we’ve defined the tasks which gamification helps to accomplish and don’t miss the updates on gamification in UI coming soon.

Recommended reading

 

Gamification by Interaction Design Foundation

42 Rules for Engaging Members Through Gamification: Unlock the Secrets of Motivation, Community, and Fun

Gamification in UX. Increasing User Engagement.

Gamification: Designing for Motivation


Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance

badges_illustration_tubik_design

Gamification in UX. Increasing User Engagement.

The user-centered approach, which strives for creating products highly responding to the user’s needs, has become the major philosophy behind many projects. Following this method designers constantly search for the new techniques improving user experience which depends on various aspects including emotions. The thing is that users expect a product to be simple and enjoyable in use, so the idea to add a “fun” element to the UX came as it is. But how to make the product fun and enjoyable in use? The technique called gamification was created to solve the problem. Let’s find out what’s the method of gamification in design and how it can improve UX.

 

What is gamification?

 

When we say word “gamification” in the context of design, it can be easily mistaken with the game design. Still, these terms hardly relate to each other, even more, they are opposite in many aspects. In the tech world, the word “gamification” stands for the technique of exerting game mechanics into the non-game environment, such as websites and mobile applications. For example, if you want to encourage the users to interact more with your application, you can add the game element such as a challenge. They can be challenged to check-in every day during a week and be rewarded if they do so.The thing is that people like having a clear goal and even more to be rewarded after it’s achieved, so such a challenge would doubtfully pass unnoticed among the users. This way, designers are able to influence users’ behavior and motivate them as “players” to do the expected actions via game elements such as a challenge and rewards.

 

toonie alarm stickers ios tubik

Toonie Alarm

 

Types of game mechanics for UX improvement

 

Gamification is a complicated design technique which requires using various game mechanics referring to the interactive UI elements. The main task for designers applying gamification is not to turn the product fully into a game. For this reason, there have been distinguished the effective game mechanics that are commonly used in design. Let’s see what they are.

 

Challenge

 

Human nature always makes us take the challenges and prove that we are able to handle them. So, a challenge is thought to be one of the most compelling game elements motivating people to take an action which can be a great tool on the way for UX improvement. In order to enhance the challenge effect, it may be a good idea to use some kind of rewards, so that users could feel even more motivated.

 

upper app UI design case study

Upper Streak Challenge in Upper App

 

Points

 

To measure the players’ success, many games use the points system. The gamified product can apply the same scheme that helps both users and stakeholders: the first sees their achievements and the others can estimate user engagement of the website or application. It is not necessary to make the count of points in the rating form. It may be just the number of check-ins or video views.

 

Badges and stickers

 

When users complete the challenge or gather a certain number of points, they can be awarded the badges or stickers. This kind of virtual rewards is often used in video games, so people are familiar with them. Stickers have gained people’s love long ago, therefore this kind of rewards will be appreciated. Besides, the badges and stickers give much room for the creative experimentations since they can be designed in various ways. Such rewards can become the additional drivers of motivation.

 

badges_illustration_tubik_design

PukaPal Badges

 

ui animation design tubik

Toonie Alarm Stickers

 

Leaderboards

 

The thing making the challenge even more interesting for people is the competition. Not many things can motivate users better than the desire to be the leader. The list of the “players” ranked in the order “Who’s got more badges” can increase users’ enthusiasm. However, in some cases, it may work contrarily demotivating people due to high ranks of the others. That’s why this game element is recommended to be applied carefully.

 

snake battle app UI design

Snake Battle

 

Journey

 

This game mechanic aims to make the process of interaction with the product as easy and understandable as possible. The user should feel as the real player starting the personal journey of the product usage. For example, on the onboarding page from which the user starts, they can be offered an introduction to the features, so that users won’t be afraid to make a mistake. When the journey continues, it is recommended to use the method of “scaffolding”. It means to disclose features progressively as the users become more experienced in using the product. Such an approach allows people to avoid errors and makes the product pleasing to use. Also, the journey element may be supplemented with the progress feature. Providing the information about the progress of the user’s journey, we can inspire them to continue.

 

graphic design tutorial tubik studio

Singify App Tutorial

 

Constraints

 

Many of us may think that it is not funny at all, still, there is a game element constraining players’ time. For example, the task in the games are often needed to be complete in the limited time, otherwise, players lose. The same approach can be applied to the gamified product. Users may be offered to do something which is available only today. The constraints make people react faster and somehow motivate them to take an action right here and now.

 

night in berlin tubik design case study

Night in Berlin App

 

These are some common examples of game elements in design but there is a room for the innovative game mechanics that can be applied in UX design. The major point to consider is that the product shouldn’t become too playful if it’s not expected according to general stylistic strategy and brand image.

 

The role of gamification in UX design

 

Today the method of gamification is widely used in design since it is thought to help to solve many problems in UX. The appropriate use of gamification and well-chosen game mechanics can become a valuable tool for UX designers on the way to increasing user engagement of the product as well as conversion rates. So how does it work? First of all, the gamification brings the element of fun to the websites and applications. People enjoy the interactive process full of fun, challenges, and competitive spirit similar to video games, so they are encouraged to go back. Furthermore, the game mechanics are the powerful motivators for the users. The game elements set the tasks and the awards are promised to those who accomplish them. The curiosity and excitement drive people to continue performing various the tasks and spend more time on the app or the website.

 

In addition, today gamification already goes as one of the major design approaches. Plenty of designers have caught the hype and actively apply this method in various projects. That’s why many users might already have an experience of interacting with the gamified products which mean they expect the same from yours.

 

Animated stickers mood messenger design tubik

Animated Stickers for Mood Messenger

 

Summing it up, gamification is quite a new technique which is now on the path of active proving its reliability as an effective design method. Nevertheless, its popularity is growing really fast so it has good chances to become the leading approach in a short time.

 

Recommended reading

 

Here are some more articles we could recommend for those who would like to get deeper into the topic:

 

Gamification And UX: Where Users Win Or Lose

Gamification: Designing for Motivation

5 examples of great gamification

Introducing Game Mechanics for Gamification


Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance