Gamification is the act of making an activity that is not a game (such as doing work or learning a new skill or concept) into a game-like interface. Gamification has taken off in a number of industries, including education, business training, marketing surveys, and more, and does show potential. For instance, gamification can boost participation, help users remember things they’re learning, and encourage productivity.
Gamification Can Improve Engagement, Retention, and Encourage Users to Return
Developers of business apps don’t usually have the gaming industry experience it takes to make a great game that also meets the business’ objectives.
But, in the end, industry experts fear that the gamification of business apps will be a failure. Gamification of business apps likely won’t fail because the concept itself is bad — in fact it can be powerfully good. It might, however, fail because of poor design. If your app developers want to use gamification for your next business app, just be sure they understand how and why gamification works and when it doesn’t.
Gamification Cannot Make Up for Poor Concepts and Bad Design
Typically, developers who work on business apps do not have training and experience in the gaming industry. In other words, they might understand very well how to build an app and even how to make a business app, but they lack understanding about how games work, why they are popular, and how to make them effective for business purposes. Hence, these business app developers read up on what makes a game good. They load the gamified business app with all of the bells and whistles — like a system for earning points, badges for achieving certain levels, and leader boards to encourage healthy competition.
What they fail to do is to make the game relevant to the business’s objectives. The games are designed in such a way that users play them more for their own personal gratification than they do to serve the purpose the business intended.
What Makes a Gamified Business App Good
There are numerous ways to deliver a rewards system. Just be sure the rewards system you choose makes sense within the context of the business app you’re developing.
How, then, can a developer make a business app that is both engaging to the user and useful to the company that’s inevitably paying for it?
• Define the Objectives – What does the business need the user to do? The answer could be to learn a new concept or to reach a particular level of productivity. Design the points and/or rewards system to reflect the objectives set by the business.
• Instill a Sense of Purpose – Users need to feel like playing the game is actually achieving something. Does the user/player get a sense of accomplishment as they make their way through the process? Is the business deriving a measurable benefit from the progress of the users/players?
• Develop a Sensible Reward System – Points and leader boards and badges aren’t always the most effective means of rewards. Some real video games are divided up into levels or worlds, and achieving a new level is the reward for progress. Other games use music or videos or any number of other motivations. Study games enough to understand what type of reward system works best in your given situation.
Finally, conduct thorough testing. See if the game and its reward systems actually encourage play and deliver a measurable benefit to the business. With smart development, gamification can be a successful technique for building business apps.
Simon has worked in the software industry for over 20 years; intent on always producing work of the highest standard and creating software products that genuinely makes things better for people. Simon has previously held positions ranging from Developer, Technical Consultant, Head of Development through to CTO and more recently founder and CEO of several high profile technology companies.