Gamification is a technique of development that turns an everyday activity (like learning or working) into a game-like activity. Studies indicate that gamifying these activities can improve engagement, increase the user’s ability to retain information introduced during the activity, and encourage them to engage in the activity more often and for longer periods of time.

As with most development trends, gamification falls in and out of vogue. For example, the app Foursquare started out with a gamified premise, but slowly changed focus to become a way for friends to track one another at local hangouts. Gamification is trending again, and for good reason. Using a game-like design, app developers can engage users to take advantage of their app more often and for longer times. In learning or business apps, gamification can help users retain information and increase productivity. Here are the essential elements for a gamified mobile app.

Gamified Apps are Interactive

The more ‘in control’ the user feels over the game, the more they become involved and engaged in playing.

The best thing about a game is that, well, you get to do something. Whether you’re slinging birds or hopping obstacles or busting candy into tiny bits, games let you engage in an activity. Busier hands make for a more interactive, enjoyable game.

Gamified Apps Let the Users Compete

If there is one word to describe what makes a game a game it’s probably competition. Give the user a way to compete, either against an entity or against other users. Take a bookstore app, for instance. The bookstore might list the names of their top five readers on the website, or might offer the top readers a 20-percent discount off their next purchases. This rewards those doing well and gives others something to strive for.

Gamified Apps Allow Users to Earn Something

Most games allow users to progress to new levels and win desirable things. It can be incredibly simple earnings, like a gold star or a “Way to go!” by the game’s main character, but there has to be something in there to strive for to keep users engaged.

Gamified Apps Give Users Something to Discover

Easter Eggs are trinkets that developers hide in video games for users to find. The Easter Eggs aren’t an essential item for the game — these trinkets are just fun bonuses. Consider hiding Easter Eggs in your mobile app to keep users excited and interested in using your app. Be sure to give them a way to boast when they do discover the Easter Egg.

Gamified Apps Give Users a Way to Share & Connect With Other Users

Don’t overlook the importance of socializing during games — either by playing with other players or by enabling users to share their successes with others via social media or text messaging.

Most successful games have some type of social element. Perhaps the ability to share their newly-earned level on Facebook or connect with their friends who are also using the same app. The social aspect of gamification isn’t absolutely set in stone, but it is very helpful for getting the word out about your app, because people are more likely to share the news of your app with friends they want to play with, share with, and compete against.

Gamification won’t work for every app, but if you’re stuck trying to come up with a new thing for your mobile app, gamification is a great way to invent something creative and unusual. Visit Glance to begin brainstorming development ideas on your next mobile app today!

Simon

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.

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