Gamification is a process of designing a non-gaming context with game design. It was introduced back in 2002. Would it still be effective today? I have done a little research on it and here is what I had found.

My friend recently wanted to make the users of his system to interact more with the system. He had an idea to make an achievement feature that will help the users to be more interactively engage with the system. As I know, that method was called  gamification. From there I took interest on gamification process.

I started from wikipedia to gamification. Gamification is an application of game-design elements into non-game context. What are non-game context? For rough meaning, it can be kinds of serious system, like google analytic, business intelligence, helpdesk system, etc. There are some advantages that can be achieved from using the gamification, which can be found on the same link in wikipedia. As we can see, gamification can be implemented, not only in application or system, but also to the procedures or business process that contains the system. In this case I would like to make helpdesk system as my example because I have ever worked as a support once.

When there is an error or issue raised in the issue/error tracking system, the helpdesk will be notified using automatic email from the system. The issue will surely have priority which will define the time limit to solve the issue. Emergency will need  to be solved in 1 hour, high in 3 hours, medium in 5 hours, low in one day. Using these priorities, an achievement system can be implemented. A support that can solve 3 emergency issues in one day will be rewarded as a “Super Man.” However, when he can handle more than 10 issues in a week, then he can be known as “Hero of Our Company.” As we can see, the achievement can help the helpdesk to be more motivated to solve the issue quickly and accurately. Then questions can be raised from that simple achievement. What if he just marked it as solved and in reality the issue is not solved? What if there is no emergencies in one week? What can they get from the achievements?

That is why, gamification is so related with design. Janaki Kumar and Mario Herger discuss it thoroughly in this book. There, they stated clearly that only adding points and achievement is not enough to call something gamified. Yu-Kai Chou also created a framework that will help to make gamification really work. You can find his book in here some of his works can also be found in his web. Those books will guide the designers to make a better gamification in the system.

From those books (if you can find another that suits you, you can comment and let me know for sure), we can expand the helpdesk system in the example above. The solution to the issue should be accepted by the user that raised the issue. The achievements can be used to maintain the KPI of the team. Having the ability to solve issues and get a high users satisfaction level is very important to the helpdesk. Also, if the resolution is not just workarounds, the system stability can be increased which will bring better achievement to the team.

I know that it will not be as simple as that. What I would like to emphasize in this blog post is that design is crucial in gamification. There are a research to determine whether the gamification still works or not. You can find it here. Gamification does produce positive effect. How to make the positive effect last long is why designing the system accordingly is needed.

For me, using the Octalysis by Yu-Kai Chou can help me to produce a pretty well base of gamification. My base is to know that the objective is to make the users not feeling that they should do something, but they want to do something to achieve or reach their target. Based on that, I think one can understand how to use Octalysis well. Understanding the current system behavior and learn the users’ behavior is also important to design good gamification. From there, the game goals can be modeled in Octalysis. The goals that was set can be used to be new features in the system.

As a conclusion, gamification can help users to feel more engaged with the system. It can be implemented in various system. A well designed gamification is needed in order to put it to work and achieve the goal: increase of interaction. Understanding the current system and users behavior is needed. Octalysis can help to create a well designed gamification.

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