Creating a high-performing website can be a difficult task. It must look sleek but contain everything required to engage and communicate your message.
The user-centered approach that strives to develop products tailored to the user’s needs has become the driving force behind many projects. With this in mind, designers are constantly looking for ways to improve the user experience, which depends on several psychological factors. People expect products and services to be easy and enjoyable, so throwing a splash of “fun” into the mix is more than desirable. But how do you make the user experience more fun? There is a one-word answer to this question: Gamification.
In this article, we will explore what gamification in design is and what it can do to improve UX.
In the context of design, gamification can sometimes be mistaken for game design. However, these concepts don’t relate to each other that much and are even opposites in many areas. In the world of tech, gamification means incorporating game mechanics into non-game environments. This includes mobile apps and websites.
For instance, if a business wants to encourage people to spend more time interacting with an app, a game element such as a challenge can work like magic. The challenge could involve users checking in every day of the week in exchange for exciting rewards.
People need clear goals and rewards for their achievements, so a challenge like this would work in your favor. And this is just one-way designers can influence user behavior and motivate them to keep coming back for more.
One of the most valuable benefits of UX gamification is its power to boost user engagement. Gamification works like a charm when it comes to attracting new customers and keeping both old and new ones engaged and active.
Why is user engagement a priority?
User engagement for websites, apps, products, and services is necessary because it is tightly connected to profits. Also, highly engaged customers are much more likely to return to your site and tell others about it. Hence, the right engagement strategies can help reduce churn and increase user activity and the time spent using your product or service.
By implementing gamification to UX, you can encourage people to perform certain behaviors to complete the user journey successfully.
Do you remember how it feels to fail just as you’re about to finish a difficult level of your favorite game?
What do you do next?
Most people cut their sleeping time just so they can finish that level and see what is beyond the horizon. Trying hard and doing something repeatedly until we get better at it is something that most success-driven people do. This is due to our basic human need to go after and achieve goals in life, driven by curiosity and a motivation to excel.
And that’s where gamification shines. UX gamification gives people a sense of purpose, progress, achievement, and self-betterment while elevating their overall motivation.
By giving people rewards such as points and badges after beating a given task, you encourage them to keep going forward and returning for more.
This effect can also be studied through the lens of psychology.
Brain chemicals such as serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins are stimulated when human beings go through gamified experiences. In the world of UX, people are driven by these motivators with the help of game-like elements such as points, badges, milestones, positive notifications, and more.
Gifting your customer with exciting experiences that motivate them to improve is a great way to boost customer retention, increase long-term customer value, and achieve amazing UX.
It might not be easy to transform your existing process into a gamified experience from the get-go, but even applying a few game-like elements like points and rewards can make a sizeable difference in your UX.
Here are some statistics that show how important gamification is in UX:
Gamification is a complex revenue-boosting technique that requires injecting many different gaming techniques into interactive user interface elements. The primary mission for designers using gamification is to be careful not to turn the product fully into a game.
In the following sections, we will look at the most effective game mechanics that are commonly applied in design, starting with:
Challenges contain the natural appeal to every human undertaking. Hence, using challenges in websites or mobile apps is an extremely potent way to boost loyalty and engagement. Furthermore, challenges motivate end-users to take the desired action, which makes it a priceless tool for UX refinement.
But what are challenges without an end reward and someone to share the experience with?
By adding small rewards for completed challenges and allowing people to compete with each other, you can give a massive boost to the challenges mechanic.
To precisely measure user success, many games use a points system. Many video games use a point system so players can monitor their level of success in overcoming challenges. A gamified product can serve both the website and its customers.
People can monitor how much time they spend using the website or app, while business owners keep track of their journey as customers.
For example, a learning site can keep giving scores depending on how many classes have been watched and the marks students have received. For example, your site or app can award points based on how well students are doing in their IT classes.
Put a limit on the time certain tasks can be completed. This way, you can add an extra level of engagement and tension to the user’s journey, making them feel like they’re fighting for something through additional emotions and adrenaline. In real life, for many of us, time constraints serve as a powerful motivator that can speed up our progress considerably.
Our entire lives revolve around climbing the social ladder. And for people who have a special affinity for contests, leaderboards are an excellent mechanic for further engagement.
As a technique that ranks users according to their achievements, it acts as a confidence booster and motivates them to improve and spend more time on your platform. However, leaderboards must be applied with utmost care to achieve the best results, always keeping the customer’s needs in mind.
Allowing people to engage in healthy competition with other users of your app or website is a great way to bring people together and make them enjoy your product even more. To do this right, you need to create a general rating so that each user has their place in the system. The more points a user accumulates, the higher they climb in the rankings.
Make the user feel like they are embarking on a personal growth journey by using your product or service. This gamification mechanic helps make the user’s experience with your site or app seamless and enjoyable.
For example, people can be introduced to a product’s features at the onboarding stage to help them lose the fear of messing up. As they progress through the journey, features can be disclosed progressively. This allows your customers to gain more experience with your product or service while sidestepping errors, which makes it much more enjoyable.
People love receiving praise for their accomplishments from friends, family, and even people they have never met. Give users the ability to share awards, badges, and stickers from your gamified product on social media sites. This is how you can make people happy and, as a bonus, get their friends’ attention to your product or service. It is also a clever way to get free advertising on social media sites.
These are awards that can be used to buy in-game goodies, e.g., more lives. For instance, with Duolingo, a language learning app, you can earn internal currency rewards called lingots for completing various tasks and challenges.
Levels are parts of the gamified world with different sets of complexity. Users can unlock additional levels by earning in-game points and completing daily tasks. The game’s difficulty must rise at each new level.
Storytelling in UX is a must. The possibilities for creating engaging, beautiful, moving, and helpful products and services are infinite, but oftentimes we don’t make the most of it. To create more powerful interfaces and gamified experiences, you need to be willing to experiment with stories.
Immersive stories are vital components of successful UX for several reasons. Companies of all kinds have learned that a good story can drive sales, which also works incredibly well with gamification.
Tell participants they are killing monsters, saving the helpless from peril, or searching for treasure chests. But keep in mind that gamification works best within a proper context.
Gamification is among the most widely implemented mechanics in the world of design today as it helps combat numerous issues in UX. With the right approach, gamification can help designers bring engagement, elevate the user experience, and bring conversion rates to new levels of improvement.
As mentioned earlier, gamification brings fun and excitement to the use of sites and apps. Users can hence experience an interactive process that involves going through challenges, competitiveness, and lots of fun, just like in a regular video game. In turn, this motivates them to continue using the product and service while also encouraging them to return for more. In addition, gamification makes the whole experience even more enjoyable by including special quests and rewards promised to those who have what it takes to succeed. This approach can do wonders for creating the curiosity and excitement needed to drive customers to perform different actions and spend more time on your app or site.
In conclusion, gamification has the power to improve user engagement and retention significantly. However, it is of crucial importance to understand that gamification needs to be implemented with care for the best results. Seeing what it does for other companies, many business owners are now turning to gamification in UX design to reap its unending benefits.
If you are also thinking of entering the world of gamification to take your business to the next level but are unsure where to start, why not start right at the top? Book your free in-depth demo of Smartico.ai’s all-in-one industry-leading Gamification & CRM Automation solution, and find out how we can help you achieve your business dreams within months after integration: https://smartico.ai/request-a-demo
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