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Gamification and Game Mechanics for Better UX

Behavior results in experiences, experience creates emotions, emotions are recorded in memory and our memories dictate our behavior.

 

This loop applies every time a human is part of an interaction, whether it is a user-software interaction, service to a customer or our relationships with the loved ones. Since it is a loop, a positive experience leads to multiple positive emotions, memories and behaviors, and unfortunately the opposite is true for negative ones. Besides, the negative ones tend to have a bigger impact on us and stick longer with us than the positive ones. That's why user ( or customer, or listener) experience is the most vital part of everything we do, from websites to mobile apps, from enterprise level ERP systems to weekly sales reports for a small business.


 



One of the most significant obstacles for business applications (ERP, CRM, SCM etc) is that the end users of these systems lack the skills and motivation to become power users and take full advantage of the tools provided for them by most advanced technologies. Sometimes it is worse than that when these applications are regarded as "just another burden that makes it more difficult to keep up with the actual work" by users. 

 

Similar feelings arise when we see "just another bland, boring, useless marketing gimmick" that may come in many formats like a badly designed Facebook app, a series of badly taken "foodie" photos on Twitter or worse as sluggish mobile apps.

 

Game mechanics that constitute the principles of game design, can serve as catalyst to create better UX and improve user adoption and utilization. 

 



Gamification works and it is here to stay because it appeals to the core of human nature; like competition, rewards, socialization, status. In fact games are as old as history. 

 

Today, it is up to the developers to find out the best ways to use the concept and deliver the ultimate user experience. Whenever there is human interaction, game mechanics provide a blue print for creating effective strategies that can take the experience to the next level!


At this point it is quite obvious that game mechanics will redefine the interaction between us and everything else. Not just individuals but cross disciplinary teams of game designers, developers, educators, marketers and social network experts will be highly sought after!

 

Photos: etunch, mediawiki

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Comment by Mark Breithaupt on September 17, 2011 at 8:44pm
The loop is too simple.  ABA artificially cuts up the chaotic nature of experience.  Consider the works of Hubert Dreyfus, Francisco Varela and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.  The dance in design is to provide enough familiarity and structure to reassure but also have the novelty and challenge to draw the user into their natural propensity for improvising and experimenting.
Comment by Michael Gaio on August 12, 2011 at 3:00pm
Yes, well said!  I've just completed a year contract with a neuroscience lab producing interactive games based on neuroscience principles for brain health and cognitive enhancements.  UX + gamification + neurotech is the way!
Comment by Jim Langford on August 1, 2011 at 6:47pm

Hey y'all,

 

My firm is making games on mobile in 3d...  http://www.facetheacegames.com

 

Emre has a job if he brings in a couple contracts, so help him out!!!  :)

 

JL

Comment by Scott Murphy on July 26, 2011 at 9:17pm
You may already know but you might be interested in reading on applied behavior analysis (Ivar Lovaas).  The process of learning very much involves motivation and reinforcement.  I recently designed interfaces for a game and including ideas of errorless ABA (prompting), repitition and reinforcement helped reduced learning curves and helps user adoption.
Comment by Emre Tuncbilek on July 26, 2011 at 2:36pm
Sure, I will get the word out in the HPU community. Thanks again! :)
Comment by Daniel Leuck on July 26, 2011 at 2:28pm
Great! We just added you to the itinerary. Its a 20 minute slot. If you can put the word out in the HPU community that would be very helpful.
Comment by Emre Tuncbilek on July 26, 2011 at 2:08pm
Thank you very much Dan. UX and Gamification are my passions so I would be more than happy to share them at every opportunity.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on July 26, 2011 at 2:03pm
Great post Emre! If you are interested, we would love for you to talk about game mechanics for better UX at our User Experience Design Meetup.

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