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!
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!!! :)
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