No matter if you are an entrepreneur, marketing professional, school teacher, UX designer, or board game enthusiast the science of game design and understanding the underlaying principles are fascinating. Even beyond that, they can be used as powerful tools.
Gameification and the concept of leveraging the psychological tendencies related to playfulness has been utilized for years in a wide range of industries. The traits that games tap into relate to human nature on a fundamental level, one that can be used in many positive and powerful ways.
In the early era of ecommerce and bringing shopping to the web, experience designers working at eBay Inc. had to come up with a way to encourage users to adapt to the idea of using a computer to purchase used goods. This was no easy task, it was a relatively unheard-of concept at the time and in order for their company to succeed they would need to introduce people to the site and motivate them to use it. The way they did this was through known mechanics of game design. They leveraged systems used to create addictive slot machines in Vegas, and had reward systems in place to track a users accomplishments. Making the experience as though it were a game and the objective being fun helped drive users to their site.
Camp counselors, youth programs, and teachers use games to help keep the attention and engagement of students. By tapping into our desire for fun we can also create engaging curriculum the deepens our ability to learn. When you create a task for someone and design it in a way that is enjoyable we are much more willing to engage with that task.
So how do we tap into this resource? It begins with a shift in our perception on how we work and how we tackle the design problems that we face. Instead of looking at your project and saying “How can we increase sales here?” think first “How can we make purchasing our product more fun and engaging?”. This change in approach can drastically affect how you solve the problem.
There are many fantastic tools that can be leverage to your advantage, and I will be going over them in great detail in future articles. The mains goal I want to address in this one however is the mindset that you are in when creating an experience for others. Focusing on not just the behavior but also the motivation behind it.
Is it possible to see what is and is not enjoyable? Can we make the workplace somewhere that is fun and engaging? Can we help others learn by tapping into play? By making the users experience more entertaining can we improve our sales? …The answer is simply yes. Few people see it or understand it but once you know what your end goal is you are already well on your way to achieving it.
So how do you plan to use game design to change your work? What new ways can you thing of to connect with more people?