With Gartner’s prediction that gamification will head into the “Trough of Disillusionment” in their Hype Cycle within the next year, it’s important to take a step back and be realistic in our expectations of gamification. As with any new technology trend, there will be early adopters of gamification who stumble. It’s easy to be seduced into quick action by the promising potential of this technology without understanding the challenges that go with it first.
Garnter anticipates that most failed applications will result from the “lack of understanding of game design and player engagement strategies”. Gamification requires a command of both of these in order to effectively motivate users, but they are complex topics that will take a good deal of exploration in order to master in an application. Because of this, most early attempts at gamification will fall short of their targets to change behavior. But like all good innovations, the motto is to fail early and often. Don’t spend a lot of time planning and building a grand design before getting any user feedback.
Build a basic version, often called a minimally viable concept (MVC), and get it out into the hands of your users. Measure their response by analzying the data metrics you have designed into the software and watch social media for their feelings. You will learn much more of how people really think and act by doing this than you ever will by just imagining what they are thinking. Then take that feedback and quickly incorporate it into the next version of your gamification software. You will iterate quickly to a version that drives behavior and is fun as well.
But don’t stop there. Good game designers constantly tweak and improve their game to make sure it stays relevant and interesting. This is true for gamified business software as well. You must be willing to continue your efforts after the first version in order to achieve the rewards you seek over the long term.
If you are ready to translate gamification theory into action in order to effect change in your customers or employees, you should engage a firm with great game designers and software engineers experienced in this kind of software development. ObjectFrontier, Inc. (OFS) specializes in helping companies design and build innovative and engaging software to drive revenue, improve performance, and build brand loyalty. We are happy to talk with you to help develop and plan next steps toward reaching these goals in your organization. Click here to speak with OFS.