Gamification and user engagement

Gamification is a process to implement game’s elements to non-game contexts and experience. Whether online applications, physical products or services the main purpose is to increase the user’s motivation and engagement by adding fun and enjoyment of the projects.

Example of non-game includes healthcare, fitness, education, financial, workplace, restaurant, aviation, exhibitions, marketing product, etc.

We are going to cover the following topics below:
- Game’s elements
- Trigger points of the users’ motivation

Game’s elements

Strong gamification requires understanding of the game’s elements. We have to be careful when we apply those elements that will guide us to establish the clear goal for users by adding fun and making it enjoyable.

Here are a important game elements:

01- Goals and Objectives
: Provide a method that helps to measure the quality of gamified interaction.
Objectives: Concentrate on what the users want to get from gamification experience.

Place IKEA furniture in your home with augmented reality

02- Cooperation and Competition

Cooperation: Social part of gamification, focusing on the gamified activity to achieve a positive outcome.
Competition: Happens when the opponents dedicate their effort to optimizing their own performance.

KLM serves a Bonding Christmas Buffet

03- Feedback

There are many types of feedback like conformational feedback, corrective feedback, explanatory feedback, and diagnostic feedback.

We have to be aware when we use feedback to guide the users to the goal.

We can use many kinds of feedback at the time based on the project’s requirements.

Bottle Bank Arcade
Interactive Gym Wall — 4th grade kids

04- Achievements and Achievements by completion

Achievements: Element used to measure the success of tasks. Measurement task helps to increase the motivation and competition among users.

Achievements by completion: These elements demotivate the users especially in education and business, we use this kind of element in a shorter task and fast tasks.

05- Scoring

Scoring shows the result of user’s effort whether it’s failure or success. Gamification designer should choose carefully the right scoring methods example: progress bars, stars based on rating, loyalty cards, etc.

Trigger points of the user’s motivation

Understanding what makes users get motivated when we apply game’s elements is a very important aspect. Generally, we have two categories of motivations: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation like: Acceptance, Curiosity, Honor, Independence, and Social Status.

Extrinsic motivation like: Employee of the month award, Benefit, Bonuses and Organized activities.

Yu-kai Chou wrote a great book “Actionable Gamification — Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards” Yu-Kai divided the human motivation to 8 sections based on those he developed Octalysis Framework and establish a tool to help designer and developer to measuring the gamification from human motivation perspective. Octalysis Framework tool

Here’s an 8 trigger points of the users motivation

01- Epic Meaning & Calling
This point is active when human does action to give meaningful and value, for example, participate in charity marathon to super disability people or write in Wikipedia and SmartGate.

SmartGate the Game

02- Development & Accomplishment
This happens when human do an action to making progress, developing skills, achieving mastery. Challenges that exists is very important rather than challenge without motivation.

Aviation Australia AR Demo by ThinkVR

03- Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback
Users participate in a creative process. This gives users a chance to try different experiences that add value to them.


04- Ownership & Possession
Users get motivated because they participate in activities that guides them to own or control something, like when an application gives users the possibility to create their own Avatar to post on their profile page.

05- Social Influence & Relatedness
Motivate users by using social elements, including mentorship, social acceptance, social feedback, and companionship.

06- Scarcity & Impatience
Users get motivated by trying to get something extremely rare.

07- Unpredictability & Curiosity
Human to action to discover something positive. Like lottery program.

Museums in the Digital Age | Shift

08- Loss & Avoidance
The human does activity trying to avoid something negative, reduce the error, and avoiding to lose something he already owns.

MRO.AIR — Artificial Intelligent Reality


Apply game elements to non-game contexts and experience leads us to enhance the engagement and motivation of the users to increase happiness and joy and help to create addictive products and build solid loyalty.

References and Recommend

Here are some references including website, books, and video to those who would like to dig deeper into the gamification as tools and techniques:

52 gamification mechanics and elements
Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software

Gamification by Design: Implementing Game Mechanics in Web and Mobile Apps 1st Edition

Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards

Gamification to improve our world: Yu-kai Chou at TEDxLausanne

User Experience Lead | Data-Driven Design