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Designing with
Gamification
Tips for creating fun and engaging experiences
Jeff Steffgen
Director of Product at mLevel
(game-based e-learning platform)
Understanding Gamification
• Chicago-based SaaS start-up
• Focused on game-based
enterprise eLearning
• No-code game development,
unique content gene...
Level 1 Understand Gamification
Level 2 Know the Audience
Level 3 Think like a Game Designer
Level 4 Planning for Gamificati...
Understanding
Gamification
Level 1
Start your Gamification training
by learning the basics…
Meaningful Play
Use of game mechanics applied in
a non-gaming context
Understanding Gamification
Goals
• Sticky, viral and engaging
• Make mundane tasks fun
• Drive specific user behaviors
Understanding Gamification
Example: Hot Lava Game
Example: Kids Star Chart
Example: Rewards Programs
Example: Urinal Fly Sticker
Game ≠ Play
Understanding Gamification
Play
Unstructured, flexible & freeform.
Driven by imagination.
Understanding Gamification
fun$
Understanding Gamification
WIN$Game
Structured, rigid, stimulating
& focused. Driven by rules.
Understanding Gamification
Work already has rules…
Defining a win condition is all that
is needed to make it a game.
Congrats!
You’ve successfully
completed Level 1
Level Up!
Continue your Gamification training
by gathering intelligence about
your target audience…
Know the Audience
Level 2
Killers
Winning, rank & direct peer-
to-peer competition
Engaged by: 

Leaderboards & Rankings
Achievers
Attaining status ...
Know the Audience
Player Type Actions
Acting
Interacting
GameSpace
Players
Killers' Achievers)
Socializers+ Explorers)
Know the Audience
Things Guys Like in Games
Mastery
Doesn’t need meaning, just challenge
Competition
Love to prove we are ...
Know the Audience
Things Girls Like in Games
Emotion
Exploring richness of human emotion
Real World
Prefer games that conn...
Know the Audience
Age Demographics
Games with 

parental guidance
Age of reason
Read, make decisions &
solve problems
Age ...
Level 2 completed!
Finish 1 more level to see
gamification examples…
Level Up!
Think Like a
Game Designer
Level 3
Learn about game theory to
create successful gamification
Know the Audience
Flow Theory
Anxiety!
Boredom!
Flow%
Channel%
Low!
High!
Challenges!
Low! High!Skills!
Basic Elements of Game Design
Think Like a Game Designer
Aesthe&cs!
Technology!
Mechanics! Story!
Story
Linear or branchin...
Think Like a Game Designer
Game Mechanics
• The Game Space
• Objects, Attributes & States
• Actions
• Rules
• Skills
• Cha...
Think Like a Game Designer
The Game Space
Defines spaces that can exist in a game and how
those places are related to one a...
Think Like a Game Designer
Objects, Attributes & States
Objects are anything that can be seen or manipulated in

the game ...
Pac$Man'
Moves&
Is&Yellow&
Eats&Objects&
Can&Die&
Power'
Pellet'
Strategically&Placed&
White,&Round&&&Large&
Enables&Power...
Think Like a Game Designer
Objects, Attributes & States
Each Attribute’s current State can be static or dynamic,
as shown ...
Think Like a Game Designer
Actions (Operative)
Operative Actions are base actions that a player 

can take in the game spa...
Think Like a Game Designer
Actions (Resultant)
Resultant Actions are strategic actions that use operative

actions (or a c...
Think Like a Game Designer
Rules
Defines the space, objects, consequences & constraints
of actions, and the overall goals o...
Think Like a Game Designer
Skills Needed
Define various types of skills (both real & virtual) within
the game needed to eng...
Think Like a Game Designer
Chance & Luck
Consider interactions with other mechanics
to create uncertainty & surprise
Excellent work, you’ve
finished Level 3!
Level Up!
Planning for
Gamification
Level 4
Examples of applying gamification
into your business
Business Needs
How can we apply these theories 

and mechanics into business
products, processes & services?
Planning for ...
Step 1:

Define Users & Goal
Planning for Gamification
Know your Audience
• What are their needs?
• Employees v. Customers
• What’s the primary playing style?
• What metrics do ...
Define your Goal
• Drive specific user behaviors
• Create brand loyalty
• Re-engineer a daily process to
make it more efficie...
Step 2:

Use Mechanics that Work
Planning for Gamification
3 types of gamification worth
pursuing in a business context:
Validation
Completion
Prizes & Rewards
Planning for Gamificati...
Planning for Gamification
Validation
A strong driver of long-term, quality engagement that forms
communities and allows use...
Planning for Gamification
Completion
Guide user progression and persuade useful contributions to
enhance the experience for...
Planning for Gamification
Prizes & Rewards
Reward users with upgraded status, exclusive access,
additional power (decision/...
Tips for Success
• Provide a reason to play and ways to 

feel progression/ accomplishment
• Make sure players understand ...
Step 3:

Analyze the Data
Planning for Gamification
Metrics are important…
• Performance & player behavior
• Set goals & have tools in place to
gauge your progress
• Pinpoint...
Level 4 completed.
Let’s see how mLevel uses
gamification elements…
Almost Finished!
mLevel Examples Missions
mLevel Examples Unlocking & Progression
mLevel Examples Use of Time & Levels
mLevel Examples Freedom of Choice
mLevel Examples Use of PLB
mLevel Examples Challenges & Social
mLevel Examples Guides & Tutorials
mLevel Examples Feedback & Stats
Questions
email jeff.steffgen@mlevel.com
twitter @_jeffgen_
Designing with Gamification: Tips for Creating Fun & Engaging User Experiences
Designing with Gamification: Tips for Creating Fun & Engaging User Experiences
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Designing with Gamification: Tips for Creating Fun & Engaging User Experiences

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Designing with Gamification: Tips for Creating Fun & Engaging User Experiences

Designing with Gamification: Tips for Creating Fun & Engaging User Experiences

  1. 1. Designing with Gamification Tips for creating fun and engaging experiences
  2. 2. Jeff Steffgen Director of Product at mLevel (game-based e-learning platform) Understanding Gamification
  3. 3. • Chicago-based SaaS start-up • Focused on game-based enterprise eLearning • No-code game development, unique content generation, instant deployment • Multi-platform, 
 using Unity3D • Web-based
 admin site
 for simple
 mission
 creation
  4. 4. Level 1 Understand Gamification Level 2 Know the Audience Level 3 Think like a Game Designer Level 4 Planning for Gamification End-goal Apply Gamification into your own user experiences after completing all 5 ranks Your Mission…
  5. 5. Understanding Gamification Level 1 Start your Gamification training by learning the basics…
  6. 6. Meaningful Play Use of game mechanics applied in a non-gaming context Understanding Gamification
  7. 7. Goals • Sticky, viral and engaging • Make mundane tasks fun • Drive specific user behaviors Understanding Gamification
  8. 8. Example: Hot Lava Game
  9. 9. Example: Kids Star Chart
  10. 10. Example: Rewards Programs
  11. 11. Example: Urinal Fly Sticker
  12. 12. Game ≠ Play Understanding Gamification
  13. 13. Play Unstructured, flexible & freeform. Driven by imagination. Understanding Gamification fun$
  14. 14. Understanding Gamification WIN$Game Structured, rigid, stimulating & focused. Driven by rules.
  15. 15. Understanding Gamification Work already has rules… Defining a win condition is all that is needed to make it a game.
  16. 16. Congrats! You’ve successfully completed Level 1 Level Up!
  17. 17. Continue your Gamification training by gathering intelligence about your target audience… Know the Audience Level 2
  18. 18. Killers Winning, rank & direct peer- to-peer competition Engaged by: 
 Leaderboards & Rankings Achievers Attaining status & quickly completing pre-set goals Engaged by: 
 Achievements & ToDo’s Socializers Socializing & developing a friends/contacts network Engaged by: Newsfeeds, Friend Lists, Chat Explorers Exploring and discovering
 the unknown Engaged by: 
 Achieving their own goals Know the Audience Bartle’s Player Types
  19. 19. Know the Audience Player Type Actions Acting Interacting GameSpace Players Killers' Achievers) Socializers+ Explorers)
  20. 20. Know the Audience Things Guys Like in Games Mastery Doesn’t need meaning, just challenge Competition Love to prove we are the best Destruction We like destroying things — a lot! Spatial Puzzles Especially puzzles navigating 3D spaces Trial and Error Men hate reading instructions!
  21. 21. Know the Audience Things Girls Like in Games Emotion Exploring richness of human emotion Real World Prefer games that connect meaningfully Nurturing Relationships & healing others (vs. winning) Dialog & Verbal Puzzles Love books & cross-word puzzles Learning by Example Appreciate tutorials that lead step-by-step
  22. 22. Know the Audience Age Demographics Games with 
 parental guidance Age of reason Read, make decisions & solve problems Age of obsession 
 Brain growth & passion Boys: Competition & mastery Girls: Real-world issues & communications Firmly establish tastes 
 for entertainment & games Casual gamers due to families; hardcore gamers are very influential Casual gamers due to career and families; seek family play Empty nesters with lots 
 of time to play games; 
 enjoy social components 4"6$ 7"9$ 10#13% 13#18% 18#24& 25#35% 36#50& 50+$
  23. 23. Level 2 completed! Finish 1 more level to see gamification examples… Level Up!
  24. 24. Think Like a Game Designer Level 3 Learn about game theory to create successful gamification
  25. 25. Know the Audience Flow Theory Anxiety! Boredom! Flow% Channel% Low! High! Challenges! Low! High!Skills!
  26. 26. Basic Elements of Game Design Think Like a Game Designer Aesthe&cs! Technology! Mechanics! Story! Story Linear or branching Mechanics Procedures and rules Aesthetics How it looks, sounds & feels Technology High tech, materials or interactions
  27. 27. Think Like a Game Designer Game Mechanics • The Game Space • Objects, Attributes & States • Actions • Rules • Skills • Chance & Surprise
  28. 28. Think Like a Game Designer The Game Space Defines spaces that can exist in a game and how those places are related to one another
  29. 29. Think Like a Game Designer Objects, Attributes & States Objects are anything that can be seen or manipulated in
 the game space (characters, tokens, props, etc) Pac$Man' Power' Pellet' Inky' Pellets'
  30. 30. Pac$Man' Moves& Is&Yellow& Eats&Objects& Can&Die& Power' Pellet' Strategically&Placed& White,&Round&&&Large& Enables&PowerCUp& ' Inky' Moves& Is&Blue& Kills&PacCMan& Can&Go&to&Cage& ' Pellets' StaIc&PosiIon,&Fills&the&Maze& White,&Round&&&Small& Is&Worth&Points& ' Think Like a Game Designer Objects, Attributes & States Objects have Attributes such as the current position in the 
 game space, or other categories of information
  31. 31. Think Like a Game Designer Objects, Attributes & States Each Attribute’s current State can be static or dynamic, as shown in the classic Pac-Man example above
  32. 32. Think Like a Game Designer Actions (Operative) Operative Actions are base actions that a player 
 can take in the game space (think VERBS) Climb&Up& Duck/Climb&Down/" Enter&Warp&Tube& Move& Le:& Move& Right& Jump/" Swim&Up& Dash/Throw&
  33. 33. Think Like a Game Designer Actions (Resultant) Resultant Actions are strategic actions that use operative
 actions (or a combination of them) to achieve a goal Jump%+% % Land%on%a% mushroom% % =%Kills%it% Jump%+% % Hit%brick% % =%Coins% Jump%+% % Hit%?%Box% % =%Power%up% Jump%+% % Land%on%Yoshi% % =%Ride%
  34. 34. Think Like a Game Designer Rules Defines the space, objects, consequences & constraints of actions, and the overall goals of the game Concrete  &  Understandable Achievable  Goal Rewarding  &  Fun
  35. 35. Think Like a Game Designer Skills Needed Define various types of skills (both real & virtual) within the game needed to engage your audience Physical)) •  Strength( •  Dexterity( •  Coordina1on( •  Physical( Endurance(! Mental) •  Memory( •  Observa1on( •  Puzzles( •  Problem( Solving! Social) •  Reading( Opponents( •  Teamwork( •  Leadership( •  Banter(
  36. 36. Think Like a Game Designer Chance & Luck Consider interactions with other mechanics to create uncertainty & surprise
  37. 37. Excellent work, you’ve finished Level 3! Level Up!
  38. 38. Planning for Gamification Level 4 Examples of applying gamification into your business
  39. 39. Business Needs How can we apply these theories 
 and mechanics into business products, processes & services? Planning for Gamification
  40. 40. Step 1:
 Define Users & Goal Planning for Gamification
  41. 41. Know your Audience • What are their needs? • Employees v. Customers • What’s the primary playing style? • What metrics do they care about? • Achievement v. Enjoyment • Structure v. Freedom • Self interest v. Social interest Planning for Gamification
  42. 42. Define your Goal • Drive specific user behaviors • Create brand loyalty • Re-engineer a daily process to make it more efficient & engaging • Inject fun into mundane tasks • Create competition Planning for Gamification
  43. 43. Step 2:
 Use Mechanics that Work Planning for Gamification
  44. 44. 3 types of gamification worth pursuing in a business context: Validation Completion Prizes & Rewards Planning for Gamification
  45. 45. Planning for Gamification Validation A strong driver of long-term, quality engagement that forms communities and allows users to share & express
  46. 46. Planning for Gamification Completion Guide user progression and persuade useful contributions to enhance the experience for themselves and others
  47. 47. Planning for Gamification Prizes & Rewards Reward users with upgraded status, exclusive access, additional power (decision/budget) and money, gifts or trips
  48. 48. Tips for Success • Provide a reason to play and ways to 
 feel progression/ accomplishment • Make sure players understand the goal and why they should play • Let players set their own goals, or suggest goals to motivate mastery • Use global goals to inspire collaboration and teamwork Planning for Gamification
  49. 49. Step 3:
 Analyze the Data Planning for Gamification
  50. 50. Metrics are important… • Performance & player behavior • Set goals & have tools in place to gauge your progress • Pinpoint where users drop out and where they have the most fun • Use this data to optimize the experience — play test & iterate! Planning for Gamification
  51. 51. Level 4 completed. Let’s see how mLevel uses gamification elements… Almost Finished!
  52. 52. mLevel Examples Missions
  53. 53. mLevel Examples Unlocking & Progression
  54. 54. mLevel Examples Use of Time & Levels
  55. 55. mLevel Examples Freedom of Choice
  56. 56. mLevel Examples Use of PLB
  57. 57. mLevel Examples Challenges & Social
  58. 58. mLevel Examples Guides & Tutorials
  59. 59. mLevel Examples Feedback & Stats
  60. 60. Questions email jeff.steffgen@mlevel.com twitter @_jeffgen_
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Designing with Gamification: Tips for Creating Fun & Engaging User Experiences

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