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  • Writer's pictureMayank Mishra

Why you should care about Gamification?

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

"Gamification is the process of designing a service that places the most emphasis on human motivation. In essence, it is a Human-Centered Design (HCD) Process."

Since Industrialization, Most of the jobs are focused on optimization, they're designed to get the job done. This is like a factory that assumes its workers will do their jobs because they are supposed to, regardless of their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.

However, Human-Centered Design acknowledges that people in a system have feelings, insecurities, and reasons why they want or do not want to do certain things, and therefore HCD optimizes their feelings, motivations, and engagement.

The first industry to adopt and master the principles of Human-Centered Design was the gaming industry, which has been using this for centuries, therefore it is popularized by the term "Gamification". Gaming Industry has been using these techniques purely to drive human motivation and behavior.

Yu-Kai Chau was an early pioneer of gamification and has been writing several books and articles on it. He has developed a widely popular framework called "the Octalysis framework of Gamification" which has become a standard tool to assess the core-drivers or principles of Gamification in a system.

Octalysis, As the name, suggests is an octagon (8 sided figure)-one for each core drive.

Following are the eight-core principles(drivers) of Gamification:

01 Epic Meaning & Calling:

Where a player believes that he is doing something greater than himself or he was “chosen” to do something.

02 Development & Accomplishment:

The internal drive of making progress, developing skills, and eventually overcoming challenges.

03 Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback:

It is when users are engaged in a creative process where they have to repeatedly figure things out and try different combinations.

04 Ownership & Possession:

When a player feels ownership, she innately wants to make what she owns better and own even more.

05 Social Influence & relatedness:

This drive incorporates all the social elements that drive people, including mentor-ship, acceptance, social responses, companionship, as well as competition and envy.

06 Scarcity & impatience:

This is the drive of wanting something because you can’t have it.

07 Unpredictability & curiosity:

If you don’t know what’s going to happen, your brain is engaged and you think about it often.

08 Loss of Avoidance:

This core drive is based upon the avoidance of something negative happening.

Apart from the eight-core drivers, the diagram also shows if the motivations are driven by "logical reasoning-Left Brain Drives" or "Creativity Driven-Right Brain Drives". Similarly, the framework also shows if the motivations are Positive “White Hat Gamification” or Negative “Black Hat Gamification”.

The framework gives us qualitative data about the core drivers. Although it has an octalysis score, the identified drivers are more useful than the score.

Applications of Gamification:

To put it simply Gamification can be used to enhance the User Experience of a product or service. As a designer, we can understand the core values which drive the human motivations and design services accordingly. Gamification if done appropriately is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders, both from the users' perspective as well as from a business point of view.

One of the most popular fields using this is the HCI (Human-Computer Interactions).

popular applications like FarmVille, Forest, Do it now, Mind-snacks, and other productivity apps have adopted these principles in their interface.

In the upcoming article, I will share the Octalysis analysis of the "Forest app - a popular productivity tool which uses gamification to engage with its users", This activity will help to get a closer look at how the model works and how we can use it. Thank you!

You may read more about gamification here:

Image courtesy: Google

589 views1 comment


Yu-kai Chou
Yu-kai Chou

Thanks for the share. There seems to be a typo on my last name Chou, and also I refer to gamification as Human-Focused Design, which has some subtle differences to the Human-Centered Design that people like. Keep up the good work.

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