If you’re an app publisher and are relying heavily on daily active users to generate more future funding or to simply keep your app interesting and relevant, just relying on user generated content is simply not good enough. Especially, if you run an app that requires a lot of technical input from your users that can be painstaking and time consuming. Enter – gamification!
Gamification is the process of making something look like a game instead of something tedious and complex. Research clearly shows that users are more likely to interact with a product that is fun. So in addition to an easy user interface and experience, gamification offers a great new way to keep people continuously using your app.
People like games because they are fun. To explain this in the easiest way we would have to take a trip down to memory lane – to your childhood. Remember how frustrated your mom would get when she was trying to make you finish your porridge or oatmeal? It was such a task to finish it but when your mom pretended it was a rocket or airplane searching for a place to land, you were much more interested in eating it! Well, gamification uses pretty much the same principle to push users to use a particular product while making it fun. In even simpler words, the art of converting something boring into a fun filled activity using some kind of competitive technique is gamification.
The mobile app gamification approach gives app publishers and owners a fantastic opportunity to accelerate their businesses. Such an approach does not take a long time to develop, and if done correctly can really jumpstart your app usage and even take to the next level.
Gamification allows you to be more persuasive when communicating with customers and also create products and services that your customers don’t want to stop using.
Lifestyle gamification through productivity apps is rapidly becoming a hot topic. Apps like Fitocracy or Task Hammer are great examples of how gamification techniques are being used to push people to stray away from procrastination and get things done. Human beings naturally tend to put off tasks that are deemed boring and always tend to postpone them to the future. Productivity apps that utilize gamification can be useful for overcoming these barriers to achieving the things we want to more easily.
Doable is a popular app that offers a fun and engaging way of completing your tasks and keeping a track of your progress along the way.
Another popular app that cleverly utilizes gamification techniques to get better user engagement while simultaneously making the app fun and easy to use is Duolingo, an app that I personally use to learn new languages. You get rewards in the form of points when you get something right and lose a life when you get an assignment wrong; thereby making to learn even better to get you lost life back to be able to move to the next stage.
Most fitness tracker apps like the Nike Running app and the like also use basic gamification techniques in the form of sharing your results with your friends in order to compete or even beat them to motivate you to perform better etc. But one of the best fitness apps is Zombies, Run!, which caters to runners. While running, you are listening to a recording of zombies that are following you. Gamification here captivates the user so he or she doesn’t think about the distance or how hard running is. With this app, exercising becomes a fun game.
Just like any other concept, gamification has a set of unofficial rules and although they aren’t set in stone, it helps if you follow them.
Don’t make it compulsory.
Give your user the opportunity to choose whether they want to use the gamification features or not. While a majority of them probably will, you don’t want to put off the users that don’t.
Make rewards averagely difficult.
A reward should not be a tough thing to achieve but at the same time it shouldn’t be so easy that a user doesn’t feel a sense of accomplishment or does not value it.
Make the goal very clear.
The goal needs to be very clear. Users need to understand what steps to take to achieve the prize or points. If he or she doesn’t get it, they won’t go for it.
Overall, gamification is a perfect approach to make your app recognizable and so far companies worldwide that have used gamification in their apps have actually made them work. So there is no reason why you can’t succeed!
Barry Rodrigues is Head of Marketing & Product Development at Future Communications and an associate advisor with the International Advisors Group in Kuwait. For comments, please email Barry at [email protected].