In part 1 and 2 we discovered how to do Octalysis Gamification Design for clients and how to make sure that we advise clients correctly and efficiently. We ended with our Octalysis Concept Wireframes and now we are going to develop a real functioning product on the basis of our design. It is so exciting to see your product come alive!
Just a quick warning to those designers that are very attached to the features, colours and themes they have designed for: these may all be scrapped during this phase. Yes, all the work that you did to make the Gamification design come alive, may now be binned. Yaiks!
Sure, it is important the way your avatar is designed or how it moves and sounds like. Ultimately though it can only help to enhance the engagement that we created through our Octalysis design. Not the other way around. The engagement flows from the correct and timely use of the core drives that drive human motivation. We specialize in human focused design, not feature, game mechanic or colour design remember?
Your task is to safeguard that the underlying power of your Gamification design gets translated into an awesome and engaging product. Nothing more, nothing less! Don’t get sold on people that want to tell you that it’s all about game mechanics or the power of the colour red, or bleu or whatever. All important in itself, but engagement is not dependend on it. Look at Minecraft, with its ridiculously simple design and gurgling monsters. Highly engaging, low audio-visual appeal.
Gamification Design developed
Many developers will want to classify and compartmentalize the experience you designed for. They feel confident when structures within the architecture are being drawn on pieces of paper or whiteboard, so that the process becomes logical and ready to operationalize. They often work from the bottom up, while we often work top down. So somewhere in the middle, where IT meets creative, is where we will meet. This is an exciting discovery where you will learn a lot about your own assumptions about how a design can work. So pay good attention when you are working with development teams and learn.
While learning and absorbing ew knowledge is important, do remember that you are the Guardian of Engagement. You need to make sure that the Gamification design is incorporated in the development work from the start and throughout the process. The work of development professionals is extremely important to ensure that the product is fully functional and good looking. Your task in the development phase is to check for any gaps in the flow experience of the gamified product.
You need to ask yourself things like:
- Is my design translated in such a way that we do not loose flow?
- Does the user/player continue to feel motivated to stay in the experience. And does he/she feel that way in all phases?
- What are the trade-offs between cost effective IT solutions and my design?
A product does not just get developed in one go. Normally we need to test a whole range of assumptions (our assumed player characteristics; learning aspects, flow aspects, players’ needs etc), and we normally do that by developing simpler versions of the product: prototypes and MVPs.
Prototypes, can be classified as early version of the final product, but not necessarily a fully functioning product. So if a gamified product has a learning area, and an area for experienced users, we could start by building a small prototype that only has the learning elements in it. With that prototype we can test whether our approach to learning works for our target users. Prefereably we develop two prototypes wherein we test our major assumptions in a test and control group set up (we call this a/b testing).
MVPs (Minimum Viable Product) are a step more advanced than the prototype. The MVP in principle has so many features that you could put it on the market as a viable product. It should incorporate all the lessons learned from the prototype testing process, including survey feedback, data flows, and user interview results. Typically the MVP will be released to a large group of (potential) users, so it should be engaging, look good and work well.
1.0, 2.0, 3.0 After the product has been fully released as a functional product to a larger audience, work may begin on a next release where even more advanced features are incorporated. Ideally smaller parts of these features will have been tested on parts of the user group.
So we have come to end of our journey, there is a functioning product on the market with the Power of Octalysis and we love our client and the client love us (hopefully). Done, next product! Maybe, yes….but we have designed for long term Gamification engagement. Multi year engagement, if we have done our job well enough…
So you’ll probably be part of seeing your baby grow up to an adult, carefully making sure that the motivation that it was designed for grow with each and every new release. Happy parenting!