Joris Beerda: “Guide to Gamification Glory”

Last week I shared my thoughts with you about arguably the best Gamification framework in town: the Octalysis Framework ( Many people came back to me asking whether the Framework is just an analytical tool to describe how human focused design works. Also many of you wanted to know how to make actually make a Gamification Design yourself.

OK, you have asked for it and here it is: The Guide to Gamification Glory (in easy steps).

Number_1_in_green_rounded_square.svg.medUnderstand the business objectives of your client

Well, in my work at The Octalysis Group, I always start with developing an understanding what the business objectives of the client are. Starting your Gamification journey without knowing what client objectives will take you on a road to nowhere. You may get very engaged players, but a very disengaged client! Start by asking your client to limit objectives to 5 at the most. You’ll be surprised how many clients have no clue what their main objectives are. Often this question leads to interesting debates, crucial to getting a shared and supported statement about what it I that we are trying to achieve here. This step is often underserved and will come to bite you in your behind later on if you don’t get agreement on what the real business objectives are…

two-green-square-rounded-edge-hi-300x300Define the business metrics of on the basis of business objectives

Once you have the key objectives defined, you want to split them in measurable output: your business metrics. These are the quantifiable output indicators that support the broader business objectives of your client. So, if your client is interested in having many new players (the business objective), you will need to focus on new sign-ups (the business metric). Beware: there may be more than one business metric for one objective…

Great, we are getting somewhere now! We now know where our journey is going and how to measure how we are doing and how fast we are going too.  Take a breath, and enjoy that moment of mastery… It’s going to get more difficult!

number-three-green-square-rounded-edge-mdDetermine Desired Actions players need to take?

In order to get to measurable metrics, we will determine what exactly players need to do (on screen) to get a measurable metric. You may want someone to push a certain button; or share a certain fact or win state; or fill in an email address. We need to collect all these desired actions, and make sure we create engaging design for each individual action. This is hard, but it is possible, and we will use user group characteritsics and experience phases to lead us in how to design for each and every desired action in the experience (short term and long term).

green-number-4-mdDefine your target user groups (players)

Next we want to see who our key player groups are. Like every driver on the road is different, every player is not the same either. Many theorists have developed helpful schemes and typifications on players: killers, achievers, explorers, socializers and there are many more. Such generalizations are useful as an introduction to player types. However, we want to keep in mind that grouping your target (or expected) players under broad pre-conceived headings almost never really works. People’s behaviour just isn’t that easy to box in. Nobody is really always a ‘killer’ (a player who wants to be (recognized as) number one at the expense of others) and not every person who likes to share and interact with others is always a ‘socializer’.

In fact, depending on the phase of game, and the acquired skills of the player, players can be explorers at first, and then become achievers and turn out be to socializers later on. Make up your own classification of players. In one of my designs, in a Japanese Samurai setting, the player types were: Heroes, Ninjas, Empresses, Advisors and Shoguns for example. Each had different dominant personality aspects in various stages of the experience.

green-icon-5-mdDefine what core drivers of motivation are most dominant in each phase of the experience.

Now we are getting into my favourite field of work: the analytical might of the Octalysis Framework! For every phase we are thinking of very creative Gamification Features that will appeal to intrinsic or extrinsic motivators of players. In every phase of the experience, we will design for different motivators. In the onboarding phase, we may want players to quickly discover all the basic possibilities and features of the game. Extrinsic motivators (rewards, XP, badges, leaderboards for example) lead the way here.

But very soon we need to start bringing in intrinsic motivation (creativity of feedback, socializing, designing for epic calling). This is where a lot of creative power leads the way. And this is also where The Octalysis Group consultants excel and provide substantial added value for medium to long term player engagement, compared to off-the-shelf and out-of-box solutions.

green-icon-6-mdTweaking for different players

We now know broadly what kind of motivators, game mechanics and features will be incorporated in the experience, and in what phases we are going to emphasize what. What follows is an elaborate schedule of how we think each player type will come to accomplish each desired action, for each phase. This is the work of chess players and monks: forward looking and paying attention to every little detail possible. In the end we are left with an 3D model of players, phases, and motivators that encompasses the whole experience, with its players, phases and motivators and in all its desired actions, metrics and objectives! It’s Octalysis heaven…

But we are not done. There is so much more to learn!

  • How do we get people to acquire skills throughout the experience?
  • What feedback works and what feedback doesn’t?
  • How do we get them to reach a state of Flow, where players forget time and space and become completely engaged in the experience?
  • And how do we do this with only limited (clients) budget at our disposal?

Join me for my next blog piece. I will then reveal the remaining secrets to real best practice Gamification.

Not just more examples of Gamification, but real lessons learned from a Gamification designer

Next week on!

Keep the faith…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *