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Prioritising Gamification

Subtle animations like a bouncing login button or a preview when your mouse moves over a link, provide a much better user experience. Fun animations help connect users to the brand’s personality and messaging.

Gamification, learning, achievement, goal, reward. Picture of desk with coffee and glasses

People stay on a webpage 2.6 times longer if there is some sort of animation or motion graphics involved.

When you work with a technical product, you’re constantly adding new features and functionality based on user feedback or market needs. Currently, beSlick has set several features on the back burner while it works on something extremely important: fun animations!

You’ve probably seen animations on sites before. If you’ve used SurveyMonkey, you’ll get a high-five from their friendly mascot whenever you send a successful email campaign. Google says their daily Doodle has had a profound impact in connecting people and sharing important stories about activists, history and causes for more than twenty years. Waze doesn’t have a particularly engaging or dynamic site, but there’s a little bouncing arrow at the bottom page that compels you to do exactly what it wants you to do: click it!

Even telecommunications giant Cisco, has added a few subtle animations to its website to draw attention to important information.

Whether it’s a unicorn flying across the screen or confetti raining down when you’ve completed a task, these animations can have a big impact on the way we experience and use the software.

It sounds counterintuitive to prioritise developing fun little gimmicks when there are very important, highly functional features that need to be developed. But more and more companies are prioritising gamification in software development. There are a few reasons for this.

People standing on their tech devices with a social media symbol above their head

For one thing, people like interactive graphical elements. A study by Microsoft found that small animations keep people engaged, keep their eyes moving, and prompt them to take action. In fact, people stay on a webpage 2.6 times longer than normal if there is some sort of animation or motion graphics involved.

Subtle animations - like a bouncing login button or a preview when your mouse moves over a link - provide a much better user experience. Fun animations can also help connect users to the brand’s personality and messaging. (Coca-Cola’s brand website emulates its “Share a Coke” animation when you scroll around the site).

You could argue that this is all well and good for consumer-facing eCommerce sites or search engines, but what would be the purpose of adding fun elements to products like ours that are more utilitarian in nature? Fun feels like a barrier to productivity, not an enhancement to it.

For our product solution to be successful, as many people as possible need to discover and actively use it. One way to perform a calculation of the success of our product would be to multiple of how much value our solution delivers by the number of people who receive that value.

When we approach product enhancements, we have to ask how we make people’s experiences with our technology and tools better. Adding a few animations and tricks may seem simple, but it’s really a combination of design thinking, positive psychology and cognitive behavioural therapy put to work in a way that gets people using our software.

Man in gamification mode

If a product becomes more enjoyable to use, it will get used more often. If that product is designed to make those users more productive, that increased usage will amplify the increased productivity. It’s no surprise that the corporate sector is the biggest user of gamified learning solutions, experiencing 47.5% growth in the last few years. Employees are much better poised to learn if they can have fun doing it instead of suffering through death-by-Powerpoint corporate training sessions. People can remember 90% of an interactive, gamified task, while they can only recall 10% of what they’ve read.

Think of it in real-world terms. We’ve all shared an office or a meeting room with someone who was having an exceptionally bad day. When you are around grumpy, bored, disengaged energy, it affects your mood and your productivity. However, if you walk into work and people are energised and upbeat, it rubs off on you in the best possible way.

Your product may be functional. It may be doing exactly what it’s supposed to and ticking all of your client’s boxes. But if it’s grumpy…well, the uptake just won’t be as good.

Many companies tend to miss a trick when it comes to emotional design. We tend to start with a simple, problem-solving approach centred around the utility of a product, and we forget that actual human beings have to use it. Does your product factor into people’s state of mind while they’re using it? Or the fact that most people have an attention span of around eight seconds? Success isn’t just about creating a solution or a function but also depends on emotional and behavioural drivers like motivation, creating a sense of accomplishment, engagement and focus.

At beSlick, we’re prioritising joy because it’s important. The joy that someone derives from completing a task and achieving a goal forms an essential part of driving organisational change. Experiencing joy by completing a task is just as important as your ability to complete that task.

If you find yourself adding more features and more functionality but not engagement or increased usage, it may be time to take a step back and prioritise fun over function.


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