User Experience Report: Does The Application of Game Elements Result In Improved User Engagement?


61% of participants were at least somewhat familiar with gamification

Most participants were rather well versed in gamification with 57% able to produce an example. Overall women were slightly more familiar with gamification than men.

People appreciate game elements (ie. Badges) when they are well designed

Participants praised the badges of Duolingo and Officevibe highly, because of appealing design and visuals. Other game mechanics, such as progress or experience bars were also praised when well designed.

People don’t appreciate game elements that are unrecognizable

Nike+ makes use of achievements (badges) that were ignored because people didn’t know their meaning. Volkswagen’s SmileDrive makes use of a ‘smilescore’, which was often interpreted as a score gained for driving with a smile (which it wasn’t of course).

The reason for implementing game mechanics needs to make sense

For example, Volkswagen’s SmileDrive didn’t appeal to participants because they didn’t understood how the inclusion of game elements enhanced their drive.

With the correct resources, it’s worth going the extra mile and incorporating more complex game elements, which require more time to develop

Some of the typical game mechanics (e.g. progression, leaderboards) that Nike+ employs appealed to our participants, but others were simply ignored. Zombies, Run! which is also a running application, creates an immersive story-driven application
instead. This results in more motivated users via a different technique.

Apply social elements in addition to game mechanics to further increase UX

Duolingo offers the ability to let friends follow you so they can keep track of your progress in a way similar to Twitter or Facebook. This instantly appeals to people, because they want their friends to know how they are doing.

Gamification elements should be used in the correct context and add something

In Toshl, the application’s focus is on personal finance; but distracting placement of various visuals meant users were unable to perform even basic but crucial tasks.


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