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Let’s Play! How Gamification Can Enhance Your Site

Let’s Play! How Gamification Can Enhance Your Site

Let’s Play! How Gamification Can Enhance Your Site

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Games are inherently fantastic motivators. They've been used by educators and marketers for years to boost engagement in topics ranging from medicine, to finance, to auto-mechanics. You can pull elements from the game environment and integrate them into your digital projects to benefit from the engagement that comes from gamification.

The Progress Bar as Motivator

The progress bar has a bigger role to play than simply highlighting the current screen. It should motivate the user, emphasizing not so much where they've been or where they are now, but how close they are to the final screen, when you present the solutions to their problems. This screen is, after all, where you showcase how your products and services are the perfect fit for your users needs. Build that result screen up as the goal of their visit to your site. Borrow from the board games of your childhood, designing your site as an exciting journey with a big reward at the end.

Personalize Your Sharing

Arcade games have been encouraging the social aspect of play to grow market share for years, using features like leader boards and multiplayer modes. Over the Internet, games continue to leverage social play, allowing users to earn badges and virtual gifts, which they can share over social media. Calculators or questionnaires can use the same techniques to increase social media shares of their products, presenting users with their own badges and bragging rights.

Place users into categories based on their responses with well-designed (and well-branded) iconography which can be shared over social media. Users will share their own progress, and the specific solutions you are suggesting for them. Spouses want to show their partners the different paths a retirement plan can take. Friends want to brag to each other how they've just built the best home entertainment system ever. Encourage users to share the content, not just the link.

The Video Host as Storyteller

Free the talking head video host from a life of redundancy, relegated to announcing the current page title or regurgitating content that's already on screen. The host should be part of the story, affected by the user's progress through the site. Use multiple hosts to reflect different key user groups (ie advisors or consumers) or have the same host react differently depending on the users progress through your content (perhaps a retirement calculator host changes their story depending on the user’s inputs).

Challenge Your User with Skills Levels

Your users probably have a range of experience with your product or industry. Perhaps you need to offer mortgage solutions to both the financially novice and the savvy investor. Allow the user to engage at different levels with basic and advanced versions of your tools. Give your users the chance to 'upgrade' with timely prompts if their responses indicate they might benefit from an advanced version of your site. Make sure novice users can easily jump out to the basic version if they accidentally arrive in the expert content area.

Add a Side Adventure - AKA Widget

Give your users the option to personalize their experience even further with a simple widget off to the side. Perhaps it allows them to tweak their investment risk level or identify other products that might be good companions for your suggested solutions. Or maybe you'll want to put the game into gamification and give them a very simple but topical game to play. Who knows, maybe your side game could become a big draw to your site.

Gamification is about taking the elements that make gamers so motivated to play, and applying them to your site. You can go big and redesign an entire site, or just tweak your progress bar enough to make a difference. No matter how you do it, consider what motivates people to visit your site, and remain engaged through to your final call to action.

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