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The Psychology Behind Gamification34:13 with Tosin Ajimobi
Gamification is a somewhat controversial topic. It has been used to help teach people languages, coding, music and even good health practices. But it's also been touted as the next big marketing scheme, and in some cases exploitationware. But the fact remains: If you want people to do things? Then make those things fun to do. In this talk Tosin will be exploring how games affect us on a psychological level, how gamification isn't all bad, and how you can harness game mechanics effectively to improve the applications you build without falling into a shallow pit of badges and points.
[MUSIC] 0:00 Hi, everyone. 0:04 I just have to ask the question who here is a gamer? 0:11 Awesome, you're all my brethren. 0:17 so, welcome to my talk the future of fun and the psychology behind gamification. 0:20 And this is going to be a talk about how 0:28 gamification works and where we should be heading in the future. 0:31 So first a little bit about myself my name is [UNKNOWN] Ajimobi. 0:36 I am a front end developer [INAUDIBLE] And really interested 0:41 in user experience designs and a bit of [INAUDIBLE] as well. 0:45 But mostly formally I'm [INAUDIBLE] And [INAUDIBLE] I 0:50 always thought that software could be more fun. 0:55 I have full memories of using software like [UNKNOWN] speak. 0:59 [INAUDIBLE] cuts [INAUDIBLE] and [INAUDIBLE] lessons and demonstrate 1:03 to the [INAUDIBLE] or learning to read music. 1:07 Can I download apps that will score me and then challenge me to a, a [INAUDIBLE]. 1:11 And so I came across the word gamification. 1:18 Location [INAUDIBLE] about two or three years. 1:22 I understood it to mean this. 1:26 Using game mechanics and non game contexts to achieve certain goals. 1:29 And these goals can be anything from 1:32 engagement, Keeping people interested in your app. 1:36 Helping people to remember things and obtain 1:41 information, and helping them skill building practice. 1:44 But, to my surprise, I found it didn't 1:49 really have a great reputation in some circles. 1:52 In fact, I'll tell this story, when I was showing my. 1:56 [INAUDIBLE] my good friend. 2:00 She said probably don't want to use gamification in 2:03 the title because some people think that's quite comical. 2:06 And so I did more research into it. 2:10 And I can kind of understand why people don't like it. 2:11 It's been associated with marketing malpractice. 2:14 And the idea of playing games >> [INAUDIBLE] 2:17 [UNKNOWN] 2:26 [INAUDIBLE] 2:31 So Things like this talk in, in Summerland. 2:37 So let's begin. 2:42 The things I'm gonna talk about in the next half an hour or so. 2:44 Why Gamify? 2:52 So what's the point. 2:53 And when and how to Gamify. 2:55 So, I'm gonna talk about how games, modern games, u?se 2:59 feedback [UNKNOWN] engagement techniques for engaged people. 3:04 And, also about community, which isn't gamification, as such. 3:09 But it's a big part of the [INAUDIBLE]. 3:14 So, why gamify? 3:18 Well, I think the main reason is to learn from. 3:20 >> [INAUDIBLE] I 3:23 like to say that if the entertainment industry 3:28 and the tech industry had a child it'd be 3:33 the game industry, and 3:39 it's kind of [UNKNOWN] [INAUDIBLE] And 3:44 I think it's [UNKNOWN] So now 3:49 you know why you should gamify, now when should you gamify? 3:56 [INAUDIBLE] [UNKNOWN] Out there it's not a magic pill. 4:03 Like any tool it has strengths and weaknesses. 4:07 And I think the strengths are engaging people, 4:09 helping people or guiding them to solve problems. 4:14 And getting them to practice certain skill, so Kind of outside I don't think. 4:17 Super 4:26 serious apps, and when I say that I mean 4:29 apps such as things concerns us with bringing Issues. 4:32 Or perhaps the information of all the threat management of money which 4:39 is, which has kind of a caveat because you can only gain quite a saving I think. 4:47 And the next group of apps I think we should be getting quite apps that 4:53 are broken, and when I say broken what I mean is that they don't really serve... 4:57 [INAUDIBLE] They are already not fulfilling the need that they need to be, 5:02 fulfilling, and so that brings you in a sense that they don't work. 5:08 So the implication can't help with that. 5:13 They are just, uh… 5:20 Sorry [LAUGH] gamification won't just. 5:27 Gamification is an enhancer. 5:30 It, it can't just fix something that doesn't already work. 5:32 But I've found quite a few examples of 5:38 apps that I do think are gaming quite well. 5:42 So there's Duolingo which is a language learning app. 5:44 Which uses a game like structure to help you practice your languages. 5:49 And at the same time it translates the rest of the work. 5:55 Free Rice is a web site that will donate 5:59 10 grains of rice to hungry countries for every. 6:03 Question that you want to [INAUDIBLE] if [INAUDIBLE] scores 6:07 your activity and gives you feedback in those [INAUDIBLE] presence. 6:14 In Treehouse and Codecademy are of course gamify methods all about how to program. 6:22 So, these boss battles are just my way of trying to summarizing each section. 6:33 So, content always comes first. 6:41 Your app has to work without gamification in order for it to work with gamification. 6:45 And gamification is a new concept. 6:50 It will only improve what's already there. 6:52 And considering that, gamification has many practical uses. 6:56 It's not just gamifying maps and language learning, but There have 7:01 been examples of gamification being used to, help people overcome panic attacks. 7:07 Or, 7:14 to bounce back from [UNKNOWN] Alzheimer's. 7:16 [SOUND] [INAUDIBLE] complete. 7:22 So, the next level is. 7:27 About feedback, and give good feedback. 7:30 And when I say, give good feedback, I don't 7:33 necessarily means positive feedback, though that may be necessary. 7:35 But give efficient feedback. 7:39 Effective feedback, even. 7:42 Feedback is the core of any game. 7:44 And it's essentially what creates. 7:47 Sense of interactivity. 7:49 Games are essentially these feedback loops. 7:52 which, a whole bunch of them just intertwine with each other. 7:56 And, in the game a [UNKNOWN] perform an 8:00 action, which will have an effect on the world. 8:03 And then that effect will at this feedback and influence the pace and actions. 8:06 I think it's really important to have a good 8:15 feedback loop so the user always know where they stand. 8:17 So I really like Free Rice because as I explained it. 8:25 During the next ten grains of rice for each question, and the feedback 8:30 loop is great, because you can visually see how much rice you've donated. 8:33 So here, I've asked, I've answered one question, and I've got ten grains of rice. 8:38 And here, I've answered about 16 questions, and you 8:45 can see that I've gained four bowls of rice. 8:47 This and a place [UNKNOWN] competing [UNKNOWN]. 8:51 So its excellent and clear 8:53 feedback. 8:57 I think advanced key to effective feedback is balance. 8:58 It needs to be meaningful. 9:02 Say that its relevant to exactly what the the actions of 9:05 the player performing and it needs to be timely as well. 9:09 So there's no point in giving meaningful 9:13 feedback if you're giving it an hour later. 9:14 [COUGH] And then 9:17 It needs to be actionable and encouraging. 9:23 So it needs to inform your user whether they should change what 9:25 they're doing or if they should continue, and if they should be consistent. 9:30 Different actions should garner different feedback, so there's no point giving me 9:35 300 points for logging into your website, and then five points for making a review. 9:43 But speaking of points and badges. 9:51 >> [INAUDIBLE] 9:52 Today and I think when people think invitation they think [INAUDIBLE] And 9:55 that's fine but I do think they're misused as feedback tools and 10:02 this is why it's kind of because they're used as an incentive in themselves. 10:10 Used as a kind of currency, like, the badge is the 10:17 reward, and, if you do this, then you'll get the badge. 10:20 And so they kind of become payment, but in doing that then play becomes work. 10:24 So that's not what we want. 10:30 I mean research has already shown that extrinsic rewards alone. 10:32 Rewarding people extrinsically for doing a particular thing. 10:37 People will stop doing that thing if the rewards stop. 10:41 And that's not what we want. 10:47 I think the correct way to use badges is to acknowledge achievement. 10:50 It's kind of like a pat on the back when someone's done a good job. 10:55 And this is what gangs do. 11:01 They actually call badges achievements most of the time. 11:03 They'll set you a challenge and when you 11:05 complete that challenge they give you a badge. 11:07 which you've essentially used to show 11:10 everyone that you've completed that challenge. 11:13 And I really like the way that Code Academy kind of does badges, because it, 11:19 it, they, it doesn't dangle them in front of you, like, oh, here's a badge. 11:24 Do this and you'll get this. 11:29 But it surprises you with them and then it loads them all out here. 11:31 So that you can see exactly what you've achieved and how far you've come. 11:35 Now points and badges I often see are used 11:44 interchangeably in some gamefication attempts at the moment and I 11:47 think that's a mistake because wall budges are 11:52 for acknowledging specific achievements, points or more of a progress indicator. 11:57 I think a really good example of this in real life is the FitBed 12:03 because it's essentially giving you a score for the amount of activity you do. 12:10 It's showing you how much progress you've made. 12:14 It's really easy to, you know, take a stroll 12:17 around and not realize how much activity you're doing. 12:20 But if you, add a tracker like this 12:23 the score you get just kind of shows you your progress. 12:30 And points came about with the advent of arcade games. 12:36 The first high score table was featured in the game Asteroids. 12:42 And it was kind of a way to bring the social element. 12:47 To gaming and, offensive competition because it was the only way 12:50 you could really show how far you progressed in the game. 12:56 There was no way of saving games back then so, 12:59 your high score was all you had to show for yourself. 13:04 But like arcade games points and badges are kind of getting a bit old. 13:07 If you look at modern games. 13:15 You won't really see them much. 13:18 You'll see badges and kind of achievements in the background. 13:19 But they are never really the focus of the game. 13:23 And I wanna show you an example of really creative, of reward system in this game. 13:27 So this game is called Journey. 13:35 And the idea is just that you have to reach the top of this mountain. 13:39 And you've got this huge expansive world which you're traveling through as 13:48 you're heading for the mountain and you can make detours and explore. 13:53 And also you can see that the characters that you control one of these characters. 13:58 Are beautifully adorned with patterns on the clothing and [INAUDIBLE] scarves. 14:03 But when you first start the game. 14:08 You look like this. 14:11 You're completely plain. 14:12 You have no scarf at all. 14:13 But by finding symbols through exploration your scarf grows. 14:16 And every time you complete the game. 14:21 And it is quite short. 14:23 Maybe a couple of hours. 14:24 You get patterns added to your cloak. 14:27 So in a way it's kind of an 14:29 aesthetically pleasing way of adorning yourself with your achievements. 14:31 And showing off to other players. 14:36 But I think the thing that I like most 14:40 about this reward system is that it's functional as well. 14:44 And the longer your scarf is it actually allows you 14:49 to fly, so the game is pretty much an exploration game. 14:53 And so the reward allows you to explore 14:59 more efficiently, and I think that's really creative. 15:02 And, it would be nice if, you know, web apps could kind of integrate those kinds 15:05 of, innovative reward systems. 15:10 So in summary, give effective feedback. 15:17 Feedback is 15:20 really key to a user's experience. 15:24 Badges and points is rewards on sustainable on their own. 15:27 They need to be paired with some kind of achievement. 15:31 They need to be indicative of their achievement. 15:34 And games are constantly innovating with, how to reward people. 15:37 And I think we should be doing that as well. 15:48 Next level is about simplification. 15:57 Good game designers know how to simplify 16:01 their games and remove all the unnecessary. 16:05 And the result is a really easily playable game. 16:09 All the timeless games like Tetris and Pacman and Minesweeper have been 16:15 really, really simple and I'm starting to see that in some apps as well. 16:21 So, for example, this is a, this is a to do list and it's extremely simple. 16:28 It's called Clear, and you can hold your phone in one hand 16:34 and pull down to create an item and swipe across to remove it. 16:39 And, I just love it because it just remove 16:44 all the frustrat- frustrating distractions of to do this 16:47 I've used before where you have to press buttons 16:51 or you have to organize things into different areas. 16:54 I think that's just a really good example. 16:58 So consider how you can simplify your app You know, can you 17:02 remove a stage where someone has to click a button pointlessly or 17:10 can you make things clearer for them. 17:15 Another area of simplification that a lot of 17:20 games do well is teaching people how to play. 17:22 Tutorials that kinda, walk a user through the process 17:28 of playing, and it, it would be cool if a lot of apps could do this 17:33 as well, rather than it having wall of text instructions. 17:38 [SOUND] 17:43 So engagement is probably, 17:49 it's the most it's the thing that games are most good at. 17:54 And they have to be, because their way of surviving And I think gains do 17:58 this in three main ways, they create a purpose for the user. 18:04 They utilize flow and they utilize novelty. 18:10 So, purpose, it's. 18:16 Quite simple it's the reason to play. 18:21 In Minesweeper it's to not get blown up and to find all 18:23 the mines, in Tetris it's survival, in Journey it's reaching the mountain. 18:26 And a part of this can be created with narrative. 18:33 And this is an app 18:39 >> I really like the idea of [UNKNOWN] to be honest so 18:42 zombies run and it's an app to help you exercise, you go for a 18:47 run with your headphones in and it makes sounds like those zombies chasing 18:52 you [LAUGH] and it also gives you these kind of goals to reach. 18:59 You know run 300 meters to get medicine or find shelter at this place. 19:04 And I think it's just an amazing example of narrative to add a more 19:09 immediate purpose to something that usually isn't 19:14 that pleasant (i.e running for long distances). 19:17 And I think also giving people a chance to be creative can be a purpose in itself. 19:24 So this is a sketch of scratch which is 19:31 a environment that allows students to kind of learn the logic behind programming. 19:37 And I think it's great, cuz it just, it kind of goes back to that simplification. 19:43 It removes all these all the hard parts of programming. 19:48 The setup, you know, the tools. 19:53 And it just allows people the space to create something. 19:56 And of course, there's competition. 20:02 Competition can make even the most mundane thing, exciting. 20:05 I mean, just look at football, and just kicking around [LAUGH] I, I mean 20:09 [LAUGH] The, the urge to come out on top can really, Add purpose to an activity. 20:15 And the next thing I want to speak on is flow. 20:25 Flow is a psychological state where you are 20:28 completely involved with, you are energized by it and usually you 20:33 are in a state of joy as well And, this guy proposed it. 20:39 His name is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 20:45 And,um, he came up with the idea after watching painters 20:47 kind of get lost in their work, and paint for hours, without distraction. 20:52 And the concept is basically that. 20:59 In the absence of anxiety or distraction or depression as long 21:02 as a person's skill and the challenge level are matched and they'll 21:07 be in a state of flow where they're intrinsically motivated to 21:12 do something and you need three things in order to achieve this. 21:15 So the first is clear goals. 21:20 You need to know what your goals are, and I think Space Invaders achieves this 21:26 by letting you know that you need to clear all the enemies from the screen. 21:32 It's also important that you're aware of your progress. 21:39 Because otherwise it distracts you from the goal. 21:42 So, yeah [INAUDIBLE] quite well. 21:45 Immediate feedback. 21:50 It's important they have feedback immediately 21:53 so that you can make quick decisions. 21:56 If you, at any time aren't aware of the next step, that's a distraction. 21:58 And it causes anxiety, which, takes you out of flow. 22:03 And [INAUDIBLE] does this well because with every click you 22:08 make, either you don't get online or you do get online. 22:10 [COUGH] And the last thing is that balance of challenge and skill. 22:15 Which is probably a little bit more difficult to achieve. 22:24 But Tetris does a good job of this by using its level system. 22:29 So if you start at level zero, the blocks fall really slowly. 22:34 Your skill level is quite low. 22:38 And then as you get more comfortable with the game, the 22:39 level rises, and, the challenge rises to match your skill level. 22:43 And this, tends to happen mostly with very simple games and, I can imagine it 22:51 happening with, education apps or apps where 22:57 you have to practice things so for example 23:01 an app that teaches music for example. 23:07 The next thing is novelty. 23:13 So novelty is kind of adding, in essence 23:16 of the new and unexpected, in to your software. 23:20 And one really easy way of adding novelty, is, Easter eggs, and 23:25 so there are plenty of Easter eggs across the internet, and I'll just show you a few 23:31 There's of course YouTube, which is just littered with all kinds of Easter eggs, 23:37 but the one that I'm showing here, is the mission control Easter egg so, if you go 23:41 into any video and you type in the numbers 1980. 23:47 [SOUND] 23:54 Then it'll allow you to play, this old time game, Mission Control. 23:57 And you have to protect the video from the missiles, which is quite fun. 24:02 and, has anyone heard of the Konami code here? 24:07 Awesome. 24:14 So, the Konami code for those who don't know, is code that Konami introduced way 24:15 back when, because his games were really hard, and if you needed extra lives 24:21 you would just type in this code and get a whole bunch of extra lives, but a lot of 24:26 Web sites have, kind of, started integrating this into their pages. 24:33 And you get things like this, which is this is the Vogue home page. 24:40 And if you go on it, and you type in the Konami Code, up, up, down, down, 24:47 left, right, left, right, B, A, then you get 24:51 these dinosaurs, kind of popping up with hats on. 24:54 And then they scurry off. 24:57 And it's really quick, and it's just completely unexpected but 24:58 it kind of it's quite endearing I think in a way. 25:02 And now we have like a sense of gamifying in real life 25:08 and this is a video I want to show you and this is basically an attempt at making 25:14 the stairs more fun to climb. 25:20 >> [MUSIC] [MUSIC] >> [SOUND] 25:27 >> [MUSIC] [SOUND] 25:51 >> [MUSIC] 26:18 [MUSIC] 26:31 [MUSIC] 26:54 [LAUGH] 26:58 [SOUND] >> Yeah, so, that was 27:01 a video by an initiative by Volkswagen, 27:07 and they have loads of different kind of 27:13 experiments like that that they've done. 27:18 Another way of introducing kind of novelty into your apps is by [UNKNOWN] 27:25 curiosity. 27:32 So, what you see here is a large cube made up of billions of other smaller cubes and 27:34 this was a curiosity experiment created by a game designer called Peter Thalamew. 27:43 And he's quite eccentric and he basically said I've made a huge 27:48 cube all of you guys poke at the little cubes to get 27:54 rid of them, and at the center of this cube there's a, a really awesome prize 27:58 and just based on that prize being there, hundreds 28:04 of thousands of people downloaded this app and were just tapping 28:10 at their their phone screens to whittle away this cube. 28:14 And granted the price was pretty good, it was 28:20 a share of the profits of his next game. 28:23 But I mean even I tried it because I 28:25 was curious about you know what the game entailed. 28:29 So 28:36 go about adding purpose with narrative. 28:39 Gamevitation is about adding fun. 28:43 So if you have an app that's usually about, you 28:45 know, something boring that people, kind of, want to do or 28:48 know they should do but they don't want to do cuz 28:52 it's boring, then Add a story behind it, by all means. 28:55 Don't underestimate curiosity. 28:59 One of the best books I ever had, as a kid, was a book 29:01 that had like an interactive quiz at the end of the sections. 29:06 It was a science book, and I learned a lot from that. 29:12 And use fun and humor to connect with users. 29:15 It just, it adds a little bit of humanity and it 29:18 kind of takes us away from just being a big faceless company. 29:21 You get to be kind of, your users get to 29:26 see that you have a personality, which is quite nice. 29:29 And the last thing is community. 29:36 Now, like I said, it's not really gamification, community, but in community. 29:40 But community is extremely important for video games. 29:45 Especially the indie community. 29:49 Because it when you interact with your community properly 29:51 you gain loyalty, and they're more likely to support you. 29:56 In fact, if we look at this, this is 30:00 a kick-starter created by a game company called Double Fine. 30:05 And the guy who made Double Fine is Tim Schafer. 30:10 And he was one of the lead developers on a, a famous 30:14 game title called the Seeker of Monkey Island, back in the day. 30:18 And he asked, for $400,000 in order to make a new game. 30:22 And because of the community that he'd, gathered 30:28 and that cared about, him and his products. 30:32 He managed to gain $3.3 million in the end. 30:35 And its. 30:39 I, I think it still holds the records for the highest funded Kick Starter. 30:40 Attritive development is really big in indie 30:49 games these days, a lot of indie games like Minecraft or Dense 30:53 Starve will release in alpha so that their 30:58 community can use the game, test it, give them feedback, 31:04 and it's a great way of making your product better for 31:09 the users, and bringing in people because your product is better. 31:14 And the next thing is community created content. 31:20 And another Minecraft example so for those who don't know about Minecraft. 31:24 Does anyone here not know about Minecraft? 31:30 [LAUGH] Okay so Minecraft is basically a game where you're 31:36 in a huge world, and the whole world is editable. 31:42 You can break almost any block, and you can place any block wherever you want it. 31:47 And Minecraft has become absolutely famous for being modable. 31:51 So people build amazing things. 31:59 cities, adventure maps. 32:02 I think there's been an eight bit computer built in Minecraft. 32:05 There's been, music boxes. 32:09 And not [UNKNOWN] of Minecraft. 32:11 He said, himself, that, at first, he wasn't 32:14 too keen on the whole [UNKNOWN] of this game. 32:16 Because he felt it was taking away, his creativity over the game, but 32:18 he's admitted that it wouldn't be where it was today if he hadn't allowed it. 32:24 And this is just like a screenshot of an app 32:30 that I think kind of utilizes community created content well. 32:35 It's BrainScape. 32:39 And it's a flashcard app where anyone can create a 32:40 deck of flashcards and then share them with the community. 32:44 So your community will help you if, if they like you. 32:51 And this is something you can also achieve with novelty as I mentioned before. 32:55 And one way you can interact with your community is by responding to their 33:01 reviews so you know if you have an app, and someone needs your view and 33:06 you respond to it or you act upon that review, and that builds a sense 33:12 of like you care about the user and your user will be loyal to you. 33:17 [BLANK_AUDIO] 33:22 And you win, is the end of my presentation I just like you 33:27 to take away from this that's gamification is all about learning from games, 33:33 just remember that games are always innovating and I 33:41 think we''re quite far behind especially in gamification because we're 33:45 still using you know, points and badges and the 33:48 fancy graphics exclusively when there's so much more to it. 33:51 Engage with your community. 33:57 That's definitely a big part of things and I 33:59 guess you can remember that gamification is making things fun. 34:02 Thank you very much for listening to my talk. 34:08 [SOUND] 34:10
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