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Gamification is usually understood as adding Badges, Points, and Levels. While this are some of the techniques used in gamificaiton, it's barely the tip of the ice.

When you start your career as a Web Designer, or, in any case, "anything" Designer, you want your designs to look good enough for people not to think it's the ugliest thing... yes, we all have self-doubting issues... But, you keep working and you start to get comfortable with the tools and you get comfortable with your skills. One day you are finally PROUD of your design! ...but then, the client sees it and says "no, this doesn't work for our users"- WHAAAT?? -"but it's the new trend"- think...

So after this happened to me, I started to question about this "user", and what they had to do with what I was trying to design... and so I embarqued my journey into usability, data, personas... and soon, I became a UX designer. I spent years analysing, looking into data, thinking about how to solve problems, all while trying to keep the creative spark going without affecting the usability, but... once the Gamification-light hit me, I realized that usability can ALWAYS be improved with gamification strategies. Any user, any market, any industry, any... one, can be motivated with some strategic gamification. And, actually, that's what gamification is all about, MOTIVATION, whether it is the user, your company, your family, your kids, or yourself to achieve any goal, action, task or vision. So yes, if you want to become... whatever, you can benefit from gamification!

In the last couple of years, I've been learning some strategies and concepts that I have applied to achieve goalsto home-school my daughter during the lockdown, to study for tests for my immigration process... the list goes on. And every time, it's proven it's magic effect and made it easier and much more engaging. 

This time, I would like to talk about one of the ways I have applied Gamification into the work I do as a UX designer and team lead.

To clarify this process, I'm using the Lifestyle Gamification methodology, which I first discoverd in Yu-kai Chou's book: Actional Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges and Leaderboards.

1. Finding their game

When we start a project, we invite all the members of the UX Team into "the game" (more formally known as the Project Planning Phase). We are about to embark on an adventure together. We start defining who will be responsible for what. Everyone takes their position.

2. Analyzing their initial stats

We start by looking back into what the ancestor of this new project/feature stats and relevant data say, such as traffic, heatmaps, recording, user feedback, support tickets. Any data that can be considered as "learning lessons". By putting all this together, we make sure everyone sees the potentiality of the project.

3. Formulating skill trees

Once we have gathered the data, we analyze what our "players" (more formally known as users) are expecting from the project or feature, what they are capable of doing (looking into their skills), what could be skills that they could acquire if they were given the chance to learn, and what would make them better players.

This will formulate a pretty good "vision of the project/feature". The key here is to invent something that will give value to our users or potential customers.

4. Connecting with allies

Now that we have an idea of what we will build next, we start coming together as a team. The thing is, I do not want to be playing the designing-a-feature game alone, I consider it extremely important to align the whole team into the same vision as mine. That is why, my next step is to bring the team into the project, even team players that will not be directly involved in it.

So I start with a Brainstorm Workshop. You know... the usual: we get together in a room, talk about the project, bring up the mindmap I created for the session, and the game is on!

We all get on the same boat and start sailing together. No idea is taken out, no idea is given less interest or time than any other. Every idea is carefully thought, analyzed, and clearly understood across our team. There are no authors for the ideas given and ideas are treated all equally.

5. Finding the right quests

Once all ideas are well understood, each member of the team gives a vote to each idea, this is how we give birth to our prioritization process.

We bring these ideas into a "lead-score" board (also known as spreadsheet... I'm seriously thinking about finding a more "professional" solution for this), which will start calculating the score across the priorities of our users from different perspectives:

1. Personas' goals

2. Users' priorities

3. Customer feedback

4. Costs vs benefit

5. Business objectives, vision and strategy

We calculate the value of each idea across all these parameters and then come up with the final "Leaderboard".

6. Beating the game

Every time we've evaluated the results of our projects after doing an iteration, if we've increased use, conversions, ROI, traffic, or satisfaction, we've won the game.

After applying this process strategy, all members of the UX team are satisfied and in agreement that "the best won", and the strategy is pretty transparent and straightforward.


By implementing this process into the UX Team's decision process, we spared a lot of long-hour discussions and, more importantly, questioning whether if what I am designing is actually the best solution for the project, and, especially, for the Software / Business.

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