While designing a gamification system or more appropriately as I would say, designing motivation using game mechanics, the center stage is taken by the player. Player – the individual for whom the gamification system is designed to keep him/her hooked to your service/company/offering. This makes the player the vertex of the gamification strategy. For example, lets consider a marketing gamification strategy that is being developed for a global product. The players in such a category are so diverse that creating a gamification strategy keeping each and every player of your product into consideration set will be very difficult. It is almost impossible to develop such a gamified system that is engaging for all type of players. What may be fun and engaging for one set of player may not be so for the other set.
As a solution to this problem, the gamification strategist working at your organization must realize the limitations and design the strategy keeping in mind the players that really matter. Gamification is about change: in the player’s behavior, their actions or way of thinking. A successful gamification strategy will encompass focused changes as mass or general changes are not feasible via gamification. Else it will be contributing to the pool of 80% failed applications as estimated by Gartner few years down the line.
So what it is about the relevant players that should be kept in mind while writing the stories? I will help you in this by putting them in 8 easy questions that the gamification strategist of your organization needs to answer before planning the engagement tools to be used.
Q1. Who do we want your players to be? [It is possible that your product caters to varied demographics, so for whom is this gamification strategy for? Is it for the least engaged or the most engaged.]
- Q1 is the most important step; once it is answered precisely, rest of the following questions become quite easier to answer.
Q2. What does the player already thinks of your product (i.e. how informed the player is)?
Q3. What is the player skeptical of?
Q4. What are the players needs, demands and wants?
Q5. What is the most engaging media to reach the player? What are the touch points where the player can be connected easily?
Q6. What about the player can be changed easily and what will require a persistent effort via your gamified strategy?
Q7. Where has your offering touched the player in the past?
Q8. After the player has successfully engaged, how will the player interact with his/her fellow players?
Once you have answers to these questions go and gamify the players by using appropriate engagement tools, but remember do not crop and photoshop your game to accommodate more players, try to appreciate the fact that gamification has its limitations. One size doesn’t fit all.