miércoles, 29 de mayo de 2013

Gamification Design Steps: An Introduction (I)

Gamification Design Steps: An introduction

Gamification: A design experience to fun, happiness and motivation

Gamification is a design experience to happiness and motivation. We should never forget that Design is Gamification´s biggest challenge and where all its power lies, like a double-edged sword.

So design matters, and it is the difference between another PBL system and a great gamified experience. There are many books, articles and case studies about why design is one of the most important things to take into account and for sure we could be hours talking about it.

I’m not an expert design thinker but if as me, you just want to get some great insights and key points about it, I recommend Tom Kelley´s books on design (http://www.amazon.com/Art-Innovation-Lessons-Creativity-Americas/dp/0385499841). He is the CEO of IDEO, the number one company in design thinking, and some years ago we had the chance to visit their HQ in Silicon Valley. Here is a picture about the first Apple mouse.

But getting back to Gamification, how do we start?

First of all, we should start thinking as a game designer and as a game designer; our main goal is to deliver an awesome experience. OK, I know I know, Gamification is not a game, but since we are going to use stuff like mechanics, aesthetics or storytelling, let’s all pretend we are Blizzard’s number one designer for now!

But what do you mean with delivering an experience? How can I do it?

Well, that is a kind of long and complex question to answer because it involves so many things, (and there are whole books about it!) but to keep it simple, let’s start from the beginning. And our starting point is the Gamification basics so…

Whether you just arrived to the blog, or you already are an expert gamifier, it’s always good to refresh some Gamification basics. Why not having a look at some key points?

Now we are ready to go! Let’s get into the thrilling world of Gamification design!

Gamification design framework by Prof. Werbach: An introduction

Even before starting with a new (actually, extended is more accurate) Gamification design framework, we should have a look at what I consider one of the best and most complete tools for designing, Professor Werbach´s Gamification design framework, also called “The 6 Ds”.

For those who still don’t know Kevin (@kwerb), this is a hangout we did some days ago, with great content and a superb explanation of his 6 Ds model. 

In addition, a new edition of his Gamification MOOC on Coursera is planned for fall 2013 so feel free to sign up! I took the second edition and it was awesome and really insightful. This is an image of his 6D model extracted from the course

Basically, and as you may know, his model is based on 6 steps that are:

- Define business objectives

- Delineate target behaviours

- Describe your players

- Devise activity loops

- Don’t forget the fun

- Deploy the appropriate tools

If you want to know more about this extremely useful framework, I recommend reading his book “For the Win” (and a second part coming soon, check out the hangout to know further details!) in which you can find everything about this steps and how to implement them in your design process. Find his book and many others here: http://www.epicwinblog.net/2013/05/best-gamification-books-where-to-start.html

Gamification design steps by @victormanriquey: The 4 Qs

So you made it down here! Great! I hope I could convince you to do two things: consider yourself the number one game designer of the whole industry (OK, just Blizzard or Roxio are great too) and start considering design as the most important part of Gamification!

Now we are ready to get into the 4 Questions model, an extended version of Prof. Werbach´s 6 “Ds”. 

So what is that 4 Qs framework and how does it help me?

The 4 Qs model is an iterative process to design great gamified experiences to fun, happiness and motivation and it can be used for both internal and external Gamification, with an individual or community focus, and in overall, within any Gamification context.

 So this is how it looks like:

Basically, and to put it simple (we’ll explain it later in two upcoming posts) a gamified experience relies on 4 variables, four questions with a clear answer:

-          WHY? Goal

-          WHAT? Actions

-          WHO? Players

-          HOW? System

WHY? First of all, we use Gamification because of a main goal, something we want to achieve. In overall, the main goals of Gamification are within these categories: get better results, get more users, make our players spend more time on something and increase user engagement. As an example, imagine we are a business and we want to sell more (better results)

WHAT? Once we have settled our Gamification Goal, it’s time to do something about it, see what we are encouraging our player to do. So in order to achieve our goal, the players will have to take some actions. Following the example, if as a business we want to sell more, some of the actions we may foster through Gamification might be just buying more (direct), promote our brand or create a community (indirect), offer special events (indirect), etc.

WHO? We all have users, clients, customers, students, etc. Those are our players, and they are different, with different motivations. (See my post on Gamasutra about it here: LINK). We should get what I call “internal” and “external” feedback (from inside and outside the company) in order to know more about them. And a really important point, the more types of players we can encourage to use our system, the better!

HOW? This is the most critical part of the design process because the “HOW” changes everything. So how are we going to design our system? Well, everyone has their own system, so here is a brief introduction of mine (more coming very soon). I call this design process “The 3 Pyramids”, and this is why:

To put it simple, we are going to use 3 things:

-          Story, Mechanics and Aesthetics (From The Book “The art of game design”)
-          The Gamification Player Types & The T-E Pyramid (more here:
-          The Player’s Journey (Campbell’s model)

Basically, and to put it simple (I’ll explain it very soon in further detail) we are going to divide our design process into 3 stages in time. Each frame will focus on a type of player (not forgetting the others) applying story, mechanics and aesthetics as “game elements”.


We have just started with Gamification´s design process and I’m sure you want to join me in this amazing trip to the cores of fun, happiness and motivation!!! But that will be in our next post!!

…to be continued…

**Next parts of this post:
Part 2 -> The 4 Critical Questions of Design http://www.epicwinblog.net/2013/06/gamification-design-steps-4-critical.html
Part 3 -> Mechanics, Aesthetics and Storytelling: A new design model http://www.epicwinblog.net/2013/06/gamification-design-steps-mechanics_10.html

Victor Manrique