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Gamification: Using game design elements in non-gaming contexts



"Gamification" is an informal umbrella term for the use of video game elements in non-gaming systems to improve user experience (UX) and user engagement. The recent introduction of 'gamified' applications to large audiences promises new additions to the existing rich and diverse research on the heuristics, design patterns and dynamics of games and the positive UX they provide. However, what is lacking for a next step forward is the integration of this precise diversity of research endeavors. Therefore, this workshop brings together practitioners and researchers to develop a shared understanding of existing approaches and findings around the gamification of information systems, and identify key synergies, opportunities, and questions for future research.
Gamification: Using Game Design
Elements in Non-Gaming Contexts
Gamification is an informal umbrella term for the use
of video game elements in non-gaming systems to
improve user experience (UX) and user engagement.
The recent introduction of gamified applications to
large audiences promises new additions to the existing
rich and diverse research on the heuristics, design
patterns and dynamics of games and the positive UX
they provide. However, what is lacking for a next step
forward is the integration of this precise diversity of
research endeavors. Therefore, this workshop brings
together practitioners and researchers to develop a
shared understanding of existing approaches and
findings around the gamification of information
systems, and identify key synergies, opportunities, and
questions for future research.
Gamification, game design, design patterns,
motivational affordances, funology, persuasive
technology, games with a purpose
ACM Classification Keywords
H.5.m [Information Interfaces and Presentation (e.g.,
HCI)]: Miscellaneous; K.8.0 [Personal Computing]:
Games; J.4 [Social and Behavioral Sciences]:
Psychology, Sociology
Copyright is held by the author/owner(s).
CHI 2011, May 712, 2011, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
ACM 978-1-4503-0268-5/11/05.
Sebastian Deterding
Hans-Bredow Institute at the
University of Hamburg,
20354 Hamburg, Germany
Miguel Sicart
Center for Computer Games
IT University of Copenhagen
DK-2300 Copenhagen S
Lennart Nacke
Department of Computer Science,
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Canada, S7N 5C9
Kenton O’Hara
Microsoft Research Cambridge,
7 JJ Thomson Ave
Cambridge CB3 0FB, UK
Dan Dixon
Digital Cultures Research Centre,
University of the West of England,
Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
General Terms
Design, Theory
Games and game technologies increasingly transcend
the traditional boundaries of their medium, as
evidenced by the growth of serious and pervasive
games as an industry and research field. The most
recent phenomenon in this trajectory is gamification,
an umbrella term for the use of video game elements
(rather than full-fledged games) to improve user
experience and user engagement in non-game services
and applications.
Following the success of location-based service
Foursquare, this design approach has rapidly gained
traction in interaction design and digital marketing
[22], spawning an intense debate within the
professional community1 as well as numerous gamified
applications, ranging from productivity to finance,
health, sustainability, news, user-generated content
and tutorials. Several vendors now offer gamification as
a service layer of reward and reputation systems with
points, badges, levels and leader boards.2 At the same
time, gamification has caught the interest of
researchers as a potential means to create engaging
workplaces [16] or facilitate mass-collaboration [11].
To wit, the use of game design and game elements in
other contexts is an old topic in human-computer
interaction (HCI): Attempts to derive heuristics for
1 See e.g. the 2011 Gamification Summit and the gamification
day at the 2011 GDC Serious Games Summit.
2 See e.g. Badgeville, Bunchball, Bigdoor Media, GetGlue.
enjoyable interfaces from games reach back to the
early 1980s [9, 10]. More recently, researchers have
tried to identify design patterns that might afford joy of
use under the moniker funology”, explicitly drawing
inspiration from game design [3].
A growing body of research looks into games with a
purposepiggybacking game play to solve human
information tasks such as tagging images. This included
work detailing specific design features that afford
player enjoyment [20]. Furthermore, researchers in
HCI and management sciences have identified design
principles that enhance the motivational affordances of
computer-supported collaborative work [5, 21] –
principles which are congruent with research on the
motivational psychology of video games [17].
In persuasive technology [4], video games and game
aspects have been studied as potential means to shape
user behavior in directions intended by the system
designer [8, 14], or to instill embedded values [1].
Social psychological studies on contributions in online
communities or the motivational uses of recommender
systems arrived at conclusions that chime with core
design properties of video games [7, 15]. Likewise, it
suggests itself to model the reward and reputation
systems of gamified applications with economically
inspired approaches such as incentive centered design.
The user experience of video games has itself become a
substantial topic of HCI, with researchers developing
models and methods as well as heuristics for the
usability or playability of games [2, 18, 19]. An obvious
matter of interest is to which degree these can be
transferred to the design of gamified information
systems. Finally, a growing body of research points to
the significant role of social contexts in the constitution
of video game play experience [6], which immediately
raises the question whether and how the transfer of
(game) design patterns into ‘alien’ social contexts
might significantly alter their experiential affordances.
Workshop Goals
Faced with the broad adoption of ‘gamified’ applications
beyond HCI laboratories on the one hand and a rich if
disconnected body of existing research on the other,
the goal of this workshop is to bring together HCI
researchers from academia and industry to (a) take
stock and synthesize a shared picture of pertinent
existing and current research surrounding gamification,
and (b) identify potential new aspects and research
opportunities opened by new gamified applications. To
this end, we invite researchers to submit position
papers on (ongoing) empirical work or accounts of
existing approaches and findings that might elucidate
the user experience, psychology, social dynamics and
design of information systems employing game
elements. The primary intended outcome of the
workshop is to build a shared overview of the state-of-
the-art (published as a report) by clarifying the
questions below, and to seed a researcher community
that shall be built out via the workshop site and follow-
up events that connect other pertinent research
communities (e.g. game studies) towards substantial
research and publication efforts.
Workshop Questions
What is the current state of research surrounding
gamification? How might we integrate it?
Which existing approaches are well-suited to study
and model gamified information systems?
Do gamified applications feature specific or novel
characteristics not covered by previous research?
What happens when game design elements are
transferred into non-game social contexts?
Which promising (new) research topics and data
sources do gamified applications provide?
Participants and Expected Interest
We consider the collaborative study of the recent surge
of ‘gamified’ information systems to be of immediate
relevance to HCI researchers in all fields mentioned
above (funology, persuasive technology, communities,
motivational affordances, game UX, etc.): On the one
hand, the implementation of game design elements on
a mass market scale potentially surfaces phenomena
that wouldnt appear in laboratory prototypes. Gamified
systems ‘in the wild’ provide new objects of inquiry in
an unprecedented variety, data quality and scale. On
the other hand, the focused integration of the many
close but by-and-large decoupled research endeavors
would greatly benefit each in turn. Although workshops
in past conferences have already addressed single
issues [12, 13], none of them has taken such an
integrative approach. Therefore, at this point in time,
such a synthesizing workshop on gamification would be
of high interest to HCI researchers as well as
researchers working on the increased blurring of
(digital) life, work, and play in general.
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[6] Kort, Y.A. and Ijsselsteijn, W.A. People, Places, and
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[8] Lockton, D., Harrison, D., and Stanton, N.A. The
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Heuristics for designing instructional computer games.
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[10] Malone, T. Heuristics for designing enjoyable user
interfaces: Lessons from computer games. Proc. 1982
conference on Human factors in computing systems,
ACM Press (1982), 63-68.
[11] McGonigal, J. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make
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[12] Monk, A., Hassenzahl, M., Blythe, M., and Reed, D.
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[13] Nacke, L., Niesenhaus, J., Engl, S., Canossa, A.,
Kuikkaniemi, K., and Immich, T. Bringing Game Design
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[14] Niebuhr, S. and Kerkow, D. Captivating patterns: a
first validation. Proc. PERSUASIVE 2007, Springer
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[15] Rashid, A.M., Ling, K., Tassone, R.D., Resnick, P.,
Kraut, R., and Riedl, J. Motivating participation by
displaying the value of contribution. Proc. CHI 2006,
ACM Press (2006).
[16] Reeves, B. and Read, J.L. Total Engagement: Using
Games and Virtual Worlds to Change the Way People
Work and Businesses Compete. Harvard Business
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[17] Ryan, R.M., Rigby, C.S., and Przybylski, A. The
Motivational Pull of Video Games: A Self-Determination
Theory Approach. Motivation and Emotion 30, 4 (2006),
[18] Shaffer, N. Heuristic Evaluation of Games. In K.
Isbister and N. Shaffer, Game Usability. Morgan
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[19] Sweetser, P. and Wyeth, P. GameFlow: A Model for
Evaluating Player Enjoyment in Games. Computers in
Entertainment 3, 3 (2005), art. 3A.
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[22] Zichermann, G. and Linder, J. Game-Based
Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards,
Challenges, and Contests. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, 2010.
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Background: Digital interventions have been applied for promoting HIV prevention and care among men who have sex with men (MSM). As user interface (UI) design plays a role in determining usability and user experience (UX), the intervention outcome could be affected. Objective: In this study, we hypothesized that 2 UI design styles, namely gamification and neumorphism, could impact usability and be differentially preferred by distinct groups of MSM. Methods: A prospective parallel-group open-label randomized controlled trial was conducted in Hong Kong. Eligible participants were adult MSM recruited by the research team or referred by enrolled participants, who followed instructions for performing an HIV self-test and promoted its use within their social network. Participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio into either a gamification or neumorphism arm, with primarily visual differences in the UI only. The primary outcome was usability measured by the System Usability Scale (SUS) between the 2 arms. Distinct characteristics of promoters in the 2 arms who gave an SUS score of 80 or above were identified. Results: Of 463 MSM registered in the study, 232 and 231 were randomized to the gamification and neumorphism arms, respectively. Excluding those who did not request a self-test kit, data from 218 and 216 participants in the gamification and neumorphism arms, respectively, were analyzed (totally 434 participants). With a median SUS score of 80 overall, participants in the neumorphism arm gave a higher score (P<.001), with a higher proportion giving a promoter-level SUS score (P=.002). Promoters used social media for sex networking (P=.02), used pre-exposure prophylaxis in the preceding year (P=.006), had higher satisfaction in UI design (P<.001), and had made a self-test referral (P=.04). In general, higher usability was recorded among participants who were confident in performing the HIV self-test (P<.001), and this was associated with a promoter-level SUS score in both arms. While no other personal characteristics were associated with promoters in the neumorphism arm, those in the gamification arm had higher HIV-related knowledge (P=.01), preferred a specific partner body image type (P=.03), and progressed toward peer referral by completing online training (P=.04). Conclusions: Both gamified and neumorphic UI designs were well-accepted by MSM. UX and satisfaction of UI were both crucial in influencing the willingness of MSM to promote the application by referring their peers in the community to participate. The simplistic visual design of neumorphism conferred a more general acceptance in the community, whereas gamification was preferred in certain MSM subcommunities. Appropriate UI/UX design should be considered when developing digital interventions targeting the MSM community. Trial registration: NCT04379206;
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In recent decades, the field of human computer interaction has become a popular trending topic in gamification studies. The latest trend in the application of gamification in the world of work, aims to improve the incorporation of game design elements into the workplace, to increase motivation. This study found that the elements used in gamification in the world of work are still very limited, and there are no suitable criteria for use in gamification based on game elements in the world of work by examining and evaluating workers as a team in a contextual context. game environment that replicates real aspects and work environment. This study will comprehensively review related to gamification by analyzing the models and concepts of gamification in empirical research. As well as reviewing previous research and showing the gaps that occur in the literature both theoretically and empirically. This review shows an understanding of the interactions between components in the application of elements present in gamification related to work. The findings in this study will be able to provide insight in the development of further studies to make uniform use of game design in increasing motivation
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Various logical, social, cognitive, and emotional sources of motivational affordance principles for information and communication technology (ICT) design and use, are presented. Autonomy-supportive social contexts tend to facilitate self-determined motivation, healthy development, and optimal functioning, while motivational analysis of self has aspects such as defining or creating the self and relating the self to society. Competence provides an inherent source of motivation for seeking out and putting effort to master optimal challenges that are developmentally appropriate. Relatedness is a psychological need indicating the innate desire to belong while interaction with others is the primary condition that involves relatedness. Leadership is a condition that involves and satisfies the need for power, while emotion relates to motivation that energize and direct behavior.
Can the workplace be redesigned to include avatars, three-dimensional environments, and a host of virtual rewards that form newly transparent reputations for you and your team? This grounded and thought-provoking book by Byron Reeves and Leighton Read argues that it is not only possible, it is inevitable. Massive multiplayer online games (MMOs) are a new cultural phenomenon at the intersection of electronic entertainment and social networking. Borrowing the key design principles from these games can address a host of classic challenges in the workplace including collaboration, innovation, leadership, and of course, boredom. No longer the sole domain of adolescent boys, today’s best complex social games capture countless of hours of attention from men and women across the age spectrum who are carrying out activities in these entertainment titles that look surprisingly like the same tasks being performed by enterprise information-workers. There is a lot to be learned from the context that makes this behavior engaging, for example: positioning tasks within compelling stories that matter to the player, providing the tools for internal marketplaces where economic behavior replaces command and control, and affordances that help solve the problem of “what do I get when we win” Reeves and Read show how to choose and implement the right elements for your business. Of course, the psychological power of game design can have both positive and negative consequences for the workplace. That’s why it’s important to put them into practice correctly from the beginning–and Reeves and Read explain how by showing which good design principles are powerful antidotes to the addictive and stress-inducing potential of games. Supported by specific case studies and years of research, Total Engagement completely changes the way you view both work and play.
In this paper, I will discuss two questions: (1) Why are computer games so captivating? and (2) How can the features that make computer games captivating be used to make other user interfaces interesting and enjoyable to use? After briefly summarizing several studies of what makes computer games fun, I will discuss some guidelines for designing enjoyable user interfaces. Even though I will focus primarily on what makes systems enjoyable, I will suggest how some of the same features that make systems enjoyable can also make them easier to learn and to use.
In this paper, I will describe my intuitions about what makes computer games fun. More detailed descriptions of the experiments and the theory on which this paper is based are given by Malone (1980a, 1980b). My primary goal here is to provide a set of heuristics or guidelines for designers of instructional computer games. I have articulated and organized common sense principles to spark the creativity of instructional designers (see Banet, 1979, for an unstructured list of similar principles). To demonstrate the usefulness of these principles, I have included several applications to actual or proposed instructional games. Throughout the paper I emphasize games with educational uses, but I focus on what makes the games fun, not on what makes them educational. Though I will not emphasize the point in this paper, these same ideas can be applied to other educational environments and life situations. In a sense, the categories I will describe constitute a general taxonomy of intrinsic motivation—of what makes an activity fun or rewarding for its own sake rather than for the sake of some external reward (See Lepper and Greene, 1979). I think the essential characteristics of good computer games and other intrinsically enjoyable situations can be organized into three categories: challenge, fantasy, and curiosity.