Gamification is used in a number of ways.

Some companies use it in their marketing in an attempt to sell more, but we think that’s rather short sighted.

Your market place is changing. The days when you were just competing on price are long gone; now consumers want a great customer experience and that’s where gamification comes into its own.

Take your website as an example. If it’s difficult to use or navigate, people will go elsewhere because life’s too short to spend time trying to work out how to use it. That’s why UX (user experience) design is so important.

Making gamification a part of the UX design process

Gamification won’t increase the central value of your project on it’s own, but it will make that value more visible to the user. Adding an engaging dimension makes your content more digestible and fun – qualities your audience will appreciate.

With that in mind, it’s important to remember gamification isn’t a ‘nice to have’ tag on that you give a few seconds thought to at the end of your design project.

It is something that should be present throughout the whole design process.

If you’re not sure how to implement it, here is some inspiration.

Responsive products
If you’re a gamer, you’ll be familiar with the different ways of playing and controlling games depending on what platform you’re using. The same must happen with your customers’ experience. On whichever device they view your website, it must adapt to that platform.

Location is key
A lot of devices are GPS-enabled these days, so using it within your site can bring added benefits to your user. For example, Amazon uses location to direct you to the store for your area.

Location can also be used as a great promotional tool. For example, offer a discount if people check into your shop on social media. All their friends will then see that they’ve been shopping with you.

Location is one step along the road to personalising customer experience, but the best way is to capture their name when they sign in and then refer to them by name, offering them personalised recommendations etc.

In the gaming world, users get direct feedback depending on the actions they take, so how about using something similar in your design?

Feedback is especially useful if things go wrong; informative prompts when fields are filled in incorrectly, or Google’s “did you mean?” when you type in a search term or phrase that’s spelt incorrectly, or even one of those chat boxes that pop up after a period of inactivity on a site.
All of these things add to the user experience, keeping them engaged.

Talking of engagement, although badges, levels and quests might not easily fit into your website design, how about using competitions and loyalty schemes to boost user engagement?

Getting the balance right

If you’re going to use gamification techniques it’s essential you get them right. Remember to focus them on improving the customer experience, but only if it’s the right thing for your company. For example, adding gamification wouldn’t be the best idea if you run a funeral parlour.

As a customer engagement technique, gamification can really work. It should be there to enhance their experience so they want to buy from you again and again.

Creating unique experiences will give you the edge; just make sure you use your newfound power wisely.