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Gamification; what is it and how can it improve apps?

12th September 2016

iPad and AppsGamification is essentially using the psychology of gaming and applying it to a non-gaming context to motivate the user to complete certain tasks. This could be done by giving them some form of reward when they completes said tasks.

For example, in the context of job searching applications you could give the user points based on the number of applications, number of successful applications and overall activity on the app. These points could then translate to a ranking system to directly put users in competition with each other. Moving up these placements could be rewarded with virtual badges, for example. So because basic human psychology is based around acquisition, trying to collect these badges could motivate users to continue using the app.

Gamification is proven to be one of the most successful ways to engage and maintain an audience, therefore providing the platform for a very successful business tool.

One of the most effective gamification strategies is the level up strategy. The outline for this method is:

  1. Identifying the timescale of your desired behaviour
  2. Find a gamification tool with a feedback timescales that’s close or equal to your effective timescale
  3. Build some form of level up ladder which has a progressively longer feedback timescale. You should always start with very easy tasks to draw in the maximum amount of users, and make very incremental steps between each level so the user always feels like they’re making progress.

That last step is by far the most critical, because of how important it is to strike a balance between making the game/progression easy enough for beginners, but then also challenging enough to keep veterans of the system interested. If it doesn’t get any harder throughout the levelling system more experienced users will get bored and stop playing, just as if the game gets too hard too quickly newer users may feel frustrated and quit.

The levelling up system is taken from this document: This contains a much more in-depth look into gamification.

This blog was written by Josh who had a work experience placement with Cosmic in 2016.