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Islam Navid
Islam Navid June 22, 2023

Human behavior is a rich and complex subject governed by a tapestry of biological, psychological, and social influences. But have you ever considered how these behaviors translate to the digital realm, especially in the context of human behavior and gamification? 

Understanding gamification dynamics isn’t just for game developers or tech enthusiasts anymore. Businesses, educators, and even healthcare providers recognize the power of gamified experiences to shape behaviors, encourage actions, and inspire engagement in ways traditional methods often struggle to achieve.

This blog will discuss gamification’s role in human behavior, where gamification is most widely used, and how to balance user satisfaction. 

Human Behavior and Gamification

Gamification is nothing but applying game-like elements in non-game contexts to achieve high productivity and subtle habitual changes in individuals struggling or facing work efficiency and consistency issues.

We cannot physically see progress bars, experience accumulation graphs, and, most importantly, a statistics tracker.

Six hours of workout in a game will yield 45% of muscle growth, but it takes around three months to see significant changes in the real world.

It would be great if we had a progress bar on top of our heads to see how much math we need to study until we reach level 3 in mathematics, but it is not possible, although not improbable either.

Let’s explore how we can implement a simple system to track the overall progress of an organization. We can start with a basic language app developed by the organization and provide supplementary materials for each lesson. Teachers from the organization can interact with the students through the app in real time, both remotely and on-site. 

The progress of both teachers and students can be checked through the data collected from the app’s interactions.

Teachers can see how each student is performing in each level and lesson, and students will have their statistical page where they can identify areas where they struggle the most and improve at their own pace.

Administrators and managers will have access to all the available data. With a data-driven modeling approach, they can improve the app’s course materials and the organization’s supplementary lessons.

Also Read: How to Trigger Behavioral Changes in Users using Gamification.

Where is Gamification Mostly Used?

Gamification has a fascinating impact on the human mind, particularly when tailored to individual needs in education, personal development, and habit tracking.

While it is predominantly observed in education, health and fitness, and habit cultivation applications, its influence extends beyond these realms. 

Gamification is vital in enhancing user retention, driving in-app purchases, and promoting subscription services, among other benefits. The power of gamification reaches far and wide, influencing various user engagement and interaction aspects.

Let’s look at Khan Academy. It has everything that you need, from mathematics to general subjects. One can learn almost anything, but they stand out from the rest with their gamified experiences.

Khan academy's gamified screen
Khan academy’s gamified screen

A study was done in 2016 by Škuta et al. on the inclusion of Gamification elements on education-based apps, and the study was done on Duolingo.

This language-learning app helped people all over the world to learn 40 languages. They went through many gamified app elements, and the study showed how EdTech gamification could improve the learning experience. 

In Duoligo’s case, however, the study stated that the developers used almost every gamification principle and game mechanics and did not follow through with a personalized method of teaching an individual a language course.

Duolingo's gamified screen
Duolingo’s gamified screen

For habit-forming apps, we will look at how Headspace (which focuses on health, fitness, habit cultivating, and meditation) uses its user interface to get more users and have a great user experience.

Headspace gamified screens
Headspace gamified screens

In each of the apps mentioned above, we can see how the colors theory, sounds, and, most importantly, the user interface is implemented to better suit the user for experiencing a highly productive session with a rich environment set up by the apps.

Balancing User Satisfaction with Gamification

The aim of Gamification is subtle “Persuasion” to habit formation. Each time a user interacts with an app or product, the satisfaction and annoyance levels faced by the user will always determine how the app or product will perform in the long run.

For this reason, we see a star-rating and review system on the app stores for users to tell their stories about using the app. 

Most notable among these is Steam, a digital game purchasing platform with forums, store pages, and review systems showing how a game is doing after release.

Steam also has charts where you can see how many players are currently playing a game.

Steam's gamified screen
Steam’s gamified screen

Considering human nature, game developers, product developers, and owners must initially aim for a satisfaction level ranging from 57% to 63%. It is essential to foster user growth and receive valuable feedback during a product’s pre-build or alpha-testing phase.

However, during monetization, it becomes highly frustrating for users if basic features like simple exporting, saving, printing, or using free themes are hidden behind a paywall leading to increased user annoyance levels.

Even in cases where the app is offered for free, the monetization approach should be sensible and incorporate gamification. Long-term benefits and rewards outweigh the initial subscription cost for a month or a year.

Considering the transition from a niche market to a popular and eventually global platform is essential. In this context, the Freemium model holds greater appeal for new consumers of such services.

Also Read: 7 Gamification Mistakes To Avoid

Human Nature on Reward-Based Gamification

Reward-based performance has ups and downs, but you can learn more from Understanding Gamification Series: How Does Behavior Gamification Work

The article focuses on the reward one gets from achieving a clear goal, the dopamine hit from achieving it, and social recognition if the individual shares their journey on social media platforms. 

Many YouTube, tech, and gaming channels offer giveaways of fully built PCs, phones, gaming consoles, and more to expand their audience and express gratitude to their supportive community. 

YouTube and Twitch play crucial roles in the influencer economy, providing platforms for unknown individuals to share their perspectives, experiences, and knowledge on various topics while also serving as avenues for advertising.

However, the reward-based method has one drawback: the potential decline in interest once the rewards diminish. This challenge is particularly prominent in games, excluding online and massive multiplayer games with a live-operations strategy.

Currently, games offer Battle passes and VIP rewards for a specific season, which typically lasts 3 to 6 months, depending on the game.

Nonetheless, consistent content creation remains essential, primarily if game companies aim to attract more premium players. Each game typically has a lifespan of 5 to 7 years.

In the case of online games, community involvement, and continuous development efforts can extend the game’s longevity to over 10 to 15 years, contingent upon the game’s style and structure.

Brawl Stars is a game that falls under the category of hero shooters, where each character possesses unique abilities and damage capabilities.

The game features a battle pass system and game passes. Since its release in 2017, Brawl Stars has enjoyed considerable success. Unlike Steam, the app stores do not provide charts for the game.

Brawl Stars gamified screen
Brawl Stars gamified screen.

In reward-based systems, we can also find loopholes, such as taking the same task 3 to 4 times in a row just to get the reward and not following through with the program set by the developers.

Conclusion

Gamification is not only for games but various processes ranging from education to finances. Gamifying specific tasks can bring high productivity and efficiency to an individual or an organizational group. 

Gamification creates a path for failure and embraces it, as it shows with data how someone is doing in their current tasks with how much efficiency.

Gamification drives on a data-driven approach and, in most cases, performs better, keeping people and students more motivated, getting things done more often, and finally, cultivating and creating better habits for everyone.

The Upshot.ai Advantage

Upshot.ai is an omnichannel, user engagement, and gamification platform that helps digital product owners and marketers improve product adoption and conversions.

With Upshot.ai, banks, Insurance, and FinTech firms can enhance their digital experiences with pre-built gamification features. It can provide personalized insights, actionable recommendations, and contextual nudges designed to deepen its relationship with its users.

Book a demo of the most comprehensive user engagement and gamification platform to achieve your digital product goals. Join our communities for more insights, guides, and best practices that keep you updated with proven strategies and tips to supercharge your campaigns.

About the Author

Navid is working full-time in Easyjatra as a front-end developer. Also, has five years of experience in teaching elementary to high school students and two years of experience in teaching Master’s students in Bangladesh. His focus is rapid prototype development, in-game economy, and monetization strategy development for games and content creation. Also, he is a managing director of a game studio startup in Bangladesh.

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