Player Centered Design – 5 steps for Gamification

Gamification – that is not just an important buzzword for the game industry but it relates to almost every interactive product.

When I first got in touch with Usability I learned about the standards and norms, the heuristics and the measurable goals. In order to call something a “usable” product requires that the product is easy to learn, it is efficient in its usage, it is intuitive in its handling, errors are being minimized (can be undone) and the usage is satisfying. My professor, Marc Hassenzahl, was especially interested in the last part: satisfaction – and how to measure it. He cam up with the terminology of “joy of use“.

And I still have his concept in mind whenever I start designing. Gamification is not just about “make it playful” – but it is also about “create some joy for the user”.

This article in the UX magazine comes up with a nice little summary of that concept – which also comes with a new buzzword: Player Centered Design. The summary contains 5 steps:

  1. Know your Players (Users)
  2. Identify your mission (Vision/ business goal)
  3. Learn about human motivation (e.g. triggers: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation)
  4. Apply game mechanics ( interaction patterns, UI elements)
  5. Manage, Monitor and Measure the process (iteration, quality control)

The article provides a first overview of playful UI elements and strategies – always good to get some refresh 🙂

For more details: go read the book: Gamification at work.

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