Gamification in software development is a term, that was invented by the British programmer Nick Pelling. It stands for a method of implementation of game functionality (the systems of scoring, obtaining the statuses, achievements’ statistic creation etc.) in applications which originally have no connection with the entertainment sphere. Such method can help increase a user interaction level, improve work results and motivation of external employees.
Reasons for employment of a gamification process in software development
Let’s consider a psychological aspect of implementing the gamification in business software. Experience has shown, that every year the amount of computer and mobile games increases. That means that demand for them also grows (especially, considering new technological concepts, such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, etc.). Regardless of their age – people like playing. This fact can be considered when one’s goal is to increase labor productivity by implementing certain game elements into workflow management software.
To confirm the innovation’s relevance and practical benefit, we will show several examples of its advantages:
Training process simplification. Probably most everyone remembers those game-form lessons from their elementary school days. They were organized to introduce learning material in a way that is more close to children’s comprehension using understandable by them examples. You might agree that process of training in the form of boring theory will never be as great as colorful and detailed examples. This statement’s vivid example is the java rush service. It teaches Russian-speaking users the basics of Java programming in the game form.
Essentially, the sequence of teaching stages is similar to that of printed educational sources. However, the colorful appearance of this website and setting of tasks in the quest form makes it really outstanding self-instruction manual for beginners.
Motivation increase. Suppose your application allows all users to keep up with achievements statistics of your company’s staff. That will additionally motivate employees to perform faster and with higher quality. The implemented estimation and status assignment system can light up true passion in some of the workers and, thereby, make them strive for professional growth. That is an undoubtful advantage of gamification in business.
Smaller time expenditure on completing the tasks. Some tasks can be presented on a competitive basis. The one that completes the task first gets the prize (which can be an encouragement in the form addition to salary or extra day off). As another option, certain tasks can be presented as a relay. Thus, you will additionally strengthen team spirit and will be able to use a psychological method “one for all and all for one”.
The decrease of mistakes’ appearance probability. Even at the office with the most advanced firewall blocking the websites of an entertaining manner, workers will always find some way to get distracted. That, in turn, can cause a number of mistakes in the performed task because of carelessness. So why not to turn this distracting element into your business software? A user will have less reasons to procrastinate if the software communicates with them in the game form. Therefore, they would be able to complete the whole task with less effort. That way, gamification software can significantly increase workers’ productivity.
How to involve gamification within your application?
The list of the above-announced advantages sounds promising. A question appears: what is required for your application to be considered gamified? Below we will describe 4 simplest ways to realize a gamification in your software. So, let`s start.
Create the user profiles. Creation of the user profiles is one of the fundamental elements in an adaptation of your business software to a game basis. That is because the majority of the existing games is personalized. Allow users to set an avatar, appoint a unique nickname and, also, specify some personal information. All profiles must be available for viewing by other users of the software.
Build the purpose. Set a goal for each task. It can be collection of certain points which can subsequently be recalculated for a money equivalent. It can also be acquisition of certain status within your software which can bring an employee some practical benefit in the future (Vivid instance is an end-of-the-year encouragement of an employee that achieved certain status; they get a trip to N country or is promoted to a higher position).
Make the public panel for tracking of other employees’ success. Introduction of a panel which allows to keep an online track of workers’ success during the task completion is a logical consequence of the previous point. It will increase the motivation of workers who got used to collective work and can sometimes shirk work, shifting the duties to someone more responsible and executive.
Create a chat. The chat is an optimum way of interaction between employees online. This tool will be equally useful when the company has the dispersed manpower (in that case, internet communication can sometimes be the only mean of communication between remote workers) as well as when the activities of all workers are concentrated in the single office (real-life communication is one more distracting factor which will allow switching imperceptibly from working to informal communication).
Three problems of gamification implementation
Why in certain cases gamification doesn’t bring the expected results and doesn’t justify the efforts made for its introduction? Before implementing a gamification process into your future software, we recommend to carefully consider three problems which can make this method inefficient.
Problem No. 1 – incorrect game infrastructure. Of course, implementation of workflow management functions is primary in business software development. Their gamification is a secondary property. However, as experience shows, many IT companies tend to emphasize on a game format of the created application. As a result they get “live” and extremely interactive application which doesn’t fit into a framework of requirements for a business software at all.
Problem No. 2 – difficulty of introduction of game elements into an existing application. Sometimes business software features certain functions, which are very complicated to comprehend. Implementation of game functionality into an existing applications can cause violation of correctness and logicality of earlier created algorithms. Therefore, in certain cases, modernization of old software will rather cause heavy time and labor expenses, as opposed to the development of a new solution.
Problem No. 3 – lack of a long-term outlook on creation of similar software. There is no sense in game elements implementation if your business software isn’t made for a long-term use, and is meant to be a single, self-sufficient project. That will only cause additional time and financial expenses.
Gamification in software development: summary
With the correct approach, a gamification in mobile development can be a perfect way to make work of your team even more effective and motivated. Therefore, if your business application is still at early development stages, try to introduce game elements in its functionality – they will, most probably, be justified in the end.