Gustavo Tondello


About Gustavo Tondello

Gustavo is a Gamification Consultant and Scientist at MotiviUX and an Instructional Support Coordinator at the Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Canada. His main interests include gamification and games for health and learning. His research focuses on the design of gameful applications. He has recently completed a Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction in which he developed new methods for personalized gameful design. Gustavo is also a research lead of the International Gamification Federation and a researcher of Logosophy.

Points and Rewards in Gameful Design

This week’s article brings a detailed review of some of the research about points and rewards in gamification. I started by thinking about points, but then I found it hard to separate then totally from rewards as they are often presented as a form of reward. So, the article talks about them both. In the article, you will find: A table describing eight different types of rewards; A table describing five ways to use points effectively and one way to […]


Leaderboards in Gameful Design: Their effects, types, and guidelines for their correct use

Like the topic of my previous article (badges), leaderboards are also one of the most used elements in gameful design. But despite the prevalence of leaderboards in gamification, few sources explain exactly what role they fulfill in a gameful system, how users interact with them, what is their psychological effect on users, and how to design leaderboards. Although they have been often suggested to promote intrinsic motivation through relatedness or competence, the academic studies that focused on the psychological effects […]


Badges in Gameful Design: How users perceive them and how are they motivational 3

Badges are the most used element in educational gameful design and the third most used element in gamification in general. They have been listed by many different gamification researchers and experts as one of the basic gameful design elements. But do you know exactly what role do badges perform on a gameful application? How do users perceive them and interact with them—do you know that there are at least nine different ways? How do badges motivate users to engage with […]


New! Expanded content on Patreon

One of my goals as a content creator is to help gamification professionals keep up to date with the latest research and help them find the takeaways to apply the research on their daily practice. Therefore, many of my blog posts are summaries of original academic research from myself or other authors. However, I feel that the format of a blog post is often not enough to give enough information to actually use the research in practice. Although short blog […]


Personalized Gameful Design – Part 2 1

In Part 1, I discussed what is personalized gameful design. If you have not read it yet, please take a moment to do it before you continue reading this part. The method to design personalized gameful applications that I proposed as part of my thesis has three sequential steps: (1) modelling user preferences, (2) selecting the gameful design elements that are more likely enjoyable for each user, and (3) evaluating the motivational potential of the design. However, please note that these […]

Steps for personalized gameful design: 1-classification of user preferences, 2-selection of gameful design elements, 3-evaluation of the design.

Personalized Gameful Design – Part 1 2

I recently presented and published my Ph.D. Thesis describing a method for personalized gameful design. I will now begin publishing a series of posts in this blog introducing and detailing this method so everyone can apply it without needing to read the whole thesis. 🙂 But first, what is Personalized Gameful Design and why should you learn about it? Definition of Personalized Gameful Design In my work, I adopt the following definition of personalization, which is detailed in Chapter 3 of […]

Steps for personalized gameful design: 1-classification of user preferences, 2-selection of gameful design elements, 3-evaluation of the design.

Gamification User Types or Player Traits: When should I use each one of them?

At the HCI Games Group, we have been working for the past few years in two related projects: the validation of the Gamification User Types Hexad and the study of player typologies, which recently led to the creation of our Five-factor Player Traits model. Therefore, a question that people have been asking us is when they should use each one of these models. Are they interchangeable, or are there specific situations when one is more appropriate than the other? Short […]


Preparing and Conducting Studies in HCI Research

Based on his experiences, Gustavo will discuss how to prepare and conduct graduate studies in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), presenting tips about how to choose topics and plan studies and publications. He will share suggestions on how to plan and carry out experimental studies in HCI, such as how to choose and define research questions, how to select a type of study, and how to document the results and prepare them for publication.