User Experience


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

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 […]


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 […]


Understanding Gamification Through Goal-Setting Theory

Goal-setting theory has been used for decades to explain how to motivate people to perform better in work-related tasks by setting and monitoring goals. Gamification is also inherently a goal-oriented activity, aimed at fostering motivation; therefore, it is logic to expect that these two practices would fit very well together and help us design better motivational experiences. Surprisingly, very few research works so far have seriously explored the use of goal-setting theory to explain and inform gameful design, with most literature […]

Goal Setting Theory x Gamification

Elements of Gameful Design Classified by User Preferences — part 3

See also: Part 1 and Part 2 In part 1, I presented an overview of our research study that classified the most commonly used gameful design elements according to user preferences, and in part 2 I listed which elements make part of each group of user preferences. In the last post of this series, let’s look at how the participants’ gender, age, personality, and user types influenced their preferences for the gameful design elements in our study. Gender The results […]

Groups of Gameful Design Elements

Elements of Gameful Design Classified by User Preferences — part 2 1

See also: Part 1 In part 1, I presented an overview of our research study that classified the most commonly used gameful design elements according to user preferences: Now, let’s dive into more detail and look at the complete list of gameful design elements that were included in each group. This information provides valuable data to understand user preferences and aid designers interested in creating personalized gameful systems. Individual Motivations This group represents the user’s interest in their own experience […]

Groups of Gameful Design Elements

Elements of Gameful Design Classified by User Preferences 2

At the HCI Games Group, we have been working to understand user preferences in gameful applications in order to develop methodologies for personalized gameful design. Last year, we worked together with Andrzej Marczewski and the AIT to develop a new questionnaire for the Hexad user types. The user types describe characteristics of the user, but do not tell us directly what gameful design elements each user prefer. Nevertheless, we also tested it and showed that there is a relationship between […]

Groups of Gameful Design Elements

Gameful Design Heuristics 1

Although many gameful design methods have emerged recently, designers still lack standard evaluation methods for evaluating gameful design. For other established areas of UX, heuristic evaluation methods are commonly used. In usability engineering, heuristics are general principles or broad usability guidelines that have been used to design and evaluate interactive systems. Heuristic evaluation, in the context of usability, is the use of said principles as a usability inspection method by experts to identify usability problems in an existing design as […]


Designing for Motivation

Gameful Design (gamification) has been an increasingly popular approach for improving the user’s motivation and experience when interacting with digital applications. As a result, the number of gameful designers has been steadily increasing in the past years, as well as the reports of successful projects gamification projects. However, what I still miss is more reports of gameful design integrated to the general product design and development process. I have seen many gamification projects reported as stand-alone projects, separated from the […]