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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 […]


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 […]


The peak-end rule influences enjoyment of games

The peak-end rule is a psychological heuristic that explains how people judge an experience largely based on its peak (i.e., its most intense point) and its end, rather on the whole experience. A research from the Universities of Saskatchewan and Canterbury and Autodesk sought to verify if this effect would influence player’s enjoyment of (casual) games. They manipulated the difficulty or balance of three simple games to vary the peak and end experiences, keeping the playing experience otherwise unchanged, and […]