Principles for gamification in user experience

“Gamification is the high fructose corn syrup of engagement.” — Kathy Sierra

The American author and developer Kathy Sierra’s evocative analogy needs little explanation.

At heart, digital experiences must respond sustainably to user needs. Those requirements might not always be understood or articulated explicitly by the users themselves – it is, after all, the job of user experience practitioners to uncover and innovate for unspoken needs – but the design must align with a fundamentally wholesome, positive outcome.

We explored this theme several years ago as part of MEX Pathway #7, entitled ‘Expressing sustainability in user experience design‘.

Franco Papeschi took on the topic at MEX/9 in May 2011, giving a memorable presentation looking at the concept of sustainability from several angles, including economic, environmental and behavioural. You can watch his talk in the MEX archive, including his referencing of Kathy Sierra’s quote.

The principle, part of an emerging series in the MEX journal, is summarised below in a tweetable, shareable graphic. Please share and thank you for citing appropriately.

The greater the perceived need for 'gamification', the more likely the core proposition is misaligned with user behaviour

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