(Below is a manuscript snippet of my book, Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. Please subscribe to the mailing list on the right to order the book when it launches. This post may be moved into a Premium Area after a certain period of time).
Breaking Down User Experience Further
Many companies design their product or services as one big experience. That kind of makes sense – after all it is one product.
However, when it comes to user engagement, I believe that’s a big mistake. When it comes to motivation, the reason why you are using a product on day one is often very different from the reason why you are using the product on day 100 – the goal you are trying to fulfill are different, and even the features you see are different!
Most people become involved with a game or a product, not as a single encapsulated event, but through a series of stages where they grow to understand it better. The user experience will develop gradually as familiarity with features and structure is gained. At the same time, an individual’s perception may change as they develop a different perspective through each stage.
Another way of looking at this is to view it as a user’s journey through evolving phases of product perception or experience. With each phase the product appears to be different – in essence, a unique, different product. We can best describe the process in terms of four distinct phases, represented by the 4 Experience Phases of Gamification – the core principles within Level 2 Octalysis.
The 4 Experience Phases of Gamification are Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding, and Endgame.
The Discovery Phase is essential, for it is the reason WHY people even want to start, or at least investigate a product or service. It is the ATTITUDE towards a product during the initial awareness stage.
The Discovery Phase starts off when people hear about the product and ends when people signup to use it.
Differences to other Literature
As the first experience phase in Octalysis Gamification, Discovery may seem to differ from other gamification and game design literature out there. With Human-Focused Design (Octalysis) the first phase of a user’s journey is to become aware of the journey.
In Kevin Werbach’s framework, the initial phase of a system is “Identity,” which is the initiation of an identity within the game. This could involve the creation of an account, signing on for a service, and choosing your profile type – basically the “Who You Are.” From there he moves on to the second phase, Onboarding (In Amy Jo Kim’s three phase system, the player experience starts off with Onboarding).
My view is that “Identity” would actually qualify as part of Onboarding, as when you “Onboard” someone, you have them figure out what the game is and where they stand in the game. However, in my view point, a real experience towards a product or service starts well before you buy the product or sign up for the service (or create your identity).
Your experience towards a product or service starts when you first hear about it, hence the Discovery Phase.