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Points, Badges, Leaderboards – Part 2 of 3

Last week we discussed how behavioral design goes much further than the widely used Points, Badges and Leaderboards.

It is, instead, about the right implementation of the right Game Technique at the right time and place, that makes for a successful design, and an engaging experience.

However, points, badges, and leaderboards can be a powerful addition to your design, if used right.

Photo by Mark Leishman on Unsplash

Badges vs. Achievement Symbols (GT #2)

When crafting an experience, we want to use the terminology that is most enticing to the user experience. The term ‘badge’ is overused, and there are better names: achievements, icons, iconic figures…

Achievement symbols can also be 3 stars systems, a uniform change, belts in martial arts, certificates. They symbolize accomplishment.

Why Are Badges overused?

Many companies like to put badges on experiences because they only see the shallow side of the game. A game is supposedly designed to have a fun and exciting gameplay. As you play this exciting game, you want to strive for certain milestones (that not everybody can achieve). If you hit them, you want to get recognized, brag about it, or feel good about yourself.

A lot of gamified experiences and products make the user do a boring thing for 20 or a thousand times, and reward this with a badge. Unless the achievement is ‘persistence’, this does not make much sense.

Do not make an achievement more special than it is supposed to be.
Instead, create a fun experience, with the Right-Brain Core Drives (Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback, Social Influence & Relatedness, Unpredictability & Curiosity). If people then uniquely use their creativity or their skill set to do something that others can not or will not do, symbolize this achievement. Reward them on top of the already fun game. The user will be proud of it, feel excited about it, and might even brag about it.

The Core Drives

Badges focus most on Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment.

Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling – If the Achievement Symbol ties to something greater, you’re an evangelist, save lives, plant threes. If the user actually made a difference in the world, they wil feel proud of it.

Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback – Badges that require creativity and problem solving.

Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession – Badges can be turned into a collection set, a collectable theme.

Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness – E.g. when everyone who has the achievement can interact with each other, but if you don’t you can’t. You want to get in the club to mingle with those who also did amazing things. Or rewarding generosity, reaching our and helping other people.

Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience – Badges can be made very scarce, but well-known. Dangling in front of the user who knows what to do to get it (Earned Lunch GT #7) and they want to grind and do it.

Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity – Badges can be stealthily released as an easter egg badge.

Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance – Achievement symbols that can be lost if you mess up. Keep in mind that you don’t want to make the user so nervous to lose their achievement symbol that they’re Black Hat motivated.

At the core of Achievement Symbols is Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment.

The one rule for whether a badge is meaningful or not: If you give it to people, how likely are they to share it and brag about it to other people?

Implement Badges Correctly

When designing an experience, keep the Strategy Dashboard in mind. What are the Desired Actions, who are your Player Types? Then decide what the best Achievement Symbol design is to implement in your experience.

Next week we will take a closer look at Leaderboards and what they can bring to your experience if implemented correctly.

Got a taste of the things you will learn in Octalysis Prime? Learn more by heading there now and sign up to try the FREE version of Octalysis Prime (no strings attached). Gain access to over 700 videos about Game Techniques and the 8 Core Drives of Octalysis and subjects like Motivational Psychology, Entrepreneurship, Behavioral Economics, Applied Psychology and more!

Points, Badges, Leaderboards – Part 1 of 3

Behavioral design goes much further than the widely used Points, Badges and Leaderboards. This principle is one that is at the core of Yu-kai Chou’s book: Actionable Gamification.

The right implementation of the right Game Technique at the right time and place is what makes for a successful design, and an engaging experience.

However, points, badges, and leaderboards can be a powerful addition to your design, if used right.

Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

In Octalysis gamification we define two types of points:

Status Points (GT #1)

Status points allow the user to grow in status as they do more of the desired behavior. These are often experience points.

They focus on Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment, they make the user feel accomplished and a sense of progression.

With Status Points the user can level up and unlock permanent powers.

Exchangeable Points (GT #75)

Exchangeable points are points that you can redeem, exchange, gift. These are often virtual currencies.

They focus on Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession, they allow accumulation and exchange. As well as Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience, make sure there is scarcity in coins and items are useful to buy. This is where The Big Burn (GT #88) can be used by introducing a very expensive item that will only give a small cosmetic change. The user can tell other users about her succes in coins accumulation by showing off this cosmetic change. This mechanic, where the user can quickly burn the majority of her points for something, helps you to control your economy.

With Exchangeable Points the user can redeem points for items that have a one-time use. Occasionally they might be used to unlock permanent powers, but this is less common.

Important Differences

It is important to be aware of the differences between these two types of points as to not mix them up. Most games use both points: experience to level up as status points, and currency to use and redeem as exchangeable points.

Next week we will take a closer look at Badges and what they can bring to your experience if implemented correctly.

Got a taste of the things you will learn in Octalysis Prime? Learn more by heading there now and sign up to try the FREE version of Octalysis Prime (no strings attached). Gain access to over 700 videos about Game Techniques and the 8 Core Drives of Octalysis and subjects like Motivational Psychology, Entrepreneurship, Behavioral Economics, Applied Psychology and more!

4 Keys 2 Fun (Game Design Framework by Nicole Lazzaro) – Part 1 of 4.

This series looks into Nicole Lazzaro’s work. As a game designer, Lazzaro worked on Tilt, Myst, Sims, and Star Wars Unleashed. Lately, she’s working in VR, AR, and MR.

Gameful Design in 4Keys2Fun

Nicole runs a company called XEODesign and they published the 4Keys2Fun.

Hard Fun, Easy Fun, Serious Fun, and People Fun are the 4 Keys.

From the 4Keys2Fun blog, we see:

These four main reasons why people play games are how best sellers create more emotions for more captivating play. Each key unlocks a different set of play experiences. Because players alternate between them during a single play session best selling games offer at least three of the 4 Keys 2 Fun. Only XEODesign’s methods take advantage of the 4 Keys 2 Fun to heighten player emotions.

Types of Fun

Hard Fun is about Mastery, “The Brass Ring”, and when one succeeds in this area, one feels fiero.

Easy Fun is a vehicle for imagination

Serious Fun provides meaning and value and we feel excitement upon success.

People Fun is experienced with others, where we experience amusement upon accomplishment.

Player Experience

As you read the 4Keys2Fun chart, notice that the visualization attempts to focus on the Player Experience (PX). Some experiences will move between the 4Keys, for example between Hard Fun and Easy Fun, or from Serious Fun to People Fun.

OP Mini Challenge – Habit Building

We host a Slack Community where the premium members of Octalysis Prime come together to support and learn from each other. The best way to learn is by putting your knowledge into practice. That is why we created the ‘Monday’s Mini Challenge’: One topic, three questions and many excellent answers from our Premium Primers!

The Question

“People often get a boost of motivation to start exercising when summer is around the corner. However, this is often short-lived and insufficient to maintain the new behavior.

After doing a daily action has become a habit, which usually takes around 60 days, it is a lot easier to sustain the behavior, how can you explain this using the Octalysis Framework?”

Habit Building – Reply from Alexandre Lim

Monday's Mini Habit Building - Profile Picture 2

Alexandre Lim is a software engineer from France and passionate about Gamification. He tackles the question using the Eight Core Drives:

“People often focus on what they want to achieve; outcomes in a limited time frame. This is mostly based on Black Hat and Extrinsic Core Drives (CD). Namely CD8: Avoidance, CD6: Scarcity, and CD2: Accomplishment. As a result they either burn out, or they stop due to a lack of urgency as soon as the time frame is finished.

It’s useful to leverage CD8, CD6, and CD2 at first to create the urgency to start building the habit. But to enrich the experience and sustain the behavior, we should add the intrinsic Core Drives CD3: Empowerment, CD7: Curiosity and CD5: Social Influence. A CD5 example would be having an accountability partner.

But I think the crucial Core Drive at play is actually CD4: Ownership. By repeating an action every day, unconsciously, we create a new identity (CD4). We don’t want to lose this identity (CD8), so the habit persists. As part of our identity, it’s becoming easier to sustain the behavior.

For example, my identity is centered around being a badminton player. If I had to stop playing after 20 years of practice, I’d likely go through an identity crisis. ”

Habit Building – Reply from Bo Ullersted

Monday's Mini Habit Building - Profile Picture 3

Bo is a teacher from Denmark and a long-time Octalysis Prime member with a steady record of great quality replies. Here he connects B.J. Fogg’s Behavioral Model and Daniel Kahneman’s System 1 and System 2 thinking to the question:

“It’s part of the B=MAP theory: when it becomes a habit, you automatically have a Prompt – you remember that this is the time you usually do this activity.

It also increases your Ability to do the action. For this reason, less Motivation is needed to do the action. Yu-kai even states that when something is a strong habit, motivation is needed to not do the action.

But why does our Ability increase when we build a habit? It has to do with System 1 and 2, from ‘Thinking, fast and Slow’. When we do stuff that are not habits, we need to spend mental energy on activating the ‘logical brain’, System 2. But habits can be run by our efficient, “intuitive brain”, System 1, which is our default mode.”

Join the Discussion!

Do you want to join a community of learners and bring your knowledge of Human-Focused Design to the next level?
Don’t hesitate to try out Octalysis Prime for free!

Octalysis Certificate Achiever: Youssef Ouazzani

Ever since we massively revamped our Octalysis Certificates, submissions have impressed us with higher quality.

Here you can see the Hall of Fame with every person who attained their Level 1 and Level 2 Octalysis Certificate!

Youssef Ouazzani – Association Marocaine des Jeunes Bénévoles

Youssef Ouazzani committed to the effort of attaining his Level 1 Octalysis Certificate with his Engage4Fun work about AMJB. This association aims to help the city of Casablanca by encouraging young people to help their fellow citizens daily by e.g. caring for the elderly, and a food & clothing bank.

Congratulations Youssef! We hope this CD15 motivated organization will blossom with the implementation of your ideas.

Got a taste of the things you will learn in Octalysis Prime, or want to try your hand at your own Octalysis Certificate submission?

Head over to Octalysis Prime and sign up to try the FREE version of Octalysis Prime (no strings attached) to join our community of passionate and driven members like Youssef.

Sales and BD Lead Role opening at The Octalysis Group

The digital market in the United States has gone from strength to strength over the last few years. COVID-19 has only strengthened the resolve of companies to nail down user engagement in the current remote work and digital world.

The Octalysis Group has capitalized on this opportunity and has built up an extensive client list, from Fortune 500 companies to innovative Start Ups. But we have only just begun and are looking to double down our efforts on getting the leading Behavioral Science and Gamification Framework in front of companies that need it the most.

Therefore, we are actively looking for a Business Development Lead for the United States market.

What we are looking for:

  • Interest and some understanding of the Octalysis Framework
  • Experience in Sales and Business Development (including cold calling managers in large companies)
  • A proven track record of building and deepening markets
  • Fluency in English (verbal and written)

What we offer:

  • An opportunity to work in the leading Gamification Consultancy worldwide; and with Yu-kai Chou and our amazing team of Octalysis experts
  • Up to 30% revenue share for closed deals
  • Freedom to work from wherever you want
  • Worldwide Annual Retreats

If you are interested in this opportunity, please send a CV and intro email to joris@octalysisgroup.com