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The Octalysis Framework for Gamification & Behavioral Design

This post is a high-level introduction to Octalysis, the Gamification Framework I created after more than 17 years of Gamification research and and Behavioral Design study. Within a year of publication, Octalysis was organically translated into 16 languages and became required literature in Gamification instruction worldwide.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is design that places the most emphasis on human motivation in the process. In essence, it is Human-Focused Design (as opposed to “function-focused design”).

Gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and engaging elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities. Click To Tweet

Gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and engaging elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities. This process is what I call “Human-Focused Design,” as opposed to “Function-Focused Design.” It’s a design process that optimizes for human motivation in a system, as opposed to pure efficiency.

The challenges with Function-Focused Design

Continue reading The Octalysis Framework for Gamification & Behavioral Design

Octalysis Certificate Achiever: Sébastien Dostie

Sébastien Dostie (LinkedIn) is one of the many people who attended the 2020 Behavioral Design Masterclass to up his Human-Focused Design skills.

As a part of the Masterclass, Sébastien decided to take it one step further and submit for his Octalysis Certificate. In his submission, Sébastien analyzed Hardbacon, a financial app from FinTech startup Hardbacon Inc. The app’s mission is to help the user take control of their personal finance.
Although Hardbacon is successful at presenting your financial status, Sébastien feels the app falls short in helping users control their finance by using the stock market.

Sébastien Dostie: “I believe that putting Hardbacon through the Octalysis lens has the potential to shine lights on how to improve the experience.”

Wow! Thank you for this new round of feedback. Makes me want to review it again as you bring very interesting questions and observations.

Sébastien Dostie

Well done on your submission and attaining your Octalysis Certificate, Sébastien. Congratulations!

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: Jordan Rothenberg

In the summer of 2020 we had our first big Masterclass about Octalysis and Behavioral Design. This was in many aspects a big succes, one of the more important ways was the quality in Octalsis Certificate submissions from the Masterclass submissions we have seen.

Among them is Jordan Rothenberg. Jordan did his Octalysis submission about the 3-6 month performance-based onboarding curriculum for SFRS front-line customer service specialists at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Most submissions we receive cover apps or other digital products. Jordan chose an offline experience of Service Specialists in Training.
These SSTs attend training sessions, complete written and verbal tests, shadow current staff. They perform reverse shadowing, create personal cheat sheets by topic, andare evaluated against qualitative and productivity metrics.

This onboarding experience is so extensive, that is has all the Four Phases of Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding and Endgame in it.

Learning and applying this material was definitely a deep-dive and growth inducing experience.

Jordan Rothenberg

Congratulations Jordan! We are looking forward to your submission for a Level 2 Certificate.

Check out the Hall of Fame where we show every person who, through skill and hard work, attained their Level 1 and Level 2 Octalysis Certificate!

Do you want to find out what Gamification is all about, or bring your skills to the next level? 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 Ashley.

Monday’s Mini – Can We Feel Related to NPCs? 2/2

In our exclusive Slack community for Premium Primers, we offer the weekly Monday’s Mini Challenge.
The best way to learn is by putting your knowledge into practice. We created the Monday’s Mini Challenges to offer our Primers the chance to do this.

Monday’s Mini. One topic. Three questions. Many high-quality answers from our Primers.

Oftentimes when we think about Core Drive 5, we think about Social Influence, Relatedness, Social Pressure, Envy. We think about what we do based on what other people do, think, or say, about collaboration and competition. With humans.

But what about NPCs? What about animals? What about people that only exist in books, stories, movies?
This week we will explore a larger extent of Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness.

Question 3 – One of the low hanging fruits to improve a design, is to make it easy for users to show appreciation for each other. However, we can only motivate people, gently nudge them in the right direction, we cannot control them. Do you think we can use things we can control (e.g. NPCs, the companion on the Island, a chatbot…) to achieve (partly) the same effect. Motivate your answer.

Thorsten Niemeyer shares his own experience with Witcher 3 and how NPCs motivated him through CD5.

“Appreciation from an NPC, you companion can definitely motivate you, and I think the more it is individualised the better.
So like in video games where you grow to like persons, prefer them over others, do things for them rather than others (Witcher 3 with all the different Relationships comes to my mind, where I for sure had some kind of social feelings for the characters, especially regarding how my interactions affected the relationship)
Another thing that I thought of was a bot that shows you around a game, platform etc. that shows you how to do things, drive actions, how to communicate with others. And there with the right kind of dialogue it could definitely invoke some CD5.
“Hey adventure let me show you around. Here you can chat with me, ah nice. If you post something others can like it. Here see you already got a like from me.”, even though knowing the first like is from a bot would at least I have the feeling do its part to motivate the user.”

Lucian Katzbach goes into detail about what would be necessary in order to have a NPC offer motivation through Core Drive 5.

“Yes, I think it’s possible. But hard to achieve since it must be vivid. The npc needs to have weaknesses or moods etc. But they need additionally enough CD7 but still needs to be in context. All this makes it hard. One example might be the app Replika.”

Colin Hahn is brainstorming for automated coaching tools.

“I’ll say yes. The scenario I’m thinking about is automated coaching tools. I’ve personally found that messages from those bots can tap into that social experience. From a motivation perspective, I’ve felt like that technique works better when:
– The bot has a “personality” – that creates some CD3 and CD7 which makes me interested in what the bot will say, instead of just expecting a rote explanation
– The bot customizes the messages for me – there’s probably a combination of CD4 Alfred Effect, CD3, and CD 7 involved when the bot asks, e.g., why I care about the goal and then uses that language in future reminders
– The bot connects me with other users; I’ve seen some bots use CD5 social anchoring to say “85% of your peers did ABC, you should too!””

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!

Monday’s Mini – Can We Feel Related to NPCs? 1/2

In our exclusive Slack community for Premium Primers, we offer the weekly Monday’s Mini Challenge.
The best way to learn is by putting your knowledge into practice. We created the Monday’s Mini Challenges to offer our Primers the chance to do this.

Monday's Mini. One topic. Three questions. Many high-quality answers from our Primers. Click To Tweet

Oftentimes when we think about Core Drive 5, we think about Social Influence, Relatedness, Social Pressure, Envy. We think about what we do based on what other people do, think, or say, about collaboration and competition. With humans.

But what about NPCs? What about animals? What about people that only exist in books, stories, movies?
This week we will explore a larger extent of Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness.

Question 2 – “Do you think NPCs can motivate us through Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness? Explain why you think this can or cannot be while coming to the core of what you feel CD5 represents.”


Manas Mallik (Product Manager) goes to the core of CD5: Social Influence & Relatedness.

“I think NPCs can motivate us through CD5. That it’s a bot doesn’t matter as long as it is designed well. Deep underneath humans want to be appreciated, feel wanted, feel encouraged and a NPC can do that. Rationally thinking we might say that we are not motivated but actually we are. It is true for any advertisements also NPC need to designed intelligently for the right context and Then it can motivate through CD5”

Ren Chang Soo (Experience Designer) uses Animal Crossing to analyze the use of NPCs there, focussing on the possibility of AI in NPCs in games.

“In animal crossing, the NPC Tom Nook can be perceived to play the role of a mentor. You can go to Tom and ask “What should I do?” and Tom would share next steps. Getting answers to the question of “What should I do” sounds like the NPC is motivating us through CD5 (mentorship)
Having said that, upon further investigation, you will realise that Tom Nook is just sharing your next logical “desired actions” in a conversation format. And thus might act more like a guide (instead of mentor), when the player is looking for a new “desired action” to move forward with.
Thus having an option to ask the NPC an open ended question/ advice such as “What should I do?” is a good starting point in embedding CD5. It is also imperative that the NPC’s response to this question needs to be crafted (by the game designer) in a way that the player feels like receiving guidance/ advice from the NPC in further strengthening the presence of CD5
What would be awesome is to have NPC powered by artificial intelligence.

Predrag Stefanović goes into more detail explaining about how NPCs can utilize Core Drive 5.

“Yes, I think NPC could motivate us through CD5.
The NPC could inform us how we stand on the leaderboard and what tasks we need to perform in order to progress further. For example, he might say, “Great, you’re doing well for now. If you complete the task to the end, you’ll overtake John B. on the leaderboard. Also, after we solve a task, the NPC can reveal to us in what way and what strategy was used by John B. to kill the dragon and win the mighty sword. Also, NPC can invite me to help my friend John B. in battle. From the above examples, we can see that NPC can be our ally in correspondence with real players in many ways, utilizing core drive 5.”

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: Gabriel Goh

There are Octalysis Explorers in almost every country on Earth. Today we would like to introduce you to Gabriel Goh from Malaysia. He participated in the Behavioural Design Masterclass and successfully submitted for his Level 1 Octalysis Certificate!

Octalysis Level 1 Certificate

Most submissions we receive cover apps or other digital products. Gabriel chose an offline experience: the local ‘Number Eight’ Board Game Cafe. The cafe is run by tabletop game enthusiasts and is a place where people not only buy games, but come together to play games while enjoying snacks and drinks. One of the main challenges they face is attracting customers during weekdays that can be very quiet compared to the weekends.

Like Sarah Le-Fevre, Gabriel impressed us with good quality work and managed to obtain an Octalysis Certificate on his first attempt! He also considered the user experience of reading through the submission and used a fun visual touch to add Core Drive 7: Curiosity. Check it out to learn from this!

Congratulations Gabriel! We are looking forward to your submission for a Level 2 Certificate. Check out the Hall of Fame where we show every person who, through skill and hard work, attained their Level 1 and Level 2 Octalysis Certificate!

Do you want to find out what Gamification is all about, or bring your skills to the next level? 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 Gabriel.

Octalysis Certificate Achiever: Sarah Le-Fevre

Many of you might know Sarah Le-Fevre as she is very active in the Gamification space and the chief editor of the online magazine Ludogogy. She is now also the proud owner of the Level 1 Octalysis Certificate!

Octalysis Level 1 Certificate

The WaterWatch Learning Programme is part of a multi-million dollar sustainability project by a large corporate organisation. The main learning opportunity is a one-day face-to-face employee engagement programme, open to all of the organisation’s 230,000 employees globally. A smaller number of employees are given kits to take away with them to continue testing their own chosen waterbody and uploading data for the project.

We were impressed with the overall quality of Sarah’s submission. She absorbed the knowledge of Yu-kai’s Behavioral Design Masterclass very well and managed to obtain an Octalysis Certificate on her first attempt! Only three other of the many Masterclass participant succeeded to do so. An impressive accomplishment!

Congratulations Sarah! We are looking forward to more of your contributions in the Ludogogy magazine and updates in the Premium Octalysis Prime Community.

Check out the Hall of Fame where we show every person who, through skill and hard work, attained their Level 1 and Level 2 Octalysis Certificate!

I’m really honoured to join the ranks of those who have already done this, and I’m looking forward to work towards the Level II certification.

Sarah Le-Fevre

Do you want to find out what Gamification is all about, or bring your skills to the next level? 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 Sarah.

Join The Octalysis Group: Do the GruBox Design Challenge

If you are interested in testing your design skills in Gamification and Human-Focused Design, or you want to join The Octalysis Group, we have officially released this year’s Octalysis Design Challenge to the public!

Two weeks earlier we shared the details of this Challenge within our premium Octalysis Prime community. Now we are opening up to the entire public to participate.

Our regular Octalysis Design Challenges aim at providing gamification passionates with an opportunity to apply their skills to real-life challenges and take their learning of Octalysis to the next level.

This particular Octalysis Design Challenge is directly for The Octalysis Group: the consulting/design entity of Yu-kai’s Octalysis Framework – to find talents to join its amazing team and work on cutting edge gamification projects worldwide.

GruBox is India’s first Machine Learning driven, unmanned Kiosks provider.

The focus of this Challenge will be on Brainstorming, Game Loop, and Wireframes.

Become a Trainee for TOG!

When participating in this Challenge, you can indicate on the title page of your submission if you would like to pursue the opportunity to be a Trainee for The Octalysis Group.
Finalists who have indicated their interest will be interviewed to present their designs and answer some questions.

TOG Consultants take their passion to help companies like Microsoft, Porsche, HTC, Uber, Capital One, Lego, and more! Many current TOG Consultants and Designers joined the company due to an Octalysis Design Challenge.

Do you want to work with the world’s leading experts in Gamification and Behavioral Design, and work from wherever you want in the world, enjoying full autonomy and full transparency? This is your chance!

You have until the 11th of January to showcase what you are capable of.

The Octalysis Design Challenge is open to anyone who wishes to attempt it. We don’t care about your background, education, gender, or nationality. We only care about quality, and whether you are a fun-loving person.

Got a taste of the challenges and learning opportunities you can find in Octalysis Prime? Sign up to try the FREE version of Octalysis Prime (no strings attached) to join our community of passionate and driven members.

Want more? You can sign up to become a Premium Primer of Yu-kai’s online mentorship platform, for just $50 per month!
You will not only join a community of hundreds of passionate learners, and get access to 700+ exclusive video content and case studies. You will also gain access to the weekly Live Coaching Sessions with Yu-kai directly, and our exclusive Slack community to supercharge your submission.

In fact, a large percentage of people who win the Octalysis Design Challenges are Octalysis Primers since they are exposed to Yu-kai’s latest and best research, far beyond the contents of his book.