Crowdsourcing is a method of actionable community engagement that harnesses the collective wisdom, contributions, and capabilities of large numbers of people (i.e. the “crowd” in crowdsourcing). Crowdsourcing has been used to solicit, improve, and address complex virtual and real-world challenges. Some of these applications are in the areas of:
Innovation and creativity
Building accurate and vast knowledge
Solving complex multi-layered problems
Achieving complicated feats within a short span of time
Crowdsourcing utilizes several core behavioral drives that compel users to collectively work together to solve problems (sometimes by breaking them into tedious, and manageable tasks). Wikipedia is one example of a crowdsource information platform that utilizes gamification principles to entice users to curate and publish regular content while holding the community (and its content) responsible for accuracy and quality.
While different crowdsourcing application utilize a wide-range of gamification principles at varying degrees (and with differing success), the decision to implement gamification mechanics depends on the quality of experience the project seeks to offer based on the understanding of their users’ drives and motivations.
In some cases, people may be naturally inspired to contribute their time and efforts towards a particular cause (e.g. Wikipedia). In other instances, it may be beneficial to enhance the experience of the crowdsourced endeavor by making it more immersive and compelling through the integration of key game mechanics.
Here are several examples (in no particular order) which highlight the achievement of large scale or complex feats through the integration of gamification and crowdsourcing.
At its core is a gamified timer to decrease distraction from your mobile phone. In 2015-2016 this simple concept of “Don’t use this device or your plant will die!” was voted Google Best App of the Year. In 2018 it was nominated for Best Social Impact App and 2018 it was Google Play Editors’ Choice for Top Productivity App.
It has over 25 million downloads and over 2 million satisfied paying users. It is also responsible for planting over 600,000 real trees on Earth by their users (Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling) How does such a simple concept have such success? How do you feel about this short term engagement?
Will it keep you hooked in the long term? Would you pay for it?
It was time to add new items to the Octalysis Prime store to make the gameplay better for new and endgame users alike. So, what did our members come up with in our latest Octalysis Prime Design Challenge?
Based on their thoughtful analysis utilizing Human-Focused Design and aligning that to the business goals of Octalysis Prime, here are the submissions that stood out:
Winner – Iñaki Finalists: Sergio and Olivier
Iñaki created the most items which we could potentially see using on the Island, and we will continue to work with him to see which might be implemented from his Alchemy Set, Hunter’s Mark, Magic Scroll, and Spirits’ Stones. Great work showing how the new items fit into the game loops on the Island.
In this series, Yu-kai analyzes the social credit system coming soon in China from the perspective of Octalysis design.
Today, we’re gonna talk about a fairly well known controversial global issue, which is China’s social credit system. So, for those who don’t know, China wants to have what some people call the biggest gamification experiment or implementation in history. They want to turn ‘being a good citizen’ into a game. In actuality, it’s kind of like a financial credit score system.
The Chinese government is trying to measure how good of a Chinese citizen you are. Are you patriotic? Are you paying your loans? This has been hugely controversial because the whole world sees that it’s like ‘Wow, that’s Orwellian.”
One of the examples people like to compare this to is a Black Mirror episode where everything in life is also measured by your social score where people rate you, your rating is too low, you can get locked out of renting a car or getting a mortgage.
And in this Black Mirror episode, the dystopian scenario crashes down upon this lady who is so obsessed with getting a high score that she kept doing things to promote it, but ended up losing out.
China system, right, it’s very interesting because it doesn’t just measure your financial credit score it breaks your credit score in five categories. Kind of like the attribute webchart we talked about in gameful education.
The first is your background characteristics. Who you are. The school you came out of. So that’s just your identity, right, that will give you a score.
Preferences and Tendencies
Next, you have your preferences and tendencies. So, what kind of hobbies do you like? Do you like hobbies that support the Chinese government? If you buy a lot of products from overseas, your score actually lowers. So, that’s it.
The ability to pay back your debt, and how trustworthy and reliable you are, so it’s basically or literally how well you can pay on time.
And then there are your personal connections. So this is actually probably the most controversial one, because, basically, is your friends and family have a low score, then you will have a lower score too. So you really have two options. If you notice, people are doing things that are not patriotic and they’re low, and low scores, then you have two options. Number one is to disassociate yourself. You know, don’t interact with them at all because if you interact with them you’re gonna decrease. Or, you got to convince them to be a good citizen again, don’t badmouth these events. Right. And so, that becomes a very stressful time where people would perhaps trust each other less because they don’t want other people to know that internally they’re feeling, disgruntled about something but they can’t let anyone else know.
And then finally, the last point is your credit history. Normal financial credit history, and then all these five characteristics combined into one total score. And this score, China, they deploy the social throughout China in 2020, but I think I saw reports delay they wanted to late 2021, but they have experimented and have ongoing experiments in many different places now so this is actually real implementation.
Implementation and Results
So far, 23 million people have been discredited or barred from traveling. I think about around 17 million couldn’t buy plane tickets anymore and 5 or 6 million people are unable to take the train. And so the idea is that hey if you are not worthy, right, you don’t have the credit. You’re in the country, then you shouldn’t be traveling go to damage control, quarantine you almost.
And one very interesting story is that there is a Chinese actress barred from boarding an airplane. She walked to the airport computer screen with checkout and showed that she had a low score because she was guilty of defaming her boyfriend’s ex-lover. And she did not apologize. So, they didn’t let her on the plane because she had a bad citizen behavior and she couldn’t get on the plane. And then, once she apologized to her boyfriend’s ex-lover, that ban was lifted and then she could go take planes after that.
So, again, some people think it’s crazy and ridiculous how our government would prevent you from using, transportation, based on what you say about someone else, you might think “that feels like a complete lack of freedom and China is obviously trying to monitor more people.”
So, I think as of now, there are over 200 million video cameras on the streets and alleys of China, and China’s goal for this year is actually have over 626 million cameras deployed throughout 2020. In comparison, there are only about 330 million people in the US, so they literally want twice the amount of Americans in cameras in China, and there are about 1.4 billion people in China, pretty generous and still only about one camera for every two citizens so it’s not so bad, right. They didn’t think that every Chinese citizen needs one camera, a very controversial thing that’s going on.
What if you have a good score?
And, oh, and of course, if you do well if you have a high credit score, then you might get rewarded with discounts benefits special opportunities and whatnot. And so, that’s the part that is controversial I want to talk about that and then we’ll talk about how the Chinese people. And surprisingly actually the Chinese people really like it. And then we’ll move into the actual design itself. Is it a good or bad design?
I saw this on LinkedIn and thought I’d respond…it turned into a short blog post.
My Response: It’s Delicate
Delicate because you might not want to be the one whom the customer sees as wasting his or her time.
Doing it poorly: I once clicked through a time-limited conversion (free) to find myself watching a prerecorded webinar that reran every 20 minutes. That felt lazy and I don’t even remember who offered it because they’ve been erased from my memory.
Doing it well: Some moments are rare (organizing certain people to be at an event all at the same time to share knowledge), and letting people know this event is a once in a lifetime occurrence (even though many events are once in a lifetime) isn’t untruthful, and attending said event might be just what that attendee needs right now. I don’t take an ethical position on this necessarily, but I do personally feel it is weak to shall we say manufacture scarcity, and when I see it I personally ding the person/company reputationally in my personal scoring system.
Don’t Resort to FOMO Tactics
In other words, there are tradeoffs to using FOMO tactics. Maybe you are happy to get quick conversions because you believe SO much in your product that the reputational ding people like me will give you upfront can be recouped (or you’ve charged enough for your product/service/event that you don’t care).
If you are comfortable with this tradeoff, then FOMO tactics do work. How much you walk the line reputationally is your own call.
Is there another way?
Of course, there is! One way is to consider the full range of psychological drives, including the 8 Core Drives.
Taking a human-focused design approach will let you win in the long run, which, if you have something valuable to share with the world, is where you want to live.
How Twitch Usees Achievement Symbols to Motivate Streamers
For starters, we’re going to go through over 100 game techniques. This is just Game Technique #2!, called Achievement Symbols. And I’m taking a look at Twitch today, which by the way is a platform I think you should all look into and understand. It’s good to know because they are doing a lot of things from a design perspective that have really captured the imagination of a lot of streamers right and those streamers have captured the attention of a lot of advertising dollars. There’s really a big ecosystem right around this.
I remember my aunt asking me about twitch several years ago when one of her students wasn’t showing up for class, so it’s definitely something that is capturing attention from a number of different ways–that student by the way was streaming games on Twitch and on his way to becoming a pro gamer, or at least trying to.
Let’s look at this Achievement Symbol (icons for use) from the perspective of Twitch as a streamer.
Lately, I’ve been streaming a game that I like play which is actually a board game called Diplomacy. If you haven’t played before I strongly recommend you get in touch with me and I’ll help you get started.
An achievement symbol is simply a way to show that I’ve developed or accomplished something: developing a skill or accomplishing some kind of goal. And, yeah, it’s part of this larger reality of humans as goal-oriented beings. We like to see progress towards a goal. If we’re lost in the woods not sure how to get to the destination, not so much.
Recapturing my Attention (and Investment of Creative Labor)
Achievement Symbols that Twitch is using here help move me through the Onboarding process. I’ve already experienced some friction in establishing my stream and getting my equipment right, and over 9 hours of streaming, but I’m not monetizable yet. Eventually, I’ll attract advertising dollars to the platform and draw an audience. That’s the value tradeoff between the platform and me, the creator.
Right away you can see they have several achievement symbols to indicate what I can do here. Community, affiliate, partner, and so forth. After viewing my Achievement Symbol from previous efforts, the reward acts as a trigger to view other possible goals.
Twitch recaptures my attention to bring me back into that activity loop. So, that is an extrinsic, but white hat; it feels good. Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment is just one of the 8 Core Drives. And Achievement Symbols (GT#2) is just one of over a hundred Game Techniques.
This article on Status Points was originally published in February 2018, but was edited and updated in November 2019.
For the last three years I’ve worked with Yu-kai Chou, a leader in the gamification consulting space and developer of the Octalysis gamification framework. As I continue to learn from him, I’m testing my knowledge through a series of posts aiming to highlight everything from the basics to more advanced topics.
If you’ve been curious about how games impact design in non-game experiences, and how companies like Uber and Apple and Amazon use them, this series of articles is for you.
(Keep this working definition in mind: Gamification is the integration of game elements into non-game experiences.)
Yu-kai wanted to differentiate the knowledge he had acquired from lifelong games research and consulting work with hundreds of companies from other organizations who were jumping on the gamification trend without the same expertise.
No harm in that, except for Yu-kai there was more to the idea of gamification–adding game elements to non-game experiences–than slapping on points, badges, and leaderboards.
Thus, the subtitle of the book: ‘Beyond Points, Badges, & Leaderboards‘.
Throughout the text, Yu-kai sprinkles Game Techniques he has collected through his own gameplay and through the development of engaging experiences with clients.
How does Yu-kai create them? That would require me to read his mind. However, what I’ve observed is that he starts with the client problem and then applies the Octalysis Gamification framework–including the 8 Core Drives–to build engagement and interaction design. These designs, when tied together, create a game loop for the user. Ideally, a game loop that brings the user back again and again.
Now, there are over 100 of these so-called Game Techniques which Yu-kai is freely sharing and making videos about in Octalysis Prime (his community teaching the Octalysis design framework).
This post will serve to introduce you to one of the most basic techniques.
Status is important and practical
The desire to improve one’s status is a huge motivator. Recognition of status stems from our neurobiological settings.
And status is practical. When I have a problem learning to code, I go to Stack Overflow, a website with high status in the question/answer space for pro and amateur programmers. When I want high-quality food, I go to a high-status restaurant. When I want to suggest to strangers I have status, I might wear certain kinds of clothing.
One of the highest margin status items today might be Apple airpods.
Contrary to this post’s declaration on November 18, 2019–which suggests Apple has solved a deep customer problem–I see airpods as an example of a product linked to Apple’s larger ecosystem, which oozes status. Because Apple customers have an affinity to the brand and gain a sense of status by owning and wearing them, they are happy to pay for a high-margin product that has cheaper alternatives. (Admittedly I am cherrypicking this example: I don’t own airpods, but I am using a Macbook Pro from 2013, which may have been overpriced too.)
From the perspective of the Octalysis framework, Status is linked with two Core Drives, which I will get to shortly. But first, let’s define our terms.
Game Technique #1: Status Points (they still matter)
Now that we’ve commented on a few ways status works in our society, let’s drill down into Status Points.
Status Points are a numeric tracker that shows the growth of a player in the user journey, often symbolizing higher status in the ecosystem.
For now, we won’t go into visual design nor interaction design related to Status Points. Of course, how something looks and feels will also impact the user experience, often to a large extent.