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.
Get ready to learn, the fun way! We have scoured the internet and app stores to find the 10 best educational apps that use Gamification for adults. See how companies and organizations are making learning languages, music, coding, art, history, and more fun and exciting for everyone!
10. TEDEd – gamified educational app to create actionable video lessons
How it works: TEDEd creates amazing, fun, entertaining educational videos for all ages to enjoy. In addition to their videos, they’ve created a web app that allows users to create video lessons that are actionable. Choose a video, add a description, add a quiz (multiple choice or open-ended), and prompt some discussion.
How it works: Khan Academy is an educational platform where students can learn math, science, computer programming, history, and more. What makes Khan Academy standout is their mission: they aim to provide this education to everyone around the world (currently in 36 languages) completely for free forever.
They’ve accomplished some amazing results:
Students who complete 60% of their grade-level math on Khan Academy experience 1.8 times their expected growth on the NWEA MAP Test, a popular assessment test.
Student use of Khan Academy correlates with score gains on standardized achievement tests.
20 hours of practice is associated with a 115-point average score increase from the PSAT/NMSQT to the SAT, nearly double the average gain of students who do not practice on Official SAT Practice.
Why it works:
Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling: Khan Academy truly utilizes CD1 to motivate donors, teachers, and volunteers on its quest to accomplish its mission. Because of their mission to provide free education to everyone forever, they’ve gotten companies that have donated over $10,000,000 each.
How it works: Coursera is an online learning platform that provides universal access to the world’s best education from top universities. Universities add their courses onto the platform and students can use Coursera to pay for and take a course.
How it works: Udemy is an online platform that allows educators to upload courses and for students to purchase these courses and learn online. Anyone from anywhere in the world can upload a course: you can learn anything from coding, to languages, to fashion, and even parenting.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: on the student-side of the platform, Udemy utilizes progress bars to indicate the student’s progress and to encourage completion of a course. They also dangle a trophy at the end of the course as their reward for completing it.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: Udemy truly excels on the teach-side of the platform. Anyone from anywhere in the world can create their own online course. They have the complete creative freedom to choose any topic and use their video editing skills to make their course stand out.
6. Tinycards – gamified educational app for learning with flashcards
How it works: Tinycards (by Duolingo) makes learning with boring old flash cards actually fun and enjoyable through the use of Gamification. Pick a subject: language, science, movies, and start to learn with flash cards.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Tinycards makes boring old flash cards fun by adding a gamified layer on top of them. As you progress through a deck of cards, your progress bar fills up and you earn accomplishments.
5. Blinkist – gamified educational app for reading non-fiction books in just 15 minutes!
How it works: Blinkist is for the professional on the go, the person that is super busy, but that desperately wants to carve out a little bit of time to learn something new. Blinkist summarizes over 2,000 non-fiction books to give you content that you can easily digest in 15 minutes.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Blinkist isn’t using a bunch of fancy avatars or leveling up systems; instead, it focuses on making the user feel incredibly smart and effective. Blinkist is a master at utilizing CD2 to help its users read more, learn more, and become a more educated person
4. Memrise – gamified educational app to learn a language through locals
How it works: Memrise is a gamified language learning app that utilizes a myriad of gamified techniques (including over 20,000 native speaking videos) to teach a new language. Players can learn English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, and many more languages. In addition, Memrise has courses for art, math, and history.
The app is incredibly fun to use. You are an astronaut, going on your journey to learn a new language! As you learn and progress, you gain in levels and your pet alien evolves as well.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Memrise uses CD2 in a myriad of ways: from earning points for completing lessons to leveling up your little alien pet, the app continuously shows the user their status and progression.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: Memrise has the “point and translate” mode that allows players to turn on their camera, point to an object, and get the object translated in real-time. It’s a phenomenal way to get creative and capture your own vocabulary library.
3. SoloLearn – gamified educational app to learn how to code
How it works: SoloLearn aims to gamify the way we learn how to code. As an educational app, SoloLearn naturally has lessons that teach players how to code, but that’s just the beginning. SoloLearn utilizes player challenges (players can compete head-to-head in a coding challenge and the winner earns XP), a Code Playground where players can show off the code they’ve created and get feedback from other members of the community, and a leaderboard that shows the top coders.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: SoloLearn truly shines in the way it uses CD3 to drive player engagement. Players can create their own code and apps, upload it to the playground, and have players from around the world upvote their product and even play with it. This provides immediate feedback for the player and encourages them to continue engaging with the platform.
Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: SoloLearn has an amazingly vibrant community (their Q&A discussion forum). The community is completely gamified, allowing players to upvote topics and get EXP for answering questions.
2. Yousician – gamified educational app for learning a instrument
How it works: Yousician is a Gamified educational app to learn a new language. When you’re ready for your lesson, you turn on the app, select your instrument, and choose a lesson or song to play. The app will play the background music, display the song tutorial, and listen to you play to give you immediate feedback about how you’re doing.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Yousician is structured like a game: you start off as a beginner with easy levels (easy songs). As you progress and get better, you unlock stages that get progressively difficult and you level up in level. You can also see your progress through the in-app analytics that shows how you’re improving.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: This is where Yousician truly shines. The key to Yousician is that it listens to you play and gives you immediate feedback. If you struck a chord too soon, it will visibly let you know immediately and track your progress. In addition, you can upload your own music to the app so that you can learn to play your favorite songs.
1. Duolingo – gamified educational app for learning a new language (and it’s free!)
How it works: Duolingo is a free language learning app on your mobile phone. There are a ton of languages to learn: Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, and the list goes on and on. In fact, more Americans are learning a language on Duolingo than the entire American school system! It’s quite an impressive feat.
Duolingo is proud that they infuse Gamification into every lesson. From in-lesson grading, to streak counts and hearts, Duolingo has done a terrific job at making language learning incredibly fun and easy.
Why it works:
Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling: As stated in the Duolingo Manifesto: “There are over 1.2 billion people learning a language and the majority are doing so to gain access to better opportunities. Unfortunately, learning a language is expensive and inaccessible to most. We created Duolingo so that everyone could have a chance. Free language education – no hidden fees, no premium content, just free. Duolingo is used by the richest man in the world and many Hollywood stars, and at the same time by public schools students in developing countries. We believe true equality is when spending more can’t buy you a better education.” When you use Duolingo or pay for the premium version, you are contributing to this grand mission.
Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession: There is a currency within Duolingo called Lingots which allows players to buy Power Ups (such as streak freeze) and buy attire for your avatar.
Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: Duolingo has social language learning clubs within the app that encourage players to learn with each other. Although it sounds like a great idea, it’s actually implemented weakly–not much conversation is happening amongst club members, resulting in empty rooms.
Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience: In order to play (to learn a language), you need lives. If you run out of lives, then you have to wait until you regain life to learn again.
Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance: In Duolingo, players get lives. Every time you fail a lesson, you lose a life. Run out of lives and you’ll have to wait until you can continue learning.
Conclusion: Education Gamification is here to change our future
Even with all the great examples above, this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the great education gamfiication examples. Education gamification is here to stay and here to change the world.
What about you? Do you know of any great education gamification examples that can really impact our society, not just for this generation, but also future generations to come? I look forward to learning about that in the comments!
21) EMC RAMP: with their gamification platform, the company rewarded positive behavior from employees, partners and customers which led to a 10% increase in documentation, 40% more videos watched and 15% more discussions
10) Teleflora gamified its store with a social engagement scheme offering points for actions, increasing traffic from facebook by 105% and conversion rates by 92%
11) America’s Army:30% of americans age to 16 to 24 had a more positive impression towards and has recruited more people than all the other methods combined while costing a fraction of the marketing cost
4) Subsequent research in the same social network service above showed the effects of removing the point based levels, status titles, and leaderboards. The removal of the game mechanics showed a significant result as across the board activities on the social network service dropped by 52%.
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.