Feedback Request for my New Gamification Blog Design

Gamification Blog


Feedback for my new Gamification Blog Design

This is a special post mostly for my awesome regular readers. I was thinking about just suddenly one-day update my blog with a new look and surprise a lot of people, but at the end, I decided to go with the lean-startup way of getting user feedback and adjusting towards a final good product.

I’ve been thinking about updating the design of my blog for a while now. This theme has been around for 5 years and it’s not completely SEOed up. I also wanted something that stands out more and is more memorable, more immersive and game-like. I wanted something that people can explore too.

So I ran some analysis of my own blog. I’ll write about this later, but for every gamified campaign, the first thing I tell my clients to do is to define the following (I call this the Strategy Dashboard):

  1. Business Metrics -> Game Objectives
  2. Users -> Players
  3. Desired Actions -> Win-State
  4. User Metrics -> Stats
  5. Incentives -> Carrots

For my own blog analysis, I won’t boggle you down with the details, but for two of the items above, I determined

Business Metrics for my Gamification Blog (based on order of importance)

  • Consulting and Speaker Engagements
  • Contact Form Submissions
  • Go to Octalysis Post
  • Watch Videos
  • Comments
  • Share on Social Networks
  • Unique Serious Visitors
  • Passive Revenue

Desired Actions for my Gamification Blog (Based on Chronological Order)

  • Go onto site through interesting content
  • Comment on the blog
  • Get to Octalysis Post
  • Get to Video Guides
  • Get to About Me Page and Consulting Page
  • Signup to the Captain Up widget on the right
  • Click on Contact Form
  • Complete Contact Form

Thinking behind new Gamified Blog

My new blog had a few goals. The first goal is to get people to go onto my Octalysis post. From my Google Analytics, I see that anyone who goes onto my Octalysis post has by far lower bounce rates, higher time-on-site, and higher return chances. This basically means that if I wanted engaged users, I need to pipe them into my Octalysis as much as possible. As you can see, I’m also incorporating more of that into my current design.

The second goal is to get people to start watching my Beginner’s Guide to Gamification Video Series. At the beginning, this started off as a hobby project (and I had no idea how busy I would be these days so I gave myself an ambitious goal), and even though it was fun to show friends and colleagues, I’ve been a bit self-conscious about it, as it may be too non-serious/goofy to show potential enterprise clients.

If you have been following the series, you know that in the episodes where I’m getting beat up by alien lobster creators, I’m going down a snow slope while trying to teach gamification, and there’s even an episode where I sing a cover song that is entirely about how awesome I am (lyrics goes: “Yu-kai Chou – he’s my hero! Gonna take boringness down to zero!” And yes, great for laughs between friends, but I’d always thought this would deter me from getting new clients.

So for a while, I hid my videos on my site so average visitors won’t find them.

However, after a while, I noticed that even though less than 5% of my site visitors watched my video, more than 50% of the people who reached out to me for consulting have watched the videos, which shows that, if anything, they do not hurt my chances of getting consulting gigs (and may even help!). As a result, I want my new users to see my video.

The third goal is to make sure people recognize who the author of the site is. More often than not, people would browse through a bunch of content, learn from it, and not realize who the author is. Since part of my goal for my site is personal branding, I think it’s crucial that people recognize who I am. Perhaps, that’s also the reason why my videos convert well – I ascend from pure information into a personality.

Implementation Plan for the Gamification Blog

So the idea I had was to do a few things:

  1. Create an immersive experience through a futuristic city (sort of like being in a game)
  2. Every element should be something relevant to the city
  3. My main blog content should be an LED screen on a building (sort of like New York Times Square)
  4. My video should be a TV Screen or billboard in the city, and it either will show the latest video, or perhaps a live show I’m putting on at the moment.
  5. The Octalysis post should be the sun on top (and is the most abstract shape/concept in the chart) so people would want to click on it.
  6. The sidebar should also be a side building with a variety of content on it
  7. My picture and bio should be another object in the city, primarily a blimp that is pulling a big banner ad.
  8. I’m experimenting with icon-based navigation menus to add a bit of fun into the process. You won’t know exactly what it is at the beginning, but eventually you might get curious 😉
  9. Instead of having a box that talks about my Twitter followers, it would be cool if the twitter bird sits on top of the screen and talks to the reader. Sometimes I can even put in messages like, “Yu-kai’s new book is coming out!” or “Live show happening in 9:29)

Original concept design work for the Gamified Blog

A lot of people ask me what I actually do for clients. Well, besides helping them define the 5 things mentioned above in the Strategy Dashboard, run an Octalysis audit through the Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding, and Endgame Phase, adding improvements/suggestions based on the 8 Core Drives, refining everything down to a feature list based on the effectiveness and difficulty scores, I also help clients create concept wireframes so their designers/engineers know exactly what to build.

Below is a “concept” wireframe I made for myself. I passed the below as the original concept to my designer, and after 7 reiterations, we finally reach to what you see above.


Gamified Blog

Personal Blindspots for the Gamification Blog

I’ll be honest, when it comes to designing my own stuff, especially when it’s something so personal with my face all over the place, it’s hard to be objective. I feel like I have a lot of blindspots because I want a very vibrant and rich world where users can explore and enjoy the experience of browsing through a variety of content (I have a lot of interesting/cool ideas coming up…)

However, I also often tell my clients that they need to be very clear on the “desired actions” towards the users’ “win-state.” If a user CAN do 20 things, they end up feeling decision paralysis and end up doing nothing. I had a feeling I was straying away from my own advice, so I made some tough decisions to cut out some really cool but complex ideas.

Still I feel that the new design might be too complex for someone newly on the site. At the same time, my own credentials are very small. I feel like a new user who has not seen this a thousand times would feel overwhelmed by all the stuff that they can interact with. This is usually fine in a virtual world, but I have not tested this in a content website.

Fresh-Eyes Feedback Please?

I would love to get some feedback from all of you before I commit resources to engineers to build this out. I also might take this post down once I have decided and the development work starts (so hopefully for some other readers this will still have some element of surprised 😉 ). Please let me know if you have any concrete advice and suggestions that I can take before having a developer build it.




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8 thoughts on “Feedback Request for my New Gamification Blog Design”

  1. I guess this is still relevant so I give you my piece of mind.
    Generally the website is engaging but being a blog it gives the idea of a lot of content placed here and there without a real chronological order sometimes. Example: Video guides are not one after another, sometimes even not related because obviously they have been created in different times and occasions.
    If you intend to create a sort of video course, i think they should be in succession, one after another, maybe with two or three videos between them that can be added to amplify the previous concept but the going straight to the next point.
    Blog articles are fine, others may need a sense of progression into ones education.
    Personally i am subscribed to the mailing list but i’d like to receive email notifications with a direct link to the post when the post is updated or someone leaves a message, maybe i did it wrong or maybe it doesn’t exist an option like this, in both cases the UI on this point of view needs to be improved.
    Yes, the blog is very slow, especially when keeping more than a page open. I guess it’s because of the gamification interface which is fun but at this point should be integrated.
    I still didn’t find a way to upload my personal avatar, like the others did. I am logged with my facebook profile but on my posts it doesn’t appear, again, maybe i am not the smartest guy but not the dumbest either, if i can’t find a way, lots of people can’t find the way.

  2. Hello !

    I wanted to learn about Gamification, and I think I couldn’t find a better place than your website to do so. Already achieved all the “start learning here” part and it’s quite pleasant.

    However, I would like to share 2 negative feedbacks on the design of your website, and I guess here is the right place for doing so ?

    – First one is that I can’t find an overview page to reach easily the content I want to look at. Maybe I just missed it. But to go, for example, to the learning gamification section, I have to go first to a 404 error page that will offer me to go to different other sections… Could be easier.
    – Second one is that the loading time of your pages is freaking slow… I’m actually in Cambodia where I access the internet through public Wi-Fi, and it takes like 30 seconds to load a new page, which is quite discouraging, + there are some lags… Is there a way to access a lighter version of your website, maybe ?

    Those points set aside, thank you very much for what you do ! I’ll try to go on with my learning gamification quest no matter the difficulties, but I wanted to share my point of view if it cand help you improve your website design.

    Have a nice day.

  3. Nice site design Yu-Kai. I think it would be better if the bird image can be clicked and take us to your twitter account. 🙂

  4. NicMacdonald Thanks for the great feedback! I’m making modifications and hopefully launching this live soon! 😉

  5. I personally think less is more, as in it’s way more likely to retain my attention. As long as each blog actively refers me to more stuff on the site that I might find interesting I will check it out. 
    I love to click links and find new stuff as much as the next person.
    I also agree that your face should be quite prevalent other than on the videos, as not every new blog will be video based. It personalises the experience for me and makes me feel like you are speaking to me and me alone.

  6. AverageJoey Thanks for the feedback Mr. Average! 😉
    I think the little stick people would make things a bit more messy (afterall, we want to focus on the content), but I think increasing my presence (muahaha) is probably useful. 
    I’ll think about making the city more “lively” but might be in later revisions…

  7. Ok. Based on no other expertise other than having a pair of eyes 🙂 I like the city concept and the post layout is nicely integrated. The futuristic buildings look great. I’d suggest though you want to give the impression it is a lived in city, not an empty one. A ‘gameworld’ people wanna hang out in.
    So little stick people behind the railings, maybe looking up at the blimp. A vertical train (minority report style) going down or around the buildings. Cars, Bicycles. Anything to give the city a more “alive” feeling. I’d also suggest putting the face on to the banner rather than the blimp. So its attached to the intro text and breaks up it being a big block of text.

You must engage in the conversation!!