Strategizing Design Relationships with Octalysis: A Journey from Discovery to Endgame

This article was inspired by Tijs van der Horst, Octalysis Prime member. 

Effective design isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about forging a compelling user experience. By leveraging the Octalysis Framework’s 8 Core Drives within the 4 Phases of the Player Journey, you can craft designs that resonate and engage users from start to finish.

1. Discovery Phase: Making a Grand Entrance The initial encounter users have with your product or design:

  • Epic Meaning & Calling: Pique curiosity with a narrative that hints at a larger purpose. What grand journey or mission are users embarking on?
  • Unpredictability & Curiosity: Introduce teasers or previews that generate intrigue.

Actionable Tip: Engage potential users with compelling marketing campaigns, testimonials, or demos that tap into the above drives.

2. Onboarding Phase: Rolling Out the Welcome Mat The crucial phase where users familiarize themselves with your product:

  • Development & Accomplishment: Offer easy wins. Celebrate user milestones, even if they’re small.
  • Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: Provide avenues for initial customization or choice. Immediate feedback loops, like congratulatory messages or rewards, can be motivating.

Insight: Make tutorials or introduction sessions interactive and rewarding, ensuring new users feel progress and personal connection.

3. Scaffolding Phase: Guiding and Elevating the Experience Users have learned the basics; now, they are diving deeper:

  • Ownership & Possession: Enhance users’ sense of belonging. Offer advanced customization or loyalty-based features.
  • Social Influence & Relatedness: Encourage sharing, collaborating, or competing. Building a community or social space can be crucial here.
  • Scarcity & Impatience: Introduce features or rewards that can be unlocked over time or through certain actions.

Strategy: Keep the user journey dynamic, alternating between challenges and rewards. Offer opportunities for collaboration and competition, ensuring users always have something to look forward to.

4. Endgame Phase: Maintaining Long-Term Engagement For your most loyal and committed users:

  • Loss & Avoidance: Remind users of streaks, achievements, or the potential loss of status or rewards.
  • Unpredictability & Curiosity: Introduce high-level surprises or events to keep even the most seasoned users intrigued.

Advice: Regularly update and refresh the endgame content. Consider feedback from long-term users diligently—they are your product’s ambassadors and their insights are invaluable.

Holistic Design: Synthesizing Insights

  • Iterative Feedback: Across all phases, ensure that channels for feedback are open. Listen, adapt, and refine based on user insights.

  • Competitor Analysis: Periodically review competitor offerings to identify gaps in your design journey or to glean inspiration.

  • Stay Agile: User preferences evolve. Be ready to pivot or introduce new features, ensuring your design remains relevant and engaging.

Concluding Thoughts: A Player’s Journey is Never Static

Just as in games, your users’ journey with your design is dynamic and multifaceted. By marrying the Octalysis Core Drives with the 4 Phases of the Player Journey, you can sculpt an experience that’s not just engaging but also deeply resonant. Remember, design with intent, iterate with feedback, and always keep the user at the heart of your creative process.

An introduce of the OP Member who initiated this blogpost: “My name is Tijs. I love to be inspired. To brainstorm and run through ideas. Including my study “industrial design” I have been increasingly interested in the broad sense of design: its process, concepts and its influence on us as consumers. I’m hoping I can use my experience and knowledge to create designs that are compelling, meaningful and enjoyable, and maybe even in itself inspirable again.

Tijs van der Horst

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