Beginner’s Guide to Gamification (6 of 90): Applying Octalysis to Waze(a)

*New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & the Gamification Framework: Octalysis*

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Gamification Analysis of Waze

Transcription Notes (I recommend you watch the video version of it. Consider this Closed Caption for the Hearing Impaired :P):

  • Hello Everyone, and welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Gamification, Episode number 6! This is Yu-Kai Chou, and I’m excited to get the game started! 
  • Today we’re going to go through an example of Octalysis.
  • We’re going to look at the Navigation App Waze
  • Waze takes an otherwise boring GPS concept, you know, you turn left and turn right and get to your destination, and turn it into something fun and engaging.
  • They did such a good job that they have a five-star average rating from thousands and thousands of people.
  • Lets check out how they did it!
  • Here we always start off with Octalysis, with Waze in the middle. We first think about the Discovery Phase, how do people find out about the app?
  • Generally people find out about the app because they are driving and they searched for a GPS/Navigation. Their friends might say how awesome it is, or through Tech Crunch.
  • First of all, Waze has the general appeal of any GPS, which is development and accomplishment – you feel good making progress towards your destination (like a progress bar), and you feel accomplished reaching the goal in time. If you can beat traffic when doing that, it makes you feel even smarter and accomplished.
  • On the flip side of that, it obviously literally appeals to the core drive of Loss and Avoidance. You don’t want to get lost.
  • But more than that, why would someone choose Waze over other navigation apps?
  • That’s where Curiosity and Unpredictability is a strong drive. People are curious about the little friendly icon, as well as the concept of Waze.
  • “Interesting! A user generated Navigation App! How does that work??
  • Finally, Waze made a large effort to make driving together FUN.
  • You can drive together and see where your friends are. So your friends are inviting you to use Waze to figure out where to pick you up, to brag about beating you in traffic, and prepare dinner 10 minutes before you arrive at a party.
  • And of course, the more people using it, the better the data.
  • By design, Waze makes people Want to get friends to use it.
  • Once you download Waze, it quickly jumps into the Onboarding phase of a Game.
  •  As you can see, it starts heavily on Epic Meaning and Calling, implementing a game mechanic I call the Humanity Hero.
  • Check out this graph. Waze installs a sense of mission and meaning by presenting all the drivers as chivalrous knights battling this monster called Traffic.
  • In that sense, you are not just driving to a place. You are protecting mankind against a monster, and now you feel obligated to drive with Waze on to contribute to the community too.
  • At this stage, you will also see cute graphics that make it playful, and big buttons to make you  feel accomplished.
  • The various avatars you can have and other friendly wazers and little candies you can eat at this point looks interesting, but it doesn’t drive user behavior yet, and it could even be a little distracting.
  • You also Don’t want to invite your friends yet
  • In fact, for most apps, no one wants to invite their friends until they are in the Scaffolding phase.
  • So you all should stop harrassing your users when they first join!!
  • However, upon driving for a little bit, you will start to see the work of the community:
  • Warning: there’s crap ahead on the road!
  • Warning: there’s heavy traffic ahead!
  • Warning: there’s a cop ahead!
  • This is where you get your first feeling of:
  • “Hey, this is kinda cool!”
  • You now feel accomplished and smart as you gain some intel from this “community.”
  • This is a feeling you don’t get from other navigation apps.
  • When you benefit a few times from “user contribution, you suddenly feel a sense of giving back, depending on what player type are you.
  • This is what I call the thank you economy, I term that Gary Vaynerchuk coined.
  • Go check out his book- it’s awesome and crushing it.
  • Any way, you start to share a bit about the car on the side of the road.
  • And this is when “Walla!! You got some contribution points!!” You did something that you believe is good for the community, and you were awarded points for it. You now feel doubly good about yourself.
  • And then suddenly, a stranger who is also driving thanked you for your contribution.
  • Woot!! That was fun! You now feel triply good about yourself.
  • You now have a sense of well being.
  • “That was a fun driving experience!”
  • You have successfully completed the Onboarding process and you are ready to come back the next time you drive
  • Oh, and time to leave a 5 star positive feedback!
  • This is also the best time to send users a message: “Waze is more fun with friends! Invite your friends now so you can do XYZ together!!”
  • Now is the time for scaffolding.
  • Unfortunately, due to lack of time, we will be ending our episode here.
  • Be sure to catch the next episode!! (Who reads this btw?)

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22 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to Gamification (6 of 90): Applying Octalysis to Waze(a)”

  1. Is there any “limiter” in the system to keep the trolls out?

    Seems like these days there are more and more people/groups that take delight in trashing tools like Waze with bad information…

  2. I remember loading the Waze onto my phone, but never really understanding it and thus, never using it. Looks like I need to hit the road with it to see it and appreciate it in action.

    1. Sounds like Waze by itself if a decent app and gets exciting when you bring your community into it.

      Guess I’ll have to go try it…

  3. Yah=) Also downloaded Waze, but their map quality is not good enough, so I wend to a dead-end twice=) But as for Gamification and pllying Octalisys – this indeed works. On the same phone I have 2 apps fo navigation – and not a single Core Drive working there… Strange

  4. My personal feedback on those videos is that they are too much distracting for me 🙁

    I love the effort to not be boring but too much noise and interruptions on a single idea block my focus.

    I assume most people will find the videos funny and enjoyable but for the sake of those like me it could be nice to have the video’s information also in a readable option.

    I Felt myself enduring, not enjoying the video grasping for catch your valuable info among those noises and distractions.

    Just a feedback, Yu-Kai.

    Stay awesome!

    1. Haha, well, different types of people learn differently, which is why you see the same content from me repackaged in different formats. This one video though, is especially bad because the audio was all interrupted by the heavy wind, so I had to change my voice to make it even possible to understand…

      Anyway, for written form of similar content, you can check out this post:

  5. that episode reminded me abut an important detail we also need to consider in our app: know when to ask your users for a “favor”. this is true for prompting users to give a 5-star rating as well as inviting your friends to the app. In fact, for most apps, no one wants to invite their friends until they are in the Scaffolding phase. timing is crucial. 🙂

    1. I can’t imagine having time as part of my daily commute to then give s road report to other people, even when feeling in CD1 mode.

You must engage in the conversation!!