Just imagine how different it would be if in a serious scheme of things some typical attributes corresponding to games or playthings are incorporated. So is gamification, but contrary to as it seems, it is in no way an idea to play with. The term was first coined by Nick Pelling, a British computer programmer. Basically the term signifies the incorporation of typically game attributes, game thinking pattern or game mechanics in a non-game context to achieve better outcome corresponding to enhanced user engagement, learning, competitive approach, profitability, timeliness, etc. The use of gamification as a concept can mainly be seen in computer programming, design and interactive interfaces. To understand imagine a fun design of a website where information and various buttons are provided in a game like design. For instance in a web portal informing you of the presidential election it is presented with a background design context similar to football stadium. That is one use of game design in a non-game context, though nevertheless illustrates the core concept of gamification.
Thinking behind gamification
Is gamification just a fun design attribute that has no other significance than the aesthetic fun? Obviously no, gamification has specific target audience and clear business aim to achieve through its varying attributes. To understand the thinking responsible for gamification more clearly just think of how many times you have thought the necessity of incorporating pleasure and game environment in children's study. Really study is a serious matter of concern, but when you make the children feel they are playing while making them register the study deliverables in the mind quite naturally, they learn faster and you can expect a better productive effort through this. That is precisely the thinking that works even in truly serious business environments as well. For instance in a e-business website every time one finishes choosing his preferences in a cart, a funny looking porter will appear on the screen to take the load on his head and show you up to the transaction detail page and in between that funny digital porter will share one or two jokes with equally emphatic gestures. Thus gamification changes the so called boring experience of online shopping and transaction.
Benefits of Gamification
Gamification or incorporation of game thinking and game mechanics into non-game environment can deliver array of benefits in relation to user experience and business goals. Suppose entering an online property broking site you are guided to different property pages with animated characters, environments, houses and landscapes to let you feel more about the respective property while engaging you with the cool visuals and animated flora and fauna in all the pages. Thus the first major and almost widely acclaimed benefit of gamification is engagement. Another important benefit of gamification for the enterprises is the better return on investment or better profitability. This is interlinked with the aspect of engagement as engaging prospective clients would definitely result in better business volume. This is the precise reason why a whopping majority of Global Fortune 500 companies are intent on using gamification as part of their marketing and customer retention strategy.
Another most common example of gamification is the typical points system and corresponding competition driven reward and thus driving customer to buy more. Across the retail industry either in malls or shopping centers or in online shopping sites this is too common a strategy. Any value purchase would make you subject to some reward points and accumulating certain points over a period of time you are rewarded. Different point levels got different rewards and thus you push the buyer with a game environment like motivation to stay ahead and win.