Next Tour Stop: An Apps UX Design Jam

My US tour continues next week with a stop in the Bay Area to attend a design jam hosted by our Applications User Experience team.

The topic is gamification.

Insert cringe here. While I loathe the term, the results that game mechanics can produce when applied to non-games are undeniable. Take reputation for example. Everyone craves status, in life, at work, at the airport, at the coffee shop, everywhere.

Good reputation systems provide just that by adding tangible value to people’s community contributions and surfacing the results. The very existence of a reputation system can help draw previously resistant contributors into the system, if only to attain status.

Sure, it’s difficult, but there are tons of good examples out there. Stack Overflow comes immediately to mind.

I suppose the main problem today is the term “gamification” which hilariously is autoreplaced by “ramification” in OS X Mail. Maybe that’s not an accident.

People associate gamification with manipulation, or being gamed. However, there are long-standing examples of game mechanics that most people don’t immediately identify as games, e.g. frequent flyer programs, which are more powerful for status than for explicit rewards.

Back to the design jam. The Apps UX team understands the power of game mechanics. Check out Friend of the ‘Lab and sometime contributor, Ultan Ó Broin’s (@ultan), post for a sample of their approach to this puzzle.

Anyway, I’m excited and honored to attend this session and soak in the ideas from a room full of smart people. Apparently, longtime Friends of the ‘Lab Bex Huff (@bex) and Floyd Teter (@fteter) will also be in attendance. Bonus points achieved.

Ultan and company tell me that they’re watching the hashtag #gamifyOracle if you have thoughts and ideas you’d like to share. I suppose you could rant too, but that’s not very productive. No one ever rants on Twitter anyway.

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