Gamification: an opinionated suggestion

Would you like an achievement …

I want my user to enjoy using my product.

And what better way to do that, than to make it like a game? After all, everyone likes games, don’t they!

So when you sign up for my product … 10 points! Achievement unlocked!!

When you edit your profile page … 50 points!!! Woohoo!!!! Feel the fun!!!!!!!

When you’ve closed off 50 whatsits … 2000 points!!!!!!! How incredible!!!!!!!!!!

Or not.


… or to achieve something?

I don’t play games to be told I’m awesome, although that can be nice. Even though games are fictional arenas, I play games to be awesome.

I don’t use a particular product for the sole purpose of being good at using that product. I use that product to get things done.

As Kathy Sierra says,

“Users don’t care who helps them – they just want to be awesome.”

When a product tells me I’m awesome, that doesn’t mean all that much to me.

But if a products helps me to be better at what I’m trying to achieve … that’s a whole different story.


A fork in the road

Option A: Build a product which celebrates trivial interactions, and pressures your users to share them.

Option B: Build a product which lets your user achieve awesome things & feel great doing it – so much so that they can’t help but tell everyone about it.

Which one would you want to use?


(Edit: I was introduced to these ideas by Kathy Sierra in her fantastic talk at Webstock 2012 – that talk totally reshaped the way I think about UX.)