In order to survive, we cling to all we know and understand, and we label it reality. Knowledge and understanding are ambiguous and reality could be an illusion
Author: Shivika Sood
Today, reality has different forms; it can be physical, virtual, imagined and more. What really matters though is how it is experienced and remembered. Emotions tint our experience and subsequent memories, thus invariably impacting future decisions concerning the related activity. Organizations understand this and want to ensure their customers are engaged, happy and keep coming back. Today, we will look at how an uncommon consumption category suddenly becomes relevant to the large-scale world population. The company faced and overcame difficult challenges such as user adoption of a new medium of product delivery, niche consumer base, technically superior competition and so on. Within 2 weeks of their product launch, it’s a raging trend and everyone wants in.
If you haven’t guessed it already, this is about Niantic’s new ‘Augmented Reality’ (AR) game Pokemon Go that has taken the world by storm. Technically speaking it’s a location-based smart phone game which overlays characters meant to be captured in real time onto your screen. This basic but innovative AR work-around and its marketing has made the Experience of AR real and available to the large scale masses. It’s simple, magnificent and effective. It is this accessible immersive experience that sets Pokemon Go apart from other trans-media games.
Pokemon Go is literally changing players' behaviour - it motivates, engages and keeps them busy and moving. But why is this game so appealing? How can we learn from it? Let’s break it down and get to the mechanics of the phenomenon it’s creating.
It's all in the game
Pokemon Go is a success because it took into consideration and overcame user’s barriers such as the social pain of the clunky AR glasses, the expense behind it, the new learning required, the absence of apps to use AR, retention of attention and so on. This user centric attitude is native to Pokemon Go and the industry it belongs to.
Games have spent decades learning how to master motivation and engagement with no other purpose than to keep the individual playing them happy and entertained. The gaming industry was the first to master Human focused design and is the creator of Gamification, defined as:
“The craft of deriving all the engaging and motivating elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities.”
Gamification essentially flips the agenda from using human centered design principles for games to using game principles for human centered design. It is not only a force to be reckoned with but also to be partnered with, especially by those in the business of experience.
Gamification is about motivation and core drives
Almost every game is fun because it appeals to certain core drives within us that motivates us towards certain actions. These drives have been mapped in a superb Gamification tool called the Octalysis. This tool enables experience design specialists to measure quantifiably and fix, the level of motivation and engagement their product/service experience provides. This makes it a valuable aid for behavioural change and consumer experience.
The general idea when using the Octalysis is to achieve a balance across all 8 drives, thus keeping users motivated, engaged, involved and coming back for more. The way to measure experience using the Octalysis is to identify all the experience touch points that are used to appeal to each core drive and list them next to the core drive of the Octagon. Then assign them numbers from 0-10 (based on personal judgment, data and experience flows), square, add and average them to get the experience score. The final score, though relevant isn’t as important as what it underlines - the imbalance. How much and where the balancing of touch points are required for the ideal balance of motivation and engagement to impact behaviour.
Measuring Pokemon Go
To get a better grip of how people are hooked on Pokemon Go we tried the Octalysis tool by assigning quick scores based on personal experience. The octagon below in peripheral blue represents Pokemon Go. It extrudes almost equally on all points implying a great overall motivating and engaging experience. The bottom and left which seem to be relatively intruding, denote room for tenable but not required balancing.
Gamification and service design
Gamification can be used not only to understand but also to nudge behaviour and drive positive experience. Oracle’s Opower is a great example of how Gamification and its Engagement tools can be applied to service design and customer experience. It helps energy-providers like E.ON energy, guide their consumers to reduce individual energy consumption. They use a customer-centric approach to experience management and fill the customer engagement gap to affect positive change in their end user’s lives. They seek to overcome user pain-points and dissatisfaction, by engagingly sharing much-needed information such as reasons behind high billings, sudden power surge in usage and more.
In addition to the positive environmental impact of reduced national energy consumption, this approach has yielded effective results for customers and companies too. It not only enabled consumers to curb $70 Million in energy spends, but also helped boost retention by creating a loyal and trusting two-way relationship. When understood and used right, Gamification can be an invaluable and effective tool to drive a multi-level, omnichannel systemic change.