Using gamification to enhance enterprise mobile applications

Author Dino Srdoč Category Development Date Jun 06, 2019

By implementing gamification into your enterprise business mobile application, you can positively affect your team’s performance and boost team cooperation.

A couple of months ago, one of our clients contacted us and asked if we could create a solution that would help them with the internal promotion of their new product.

Analyzing the brief took some time and consideration. We asked ourselves:

  1. What do they want to achieve?
  2. Why do they want to achieve it?
  3. Who do they want to promote the product to?
  4. How can we most effectively engage with the target audience?

After an initial overview, we came up with a few different ideas which we presented to the client. Now we’re going to talk about the idea they were most passionate about – gamification.

What’s this gamification?

A gamified mobile application is the one that presents its workflow to users through certain challenges that unlock rewards. Those rewards can either be in-app or in real life. Let me give you a couple of examples to better describe what I’m talking about. Let’s say you have a phonebook application – this type of app could reward its users with a virtual experience each time they add a new contact and have them use that experience to unlock some premium features. On the other hand, a work & travel app could challenge their users to travel to as many countries as they could, and the reward for those users who visit the most countries would be the top spot on a global leaderboard of users.

Now, allow me to stretch the definition of gamification a bit. An implementation of gamification into an instant messaging app could also be the integration with actual games (e.g. Minesweeper, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire…) and presenting users with a leaderboard that shows the positions of all of your friends.

And what about the benefits?

The benefits of such a gamified enterprise app are numerous, but some of the most prominent ones are:

  1. Increased user retention
  2. Increased user engagement
  3. Having more fun in the app itself

The marketing aspect can also take advantage of gamification within the application, by using shiny visuals and intense gameplay to further promote the app.

But take note. Such a system, of course, will not work with all user demographics. Some users simply don’t like that type of engagement and would rather simply use the app itself to accomplish whatever they set out to do.

Challenges of creating a gamified enterprise app

Three of the most important things for any gamified app are:

  1. Market research
  2. Meaningful gamification systems
  3. Engaging content
Market research

This is one of those cool things about creating a gamified mobile app, as research involves talking to users and finding out what’s their driving force.

For example, a couple of months ago, we made a gamified app for a big enterprise client that was selling different types of products. Their business strategy was to have their sales representatives actually go and talk to people who sold their products at the stores, and convince them that their products are the ones worth recommending. This tactic had the final goal of increasing the overall revenue.

So, how did we approach the problem? We asked ourselves: “how could we motivate them”.

To answer that, we needed to understand their thought processes, their daily routines and the challenges they faced. We conducted a discovery workshop and held numerous deep interviews, asking the sales representatives to describe in detail what their job was like.

Answering that original question of motivation slowly unfolded into even more questions, and then more questions. Soon after, we had mapped out what we wanted to accomplish and how we would do it, which helped us out immensely in the long run.

Meaningful gamification systems

In order for a gamification system to be ‘meaningful’, it must present the users with tasks that are challenging, yet doable. It must be accessible for new players, but also challenging for seasoned veterans.

When we developed the application for our client, we drew inspiration directly from game design experts. The designs of the systems themselves are always a tough balancing act that’s mostly determined by the target audience. For example, a gamified mobile application for saving money could award the user with experience points and reward them with some cash they can use to treat themselves once they’ve gone past a certain level of ‘experience’.

In another mobile application we created to celebrate a birthday event of an enterprise business, the gamification element revolved around selfies. The idea was to have the guests on the event take a selfie and post it in a public room where others would be posting as well. It was a huge success as almost everyone was taking selfies until late in the night. And it didn’t even require any special prizes – the reward was sharing moments with all of the people you were having fun at that exact moment.

Engaging content

Creating engaging content for an app is a different battle. It will, of course, depend on the nature of the implemented features.

Let me paint you a picture. In the mobile application we created for our client, we have a system that awarded points to users that would take pictures of other users in awkward situations. For an app with a gamification system like this one, we want to create content that could drive users to actually post those photos, probably in some form of a social feed.

We actually did it by using a bunch of well-designed stickers fitting to many of the situations in order to encourage them to partake in app activities. For some other application, we maybe could have used faces of celebrities in awkward poses that could be added to the original photos – the possibilities are almost limitless.

Another thing we implemented was the follow up content. When a user that caught another user in an awkward situation is notified about the success of their intended action, they are shown a pretty animation with sound effects to help make them feel like they’ve accomplished something pretty cool.

What have we learned?

Having a team dedicated solely to content creation will massively help other team members to focus on what they excel at. One of the things we could have done better was prioritising content above other elements, as it would make the rest of the development process more efficient.

One of the most important things to remember is that the user’s experience needs to be fully interactive, uninterrupted and fun. This means there should be no breaks in the user’s interaction – the app, its design, flow and the backend server all need to work in harmony in order to seamlessly guide the user.

Another crucial thing is the target audience. Knowing your target audience will help your content creators come up with engaging content. And don’t forget that it’s also useful to have a test run of the app to gather feedback.

Now that everything is done and live…

Keep in mind that an enterprise application created from the ground up with gamification in mind will have a much better chance at capturing the user’s attention. This approach will enable you to market the implemented game elements far easier than any standard application interaction.

Another thing I want to point out is that the content in the app itself also needs to be updated frequently, just to make sure that users don’t get too bored. To give you an example – there was a brief moment with our app when we stopped adding new daily challenges, and during that period we’ve noticed an almost 50% drop in the number of active users. This just shows you how important it is to always keep the app fresh.

And my last advice – if you decide to implement gamification elements into your enterprise business application, make sure you build it around the main goals you want to achieve, such as using it to drive your team further or encouraging them to cooperate more and achieve their common goals.

That’s it. Good luck & have fun!

Source:bornfight.com/blog/using-gamification-to-enhance-enterprise-mobile-applications

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