It's no secret that games are fun, but what most people don't realize is the impact they can have on education, business practices, or individual growth. Studies have shown routinely that games improve engagement, retention, critical thinking and more.
This isn't more clear than when an E-sports Racing Pro drove against a Formula 1 Driver... and won.
This is just one, all be it very cool, example of games having real-life ramifications.
And you can find numerous books, studies and examples on/of the effects games can have... but how do we incorporate that into our businesses? our lives?
Play is a critical aspect of this behavioral tool. We, the designers, present the players with goals, challenges, rules, and environments. But, It's not until the player decides to play the game that anything can be accomplished. Play is where they get to push boundaries, think creatively, be challenged and encounter small wins and learning opportunities. Where they can express their identities onto a construct and see immediate feedback.
They see that what they contribute has an effect. They feel like they can make things happen.
And who doesn't want to feel that?
So, we have to ask ourselves as business owners how we can present consumers with the opportunity to experience play with our products and services. I'd even ask that you think about how we do this with our employees, ourselves, and the community you're in.
And no this isn't just clever marketing, it can be implemented anywhere there's and interaction. Player to player, player to environment, player to rules, player to challenge, etc.
Where can we play-out a memorable experience that rewards the player and stimulates them more that a normal transaction/exhange would?
To implement gamification, or experience design, into your business there's just 4 main things you need to address.
What signals the player to take action and "play" or engage with the game? Do they know how to play? What's the possible take-away they can expect from playing?
What action is needed? How easy is it for them to start playing? How engaging or stimulating is this action?
How does the player know if they won? What information are we giving them that would educate them into performing better, in that, how do we guide them to win more?
What did the player feel? Was the experience overall stimulating and did it offer enough for them to want to play again?
These are things to keep in mind when designing processes, marketing campaigns, and customer exchanges.
The game to you want the customer to player is entering your brick-and-mortar business.
(We have a goal... not only getting customers to enter your business, but to drive them toward purchasing something or learning about your business)
What's the Queue? // The Door
Does the entrance tell the player that they are welcome to come in and how they go about doing that? We want them to understand how they start, and what they can expect. Make it interesting and familiar so it's easier to play than to not play.
What Action do they take? // Open and Enter
Is this door a push or a pull? or does it automatically open for them? or a step further do you have an employee greet them and open the door for them? We want them to take action, feel ownership of that action and feel they contributed enough that they accomplished something.
What did they win/lose? // Reward and Inform
What are we doing to inform the player they took the right action? getting the smell of freshly baked cookies? A wonderful musical chime that's pleasant to the ear? Or the visual of smiling happy people waiting to listen to them? How do we give them immediate feedback that rewards them for playing our game.
What did they feel? // Play again?
Did they feel stimulated, appreciated, and rewarded for taking action and playing our game? Was it memorable where they'd enjoy playing again?
We want to design an experience. Something that smashes expectations and engages people in ways that mean something. If people want to eat food, there are a plenty of businesses that provide that. But there's only one restaurant that's rude to it's patrons on purpose, and for people looking for an experience, it's an incredibly successful business.
Games are the next level of business.