Beyond Gamification: Lessons from Game Design for Engaging Users

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Information about Beyond Gamification: Lessons from Game Design for Engaging Users

Published on February 5, 2014

Author: CattSmall



When UX designers think of techniques that have been borrowed from game design, gamification is often the first approach that comes to mind. However, the oversaturation of gamification in products we use every day can cause fatigue. Not every product needs a system of achievements. UX practitioners can learn so much more from game design. In this talk, I explored other ways to engage users in products via game design concepts without coming off as gimmicky.

Beyond Gamification Lessons from Game Design for Engaging Users Catt Small @cattsmall

I’m Catt Small

I’m a gamer

I’m a UX designer & developer Bedrocket Media Ventures

I’m an event coordinator

I’m a teacher The Code Liberation Foundation

I’m a game maker Quantum Box

UX is a hybrid

The field is constantly EVOLVING Jurassic Park

UX Game Design



What UX can learn from games

Complexity vs. Value

Very confusing Not enough meaning, too much complexity

Very interesting More usefulness/meaning than complexity

At least a 1:1 ratio Usefulness Complexity

Five Stages, © Asia Hoe, Catt Small & Chris Algoo

Five Stages, © Asia Hoe, Catt Small, & Chris Algoo

BREAK DOWN complex features

Prioritize features Part 1 Complex feature Part 2 Part 3

Allow users to sign in w/o Facebook Let users contribute content Content screening process Front-end user CMS

Be consistent across platforms

Sonic 2, Game Gear Sonic 2, Genesis/Mega Drive Both games © SEGA

Spelunky, © Mossmouth, LLC

Prism Shell, © Brooklyn Gamery

Since 2011, MORE SMARTPHONES have sold than computers

Don’t assume anything About how people use your services

Playtest production-ready code

Test more than just PROTOTYPES


Your product should feel RESPONSIVE

Add Easter eggs

Easter eggs are RELATABLE

Game Players Game Makers

Sonic Generations, © SEGA

Sonic Generations, © SEGA

Your product has PERSONALITY


Capitalize on emotions



Dys4ia, © Anna Anthropy

Contrast, © Compulsion Games

Prism Shell, © Brooklyn Gamery

To review: • Balance complexity with value • Create a cohesive cross-platform system • Playtest production-ready builds • Add Easter eggs • Capitalize on emotions

Thank you! Questions? Tweet me @cattsmall.

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