In my first post in this series I discussed some of the issues that enterprise applications have from a usability and engagement standpoint, as well as the key fact that the users of these apps are inclined to be motivated, both intrinsically and extrinsically, to use them. In the second post, I described an enterprise product planning application – Accept360 – that will serve as a “testbed” for applying gamification ideas.
As a refresher, the key usability and engagement issues mentioned in the first post included:
Now, in this third post we’ll start from Gabe Zichermann’s six rules of gamification and see how we can address the usability and engagement issues in the context of our sample application.
Gabe laid out his six rules in a blog post in November 2011 as guidelines for people working on gamifying applications (not necessarily enterprise applications):
These rules are great, and I don’t think you can go wrong with applying them to any application to get better results and better engagement. However, I think for the purpose of our enterprise application example, we can reformulate the first rule a little bit to talk about “the user,” rather than “the sponsor.” After all, as discussed in part 1, we’re talking about a tool that motivated professionals are using (and disliking, typically) to do a job they are motivated to do. So we don’t have to consider directly what the organization considers a win, we can consider what the user considers a win – by definition that’s something that furthers the interests of the organization.
Focusing initially on rule #1, “Understand what constitutes a win for the user,” we can think of a lot of opportunities for user “wins” in a typical enterprise app – things that users cannot accomplish easily, but which a game-inspired redesign can enable. At a high level, of course, simply getting through their job is the big “win” for our users. But making the process of getting through the job better will constitute the smaller wins we’re looking for:
Each of these activities constitutes a “win” for the user.
In the next post of the series we’ll continue our look at applying these rules to improve enterprise applications. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts, questions, and concerns so far in the comments.
Your host and author, Nils Davis, is a long-time product manager, consultant, trainer, and coach. He is the author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, many blog posts, a series of video trainings on product management, and the occasional grilled pizza.
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