Play to your strengths: how can gamification in UX improve customer experience?

by Anton Boshoff
Wed, 23/01/2019 - 18:27

Customer experience is the core of any good design philosophy. This is because the customer is king for any successful company, and having a good UX design will improve customer experience and ensure customer retention. But the times are changing rapidly and UX designers have to keep up-to-date with what customers want. 

The aim of UX is to create a site or product which is simple and enjoyable for users to make use of, thus increasing user engagement and improving their customer experience. Think of traditional card games that you can play online. Even these have an improved UX, but what is the secret? Simple: gamification in the UX design. While this might be a recent idea, there is a significant impact on how UX designers understand user preferences and improving customer experiences. 

So, what is gamification?

Gamification, simply put, refers to the addition of game-like features in products and services. It is used to make them more enjoyable and user-friendly. 

Users are often rewarded with badges, points, virtual “money” and even levels depending on what tasks they complete. This encourages them to interact with the app or website, building not only their experience but their engagement with the brand. 

For example, you might have a client who sells shoes. And they might notice that their customer engagement and experiences are slightly lacking. You could work in an element of gamification by providing a rewards system for customers who spend a certain amount each time they shop. 

This rewards feature can be found in most games and apps and is relatable as many customers play games and will be familiar with a rewards system. 

How can it be used with UX?

UX design is one of the most important parts of a game, but many UX designers in other industries are tapping into gamification to improve customer engagement and the consumer experience. But you are probably wondering how you can use this yourself. Read on below for some helpful tips. 

Ramp up those rewards

Playing a game which rewards you with “money”, badges and levels is exciting. Gamers enjoy being rewarded for their efforts, and so do consumers, which is why this gamification technique should be a part of your UX design. 

For an e-commerce website, you could add on reward points for purchases made. Or even for someone simply signing up for a newsletter. Consider Uber. Both users and drivers rate one another on the app, and the rating is visible to both. While this does not give any monetary rewards to either party, users will be happy to see a positive rating and will continue using the app. Rewarding consumers will improve their experience and ensure their loyalty to your client’s brand. 

Choose constraints wisely

Almost everyone who shops online has heard of One Day Only. It is an e-commerce site that offers deals that are only available for one day. Pretty simple, right? Well, this constraint of only being able to purchase something for one day is similar to many games that have time constraints on tasks that need to be completed. 

You can apply a similar time constraint to your UX design. If you have a client which sells high-end fashion, create a landing page for a new line of clothing that is only available for a short time at a discount. When users see there is a countdown timer, they are prompted to take quicker action and will make a purchase decision within the time allocated to the sale. But you need to set realistic constraints for your UX design, otherwise, consumers will find it too difficult to use. 

Always consider the user journey

In gaming, and in retail, the user journey is of utmost importance. And, each user is likely in different stages of their journey, which means that you will have to cater to each one. The correct progression can help to significantly improve user engagement and the customer experience, so be sure to focus on this when doing any form of UX design. 

There are four aspects of any customer journey: the start, the scaffolding (or middle), the progress and the end. At the start of their journey, present customers with a simple and easy to understand layout and information, such as a sign-up page. For the scaffolding, you can introduce the user to other aspects of your site or app but be sure to keep it simple and easy to understand. Provide users with progress bars and feedback during the progress phase and, at the end of their journey, follow up with rewards to encourage them to return. 

Give users what they want

Gamification in your UX design can help you to give users what they want. It will help your website become more engaging and entertaining, and you will encourage users to return. Start by offering rewards for their efforts and choose any constraints wisely, making them realistic and attainable. Remember to have the customer journey at the front of your mind at all times and soon your UX design will be better than the best. 

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