What are they?
The gamification frameworks are the set of pre-established procedures that serve to gamify a process. In other words, a framework provides us a previously tested pattern that will allow us to gamify a process with greater guarantees of success.
Why use them?
Using a framework has several advantages:
- Having a guide that helps us to order in a logical way our efforts in organizing gamification, this translates into the minimization of errors, which consequently saves the time and money.
- Increase our chances of success. The creators of frameworks have made use of their experience and knowledge included in the procedures they have seen to provide greater chances of success. By using a framework, we benefit from a work previously done, and our learning process will be much shorter.
Are the frameworks the magic solution?
Obviously the answer is no, for the following reasons:
- The gamification is not an exact science. We could classify it within the social sciences, and we all know that this type of science is subject to multiple variables that do not allow defining a result from a certain premises with total certainty.
- Obviously it also depends on the framework that we use. Not only due to the fact that there are better and worse, but also because of the fact that some will be more appropriate or not, depending on the type of process that we are gamifying.
- The frameworks offer general recommendations which we will have to adapt to the specificities of our concrete situation.
This does not mean that we should not use them; on the contrary, they can be of great help. It means that they are one more tool to take into account in our process of gamification.
What are the frameworks based on?
They are based mainly on two elements.
- Research. The gamification experts come from different areas of the human knowledge: psychology, sociology, economics… Their work in research and theoretical experimentation has resulted in various findings and conclusions that are part of the frameworks.
- Experience. The gamification consultants with practical experience in application of the processes of gamification, have been able to evaluate “on-site” practices that work best and which don’t. This allows them to complement the theoretical element of the gamification with its practical application, and to formulate more effective frameworks.
Once we have resolved these previous questions, here are some of the best known frameworks:
Formulated by Yukai Chou (you can see all the information in this post).
It is based on the following diagram:
The same author gives us a detailed composition:
“The 8 Core Drives of Gamification”
1) Epic Meaning & Calling
This is the Core Drive where a player believes that he is doing something greater than himself or he was “chosen” to play. An symptom of this is a player that devotes a lot of his time to maintaining a forum or helping to create things for the entire community (think Wikipedia or Open Source projects). This also comes into play when someone has “Beginner’s Luck” – an effect where people believe they have some type of gift that others don’t or believe they were “lucky” to get that amazing sword at the very beginning of the game.
2) Development & Accomplishment
This is the internal drive of making progress, developing skills, and eventually overcoming challenges. The word “challenge” here is very important as a badge or trophy without a challenge is not meaningful at all. People often ask me what Core Drive Google has used to become so successful – I would say that Google makes you feel smart and accomplished within seconds. (On the other hand, Yahoo does not, but appeals to the Curiosity and Unpredictability core drive).
3) Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback
This is when users are addicted to a creative process where they have to repeatedly figure things out and try different combinations. People not only need ways to express their creativity, but they need to be able to see the results of their creativity, receive feedback, and respond in turn. This is why playing with Legos and painting are fun in-and-of themselves and often become Evergreen Mechanics (a good state for Gamification).
4) Ownership & Possession
This is the drive to “want” something. When a player feels ownership, she innately wants to make what she owns better and own even more. If you feel ownership over your job, you will work harder. If you want ownership over the digital sheep, you will harass your friends. This is the driving force behind all virtual goods and “collection” games.
5) Social Influence & Relatedness
This drive incorporates all the social elements that drive people – including: mentorship, acceptance, social responses, companionship, as well as competition and envy. When you see a friend that is amazing at some skill or owns something extraordinary, you become driven to reach the same level. Also, it includes the drive we have to draw closer to people, places, or events that we can relate to.
6) Scarcity & Impatience
This is the drive of wanting something because you can’t have it. Many games have Appointment Dynamics within them (come back 2 hours later to get your stuff) – the fact that people can’t get something NOW motivates them to think about it all day long. In the early days of Twitter, the service kept going down due to bad infrastructure (that’s how the Fail Whale became so famous). However, BECAUSE people couldn’t use Twitter when they wanted to, they wanted to use it even more. When it came back up they rushed to tweet before it went back down That was also the secret of Cartmanland.
7) Curiosity & Unpredictability
Generally, this is a harmless drive of wanting to find out what actually happens. Many people watch movies or read novels solely because of this drive. This drive is the primary factor behind Gambling addiction. Researchers have shown that people irrationally want to see what’s next if there is a chance of a positive outcome – even when they know it will most likely be a negative.
8) Loss & Avoidance
This drive is based upon the avoidance of something negative happening. On a small scale, it could be to avoid losing previous work. On a larger scale, it could be to avoid admitting that everything you did up to this point was useless because you are now quitting”
Gamification model canvas of Sergio Jiménez
We especially like this model, because although perhaps less complete than the previous one, it has an eminently practical character. In fact is not itself a framework, but a practical tool based on other theoretical frameworks. The author himself explains:
“Gamification Model Canvas is an agile, flexible and systematic tool created by Sergio Jiménez, to help find and evaluate solutions based on game design and to ultimately develop behaviors in non-game environments. Gamification Model Canvas is based on formal models of game design and experience in gamification projects.
This free tool is based on two main works, adopted globally:
- “MDA Framework: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research” by Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc and Robert Zubek.
- “Business Model Canvas” by Alex Osterwalder.”
A Simple Gamification Framework
We end this series of the examples of gamification frameworks, with the insights by a consultant, Andrzej Marczewski (see this link for details).
We see his proposal represented graphically:
The author explains the details:
“The first part is a series of 8 questions to ask yourself as you embark on your gamification adventures. I have it printed on my wall in the office.
I know WHAT I am going to Gamify
You must be totally sure what the activity(s) is that you are going to gamify.
I know WHY I am gamifying it
Just as important as what is why. What do you hope to gain from this project?
I know WHO will be involved
Who are your players? You need to know that to be really able to engage with them.
I know HOW I am gamifying it
Once you know What, Why and Who, it is time to work out what you are going to do to gamify it all. What elements and ideas will work best for you system? Are you going to employ rewards or are you going to work purely with intrinsic motivators it will be different every time.
I have ANALYTICS set up
You have to have metrics and analyitcs of some form – otherwise, how do you measure success, check it is working, find choke points and also report back to people!?
I have TESTED with users
You must test anything like this with the target audience. They are the ones who will be involved, not you and the designers.
I have ACTED on feedback
Colleting feedback from testing is only beneficial if you actually act upon it. If the players hate your favourite idea, you have to get rid of it!
I have RELEASED the solution
Finishing and releasing are different. Silently pushing your new system out there is pointless. Make some noise about it, get people on board before they have even seen it!
You can repeat 6 and 7 in a loop as much as needed, then you need to repeat all the steps from 5 to 8 on a regular basis. Collect feedback and iterate improvements and add new elements to keep it interesting.”
You can download the model at this link (pdf format).
There are many more models, and definitely more new ones will appear, since the gamification is constantly evolving, so the previous selection is just a small sample. In any case we should not be obsessed with frameworks, it is important to have some basic knowledge about them, but with few exceptions there is no need for us to become experts. For that purpose, there are specialized consultants and gamification tools to help us implement our process of gamification.