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Designing for Engagement Like a Game Designer

http://www.charleymiller.com
by

Charley Miller

on 11 January 2015

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Transcript of Designing for Engagement Like a Game Designer

USER EXPERIENCE
ACTIVATION
(invite people)
ACQUISITION
RETENTION
REVENUE
REFERRALS
(get people in the door)
(deliver a good time)
(make money)
(more people)
GAMES
rules
game
core mechanic
decisions & choice
goal
balance
assessment
an ongoing assessment that supplies incentives while providing
a fun experience, interesting decisions and clear goals.
FEEDBACK
a mechanism that delivers assessment
FEEDBACK LOOP
you're motivated to take an additional action or alter
your previous action based on the assessment
BASIC
STATIC
DYNAMIC
VIRAL
Static Examples:
Red Velvet Rope / Withholding Interaction
Bonus Lives
Scoring
Leaderboards
Trophies / Badges
Open Game States
Intermittent Rewards
Dynamic Examples:
Level Design / Scaffolding
Unlocking features that provide new decisions
Power Ups that provide new actions
Risk
Gifting so highly active users engaging less active users
Power ups & unlocking associated with inviting new users
(bonuses associated with friends registering)
Unlock challenges for player to player engagement
Viral Examples:
Pacman UX
ACTIVATION
(invite people)
ACQUISITION
RETENTION
REVENUE
REFERRALS
(get people in the door)
(deliver a good time)
(make money)
(more people)
enticing visuals
free to play vs. value for $
social challenge
low barrier of entry
tutorial as you play
immidiate success
player progress
narrative
challenge
reward schedule
intermittent rewards
notifications
downloads
ads
power-ups (virtual economy)
subscriptions
3rd party installs / coupons
invite a friend
challenge a friend
gifting and social obligation
sharring success externally
Thinking through engagement -- from user acquisition to revenue -- like a game designer. 
Why choice paralyzes us: "You can't regret a decision if you don't make one."
—Barry Schwartz
"engagement loop"
acknowledgement & recognition (status, competition)
"physical space" elevates social relevancy (bobbing heads, immidiate social encouragement)
collaboration in synchronous environment (taking turns, reciprocity)
music discovery (best intermittent reward ever?)
red velvet rope (Facebook friends only invited)
positive & negative feedback loops
vs.
positive & negative reinforcement
Marc LeBlanc's basketball example
conditioning
Embody player growth by building customizable world
Customization
STATIC: incentivise / reward an action with positive reinforcement.
My Favorite Metaphor:
Walls = Rules
Floors = Levels
Space = Game Play
Games inherently:
are an aesthetic, challenging experience
are truly interactive
motivate players to stay engaged, improve
teach players how to become better
encourage irrational behavior
http://charles.co/engagement
Send Invites
Guests Tell Friends
Guests Donate
Play Music With A Good Beat
Guests Mingle
Guests Dance
Guests Arrive
Serve Drinks
& Promise Good Time
Ask For Money
Ask If Guests Had Good Time
What we talk about when we talk about
clearly defined pursuit for players to strive
constraints for the players to navigate as they pursue the goal
space
the place where players play, both in physical terms (the arena) and abstract terms (the magic circle)
the main thing that players do while playing -- the verb of the game
the autonomy given to a player to navigate and explore the game
a game is a series of systems -- these systems (and their emergent properties) should be weighted to ensure the gaming experience is fair and fun
feedback given to players so each can understand their performance and improve future behavior
Design considerations:
core mechanic in your product's model: need vs. want
the doing - is this fun?
understanding your audience
appreciate your platform - form meets function
predict context of where experience will be enjoyed
PROCESS
Playtesting
Constraints
Optimize through user feedback:
1st playtest: what's fun?
2nd playtest: what's broken?
3rd playtest: what needs balancing?
4th playtest: how does someone learn to play?
beyond: how does experience scale?
There's more to engagement than badges:
a well designed game balances challenge against the player's ability, providing the essential
tension
that makes any experience more
compelling
.
think of UX as a path
3 Questions for the UX path:
how do you provide
assessment
to players while
incentivizing
additional actions?

is there a balance between giving players
autonomy
to make interesting choices while
motivating
them to arrive at an end goal?

will the path
teach
players how to learn to play while
encouraging
them to improve?
1st Time
ACTIVATION
ACQUISITION
RETENTION
REVENUE
REFERRALS
How does a designer make this decision "meaningful?"
User Schedules
Reward Schedules
Notifications Schedules
BASIC: confirmation without assessment.
Elevator button light.
DYNAMIC: Incentivise / reward an action with another action to take.
SOCIAL: Incentivise / reward an action with a social action to take.
Game Design = Architecture
enjoyable
ENGAGEMENT
MOVING PEOPLE
= ENGAGEMENT
tactics
(competitive or collaborative)
Full transcript