Gamification in your apps aids engagement for a variety of reasons. If you want people to use your software or app, and come back every day too, gamification is how you get there. It’s making a small game that promotes a routine, a reward, or some other gratification from using the software. For that alone, it’s a very valuable tool in software development.
The user might get some motivation out of it. The popularity of Wordle proved that people will come back if they are motivated to. What they were getting out of Wordle was the gratification of winning a pretty hard game, not to mention the exclusivity of it. Being only able to do it once a day made the novelty last.
Additionally. Games provoke competition. Olympics, Fortnite, Wordle and now gamified apps: there is competition. You can create a feature in your app or software that showcases what the user has done and how they compare to others to make the user want to do it more and better.
So, how do you do that? How do you evoke the need to come back every day to do a little better or a little more? There are lots of ways you can go about it, such as…
Progress bars are common in console gaming, but they are seen in just about everything now. Even a long online application form will give you a progress bar in order to keep you going. Offline, a progress bar can be seen in a loyalty card. Sure, you’re rubber-stamping coffee beans rather than watching a bar fill, but it’s the same concept of watching your progress slowly fill until you are rewarded. Sometimes you’re rewarded with a coffee, oftentimes it’s simply a “thank you”.
However, no one’s saying you can’t have a reward at the end of your SaaS progress bar. In fact, they are becoming more popular as loyalty cards shift to staying in-app and businesses that usually wouldn’t reward loyalty develop their own apps. For example, Vodafone app users are encouraged to spin a wheel every week to gain either minutes, internet data, or a surprise reward.
Sometimes the reward is just the recognition. The other half of video gaming isn’t just getting through the game or even getting through it well, but the bragging rights. Your progress and your achievements are automatically presented to your online gaming friends in trophies. And to make it even more competitive, they come in rare and common trophies. Getting all of them is its own genre of gaming content. You can play casual games virtually anywhere with trophies. Trophies allow for recognition of an achievement, even if that achievement is coming back to the app every day.
Another gamification taken from video games is checkpoints. Sure, someone using an app or software doesn’t need to save their progress before they get moving again, but that’s only one function of the checkpoint. The other side of it is giving the user a sense of having gone so far, much like the progress bar. The PureGym app tells you kudos for going to the gym once you hit a certain checkpoint. Did you see any progress in that time? Maybe, maybe not, but you showed up and your app will recognise that.
Now for the Type A personalities, there are checklists. They are their own progress bar and reward system in one. You can be listing places you want to visit or things you have to do before that tight deadline and the feeling will be the same. With every item you tick off, you will feel accomplished.
There are entire apps built for this sole purpose, like Habit, which is designed to try to get you into a …well, habit. You tick off those daily tasks you should be doing every day until they’re just second nature, but the gratification you get from ticking it off will compel you to keep the app.
And then there is the big one. The SaaS reward that takes over the world every New Years: Spotify Wrapped. Spotify’s marketing campaign entirely based around being able to show off your personality has been shared and copied across industries. Duolingo offered a “wrapped” that showed users their progress in their language. Audible has a “wrapped” and a trophy system. They might not go as viral since your taste in what language you aim to learn isn’t quite as telling as your taste in music, but it’s a point to remember: people love talking about themselves.