Gamification of usability testing

Gamification of usability testing

Gamifying your usability test.

- Soumya Diddi,
5th May 2018

We humans by nature expect some freshness,fun and advancement in everything we do and it is not a surprising thing that many new technologies are taking birth every day to make the products more engaging and to add freshness. One of the recent techniques is gamification, a process of adding fun to everything people do and use.This is being applied in every field from Ux to teaching and every aspect from test to events.

So,What is Gamification?

The application of game mechanics and game designs to a non gaming product is called as gamification. This is a technique which increases the user engagement by adding fun combined with goals and challenges. Here is a real time example of How gamifying the stairs increased its usability.

You can see in the above video that adding the game context to the stairs made many people to use that instead of taking escalator.So this is how the gamification boosts the user experience.

Things to consider before gamifying

Gamification is not just adding some random game techniques and turning the website or any product look good but also doing that in a specified manner. Before you decide to gamify a product think about the following things:
  1. Identify and validate the problem

    Ask yourself the reason to gamify and recognize the problem you want solution for. If you run a website and user is unable to click call to action button then this would be your problem.Not only a website issue but also anything say your student might not be understanding subject or your kids aren't interested in doing chores etc. So by recognizing the exact problem will make you gamify that in right ways.
    Once you identify your problem try to validate that.As every problem needs to be solved make sure it is worth doing that.Take a research and try to get enough data to support your claim.

  2. Lookout for negative consequences

    The solution you look sometimes may out-turn things.Being intellectual will help you find out the negative consequences and makes you well prepared for future saving your time.

  3. Find the History:

    Find out whether the technique you want to use for solving your problem is done in past or not. If yes Try to get answers for:
    * Whether the approach worked or not.
    * Any chances to improve the procedure. * Any past build product to use etc.
    Once you got all the above information it is the time for decision.

  4. Decide now

    As decision time is the crucial time thinking twice and analyzing all the above factors will help you take decision to roll the gamification.

How to use gamification for usability testing

It is usual that you will be thinking of where to start and how to start the gamifying of the usability test. So let's get started with the core thing first, As participants are core part of the test,start with understanding your them. There is no doubt that people like to play games but do everyone like the same game?No,right? That varies depending on age,gender and interests etc. So be clear about your test users and try to dig deep in your research methods so that you can find the type of game pattern they enjoy. Is it a puzzle or fight oriented or sports etc. Now start gamifying the test
  1. Points,Badges and leaderboards

    What do you think makes a game engaging? Isn't it challenges with rewards and competition with peers?Can you play for no fun,no achievement and no rewards?I cant play such a boring game. Many expert reviewers say that these three features together is the pulse of any successful game. So giving the test users some points when he follow your instructions and badges when he completes a task will keep the test sustainable and sticks them to the test. Later, try to set up a leaderboard by which the user can track his performance and never forget to show the competition among different test users as it makes them to crave for more points by performing well.

    leaderboard for usability testing


  2. Compose task with game elements

    When you write a task there are more chances that you scribble that in your language and unknowingly most of the times this will result in a boring and confusing task.So try to gamify a task by adding game elements like gifs and screenshots of popular games. For example, If task is to click a button, you can write that with gaming elements like below.

    via GIPHY

    As you can see it is the Gif of famous mario video game there are more chances that testers might find this more attracting.You can engage user with these small gamification elements adding in your test plan.

  3. Gamify feedback and surveys

    When you give a questionnaire test paper try to gamify the questions and increase the user experience of the usability test. Recently, I have attended a meetup where the organizers created a very fun-oriented and engaging game like questionnaire to know the feedback about their event. They used an app named kahoot by which they created multiple choice questions and asked everyone to answer by signing up from their own mobiles displaying the questions through projector. They said top three participants who performs the task in less time will be rewarded with some prizes. So everyone, of course including me tried our best to answer the questions correctly and that to on time. This approach gamified the test and increased the output. Similarly you can use some apps like kahoot etc and conduct the feedback and questionnaire tests with a playful manner.

  4. Quiz time

    After the whole test organize a quiz and try to conduct live polls instead of simply taking the feedback.This helps the users to interact with each other and gives you information on what they remember about the product.

  5. Don't forget about Achievements

    Always let the user unlock some achievements during the test so that he will perform next task with more interest.Here the Achievements could be any gifts like free movie tickets,gift cards, stickers, badges and even virtual currency etc.

    achievements for usability testing

    Increasing usability testing outcome quality is one of the best ways to improve the user experience. So by adding all the possible game elements in right manner allows to succeed a fair feedback. But always remember you are gamifying the test for real feedback so try to keep that in right track.

    gamifying at medium threshold

What to remember

Even though gamification increasing the user experience and grabbing many customers, several companies failing in doing that as they are completely turning the product into game. So.thinking twice before gamifying and analysing the gamified product will help you stay away from negative results and augments user experience in right means.

"Remember, it is game elements but not the whole game"

With this I hope you would have got an overview of usability testing and all the peculiarities involved. I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for your time and feel free to add your comments below and let me know your thoughts about this article.

Soumya Diddi,

I am a writer, who lives in Hyderabad and working as a content writer for I am a B.Tech graduate from JNTUH. I love traveling and exploring new places and making new friends. In my free time enjoys hanging out with friends, playing badminton and spending time with my husband.

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