In the present era where the new generation digital products have taken over the steering wheel and are moving towards the future at full speed. The concept of Gamification continuously swirls around the mind of all business heads. It is leading the digital market industries to greater heights as it brings new possibilities for the future of their products. But before we get into that, let us first know what exactly Gamification is! So Gamification is a method of exerting certain game components into a non-gaming environment. It could be as simple as giving rewards to your users in the form of coins or badges. The purpose? That is to enhance the engagement of the users on that particular platform.
Many of the Indian market players have skillfully executed their strategy on field to provide a holistic gamified experience to the users already, these include Myntra’s star based coupons that any user can earn in every game which in turn can be exchanged for making purchases within the app, and even Byju’s gamified learning strategy that has incorporated goals, milestones and achievements within the application in order to make learning more fun and effective for their set of users that are students. Thus, gamification is literally making a mango man play games everyday without them even knowing about it!
But have you ever wondered, why would anyone come back for e-coins, badges or stars? Why do you think these will work? To answer these questions, let us dive into the psychology behind understanding the competition, exploration and curiosity that a gamified experience can bring to the users. Here, I am going to interlace the gamified component of another Indian market player “HealthifyMe” with the psychology behind it.
HealthifyMe is a digital health and wellness platform that provides a variety of services such as calorie tracking, one-on-one nutrition, fitness coaching, along with diet and workout plans to the users. Started in 2012, this application has had a remarkable journey from rags to riches, from competing in the hamster cage with their existing competitors to becoming India’s and South East Asia’s largest weight loss and fitness app and continuing to be one.
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The app currently serves as a calorie tracker, allowing users to lose weight and track their food and exercise regimens through their smartphones and computers. It consists of four important components, first is the lifestyle tracker launched four years ago that includes calorie counter, water consumed, steps tracker, calorie burnt, and sleep tracker. Second, is its social feed, that allows the users to find others like themselves with similar goals and problems. Third is the discover component that involves various Blogs, Q&As, Hacks, DailyQ, Stories, Recipes, Learn, Top 10, Studio, Immunity and Sense making users informed about health and wellness related facts. The last and the most innovative aspect is HealthifyMe’s tech augmented coaching, that uses a combination of artificial intelligence called RIA and human trainers to help its users stay healthy and engaged with the app.
Moreover, the nutrition diet and fitness category is currently populated with many competitors namely WebMD Health, Weight Watchers International, GOQii, Mobiefit and Curefit. It is in this market that HealthifyMe has maintained its stand among top 5 health and fitness tracking apps in India. Thus, the app has been designed keeping in mind a user centric approach wherein the different interface features have contributed to give an ideal app experience to the users. However, the one feature that stood out for me is the gamified experience that the application offers.
- Controlling the progress wheel:To begin with, HealthifyMe has cracked the core of gamification and has made the users the masters of their own destination by giving them control to reach their health goals by doing something healthy everyday! There are 12 levels in the application and in order to hop on to the next level, the users have to do some tasks everyday such as drinking 8 glasses of water, or completing their 4,000 steps etc., and whoop the next level is yours!
- Fueling up with Skinner’s theory:Furthermore, It seems that they have also understood the concept of reinforcement given by the American Psychologist, B.F Skinner (1948) which says a behavior that is reinforced tends to strengthen and a behavior that is not reinforced tends to weaken. The application provides their users with different badges for every level (from Novice to Healthifier) completed by them, hence the badges are acting as reinforcement for them to complete the given tasks in order to win new badges and not only that, the users can even share their badge achievements with others on different platforms as well, now that’s like showing off your best power!
- Reaching milestones:On top of that, they have incorporated a sense of achievement within each task which is one of the most important psychological impetus of human behavior. In each task, they have incorporated small milestones such as there is a “You Rock” or “You made it” for drinking a glass of water, thus making the user feel that they have achieved something or they have completed a milestone and hence they’re going to come back.
- Compete to beat:Last but not the least, they have also tapped on to humans’ natural instinct to compete! The application has a leadership board wherein the user can get access to their rank and also know where they are standing with respect to the scores that they have achieved in the list of thousands of other people. And since the idea of getting on top in one big playing field is always everyone’s priority the users would compete to get on those top ranks by completing all the tasks and winning as many points as they can.
- Unleash the dopamine:In this way, all the gamification components of HealthifyMe triggers a dopamine rush (also called the pleasure chemical) within the users and tells the users’ brain to do it again because it feels great!
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Hence, when it comes to engaging users and making them stick, gamification is a powerful and a trending approach in the field of Marketing and UX. And you know the best part? It doesn’t even require a ton of money to get implemented. Just a simple approach coated with prior knowledge and research can lead to an amazing and effective gamification initiative that suits the brand as well as the users.
So let’s gamify experiences! Shall we?