Oct 252011

Having backed up my computer I recently wrote a post of gamification, and then my computer unhelpfully died on me. Since then, the project I identified as the most obvious candidate for gamification, has launched a website that includes gamification (did they read my mind?). By adding a top 5 league table to the side of their submissions validation website, some users will find the same motivation as games and will help out more in order to get their rank up against friends or the top users.

Your project probably can’t be gamified. I don’t think that’s the case. Gamification doesn’t have to be through use of a league table or scores. The goal for the location phone app, 4square, is often seen as ‘checking-in’ to a venue more than anyone else to become ‘mayor’. But there are also a long list of badges(achievements) that you can be awarded. Could your users get a badge for their first use of the app, a medal when you notice they’ve added amazing metadata, or a gold star for discovering tghe use for a certain feature?

Leaf Watch league tableSo we’ve worked out your project can be gamified, but it probably shouldn’t be. Nature Locator already identified problems when you gamify. Perhaps the only ways to gamify were too stretch and it would be uncomftable implementing it into your project. But it’s still good to have thought about how you could do it. Even without gamifying the system you can still reward people. If you noticed an action would get an extra special badge, because it was an uncommon task or long/complex to do then you could set a message on the final page. Change “The data was successfully saved to the database.” to “Thanks for doing all that! We’ve save the data and it’s going to be a great help for people finding related information.“. You might not have an “employee of the month” notice board, but you can notice when people have done some good work. Thank/congratulate them directly or spread (good) rumors in the coffee room about who’s been your best user this week.

About that employee of the month postition. They wouldn’t work if you only told the employee, they need be posted on a noticeboard or where other people will see and get interested to work harder themselves. Social media is a great tool for making this happen. You can even skip the gamification and make people share what they have done using social media. With a tiny bit of code inserted into your system you can add buttons for users to share on Facebook or Twitter the page they are on. Don’t just make them a share link to your homepage, provide/suggest messages for the user such as “I just found details on ancient Athens using the the Pelgaious tool. example.com/athens.html” or “I’ve submitted an artifact and linked it to a location. example.com/artifacts/123”. If it’s one or two clicks away it can be fun to share what you’re doing and a lot easier than getting round to recommending the tool to friends yourself. The Pelagios team have been using Twitter well and I’ve recently started seeing tweets that link to precise pages in a fun way, such as this tweet: “Hello! I’m ancient Thera: http://tinyurl.com/3oc8rod. Check me out in books http://tinyurl.com/3j5lhqk and databases http://tinyurl.com/3wyv7v6“.

How do you create buttons for users to share? It’s really simple, and the two most popular social networking sites have tools to help you. For Twitter use the tweet button tool an investigate the options, such as the tweet text. For Facebook I’ve realised my instructions require you to set up a Facebook app. So it requires a bit more work, but there are clear instructions to the whole process, and then lots you can do with it.

This blog post, as do all the posts on GECO, now ends with some example tweet/share links for a number of sites. Do try it out so you know how they work. You will be prompted to log in to the relevant site if you aren’t already, and you will always be asked to accect/confirm before it posts the message in your name. Unfortunately the WordPress blog system stops me adding a one-off example of how you can change the text that is posted to the site.

 October 25, 2011  Posted by at 3:11 pm Misc.

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