When the term ‘Game Design’ appears in front of us, we immediately think of a game application, but the term isn’t just associated with game application, it is instead a design approach that can be implemented in any product.
One of the core desires of human needs is interaction. We tend to love products that are fun to use & incentivizes our need to keep coming back to it. This is essentially what Game Design is - to build your product in a way that makes it engaging to use daily. Rahul Vohra (Founder of Superhuman), joined us in a virtual session where he shared his core ideas on game design.
He said, “Our aim should be to make software less like work and more like fun.”
In this session, he talked about his framework using which he created an engaging email experience i.e. Superhuman. He explained the concept through the idea of improving it in the beta phase.
Before getting into game design principles, he enlightened the fact that game design is not gamification; it is not simply adding levels, trophies, or badges in a product. It’s all related to human motivation. Researchers found two kinds of motivations associated with humans:
Therefore, rewards undermine the intrinsic motivation, and that’s why gamification does not work. It works when the underlying experience is already a game.
To create such an intrinsic experience, he steered us in a defined direction via a framework he followed at Superhuman.
Five factors to consider while implementing a game design in a product:
Good Goals An outcome that gives a sense of achievement to the users is referred to as a goal. The goals should be set as per the below-mentioned characteristic, which fulfills our product’s purpose and solves our customer’s problems as well:
EmotionsBest games create strong emotions as these are the foundation of human memory. The more we target nuanced emotions, the more we are likely to hit the intrinsic motivation of a human. For that, we need a vocabulary of emotions to define, differentiate, and to be able to analyze them.
Controls refer to the command/device/process through which we provide input to the game. It is responsible for making users succeed in games. Therefore, we should create rapid and robust controls. The controls should be robust for games, i.e. easy and feasible for users. For example, In Gmail, shortcut to compose a mail is ‘Hit C’, if a user does it fast, he ends up with two drafts, it’s frustrating and a distraction,but in Superhuman they have built their own keyboard handler to ensure that they never lose keystrokes
Toys in any industry are the same as games, they just seem different. The best games are built with toys because they create fun on multiple levels.In Superhuman, the time auto-completer is considered as a toy that is used to snooze emails.The user can enter any gibberish in it. It will try to understand the entered value at its best and reflect the same, which in turn creates curiosity for users and encourages them to indulge with it more.
The most crucial stage is to create a flow/journey for a user, flexible yet defined. Flow should be:
To create such a flow, we should consider the following factors:
Superhuman acquired a high number of beta users by using Game Design Principles that made the app fun to use. To summarize the game design principles:
To know more about game design and product-market fit, check out his tweet.
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