The Lens of Intrinsic Skill Atoms: A Method for Gameful Design
Human-Computer Interaction, Special Issue "HCI and Digital Games," Forthcoming
70 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2020
Date Written: June 27, 2014
The idea that game design can inspire the design of motivating, enjoyable interactive systems has a long history in human-computer interaction. It currently experiences a renaissance under the name “gamification,” the use of game design elements in non-game contexts. However, little research-based guidance is available how to effectively design such gameful systems. This article provides a conceptual analysis of the design challenges of gameful design, and a critical review of existing academic and industry methods. It introduces a gameful design method that uses design lenses to tease out the challenges inherent in a user’s goal pursuit, to then iteratively prototype and test a restructuring of user activity in the form of skill atoms that optimally afford motivating, enjoyable experiences characteristic for gameplay. The use of the method is illustrated in two case studies. The article closes by outlining how gameful design might provide inspiration for experience-driven design and the translation of design methods from one field into another more generally.
Keywords: gamification, gameful design, design method, design lenses
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