Is gamification tech for humans or humans for gamification tech? Designing location based mobile games with a purpose.

December 28, 2016 - 5 minutes read

It seems there is an app for almost everything nowadays. Many event app providers would feel insulted when you say “it is just a tool”. Well apps are just tools – the real experience, emotions and benefits happen with people. How to understand whether the event game app is something that matches your plans?

Tech methods can be fun, useful, innovative but can’t replace the human element. This applies also when you consider gamification with an event game app. It is worth to think about your goal on a large scale. Is using the app aligned with your mission and something your event business will in longer term benefit from?

Designing location based mobile games with a purpose takes a special approach. That is why before you hop on the board of an event game app consider the following:

Do you use tech to make something engaging or efficient or you use tech to get the feel of being innovative? 
There is a difference between USP-s “Now we have games with Virtual Reality”  and “Now our games let you experience medieval streets”. You can make the experience with different methods and budgets so the experience has to be a star. In so many cases the tech is cool and new, but the content and goal are not thought through. The tech tool has to bring your customer to you not once but many reoccurring occasions. This is where your ability to build game concepts and content kicks in.

Do your game ideas promote people connecting to each other in a real life and can you encourage playing in teams? Game is not a grading tool but a learning tool, so there is no burning need for each individual to dive into their smartphone. We have great skills on being social online, but the skills for the  real life interactions have gone through a staggering drop. Whenever possible, think if you can let people use the tech as a side tool to socialize in the real life.

Does your game promote people to pay attention and enjoy surroundings? Are you up to thinking through the venues and locations the games take place? If you can google the answers for the content of the game, you can as well sit down an play the  game in the office. Which can be ok but not awesome. This kind of location based gamification takes time when you innovate, test and iterate great new game concepts.

Are you using tools that your target segment uses? If your main client segment is into paper and pen, it is ok. Probably,in the near future analog methods will be perceived as an exclusive and high end solution for corporate events as they take the most personal touch from the event organizer (drawing a treasure map on paper takes time : ) . If your clients are tech oriented and use smartphones, then it is great to let them use the tool they are familiar with and the app will seem natural.

Is your content adaptable for micro-learning format and are you willing to do embrace the benefits of it? This is  thin balance between the information you want to deliver and people actually need to meet the goal of the event or training. It applies to city hunts as well team trainings. Information is overwhelming and keeping it bite sized is a challenge for a game creator. Even more- there are topics that need longer printed  materials and forcing them into micro-learning format would be ineffective. But don’t be too  quick to judge the  micro format when you are in the “serious” business.

Do you feel it it is important to make people physically move during your events? Now this is something everyone knows but is hard to accomplish- moving around is good for the body and to creative thinking. Whether that happens indoor or outdoor,  has to match your event arrangements, location and the venue. Consider, if it is practical to bring moving around into the agenda.

gamification-tech-designing location based mobile games with a purpose

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