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Explore the Future of the Web

Beyond GamificationDesigning Behavior Change Games

Influencing behavior through the use of technology has become a distinct discipline in the field of Interaction Design. Long before Robert Fabricant declared that ‘behavior is our medium’ in 2009, designers have been looking towards behavioral science, social, environmental and consumer psychology for guidance on persuading users to take actions that support business, stakeholder and designer’s intent. Around this same time, foursquare burst on to the scene in the U.S. to become a phenomenological success, leveraging video game elements such as points, badges and leaderboards to drive addictive user behavior and engagement. The aftermath of such gave rise to the term ‘gamification’ as countless businesses scurried to duplicate the success of foursquare by adding game elements to their products and services.

But what if game design tenets were applied to develop product or services aimed at helping users achieve personal goals like wellness and health management, learning and skills development, saving money or getting out of debt? And what if these gameful designs could go a step further and help society improve environmental ecology, sustainability and pro-social behaviors? What would that look like? How could that be done?

Leveraging the motivational dynamics of gameplay to energize and sustain people through changing behaviors and attaining complex goals is a challenging yet profound solution. Participants in this hands-on workshop will learn the mechanics of clinically tested behavior change interventions (behavioral psychology 101) as well as techniques game designers use to motivate, engage and reward players through a game’s lifecycle.

A practical, step-by-step methodology will be introduced and built upon throughout the day. By workshops end, participants will have collaboratively designed and pitched a structured behavior change game, having learned how to craft game objectives that facilitate change, proper goal-setting, optimal challenge and reward patterns, feedback loops and skills cycles, social influence and community dynamics, applied metaphor and theme along with game balancing, play testing and brainstorming techniques.

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