The 20 top gamification tips for you and business

The clear 20 top gamification key areas

Well done for clicking through to this article. As a special reward at the bottom of the 20 gamification tips, I reward you with an extra bonus one to bring the total to 21! See you there.

Create a positive gamification process for everyone.

Create a positive gamification process for everyone.

The implementation of any project or change is important for your business success. Here are the top tips to consider when implementing your business gamification project.

Follow them for success or ignore them at your peril. Feel free to print this list out and use it as a project check list to ensure the key elements are implemented.

1.     Be clear with your gamification goals and communicate how they link to business objectives.

Change management requires sensitive implementation. State clearly the reasons for gamification implementation and demonstrate a clear link to future positive behavior outputs that align to your business culture and objectives.

2.     Use recognition and status instead of bribes.

Retain the ethical and accountable set of principles for your business. Do not adjust these core values for any phase or part of the project. Status and recognition have considerable positive influence by themselves so embrace and encourage these differentiation landmarks of personal achievement.

3.     Adopt positive challenge experiences (do not patronize).

The design of gamification status, leader-boards and challenges should seek at all times positive learning experiences. The tone, style and design and outcome of each step should avoid any potential of patronization.

4.     Focus on solving the problem whilst allowing the fun to flow.

Be prepared for awkward situations, prepare your UX well.

Be prepared for awkward situations, prepare your UX well.

This is possibly the most important tip in the full list! Too many gamification projects lose effectiveness through management trying to force too much fun into the process.


A good UX (user experience) designer will ensure a natural and intuitive flow provides the best customer feedback. This should be recognized with your project. Allow the fun to occur in its own time and style whilst keeping an eye on ethical behavior.

5.     Define your clear metrics of success and failure.

A gamification project has an end goal objective and can be broken down to specific level and micro performance expectations.

Have a clear overview and leadership agreement of the metrics for each step. Levels of remedial work, success and failure are important to provide feedback to participants but also for the correct design improvements of your project.

6.     Allow everyone to grow within the project through clear rules.

Defining the clear rules of engagement of your gamification project is important to maximize participation and buy in from the earliest possible start point.

Encourage open discussion forums to identify any potential “what if” type questions and have a FAQ page ready at hand for the early phases and at key gaming points as level progression is made.

7.     Learning can come best from failure, allow failure to occur.

Even large projects with the highest skills often fail. Learn from them.

Even large projects with the highest skills often fail. Learn from them.

Some of the best lessons in life and wisdom are established from failure. There are solid grounds to create failure steps within your gamification project to establish key learning points. The outcome from these failures should be positive actions and behaviors. It is critical not to shame failure at any level, but rather to support and coach improvement.

8.     The gamification project should be a positive development experience and not an annoyance.

Each touch point of your gamification project should be designed with ease of use and sympathetic to the user’s needs. Simple changes to log in processes, dashboard design, and storyline and time resources can have considerable positive effects to remove frustrations of the users.

9.     Keep the principles, concepts as simple as possible.

KISS Keep it simple, stupid. Ensure the gamification is clearly understandable and each interaction point as simple as possible to improve navigation, efficiency and clarity of the challenge aim and process. Simple tools such as progress bars within a challenge help reduce time management questions and improve the user experience.

10.                   Use levels to define stages in a journey.

Mastery takes time and clear progress helps label achievements.

Mastery takes time and clear progress helps label achievements.

A book is made from chapters, a popular film will have recognizable phases in its narrative and the same applies to popular X box games and the martial arts uses belt systems to identify their progress.

The same applies for your gamification project. Ensure clear levels and stages through the journey are communicated and understood.

11.                   Easy starts stages can change to harder stages as the story progresses.

For a faster buy in with your project, consider to shower your participants with several of rapid easy win rewards. The pace and quantity of distribution can change over time to a more reasonable and manageable level.

12.                   Create a strong call to action through a robust narrative and story line.

The participant of the project should become the recognizable hero. The whole project has likely being designed to generate and encourage a new set of skills and behavior so clear and strong calls to action should correlate to the overall story line and narrative.

  • Consider the key elements of the story: Define the enemy or challenge, create empathy, create a strategy and plan to deal with the challenge, implement and learn, arrive at the vision point destination.

13.                   Do not forget that gamification works with collaboration and competition.

The design of many schemes can utilize the power of collaboration within the gamification process. This is a great method to generate designed in collaboration across certain departments or randomize team members to create a cultural and diversity bond.

14.                   Use weighting points for relative progress measures.

Depending upon the complexity and automation of your gamification design, consideration to weighting points for specific challenges, achievements can help provide insights of relative measured progress. This is a specifically important consideration for “soft skills” where responses or reactions are harder to measure and may have a higher risk of measuring a “lab environment” result as opposed to repeat real world performance.

15.                   Allow options for the participants to choose from a small pool of rewards.

Keep rewards as intrinsically designed as possible. Where choice is granted for significant achievements ensure the rewards are relevant, applicable, aligned with the brand values and principles and where possible reinforce key elements of the overall gamification strategy. I.e. a specific training course, ability to join a feedback group.

16.                   Engage through social media with a unique hashtag.

Utilize the power of modern social media to spread the message, progress and sense of bond through a unique hashtag. This has extra relevance for business’s that operate across multiple time zones, locations or 24 hour shift patterns.

17.                   Create a gamification culture and not a bolt on extra idea.

Avoid bolting your gamification project to the end of an idea. For sustained gamification results seek its inclusion across the business strategic thinking and tactical deployment at all levels.

18.                   Test periodically through feedback channels.

The most successful gamification models within the workplace offer feedback channels and utilize this information to improve, change the project as it is implemented. Use the best practice experiences for future models. Be careful of A/B testing after the roll out of your project!

19.                   Badges and Limited edition badges remain popular

Designing elements of scarcity through limited edition badges and recognition systems remains a powerful method to retain motivation for the gamification process. Standard badges remain popular but operate best when aligned to the business mission, vision, values and principles.

20.                   Create real time progress measures.

One of the most important factors for all gamification projects is offering the engaged participant real time progress on their measures. General grading and performance tolerance banding can work as great incentives if instant feedback is provided.

21.                   BONUS Design your experience for the 4 types of gamers.

The Interaction points of each game player

The Interaction points of each game player

People engage with gamification the most when its design incorporates and recognizes the different types of people. For this to be implemented consider the people that seek Achievement, those that wish to expand and strengthen their Social abilities, the people that have a need for Discovery and exploration and the Killers whom are the people that love and thrive on pure competition.


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James Doyle - Chief Gamification Officer of JAMSO

James Doyle - Chief Gamification Officer of JAMSO

 JAMSO supports people and business. For goal setting, goal management, metrics, key performance indicators, business intelligence and analytics. Our clients are personal and business to business partners.