Gamification in Product Design Make Enterprise Software Suck Less

Gamification can be key for designing a great product. Heck, it can make a bad product a successful one. Gamification tickles the part of our brain that’s thirsty for entertainment and when it is applied to mundane tasks that we all have to do in life… it makes us want to do these tasks. Chores become amusing, they no longer are chores. How can we apply gamification to product design in enterprise software?

Gamification Juice

Ever have a rather satisfying feeling after watching Jell-O being pushed out of a mold, cut into a perfect cube, jiggle about, or being hit by a tennis racket (if you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favor and look it up)? Yeah, something about this jiggly substance provides an aesthetic enjoyment that scientists are still learning about. It relieves stress, improves mood, and even boosts energy. In short, it feels great.

Game designers have a term that describe this called “Juice” or “Juiciness” and they apply these visual effects to their products. By adding some Juice to their games, they give their users all those positive vibes while they’re using their product (often without the user's awareness). Reinforcing a positive stimulant everytime someone is using your product… can you see where I am going with this? They’re going to want to return and use or buy your product again.


Gamification in Enterprise Software

Enterprise software is by definition on the boring side of things to do. It is work. Serious work stuff. When working with the product design for headless ecommerce service Crystallize we are working with gamification as part of the process. We started with the basics of tone of voice and visual aesthetics. Making it visually more enjoyable to work with. No boring business diagrams.

Part of the ecommerce service is to provide so called webhooks for sending packages of data to different systems when e.g. a new customer makes a purchase. This is serious enterprise software integrations. It is of course personified as a pirate squid. You cannot go wrong with pirates, can you?


A Juicy Reason to Come Back

Part of the complete product for Crystallize is the marketing and communication. We decided early on that there must be a weekly cartoon. There was no other way. Every friday there is a new developer comic strip published. We are also introducing the cartoon of the day in the administration interface of Crystallize so you get a new cartoon every day when you log on. Nice.

Oh, btw: there are easter eggs in the comics on the Crystallize website. Someone told me there is a dirty version of the cartoons available. Another gamification component.


Gamification of a Sign-up Process

One way to both gamify the sign up process and teach users how to use the product is to put it in the opposite order. It is very popular for mobile app games (I think in China but it has been flooding into Western app markets) to have a very basic version of the game that can run without any download or installation, often in a browser. The user gains points or another kind of reward while using this light version. THEN after all that, the player is asked to sign up and download the game to save their progress. Which if they did a good job in presenting their game, the user doesn’t think twice about the sign up.

Okay, so how to apply this to Crystalize? We already demonstrate on the awesome website what the product does and even how to use it. I think we are almost there. Customers can play with the GraphQL API directly by hitting play on the website before signing up. Hit the play button and see the product information unfold from the PIM in real time. Try before you buy.


Progression in Enterprise Software

The next step for us here is to look at progression in Crystallize and get more juiciness that helps users discover the different parts of the system. This is work in progress. We will follow up with some of the findings that work for us in another post.

For now, check out Crystallize - at least take a peek at the developer comics.