Like the topic of my previous article (badges), leaderboards are also one of the most used elements in gameful design. But despite the prevalence of leaderboards in gamification, few sources explain exactly what role they fulfill in a gameful system, how users interact with them, what is their psychological effect on users, and how to design leaderboards. Although they have been often suggested to promote intrinsic motivation through relatedness or competence, the academic studies that focused on the psychological effects of leaderboards have consistently demonstrated that this is not the case. Instead, leaderboards promote goal setting and social comparison.


Badges are the most used element in educational gameful design and the third most used element in gamification in general. They have been listed by many different gamification researchers and experts as one of the basic gameful design elements. But do you know exactly what role do badges perform on a gameful application? How do users perceive them and interact with them — do you know that there are at least nine different ways? How do badges motivate users to engage with the gameful system?

This article summarizes the latest research on how badges are perceived by users, what kind…

Gameful Bits — Become a patron

One of my goals as a content creator is to help gamification professionals keep up to date with the latest research and help them find the takeaways to apply the research on their daily practice. Therefore, many of my blog posts are summaries of original academic research from myself or other authors. However, I feel that the format of a blog post is often not enough to give enough information to actually use the research in practice. …

In Part 1, I discussed what is personalized gameful design. If you have not read it yet, please take a moment to do it before you continue reading this part.

The method to design personalized gameful applications that I proposed as part of my thesis has three sequential steps: (1) modelling user preferences, (2) selecting the gameful design elements that are more likely enjoyable for each user, and (3) evaluating the motivational potential of the design.

The three steps for personalized gameful design.

However, please note that these are not all the steps for a complete gameful design method, they are just the steps related to personalization…

I recently presented and published my Ph.D. Thesis describing a method for personalized gameful design. I will now begin publishing a series of posts in this blog introducing and detailing this method so everyone can apply it without needing to read the whole thesis. :)

But first, what is Personalized Gameful Design and why should you learn about it?

Definition of Personalized Gameful Design

In my work, I adopt the following definition of personalization, which is detailed in Chapter 3 of my thesis and is based on previous definitions in human-computer interaction research:

Personalization of gameful systems is the tailoring of the gameful design elements

Photo by Hammer & Tusk on Unsplash

Modern virtual reality (VR) technologies provide users with strong feelings of “being there” while disconnecting them from the real world. However, complete sensorial isolation from the real world is not always desirable, as it can cause missing important notifications, create social isolation, and even harm the user. Current interactive systems, especially mobile devices, provide time-sensitive information through digital notifications, which are usually viewed within minutes. However, disconnection from the real world as the result of the immersion in VR can result in missing important notifications, e.g., calls or events. Being disconnected from notifications can cause anxiousness and loneliness. …

Gustavo F. Tondello, Lennart E. Nacke,
University of Waterloo

Photo by Anthony Brolin on Unsplash

Understanding why people play games and what different types of games or mechanics they prefer is a major interest in the Games User Research (GUR) community. This knowledge is important because it facilitates player-centric design and helps designers build games better tailored to what their audience wants. In addition, marketing practices of segmentation and differentiation are increasingly common as a part of game design with the goal of better selling virtual goods to specific players. But this is only possible if the game studios have a good model of player preferences to segment their audience. Therefore, in our previous work…

Stuart Hallifax, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3,
Audrey Serna, INSA de Lyon,
Jean-Charles Marty, Université Savoie Mont Blanc,
Guillaume Lavoué, INSA de Lyon,
Elise Lavoué, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Gamification, defined as “the use of design elements characteristic of games in non-game contexts” is widely used to foster user motivation in many different settings (such as education, health, sport, etc.). Gamification is generally used in a “one size fits all approach”, where all users interact with all game elements. However, recent studies show that users can be more or less receptive to different game elements, based on their personality or player profile. Consequently, recent work on tailored gamification tries to identify links between user types and motivating game elements. …

Matthew Lakier, University of Waterloo,
Lennart E. Nacke, University of Waterloo,
Takeo Igarashi, The University of Tokyo,
Daniel Vogel, University of Waterloo

Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

Imagine yourself five years into the future, in a state-of-the-art self-driving car. This car can drive itself in traffic jams and on the highway, only requiring you to take control now and then. Your self-driving car has many intelligent technologies that help to keep it safe: V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) communication enables cars to let each other know where they are relative to each other on the road. HUDs (heads-up displays) on the windshield can keep the driver aware of the car’s speed and road conditions.

Now the big question is… what do you do while your car is driving itself?


Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

Making effective use of data generated from players interacting with games (often via playtesting to improve game quality) is a challenging task since the datasets are often mixed and very large. To address this, various visualization techniques have been introduced to help game developers cope with the data. While the role of visual design in creating effective and readable data representations has long been recognized in the field of information visualization, it is an unaddressed area in GUR. To start closing this gap in the literature, this paper presents a first study into this subject.

We show how changes in…

Gustavo Tondello

Senior Software Developer at Open Text | Co-Founder and Gamification Specialist at MotiviUX | Blogger at GamefulBits | Logosophy researcher.

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