Implementing Gamification:

Mariam Bagersh
Published in
5 min readMar 14, 2020


Sociability: A case-study for Accessibility

Sociability is an app that helps users with varying needs to find accessible venues. The app asks users to input specific information about the accessibility of a venue that helps people explore their communities with peace of mind. This means that it relies heavily on user interaction to populate the app. To increase engagement, we wanted to test whether integrating a gamified reward system would incentivise the users. We had the following question:

Can we use gamification to engage people and incentivise more people to contribute information about the venues?

To start off we had to identify what parts of the app need elements of gamification. We chose to focus on two flows:

Forms: The input of the information
Rewards: Once they’ve been filled

The Plan

Based on our research we found that there would be a few key factors in deciding how we would approach this challenge.

  1. Identify the Users Goal
  2. Identify Users Motivation
  3. The Rules of the Game
  4. Rewards
  5. Storytelling

1. Identify the Users Goal

Before we started on the gamification we went through Phase-one of our project, where we wireframed and developed the rest of the app. This gave us a foundation of insight into the stake-holders goal as well as the user's goal.

Many of the users we had researched and tested with, already wanted to contribute to the app, as they were people with access needs or supported people with access needs. We created two user profiles based on existing users and thought about what their main incentives for engaging with the app are.

  1. To search and review locations for accessibility.
  2. To help other people in the accessibility community.

2. Identify Users Motivation

To identify user motivation we looked into the Octalysis Framework for Gamification. Simplified, this framework provides a reference for the 8 core-drives that motivate people towards completing different activities. Based on our user research, we found that the core-drive motivating our users was most likely Epic meaning.

Epic meaning: “Epic Meaning and Calling is the need or the urge to be a part of something much bigger than just yourself. When this drive is activated, participants choose to be members of your system and will take action not because it necessarily benefits them directly, but because it turns them into the heroes of the company’s story.”

We drew on this for inspiration and to develop our narrative and content.

3. What are the rules of the game

Does the user understand how they are “playing your game”? When you play a game you need to understand the rules to be able to know the steps you have to take in order to be rewarded. So once you have established the users objective, you then lay out their steps to get there.

The Goal: Review a location either at home or on location by filling a form and taking pictures.

The user-flow:

Search for venue → Read reviews → Create a review → Reward (Get points)

Add friends → Create Group → Review venues together→ Reward (View your Ranking)

From here we created wireframes which gave us an overview of where we had to put signposts for the gamification to take place.

4. Rewards

After identifying the motivation and the rules you have to decide which rewards you will use and at which points you will incentivise your user. Many services place rewards strategically to help the user achieve their goal.

Fitbit: You’ve done 1000 steps today
Duolingo: Don’t forget your streak
Uber: $6 away from making $20

We chose the following reward incentives because we felt it fit in with user motivation and goals.

Leaderboards (Points)
Motivational pop-ups (Achievements)

5. Storytelling

Once you have the structure of the “game”, what sells it is the story. Through the copy and visual elements, we wanted to create a sense of a story from the onboarding to the rewards.

We wanted a strong visual narrative to guide the process. So to start with we created illustrated characters, that we could use to guide the journey. The characters were meant to feel clever, unobtrusive and friendly. We wanted them to be easily adapted to different forms so that the one character could represent different emotions or actions.

Once we developed the characters we knew that the copy for the achievements would be vital in engaging the users. People responded very well to the creative titles used for the rewards.



Mariam Bagersh

Life hacker, Researcher and Designer. An everything dabbler and nomad of all realms Design, Culture and Tech.