Published in


Santi Martinez

Apr 27, 2020

3 min read

Design review and gamification: how to make a behavior change in your team

We all remember that when we were kids our parents only let us play after we had done our homework: studying and having fun were two different things.

As adults, we follow the same pattern. Unconsciously, we end up classifying our daily activities in “serious” and “fun”. Serious ones always come first: how to organize tasks, answer emails, or plan your daily agenda are a priority, and only later do we go out and hang out with our friends.

The concept of gamification comes to bridge the gap between fun and work.

Turn into a game

Gamification is the use of game-design concepts with an additional purpose: to entertain. Until recently, our design reviews were a 60-minute meeting where designers showed, on low or high fidelity wireframes, what had been designed so far in order to have feedback.

This no longer works for us because we feel it is wearisome and pointless. However, we can’t completely avoid this process because it’s very important for us to meet our high-quality standards and foster a fluid communication and feedback exchange between different areas that work in the same project (design, development, and Quality Assurance).

We decided to take our design review process to the next level by leveraging gamification techniques.

Step by step, like an arcade

  1. Participants are split into two groups: designers and team managers on one side of the room and reviewers on the other. A moderator times and guides the 60-minute meeting:
  • 13 minutes to discuss and analyze the reviewers' statements about each flow.
  • Some final minutes to fill in a feedback form with comments and suggestions.

It’s important to pay attention to how we express our feedback. We need to take care of the words we choose and always value our colleagues’ work. A design review is intended for enhancing the project, never for offending the designer.

3. We create a follow-up form with stickers and a system of “prizes” rewarding the teams that are asking for a product design review session.

4. As a result of this playful process, product design reviews are a great chance to discover new opportunities for our digital products and explain our justified improvements to our clients.

Behavior change

Changes in our working methodologies may be perceived as a setback or misstep. We tend to judge and focus on what is “lost” rather than valuing the skills we learned along the way. If we always see a half-empty glass perhaps it is time to look for a smaller glass or more specific objectives.

Can we seek a behavior change without pressure? Is this possible? The answer is yes. Gamification opens the possibility for an autonomous change, not a compulsory one. These techniques offer us an incredible number of resources to foster behavior changes with different projects: complete steps in a fitness app, give crowns when we finish a course in a language learning app, ​​or make our coworkers much more motivated to carry out a daily process.

Now it is up to us to think when we can put it into practice and achieve better results.