08 December 2010

Gamefication: it’s time to use in complex gadgets

Not all gadgets are magically intuitive like the Nintendo Wii or an iPhone. Some tend to be rather complex, like for example the DSLR cameras (for the ones not versed into photographer’s jargon: those digital cameras, semi- or professional, with lenses that can be removed and changed and have more regulation possibilities). Today they are made to operate quite automatically (just like a point and shoot – or “normal” digital camera), but if you get a camera like this, HOPEFULLY you want to do more than pointing and shooting.

The thing is: those DSLR cameras are complicated. The interface is not so intuitive. I just got one of these cameras and I spend the night juggling with menus and buttons until I managed to know the basics of operation. And I am not a complete amateur: I used SLRs before and I understand the basics about focus, aperture, shutter speed and such. It took me “only” 3 hours to know the very BASICS, and only because I knew what I was looking for. If you don’t know where to start (most people who never handled a SLR camera), I imagine this would be so frustrating you would actually just use it as a point and shoot camera.

Finally the point of this post: if you use tutorial level game mechanics, you could solve this with a simple CD or website. Imagine you open this camera website and it teaches you step by step how to mount the lenses on the camera and insert the batteries (then it obviously give you some % completion status bar progress). Then it teaches you how to take a point and shoot picture (congrats, you qualified to upload your pictures and participate in this months amateus photo contest). Then how to regulate the shutter to create frozen or movement images (Congrats, you get 10 points to vote in others people’s pictures). Then how to wide or narrow the field of depth. Then timer. Then manual focusing. Then using or not flash. Etc etc etc until you get to the really advanced stuff. Imagine also if you could share your tutorial level first pictures and vote for the best ones of the month and then get some gift! Or even just a badge of honor as good photographer.

Please, gamefy my experience so I can have fun while learning something complicated. Just like a game, teach me the basics and then challenge me bit by bit until I am fairly confident in handling it. When companies which should in theory be full of nerds will use game mechanics instead of 300 page manuals?


  1. Indeed.. Gamification being one of the greatest inventions of our time, it is imperative that we use it to fuel human passion into everything we need to do. Gamification has immense possibilities. It's just not used to its full potential yet. Every success story you hear today uses gamification to an extent.

    Some of the world's most boring stuff has been made more than interesting!

    Google Tech Talk : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O1gNVeaE4g

  2. Yeah, if you are interested, check the Gamefication tag: http://young-leader.blogspot.com/search/label/gamefication

  3. I'd say we could gamify almost any learning. I am trying to learn a new langauge right now through a course organized by my university online. Being an online course, imagine the amount of possibilities & interaction that could be created by the simple implementation of game elements into the learning.

    My question, though, is if this is truly as general a driver as it's put out to be. Are game insticts / reflects really spread so wide as they're touted to be?

  4. I don't know, but I think it is a strong driver, since it appears in every culture. But I don't think gamefying can solve every challenge - if you are not into cameras and don't want to learn how to use it, I find it hard to believe that gamefying the experience can convince you to learn and have fun doing it.


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