Has anyone successfully used gamification in their product?

Gamifying a chore can reframe how a user feels about a product.

For example, my project - ProsperCircle.org helps people find a remote job.

Even though people who are looking for a job are motivated to find one, job search feels like a chore.

I'm trying to see how can I use gamification techniques to make it more fun.

I did some quick research on gamification in the last hour and the mechanics to create a successful gamification process include:

  1. Clear goals,
  2. Feedback system, and
  3. Reward

If you have any ideas on how to incorporate gamification techniques in a job board, I'd love to hear it out.

--- EDIT---
After posting this last night, I started googling around and came across this nice video from Rahul Vohra (founder, Superhuman) - https://a16z.com/2020/01/13/game-design-not-gamification/

I think a better term here would be "Game Design"

I think "Game Design" has some legs, most people haven't figured it out.

And maybe that is the advantage. If you figure it out you will have an advantage before everyone does it.

Or maybe I'm chasing down a rabbit hole ;)

Only the month of July will tell...


  1. 1

    Hi Salil,

    (first post ever on Indiehacker here!)

    Gamification or Game Design is a broad topic, often misused and rarely correctly understood. You can learn the basics via:

    • Bartle's Taxonomy of players types (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartle_taxonomy_of_player_types) → 4 types of Players, each interested in different goals. A balanced game design addresses the 4 types of players.
    • You Kai Chou's book 'Actionable Gamification'. A gold mine to quickly understand what gamification really is and what pitfalls to avoid.

    Shameless plug: I am developing a Gamification-as-a-Service website (still early stage of development). I am collecting feedback at this stage and would love to hear your gamification use case(s) and motivation. https://Place2Be.io 🙃

    1. 1

      Hi @dvergeylen - welcome to IH and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      I'm trying to learn more about game design and gamification so thank you for sharing the two resources.

      I'm building a remote job search website - ProsperCircle.org and looking to include game design in the site.

      But I want to be thoughtful. Just don't want to hand out meaningless points or badges for people to do tasks.

      My real motivation is to make the job search process more pleasant.

      Currently, it feels like a chore to many people. And almost all the people I've spoken to are in a non-positive mindset. Either they lost a job and they are looking for a new one, or they are discontent at their current job and want to switch.

      A few people here have brought up the point around how gamification is most beneficial when doing repetitive mundane tasks.

      And I tend to agree with them.

      So maybe what I'm trying to help people with is not technically gamification.

      But putting a term on the process feels inconsequential.

      My ultimate goal is for users on ProsperCircle.org, have the following emotions:

      1. Motivation
      2. Hope
      3. Determination
      4. Accomplishment

      Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

      1. 2

        Hi @Salil,

        "Just don't want to hand out meaningless points or badges for people to do tasks."

        You are 100% right; this is called the "Points, Badges and Leaderboards fallacy" 🙂. Many gamification implementations consist of adding such features to boring tasks and hope this will become exciting. Wrong!

        With no challenge, there is no purpose. With no purpose, there is no gratification when you complete a task. Giving virtual goods for that in return won't increase user's engagement at all. Gamification starts with a clear user journey wherein (s)he will progress over time. PBL are essential to help the user locate himself in his/her journey, but this comes second, not first.

        Let's take an example with your users' onboarding. Let say you would like to add a user checklist when someone signed up for the first time (filling email address, short bio, resume, ...). Adding such a checklist can help but don't associate immediate feedback with each completed item. Instead, once ALL are checked, display a message like:

        "Well done, only 60% of our users complete the entire checklist. You are one of us now. Feel welcome 😎"
        → You deliver a "💯 subscribed" Badge
        → User feels a sense of calling; his/her engagement just increased. Start of the journey.

        You get the point. I would advise you to first think in terms of user actions. Reward when a player "moves" in the right direction. Let the user know what is "good behavior" (what you think is a right way of using your website) and what isn't.

        When building a community, the best Gamified experience is a subtle balance between Competition and Collaboration:

        • Make Players compete against themselves, never against others (I want to have more offers than the average Joe on your website → I'm challenging MYself by comparing against metrics averaged on all your players, but if I do well, other players won't lose anything)
        • Collaboration between players (I received an offer that doesn't really suit my resume, but maybe I can recommend another profile? Doing so is always beneficial to the community. It rewards me with PBL. I feel I am part of something → my engagement increases)

        Hope this helps!

        P.S: PBL == Points, Badges and Leaderboards

        1. 1

          @dvergeylen - Thank you so much for the detailed write-up and the example you shared.

          Have been talking to a number of people and researching game design.

          Will experiment with a few things over the next month and keep you posted.

  2. 1

    Hey Salil, love the way you're thinking. Check out how our community created gamification for personal development to make work fun and get stuff done :)


    1. 1

      Hi @conradlin - thanks for sharing the video. The gamification stuff looks epic.

  3. 1

    I think for job hunting this is not right. I think game design or gamification works when you need to do a task over a long period of time or you have a mundane task to do.

    With job hunting this is different. By writing more applications your chance might get minimal higher to land a job but what really helps is to work on your resume and interview skills. These are not mundane tasks unfortunately so gamification would not really help there.

    An example where gamification helps:

    • duolingo: the streaks are probably the main thing why people come back, same with the leaderboard
    • Snapchat: the flames you get when your write a lot to one person
    • there was a post recently regarding a table of contents checklist for blog articles basically. The use case was a blog article of a list of 100 things. And they showed a progress bar on how many things you saw and increased the time spent on the page
    1. 1

      Hi @kevinpeters_ - I had not thought of where gamification works (repetitive, mundane tasks) deeply.

      So thanks for flagging that for me. I agree with you.

      Maybe there are parts of the job search process that can be made more interesting.

      But for that, I need to break the process down into smaller tasks and see if there are any tasks that might benefit from game design.

      Finally, I was the author of the 100 item blog post and progress counter post here ;)

      So I'm still on the journey to improve user experience on ProsperCircle.org

  4. 1

    Checklists/Progress bars count?

    Those are pretty common and also gives your customers a sense of completion/accomplishment/OCD itch-scratching.

  5. 1

    I thought gamification was a fad that came and went between 2008 - 2012.

    We tried it out in a content platform I worked at back in those days. I never believed in it but we were made to give it a shot. It didn't work.

    My take on it is that gamification has been around for so long that IF it worked, everyone would utilise it. Almost no-one does. Take from that what you will.

    1. 1

      @Primer - It was definitely a fad between 2008 - 2012.

      I think a better term would be "game design" mentioned it in another comment.

      I posted this last night and started googling around. Found this link from Rahul Vohra, and thought it was useful - https://a16z.com/2020/01/13/game-design-not-gamification/

      (Maybe I should edit my post and include it there)

  6. 1

    Yeah, we're doing gamification at http://www.monilo.io
    We are focusing on gamified savings!

    1. 1

      Thank you for sharing.

      Has gamification furthered your product goals?

      1. 1

        Yeah, we planned out gamification from the beginning!

  7. 1

    There are a couple of levels of gamification that I can think of for your idea:

    1. Profile completion (just a % to indicate if all the required details are captured).
    2. Breaking down the process of converting a job into activities and posting daily 'challenges' to complete those activities. It is awfully similar to Pipedrive's philosophy of activity-based sales.
    1. 1

      @sardamit - I like your second idea.

      Thinking of providing users frequent 'challenges'.

      Trying to see what those challenges will be.

      1. 1

        Some (very raw ideas) I could think of are, in no particular order:

        • Shortlisting a company every day/week.
        • Researching one company every week.
        • Talking to company alumni/current employees every week.


        • Creating a new 'search' every week based on the roles one aspires for.
        • Following up on past applications every week.
        • Sending an application every day/week.
        • Writing a cover letter for each role every week.

        I remember Nitin Julka (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nitinjulka/) had published his entire job-hunt process. You could find something from that process too.

        1. 1

          Hi @sardamit - Thank you for sharing these ideas. Super helpful.

          Any thoughts on "reward" for people completing these tasks?

          I don't want to give meaningless points or badges to people.

          Also, just found this article - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141004134541-9712645-how-i-got-my-first-valley-based-product-management-job-in-5-weeks/

          Based on your recommendation.

          Thank you.

          1. 2

            An opportunity to interview with the company is a reward in itself.
            Rewards that are platform-specific make sense only when one is trying to build a reputation on the platform (like Reddit Karma points, or Stack Overflow badges). I don't see anybody building a 'reputation' on a job board.

            Just a dashboard to show where in the process they are, at an aggregate-level should work just fine. Almost like a sales funnel:

            • # of applications at the top of the funnel.
            • # of applications at the bottom of the funnel.
            • Everything in between.

            Yes, you stumbled upon the right article. :)

  8. 1

    Rather than gamification, a light touch of "kawaï"-ness is what usually works !

    1. 1

      what is "kawaï"?

        1. 1

          Thanks for sharing this.

  9. 1

    Curious - why do you think gamification is a good fit for a job board?

    1. 1

      I should actually use the term "game design".

      Just went through a video by Rahul Vohra (founder, Superhuman) - https://a16z.com/2020/01/13/game-design-not-gamification/

      I feel finding a job is a chore.

      A lot of times when finding a job, people have a negative emotion.

      Either they are without a job, or they are discontent at their job and want a new one.

      I feel game design can help turn these negative emotions into positive ones.

      All existing job boards feel boring.

      1. 5

        Job hunting is boring and is a chore, but also an infrequent task.

        Gamification is best suited for habit-forming products that makes repeated tasks more interesting and maybe even fun.

        This is not to rule out the possibility that there can be some innovative use of gamification, but it's clear gamification isn't a silver bullet. Otherwise we'd have solved the world's problems by turning everything into a game.

        1. 1

          That's a good point.

          I hadn't thought about the frequency of tasks and their relation with gamification.

          Thank you for sharing it.

  10. 1

    We added a checklist. But it isn't used as much as I thought it would.

    I plan to invest some more time into it as it is very powerful.

    1. 1

      What is your website?

        1. 1

          I love the clean design and messaging.

          Just responded to another comment here with a video from Rahul Vohra (founder, Superhuman) - https://a16z.com/2020/01/13/game-design-not-gamification/

          Check it out. I think it is pretty cool.

          You might get some interesting ideas.

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