Did you know that 70% of all people who have a mobile phone use it to play games? The figures are just as similar for tablet computers too. Life is becoming more fun as we become more able to play wherever and whenever we want.
But gaming is no longer just limited to the younger, male, population, with increasing numbers of women and older age groups getting involved in the booming trend. The rise of video and mobile games has engineered us to respond well to gamification for engagement purposes, and this is something that has been capitalised on by businesses. Obviously, this is great news for game designers, app developers and software companies. But, gamification is becoming increasingly relevant and applicable to other industries, including that of clinical trials.
Patient recruitment, enrolment, engagement and retention are crucial stages of any trial, and gamification can be exploited and utilised in these areas, and indeed have already been shown to do so successfully.
At CitrusLabs, for example, gamification is a vital part of what we do. We make apps to assist with clinical trial recruitment, patient enrolment, participation and retention. Beginning with patient recruitment, the research-backed brain games within our flagship ‘MindMate’ app are designed to track cognitive decline and collect data on a range of health conditions which allows us to find eligible patients for our partners’ trials quickly and easily. Our games are designed to maintain engagement through advancing levels, achievements and rewards, and the opportunity for users to track their progress as they play more.
Through in-app games, we can also conduct clinical tests like the mini-mental state examination and the clinical dementia rating, which allow us to collect important data through a user-interface that is designed to be fun and easy-to-use.
How to Maximise Gamification
Here are some key aspects of gamification that should be considered and implemented when planning for generate maximum engagement:
Behaviors. The most successful game initiatives are tied to goals that you want the individual to accomplish. When the game’s goals are focused on positively changing users’ behaviors, causing them to both interact more with your content and complete the desired action, it is more likely to succeed. The game must do more than just be fun.
Levels. Games are fun, but if the user does not feel challenged then they become bored and gamification fails. But with different levels and the opportunity to advance, as one’s skills improve and practice builds, helps to maintain the sense of fun and challenge that creates greater engagement.
Competition. Humans are wired for competition by design, and games tap into this desire to better both ourselves and others. Incorporating leaderboards and high scores into your games increases engagement as they work to improve upon their best efforts. The possibility of virtual awards such as trophies, bonus levels and unlockable content works in a similar way and satisfies human desire for accomplishment. These rewards should always be linked to the changing behaviors that help you meet your goals.
Keep it Simple. The best games are those that are simple. To retain players, you should focus on making the game as easy to learn, play and use as possible. The interface should be simple and tailored appropriately to the audience you are targeting.
Add a Social Element. Social validation is a key part of creating strong engagement. If the game provides a way for users to share their successes, achievements and progress, then they are more likely to keep engaged.
Please get in touch if you want to know how you can increase gamification in your trial.