Participatory Ideation for Gamification: Bringing the User at the Heart of the Gamification Design Process

  • Thomas VilarinhoEmail author
  • Babak Farshchian
  • Jacqueline Floch
  • Ole Gunhildsberg Hansen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11262)


Gamification, i.e. applying game elements in non-game contexts, is been increasingly used for designing systems and application elements to foster user engagement, enjoyment and support behavior change. Experts agree that, to be efficient, gamification strategies should be designed in a user-centric fashion. However, current user-centered design approaches in gamification primarily involve users during user research and iterative testing. In this paper, we describe an ideation approach for involving users in the conceptualization of gamification, making the gamification design process a more participatory activity, a process done with the user rather then for the user. Our results show that our method fostered participation without confining creativity. Participants were able to generate many ideas, several of them being “out of the box”.


Participatory design Gamification Ideation 



Authors of this paper, on behalf of MyCyFAPP consortium, acknowledge the European Union and the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme for funding the project (ref. 643806). Furthermore, we thank the participants to the workshops for their interest and collaboration. Ole Gunhildsberg Hansen was a student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology when conducting this research, which is also part of his Master Thesis [10].


  1. 1.
    Calvo-Lerma, J., et al.: Innovative approach for self-management and social welfare of children with cystic fibrosis in Europe: development, validation and implementation of an mhealth tool (MyCyFAPP). BMJ Open 7(3), e014931 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Deterding, S.: Gamification: designing for motivation. Interactions 19(4), 14–17 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Deterding, S.: The lens of intrinsic skill atoms: a method for gameful design. Hum.-Comput. Interact. 30(3–4), 294–335 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dicheva, D., Dichev, C., Agre, G., Angelova, G.: Gamification in education: a systematic mapping study. J. Educ. Technol. Soc. 18(3), 75 (2015)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    DIS, I.: 9241–210: 2010. Ergonomics of human system interaction-part 210: Human-centred design for interactive systems. International Standardization Organization (ISO). Switzerland (2009)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Floch, J., et al.: User needs in the development of a health app ecosystem for self-management of cystic fibrosis: user-centered development approach. JMIR mHealth and uHealth 6(5), e113 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Francisco-Aparicio, A., Gutiérrez-Vela, F.L., Isla-Montes, J.L., Sanchez, J.L.G.: Gamification: analysis and application. In: Penichet, V., Peñalver, A., Gallud, J. (eds.) New Trends in Interaction, Virtual Reality and Modeling. HCIS, pp. 113–126. Springer, London (2013). Scholar
  8. 8.
    Halskov, K., Dalsgård, P.: Inspiration card workshops. In: Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, pp. 2–11. ACM (2006)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hamari, J., Koivisto, J., Sarsa, H.: Does gamification work? – A literature review of empirical studies on gamification. In: 2014 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), pp. 3025–3034. IEEE (2014)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hansen, O.G.: What gamification design do users want in a self-management application for chronic diseases? – The case of Cystic Fibrosis. Master’s thesis, NTNU (2017)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Johnson, D., Deterding, S., Kuhn, K.A., Staneva, A., Stoyanov, S., Hides, L.: Gamification for health and wellbeing: a systematic review of the literature. Internet Interv. 6, 89–106 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Knaving, K., Björk, S.: Designing for fun and play: exploring possibilities in design for gamification. In: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Gameful Design, Research, and Applications, pp. 131–134. ACM (2013)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kujala, S., Kauppinen, M.: Identifying and selecting users for user-centered design. In: Proceedings of the Third Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, pp. 297–303. ACM (2004)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kumar, J.: Gamification at work: designing engaging business software. In: Marcus, A. (ed.) DUXU 2013. LNCS, vol. 8013, pp. 528–537. Springer, Heidelberg (2013). Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lucero, A., Arrasvuori, J.: PLEX cards: a source of inspiration when designing for playfulness. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Fun and Games, pp. 28–37. ACM (2010)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Marache-Francisco, C., Brangier, E.: Process of gamification. In: Proceedings of the 6th Centric, pp. 126–131 (2013)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Morschheuser, B., Hamari, J., Werder, K., Abe, J.: How to gamify? A method for designing gamification. In: Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (2017)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nicholson, S.: A user-centered theoretical framework for meaningful gamification. Games+ Learning+ Society 8(1), 223–230 (2012)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Osborn, A.: Applied Imagination. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York (1953)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sanders, E.B.N.: From user-centered to participatory design approaches. In: Frascara, J. (ed.) Design and the Social Sciences, pp. 18–25. CRC Press, London (2003)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Vilarinho, T., Farshchian, B., Wienhofen, L.W., Franang, T., Gulbrandsen, H.: Combining persuasive computing and user centered design into an energy awareness system for smart houses. In: 2016 12th International Conference on Intelligent Environments (IE), pp. 32–39. IEEE (2016)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Vilarinho, T., Floch, J., Stav, E.: Co-designing a mHealth application for self-management of cystic fibrosis. In: Bernhaupt, R., Dalvi, G., Joshi, A., K. Balkrishan, D., O’Neill, J., Winckler, M. (eds.) INTERACT 2017. LNCS, vol. 10515, pp. 3–22. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zhang, P.: Technical opinion motivational affordances: reasons for ICT design and use. Commun. ACM 51(11), 145–147 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Vilarinho
    • 1
    Email author
  • Babak Farshchian
    • 2
  • Jacqueline Floch
    • 1
  • Ole Gunhildsberg Hansen
    • 2
  1. 1.SINTEFTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations