Beyond designing for motivation: the importance of context in gamification

Chad Richards, Craig W. Thompson, T.C. Nicholas Graham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Most design advice for the development of successful gamification systems has focused on how best to engage the end user while imbuing the system with playfulness. This paper argues that it is also critical for designers to focus on the broad context of the system’s deployment, including the identification of stakeholder requirements, requirements from the hosting organization, deep understanding of the diversity of the target population, understanding of limits in the agency of the target users, and constraints arising from the post-deployment environment. To illustrate the importance of such contextual and stakeholder analysis, the paper presents issues and associated solutions that were discovered through the creation of a children’s nutrition and fitness education gamification system. The problems identified through a broad analysis of context significantly altered the design of the system and led to the realization that the initially conceptualized project would have been unusable. The paper concludes with concrete lessons for designers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the First ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in play
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2014
ISBN (Electronic)9781450330145
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventACM CHI Play 2014 - Toronto, ON, Canada
Duration: 19. Oct 201422. Oct 2014


ConferenceACM CHI Play 2014
CityToronto, ON


  • Gamification
  • Contextual Design
  • Educational Games
  • Educational games
  • Contextual design


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