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The Lens of Intrinsic Skill Atoms: A Method for Gameful Design

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Publication details

JournalHuman-Computer interaction
DatePublished - 15 May 2015
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)294-335
Original languageEnglish


The idea that game design can inspire the design of motivating, enjoyable interactive systems has a long history in human-computer interaction. It currently experiences a renaissance as gameful design, often implemented through gamification, the use of game design elements in nongame contexts. Yet there is little research-based guidance on designing gameful systems. This article therefore reviews existing methods and identifies challenges and requirements for gameful design. It introduces a gameful design method that uses skill atoms and design lenses to identify challenges inherent in a user’s goal pursuit and restructure them to afford gameplay-characteristic motivating, enjoyable experiences. Two case studies illustrate the method. The article closes by outlining how gameful design might inform experience-driven design more generally.


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