Feminine gamification viewpoint: questions
In the past week my contribution on gender differences to the iVersity Gamification course went live to students and some interesting questions were raised. So I will do my best to shed some light on some of them here. What is quite funny is that I received a nice number of personal messages on all sorts of social media from ladies, who thoroughly enjoyed the lecture and also felt it reflected how they feel about gender differences. Thank you for the lovely messages always nice to know.
Before I address the questions, I will also give the same health warning as I gave in the lecture. Any gender differences are subtle, when choosing game elements however I would suggest to be aware of your target audience and to be inclusive where possible. Some game element will by it’s nature attract males and stop females from joining and vice versa. Organisational culture will also play a role.
One point raised was that culture really determines gender differences and not gender itself. I would say it is in fact societal structure that are the source, namely in most countries we have a patriarchal structure in place where men are in leading roles. Studies by researchers have found that in a matriarchal, where women take the lead role, the roles are very much reversed. What this tells us really is that we can structure an organisation for both if we could leave societally accepted behaviour aside and make a culture of equality happen. So the answer is that I wouldn’t base it on culture but rather on societal structures.
Another question came when someone was looking at designing a solution for a mainly female audience, on how they could incorporate more female friendly game dynamics and elements. They suggested a good storyline, a strong why and then social elements. I would say both men and women will enjoy a strong why and a great storyline, social elements such as sharing and nurturing may appeal more to ladies but won’t rule out guys. A lot of women play resource management games such as FarmVille, in my case SimCity amongst others and the key is to manage multiple inputs. The role of ladies in a lot of families is to do exactly this, manage multiple resources and keep the mood positive as much as possible.
Another great point was raised that our behaviour is primarily personal and I tend to agree with this, we will all have personal preferences which will be stronger when ti comes to making behavioural choices. I would say our values are what really drives behaviour. Value based design is not a new concept and should definitely have a place in gamification design.
Gender differences allows us to address some common values that may exist in groups, in order for our designs to be more engaging and appealing to our target audience.
Here is the infographic which covers most of the points made in the lecture: