Gamification Mechanic Monday: Navigation
Navigation is key for all games and equally for enterprise software. Most games have an introductory tutorial with glowing choices and arrows to guide you through the next steps. Some consoles come with their own controllers and having the motor skills to be effective in a game is often down to practise, just like gear changes when you learn to drive. I took me several restarts to complete one level in a PS3 game, because my character kept falling off stuff thanks to poor controller skills on my part. I kept at it and did improve, so I know whit practise I can play the game to normal standards, for the initial few levels and hours it meant lots and lots of re-starts of climbing out of water onto a rock and up on a tower I was trying to fix.
I was determined to learn and not let the game controller defeat me. I had previously watched my friend playing and he did have some mishaps at the beginning, but quickly got the hang of it and managed to fix 3 towers, and beat some nasty creatures, while I was still climbing on my first one. It was my perseverance that kept me going. Now, if this was for work, I would have probably asked my friend to help me out and do it for me.
In business trying to be too smart and too cryptic will result in lack of efficiency and uptake. I would recommend to keep navigation to norms people already know and when introducing really new ways to navigate to allow them time and give them support in getting used to them. From icons with explanations, to showing them the way with glowing choices, colour coding the path for them.
When a software is not the core reason for them visiting your site, but performing a specific task is, then the key is to get them to complete that task as quick as possible. If a virtual world is included offer 3D and 2D navigation, because not everyone is used to making a character move with their mouse or keypad. Games include an easy, intermediate and advanced setting, in enterprise tools we are rarely offered the same choice and yet sometimes the navigation may warrant exactly that.
What are your favourite navigation instruction mechanics?