Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts: How Microsoft and other companies are using gamification to teach users

“What happens when you do own software too complicated to use. The same thing would have happened if had not created a program — nobody is using it,” writes the editor of The Next Web. As noted by the author of the material, for many products you can use best practices user training — however, if the product is brand new, we have to get creative. A good approach to user training, according to Brandell, in 1992, demonstrated Microsoft has released this year shell Windows 3.1. How Microsoft used gamification to teach users was described in the material editor Mental Floss James hunt.

He said, which actually meant the built in Windows games — solitaire, Minesweeper, Hearts and other. According to Brandell, the spread of the Internet and social networks “Minesweeper” was one of the most popular entertainments among office workers. But with it, they not only killed time, but also studied the work with the operating system. As explains the journalist, the user needed to adapt to the GUI of the system after long work with command line MS DOS, Minesweeper is the best help.

Simple interface and “smiley” invite user interaction, and placing the boxes, he learned to use the mouse. Unfolding solitaire, writes Brandall, helped the owner of a Windows-based computer to learn how to drag something across the screen. “Its difficult to imagine the person who wield this skill,” writes the editor of The Next Web. The author believes that Microsoft was aware of the uselessness of creating a separate instructions for using the mouse — many users would consider it unworthy of their attention.

“Especially snobs, stuck to the command line and denying any graphic overkill”. Therefore, the company decided to provide training in the form of a card game familiar to almost everyone. Benjamin Brandall writes that similar mechanics are used and many modern services, games and programs. An example of a card game exactly mimics the desktop card battle Hearthstone. Similar to the Gusset plate organization uses the service for task management Trello — users can also drag and drop “cards” with tasks in a different “deck”.

The game “Hearts” was also presented by the Corporation in 1992. Brindall notes that it appeared in Windows at the same time with the ability to connect to the network — “and its not a coincidence”, he writes. According to Brandell, using the “Chervov” the operating system the user is imparted the idea that he can communicate over the network with other users.

“Microsoft really creatively approached the process of training users — simply because the company had no choice,” writes Benjamin Brandall. “Todays companies to spur creativity is not limited the means and methods of training, and the saturation of the market.”. A good example of the system training new users of the editor of The Next Web believes Slackbot bot in team messenger Slack. The journalist compares it to the assistant-clip in the line of office products from Microsoft — Microsoft Office (“Scrapes”). The success of any Slack with a product begins with a conversation with Slackbot — bot offers to fill out your own profile by answering his questions.

“It is much easier and more fun than to fill out your profile manually, or follow links from emails to confirm the registration of your account”. Filled with personal pages are useful for beginners — so they can quickly understand who in the team is doing what, and Slack, making the most of the staff filled in the account information immediately after registration. Slackbot not only helps the user to enter personal information — it also performs several important functions. It demonstrates how the communication in the messenger, how are the notifications of received messages and so on.

“You think that just talking with a cute robot and actually learn the use of the service”. As one of the sources when writing the article Brandall used specialist materials gamification by Yu-Kai Chou. The journalist chose a few things that you should consider companies who plan to use the principles of gamification for customer training. Previously, writes the editor of The Next Web, users had to study a large manual of each product.

Now the user sends the instructions at the right moment — this helps him to adapt quickly, not delving into large and complex documents. Such mechanics apply even those companies that do not use the product in his principles of gamification. As an example, the journalist quotes the language service Duolingo. In it assistant user performs a virtual owl, which gives the customer little tips.

“Remember how fast and easy you are given the first levels in the games. In World of Warcraft the player can climb up to the fifth level in the first five minutes of the game. This forces the user to stay and continue to play, even if in the future to achieve a new level, hell need a week,” writes Benjamin Brandall. The same principle can be applied when creating software.

For example, Evernote arrives, some time after the registration of prompting the user to check off items from a small list that he has managed to do: “I dont know about you, but I very nervous to do list with uncrossed items. Evernote forced me to perform all five tasks in order to successfully study the use of the product. Very well, Evernote”.

One of the first things that will make the player to create a profile of your own character and customize his appearance or abilities. The same tactics are used by both software manufacturers forcing the customer to first complete a personal page and thus “associating” themselves with the service. Some services go even further — and fill the user profile during registration, using data from social networks.


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