Gameful Design Heuristics: A Gamification Inspection Tool

  • Gustavo F. TondelloEmail author
  • Dennis L. Kappen
  • Marim Ganaba
  • Lennart E. Nacke
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11566)


Despite the emergence of many gameful design methodologies in the literature, there is a lack of methods to evaluate the resulting designs. Gameful design techniques aim to increase the user’s motivation to interact with a software, but there are presently no accepted guidelines on how to find out if this goal was achieved during the design phase of a project. This paper presents the Gameful Design Heuristics, a novel set of guidelines that facilitate a heuristic evaluation of gameful software, with a focus on the software’s potential to afford intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for the user. First, we reviewed several gameful design methods to identify the most frequently employed dimensions of motivational affordances. Then, we devised a set of 28 gamification heuristics that can be used to rapidly evaluate a gameful system. Finally, we conducted a summative empirical evaluation study with five user experience professionals, which demonstrated that our heuristics can help the evaluators find more motivational issues in interactive systems than they would without the heuristics. The suggested method fulfills the need for evaluation tools specific to gameful design, which could help evaluators assess the potential user experience of a gameful application in the early phases of a project.


Gameful design heuristics Heuristic evaluation User experience Gamification Gameful design 



We would like to thank the participants, who generously offered their time to help us. This work was supported by CNPq, the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development – Brazil; SSHRC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council – Canada [895-2011-1014, IMMERSe]; NSERC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada [RGPIN-418622-2012]; CFI, the Canada Foundation for Innovation [35819]; and Mitacs [IT07255].


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HCI Games Group, Games InstituteUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Cheriton School of Computer ScienceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.Department of Communication ArtsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  4. 4.Stratford School of Interaction and BusinessUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  5. 5.Humber CollegeTorontoCanada

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