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Your Health Tech Product Can’t Lose with Gamification and Animation

You want two main outcomes for your health tech product: 

  1. For people to begin using it, and 
  2. For people to continue using it.

It sounds simple enough, but user acquisition and retention are actually some of the most important — yet difficult — metrics to master. 

This is where gamification enters the chat. Gamifying your digital health platform makes it more engaging and fun, which incentivizes users to stick around and builds a loyal fan base. 

Below, we’ll explore how gamification — especially when paired with animation — levels up your product until it’s irresistible.

What Is Gamification?

Gamification involves adding gaming elements to non-game platforms. You can gamify your health tech product with traditional game design features, such as:

  • Points systems
  • Badges
  • Levels or progression 
  • Incentives or other rewards 
  • Characters or avatars 
  • Teammates 

The hope is that these game components will motivate certain user behaviors, including getting them to return to your product time and again. 

Why Does Gamification Matter in Health Tech?

Health tech products are often perfect fits for gamification because there’s inherent progress in improving health outcomes. Marking and rewarding this progress is only natural, which explains why many brands like yours are already relying on gamification in their apps. 

Beyond some obvious use cases in the digital health space, gamification matters for user retention. As mentioned, it increases engagement, and in turn, users are more likely to keep using your product. 

Zooming out, user retention is critical because it keeps your product alive. Here are some stats to back that up:

Together, this tells us that getting users to stay can be tough. However, if you can engage people in their first weeks of app use, user retention — and possibly profit — will increase. 

How Exactly Does Gamification Improve User Retention?

The gamification of products is basically hacking a user’s brain. Otherwise neutral or even boring tasks become enjoyable. And users get a dopamine hit from achieving goals…a.k.a. “winning” at product use. After all, who doesn’t love to win?

Games are also habit-forming, so gamifying your health tech platform ingratiates it into a person’s routine. It all comes down to a simple premise: If an app makes someone feel good, they’ll keep turning to it. 

Sidenote: We all know instances where gamification is used for less-than-altruistic purposes, and we’re not in support of these uses. Social media purposefully sucks in teens, for example. And gambling is a common addiction. The fantastic news about your vertical? You can and should feel good about incentivizing folks to improve their health with your product.

Ready, Set…Let’s Gamify Your Health Tech Product

There are plenty of real life and hypothetical examples of health tech app gamification we can look at for your inspiration. 

First up, imagine giving users access to data. These stats serve as their score of sorts. Not only will they get that dopamine rush when they do the thing to earn the data in the first place (say, go for a run or log their water intake), they’ll get a second flooding of the happy hormone upon checking their data. 

For some people, data isn’t enough of a gaming element to keep them coming back for more. In this case, try mixing in some friendly competition. 

Consider Phlex. The app solved a user retention problem by introducing a scoring system with levels of achievement and interaction devoted users can reach. This system scores a workout and pits users against one another through its social features. Scoring plus the social component of Phlex keeps users engaged so they can win. Because again, people love winning; it’s human nature. 

By the way, Phlex shows us how important it is to listen to user feedback. Users were asking for a social feature, and the company created one. As you look to gamify your digital health product, review user feedback for existing opportunities. 

Strava offers another example of gamification done right. Users can participate in challenges and small groups, again combining gaming and social elements. They can also share their achievement level, reinforcing their healthy behaviors. Even something as simple as a visual representation of a reward or achievement — like a virtual trophy for running your first 5k with the app — is important to user satisfaction and retention. 

Gamification + Animation = A Winning Combination for Digital Health Products 

Gamification is clearly powerful in and of itself. Want to level up? Add movement — animation — to the gamified elements of your app. You could animate progress bars so users can see their achievements in real time, or celebrate their milestones with animated badges instead of static ones. 

Animation enhances visual experiences like no other medium can. When you add animation to gamification, you’re essentially doubling the benefits of gamification. You can expect an even more enhanced user experience, which creates good user habits faster, and further increases user retention. 

Animation also improves user comprehension; it can better instruct users on how your product works, increasing usage and lessening frustration. And overall, movement leads users to develop stronger emotional and visceral ties to your app. 

Maximize Your App’s Existing Momentum with Gamification and Animation  

What gamification can’t do is magically make a bad product good. However, it can drastically increase the reach and overall potential of a really good one, particularly when animation and gamification are leveraged together.

Felippe Silveira
Felippe Silveira
Co-founder & CEO at MOWE Studio