Post a short reflection on the role of gaming in libraries or information organisations. Do you see a place for it?
I think that gamification is an exciting new idea, which is currently picking up a lot of momentum. Gamification can be used as an excellent tool for both marketing of libraries and for education, and when used correctly, should provide a seamlessly fun experience, whilst still imparting valuable information. This seems to be the next step in user experience, which is all about making the time spent by a user on something like a website or database as pleasant as possible
Designers do, however, need to be careful about how they present the game. For example, a game designed for a library, or any other organisation as a marketing tool may work well as long as the user is engaged, however the user may feel that they have been “tricked” into being sucked in if the marketing aspect of a game becomes too heavily emphasised. After all, the reason a user is going to play a game is for fun. Once a game stops being fun, why keep playing?
As noted in this article, the information provided through gamification should be imparted seamlessly, whilst the user has fun. There are even websites available such as luminosity.com which claim to exercise the users mind, whilst the user plays games which seem to just be fun, and not at all tiresome or mentally taxing.
For libraries in particular I think that gamification is a great idea, as people often are unwilling to spend the time required learning about library related news. Making this into a game is likely to make the experience more memorable, meaning users are more likely to return to the library or library website to replay the game.
The New York Public Library’s “Find The Future” seems to have been an excellent promotional event, as far as raising awareness about the library is concerned, however gamification on a much smaller scale could also be helpful for libraries. Not everything has to be gamified, of course, and some people may simply think games are nonsense and not want to deal with them at all. After all, games do have a sense of triviality attached to them, and as is noted in this article, some people may find it hard to accept the idea that games can be educational or informative.
It is however, early days for gamification, and I believe games will be embraced by libraries in the coming years.