The 4 Design Elements of Gamification [Free Cheat Sheet]

In last week’s #expochat Twitter chat, the hot topic was around gamification and trade shows. It was inspired by a mobile video game app built by Hanley Wood for their annual conference and talk soon turned to what the key elements are of a successful trade show game.

Whether it was for mobile or physical events, the consensus seemed to be that every game should start with a clear and well-defined strategy. These are some things that you should ask yourself as you start this process:

  • What do I want attendees to have achieved by the time they’ve completed the game?
  • Does the goal tie back to my event and business objectives?
  • Are the rules clear and fair?
  • Will my game unintentionally offer punishment as a reward? (i.e. point deduction)

While these may sound like tough questions to ask, coming up with a good game strategy doesn’t actually have to be that hard so long as you use the 4 Design Elements of Gamification, which we first covered in our Event App Gamification webinar.

These 4 key elements can be used to gamify your event app, create a game for your conference or even help you come up with a fun icebreaker for an internal company event. Keep them in mind (or download our handy cheat sheet for easy reference) as you build out your gamification strategy. Here’s a look at what each element is all about:


Creating a good goal for your game requires you to balance your event and business objectives with your audience’s core motivations and desires.


Everybody should know what they’re working for. You want well-defined rules that make it really simple for attendees to participate. Keep your attendee’s player types in mind as you build out your rules.

Feedback system

Your feedback system doesn’t just tell players how they’re doing in the game; it’s also the mechanism you use to reward attendees. Make sure that above all else, you reward them with a positive and valuable experience.

Voluntary participation

Attendees should want to play the game because it’s fun and exciting. If you force your game on attendees, no one is going to use it or like it.

Download the 4 Design Elements of Gamification Cheat Sheet

Connect with us on Twitter about this topic! We’d love to know if you’ve offered a game at your event before and what kind of experience you had when designing it. Want to implement event app gamification at your next event? Request a one-on-one demo with one of our event app experts to learn how.