When you get going with gamification, it can be really really exciting. You are creating engaging solution using game elements and ideas, how cool is that??
But when do you start to define what elements, mechanics, game design ideas and so on?
It is really tempting to do it after the very first conversation with a client. They have told you what they want and you have an idea. A few mechanics here, a narrative and bingo – you have the solution.
But whoa there, do you really have the solution? What was the problem you where trying to solve? The client told you what they wanted, but did you discover what they needed?
It is fine to start to outline what could be done before you see the full picture, but defining mechanics and elements before you actually know what the core of the problem is will lead to a solution that needs to be shoehorned into the problem.
Remember to ask the right questions and to keep digging, even as you begin your designs. Never stop asking what, why, what and how!
And always make sure you can answer the question “Why am I adding gamification” long before you define the mechanics!!
So, when do you start defining the mechanics etc? When you are sure you know what the problem you are trying to solve is.