We are hosting a new edition of our Gamification course during Persuasive Technology 2018, with the title “Gamification: Tools and Techniques for Persuasive Technology Design“.

This expanded course will be structured into three 60-minute units, which will give the participants enough time to learn about gamification, the new gameful design heuristics, and apply them in a practical exercise. It will include an initial session in which participants will learn the basics about Gamification and Gameful Design, and will work on a practical exercise of gamifying a persuasive application. Next, we will supply attendees with our gameful design heuristics and train them in using the heuristics to evaluate the gameful persuasive system they designed in the first session. Finally, in the third unit, we will be discussing how to generate design ideas with the heuristics.

The course will be held on the Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.


The course is structured into three units, with a gameful design session and a heuristic evaluation session (two supervised hands-on exercises) taking up the majority of the course time. The goals of the course and its heuristics evaluation session are:

  • Understand the basic concepts of gamification and gameful design activities as persuasive strategies.
  • Understand the 28 gameful design heuristics and apply them correctly to a gameful persuasive application.
  • Use the gameful design heuristics and the Hexad model to turn design flaws and improvement suggestions into design actions that can be addressed in the next iteration of a design cycle.

Our lectures provide additional insight into what our gameful design heuristics are and how we believe they can help designers and UX professional improve their gameful products.

Lecture: Introduction to Gamification

We will give an overview of the field of gamification and put special focus on the practical approaches to gameful design as persuasive strategies and how to intervene regular persuasive activities to make them more playful and motivating. We will discuss this using many examples from successful gameful persuasive applications.

Lecture: Introduction to Gameful Design Heuristics

Heuristics are principles or broad (usability) guidelines that have been used to design and evaluate interactive systems, but our set of heuristics is aimed at enabling interaction designers to identify gaps in a gameful system’s design. We will introduce the 12 heuristics dimensions and the three categories that they are split into: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and context-dependent heuristics, explaining their origins in the gamification and psychology literature.


Tuesday, April 17th, 2018
Unit 1: Intro
1:00-1:30 pm Lecture: Introduction to Gamification
1:31-2:00 pm Exercise: Gamifying a persuasive system
Unit 2: Heuristics
2:30-2:40 pm Recap
2:41-3:00 pm Lecture: Introduction to Gameful Design Heuristics
3:01-3:30 pm Exercise: Supervised heuristic evaluation session
Unit 3: Gameful Design
4:00-4:10 pm Recap
4:11-4:40 pm Discussion of design and evaluations
4:41-5:00 pm Wrap-up and takeaways for gamification designers


This course introduces gamification, gameful design, and a novel set of heuristics used to evaluated gameful persuasive applications, so an interest in either games and playful interaction is helpful for participants interested in the course. Given that these heuristics are aimed at people working with real-world designs, we invite industrial and academic HCI researchers, designers, and user experience professionals to participate. The course is particularly useful for people interested in gameful design and user experience evaluation.


The instructors have taught a gameful design heuristics course before at CHI 2017.

Gustavo Fortes Tondello

Ph.D. Student in Personalized Health Gamification

Gustavo F. Tondello, M.Sc., is a Ph.D. student at the HCI Games Group, University of Waterloo, Canada with a main interest in gamification and games for health and learning. He has been investigating several topics related to design, evaluation, and personalization of serious games and gamified applications, particularly regarding the application of player or user typologies in games and gamification. He has evaluated games professionally and has been teaching Computer Science courses at the University of Waterloo as part of his graduate studies.

Lennart Nacke

Director of the HCI Games Group

Lennart E. Nacke, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor for Human-Computer Interaction and Game Design at the University of Waterloo. He has many years of experience serving on SIGCHI program and steering committees and teaching University graduate classes on HCI research methods. Dr. Nacke has co-organized many workshops for CHI over the past five years; he also chaired the CHI PLAY 2014 and Gamification 2013 conferences, served as technical program co-chair for CHI PLAY 2015, and served as the CHI Games and Play subcommittee co-chair for CHI 2017, and is currently the chair of the CHI PLAY steering committee.


You must register to the Tutorial through the Persuasive Technology 2018 registration process.