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Gamification for Surface Tasks

This is an ongoing project.


Interactive systems often require users to carry out mundane tasks as part of the interaction – for example, many tables and wall displays require calibration to ensure that input and output are optimally configured. These tasks are generally tedious and unenjoyable, and so many users avoid them altogether. To address this problem, we propose gamification techniques that gather user data in an engaging and entertaining manner. To facilitate the creation of these games, we present design guidelines that map common types of psychophysical requirements to core tasks, and then to well-known game mechanics. We have evaluated the approach in several ways. First, we developed three calibration games and compared them to standard procedures. Users found the game versions significantly more enjoyable than regular calibration procedures, without compromising the quality of the data.  Second, we developed gamified versions of surveys and tested them with a local market-research company. Our study showed that users were willing to provide substantially more data when the surveys were gamified. Gamification is a novel way to obtain user user data that is critical for the performance and accuracy of many human-computer systems.


Images and Videos

Gamification Framework for Calibration Tasks


Three example calibration games: color spaces (top), CD ratio (centre), physiological sensors (bottom).



  • Flatla, D.R., Gutwin, C., Nacke, L.E., Bateman, S., Mandryk, R.L. (2011) Calibration Games: Making Calibration Tasks Enjoyable by Adding Motivating Game Elements. Proceedings of ACM UIST 2011, Santa Barbara, California, 403-412.

  • Cechanowicz, J., Gutwin, C., Brownell, B., and Goodfellow, L., Effects of Gamification on Participation and Data Quality in a Real-World Market Research Domain. In Proceedings of Gamification 2013, in press.




NSERC – SurfNet