Increasing energy engagement through gamification
Project dates: 2018 - 2019
Gamified smartphone apps (which use game mechanics such as rankings, points and badges), can establish energy efficient behaviours and result in lower realised household energy bills. However, app users are demanding more engaging experiences. This poses significant challenges for app designers – 26% of users abandon apps after one use (O’Connell, 2016). To incentivise repeat interactions within gamified apps, it is critical to understand the drivers of in-app engagement to avoid abandonment and establish pro-social behavioural change. This will be achieved by assessing cognitive, emotional, and behavioural in-app engagement.
Flow states (instances of intrinsically-rewarding experience) within gamified contexts can potentially incentivise repeat interactions and create more engaging in-app experiences. This research investigates if flow experiences strengthen in-app engagement.
Lastly, this project investigates whether engagement can enhance value-in-behaviour (economic, emotional, ecological, functional, and social perceived value of establishing energy efficient behaviour). Gamified mechanics themselves can help establish energy efficient behaviours, however whether engagement within a gamified app can reliably predict sustained behavioural change requires further investigation.
The research team partnered with CitySmart, a sustainability division of Brisbane City Council. With prior collaboration with QUT, CitySmart developed a mobile gamified app called Reduce Your Juice – which incentivises the reduction of low-income household energy consumption. Users can earn high scores, trophies and badges by playing a variety of mini-games which are themed around enacting an energy-efficient behaviour.
Project participants (n = 387) were recruited via social media and directed to install Reduce Your Juice on their mobile device and play Power Raid (a mini-game within the app) for at least ten minutes within a week. Surveys were administered before and after gameplay to measure changes within participant value-in-behaviour and measure their perceived experiences of engagement and flow.
Results of the Honours project are forthcoming.
- Consumer Engagement
- Flow Theory
- Whittaker, Lucas, Russell-Bennett, Rebekah, Mulcahy, Rory (2021) Reward-based or meaningful gaming? A field study on game mechanics and serious games for sustainability Psychology and Marketing.
- Whittaker, Lucas, Mulcahy, Rory, Russell-Bennett, Rebekah (2020) ‘Go with the flow’ for gamification and sustainability marketing International Journal of Information Management.