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A Guide to Gamifying Health on Your App

Gamifying health could save lives. These days, the addictive and entertaining quality of games is being applied to real-life scenarios. App developers are coming up with motivating features to get users to take care of themselves.

Health apps come in many shapes and sizes. They may be used to strengthen good habits, take medications at the right time, or improve vitals related to a medical condition. And like wearables, users love them! Whatever the case, gamification can boost user engagement on your health app.

In fact, new reports say the gamification industry will grow to $30.7 billion by 2025. If you’re interested in gamifying your health app, we’ll go over some key elements that motivate users.

Benefits of gamifying health

First, what can gamifying health do for users? There are 325,000+ health-related mobile apps available nowadays and early outcomes suggest they’re great for user health. Specifically, they can:

  • Prevent health conditions through good habit making.
  • Increase medication adherence (i.e. taking the right pills every day).
  • Improve overall health of users through goal-setting.
  • Engage people in health topics who wouldn’t otherwise be interested. 

As we can see, gamifying health can be used to achieve positive health outcomes. Experts even suggest that using preventive health apps could save lives in the long run.

Key elements of gamifying health

Gamifying health seems like a great idea, but it requires certain elements to actually work. If your health app is missing any of them, you may find that users eventually drop off. Let’s go over some of these features.

1. Provide rewards

Everybody loves rewards. Depending on your health app, you may offer badges, metals, stars, gems or points… or some other rewards concept. It’s amazing how even silly, virtual rewards can motivate us. Getting a silver medal for completing an exercise goal flips on some competitive switch in our brain to get gold next time.

2. Connect with community

Users also enjoy gamified health apps because of the sharing aspect. It’s a great feeling to show off your success with exercise, nutrition, sleep, medication, etc. to your friends and family. Having sharing features with other users, via social media and in the general community is a rock-solid idea. This may involve forums, leadership boards or other local challenges.

3. Track progress towards goals

It’s hard to complete your goal when you don’t track it. A successful gamified health app lets you easily track your progress and see what steps are needed to reach it. Progress bars, steps or other units are essential for motivating users. Daily, weekly, monthly – a variety of tracking formats is ideal.

4. Motivate with special challenges

Double or nothing and other challenges are extremely tempting. You can motivate users by offering special challenges to get more rewards. These are in addition to central goals set by an individual. They can give users extra confidence and engagement with your health app.

5. Consider virtual (or real) currency

Some new health apps are even using money as a part of their motivational strategy. This could be virtual currency – such as rewards points – or even real money. An app called Pact charges users a set amount for not making their goal and pays out when they do. It’s an interesting area to consider as you’re developing your app.

Ultimately, gamifying health is an excellent idea for motivating users and building healthy habits these days. As you develop your health app, you should think about these key elements of gamification so that you engage users 100%.

Want more health app inspiration? Check out more hot trends in healthcare apps

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