The hidden potential of gamification in LegalTech
By Marcel Hajd (http://linkedin.com/in/marcelhajd)
Not a day passes without a trending news story related to LegalTech. Ambitious lawyers and entrepreneurs are trying to enter the more and more competitive legal market, while convincing users how brilliant the LegalTech solution is they have brought to life. As a consequence, we may witness a number of similar LegalTech products based on very much alike technology. That being said, is there anything else that might increase user engagement for these great LegalTech products and increase their overall experience? What if a LegalTech product could bring a user into a stage of greater motivation and flow, so the user could be completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The answer may lie in designing LegalTech experience in the same manner as computer experts design games to achieve a similar level of engagement. Gamification is the use of game design elements outside of the game context. Gamification increases commitment and makes the activity more attractive, which is why it has hidden potential for a wide variety of LegalTech products.
Gamification and LegalTech
In the last few years, gamification has become a popular topic for marketing purposes, even though the phenomenon itself is not completely new. It is perceived as being a promising way to provide improved user experience and a positive influence on user behaviour through gamified application. Implementing a game mechanic merged with behavioural analytics in the LegalTech context may therefore present the extra mile all LegalTech companies are seeking for, while simultaneously trying to find their position in the market. Regardless of whether target users are companies, individuals, lawyers, academics, official authorities etc., a proper game mechanic in the LegalTech product will surely engage them all. Further to that, here are some of the main game mechanic elements that could be implemented in LegalTech solutions to engage the user:
- Achievements (badges, certificates, rewards, awards),
- Social mechanics (comments, ratings, review, followers),
- Challenges and consequences for uncompleted task,
- Progress bar to indicate the progress through a process or task,
- Time constraints and loss aversion,
- Narrative and theme,
- On-boarding tutorials,
- Signposting (pointing the user in the right direction).
Some of the above listed game mechanics in LegalTech products would probably not have the same impact on every potential group of users. For example, on-boarding tutorials and time constraints may be widely applicable in a variety of different LegalTech products used by multiple types of users. However, a narrative element that draws a user into a story would probably be desirable only for individuals in A2J products, consumer online dispute resolutions tools or know your rights solutions, and not so useful for attorneys using solutions such as billing and money collection software. That being said, LegalTech products do not need to include all of the above mentioned game mechanics or even look entirely like a virtual space that exists as a subset of reality with boundaries and rules. Only one game mechanic element may be powerful enough to have a great impact on user experience and engagement.
Once a LegalTech developer has determined the game mechanic strategy, it needs to be paired with motivators that might be enjoyable for the user (eg. social interaction with clients, feeling accomplished after completing something, organising and creating order out of a mess, learning a new skill, taking care or helping others, making society better, competing with others, etc.). After pairing game mechanics with motivators it is important to clarify the objectives and rules of the “game”. That should be done from an early stage because users need to have the feeling they have control of the situation. Once the LegalTech product empowered with game elements is ready to be used, it is desirable that the solution is capable of being adaptable to users’ needs. In that respect, a gameful experience scale may be a useful measure of users’ engagement and allow further development of the tool. One such example of a gameful experience scale is the six factor evaluation assessment called GAMEX. It embodies evaluation of enjoyment, absorption, creative thinking, activation, absence of negative effect, and dominance.
With the development of the LegalTech industry, the delivery of legal services has become more sophisticated and complex. On top of that, designing a successful LegalTech product requires extensive analysis, planning and design. Implementing game design elements would surely result in transforming LegalTech products from being “function focused” to “user-focused”. This would therefore lead to a higher level of user motivation and engagement which may be limited if those LegalTech tools are only geared toward operational efficiency.
About the Author
Marcel Hajd is a fully qualified Slovenian lawyer with international background and several years of experience in advocacy. His recent transition into in-house enabled him to understand the business perspective of legal services more comprehensively. His past involvement in LegalTech projects and passion for technology itself led him to the decision to pursue a postgraduate degree in LegalTech.
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