In game design, the term “flow state” is widely used. This phenomenon directly affects the duration of the gaming session, the percentage of users returning (retention), and much more.

In game design, the term “flow state” is widely used. This phenomenon directly affects the duration of the gaming session, the percentage of users returning (retention), and much more.

The concept itself came out of the works of the American psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, but his “flow” is perceived by all as something related exclusively to personal productivity — whereas this is rather a matter of deep immersion in the process.

The “flow theory” is very poorly used in IT areas not related to . In fact, the only ones who almost fully mastered this tool — the social networks. However, in the digital industry there are a lot of resources that would like to increase the user’s time on the site or in a application.

What is this state

First, it is worth telling what exactly the “state of flow” is characterized by.

Pavel Sherer wrote about using flow status to increase the user’s time on the site or in a mobile application.

  • Firstly, the player controls the situation as much as possible inside the game. The whole process is clear to him, the sequence of actions is expected.
  • Secondly, the player is completely immersed in the process, almost ceases to be aware of himself as part of something not related to the game. Simply begins to “live” his character, even if it is only a Tetris cube.
  • And third, the player loses the sense of time. Sometimes — partially, sometimes — altogether. This is the most subtle point to achieve which will have to make a lot of effort.

All in all, the rules and ways of immersing a user into a “flow” are relatively simple, most designers and planners try to follow them as well.

But the main point is seamless user experience around the main core — a complete and uncompromising immersion of the user into the service.

What you need to know when designing a “flow”

  • Set user friendly tasks that require simple actions.

Each step should be clear and logical. The sequence of actions should be predictable.

  • Break actions into stages.

Next to the fields, place tips on why this or that information is needed. Do not force the user to analyze the interface and look for a solution.

  • Let users to solve the same tasks with similar actions.

Make certain patterns for similar actions, for example. editing a profile, editing a personal blog and editing a store. Tasks that your user solves should be as personalized as possible, close to him and understandable.

In general, any complication, even in favor of increasing functionality, is evil.

The average person is able to keep in the short-term memory only 5–9 objects, including minor ones. Remember this.

  • Reward the user for completing tasks.

Use both greeting messages and something more significant. It is advisable to do rewards immediately, but “deferred” rewards are also acceptable — if their expectation is in itself a kind of “driver”.

The whole point is that from action to action, from task to task, your user should know what awaits him at the end — of both short and long distances.

  • Do not tear the user out of his current scenario.

To provide important information to the user, use the tools and structure of the main script.

  • Make sure that the representatives of your target audience are basically able to solve their problems with minimal effort.

In some cases, it could makes sense to differentiate users by type, guided by Bartle’s psychotypes. One, for example, to give the opportunity to share the results of their actions, and the other — to collect achievements or participate in the rating. Gamification with socialization is quite powerful retention tools.

This is the main difference from the games. Game tasks do not have to be simple, otherwise it’s boring to play.


Thus, when designing your service, website or mobile application or creating a new product, you can always think about what kind of experience to implement. Game development can teach a lot and bring a lot of useful things to your service. The goal of all is the same — to get and keep the user’s attention.

Of course, not every service is required to introduce a user to the “flow state”. If you are selling train tickets, you do not need to keep the user on your website for hours. But if you are a thematic platform, marketplace or news aggregator, then it is worth considering why the average session duration is less than five minutes.

But if you start to involve the user and create a flow state, in addition to the above, you will need to work with the adaptation of new users, adjusting the service to the behavior of different groups or even a specific users, identify and clear all barriers — and much, much more. But do not stop!

Found this post interesting? Kindly tap the 👏 button below! 🦄

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here