Stephen Hackett on my ‘[Gamification is for Dicks](’ post:
>Ben’s choice of words aside, I don’t think the addition of “secret” UI themes in Clear is a bad thing. The app itself — its gestures, etc. — are playful and light. The “gamification” doesn’t get in the way of using the app, and the “awards” don’t add any functionality. It simply adds new free themes.
>What’s so wrong with that?

This is the main complaint about my argument ((Aside from the very small minority that didn’t like my wording.)) : that Clear was/is a poor example because it is just themes. Stephen does point out that the app, to him, is “playful and light”.

I disagree with that notion.

Firstly, just because an app is gesture driven doesn’t mean that it is “playful and light”, it just means it is gesture driven. I think it is wrong to classify gesture driven apps as being playful, because gestures themselves aren’t anymore playful than using a mouse.

It seems to me that Stephen wants to dismiss the gamification of Clear by trying to make Clear sound like it is already a game-like app — and I don’t think that is true at all. Clear is a productivity tool, with game mechanics to unlock themes.

Secondly, themes in Clear are a very integral part of the app — in Clear themes are a feature and not an accessory. The themes are how you prioritize items in the list — using the color of the theme to show priority. In most cases themes would just be a nice add-on, but in Clear I would argue that themes are a central part of the user experience.

And that’s why the gamification of unlocking themes in Clear presents a really bad user experience.

Posted by Ben Brooks