Gamification is a popular method to increase user engagement, improve learning and build better organization inside of software products. It’s become very common with websites centered around education, personal fitness and other individual tracking applications.
GamiPress brings the utility of gamification to any WordPress website. Website owners can setup a handful of points, achievements and ranks for their site that users can earn through whatever means the site operator sees fit.
Ruben Garcia Canto, from Tsunoa, has taken the time to answer my questions about how they started building WordPress plugins, the early stages of GamiPress’ development and their marketing and pricing techniques for the product.
Can you tell me a bit about you and your team and how you got started with WordPress?
GamiPress is a Spanish team made up of two members: Irene and myself.
Irene, the designer, is responsible for all images and web design as well as marketing. She started in this world after we had the idea to start doing WordPress-related projects.
I am dedicated to support and the development side. I’ve been developing things since I was 14 years old and what led me to the world of development was my passion for video games. But rather than playing them I was creating them.
Three years ago, we decided to start building a marketplace using Easy Digital Downloads. Thanks to that we had experience in design and programming so we started to develop plugins for our own use and shared them for free at WordPress.org.
After a year managing our marketplace and sharing plugins, we decided to try to sell them with more advanced features. We launched this idea as a WordPress development and services company and specifically focused on stores using Easy Digital Downloads.
In the end, the need to gamify both projects appeared, which led us to our current project: GamiPress.
What was the inspiration for GamiPress and how did its development begin?
At the beginning of 2017, we wanted to give a new twist to our marketplace. Many of our customers who bought something did not leave any reviews and we also wanted to promote in some way the purchases and the publication of new products. We came up with the idea of implementing a system of achievements to encourage this type of interaction both to customers and sellers.
We started looking for gamification plugins for WordPress but none convinced us completely. Some are based just on points, others on achievements, and almost no one includes ranks. In addition, the vast majority are abandoned and not being updated.
Then we had the idea of building our own plugin to add gamification to WordPress and GamiPress was born.
What were some of the most difficult challenges you faced during the building of GamiPress?
One of the most complicated challenges was to keep all of GamiPress’ elements fully customizable but that was one of the main features that we wanted to have.
In GamiPress, you have the possibility not only to have points, achievements and ranks but you can define as many types of each one as you want. You can define coins and gems as types of points, badges and missions as types of achievements or grades and levels as types of ranks.
This feature at the development level makes everything a bit more difficult but it is something that we want to maintain as it is the essence of GamiPress.
How have you gone about marketing GamiPress to potential customers and what techniques have proven to be the most effective so far?
The most effective technique has been sharing plugins on WordPress.org. It is true that social networks help you to spread a more direct message, but the WordPress.org showcase, to date, has been the one that has attracted more users to our website.
You are using an add-on business model with GamiPress which appears to more common amongst WordPress plugin developers. What made you decide to go in that direction and how do you decide what add-ons to build next and how to price them?
We opted for this model because we believe it is the most sustainable model in the short and long term.
If the add-on just includes a small feature then we share it on WordPress.org. The paid add-ons are usually the those that include more advanced features, such as GamiPress – Social Share, that allows you to reward users who share your website’s content on social networks, or GamiPress – Restrict Content, which limits access to users who have not obtained a series of GamiPress-related requirements.
The price depends on the complexity and development cost of the add-on.
What’s next for GamiPress in terms of core features and add-ons?
At this time, GamiPress has all the essential features we were looking for as the basis for a complete gamification system: Points, Achievements and Ranks.
Now we want to experiment with new ideas to allow the user, in a subtle way, play with the content of the website. In addition, we want to add more cross-features between all GamiPress elements, such as the most recent feature that allows you to skip all the requirements of an achievement or rank by using a number of points.