Pure Gamification: An Energy Case


  • Laura van der Neut Interaction Technology, University of Twente
  • Ton Spil Industrial Engineering & Business Information Systems (IEBIS), University of Twente https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3244-4004
  • Robby van Delden Human Media Interaction, University of Twente




Gamification, Personalization, Energy, Sustainability, Game based learning


Dutch energy suppliers are obliged to cooperate in reducing consumption by stimulating energy saving behaviours among their customers. One important strategy for this context is personalized gamification. We investigate how a personalized gamified energy saving application can be designed based on individual preferences within the context of an energy supplier. To design a personalized gamification application the proposed method of Knutas et al. was adapted by leaving out the parts about machine learning and adding an evaluation phase. We show that customization by users can be a valuable alternative for using machine learning personalization strategies. We used this iterative design process to focus on personalizing, in this use case for the three main user types of the customer base of a Dutch energy supplier. The design of the gamified application was adapted using feedback of both stakeholders and customers using interviews and focus groups. This resulted in two final designs designed to stimulate energy saving behaviour among customers. The design had a dashboard which allowed for personalization within gamified elements, and an energy editor in which users can change characteristics in their households to learn about the effects of actions on their energy consumption. These two final designs were validated using an interactive prototype along with interviews. The added value of this study is that it shows that the Hexad framework with its proposed gamification user types is suitable to understand the main motivations of a target group. Results suggest that designing within gamified mechanics based on a user type’s main motivation is an effective strategy for personalization. Motivation-based design is not the only successful personalization design strategy but adapting designs to personal situation and existing energy saving behaviour might also motivate users.

Author Biographies

Laura van der Neut, Interaction Technology, University of Twente

Laura van der Neut received her BSc in Creative Technology and her MSc in Interaction Technology at the University of Twente. Her master thesis was on a self-initiated topic of "Pure Gamification: stimulating energy saving behaviour through personalized gamification" which was the overarching project leading to two peer reviewed academic papers.

Ton Spil, Industrial Engineering & Business Information Systems (IEBIS), University of Twente

Ton Spil teaches in Business Information Systems for MBA, Risk Management, and Business and IT. His PhD was on effectiveness of information strategies. He specialized in healthcare and professional organizations, is track chair e-health in conferences, (guest/associate) editor of health journals, and creates digital strategies for (social) media & health. “Digital Future” is his book.