Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fitocracy : The Fitness Nation!

Official Logo
Fitocracy is a new and fast growing social network for anybody interested in staying fit. The site was created by Richard Talens and Brian Wang, and was launched in February 2011. Fitocracy is valued at 4 million USD.

Fitocracy has an extremely vibrant interface with positive feedback instilled in every action loop. The system is heavily gamified where every workout gets you points and achievements get you badges. The points system is a simple implementation of experience points. The network is extremely social with a lot of motivation and positive interactions. It is growing pretty quickly as it has over a million users who form a diverse userbase all the way from geeks to gym trainers.

One of the positive impacts of gamification is that it causes behavior change. A simple extrinsic motivational system of points and badges can make the even the most mundane or the most difficult activities seem possible and engaging, that too, on a regular basis. In the case of exercise, depending on the individual, users have many different types of motivation for doing it.  Some may be motivated by family, some by the possible health benefits, others by targets to achieve.

Points Tracker
It varies across the entire motivational spectrum. However, where Fitocracy succeeds is that it tries to capture and stimulate each of the different types of motivations through their system. By doing this, they allow users to themselves traverse through the motivational spectrum to stronger forms of motivation, or to simply increase the intensity of their current mechanisms. This over time, leads to the establishment of patterns and behaviors such as stepping out early or using the stairs in your office (points!). Fitocracy is one of the best uses of gamification that there is and it is doing so in an effective manner.

The points is finely grained and dynamic. Finely grained, as it (tries to) cover the entire spectrum of exercise types. By allowing for diverse activities, all the way from Yoga to canoeing, it allows users of diverse interests to log in their activities. It even gives users the option to explore and try out different exercises in the process. Giving users meaningful choices, is an important part of a gamified system. Moreover, there is the feature to create and save routines as per your needs which gives the much necessary control that users require. Autonomy is another basic aspect of gamification and Fitocracy provides it pretty nicely.

The Neighborhood Fitocracy Bot
Coming to the interface, it just reeks of fun. This is extremely infectious as most users also respond in a similar fashion! All the animations used, especially the Fitocracy Bot, are designed to be simple and happy.

The icons that are used all over the site are colorful, clear and seem exciting. The system feedback is not drab or like what you would expect from an application. Each message is motivating and forward-thinking. The UI buttons have not been left behind as well. Take a look at the Ok button.

Yes. You are.

Yes. Thats how cool the system is.

I have been using it for a week and I am pretty happy to say, that I have been manipulated, to get up and go out for a run every day! This is one gamified application, getting addicted to which, has lots of health benefits (unless you actually are into exercise).

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