Facebook Using Game Design to Drive New User Engagement

Many social application designers and game developers have come to appreciate many of the subtle ways in which Facebook incorporates game design and psychology in the site.

This week, Facebook started testing a new “progress bar” module to new users’ profile pages to encourage them to quickly become more deeply engaged with the site. When new users join Facebook, they’ll see a partially full blue bar with a list of next steps they can take to “make it go up.”

Interestingly, however, friends can also help new users “make progress” by suggesting new friends for them or interacting with content they’ve created. In the screenshot above, for example, Kye’s friends can help him “move up” by commenting on photos he’s uploaded. This in turn accelerates the rate at which new users get introduced to some of the core value propositions that Facebook offers. LinkedIn has been doing this for years, but their progress bar is not visible to friends/connections – only yourself.

Who wouldn’t want to help a friend make progress toward the next level?