Gamification is a new trend in design techniques which enables user to fill forms and to use applications in more interactive and entertaining way. It aims to increase user engagement, Return on Investment (ROI), data quality, timeliness, and learning as it is defined by Mario Herger. If we think that in the internet/computer age, the majority of the people play games in generally in their early ages so we can say that the playing game get people familiarity and tendency to use effectively something created by/with belonging the rules of game (or game mechanics).
Game mechanics are the rules which return applications like a game. In general, every game has a level and the end of level you may have prize and there is a turn to play again or pass to next level; every level you may have combination of decision and risk. The complete rules can be listed as: Turns, Action points, Auction or bidding, Cards, Capture/Eliminate, Catch-up, Dice, Movement, Resource management, Risk and reward, Role-playing, Tile-laying, Game modes, Goals, Loss avoidance, Piece elimination, Puzzle guessing, Races, Structure building, Victory points, Combination conditions, more detail in wiki.
There are some statistical research about the efficiency of gamification such as gamification can increase the interactivity of the web by 29% and increase the number of entry in social media. However game mechanics should be applied regarding the target audience otherwise depends on the Gartner, because of the poor desing 80% of the gamification studies will fail by 2014.
Gamification in terms of Testing
If you remember the usability testing, it aims how an application is easy to use by regarding the target users. If the application can not be easy enough for the target user, second check for the usability test come as a solution, we can check it by how it is easy to learn by the target users. Therefore the application should be easy enough for the target user, or at least it should be learnable enough for the target user. For example about this, Google has a usability strategy for Google Maps. They make the 60% of the items easy to use and make 40% of the items easy learn. Because their target users include all over the world so an item in the map can has different meaning for different cultures such as in Europe lying men in traffic signs means hotel but it means in South Korea hospital.
Gamification is an effective way to increase learnability so it can increase the usability for the users. Applying the game mechanism to usability testing can increase the efficiency of the usability testing stage.