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Health » Enhancing App Engagement: The Power of Gamified Subtraction

Enhancing App Engagement: The Power of Gamified Subtraction

Sep 12, 2023

In the bustling world of app design, there’s a counterintuitive secret: Sometimes, less truly is more. While the buzz around gamification often centers on adding features to boost user engagement, the art of strategic removal can be equally potent. This concept, “gamified subtraction,” emphasizes eliminating elements that deter users, enhancing the overall app experience.

1. Rethinking Weight Metrics

Many health apps request height and weight data, using them as primary health indicators. However, these metrics can be misleading and potentially harmful. Weight, easily measurable yet emotionally charged, can deter users if they perceive a lack of progress. Moreover, overemphasizing the Body Mass Index (BMI) can inadvertently promote unhealthy behaviors and eating disorders. Instead of focusing on weight, apps should prioritize holistic health indicators.

2. Avoiding Patronizing Tips

Advice is valuable, but its delivery is crucial. Many apps offer health tips that, while well-intentioned, can be condescending or repetitive. Users are often already aware of general health advice. Reiterating common knowledge can alienate them. It’s essential to provide actionable, unique insights rather than generic recommendations.

3. Setting Achievable Goals

While ambitious goals can motivate users, they can also set them up for disappointment. Apps that push users towards unrealistic targets risk demotivating them after a single failure. Instead, encouraging tiny, achievable goals can foster a sense of accomplishment and sustained engagement.


3 Reasons to Embrace Gamified Subtraction:

  1. User-Centric Design: Removing discouraging features prioritizes user experience, ensuring they feel valued and understood.
  2. Enhanced Retention: By eliminating deterrents, users are more likely to continue using the app, boosting retention rates.
  3. Promotion of Healthy Behaviors: Avoiding potentially harmful features, like weight-centric metrics, ensures the app promotes holistic well-being.

3 Tips for Implementing Gamified Subtraction:

  1. User Feedback: Regularly solicit feedback to understand which features users find discouraging or unnecessary.
  2. Regular App Audits: Review and assess app features periodically, ensuring they align with user needs and industry best practices.
  3. Stay Updated: As the tech landscape evolves, so do user preferences. Stay informed about industry trends to ensure your app remains relevant and user-friendly.


  1. Medium
  2. Gamification in App Design
  3. Tech Trends in App Development

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