Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Amusing ourselves for life

I've reflected before on Postman's important book Amusing Ourselves to Death but I've been thinking recently about a more positive 'take' on what he has to say.

Yes, depressingly, we can see that in these straightened times the products that still seem to sell are those that amuse and distract us from the discomfort around: games, movies, clothes, eating and drinking 'experiences' and the like... Postman was on to something when he asserted that we choose not to engage with what really matters in life, but fill our time with trivia and noise.

However, in Reality is Broken visionary games designer Jane McGonigal 'reveals how we can harness the power of games to solve real-world problems and boost global happiness.'

There are insights there for those of us who design websites and software and products and services ... Put the user 'experience' central to the design process, right from the earliest days of planning. Ensure that the 'experience' is engaging and 'fun' and 'rewarding' so that users want to use the product or service. And think carefully about how risk and reward can be balanced to motivate, and to bring about the results that you're trying to achieve.

Businesses that learn from these trends and build on them will thrive, even in this climate!
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