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February 18, 2009

The Effort in Experience

Experiences can be good or bad, but the ones we value and remember are the ones that involve profound impact or effort. So making an experience easier isn't necessarily making it better. Likewise, requiring an effort from a user in an interaction doesn't have to be a bad thing, i.e. something you should avoid.

In her book "Neuro Web Design", Susan Weinschenk argues that going through a difficult experience actually makes people more committed. This because we want to think we are consistent. This behaviour is also the main rationale behind the 'Scent methodology' which I referenced to in the earlier 'Pacman navigation'-post. (N.B. I now purposefully do not link to the information about 'Scent' directly, because I think the experience is better if you read my other post before that).

This whole notion is common sense of course in game design; the games that do not involve too much effort become dull very quickly and get discarded.

But how to incorporate this in user experience design for the web. On the one hand you can go very literal like I suggested in 'Subsize it'. On the other hand you can add layers of experience like Brendan Dawes does in his projects (e.g. Doodlebuzz and Play-doh as interface) as described in his book 'Analog in, Digital out'. In his words " [some acts should be] a lot less trivial [... because then] the whole experience actually means something, and the person on the other end knows it."

Also, in his projects, he crosses the real/virtual boundary all the time, which in itself significantly increases the experience through triggering many more senses, much more profoundly.

Posted by Almar at February 18, 2009 04:30 PM