Nerdy Stuff, Online tools

SXSW panel: XBOX your UX – Gaming Design in online apps #addxboxtoux

My first SXSW panel! Presenter is Josh Knowles – – here’s the recap:

Game designers design for those “weirdly satisfying interactions” – found in classic arcade games, recalling random trivia, etc. Increase the activity, make it better for the user.


How these translate to every day life – on and offline

  • American Idol – turns pop music into a game
  • Slashdot – Using gaming to filter user generated content (Karma score), promote quality conversation
    • Stack Overflow gives moderation power based on points – newbies can’t vote things down or moderate
  • Achievement Badges – Slashdot, Foursquare
    • Don’t necessarily publish – let users discover what they are, adds an element of exploration to the site
  • Foursquare, GoWala, My Town – keep the badges vague to keep the surprise, exploration
    • Foursquare and GoWala – there is social pressure to discourage fake checking in

What are the common elements in thesee games?

  • Points – especially public points (even LinkedIn gives percentage points for how much of your profile you’ve filled out, Twitter users use things like number of retweets or number of followers as “points”)
  • Earning Achievements (badges) – you can look at people’s badges on Foursquare and get a sense of who they are
  • Unlockables – drives usage with the promise of benefits
    • 2 types – individual and global (the entire group unlocks together – works well when you want to roll out features)

What’s next for social gaming?

  • Game boards? – New elements of games that we haven’t thought of yet
  • Keep it simple – make it easy to figure out (you have less than 10 seconds in a video game, less time on the web), clutter is clutter
  • Education – Games can be great teachers
  • Invitations – incentivize joining
  • Make people feel good – give them a gift (even small) to make them feel good and embrace the new thing
  • Encouraging people to “play fair” – online, often the people who “cheat” are moderated by other users
  • Don’t stifle people from expressing themselves – deleting comments can make users lose trust

Why is this important? Why does it matter?

  1. Increase user enjoyment – make them “better” users – loyal and likely to forgive your mistakes
  2. Better differentiation – think Gowala vs. Foursquare
  3. Better colaboration
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