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Beyond the Fat Wire

Monday, March 14, 2005

Creating Passionate Users - part two

There is a different between pain and stress: pain is bad, but stress is not necessarily bad. Stress at a certain level raises memorability, increases engagement, creates emotion that makes an ultimate success more successful

Book: "The Culting of Brands"


Learning Theory:
  • Learning is not passive
  • The learner co-constructs the knowledge they are receiving
  • FAQs are not learning -- maybe they are a good reference point, but they will not go too far in developing the deep understanding that charactizes a passionate user
  • Learners have to be engaged, involved, paying attention -- all happening past their crap filter
  • Learner has to be motivated -- continuously motivated -- you have to constantly revive or refresh that motivation
  • Involve all senses -- as many senses as possible

  • The learner has to flex their brain cells -- there is higher level thinking -- you don't clutter the learning activity w/ extraneous things that divert their mental activities to trains of thought that are unrelated to what is being learned (Cognitive overhead / Cognitive overload)
    • Examples that are so hard to decipher that they divert thought and attention
    • "Don't Make Me Think" -- Steve Krug's book
    • Use patterns and chunks to help people process the information you are giving them

Learning theory books:

What Do Game Designers Know?
  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience -- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • The user has to believe that, at every step, they are only ONE (step, click, etc...) away from their point of success
  • When you are in the flow state you lose track of time. In fact, the flow state is the only time you lose track of time (excluding drugs and alien abduction)
  • Deconstructing flow:
    • Challenge
    • Knowledge/skill to meet that challenger
    • As the challenge level rises, knowledge/skil rises to meet it
    • If knowledge doesn't rise fast enough, people get frustrated and quit. If challenge doesn't rise fast enough, people get bored and quit
    • NOTE: the challenge/knowledge balance is IN THE PERCEPTION of the user
    • The challenge has to be perceived as WORTH IT and DO-ABLE
  • Sometimes "Challenge" and "Knowledge" have to be re-defined for the context
    • The key is the balance, and providing a level of challenge that is what the users want in the context

The experience cycle / how to keep people engaged?
  • The reward at the end has to be worth it in comparison with the challenge they have to go through to get the reward
  • Think: game levels -- the superpower you get when you finish a level has to be really good if the level is really hard
Cycle = Activity (playing the level), motivation (the superpower you get when you finish the current level or the activity you get to do when you reach the next level), payoff/resolution (the actual next level)

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Very good session. Good speaker. It was a day's worth of material, but the handouts provide help for later self-learning

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I'm enjoying one thing in the handouts. A late 50s/early 60s photo of a girl looking up admiringly at a guy, with her thought bubble containing: "Jen says you can teach me to hack my XBox. That's SUCH a turn-on!")

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"The Secret" -- the underlying theme

What is it that really drives people in all of this?

The user has an "I Rule" experience. It doesn't matter what they users think of YOU. It only matters how the user thinks of THEMSELVES as a result of their interaction with you.

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