Tag Archives: writeup

User Experience of Reality – Jane McGonigal [uxweek08 notes]

Jane McGonigal, game designer and games resear...Image via Wikipedia


Jane McGonigal lives at http://www.avantgame.com/ and blogs at http://avantgame.blogspot.com/


We should start making “real world”, more like a game. The term she coined for this is “Reality UX”


1997 Movie – The Game, staring Michael Douglas


Consumer Recreation Service, their moto is “Make your life … fun”. A lot of people were inspired by this movie, in year 2001 four different companies started prototyping real world games that were inspired by this movie.


Reality is broken

68% Americans report playing games in last two week

92% kids under 18 play games every week


People feel that they’re not good at their life.


WoW example


Lots of people are there to help me. When I wake in the morning, there are not many allies that try to help me, I don’t get constant feedback, missions. I don’t get constant feedback how amazing I am.

The WoW wiki – second largest wiki in the world, just after Wikipedia.

People who edit this wiki feel really smart and produce something of a value to other readers.


Games work better than reality

1) Better instructions; clear goals and you know when you succeeded, a great framework for when you acomplish things

2) Better feedback; you get sense to be grounded in cause and effect

3) Better emotions;

4) Better community; we agreed to play by the same rules, we buy into methodology of the game etc. Secretly deep down we’re all happy that we’re collaborating.


“We are witnessing what amounts to no less than a global mass exodus to virtual world and other online gaming environments.”

— Economist Edward Castranova


It’s a quality of life problem


And quality of life is just another way of saying “user experience of reality”.


So what is the future of reality UX?


In order to see forward, we need to look at least twice as much back, as we want to see to the future.


3k years ago, the first description of games. Sheep’s knuckles turned into dice.


What humans crave


1) Satisfying work to do

2) The experience of being good at something

3) Times spent with people we like

4) The chance to be a part of something bigger


These four things are hardwired into our human brains.


Book ideas:

Authentic Happiness – Marting Seligman

Happiness – Richard Layard

Against happiness – Eric. G. Wilson


Are UX designers in the happiness business?


A future forecast (2013): the rise of the happiness engineers

Quality of life becomes the primary metric for evaluating  interactive, service, environments, and experiences

Tara Hunt – happiness a business model as a reference for reading more about that.


Communities form around different visions of a real life worth living.


Good user experience is defined as a measurable increase in real happiness, or well-being – the new capital.


By 2013, Reality UX design, will be the cutting edge of this happiness engineering.


Alternate Reality Gaming

Oxford English Dictionary for Science fiction citations. [Really cool geeky resources]


My car is a video game; real time feedback on driving, so Prius is really cool game.

Chore Wars – a real life game

Nike Plus


Zyked – hybrid video games and recreations


PlusOneMe, where you can give people strengths points and level them up in kindness, creativity, etc.

SharkRunners – trackers and sensing device on sharks, so when you play online, you play with and against sharks


Social networking collar for dogs. Massively multiple-dog game.

Trackstick – takes GPS reading where you are, and creates incredible maps


Book suggestion

Here comes everybody. Clay Shirky – The power of organizing without organizations


We will harness our cognitive surplus. 100 million mental hours to create Wikipedia. This is 5 days of World of Warcraft. It’s also 4 episodes of American Idol; alternatively it’s 1 season of American Idol votes.


We will increasingly operate within an economy of engagement.


So what’s important

Reality is broken

Games work better

You, the UX designers, are our best hope if you choose to harness the power of the games.


Forget predicting the future, start making them.


Next alternate reality – www.Superstructgame.org


Great resources from the talk

Nicole Lazzaro – www.xeodesign.com

Clay Shirky – “Cognitive Surplus” http://www.herecomeseverybody.org/2008/04/looking-for-the-mouse.html 

Edward Castranova – Synthetic Worlds & Exodus from Reality (check it out on Amazon.com)

Tara Hunt – www.horsepigcow.com 

BJ Fogg – www.bjfogg.com 

Gamasutra – www.gamasutra.com 

Alternate Reality Gaming Network – www.argn.com 

Jane McGonigal – www.avantgame.com   (that’s the website! Plenty of papers and case studies to download there)

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Audrey Chen – TheDailyShow.com [uxweek08 notes]

The Daily ShowImage via Wikipedia


Audrey Chen lives behind the http://www.thedailyshow.com/


The Story of The Daily Show website

Spring 2007

Writers strike rumors, Viacom started suing YouTube uploaders, etc. 

Old clips were in an archive that was designed as a stand-alone application, even though it was a web page.


The scale of The Daily Show show


1,400+ episodes

10,000+ video clips


Core responsibility, to connect the people to the content


Know your content

Old news is not news anymore, but give it a decade and it becomes history. This you can thread out through the time, etc.


Old Media vs. New Media

Knowing your content is something that differentiates New Media from Old Media.


How did they do it

16 Writers to tag the whole history

12 Video Encoders

Two shifts

Over 15,000 tags


It took about 16k human hours just to go through the content


There are three important things

Depth – a sheer volume that is important to the user

Date – organizing principle of the show; Wayback randomizer, really accessible way to find something random from the archives

The show is lots of “desk sitting”, to overcome the problem, they added “quote overlay”, over the video which tells you what the video is about, and has a big play button.

Topic – tags


Each video is embedable so audiences can use it in their own ways.


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Scott Griffith – User Experience is in our Mission Statement – Zipcar [uxweek08 notes]

North Narrabeen Ocean BathImage by sachman75 via Flickr


Scott Griffith is CEO of ZipCar – http://www.zipcar.com


They record videos since it’s easier to explain to new users.


Confluences of trends that they have to think about when designing a service


Gas prices

Education members about Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)


Urban Living

More people living in urban area then ever before. Cities in US are vitally important to lifestyles.

About 40% percent of global population is living in a city, and in 20 years this number will grow to 60%. It’s a worldwide trend.



People are more concerned about greener and sustainable lifestyles. Living green is a big issue for consumers now.

Example: hybrid only parking spaces



The ATM started this, but with Internet things like Netflix become commonly available service. Even self-service checkout option at the grocery stores.



Zipcar mission statement – to enable simple and responsible urban living

People aren’t really in love with their car, they’re really in love with the freedom that this car gives them. So the goal is to give as much freedom to the users as possible.


It’s all built on self-service built user community.


Five core values in place: 

Be a Zipster: develop a sense of belonging and an unparalleled user experiences for our membership community

Keep it Simple: We win through simplicity and continuos innovation

[and three more, less important for this presentation]


Another cool slogan: Selling car ownership – one hour at a time

Every Zipcar takes 15-20 personally owned cars off the road. It also means that you save about 600 dollars a month.


The Zipcar Experience – Behind the Scenes

Philosophy – the experience is the brand.

What back office tools and infrastructure is needed to be able to provide such experience to the front-office, it’s something that’s always on mind.

They have 225k members randomly using 6k vehicles. Bad things happen, a lot.



Traditional product marketing replaced with experience team

Member feedback and input

Internal alignment on priorities

Strengthen social contract members


Social contract with members


6 simple rules → member education


The brand is about freedom, not about cars .

The brand is the total experience and the experience is everything

Core values that drive a culture of high performance service

It takes a commitment to the experience approach from leadership – to make the hard choices

A strong social contract with users – community


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Jensen Harris – The Story of the Ribbon (Office 2007) [uxweek08 notes]

Microsoft Office Word 2007Image via Wikipedia


Jensen Harris lives at http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/


The story of the Office


Conventional wisdom said that the Office is good enough.

Asking real people told different story, which was that the user interface was failing users.


Symptoms they noticed:

They added new features, but hardly anyone found them

Office was supposed to be done, and that everyone though that it’s not going to change


How did they get to the first office?


The first version – Word 1.0 (1989) -Two toolbars, quite simple.

Word 2.0 – 640×480 (1992), Number of toolbars: 2

Word 6.0 – 800×600 (1994) – Toolbars: 8

Word 95 – 800×600 (1995) – Toolbars: 9 (defined red-squiggle spell checking)

Word 97 – 1024×765 (1996) – Toolbars: 18 (added clippy); people used to describe it as bloat

Word 2000 – 1024×765 (1999) – Toolbars: 23 (reducing the perception of bloat)

– IntelliMenu; the menus are too long, we can shorten them. But instead of shorting them we can just hide the things in the menu. But to make it extra tricky to the user, we’re intertwine the showed and hidden. On top of that, the computer learns how to arrange the visible/invisible menu.

  – Rafting; all the menu items that wouldn’t fit, fell of the screen

– It proved out to not work really well

Word 2002 – 1024×768 (2001) – Toolbars: 30

– Created the Task pane (the right column). Since anyone couldn’t find anything in the menu, they added the things into right column.

Word 2003 – 1024×768 (2003) – Toolbars: 31


Word 1 – 50 menu items to 300 in the end.


Menus and toolbars we designed for less full-featured programs. The feature set of Office had grown and stretched the existing UI to full limits.


A new UI was needed .. To reawaken the soul of software


The Design process of Office 2007


Part 1: The Art part – Research


People have an emotional relationship with their computer.

They learned from “real people”. Video, visiting, interviews etch.


The fish – Framework for understanding the different kinds of feelings that people had at the overall using the office.


When people are frustrated, why are they frustrated. Which of the factors are important and which less.


Revelation: The sense of mastery of our software was gone


We don’t know just what the software is capable of, but we actually understand how to go around it.


Science: The Role of Data

Over 3 billion (anonymous) data sessions collected from Office users

Every month, tracked 150 million command button clicks in Word

Tracked nearly 6000 individual data points

We couldn’t have done this without the data


The data doesn’t lie


Part 2: Design tenets


Design tenets – a set of principles that your team believes in, and it allows your team to have a shared goal.

Igor Stravinsky – [I feel] a sort of terror when, finding myself before the infinitude of possibilities that present themselves, I have the feeling that everything is permissible… 

…If nothing offers me any resistance, then any effort is inconceivable, and consequently every undertaking becomes futile.”

[Showing Office 2007 UI Design Tenets]


Design tenets have to be religion


Part 3: Prototypes

Created hundreds of discrete prototypes


Conceptual prototypes

Designed to explore a few key concepts deeply (as opposed to broadly)



Part 4: Evaluation  Is it Good or not


Standard Usability Tests – give you a good sense of what someone’s first 30-90 minutes turn out. But it’s different from the other users.

Longitudinal Usability Tests – Weeks or months of observing users. Singular most usable usability testing tool.


Eye Tracking – “special monitor that watches you”. It turns out that users mouse is in a totally different spot that what the user looks at. Heat map and screen gazing.


From initial design to final product – ITERATION


Iteration Built Into the Product Cycle – Planning to iterate. From product schedule to changes in code that allowed late prototype


Happy ending


The attention to Design Pays Off. Lots of awards and people buying the software at 2x the size of the earlier versions.



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