A million little ideas

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A Million Little Ideas – Design Panel

Farbs, Terry Paton, John Lycette, Ash Donaldson. Chair: Simon Joslin

Everyone has an idea for a game (or a million of them), but how do you identify which ones to pursue and which ones to leave by the wayside. And how do you evolve that idea into something workable, incorporating everyone else’s ideas along the way. This session looks at the pursuit of that one brilliant, shining, life changing moment – and the work that goes into making it real.

http://www.freeplay.net.au/2010-session-details/

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  • I’m a User Experience consultant with a Human Factors & Cognitive Science background
    I’ve been asked to discuss my approach to design - how I pick that one good idea from many

  • Suppose I’m designing an iPhone game - not for art - but for commercial success

  • The first thing I’d do is set a design target: something simple to keep in mind throughout design
    Doing this gives me an idea of the parameters I have to work with. I quickly discover the natural constraints and opportunities I can exploit.

  • Everyone creates their own experience based on what they bring to the table: their knowledge, past experiences, and biases - as well as the artefacts they’re interacting with. Since I aim to design for the experience, I need to know the as much as possible about who I’m designing this iPhone game for.
    Admob mobile metrics tells me the segment most likely to buy apps: Affluent 25-65yo males. So I pick a particular type - in this case a mid-30s corporate executive - and research them. Let’s call him “Bob”
    Bob lives on little time and lots of coffee. Social scientists would call him a Microtasker. Observations of people like Bob will read Twitter while standing in line for coffee, but when he wants to interact more deeply, you’ll see him sit down. So he plays games sitting down.
    Bob’s iPhone is always on him. He makes good use of the games on it as a pacifier to shut up the kids, or to pass time on the toilet.
  • Everyone creates their own experience based on what they bring to the table: their knowledge, past experiences, and biases - as well as the artefacts they’re interacting with. Since I aim to design for the experience, I need to know the as much as possible about who I’m designing this iPhone game for.
    Admob mobile metrics tells me the segment most likely to buy apps: Affluent 25-65yo males. So I pick a particular type - in this case a mid-30s corporate executive - and research them. Let’s call him “Bob”
    Bob lives on little time and lots of coffee. Social scientists would call him a Microtasker. Observations of people like Bob will read Twitter while standing in line for coffee, but when he wants to interact more deeply, you’ll see him sit down. So he plays games sitting down.
    Bob’s iPhone is always on him. He makes good use of the games on it as a pacifier to shut up the kids, or to pass time on the toilet.
  • Everyone creates their own experience based on what they bring to the table: their knowledge, past experiences, and biases - as well as the artefacts they’re interacting with. Since I aim to design for the experience, I need to know the as much as possible about who I’m designing this iPhone game for.
    Admob mobile metrics tells me the segment most likely to buy apps: Affluent 25-65yo males. So I pick a particular type - in this case a mid-30s corporate executive - and research them. Let’s call him “Bob”
    Bob lives on little time and lots of coffee. Social scientists would call him a Microtasker. Observations of people like Bob will read Twitter while standing in line for coffee, but when he wants to interact more deeply, you’ll see him sit down. So he plays games sitting down.
    Bob’s iPhone is always on him. He makes good use of the games on it as a pacifier to shut up the kids, or to pass time on the toilet.
  • Everyone creates their own experience based on what they bring to the table: their knowledge, past experiences, and biases - as well as the artefacts they’re interacting with. Since I aim to design for the experience, I need to know the as much as possible about who I’m designing this iPhone game for.
    Admob mobile metrics tells me the segment most likely to buy apps: Affluent 25-65yo males. So I pick a particular type - in this case a mid-30s corporate executive - and research them. Let’s call him “Bob”
    Bob lives on little time and lots of coffee. Social scientists would call him a Microtasker. Observations of people like Bob will read Twitter while standing in line for coffee, but when he wants to interact more deeply, you’ll see him sit down. So he plays games sitting down.
    Bob’s iPhone is always on him. He makes good use of the games on it as a pacifier to shut up the kids, or to pass time on the toilet.
  • Everyone creates their own experience based on what they bring to the table: their knowledge, past experiences, and biases - as well as the artefacts they’re interacting with. Since I aim to design for the experience, I need to know the as much as possible about who I’m designing this iPhone game for.
    Admob mobile metrics tells me the segment most likely to buy apps: Affluent 25-65yo males. So I pick a particular type - in this case a mid-30s corporate executive - and research them. Let’s call him “Bob”
    Bob lives on little time and lots of coffee. Social scientists would call him a Microtasker. Observations of people like Bob will read Twitter while standing in line for coffee, but when he wants to interact more deeply, you’ll see him sit down. So he plays games sitting down.
    Bob’s iPhone is always on him. He makes good use of the games on it as a pacifier to shut up the kids, or to pass time on the toilet.
  • Everyone creates their own experience based on what they bring to the table: their knowledge, past experiences, and biases - as well as the artefacts they’re interacting with. Since I aim to design for the experience, I need to know the as much as possible about who I’m designing this iPhone game for.
    Admob mobile metrics tells me the segment most likely to buy apps: Affluent 25-65yo males. So I pick a particular type - in this case a mid-30s corporate executive - and research them. Let’s call him “Bob”
    Bob lives on little time and lots of coffee. Social scientists would call him a Microtasker. Observations of people like Bob will read Twitter while standing in line for coffee, but when he wants to interact more deeply, you’ll see him sit down. So he plays games sitting down.
    Bob’s iPhone is always on him. He makes good use of the games on it as a pacifier to shut up the kids, or to pass time on the toilet.
  • So now I’ve got a target. I’m designing a family friendly, toilet game.
    What would make a good toilet game? What are the constraints? Well, it has to be able to be played with satisfaction for short times. It’s got to be quick to load. It’s got to start at very basic, but quickly increase in level of challenge. There also has to be the ability to save at any point or quickly get back to where you were.
  • I’m an ambitious guy. I’ve always had BIG ideas. But big ideas can be too much.
    As I grew older, I quickly learned that I had to break my big ideas down to smaller bits first - down to their essence. Then I could look at my ideas from another angle - make them unique, and put them into action.
    Ideas without action are worthless.
  • I like to play to strengths. The iPhone’s major strengths for me are: It’s always available and the touchscreen & accelerometers.
    So, Id want to build something fast loading for Bob, and capitalise on tap, swipe, or movement-based interactions.
  • An iPhone is not a playstation, so I wouldn’t try & replicate console games with controller input. That’s just being stuck in a stagnant frame of mind.
  • I think Chillingo learned this from early attempts in iPhone gaming
  • ...and embraced the leveraging of iPhone’s native interactions
  • A quick look at the top paid iPhone games show they are all family friendly toilet games. They have: Simple graphics & sound; Simple interactions; Quick load times; Short levels; Rapidly increasing challenge of gameplay; and are accessible to the whole family.
  • Finally and most importantly - to choose which idea to follow, I’d prototype - right from the concept stage. I’d find people like Bob to test my ideas on. Corporates are paranoid about IP - which is why they so often fail in a very big and expensive fashion. I prefer to fail early & minimise my investment in what turns out to be a bad idea. Ideas are cheap & plentiful. Being paranoid that someone will steal them is often a poor strategy if you want to something to be a success.
    I’d also get my app into the app store with basic graphics, sound and minimal levels.
    If there’s a bad reception of the basic premise of the game in the comments: fair enough - I haven’t spent too much time and effort on this one. What’s the next idea? If there’s a good reception: I’d build on it. Add polish. Add levels. And look for ways to market the game better. I want more Bobs to fire up my game to shut up their kid or pass the time between meetings on the toilet.
  • So how do I pick that good idea? I like to have a solid target I’m designing for
    I don’t bite off more than I can chew; I take advantage of unique capabilities in a situation;
    I let go of paranoia and keep a constant feedback loop so failures are small & successes can be understood and capitalised on.

  • A million little ideas

    1. 1. A million little ideas designing better user experiences
    2. 2. 1. Set a target
    3. 3. experience
    4. 4. user experience context behaviour
    5. 5. user experience context behaviour
    6. 6. user experience context behaviour
    7. 7. user experience context behaviour
    8. 8. user experience context behaviour
    9. 9. user experience context behaviour
    10. 10. 2. Keep it simple
    11. 11. 3. Play to strengths
    12. 12.
    13. 13.
    14. 14. 4. Constan t feedback
    15. 15. Plan BIG. Start small
    16. 16. Ash Donaldson ash@produxi.com @ashdonaldson designing better user experiences

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