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Hooked on a Feeling

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For all of the hype around “user experience” it often feels like we struggle with what it means to actually craft an experience. We build and ship products that are perfectly fine. We make things that are usable, attractive, responsive, reliable and whatever else has come to be expected. And yet, there’s something missing. Something intangible. It’s not obvious what’s missing, until we contrast our own work against other mediums more established than our own: Film. Game design. Storytelling. Advertising… These mediums know how to make us feel, in deep and profound ways. So how do we do the same? Are there processes we can change, or things we can do to create memorable and meaningful experiences? And who has reached this level of emotional engagement? In this session, Stephen P. Anderson will explore the subtle, but critical ways we can level up our work, bringing a depth and richness to the experiences we shape.

Published in: Design
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Hooked on a Feeling

  1. 1. Stephen P. Anderson @stephenanderson #ISA15 t Awesome artwork by CappO
  2. 2. We make things that are: usable attractive responsive reliable user tested aligned with business goals delivered on time etc.
  3. 3. We make things that are: usable attractive responsive reliable user tested aligned with business goals delivered on time etc. And yet... I feel like there’s something missing.
  4. 4. We make things that are: usable attractive responsive reliable user tested aligned with business goals delivered on time etc. And yet... I feel like there’s something missing. Something intangible…
  5. 5. We make things that are: usable attractive responsive reliable user tested aligned with business goals delivered on time etc. And yet... I feel like there’s something missing. Something intangible…
  6. 6. WHAT MIGHT BE MISSING? ACT I:
  7. 7. EXHIBIT #1: Movie Animations
  8. 8. If an animator does their job right, animations not only move the story along but visually display a character’s personality. These Big Hero 6 test animations of the characters performing what is superficially the same action show just how much depth Disney’s animators brought to each of them. Commentary from The Mary Sue: “
  9. 9. depth If an animator does their job right, animations not only move the story along but visually display a character’s personality. These Big Hero 6 test animations of the characters performing what is superficially the same action show just how much depth Disney’s animators brought to each of them. “
  10. 10. ?What kind of depth do we bring to our experiences?
  11. 11. EXHIBIT #2: Board Game Design
  12. 12. http://www.leagueofgamemakers.com/the-themes-they-are-a-changing/
  13. 13. The key was to go down a level deeper. At work, we were doing a branding exercise for a product, and we listed off the adjectives we wanted to describe the product. I realized that a similar exercise would work here… I mulled over all the feedback on the mechanics: what type of experience were they creating on their own? What adjectives did players use to talk about the mechanics? Players described the game as simple and elegant. It was calming and relaxing to play. They were surprised and delighted by the richness of the decisions. They said it flowed smoothly, that they could play it over and over again.” — R A N D Y H O Y T , G A M E D E S I G N E R / P U B L I S H E R http://www.leagueofgamemakers.com/the-themes-they-are-a-changing/ “
  14. 14. The key was to go down a level deeper. At work, we were doing a branding exercise for a product, and we listed off the adjectives we wanted to describe the product. I realized that a similar exercise would work here… I mulled over all the feedback on the mechanics: what type of experience were they creating on their own? What adjectives did players use to talk about the mechanics? Players described the game as simple and elegant. It was calming and relaxing to play. They were surprised and delighted by the richness of the decisions. They said it flowed smoothly, that they could play it over and over again.” — R A N D Y H O Y T , G A M E D E S I G N E R / P U B L I S H E R “
  15. 15. This image captured perfectly the feeling that the playing the game produced, and I knew a theme and narrative woven around this could work to produce a great experience. http://www.leagueofgamemakers.com/the-themes-they-are-a-changing/
  16. 16. http://www.leagueofgamemakers.com/the-themes-they-are-a-changing/
  17. 17. ?How often do we really let design principles drive every product decision?
  18. 18. ?How often do we really let design principles drive every product decision? adding features pushing back on customer requests prioritizing the backlog how we design a familiar feature eliminating features
  19. 19. EXHIBIT #3: “The Carousel”
  20. 20. “…a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. Takes us to a place where we ache to go again.”
  21. 21. ?How often do we focus on the soul of a thing?
  22. 22. Don’t take these similarities too literally. Big Hero 6 Character Studies “Let’s focus on better UI animations” “In what nuanced ways do we evoke aesthetic reactions?”
  23. 23. Don’t take these similarities too literally. Big Hero 6 Character Studies Board Game Design “Let’s focus on better UI animations” “Let’s create a narrative, entertainment-like, emotional experience!” “In what nuanced ways do we evoke aesthetic reactions?” “Is there a cohesive set of emotions that anchor all of our product decisions?”
  24. 24. Don’t take these similarities too literally. Big Hero 6 Character Studies Board Game Design “The Carousel” Clip “Let’s focus on better UI animations” “Let’s create a narrative, entertainment-like, emotional experience!” “Let’s figure out how to sell our stuff, like Don Draper!” “In what nuanced ways do we evoke aesthetic reactions?” “Is there a cohesive set of emotions that anchor all of our product decisions?” “Focus on the experience, not the features”
  25. 25. deeper depth experience soul theme narrative nuance richness emotion detail craftsmanship
  26. 26. deeper depth experience soul theme narrative nuance richness emotion detail How do we craft an experience? craftsmanship
  27. 27. IS CRAFTING EXPERIENCE? THINGS THAT MAKE US A GREAT WHAT ARE SOME GOOD EXAMPLES OF WELL-CRAFTED EXPERIENCES… L? ACT II: WHO
  28. 28. Medium???
  29. 29. It’s 2012…
  30. 30. “a publishing platform…” It’s 2012…
  31. 31. you can write and publish online articles other people can comment on your articles you can share articles bookmark articles It’s 2012… “a publishing platform…”
  32. 32. you can write and publish online articles other people can comment on your articles you can share articles bookmark articles It’s 2012… “a publishing platform…” ?
  33. 33. you can write and publish online articles other people can comment on your articles you can share articles bookmark articles It’s 2012… “a publishing platform…” ! no customization options ! no custom domains ! royalty-free access to all content ?
  34. 34. you can write and publish online articles other people can comment on your articles you can share articles bookmark articles ! no customization options ! no custom domains ! royalty-free access to all content “a publishing platform…” ? It’s 2012……a new place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends. It’s designed for little stories that make your day better and manifestos that change the world. It’s used by everyone from professional journalists to amateur cooks. It’s simple, beautiful, collaborative, and it helps you find the right audience for whatever you have to say.” “
  35. 35. “Everything changed for me over the weekend when I took the time to write a blog post on Medium.” “As someone who writes a lot of stuff and has used a lot of different writing software, I'm telling you that I was blown away by the quality of the product as a writing tool.” “The entire process is a breeze. And once published, the article looks pretty good too in terms of typography and appearance.” “Intuitive enough to seem psychic.” “Because it is such a pleasure to work with, Medium has become something of a fetish object for writers.” “It does not take a user experience designer to publish a professional story.” “A joy to use!” “It’s so damn beautiful. Medium has removed all the cruft that gets between the reader and the message…” “Clean design, great concept, full of potential treasures to be read.” “The best writing tool on the web.”
  36. 36. But here’s the thing: I feel as if the service looks so good that it invites only the best content that I—or anyone— can write before actually hitting publish. Let’s put it another way: If I’m going to write a post on Medium, I don’t want to let Medium down. (“It’s not you, it’s me.”) “Part of the reason I haven’t published to Medium is because I’m slightly intimidated. I know that is illogical and insane on the surface, but I feel intimidated and almost as if I have to rise to a higher standard on Medium.” —Christina Warren, senior tech analyst at Mashable
  37. 37. But here’s the thing: I feel as if the service looks so good that it invites only the best content that I—or anyone— can write before actually hitting publish. Let’s put it another way: If I’m going to write a post on Medium, I don’t want to let Medium down. (“It’s not you, it’s me.”) “Part of the reason I haven’t published to Medium is because I’m slightly intimidated. I know that is illogical and insane on the surface, but I feel intimidated and almost as if I have to rise to a higher standard on Medium.” —Christina Warren, senior tech analyst at Mashable
  38. 38. A different experience!
  39. 39. • you can write and publish online articles • other people can comment on your articles • you can share articles • bookmark articles The obvious “what to build” features & functionality
  40. 40. • Designed more like a magazine. • Designed a social system to create a built-in audience for new authors • Launched with published authors (which set really high bar for content) • Hired former Wired.com editor Evan Hansen as an editor for the site • Bought he long-form journalism startup Matter • Created what is arguably the best writing tool on the planet • Promoted contextual comments • Focused on typographic UI details that compete w/ centuries of print (vs other web platforms) • Focused A LOT on quality content • Offered pre-publishing feedback • you can write and publish online articles • other people can comment on your articles • you can share articles • bookmark articles The obvious “what to build” features & functionality The not so obvious “how to build” (& launch) experience details
  41. 41. • Designed more like a magazine. • Designed a social system to create a built-in audience for new authors • Launched with published authors (which set really high bar for content) • Hired former Wired.com editor Evan Hansen as an editor for the site • Bought he long-form journalism startup Matter • Created what is arguably the best writing tool on the planet • Promoted contextual comments • Focused on typographic UI details that compete w/ centuries of print (vs other web platforms) • Focused A LOT on quality content • Offered pre-publishing feedback • you can write and publish online articles • other people can comment on your articles • you can share articles • bookmark articles The obvious “what to build” features & functionality The not so obvious “how to build” (& launch) experience details Product
  42. 42. • Designed more like a magazine. • Designed a social system to create a built-in audience for new authors • Launched with published authors (which set really high bar for content) • Hired former Wired.com editor Evan Hansen as an editor for the site • Bought he long-form journalism startup Matter • Created what is arguably the best writing tool on the planet • Promoted contextual comments • Focused on typographic UI details that compete w/ centuries of print (vs other web platforms) • Focused A LOT on quality content • Offered pre-publishing feedback • you can write and publish online articles • other people can comment on your articles • you can share articles • bookmark articles The obvious “what to build” features & functionality The not so obvious “how to build” (& launch) experience details Experiences Product
  43. 43. “Still amazed by how much @SlackHQ reduced the number of unnecessary emails I could have on a normal workday. #slack” “Added my entire cohort at @bitmakerlabs to @SlackHQ. Great way to get tons of valuable feedback considered too informal for email.” “@SlackHQ is already the glue of our remote team. Can't believe we lived without it.” “The UI in @SlackHQ is SO well considered. Full of helpful surprises.” “I have to say, @SlackHQ + @appear_in is a game changer for easy video conferencing. By far the lowest friction solution I've seen.” “Just discovered @slackHQ, which lets us see all our updates from trello, sourcetree and drive in one stream! We're in love :D and it's free!” “Loving the @SlackHQ experience. Looks like it'll join #Evernote & #Wunderlist as another daily productivity app I can't live without” “@SlackHQ this may be the best piece of software I found in years #inlove” "With @SlackHQ, the world of business software is edging into consumer tech. And it's surprisingly good fun." “Started using @SlackHQ for the first time in a while at work and it has been one of the happiest days I've had! Thanks!”
  44. 44. • You can create a room • add people • share files • chat as a group, or • direct message one another The obvious “what to build” features & functionality
  45. 45. • You can create a room • add people • share files • chat as a group, or • direct message one another The obvious “what to build” features & functionality
  46. 46. •Went after individuals and product teams (vs entire companies) •Focused on a differentiated brand •Hyper-focused on onboarding experience •WOM marketing •Laser focus on quality and responsiveness, taking longer than normal to iterate the preview version •Positioned themselves against email and mailing lists (not the “chat room” category) •TONS of integrations (more of a glue between existing services, than a competing service) •Super-frictionless tool, available for nearly every platform!! •Solid team • You can create a room • add people • share files • chat as a group, or • direct message one another The obvious “what to build” features & functionality The not so obvious “how to build” (& launch) experience details
  47. 47. WHAT’S REQUIRED EXPERIENCE? A GREAT ACT III: TO CRAFT
  48. 48. TO CRAFT A GREAT EXPERIENCE…
  49. 49. ALIGN AROUND THE EXPERIENCE1 TO CRAFT A GREAT EXPERIENCE…
  50. 50. Meaningful Pleasurable Convenient Usable Reliable Functional (Useful) Focused on Experiences (People, Activities, Context) Focused on Tasks (Products, Features) © SUBJECTIVE / QUALITATIVE OBJECTIVE / QUANTIFIABLE Has personal significance Memorable experience worth sharing Super easy to use, works like I think Can be used without difficulty Is available and accurate Works as programmed Prioritize Aesthetics (no, not Graphic Design) (visual, behaviors, sounds, psychology) Design for FLOW (boredom vs anxiety) Leverage Game Mechanics/Learning Theory (completeness) Have a Personality Create conversational and context aware interactions (“Adaptive Interfaces”; narrative IA structures) Elicit Desire (Limited availability, limited access, curious and seductive experiences)Simplify, organize, and clarify Display information visually Reduce features and complexity Use language for more natural Add features that support desired ine browsing) Have a believable story Co-create value with customers Connect people in community Are part of a bigger system Appeal to emotional, spiritual, and Create a tolerance for faults at Are tied to a person’s self-image, highly personal Creating Pleasurable Inte Getting fom Tasks to Expe presented by Stephen P. Anderson | N “It is not en products tha understand we also nee that bring j pleasure an beauty, to pe THIS IS THE“CHASM”THAT IS REALLY, REALLY HARD FOR ORGANIZATIONS TO CROSS
  51. 51. Experience Focus Product Focus
  52. 52. Experience Focus Product Focus
  53. 53. Experience Focus Product Focus people, activities & context tasks & features
  54. 54. Experience Focus Product Focus people, activities & context tasks & features outcomes and experiences output and functionality
  55. 55. Experience Focus Product Focus people, activities & context tasks & features outcomes and experiences output and functionality perceptions, emotions, attention, memory… interfaces, interactions, usability, etc.
  56. 56. “do” needs “be” needs
  57. 57. “do” needs “be” needs Autonomy-Independence Competence-effectance Relatedness-belongingness Influence-popularity Pleasure-stimulation Security-control Physical Thriving-bodily Self-actualizing-meaning Self-esteem-self-respect Money-luxury
  58. 58. https://medium.com/the-job-to-be-done/replacing-the-user-story-with-the-job-story-af7cdee10c27
  59. 59. https://medium.com/the-job-to-be-done/replacing-the-user-story-with-the-job-story-af7cdee10c27
  60. 60. A teenage girl with a bleak outlookneeds to feel more socially acceptedwhen eating healthy food, becausein her hood a social risk is moredangerous than a health risk
  61. 61. When a product team is not aligned…
  62. 62. “MIND-MELDING”
  63. 63. “MIND-MELDING” What it is… How it feels… What values should constrain decisions… What it’s like / not like The experience of using it…
  64. 64. Vision Statement. Design Tenets Prototype. Anything needed to mind-meld across the entire team! Future Press Release Concept Models (and so on)
  65. 65. ALIGN AROUND THE EXPERIENCE 2 OBSESS OVER THE DETAILS 1 TO CRAFT A GREAT EXPERIENCE…
  66. 66. With animations, you speed up, slow down, change they style…
  67. 67. “…until it feels right” With animations, you speed up, slow down, change they style…
  68. 68. With board games, you endlessly playtest… With animations, you speed up, slow down, change they style…
  69. 69. With board games, you endlessly playtest… With animations, you speed up, slow down, change they style… “…until it feels right”
  70. 70. With board games, you endlessly playtest… With animations, you speed up, slow down, change they style… With presentations you rehearse and adjust things…
  71. 71. With board games, you endlessly playtest… With animations, you speed up, slow down, change they style… With presentations you rehearse and adjust things… “…until it feels right”
  72. 72. With board games, you endlessly playtest… With animations, you speed up, slow down, change they style… With presentations you rehearse and adjust things… With film editing, you cut, recut, change the sequence…
  73. 73. With board games, you endlessly playtest… With animations, you speed up, slow down, change they style… With presentations you rehearse and adjust things… With film editing, you cut, recut, change the sequence… “…until it feels right”
  74. 74. http://www.westword.com/restaurants/meet-the-man-behind-the-music-at-more-than-1-400-chipotles-5121272 It's hard to put my finger on exactly what song makes it and what song doesn’t… We're trying to find emerging stars. Emerging artists have this certain feel to their music.” — C H R I S T O P H E R G O L U B “
  75. 75. “…until it feels right” …REQUIRES AN INTIMACY WITH THE MATERIAL(S) OF YOUR CRAFT. TO ITERATE…
  76. 76. http://www.westword.com/restaurants/meet-the-man-behind-the-music-at-more-than-1-400-chipotles-5121272 It is very difficult to approach Slack with beginner’s mind. But we have to, all of us, and we have to do it every day, over and over and polish every rough edge off until this product is as smooth as lacquered mahogany. Each of you knows “really good”. Each of you is able to see when things are not done well. Certainly we all complain enough about other people’s software, and we all know how important first impressions are in our own judgements. That is exactly how others will evaluate us. Look at it hard, and find the things that do not work. Be harsh, in the interest of being excellent. — S T E W A R T B U T T E R F I E L D “
  77. 77. ALIGN AROUND THE EXPERIENCE 2 OBSESS OVER THE DETAILS FOCUS ON THE WHOLE 1 3 TO CRAFT A GREAT EXPERIENCE…
  78. 78. “The Whole is Other than the Sum of the Parts”
  79. 79. “An Experience is Other than the Sum of the Parts”
  80. 80. != The pieces are the same… …but the final experience here is just WRONG!
  81. 81. Product
  82. 82. Experiences Product
  83. 83. Production. Direction. Balance. Orchestration. Choreography.
  84. 84. [Avengers] was very difficult to make it flow and cohere in terms of all the changing perspectives and characters, all these movie stars, all these beats to hit. It's a ridiculously complex puzzle. But once you’ve got the puzzle, and you’re just filling in the voices and coming up with the moments, that’s what’s fun” — J O S S W H E D O N “
  85. 85. Surprise and delight are the high-fructose corn syrup of the experience economy” “
  86. 86. ALIGN AROUND THE EXPERIENCE 2 OBSESS OVER THE DETAILS FOCUS ON THE WHOLE FOCUS ON AWESOME USERS 1 3 4 TO CRAFT A GREAT EXPERIENCE…
  87. 87. We tend to focus on…
  88. 88. We tend to focus on… ➡ making awesome products ➡ making an awesome service ➡ making an awesome company
  89. 89. We tend to focus on… ➡ making awesome products ➡ making an awesome service ➡ making an awesome company …but what if we focused on making awesome users?
  90. 90. We tend to focus on… ➡ making awesome products ➡ making an awesome service ➡ making an awesome company …but what if we focused on making awesome users?
  91. 91. Example of User Awesome: I find the clean organization of Ulysses gets out of my way, and when I’m writing—it’s as smooth as silk. In a subtle way, I feel inspired by Ulysses and consequentially, I end up spending more time with my butt in the chair, actually writing because I’m enjoying myself.” —Micah Moss, Screenwriter and Novelist “
  92. 92. 2 OBSESS OVER THE DETAILS ALIGN AROUND THE EXPERIENCE1 FOCUS ON THE WHOLE3 FOCUS ON AWESOME USERS4 TO CRAFT A GREAT EXPERIENCE…
  93. 93. 2 OBSESS OVER THE DETAILS ALIGN AROUND THE EXPERIENCE1 FOCUS ON THE WHOLE3 FOCUS ON AWESOME USERS4 TO CRAFT A GREAT EXPERIENCE… Look for needs (the why & when) Align the entire team around the desired outcome Let the desired experience to drive all product (+ business) decisions Look for opportunities to create transformative experiences …not just the parts Keep iterating, until it feels just right …not just a few playful moments
  94. 94. And if we succeed…
  95. 95. I’m convinced that it is feelings, and feelings alone, that account for the success of the Virgin brand and all its myriad forms.” — S I R R I C H A R D B R A N S O N “
  96. 96. People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” — M A Y A A N G E L O U “
  97. 97. Thankyou! getmentalnotes.com Design for Understanding StephenP.Anderson @stephenanderson www.poetpainter.com | www.slideshare.net/stephenpa

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