Just a thought.

July 13, 2016, 1:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In my journey through Human Factors and into Design, I’ve always attributed the profession, process, and output of Design to be rooted in communication. The communication of meaning, either between inanimate objects or interfaces to humans, or between humans, facilitated by some medium or interface.

Understanding design as inherently communication simplified a lot of problems that I encountered through work, and continues to frame how I work. I was and am still able to look at a problem, use case, or scenario and model it as an experience through time that needed clear communication between a state of not-understanding and a state of understanding. Sometimes that could be accomplished in one step, and other times many steps. A clear path or loop might be obvious, or a set of possibilities must gracefully present itself through the journey.

However, my challenges now is flattening that interaction to become almost transparent, and to allow other moments to flourish because of that experience flattening. That means not only communicating quickly, but representing extremely rich emotions and meaning through a fat pipe, instantly, so our customers can get to the really good stuff.

To make this concrete, imagine the macro-view of our current Pokemon Go zeitgeist. Armed with more than 20 years of loaded language and meaning, merely the name Pokemon sends an emotional response to a whole lot of people. Getting people to click “Get” in the App store and subsequently tap on the App icon was never the problem. (Props to the team resisting the urge to reinvent recognition of Pokemon, and simply represent the app with the iconic Pokeball). The user is then ushered into an experience that’s both physical and digital. A blinking blue dot and a map appears. Instantly references google maps and the “God-view” and I realize that my physical location matters in this game. The phone vibrates, and a Pokemon appears, but in the Pokemon’s context is the real world behind my phone’s camera and in my disposal is a digital Pokeball that somehow begs to be flicked towards the Pokemon in the real world. I must keep flicking to catch it.

Done-zo. Tutorial over. The good stuff ensues. Pokemon Go is a good example because of the sheer cultural weight of the franchise, where the motivation to get the game was irresistible enough to download. But to keep playing? That’s a whole different magic altogether. Magic that I’m trying to harness and make into a sweet science. The science is elusive, but the journey is enjoyable so why not.