Archive for February, 2008

cheap useability testing

“If an expert pauses while testing a new program, that’s where a beginner will fail.”

Norman Brenner


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is it a game?

A game needs;

  • Conflict
  • Clear outcomes (conditions)
  • Understandable rules
  • Allow play between constraints (of the rules)

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does high price ensure high quality experience?

Research suggests that a bias towards higher priced goods may have something to do with the way that the brain links price with pleasure, and leads people to make assumptions about quality. NYT.

Professor Rangel, Caltech, said that there were reasons to suspect that price tag bias occurs in many contexts. Given the human love affair with high priced luxury goods, and their association with status and power, it’s possible that we’ve come to experience a cerebral shiver of delight in response to things that promise cachet.

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build on other people’s simple ideas

1. The best ideas are usually easy to understand and easy to explain to others. Ideas that are not easy to understand are unlikely to get anyone’s attention
2. Build on or borrow ideas from other people
3. Keep all your great ideas – write them down and save them in one place

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design language: peak-end rule


Peak-end rule; defined by wikipedia

“According to the peak-end rule, we judge our past experiences almost entirely on how they were at their peak (pleasant or unpleasant) and how they ended. Virtually all other information appears to be discarded, including net pleasantness or unpleasantness and how long the experience lasted.”

“…this fact of perception seems to be already in the bones of the most well-regarded artists. For example, I once heard a jazz pianist tell a group of students how to craft a solo improvisation. The cheat-sheet? Build to a strong middle, and make a solid ending…the audience won’t remember anything else. I’ve also seen many orchestral conductors add an especially dramatic flourish to their final cut-off, leading the crowd to go wild, regardless of what came before.”

Don’t spread the experiences too thin, and make sure that you end with a bang… with feel good reward, spectacle or flattery.

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take overlooked ideas

Advice on product selection and prototyping;

“I like to find;
(a) simple solutions
(b) to overlooked problems
(c) that actually need to be solved, and
(d) deliver them as informally as possible,
(e) starting with a very crude version 1, then
(f) iterating rapidly.”

Paul Graham

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constant winning

“He also praised Facebook and MySpace games such as Zombie that let people play whether or not their friends are online at the same time as them. However, “I have more value in the game if I invite my friends,” he concluded. Puzzle Quest is another recent game that Early loved, because, “Each one of these minigames is a win for me. In fact, each time you match three is a win. There’s that feeling of constantly winning, winning, winning in that gamespace.”

Chris Early, general manager of Microsoft’s casual-games program

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