‘I find the sentiment within this book to be important in that the experience of the user, their enjoyment, their delight, and the deliciousness (the Umami) of the software or application are often forgotten or ignored in a headlong rush to implement accessibility, usability, and inclusion. Indeed this enjoyment aspect goes into my current thinking on the practice of interface and interaction engineering within the software engineering domain.’
Funology, is a difficult book to read because the majority of chapters are so very certain over the theories and frameworks they present, seemingly without any direct scientific support. Indeed, most of these seem to be derived from common sense, anecdotal evidence, or indeed the view of a higher well regarded source; with the results placed within the ubiquitous ‘framework’. Indeed even in the user case study section, most of the work points towards software and hardware development which does not have any user summative testing and relies solely on the views of a small set of individuals.
This may not be a problem for work coming from product design (most of the authors are from design colleges and departments) and indeed this fits in with the evolution of user experience and its development from product design and marketing. There are very few hard tangible results here however the authors annoyingly seem to be absolutely certain of their theories frameworks and methods.
That said I still find the sentiment within this book to be important in that the experience of the user, their enjoyment, their delight, and the deliciousness (the Umami) of the software or application are often forgotten or ignored in a headlong rush to implement accessibility, usability, and inclusion. Indeed this enjoyment aspect goes into my current thinking (and cake) on the practice of interface and interaction engineering within the software engineering domain.
But how do we synthesise the useful aspects of mostly anecdotal evidence presented within this book? In this case my method is simple, I have listed all of the pertinent frameworks and well-found theories from each of the chapters, and have then looked for similarities or overlap within the sentiment of these concepts. In the end arriving at a list of principles of enjoyment and experience – which I’m calling Digital Umami – and are much like those in accessibility or usability, which could be easily remembered within the development process.
You’ll notice that after each aspect of ‘deliciousness’ there is just a list – this is because I’m still processing these into coherent and apply-able processes or concepts (bare with me):
- Personalisation and Customisation: ‘relevance’; ‘surpass expectations’; ‘decision-making authority of the user’; ‘appropriateness’; ‘the users needs’; ‘don’t think labels, think expressiveness and identity’; and ‘users interests’.
- Intangible Enjoyment: ‘triviality’, ‘enjoyment of the experience’; ‘users desires’; ‘sensory richness’; ‘don’t think products, think experiences’; ‘don’t think ease of use, I think enjoyment of the experience’; ‘satisfaction’; ‘pleasure’; and ‘appealingness’; and ’emotional thread’.
- Tangible Action: ‘ ‘goal and action mode’; ‘manipulation’; ‘don’t hide, don’t represent, show’; ‘hit me, touch me, and I know how you feel’; ‘don’t think of thinking, just do doing’; ‘don’t think of affordances, think irresistibles’; ‘evocation’; ‘sensual thread’; and ‘spectacle and aesthetics’.
- Narrative Aids Interaction: ‘don’t think beauty in appearance, think beauty in interaction’; ‘possibilities to create one’s own story or ritual’; ‘don’t think buttons, think actions’; ‘connection’; ‘interpretation’; ‘reflection’; ‘recounting’; ‘repetition and progression’; ‘anticipation’; and ‘compositional thread’.
- Mimic Metaphor: ‘metaphor does not sucks’; ‘instead of representing complexity, trigger it in the mind of the user’; ‘think of meaning, not information’; ‘simulation’; ‘identification’; and ‘evocation’; and ‘spatiotemporal thread’.
- Communal Activity: ‘social opportunities’ in terms of ‘connectivity’ and ‘social cohesion’; ‘variation’; ‘multiple opportunities’; and ‘co-activity’.
- Learning and Skills Acquisition support Memory: ‘repetition and progression’; ‘develop skills’; ‘user control on participation’, with ‘appropriate challenges’; ‘the users skill’; ‘transgression and commitment’; ‘goal and action mode’; and ‘instead of representing complexity, bootstrap off it’.
Of course how to apply these will be different based on the individual development underway – and I would also suggest that testing for them will be difficult because they are very individualistic and often intangible. However, it may be easier to look for their absence – or barriers to their realisation – as an appropriate proxy measure of their presence.
- Blythe, Mark A. and Overbeeke, Kees and Monk, Andrew F. and Wright, Peter C. (2004). Funology: From Usability to Enjoyment Other: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1139008
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