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Designing for Flow, Mastery and Ease-of-use

Stashed in: Zombies!, Awesome, Gamification!, games, flow, life, Plants!, Rising meets Risen, Fundamental Laws/Rules/Guidelines

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"Recently the web design community has been eating up the secrets of game design. The Gamification trend merely borrowed simple game mechanics, from badges to progress bars. But now designers are looking more closely at core game design principles like design for flow and mastery, blending them with our old friend, ease of use. But how many of these techniques are relevant for more everyday sites, like ecommerce and productivity apps?"

I'm working on series of articles (and the talk tuesday) on what web designers should take form game design... and in this case, some of what they shouldn't.

Love feedback, and if you are in the games industry, ideas of further topics...

Love the article, and still haven't managed to get to the end of World of Goo or Angry Birds or Osmos.

Both of them got me to a level where frustration with the level overrode the feeling of mastery, and I stopped playing.

The only recent game I've gotten to the end of was Plants vs Zombies.

In the case, each level was harder but still seemed like I could master it.

So there's a very fine line maintaining that status in a user's mind.

One point I tried to make was that flow is also hard because humans vary so much. I made it to end of world of goo and was in flow state the whole way. I'm not sure anyone can end angry birds. They keep making more! I got bored before I got outmastered. ;) But these are games I am good at. Portal I can barely even get going in.

Not breaking flow state seems like a much easier goal that creating it!

Ah, I get it.

World of Goo had me in a state of flow until it got hard, at which point I stopped playing.

Angry Birds had you in flow till you got bored.

But still, both these games got us in flow state.

As opposed to the hundreds of others I've tried that never got me in the state to begin with.

Exactly! The chart from Csikszentmihalyi really illustrates it...

You fell through anxiety to apathy. I fell past relaxation to boredom.

It's funny because I'm hearing a lot of folks talking about designing for flow, and I'm like "and why don't you solve world peace while you are at it?"

ok, maybe it's not that hard, but....

The first thing I'd like to learn as a web designer is when flow and mastery are applicable. There are some comments on that in the article, which I found helpful.

Also, I'd be interested in conversation about the similarities between user personas and the classic roles adopted in social games (spoiler etc).

player types vs personas is an excellent article. Thank you!

re: flow vs mastery

Flow if you are designing an immersive app like a game.

mastery if user will use repeatedly over time, either continually (like word) or repeated frequently, (selling on ebay)

ease of use for most everything else.

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