1.13.2006

TIP: Playful users can lead to deeper relationship

Brains love play, Kathy Sierra wrote. Find a way to bring more play (or at least a sense of playfulness) into someone's life, and you might just end up with a fan. Brains evolved to play, and apparently the bigger the brain, the more likely it is to play. Play turns the brain on...

Helping people feel just a little more playful...doesn't have to mean giving them a game. Even something as simple as making your documentation more compelling (and even a little whimsical), can make a huge difference... You put easter eggs in your otherwise ludicrously dull accounts receivable software, and spread hints about them on the internet. Suddenly it's a little treasure hunt cleverly disguised as a boring business task. (I know, I KNOW programmers have been fired for doing that... "management" can be so serious)... You're writing a computer programming book, and you put in puzzles, games, fun pictures, and festive examples with unusual characters.

Surprises are one of the best things you can do--psychologists claim that intermittent rewards can be more engaging than consistent rewards. Remember, surprise=delight...

Spend some cycles cultivating your more festive side. Think party. Think of that person you know who is so fun to be around. The one who manages to make a little adventure out of everything. If you can give your users even one moment more of that feeling, the world will be a better place.

(This also explains why people are hooked on Tivo easter eggs.)

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got > Something vs Nothing

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