What kind of thinking goes into the development of your main events?  Are you trying to produce high usability alone?  Or are you trying to incorporate fun?  Maybe you’re thinking, "fun?"  Who said anything about fun?  Maybe you think fun cheapens the soundness of your product.  On the other hand, you may be really only going for fun…and usability isn’t on the radar!

Kathy Sierra has an interesting post today on usability through fun.  This is an important discussion for all of us.  If what we’re doing isn’t usable AND fun it really won’t be very effective.  One without the other (whichever is missing) really undermines the overall goal.

In her post Kathy includes an interesting list of the five components of usability (as defined by Jakob Neilsen).  Here they are:

  • Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
  • Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?
  • Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?
  • Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
  • Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design?

Now, if you think about what we do, aren’t these factors right at the heart of our main events?  Even everything we’re doing?  In a 7 Practices sense they’re really at the core of the design process.

What do you think?  Can you see how this becomes a great planning tool?

Be sure and go over to Kathy’s whole post.  She goes into some good concept on the idea of play and its role in memorability and satisfaction.

The Intersection of Usability and Fun