Expression around the ClockAt a presentation at ComputerShare last week I spoke about the various "flavours" of user experience, and the fact that usability alone does not guarantee a great user experience. We talked about how it is easier to 'engineer' usability - there are processes, guidelines and techniques for maximising, usability - but it is not so easy to 'engineer' a great user experience.

I briefly talked about my 4 components of great user experiences

  • Control (I am in control of the conversation, I trust the system, I feel safe to explore)
  • Flow (I can concentrate on my work, I don't have to think about the technology)
  • Creativity (The sense that I made/achieved something - the "I did that!" moment)
  • Aesthetics (The subjective satisfaction I have from using the system, the emotions I associate with it)

I just finished watching my first video from the "Expression Around the Clock" event, which was held by Microsoft Subsidiaries around the world (not Australia) on October 4th. There are a bazillion videos to watch - I wish I could go through them all - but I started with August De Los Reyes, who spoke in New Zealand.

In the second half of August's talk he breaks emotional design down a different way:

  1. Incite. The system output should be greater than the input - to the point the system seems magical.
  2. Imprint. Tell a story. Anticipate user's emotions.
  3. Negate. Negate user pain

And I learnt a new term: "scaffolding". The idea in games design of introducing functionality to users gradually - only revealing to users what they need to know next, not everything they need to know. (See 'control' above.) There's plenty to learn from here in the design of complex applications - particularly 'tool' applications (like design tools :-).

Check it out, especially the second half, and let me know if you have any other favourites from the worldwide events.