Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences Paperback – Jun 15 2011
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About the Author
Stephen P. Anderson is an internationally recognized speaker and consultant based in Dallas, Texas. He created the Mental Notes card deck, a tool that's widely used by product teams to apply psychology to interaction design. Prior to venturing out on his own, Stephen spent more than a decade building and leading teams of information architects, interaction designers, and UI developers. He's designed web applications for technology startups as well as corporate clients like Nokia, Frito-Lay, Sabre Travel Network, and Chesapeake Energy. Between public speaking and project work, Stephen offers workshops and training to help organizations manage creative teams, make use of visual thinking, and design better customer experiences.
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It's a playful book on a playful topic, but that doesn't mean it isn't powerful. The author has done an amazing job of synthesizing research and implementation ideas from a wide range of domains, all devoted to one goal: creating sustainably engaging user experiences. He manages to do this while including a topic that I typically do NOT like: gamification. However, the author understands the deep implications of how these (game mechanics) techniques can be used, and stays focused on a user-centered context (as opposed to pure marketing-driven manipulation).
This book may look like yet another superficial "make things fun" or even "delightful customer experiences" book, but it's much more. If you want to give your users richer experiences at every level from initial exposure to more advanced use, and create users/customers more likely to stick around and grow with the product, I recommend this book. It's the only book I have found that summarizes these topics in a useful, actionable, way.
Footnote: I was shocked to find my name listed in the credits as an "inspiration" for the topic. I don't know the author, and I would have been extremely disappointed if the book failed to live up to its promise, given my "association" with it. So I was both relieved and thrilled with how helpful and insightful the book is. As an end-user of many, many products and services, I want a world where those who design and deliver user experiences have taken the message of this book seriously.
Section one (Aesthetics, Beauty, and Behavior) covers topics like gestalt principles/psychology, perceived affordances, product credibility and personality, affect, cognition, and association. Anderson makes plenty of references to other quintessential UX books such as Designing with the Mind in Mind by Jeff Johnson, Visual Thinking for Design by Colin Ware, and Emotional Design by Donald Norman. Section two (Playful Seduction) covers ways to engage audiences with positive affective states such as humor, the mystique of unexpected behavior, and `delighters'. Anderson also uses specific phenomenon such as the information gap theory to explain alternate methods of eliminating the feeling of deprivation in users seeking information. Section three (The subtle Art of Seduction) covers some of the covert ways that our behavior is influenced by revealing topics such as the endowed progress effect, default options, and the many interfaces that offer suggestions such as Twitter's `Who to follow'. Topics such as loss aversion were clearly outlined and empowers users to be more aware of the influences we encounter while online. Section four (The Game of Seduction) takes a gamification approach to explaining the intrigue of certain user experiences. Anderson explains the power of `fun' by introducing the elements of game design (challenges, choices, and conflicts)
This book provided so many examples and references that even a proficient UX specialist would learn something new or easily be referred to other helpful sources of information. Rarely have I found so much information packed into such a short book. I highly recommend the book for newcomers to UX, but I also encourage experienced practitioners to grab a copy for reference.
Here's a test for you. If you're considering buying this book ... how much did the title effect your decision to surf to this page? If the title is the only reason you're here, then you can expect that experience to translate to pretty much every page of this book. It's all about the quick 'grab' ... not too much substance after that. So, I guess if that's the kind of inspiration you're looking for then this book is for you. Hey, it got me to buy the book. I totally have to cop to that.
And to be honest that's the only reason I gave it three stars. I bought the book ... LOL! I didn't hate it ... just didn't get the kind of zing that apparently others got. Oh well. Keeping it ... but not loving it. And definitely not seduced by it. I'd need a LOT more substance for that :)
I should disclose that I was one of a great many people Stephen Anderson interviewed in researching this book, so I have been fascinated to see what he made of it all. What he has done is put together an excellent collection of tips and tricks that can be used by anyone designing a website, mobile app or even mundane software like a timesheet system to get users engaged and enthused. And if you can do that then your software is more likely to be effective and popular.
Each point is backed up by a memorable example and psychological principles - so whether you're staring at a blank sheet of paper hoping for inspiration, or sitting in a meeting trying to decide how to improve your website, you'll find yourself recalling examples and ideas from this book.
It's practical and enjoyable - whether you're designing your first website or a seasoned professional I'd recommend it as a source of inspiration and ideas.
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