Design Games, Understand People!

Jon Manning and Paris Buttfield-Addison believes game design theory can be applied to other UX and UI too.


This is part of a series of notes from from YOW! Connected conference where leading experts presents their thoughts on all things mobile and IoT.


Jon and Paris presented on understanding game design theory, using it to understand how people interact with rules, and how to use it to improve your product.

The talk started with Jon’s brave attempt at a contentious answer to ‘why games are fun? what is fun?’. Games elicit feelings of power, discovery, teamwork and others to the players. It’s unpredictable and responds to player choice.

The Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics framework:
Mechanics — definition on how things functions
Dynamics — they way players tend to play the game as it leads to winning
Aesthetics — the way games and its interaction makes you feel

Dynamics are hard to intuit. Mechanics doesn’t lead directly to outcomes.

Jon and Paris talked about a case study in analysing ‘desire pathin product development. As an example, the introduction of retweet concept by Twitter as a corrective action. The mechanics of 140 characters limit, lead to a dynamics where users resorted to using RT and MT to attribute the source.

The Secret Lab blog has posted a video another talk that is in the same vein from OSCON 2015: http://www.secretlab.com.au/blog/2015/9/18/yow-connected-2015

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