This was an entertaining listen @ian and @andrey.
I thought @ian’s ideas regarding trying to add depth of experience to business products was very interesting. That train of thought if blindly followed through with leads to some pretty terrible user experiences as was mentioned in the podcast. I realize that the discussion around this idea on the Podcast was largely just shooting the breeze so I’m not taking what @ian said during the episode too seriously but I do think the idea is an interesting one to explore.
I think the key principle to remember is that a productivity tool should try to get out of your way and be as transparent to whatever you are trying to accomplish as possible. A game or movie tries to do the opposite by attempting to engross you in its world in order to give you an emotional experience. When you are doing something 8-14 hours a day, you don’t usually want that to be too much of an emotional experience as even a good emotional experience can be taxing.
Where I think this concept gets really interesting is when you pull back from the looking directly at the emotional experience you get in a movie or game and look at how and why that particular medium was so effective in giving you that experience. I think that great tools/apps will be similarly effective in augmenting whatever you are trying to do often using similar techniques but just to a different end. For instance, a great movie will drop you in a scene where you understand enough context about whatever is unfolding that you don’t need the unnatural explanatory dialog that you get in a lot of average quality movies. This concept is abstractly similar to a fantastically intuitive user experience in an application. If a user knows what a particular widget on the screen does just based on it’s context and appearance there is no need for unnatural explainer text or help menus. That is a great user experience. Additionally, great movies and games use color very effectively to direct your mood and emotion. Products can certainly use the same idea there and I’m not just talking about big green conversion buttons.
I didn’t personally find the idea of audio or voiceover in a business app particularly compelling. I think I don’t like this idea primarily because on both my computer and phone I have audio off all the time unless I’m listening to music or a podcast. As a result I want silent apps. However, I do think the idea of effectively using audio could be applied directly to specific components like explainer videos where audio is assumed to be on. Maybe a good voice actor would make your explainer video 10 times more effective than the cheesy “commercial” voice you get by default from a lot of the firms that do explainer videos.
Thanks for putting out this podcast. I really enjoyed this episode.