It’s time for a short update on my thinking about Playful IAs (the topic of my Euro IA Summit talk). One of the under-served aspects so far is the actual user experience of an architecture that is playful.
Brian Sutton-Smith describes a model describing the ways in which games are experienced in his book Toys as Culture. I first came across this book in (not surprisingly) Rules of Play. He lists five aspects:
- Visual scanning
- Auditory discrimination
- Motor responses
- Perceptual patterns of learning
Of most importance to my subject is the 5th one.
Game design, like the design of emergent IAs is a 2nd order design problem. You can only shape the user’s experience indirectly. One of the most important sources of pleasure for the user is the way you offer feedback on the ways he or she has explored and discovered the information space.
Obviously, I’m not saying you should make the use of your service deliberately hard. However, what I am saying is that if you’re interested in offering a playful experience on the level of IA, then Sutton-Smith’s perceptual patterns of learning is the best suited experiential dimension.