Engineering Fun

This week’s Flyover Effect podcast discussed an idea that is too often overlooked in the development of pretty much everything: Fun.

I often see a “lack of fun” in software- the program that was built to do a specific job well, but has an interface that is ugly, complicated, and hard to use. All of the build energy went into making the features work, but zero thought went into the person who has to use the thing.

A corollary: If users of your software have a bunch of sticky notes on their monitors to help them with their work, you need a redesign of the UI.

Fun design encourages a user to explore the software, not run from it as soon as the task is completed.

This carries forward into every product and service. If something is pleasant to deal with, people will do more with it, and thus spend more money. If something is hard, difficult and unpleasant, it will be avoided.

Too often businesses can’t step out of their own shoes to view how the public interacts with them, and thus can’t make the changes needed to up the “Fun” quotient. A lack of fun holds them back.

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