…yes, that term sounds a little dumb, but it’s an idea I think will be important in the future. A deliberate spin on computer literacy, I think play will not only be important to designers to support creativity and innovation, it will be important simply to get along in an electronic world.
In the past I’ve argued that software tools will continue to be created much faster than we can possibly design quality interfaces for them. So consumers who can and are willing to play with a device to figure it out may be more successful.
I had this thought today while driving and navigating with the Google Maps iPhone app (I know, I know). The iPhone is slick, and the app is slick, but for so few functions it ain’t easy to use. But the slickness, the playfulness, of it all helps me overcome this. The desirability of the device and the experience make me want to overcome the usability. As designers, we can build playfulness in to help people, and, cynically, playfulness might be a sexier product development approach to sell than usability.
Update: Only tangentially related is how receive serious political ideas from comedians…
In one “astounding half-hour” of television, Stewart viewers saw “more trenchant talk of the financial crisis and the responsibility of the networks than you’d find on any news channel, all the more surprising in that it aired on Comedy Central.”
Not surprising, really, in that comedians like Lenny Bruce did this long ago. It’s just another place where we like to coat our serious work with a bit a humor and fun to make it palatable.