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What We Can Learn From Games

March 25, 2009

Games have long been the source of UI innovation in software, though each new generation of app developers seems to forget it. There are some great recent talks on what application and social media developers can learn from games and game design.

This is especially important for those of us trying to bring the zooming/infinite canvas approach into the mainstream. Zooming spaces are already more immersive (i.e. more game-like) than regular applications, and they work best when they prioritize responsiveness and exploration. While people have been toying with zooming UIs for some time now, it’s only recently that they’re becoming mainstream (along with zooming’s cousin, multi-touch), and there’s still much to sort out in terms of what works and what doesn’t. In this process we have as much, if not more, to learn from games than we do from traditional applications.

Check out The Princess Rescuing Application (Dan Cook) for a look at how game mechanics relate to how users become skilled with your app, and Putting the Fun in Functional (Amy Jo Kim) for a look at how game mechanics drive social media.

Ian Gilman

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One comment

  1. Another fine article on the subject, from Wired:

    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2009/05/games_wired



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