This morning I went to the OpenACS/ .LRN conference Carl Blesius organized at Harvard Medical School. Carl recruited Kathy Sierra, author of the Creating Passionate Users blog, as a keynote speaker. 13 pages of notes for a 45-minute presentation suggest she had my attention. Here are some excerpts of my notes:
1. Title of her talk: "Cognitive Seduction"
2. What she/ they have done -- "reverse engineer passion". Identify attributes of passionate people, and the attributes of things they are passionate about.
3. "You're a photographer -- if you saw a man drowning, and you had a choice between saving him and photographing his demise, how would you tag your photo on Flickr?"
4. Attributes of passionate people, vis a vis the object of their passion:
-they spend a lot of time learning about it
-they spend lots of money on it
-they spend lots of time on it
-they like to connect with others who share the same interest
-they like to show off what they've done in connection with it
-they attribute elevated meaning to it ("golf's about so much more than hitting the ball..." Don Baccus, god-engineer and conservation biologist sitting next to me says, " yeah, it's about the pesticides...")
5. iceberg theory of motivation -- mostly emotional
6. "Where there's passion, there's a user kicking ass. No one is passionate about sucking at something."
7. Our job -- helping people have a higher-resolution experience (listening to jazz, tasting wine, hearing and tasting what others don't). (graph) helping people rise above the "suck threshold of performance" and get to the passion level in less time. Beware helping them become merely competent -- they get happy with the minimum, unwilling to upgrade to new versions with enhanced capabilities, unwilling to experiment.
8. It's not about competence with the tool, it's about competence at the task the tool support -- taking great photos v. operating a camera.
9. Why are brochures prettier than instruction manuals?
10. Appealing to the brain, not the mind. (Mind: "I really like this!" Brain: "This is so not life threatening!" Brain wins, you put the book down when you smell pizza coming from neighbors' dorm.)
11. Brain has a "crap filter". Pays attention to things that stand out, scary things, thrilling things, young and innocent things, joy/play, faces (the wilder the better) -- brain cares about incongruities.
>> memo to self -- add jokes/ quotes/ fun facts to all email alerts systems send
12. Conversational presentation style is better than formal presentation style by as much as 40% for retention and recall. ('You must do this" vs. "One must do this")
13. Elements of persuasion: give user a compelling picture (literally) of what mastery looks like (snowboarding picture); then give them a clear path and an easy first step.
14. How to keep people engaged?
15. Rules of Play/ Marc LeBlanc (partial list: discovery, self-expression, social framework, cognitive arousal, thrill, sensation, triumph, accomplishment, fantasy, growth)
16. Must read: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Csikszentmihalti
17. Flow state = when knowledge and skill match the challenge at hand -- neither too bored nor too frustrated
18. Sustaining flow: Make right things easy, make wrong things hard
19. How to keep users motivated?
20. Motivating benefit --> interaction -- payoff (CB note: very behavioral here, reinforces concept of giving to get more in registration process for example). For example, in games, payoff = get to next level and get new powers.
21. the more you understand, the less you need to memorize.
22. smackdown model -- present opposing views to make exposition of a point more memorable.
23. garden path model -- create crises -- people feel good about reolving them. make just in case training feel like just in time training
24. Javaranch -- be nice to newbies, but segregate them from experts, who need their own space
25. Give people a way to signal they are part of your "tribe".
26. Make people central to stories/ histories
27. All that matters is how users feel about themselves when using your application, not how they feel about you!