Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MP3s of the Future. Is it a need or a want?

Today I was teaching the PET Design course in New York. As usual it was great to see the usability educated stretching and grabbing the new perspective. But an issue came up that was great. Our parents tell us that there are 'needs' and 'wants'. We learn that the 'wants' are not really that important.

But in the persuasion space, the emotional wants are VERY important indeed. Fulfilling the need for CONTROL has been shown to extend lives for people in nursing homes. So is that emotional need not important? We often think we make decisions logically. But so often; the logical conclusion is just a rationalization of an emotional decision.

So forget just targeting 'High Satisfaction'. That is no longer enough! We need to target deeper needs. That MP3 player is not just a player. It is a tool for social recognition and to support social acceptance. And if that is true, we'd better design one that works well for that! My son Noah (finishing his PhD in Game Usability at RPI) was taking the class and had a player around his neck. It flashed nicely when it played. It looked very interesting and attracted discusion. The world is no longer about an MP3 player with enough memory. So we'd better get over that! We better understand the deep drives and feelings. The interesting engineering work is in that space anyway.

1 comment:

Deni said...

First, I have really enjoyed all of your classes and computer conferences. Unfortunately, they are usually more taylored to the web user...but applications face the same problems- so I am always trying to bridge the gap. The particular challenge I face is the end users of our application do not have a choice in the software they use...however, we still need to address these end users.

I am eager to learn more about how PET plays into the arena of applications. The company I work for provides call center software, so a lot of the selling and (unfortunately) elicitation comes from managers and above. It has always been a challenge to try to get to the agent that is actual frustrated. What are your thoughts on how we can design for PET for agents that do not have a choice in which software they are using.
We (UE) have been fighting that battle with marketing on what functioanlity is agreed to with the managers and the functioanlity that is desperately needed for the agents.
I know the most logical answer is to get to the agents for shadowing and/or elicitation...but when agents are not an available resource to us, how can we address not only usability but PET?

Dr. Schaffer is currently traversing the globe teaching PET Design and promoting user experience. He will make every effort to respond to posts as quickly as possible.