3 thoughts for the week of November 16, 2009 (FarmVille, bad assumptions & time to think)


  1. Seriously, what is with the FarmVille?! Shea’s addicted. Matt’s avoiding it on principle. Friends and family with the farming bug pop up every day. It is the #1 video game on the planet with over 24,000,000 daily users. And it’s growing. It is a sign of a cultural shift and the rise of the casual gamer. This is another aspect of how social networks are changing how we interact with people. It’s community building on virtual level. And it’s addicting. Is that because it’s simple to use? Is that because the little characters are just so darn cute? What is it about this game that allowed it to break barriers and become the largest in the world? We’ll probably never be able to quantify it exactly, but it is still worth taking note of the social gaming trend.
  2. We’re sure you have heard the sage advice that in any relationship, communication is key. We’re also sure that you’ve probably heard that when you assume, “you make an ass out of u and me.” Both statements ring with truth. Try as we might, the majority of us have been unable to develop psychic powers. Despite that, mind reading often seems to be an expected skill, especially of designers. We do not possess that skill, we can assure you, though sometimes we may seem to. For that reason, it is vital for the client/designer relationship to be as explicit as possible with expectations and requirements. Get it all out on the table early. We’d rather have too much information than not enough. Some examples might be: we love warm colors, but our boss is very anti-orange; we need graphics for our website, but we’re thinking next year we’ll want them on our trade show booth; or we’ve given you a copy of our image archive, but be sure not to use the pictures with the very attractive blond, she’s no longer with us. When there is a clear outline of specifications and goals, we all get where we want to be much quicker.
  3. Is faster always better? “Of course!” is the usual response. But think about it for moment. Technology has made it possible for so many, especially in our profession, to do things so much quicker than before. Jobs that took months, are now done in days. And that’s great, isn’t it? The problem is that human brain still thinks at the same speed. So even though we can get an idea from our heads to final production must faster, coming up with that idea still takes the same amount of time. There exists an erroneous assumption that conception has sped up with production. And we all buy into it. We’ve become a nation of doers, but not necessarily thinkers. Instead of being faster, the thought process is simply gets eliminated. It takes time for a good idea to take shape, to be explored and fully conceived. Sure, we’ve all gotten lucky and had a good idea right out of the gate, but there have also been a multitude of mediocre and just plain awful ones. The great ideas need time to percolate to have their full, robust realization. Let’s give them the time they deserve.
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