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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Principles for building interactions for next generation media

In my previous post, I have talked about how the link is an important enabler for next generation media. While we want our content to flow around freely, there is a need on the other hand for users to aggregate what they want to consume in an interface of their choice. This is why personalised 'destinations' or interfaces still matter.

In these personalised interfaces, the key value driver is interaction. More specifically, interactions that are social in nature and are fun. This NYtimes article says it in such a simple and yet frightening accurate way that I have to quote it to build up my principles for building interactions for next generation media:

Principle One: people increasingly crave interaction in their entertainment, not only with products but with other people

This is the indisputable fact. Look at Facebook and you will realise this is how we behave. We love to talk to one another about stuff in our lives and about the content we consume. Clay Shirky famously said that it matters so much, in fact, that we will routinely prefer a shareable amateur source to a professional source that requires us to keep the content a secret on pain of lawsuit. Yet, how many media players have you seen that maximises this aspect? More often than not, their interfaces look more like traditional broadcast devices, rather than the interactive plays that we craved.

Principle Two: transforms pictures and music (aka media) from static artifacts into the raw material for hours of hilarity....focusing on simple, infectiously enjoyable activities for friends

Media is just raw ingredients to us. It allow us to build conversations on it, to remix it the way we want; to have fun with it. This aspect is almost lost among the media interfaces I have experiences with. They forgot to make it fun. Without that, why would we share stuff? Why would I share anything if the content doesn't allow us have fun in doing it?

Principle Three: Many of the interactive functions of the DSi are available as parts of full-fledged computer programs. The DSi, however, makes them portable and easier to use.

Mobile is going to be very important for any next generation media play. Making your content interactive AND mobile is key. When we are at our desk, doing trivial stuff like remixing content may be silly but in a mobile context where you have nothing to do, these things become fun. So fun that you would likely forward it to your contacts in your address book...

In my mind, exploring new interactions is going to critical to next generation media. Going by how successful Wii is, whoever comes up with novel interactions is going to be a big winner.