Why Draw Something is great practice for UX and Interaction Design

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Draw Something is great. I’m addicted to it, and it’s probably the best game I’ve ever been addicted too. Why?

What Travolta movie can I draw the best, and what one would Ben be most likely to get? I went with Pulp Fiction — and he got it. Although I’m a bit concerned Samuel L. Jackson looks a little more like Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd…

  1. It gets you thinking about your users — i.e., your drawings are based on what you know about your co-player. Drawing Skyrim would be great fun for my partner — I could draw scenes from the game I know she would recognize. However it wouldn’t work for other friends who don’t play games. But that’s the beauty of Draw Something — you have three usually diverse drawing subjects to choose from. Even drawing something as simple as ‘Russia’ or a band would depend on who you’re drawing it for.
  2. Watching someone guess your drawing is not so different from watching user testing. As they fumble around with letters (or do nothing with letters, showing they’re absolutely stumped) you get great feedback on your artistic rendition of a particular subject. It really hones your design and interpretation skills.
  3. It encourages humour. Watching stroke by stroke a drawing come together let’s you have a lot of fun with drawings. I have a handful of friends who take painstaking detail in creating over-the-top scenes of simple words. But you don’t have to spend 15 minutes creating a drawing: in five seconds you can do just a good job and humorous takes on words really add to the fun.

I think the last point is perhaps the most important here. The fun of interaction can so often be overlooked in favour of dry and rigid interactions that must be proven to be 100% effective. And this is why Draw Something is so fantastic: as it encourages interaction through play — and fun.

PS: Fancy a game? My username is joffley!

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