Continuing my rumination from yesterday, what is the interest curve of using an iPhone?
To answer that question, we first have to decide what scope we are plotting. Do we start with the announcement of the first iPhone? Talk about a hook! Or, do we scope down to somebody purchasing their first iPhone today? Even then, do we start with the ordering process or the unboxing? All of these experiences can be plotted as individual interest curves or as points within a larger interest curve. Such is the fractal nature of experiences.
For purposes of this post, I’ll select a much smaller scope—one that I can easily reference as I write this. What is the interest curve of turning on and unlocking an iPhone, as I do many times a day?
Let’s see if the process maps to the typical interest curve as depicted in Jesse Schell’s The Art of Game Design. At point A, I remove the phone from my pocket. The initial interest level is determined by my reason for doing so. If it’s due to a phone call, text message, or other notification that has asked for my attention, the initial interest level may be relatively high. The aural or tactile notification itself provides the hook. But let’s say I’m pulling out my phone simply because I’m standing around waiting for something with nothing to do. In that case, my interest level starts relatively low.
Now I press the button to turn it on. The screen lights up, and I’m immediately presented with visual notifications of everything I’ve missed since I last unlocked my phone. There may be email from a friend, a text from a family member, or a message from Instagram telling me that somebody liked my photo. Any one of these things may peek my interest, acting as the hook at B.
So, I decide to check out that email message. Since this is such a short interaction, points C, D, E, and F are all going to get rolled into the unlocking process. This is what is referred to as the rising action. I swipe the message to the left, and I’m presented with buttons for marking the message as read and deleting it. Oops, that’s not what I meant to do. Maybe that puts as at point C. Then I swipe to the right and am presented with the pin code keypad—not so interesting (D). But, I still appreciate the convenience of Touch ID. I press my finger to the button and voilà, I’m staring at the email message at point G, the climax of the interaction. Of course, if we were analyzing a larger scope, seeing the email might only be point C.
It seems there is some value to using the interest curve as a tool for evaluating interaction.