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Hunting for Pokemon in the real world

1 September 2016

Have you heard of Pokémon Go? Of course you have. I believe it is an exceptional user interface, and it is no wonder that the application has generated a global hysteria in merely 5 days.

Let's review the professional definition of UI:

The field of UI (User Interface) is essential for an optimal user experience; without a UI, the potential for which the users positioned themselves in front of a screen will not be actualized. That said, it is only one component out of an array of components from which the UX is comprised. When discussing a user experience, one is actually referring to the connection between users and technology- the component which is visible and presented to the user when performing an activity. An interface's quality is dictated by its developers who are responsible for a clear and organized physical platform.

Developers wish to create an exceptional and unique experience so that it may be a memorable one. What is the secret behind a cool UI, such as that used by 'Pokémon Go'?

A bit about the game:

Pokemon Go is a game for Smartphones with an Android and IOS which brings the adorable monsters from the successful 90's anime show to life. It is a "layered reality" game which integrates digital images with recording from the phone camera with GPS data. Thus, when you look through the phone camera, you can see Pokémon in real location. The goal is to catch the Pokémon and raise them, eventually sending them to fight other 'trainers' Pokémon. Players need to roam around with their Smartphones and collect these small monsters, in their house and (mainly) outside. This is how one participates in the global game.

I have encountered many people, whose attention is dedicated solely to the screen; they were all searching for Pokémon: some in the workplace corridor, some in the street. Most smiling broadly, all tell of an enjoyable application. People are simple hooked!

When working on a UI, developers should aim to address the users' needs on different levels, from suitable functionality to providing the user with personal meaning. Steven Anderson described these different levels in a manner which resembles Maslow's pyramid of needs:

An interface which makes us want to say 'wow' and excitedly rush and share the experience with friends or co-workers (either orally or via social networks) usually includes the pyramids two top levels: Meaningful and Pleasurable. Generating a meaningful experience requires substantial effort: connecting to the community, generating interest, creativity, challenges etc. These are things that should be embedded into the planning process for an application's interface. A pleasurable experience, on the other hand, can be attained more simply. The secret that makes 'Pokémon Go's UI into such a huge success probably stems from a combination of using characters as popular as these 'pocket monsters' (which indeed enjoy a wide fan base), successfully developing a fun (and seemingly addictive) formula and the novelty of chasing these colorful creatures in real-world settings which make this story into ideal material for Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

It is nearly inevitable to use the term 'Gamification' in this context: a model in which elements from the world of gaming can be applied in order to benefit processes and activities otherwise unrelated to gaming- making them a fun experience. Gamification has generated a buzz in technological discourse as it has proven that integrating virtual gaming into the real world is possible. Organizations have realized that games can make boring routine tasks into more interesting and/or enjoyable. This realization has led to an integration of gaming elements into work routines which in turn led to increased motivation of clients as well as workers and enhanced commitment.

Gamification is widely used in order to generate commitment. For example, an organization which wishes to promote a learning process in a certain area might choose design said process as a game in which workers are active and involved in the learning process. This is not a fad or gimmick; it is a proven method for connecting users to a brand. In a world which showcases such an abundance of products and services competing for the attention of each client, it is critical to dedicate serious thought on how to win over clients using an extraordinary user interface. Gamification can provide you with a certain advantage if correctly implemented in the organization.


Pokémon dolls
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