Emotion is very powerful and products that create emotional experiences, make users fall in love with them, play with them and talk about them. Game de is intriguing. Games are deed to create emotional experiences and hence, are able to form a strong connect with users or players. His experience in game de and his obsession for it, is the reason why he built Superhuman with first principles of game de. In the postwe looked briefly at what constitutes the hype that is Superhuman. In this article, I want to get deeper into understanding how Rahul Vohra has built a full-blown game beneath Superhuman and what lessons we stand to derive in building products.
Throughout, we will look at how Superhuman incorporates the principles of game de. As a product manager or entrepreneur, you worry about what your users want or need and rightly so. Well, that is why most business softwares today feel like work. We HAVE to file our expenses.
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We HAVE to do our e-mail. But what if we could make business software feel less like work and more like play? We actually can, with game de. You see no one needs a game to exist. There are no requirements. And when you are making a game, you obsess over how the users feel and not worry about what they want or need. They play it. They fall in love with it. They find it fun. They tell their friends. Now, you might recollect products that have gamification like points, levels, badges, trophies built in.
Researchers typically divide motivation into two — intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. With intrinsic motivation, we do things because we find them inherently satisfying and interesting.
But with extrinsic motivation, we do things to earn rewards. Intrinsic motivation is much more powerful than extrinsic motivation. In the s, Stanford researchers recruited 51 children aged between three and four.
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All of these kids were ly interested in drawing. Now some of the kids were told they would get a reward certificate. Now, all the children were invited into separate rooms and asked to draw for six minutes, after which they would either get a reward or not.
And over the next few days, they were observed to see how much of their time they would continue drawing by themselves. But the children who did get a reward, they only spent 8 percent of their time drawing probably because they felt they deserve the reward anyway. In other words, the reward had halved their motivation.
Gamification, by de, works on the drive to earn rewards. Game de, on the other hand, is driven by intrinsic motivation and hence, is much superior. As it turns out, there is no unifying theory deed to create games.
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We have to draw upon the art and science of things like psychology, mathematics, interaction, de, storytelling, and many more. In doing so, there are five critical factors — goals, emotions, controls, toys and flow.
We are all familiar with goals in a business context and we know how to create good business goals. It turns out that games also need goals. In fact, goals are a defining feature of games. And for a game, good goals are:. Good goals are also achievable.
For each new user, there is a live concierge onboarding. The onboarding specialist teaches you faster workflows to get to inbox zero. You learn powerful shortcuts so you never have to touch the mouse. When you do hit inbox zero, you feel triumph over your — a ly rare and very rewarding feeling. And if there are goals, they are often unachievable or very unrewarding. So if you want to make software like its a game, then you should make goals that are concrete, achievable and rewarding. The best games create strong emotions because strong emotions are the foundation of our memory.
In order to do that, we need to be able to analyse emotions.
And for that, we need a vocabulary. There are many models of human emotion in research. Plutchik identified eight core emotions. These are emotions like joy, sadness, annoyance, fear, grief etc. And he arranged them on a wheel such that opposite emotions are across from each other. Probably the most interesting thing about this model is you can blend adjacent emotions to create new, more complex feelings.
For example, you can blend joy and anticipation and you come up with optimism. You can blend sadness and surprise and you come up with disapproval.
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However, for game deers, these emotions may not be nuanced enough. There could be a need for more subtle emotions than academia provides us. It contains the subtleties and the nuances that a game needs. Controls can actually be the one reason why a game succeeds. Every good game has controls that incorporate emotions and are robust. It would be incredibly frustrating if you press a complex series of inputs and then your characters flop around and die.
The shortcut to compose a new in Gmail is C while to do so in a new tab is D. And this is true almost every business software today. Drive it fast like you might do a video game and it will drop about half of the inputs.
The idea behind video game controls is to make them feel seamless so you can drive them as hard and as fast as you want to. And it never breaks the emotion so that you are one with your avatar in the game. We play WITH toys, but we play games. A ball is a toy, but baseball and football are games. And as it turns out, the best games are built out of toys because then they have fun on multiple levels, the level of the toy and also the game itself. So for example, 2D will become two days, 3H will become 3 hours, 1 MO will become 1 month.
Rahul says users do things like enter a string of 10s.
Elements of game de (and translating them to product de)
And if you did that today? He also says that most users are delighted to find that if you really want, you can snooze an to never. You can literally hit snooze and type never. And that will never come back. Flow is a state of mind.
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Flow is the intense and focused concentration on the present. Flow so easy that we always know what to do next. Flow is so powerful that it alters our subjective experience of time. Time can either flash by in an instant or stretch out to infinity.
And most importantly, flow is so rewarding that our activities become intrinsically motivating, which, as we know from earlier, is the most powerful and effective form of motivation. Talking specifically of point 5, it is quite difficult to create the balance of ambition and challenge. In game de, it is more of an art.
People come into superhuman with a wide variety of skill levels and a wide variety of challenge levels.
However, for almost everybody, superhuman massively increases the skill level. They have increased the challenge level deliberately so that users get in flow.
The challenge is not only to reach to Inbox Zero but to do so without ever touching the mouse.