alexandtheweb / blog

Seductive barrell rolls

On Friday, at the second and most excellent UX Brighton conference, Giles Colborne laid out a stern warning against designing interfaces that distract. And yet I couldn’t help the feeling, even as tales of lowered traffic fatalities during the Blackberry outage were recounted, that many in the audience would love to do just that – Giles himself admitted that the most “addicting” interfaces are the most successful, be it Twitter, email, Tetris or Facebook.

On the day Giles defined addictive interfaces as those that hand us a delicious, dopamine treat through random rewards, the internet was delighting in the newly discovered Google easter egg of “Do a barrell roll” (among a few others). I smiled thinking that Google have become masters of random treats: Easter eggs, Google doodles. Whether this “random seduction” on their part is deliberate or not is up for discussion, but it’s certainly good for business.

Addictive interfaces may be bad for our cognition, but they keep us coming back and build attachment to a products and services.