The psychology of crowds in the gameful world

Originally, the definition of gamification is related to the application of game elements to non-leisure contexts, as a design process. Each day, “gamified” (I prefer the term “gameful”) applications are developed through simply implementing badges, points and rewards, which can become a problem if not well-designed. It can be transformed into something really forced or fake that people will drop as soon as they are not interested anymore. The “human” element can’t be overlooked in this process, particularly because we are dealing with motivation. And motivation is situated in a context.

Motivational affordances can be related to the object and to a situation or context. Because of that, it’s necessary to understand what is the context which will be transformed by people through gameful experiences. Previous research regarding gamification has brought to the conversation concepts of culture and beliefs, as rituals and festivals as forms of play. However, this is not the point. I’m not getting into the discussion about gameful x playful, but social norms are something to pay attention while designing gameful (or gamified) applications.

The psychology of crowds is a research filed that encompasses music festivals, sports events and even protests. The main discussion of this aspect is related to relatedness and the feeling of being “united”, especially through positive relationships with people. In this context, it’s possible to highlight even less competitiveness and more ability to deal with difficult situations. But what does it have to do with gameful experiences? Well, previous research has argued that playing with people is better than playing alone. Now imagine if you could transform a whole rock n’ roll concert into a mega MMORG gameplay to help disabled people, for example? It’s like getting into a queue just because everyone is there – and that happens a lot in places like Brazil for example (we love queues). My point here is that crowds have power. People have the power – yes! And we could do great things with that.

The great concept of the psychology of crowds is that they tend to be heterogeneous or homogeneous, but yet organised. Gustave Le Bon (2009) introduced the concept of psychology of crowds and he argued that nationality, traditions and institutions compose the beliefs of the crowds. It is a way to say that they become like “communities”. In the digital world, it is kind of easy to see the influence of this human phenomenon: we have crowd funding and communities in social networks. But as a psychological tool, the crowds could be very persuasive. Crowds don’t exist just by themselves. They have leaders, they share ideas and beliefs. Everything is meaningful.

Another concept presented by Le Bon (2009) is that crowds have leaders. And those leaders started as followers. They confirm those beliefs and values, repeat and keep sharing and spreading, in a cycle of contagion. The idea of leaders is not as authority. I think that what the author meant by it is that it helps to keep some “organisation”. However, in my point of view and in gameful worlds, this needs to be studied. If people will follow leaders, it’s necessary to understand what they mean to people. What is the sentiment that they evoke? What are they representing?

Taking back to gameful applications, it is possible that doing things together or being part of a group is important. This is consisted by the concept of relatedness. One might say that he/she doesn’t want to share personal things with anyone. However, the sense of belonging is not only represented by sharing things. This could be represented by other ways, such as strong beliefs, for example, or food. One example is, I’m Brazilian and even I see something written in Brazilian Portuguese when I’m off my country, I will feel part of that group – even not being physically in the group. It is necessary to expand this sense of belonging.

How can design explore this? And how can gameful environments reflect or create those crowds? It is possible that the reflections of Le Bon could be amplified into gameful worlds. Again, I will leave the thoughts with you :)

If you want to read more and expand this idea:
Le Bon, G. (2009). Psychology of crowds. Sparkling Books.
Connell, J. P., & Wellborn, J. G. (1991). Competence, autonomy, and relatedness: A motivational analysis of self-system processes.
Shi, L., Cristea, A. I., Hadzidedic, S., & Dervishalidovic, N. (2014). Contextual Gamification of Social Interaction–Towards Increasing Motivation in Social E-learning. In Advances in Web-Based Learning–ICWL 2014 (pp. 116-122). Springer International Publishing.
AlMarshedi, A., Wills, G. B., Wanick, V., & Ranchhod, A. (2015). SGI: A Framework for Increasing the Sustainability of Gamification Impact.

photo credit: Rush hour at the metro via photopin (license)

My idea of fun: exterminate!

I should be writing a paper right now, but I couldn’t leave this day without any comment about this lovely google doodle. I was having my cup of tea, a very sunny and cold day and then, first page, Doctor Who game. Brilliant.

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1- “I should be writing a paper right now…”

Oh wait, here is one of the key elements of building a very good game: games create curiosity. In that case, I’m a fan of Doctor Who, so I would be invited to interact with the doodle anyway. But try to get some elements that caught attention to play: button, colours, animation. That’s interface for you.

2- “Oh, look, all the Doctors are there and you can choose one to play!”

When you recognise elements from the narrative of the game, you are inside the game world. You know the story. If your Doctor dies, he regenerates into another Doctor. That’s brilliant. That’s the narrative element.

3- The world is ending and you’re still playing the game

That’s the element that we call as flow. Some people say that this can be also called as engagement. If you are too deep into the game you’re so immersed that you can forget to eat. That’s what happens. So let’s try to build a definition of games, based on what we know:

Games are interactive systems that promote immersion, engagement and fun. In other words, games are built around gameplay elements, that create a world of possibilities, through aspects like flow, narrative, visual concepts, animation, sounds, challenges(levels) and constraints(rules).

4- Exterminate!

Sound. The good thing about a good game is the sound, interaction, interface and system. The sound plays a special role here. What’s a Dalek that doesn’t say “Exterminate!”? So, take note. Another element is sound! That will create immersion. Oh, I think we can get another element using the Daleks: you can die! So take another note: games give you another chance — and you learn by it.

5- Fun

The fun element is a mixture of all the other elements, since the recognition with the program, to the animation and sound. The idea of each level with different worlds is also interesting — it promotes curiosity. The whole mechanics of the game is built around the Doctor Who story and that’s what calls the attention, through the interactive elements.

What can we learn?

Well, I must admit that I still need to write the paper, but yes, we can learn that mini-games like that are successful. Why? Because of the concept. Games are pure interaction. If I could have the numbers of people that played that game, it would be interesting just to prove that games bring emotions, experiences and engagement. Let’s see what’s going to be tomorrow — the day of the Doctor and I won’t miss. Now I need to stop and write my paper.

First published by @vanissa on Medium, in 22/11/2013 – just moving some posts from there to here :)

Let’s talk about Game Design Economy

I’ve decided to write this post for probably the same reason why you came to read it. What is about Game Economy Designer or Monetisation Designer? It seems that the story of freemium, in-app purchases and other aspects came really to stay. And it makes totally sense.
As a designer, I was questioning myself about the skills for this type of job.
First, let’s try to analyse what do they really mean by Game Economy Design.
In this article, published almost 2 years ago, the focus of the economy in game design was strictly in virtual currency. As we know today, the game economy expanded to free-to-play games and IAP. It’s not about virtual currency anymore. It’s a combination of real-world money and virtual goods.
The amount of examples of mobile games that have IAP is huge. In order to progress in the game, the player might have to buy some virtual goods with real money. That’s how it works. However this could be more complicated.
How to make it work great in the game not influencing totally on the gameplay?
That’s the main challenge. In order to combine money and gameplay, the designers need to pay attention to a lot of details, including the gameplay journey and price.
How to know if people are really keen to pay a certain amount to proceed in the game? And if the player doesn’t pay, is he/she able to continue playing?
So in this article I will try to show some of the patterns of game economy design like waiting, asking for friends’ help and virtual money.
But the question is: how to make it better?
I think that for IAP, it should work as different journeys for the player. Let’s take as an example the Four Bartle’s types of players:

  • Killers: influence the game world or the play experience of other players
  • Achievers: want to achieve everything in the game, focused in challenges and levelling up
  • Explorers: discover the game world
  • Socializers: create social relationships with other players

And the Four Keys for Fun, from Lazzaro:

  • Hard Fun: personal achievement, strategy
  • Easy Fun: related to curiosity, exploration
  • Serious Fun: excitement, relaxation
  • People Fun: amusement, cooperation, collaboration

So, let’s try to combine this with the “Game Economy Patterns”:

Candy CrushWaiting…
Most of the things that some games do is that they make you wait. You wait. And wait. If you don’t buy more lives, you will need to wait. Nice. That’s good for games that are quick and simple. Fast feedback, fast achievement. So points and levels are important game design elements to invest. It matches serious fun and achievers.

A little help from your friends
If you don’t pay, you will need to ask your friends to give you something in return. It’s like showing to everyone that you need people’s help. Your experience becomes other people’s experiences, because you will depend on them. It could work for games that have leaderboards. It matches people fun and socializers.

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You don’t have virtual money anymore
You can buy with real money! So if you need more goods and superpowers, you can buy them. Fantastic! It could be good for players that like to customise the game or to have more freedom to manipulate the elements of the game. It matches hard fun and easy fun. It could also be work for explorers and “killers”.

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However, again the game could get boring after a time if there is no element new, or that could add more value. For example, maybe a new challenge in some games could influence achievers to play more. Or the addition of more social features could be good for people that love to compete with their friends. It’s a way to say that games are quite “organic”. For this reason, data is one important element to add in the combination in the Game Economy. It is important to know what the players are doing and measure it.
No wonder some of the skills necessary for the role in Game Economy Designer involved data analysis and deep knowledge in Economics.

For example, most of the job posts that I’ve found in my Linkedin asked the candidates to at least:
1- understand how a game works as a service
2- develop purchase drivers
3- data-driven recommendations on design
4- define metrics

For me it’s a kind of combination with Game User Experience with Economics. But the most important thing is to think about the USER. Players will pay for something that MATTERS for them and not what is imposed. It’s hard to play games that force the player to pay a certain amount to proceed. That shouldn’t happen. The idea of paying to play is not that new. Remember fliperamas? We had to buy coins to play. It’s a bit like that. But everything could get wrong. If the player is “forced” to pay something to proceed in a game and there is no other way, this is not good.

I’m not familiar with Economics theories, but they might have something to add! :) That’s a work in progress.

Read more
http://getinmedia.com/careers/economics-designer
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/09/28/the-economics-of-video-games/
photo credit: what kind of gift can I buy with $11.52? via photopin (license)

iBeacons: a tool just for retail?

From the website www.ocregister.com

Retail industry just got a new tool for collecting people’s data and giving the consumers a more personal interaction. The iBeacons are small sensors that are connected through bluetooth technology and can send to people’s mobile devices specific information/content about products located in a store, for example. Most of the examples presented using this type of device was related to retail stores. The consumers could enhance their experience and because of the mobile technology characteristics, the store will able to collect relevant data from consumers, providing special material to stores to improve the customer experience. It’s a like a loop. People get into the store with their mobile phones, they are able to access specific content from products and with that they give precious data to the retail shop. This data will be analysed carefully and will be able to give insights about the customer experience. It seems very simple.

From the website http://geemo.co.uk

The great deal is that this could be applicable in other contexts that are not totally market-related. For example, in museums or exhibitions, this sensor could be implemented near pieces of art, showing specific content to visitors (see the video below).

Apple iBeacon technology applied to classical art in Antwerp Museum from ProphetsAgency on Vimeo.

And if applied to games?
Imagine the situation through which the content that is shared with the visitors are also part of a game? Wow, better! :) As iBeacons can combine data and location, so why not using this for game-like activities with targeted behaviours? With the opportunity to track the players’ journey locally, it would be possible to develop specific actions, collecting data and giving personal feedback.

And not only that, the implementation of sensors like that are good opportunities for data scientists and people that really can transform the data into something meaningful and return to the user.

Other contexts
Now, if we could apply this to airports or hospitals? If we could send to people really relevant information like how to prevent ourselves from some diseases? And for tourism? iBeacons could be distributed into a city, promoting special content for tourists, for example, and collecting people’s feedback. Why not? Or even better, the content could be translated to people.

Ethics?
Data collection from people implies ethical problems. So far, no one has mentioned any aspect regarding local-related data and the utilisation of that for marketing purposes. It’s possible that in the future we will have to ask for people’s consent to use their data for those purposes. As some applications, a small pop-up appears into the screen asking for permission to share location data. This could be a way to clear ethical issues.

Citizen science apps

In the case of citizen science, people could find really relevant content and could apply this for a bigger purpose. Citizen science is a kind of crowd-sourced science, through which people collaborate to scientific projects involving a specific community or region. Sensors like the iBeacon could help to monitor regions that need to mapped, for example. The community would be able to participate into a bigger network, sharing experiences, ideas and perspectives locally. So, the idea is that not only retail market could benefit from iBeacons. Why not applying this for the whole community? It’s time to think and act locally.

Read more
Citizen Science
Estimote
Is 2014 the year of iBeacons?
What is Apple iBeacon? Here’s what you need to know 
Why Micro-Location iBeacons May Be Apple’s Biggest New Feature For iOS 7
8 Ways Technology Is Improving Your Health

The golden marriage of research: digital arts and social sciences

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Source: MIDAS website. http://midas.ioe.ac.uk/

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go the Festival of Research Methods in Oxford and I was very busy trying to find out what sessions to go. Unfortunately I couldn’t go to the MIDAS session and now I know that I missed a very lovely part of it. However, I had the chance to follow some tweets and enter into their website to know more. This post will give a brief explanation of the MIDAS project and why you should fall in love with it too.

Well, if you are researcher in the area of arts, design and social sciences you will love this. Imagine if you could combine innovative methods, experiences, interactive 3D environments to study arts, museums, disabilities, security and so on. That’s MIDAS and it can be gold and I’m not the only one with the same opinion.

 

Essentially, this is a project that investigates methods used in research in arts and social science. MIDAS encompasses visual and contextual resources, based on people’s everyday tasks, through interdisciplinary methods. For that, the investigators decided to analyse 6 ethnographic case studies in arts and social sciences, including aspects of embodied learning experiences, virtual environments, simulation, digital fashion, experience design and other digital resources.

Why this is important?

For researchers in arts and design, MIDAS can be very useful. For example, the project focuses in the combination of body (physical interactions), digital and methods (practices and applications), through something that they call as synergy. Curiously, this is a very innovative way to conduct research and could be also combined to games. They are already using simulations to gather data. :)

midas
Source: Xambo, Jewitt and Price, 2014

For example, a paper published this year at the CHI2014 conference, reflects the new methodological approach proposed by the researchers of MIDAS. The main concept of it is to understand research embodiment in HCI, which could be divided in to two elements: embodied interaction (e.g. tangible and social computing) and embodied cognition (e.g. the representation of physical experience into abstract situations) (Xambo, Jewitt and Price 2014). The integration of methods provided a wider concept of how the body reacts in terms of interaction and included sensory experiences as tangible materials, textures and so on.

Another example of MIDAS in practice is the development of games of hospitalised children, combining physical, digital play. The project basically integrates interdisciplinary researchers and innovate hospital play, simulating experiences, imaginations and creativity, in order to help children’s recovery. That’s beautiful!

So, no way research methods can be boring. They can be a real passion. And here we go! Time to innovate! :) Thanks, MIDAS!

If you want to know more, read here:
AHRC VideogamesNetwork: Developing videogames and play for hospitalised children
MIDAS at CHI2014
Physical & digital play, developing games for hospitalised children
MIDAS: Case Studies

 
photo credit: intermediae knowledge plan via photopin (license)

What my grandfather taught me about social media

 

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It’s been more than 2 years that my grandfather created his first Facebook account. It may not sound something extraordinary, but what called my attention was his purpose.

My grandfather is full of life. He loves people, social events, music, his students and his family. He uses Facebook to basically stay in contact with people, finding ways to support them in their activities or just giving his opinion. He is 80 years old.

I’ve been researching some articles about social media and Facebook and what caught my attention was the idea that “oh no, teenagers are moving to other chat apps” and this sounded like the end of the world. First, I’m not a “pro-Facebook” or something like that. Second, teenagers can do what they want. If they want privacy, good for them. I think everyone does.

The main concern here is that it seems that sometimes those articles forget that elderly people are now using social media to communicate and this can’t be overlooked. Basically, designers from social media websites and apps need to understand this phenomena and start designing for those people’s purposes and needs. Why not? I’m not saying that designers are not doing it at all, but this concern should be in the mind of design professionals from different parts of the world. This is big challenge and shouldn’t be left unnoticed.

Take as an example, my lovely country, Brazil. According to a research, the number of elderly Brazilian doubled since 1960 and it will grow with time. Technically, this is something new for Brazil that used to have a very low life expectancy and now, because of investments in health and well-being, this context changed significantly.

Taking back the issue of social media, Facebook was found to be one of the most popular networks in Brazil, but there was a lack of concerns around a proper inclusion of elderly people into those systems. I can imagine that this could be related to the interaction with the network’s interface and tools, familiarity, access to the page, especially if using a computer and privacy settings (of course). But who should take the blame?

It could sound easy to say that because people are getting older, they are not able to do some “stuff”. We all know that this is wrong (and sad). That’s not the point and we need to stop making a “gap” between ages, because this is not fair.

First, the possible problems highlighted before could be applicable to any human that is interacting for the first time with a system. Second, privacy issues are an universal concern. So, we are not talking about gaps. We are talking about designing things for people.

Taking back the example of my grandfather. He had to learn how to interact with the network by himself, as he wasn’t familiar with it. However he knew what social media could do. His “needs” were that in the social network, but they weren’t presentable or usable for a “newbie” user. However, even in that way, something just happened that he decided to experiment.

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If we, as designers, could understand that once people want or feel motivated, they will act, maybe we could not get worried about people choosing other websites or behaviours. If we could pay attention on how to build things for people, we should not overlook elderly people’s needs, which are basically human needs and that’s all. It’s not because of age that people can’t interact with something new.

It’s necessary to understand that once the perception of needs and reality, combined to a “good” design are integrated, people can feel motivated. And this could happen in all ages because, well, we are human.

Read more:

Can technology help us to support the ageing population?

Why Should We Listen to Old People? A Very Good Question
photo credit: 2010 – May – 18 – NodeXL – twitter social graph via photopin (license)

What I’ve learnt from my first Hackathon

Last month I was invited to participate to a Hackathon through universities in the UK. Hackathons normally take around 24 hours and you and your team need to solve a specific problem during this time, eating sweeties and working like crazy – with not too much sleep. Technically is not very different from working hours in a newspaper to get your project done before the news are published to the public. But well, this was different.

It was like playing a new game for hours. However sometimes it’s difficult to know what to expect from it. How do I find people to do this with me? Am I that good? What am I going to do? How can I help?

For this post I will highlight my experience (from the perspective of an UI/UX designer) and how we managed to get a prize in the end of the competition. Yay! /o/

The world can end while you are coding. Grab some really nice food!
Some people prefer to study and work with coffee. Oh well, that could be that case as we were doing this for 24 hours. But water and brain food as nuts and dried fruits could help. For me, what helped was chocolate and the idea of finishing the project with a very good result (why not?).

You can sleep. This will let your friends to take pictures like that:

Also, things like that could happen:

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What about your skills?
First of all I got a little bit insecure about my skills and those very experienced “coders” around the team. What can I do being as I was not a “coder”? I knew I could do something around interface design or UX design. And there is where I put all my energy in. I tried everything I could till get the best wait to present our idea to the rest of the other teams. But the greatest thing I’ve learnt was: trust your skills and go for it!

In the end it doesn’t matter if you can’t code as quick as your colleagues. Just have fun!

Choose one idea and defend that till the end
The theme of this project was about collecting data from different areas regarding transportation, roads, weather conditions, floods and so on in order to build a good maintenance plan for streets. The event, created by SmartStreetsHub had a lot of good references about the internet of things, sensors and the “internet of places”, which is about context and people. For this theme, we had the idea to create the tool called CycleSport.

The main idea was to transform the data into something meaningful to people. In that case, our target was cyclists that use roads and streets everyday and need to know which route is the safest. The main idea should be always the creation of relevant things for people. That’s why we are here.

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Work with people that make you laugh and don’t go alone!
Spending 24 hours with people that are boring is not that good. For the team you need to combine skills and analyse the possibility to have fun with those people. This is a very big challenge and in the end, it will be what really matters. Imagine if you start doing what you think it’s the best, and other people from your team are doing another thing? Or imagine that you start coding in one language and then the team is working with other language. It doesn’t work like that. You need to have fun, learn and do what you like the most (that could be programming, planning, testing or even buying some chocolate for the members of the team).

In the end, this experience could open the doors for more projects with the same team in the future. Why not?

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In the end…
I can talk about my role in this project. I was the one designing understandable interfaces to people. In other words, I combined UI with UX into the main idea, creating an identity for the project and a website.

As a result, I must admit that I’ve learnt a lot. Combining the concept of internet of places and contextual data, it was possible to draw significant experiences to people and help cyclists to get safe routes. In this situation and working as a team in a small amount of time made me feel responsible for the design field as much as my other colleagues felt responsible for their areas.

In the end, we’ve managed to win a prize in the competition. But for me, this reward was more than just a few pounds. The final reward was to work with an amazing team of talented people, which I hope to stay in touch and keep doing projects like that.

I can’t wait for the next hackathon. There is nothing best than teamwork. :)

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And thanks for the brilliant team:

@CaryDing

@SimonBox

Gary Wills: gb@soton.ac.uk

Cherrett T.J.: T.J.Cherrett@soton.ac.uk

The unexpected, choices and the filter bubble

First, let’s paint a scenario. People are getting information from web every day and since then, this content seems to be shaped for them, according to their previous choices. With this, people that have the same interest are meeting up and sharing experiences. Also web companies are giving people tailored services, based on their profile.
It seems cliché blaming technology to take us privacy, unexpected discoveries and choices. If you say that you don’t have more privacy, then, it’s Facebook’s fault, for example. But, well, you can choose not sharing your life on the internet… Can’t you? So, what is that all about?

The bubble
The filter bubble is a situation when you have this sensation of being sealed in a world full of the same opinions. Imagine this: you are interested about elections and you want to know more about the candidates. So, you search for their names. With that, the search robot will see, well, you have this type of ideas, so I’m going to show you more about it. That’s one feature of the filter bubble. Because you’ve made a choice in the past, then the machine filters will show you content that seems to be more relevant to you.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to watch Eli Pariser’s TED talk, I suggest you to do this now. Pariser created the concept of filter bubble on 2011 and also published a book with the same name. He said “Personalization is based on a bargain. In exchange for the service of filtering, you hand large companies an enormous amount of data about your daily life–much of which you might not trust your friends with.” Well, this means that we must be aware of the data we are sharing in the web. But, do we really have a choice? That’s one point of this discussion and I don’t have an answer. Maybe yes, we do and we are choosing to see more relevant content, why not?

Unexpected
Another point is about experiencing serendipity moments. Where can we find the unexpected? Where is the moment when you discover something really new? Magic happens out of our comfort zone, right? So, if we stay tied up in our opinions, we will be safe and flat. And, well, that doesn’t seem creative, because we lose the opportunity to discover new ideas to problem-solving. Living in this paradox is very complicated.
It seems pessimistic, but I think we are allowing this to happen. Well, you can filter things according from your interests. Why not? But you must be aware that if you choose to see one side of your idea, you will be losing other opportunities. That’s the nature of choice. And I also think that unexpected moments are not random. They should have a little logic inside it. They are insightful.

Choices and logic
Well, I think choices are related to actions, logic and complexity. Too many choices can create confusing or frustrating experiences and normally you think before choosing (unless you are guessing the lottery’s numbers). In my opinion, if we can see logic in choice, than we can try to develop some insightful experiences.

Patterns?
Maybe it’s possible to design experiences like that by finding some patterns in the user’s choices and insights. Well, if something is insightful, it has a meaning. So, in order to design meaningful experiences, designers need to find what can be significant for the users. And this is related to metaphors, culture, semantics and signifiers.

Conclusion
Is really the filter bubble the bad guy in that context? I think the bubble is something that we need to be aware, because we share our data in the web, more than we share things with our friends and family.
However, knowing one side of the coin, like the tailored-made services, people should try to find other opinions, out of the comfort zone and I think this is where the designer should be. Designers need to create new experiences that will be meaningful and this is a challenge. Finding patterns in the choices can be one way.
But as everyone, I’m learning about it. So, please share your opinion here :)

References
How is web personalisation affecting the news?
Are we stuck in filter bubbles? Here are five potential paths out
Has Google Popped the Filter Bubble?
DuckDuckGo’s New Video Targets Google’s “Filter Bubble” Of Personalized Results
How Organic Development Generates Serendipitous Experiences

photo credit: Bubbles via photopin (license)

Why is everyone running?

Everyone is running. Competitions are happening all the weekends and people that used to be sedentary are now moving their body and burning calories. The competitions became a party where people meet each other and share their new accomplishments. Is this the consequence of the healthy apps rise? Why is that happening now?

Mobile and health
Have you ever had the opportunity to see your friend’s apps? Well, I bet that if they are trainning for running, they must have a run app. I have one friend that said that the trainer on the gym said to her to download an app and she sent the right trainning for beginners. So why are those apps becoming famous? Well, they help people to get prepared for running anytime you want – without a personal trainer – and some of them are game-like. A good example of games and running is the “Zombies, Run!“, That’s a fun and healthy app, that creates a scenario of zombie invasion, and then you need to escape from it.

Being social
The apps are also connected to socialmedia, so people can see when you achieved a goal. One example is Runkeeper, that helps you to track your workout and also share your results. Due to it, your friends can also create a motivation for running, thinking that well, if someone can do it, why I cannot?
I personally hear this a lot, like “how can you manage to run at 6am?”. Yep, it’s possible become a “morning person”.

Motivation
In this context, I think motivation comes from:
– Part of the community: “Everyone is running, so why am I not doing the same?”
– Apps that simulate games: “The zombies are going to attack me, I must get prepared”
– Physical sensations: “Yay, serotonin!”
– Health: “I want to be healthy. This is good to me”
– Competitions in unusual places: “I want to run through the Chinese wall” – Experiences :)
– Medals: “One more medal to my bedroom wall” – Taking a picture and posting of Facebook

Freedom
People are now training for the competitions that seems more like a big event. “When I’m running I feel free” – I’ve heard this from one friend. People are looking for experiences, more then being healthy. They want to run the Chinese Walls, mountains, old cities. The objective is not being a professional runner, like Bolt.

Experiences
The color run, for example, is one big event that creates an experience. You run 5k, and in each km people will throw colored powder on you. By the way, I’ve found out that it’s part of indian culture. During the spring time they do exactly the same thing… Curious? On 16th december we will have this running on Rio de Janeiro and, well, I’ll be there.

The prize now is not only a medal or just being healthy. What you win is the experience. So, what are you waiting for? :)
The author will post about this experience in the next week. I hope to survive!

Read more
Can apps and GPS watches really make you run faster?
10 Essential iPhone Apps for Runners
The Great Wall Marathon
Midnight Sun Marathon

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The future of mobility and smartphones

This week people were talking about the imminent end of the smartphone Era, driven by the launching of Google Glass and Microsoft’s version of the same object.

Mobility

The smartphone Era exists because we are living a moment that mobility is a reality. We are accessing data everywhere from a variety of devices, that could have different sizes, weights, platforms and brands.

It’s difficult to say that Google Glass or other tool will be the future or a fad. It is the behaviour that will determine what kind of object that we will want to use. Devices are tools, not the objective. First we need to understand mobility.

App economy
However, some people say that this smartphone Era can be called as the app economy: we are buying apps for everything. Again, it reflects the people’s desires and emotions. Mobility is not the act to acquire apps. Actually, some people prefer to have one app that combine other apps, promoting an accurate experience and access to relevant information.

I’m not saying that Google Glass is the future. We don’t know what will be people’s desires in the next years. A non-screen experience?

In my opinion, mobility is the way we transform our reality and add more interactions to it. We access data everywhere. It’s the way we use a tool to get more information about our context. The experiences are highlighted and complete. That’s why mobility puts services in the core of the present situation. But again, will smartphones be the right tool for this context?

photo credit: Heads Down Device via photopin (license)