We Should All Be Aggressively Against Bad Design

A couple of days ago, BBC posted an article revealing how gameplay contributes to feelings of aggression. The University of Oxford conducted a study that examined how other factors apart from content may impact players’ aggressiveness. In the study, participants felt aggressive when it was difficult to master the game-play. Regardless of whether the game contains violence or not, participants experienced aggression when they did not feel that they had control over the game.

Ninjabread Man is a game most notable for its negative reception due to bad game-play. Many players did not taste the game's sweet promises and were left with bitter feelings instead.

Ninjabread Man is a game most notable for its negative reception due to bad game-play. Many players did not taste the game’s sweet promises and were left with bitter feelings instead.

Obviously, a good game developer will try to design game-play processes that would prevent this kind of irritation, but let’s take a step back and think about how it relates to design in general. This article brings up a very interesting point, and that is a sense of control. If players feel aggressive when they don’t have a sense of control over games, imagine how this concept can be applied in other settings. How will users feel if they don’t have a sense of control over the app they’ve purchased or a product they just bought off the shelf? What will they do when they experience frustration?

As I was reading through this article, I kept thinking about all the tutorials for products I had given up on due to the very fact that I was so frustrated with the whole learning process. After giving up on a tutorial, I would either (1) dive into using the product straightaway or (2) set the product aside and never consider using it again. (The latter happens more often.) I can’t count how many times I was thwarted by bad on-boarding experience. And if I can’t count how many times I’ve quit, imagine how many people have attempted to try your product, felt frustrated with learning how to use it, and then just simply left. What’s sad is that they probably didn’t just leave, they most likely purchased something from a competitor of yours.

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