I was watching my four and a half year old daughter play Recipe Rhumba! on the Kids’ CBC web site with a banana in one hand and her other hand on the laptop’s trackpad. Now the game requires that you drag and drop recipe items (see the image below) which I figured she wouldn’t be able to do with just one hand. Yet as I watched, she proceeded to click an item once, which caused it to be picked up, then she dragged her finger to the tray, and as soon as she was over it, the item automatically dropped. Now I guess I just took for granted that dragging and dropping items required the mouse button to be kept pressed during the whole drag operation. But that was me taking things for granted. Considering kids and their likely inability to keep the mouse button pressed during the dragging operation would require a different design, which is what Kids’ CBC did.
So why am I telling you all this? Because without actually watching a kid interact with the game, I would have never considered something as crucial as the drag and drop interaction as it applied to children. I would have simply taken it for granted and delivered a flawed product. This is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about in my post on Experiential Perspective. Until you actually get into what you’re building and interact with it like a real user, you’re going to be missing key nuances and what you deliver will end up being sub-par.
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