Reading up on Engagement
Today’s 6-to-11 year olds have grown up with the expectation that they can interact with their favorite brand whenever they want, and on whatever device they happen to have in their hands. This ease of movement between formats and technologies reflects a fundamental difference between the way we (digital immigrants) and kids (digital natives) experience media.
For example, a fifth grader who loves Harry Potter knows him in many guises — books, movies/DVDs, videogames, Web games and fan fiction. She accepts the fact that he looks different in various genres (e.g. 2-D Flash animation on the Web, fully animated 3-D on a console game, flat art on a baseball cap or on the cover of a book). This prototypical fifth grader intuitively senses the essence of the brand, recognizing substance independent of style, and she uses her media of choice whenever she feels like visiting Hogwarts.
Tweens’ assumption of user choice and control is essential to keep in mind when trying to engage them through media. Key considerations:
Let Me Play!
When I evaluate a proposed user experience for tweens, I hear the words “let me play!” Being heard — feeling grown-up, wanting one’s voice to be respected — is a core driver at this developmental stage. So whenever possible, don’t push content at them; pull content from them. This active relationship — a sense that the user is part of the authoring process — is critical in creating deeply engaging media experiences for tweens
This is a fab-u-lo-so article (at least from my point of view) for a variety of reasons. I wish I had the time to ramble today – I’m just glad I snagged a moment to blog it. I challenge you to see the pro’s & con’s of the input you find in this article. Oh, challenging the mind 😉 So fun.
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