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

MediaPost Publications – At The Forefront Of The Era Of User Choice And Control – 01/20/2009

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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  1. January 26, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I sorta disagree that this is unique to today’s 6 to 11 year olds. I remember when my daughter was 12 months or so and she would point at a dog in the park and say “doggie”, then point to Goofy on tv and say “doggie”, then point to a picture book and say “doggie” and then hug her stuffed lab and say “doggie”. My husband was like, “How does she know all these vastly different looking objects are all dogs?”

    I think it is human nature, and innate in making sense of the world around us to be able to relate to objects, concepts, loves, in various forms, depending on our situation or mood. 100 years ago, a child would always have the option of playing paper dolls, porcelain dolls, or looking at pictures of dolls. I think today’s incarnations of brand options, merely highlight an intuitive way children have sorting and making sense of their world.

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