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Fun: It’s a funny thing really

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I am still in the process of researching fun – but it has been really interesting so far. If you have no taken my quick survey – please do, it will really help me!! – Fun Survey

The thing that is abundantly clear is that fun is purely subjective, what one person finds fun – others may think is a waste of time. The Oxford English Dictionary defines fun as

Enjoyment, amusement, or light-hearted pleasure

In the study I have done to date, so far I have identified about 21 distinct things that people feel fills this definition for them.

As with many things in my life, my children have taught me a huge lesson about fun recently. Both of my daughters (3 and 7) love watching YouTube videos of people opening surprise eggs or bagged toys (like Moshi Monsters). Something about this is fun for them. It seems they share the surprise and delight the person recording the video had as well as enjoying the commentary.

My eldest decided she wanted to create her own. So, never wanting to be the person to stand in the way of creativity – I obliged and recorded her opening some Shopkins. (The video is below – if she gets 100 views she also gets some more Shopkins to make episode 2 with!!).

After recording the video, I asked her if she wanted it to be edited down a bit. It is 10 minutes long and a lot of that is just her struggling to get into the bags! She firmly told me no. She was absolutely sure that these bits would be what people found funny. Again, not wanting to stand in the way of her creativity I published it unedited.

School friends and relatives with their similarly aged children quickly watched it and left us feedback on Facebook. All of the children loved it. They thought it was funny and relevant to them as it was someone their age (a lot of these videos are of adults opening stuff and to be honest they are a little creepy). What got me was the fact that several said that their favourite bits were the bits where she could not open the bag! One parent told me that their daughter actually cheered when mine managed to open one of the bags!

The lesson this taught me (one I thought I already knew) was that we really can’t assume that what we find fun is fun for everyone. If we are designing something for a particular audience, we need to have insight from people in that audience.

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Andrzej Marczewski
About Andrzej Marczewski twitter facebook    
Gamification thought leader and evangelist, I love to write about it, talk about it and bore people to death with it! If you really want to get to know me, check out the About page.

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