A very simple lesson in user experience

Shivesh Vishwanathan

Posted On Jan 24, 2010   |   2 Mins Read

A very simple lesson in user experience

First-Person Tetris is a truly unique take on the old game of Tetris, and exemplifies out-of-the-box thinking in interactivity design (quite literally).

What makes First-Person Tetris really interesting is that it turns the concept of the game on its head. In Tetris, you interact with the objects through your keyboard to place them properly in the box. First-Person Tetris makes you, the user, manipulate the context, which is the box, to ensure that objects fall into place properly.

When I came across this, I shared it with a few friends. One of them replied with a simple, “Love the idea!”. Most people I have shown this to have had similar reactions. For some inexplicable reason, the idea of rotating and moving the graphic computer shown in the game appeals to us, and so I think there is a very fundamental lesson here for all of us. And here is the lesson:

Tetris is a game of user interface, where you manipulate objects that you see on the screen. FPT is a game of user interactivity. It goes beyond the mere user interface and puts you firmly inside the context. It’s the difference between driving a car and racing it on a PlayStation.

Touch-screen interface, accelerometer and GPS are examples of interactivities that create a first person user experience. Touch-screen breaks down the barrier between the user and the object and provides an experience in user immersion. Accelerometer helps with experience in object’s orientation, and GPS does so with the location of the object (where am I?).

Similar out-of-the-box thinking in building games and application clients for new, portable devices like iPhone, Droid, Kindle, iPad / iSlate has the potential to turn user interface on its head and create a new world of user interactivity. As you think of building apps for these devices, think of leveraging touch-screen, accelerometer and GPS to create a first person user experience.