Marketers can help make other people happy. A great place to start is to declare a war on crappy product or service design. Marketing artist should design for flow, helping their customers lose themselves in the joy of the optimal experience. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has written a great book on flow, and talks about some of his work in this short TED talk.
So what does it mean to design for flow?
Do not be mistaken – the camera on the left (Fuji X100) is a wholly modern digital camera in a retro disguise, while on the right we have a classic film “poor man’s Leica” (Canon Canonet QL17). With its utter simplicity, the Canonet is designed for flow. Nothing stands between you and taking your next picture – attention can be focused on photography. The modern Fuji, despite it’s classic design, has so many features, bugs and quirks that most of the attention has to be focused on the camera itself, rather than the pictures. The ability to fully focus one’s attention on the flow activity is key to enjoyment – so don’t spoil it with overly complicated products.
Nike does an excellent job at guiding customers along the flow channel with their Nike+. The Nike+ community offers constant fresh challenges, while providing motivation to develop one’s speed, endurance and enjoyment of running. The balance between one’s skills and ever increasing challenges is the sweet spot for achieving flow – and it seems they know this at Nike.
When you take a photo with the Instagram app and share it with your followers, you’ll get an almost instant feedback – did they love it, hate it or it didn’t strike a chord? Feedback is an important part of achieving flow, so there’s no wonder Instagram is surging in popularity these days.