My Photo


« Prevail Whale AHOY! | Main | Facebook Big Pimpin': Using Social Networks & Platforms to Drive Content & App Distribution »

Thursday, July 31, 2008



Interesting idea! It's like an "auto-pilot" or a 'flight simulator'

The key would be to explain this feature to the user ("normals") in a way that won't confuse them. So, good initial description, plus an obvious indicator when 'auto-pilot' is taking over (highlighting links that are about to be activated, providing callouts with description on what's happening, etc.)

On sites where clicking is not the only mode of interaction (e.g. if there are forms), if may be tricky to choose the right information (relevant to user), so that this approach doesn't backfire.

Q1: The advantage of 'PLAY' button over the screencast is that it provides real experience and active participation (screencast is completely passive experience); screencast is however a lot simpler for the user. It's like watching a video of flying, and sitting in a flight-simulator.

Q2: if you measure I don't see how it would get in a way of learning (the data will tell if it's decreasing user activation)


What about a real mini game instead of a form.
What about forgetting the "form" input and replace by some a small flash game with points.
I fyou cannot finish the game let's say in 60 seconds you cannot register but you can play again but you get less point or a another reward.

Still not sure how the game could be, but things like arcade games, choosing between 2 photos, etc...

Another point could be a small quiz and then the registration form.

I like the concept of "play" but we need to add "reward" to it.

I'll work on it, thanks for the seed.

David Haddad

I would like the play button idea if it displayed a common interface among all sites that use it.

A lot of us are veteran facebook users, but if you would go on and create a new account now, i think you would see a lot of effective helpers on the first pages that a new user sees to increase the likelihood of activation.

How about you divide the newly acquired users into say 10 categories depending on which site they come from (search engine, blog, affiliate, etc) or which newsfeed item they clicked on, and reserving a place on the landing page to display the answer to the top question or uncertainty that they would probably think of with an associated call to action?


"Play" button you say? I believe that you understood our "play" button's value on your last visit to Boulder. :)

Miles Sims

We've been working on something similar with one of our clients. Its been around tying the value prop of the site to a perpetual instance of a 'call to action' for registration.

I've actually mocked up a few concepts of a modal box that slides down with a small area for the value prop and a very simple registration form. It takes up very little real estate on the page and can be set to appear/reappear based on user actions or page load.

dave mcclure

@andy: thx for comment & nice to hear from you! how is life in HOTlanta? hope to connect sometime again, either phone or in person :)

@dan: i like the idea of a wizard, but the challenge there is it requires PROactive user involvement, as opposed to PASSIVE user involvement. but yeah, you're right that's another way to hack it.

Dan Benyamin

Slightly tangential to the play button, but maybe a way of accomplishing the same thing would be for sites to offer a "wizard" interface for first time users. The user is presented with a small chunk of information, a single question, and a single "Next" button that is active only when the question is answered.

Wizards are great if you can characterize a web service as a small set of tasks: upload pictures, find a video, etc. Alternatively, they can be used to characterize your user so that you can then present the appropriate interface (are you more of an uploader, or a viewer, etc...)


I've long been pondering triggering some animation or other information push process given a solid lag in initial user activity.

I'm not sure 3-5 seconds is enough, and a smart implementation would need to make sure the screen was in focus, but yes, neat idea.

The comments to this entry are closed.