I was reading an interview on adaptivepath with Eric Costello, one of the co-founders of Flickr. He talks about how Flickr formed itself to one of the best user experience sites. Flickrs’ history is quit important, it started as a spin off from a web-based game “the game neverending”. So their starting point was letting the users amuse themselves online, making a good user experience, where the communication between the different members was very important.
I extracted an answer from the interview:
JJG: Tell us a little bit about The Game Neverending, because I think
there are a lot of people who arent familiar with that aspect of
EC: With The Game Neverending, we hoped to build a massively
multi player online game that was totally Web-based. You could play
the game from a browser wherever you were. It was a Flash app that
talked to a Java application server that we built. Its still a great
idea. Someone still needs to do it.
It wasnt an immersive environment at all. It had interfaces that
were really like Web interfaces or desktop application interfaces.
The mode of interaction between users was in IM windows. The way
Stewart talked about it early on was giving people an excuse to use
chat and IM. There are a lot of people using these tools but there
are a lot more who arent used to the idea of online chat, who think
of it as something kind of geek and weird.
The inspiration in large part for Game Neverending was actually
Neopets, which had tremendous success among young people as a way to
interact with others around the idea of this magical world of pets
that you cared for, and all sorts of things you could collect. The Game
Neverending was the same basic idea, but more real-time.
We did a couple of things in the UI that were kind of neat, I think.
You had IM windows where you could drag a person from your contacts
list into any chat window and it would invite them to join your
conversation. You could also drag game objects into an IM
conversation and it would send to all the other members of the chat
an image of the object. So it was a way that you could share the
things you found in this world with the people around you.
That feature was where the idea for Flickr came from. We thought,
what if instead of game objects, you could drag and drop other
digital objects into these conversations, like Word documents, or
PDFs? Photos were the natural thing to go with because theyre more
When we initially launched Flickr, it was just a stripped-down Game
Neverending interface, with photos instead of game objects. You had a
list we called the Shoebox at the bottom of the interface with all
the photos you had uploaded, and you could drag them to other people
to share them. You could drag them to an IM conversation too. That
was all straight out of The Game Neverending.
As said here, Flickr emerged out of a stripped-down game. So this was a very important factor in how Flickr differentiated itself from other photo sharing companies. Having fun while sharing your photos. Making a game out of it.
I was just watching a documentary on National Geographic (well yeah, a bit bored :p). It was about how Albert Einstein was possible to invent something like the Theory of relativity . When they asked him this question he answered that he was able to ask really childish questions. Like for example is the time the same on Mars as on the Earth, … I think while developing a concept or a project you sometimes need to try and look at your project/concept like a child would look at your project. Without any preconceptions, you will have a totally different experience of the project. Things you took for granted, are all of a sudden very difficult. Ask “stupid” questions (yes, I know there are no stupid questions) about what you’re doing.
Well just a few notes as a reminder, this can seem total crap to you … but hey, it’s been a busy day 🙂