Fun and Games with Hohmann and Danzico


It’s been an interesting couple of weeks checking in with the AIGA Journal lately. Last week, you’ll remember we linked to Stephen Heller‘s interview with Kim Deitch. This time, we return to find an interview with Luke Hohmann by Liz Danzico. Hohmann just came out with the book “Innovating Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play,” which is one of those kinds of “help your process out” guides that seeks to break away from the stiff collaborations between client and designer and move into something more entertaining. Having not read the book, we can’t speak to the validity of the message, but in just reading the interview, it seems a whole heck of a lot more worth a try than focus groups. Ick. Here’s that part:

Danzico: But why games? What’s wrong with traditional market research or usability testing?

Hohmann:…clients do pretty expensive focus groups that take up their research budget, so they only end up talking to customers once a year. There could be better results if they did the research on their own and talked to their customers more frequently.

When usability researchers and focus groups typically start working with customers, contexts we don’t really understand frame the nature of their conversation with customers. Because researchers don’t make those contexts very clear, we can get different or misleading information. Even though I’m a consultant, this is the anti-consultant book because it’s about giving people the techniques they need to do the work themselves.