State of the Game #238 : Quality of Life

Small things really add up to make a big difference in the enjoyably of things.

That is the lesson I have been learning this week, and really the whole time I have been working on MAV. Some people would just yell “Your just talking about polish, you dolt!”, and I wouldn’t say they are completely wrong, but this feel different. This is not about making something as good as it can be, this is about thinking about the ‘holistic’ of an experience and THEN implementing that as best as it can be. Does that make sense?

There is an analogy that I love to use so much that Rachael is sick of hearing it and would be rolling her eyes if she saw that I was typing it up.

It’s the goofy stuff on the walls of a restaurant.

Stick with me here, I swear it makes sense! So, we all take for granted the goofy crap on the walls of a restaurant. Everyone has it, so we just kind of tune it out. That is, until it’s not there. Then, the stark walls scream at you with the blankness that only an empty wall can. OR there is stuff on the walls and it just doesn’t fit. It’s a hodgepodge of junk that looks like someone was just trying to fill up empty space. Both of these situations are bad. They are a huge indicator of quality for me and if done wrong can easily make me not want to eat at a restaurant.

When done well however, it’s almost invisible to you. Sure, maybe one time you start looking around at the stuff on the walls and you ponder the purchasing process for what appears to be 400 pieces of random artwork, but for the most part, it goes unnoticed.

Now, lets break this down even more. Someone had to spend time, effort, thought, and money into getting all that stuff on the walls. They had to get pieces installed, position it just right, make sure it wasn’t going to fall down, etc. But, really, that choice to do it in the first place is strange. Why spend all that money and effort on something that will be unnoticed?

And that, is where I feel these ‘Quality of Life’ items are different than pure polish. The quality of life item is the choice to put the stuff up on the walls in the first place. Polish is making sure you get the best crap to hang up and make sure it’s REALLY nailed down.

The real tricky part, of course, is both of these items can take up an enormous amount of time. Finding the right balance is key. I can’t help you there, as I am still going through the process. 🙂

This blog post comes from parsing through hundreds of lines of user feedback, aggregating it, and making an actionable plan. Watching hours and hours of people using the garage, at all experience levels, and writing down all the notes I can. And of course, carrying out that plan. In general this week, I have had a heavy focus on the ‘Add a part’ workflow. I don’t want to call it a menu or UI anymore, because finding, comparing, selecting, and adding a part to your MAV is very much a process. There have been a large number of different workflows that I have seen people use in the current system, so Rachael and I have been working very hard to ensure as many of those workflows are supported in the least evasive way possible. So far, I think we are doing a pretty good job!

On the none development side, I have secured all my arrangements for PAX West and have been starting to setup as many get togethers with people as I can. I am planning a bit of a surprise, so if you do see me at PAX, make sure you come up and say hi! You never know what I might have in my backpack for you! (not stickers!) In addition to PAX, I figured we should just go for a full round this year and have committed to going to TwitchCon as well! I will have more details on this as we get closer to the dates.

Well, that rounds it up for this week!

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