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Experience Design

#IdeaNotebook: More on the UX of LEGO

I’m not alone in my admiration of the UX of LEGO®. Shortly after my post about the contribution of user research for LEGO designers, I came across this UX Magazine article by Josh Tyson: POP UX! Lego Teaches us About the Power of Near-Perfect User Experience.
IdeaNotebook Art
Tyson asks a couple of intriguing questions at the end including “Is there value in a digital interface that takes the basic elements at-hand and configures new ways to produce rapid, rewarding results that seem limitless, or is that a messy pile of bricks?” My first thought was of graphical programs that rely on widgets or stencils such as Axure or Visio. I have built custom libraries in both tools using basic shapes as well as creating end designs.
Recalling the programming language for the original LEGO® Mindstorms® (possibly NXT 2.0 as well, but I haven’t used that yet) led to the thought of code libraries and snippets. Not graphical and for more specialized users, but definitely creating limitless results rapidly by comparison. I particularly like commenter Leigh Arredondo’s response: “Minecraft.”
The other challenging question Tyson poses is “If you create amazingly fluid and effective software, will it automatically imbue a brand with its core traits (for better or worse)?” The example of Flickr came to mind, which started out as simply a tool for an MMO, but emerged as totally different kind of online community and because a larger brand for the original company.
Compelling questions with the potential for some fun and introspective discussion. I’d normally invite your thoughts here, but I suggest you add your thoughts about these questions along with other readers.

Thoughts on “#IdeaNotebook: More on the UX of LEGO”

  1. Both of my kids are huge Lego fans. Amber now studies Architecture at FAU. Big surprise. Logan has taken up Minecraft. Minecraft looked so retro when I first played with Logan that I had to ask him why he liked it so much. “No rules. I can do whatever I want.” Okay. That supports Leigh Arredondo’s “limitless” statement. After watching Logan for a few months, I see Minecraft as digital Legos. And now there are tech versions in which you can create machines. A very cool sandbox for creative thinking. Granted, the UX has room for improvement. There are still some command line actions, but the UX is receiving significant attention. I believe this was one of the top selling games of 2012.

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Karen Bachmann

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