Websites are like Pinball Machines

“How do you figure that out?” you might ask.

An interesting commentary was published on Evolt.org yesterday, in which the author makes the following observations:

  1. Pinball machines have to stand out in the arcade, and quickly communicate a message to passers by (usually something like “I’m fun!”). The home page of your website needs to quickly communicate too, so people don’t just “wander by”.
  2. Pinball machines have the same basic controls, and while the machines themselves differ in what they do, you don’t need a licence to operate them. Similarly, a website needs to be easy to use with simple controls (or buttons).
  3. Pinball machines offer feedback when targets are reached, and encourage new players to keep going. Websites need to do much the same thing, and offer the right amount of information at the appropriate stages.
  4. Pinball machines have a built-in processor that tracks usage, how many free balls are awarded, and so on. Websites can offer you a lot of information about it’s usage – the point is, do you monitor it? You can’t improve what you don’t measure!
  5. Is your website memorable? Classic pinball machines have something memorable about them – what will people remember about your website?

And in closing, the author states:

“The reason pinball machines are a good metaphor for conducting business online is because they are business tools. Their purpose is to make money. And, they do so by giving users a pleasant experience in hopes of establishing loyalty and return visits.

Interesting illustration. Read the full article here.

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