Monday, January 08, 2007

The Trouble with Flow

The always readable and delightfully colourful Creating Passionate Users blog wonders what comes after usability. To that question I'd say, nothing. When you have it, that's it. You've won. Collect the prize and go home. However, I think that the end state of usability -- 'flow' as depicted in her graphic here -- is getting harder to achieve.
What strikes me as we go up the stack from red to blue that the focus moves away from the product and towards the service layer, and then above that, to the uniqueness of every individual's own data. Can a product in itself deliver flow? A BMW M5 perhaps, or a well sharpened axe. Presumably it's easier to create flow with a service, such as an opera. But what if the user doesn't like opera? It's harder than ever to get into flow, when niches themselves are fragmenting, and, in the spirit of HSBC's brilliant campaign, one user's Bach is another's Beastie Boys.

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