Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Elle in YoVille: Virtual Worlds and Ease of Use

Yes, that is me. And yes, I am in Facebook's YoVille. "What the hell Elle?" some of you might be wondering, but I'll tell you it was simply curiosity. See, in RL I have a favorite cousin who is one year older than I am. She never plays console or PC games or participates in MMOs. I couldn't possibly imagine her being in SL or Blue Mars and definitely not somewhere like WoW. So when I saw that she seemed to be really enjoying YoVille and had been for a while, I took note. I asked myself "Why?" and figured the only way was to see for myself.

I realized that it's because it was simply easy to use. Simple controls. Basic and straightforward and because it's based in FB, you already have your friends who play built-in (although you can interact with strangers as well). And for any of us who have gotten all caught up in playing simple games like solitaire, you can understand the appeal of a quick game of tic tac toe or fishing. There's no graphics card straining and trying not to implode. There's no complicated orientation needed or difficult user interface to master. You just jump right in and go off. For someone like my cousin, this was perfect. All she needed.

I mentioned in my last post how important usability and community is for a virtual world to not be static/stagnant. Folks need to be able to easily get in and stay in and see what everyone else is seeing as well--for their experience while inworld to be no less different. For instance, I have no idea what glowing things look like inworld. I don't even use glow because I can't see it and would probably blind everyone or something. Sorry, my card won't render it and it's as upgraded as this card gets. No one wants to feel like they need to seriously upgrade their computer just to participate--especially if they don't wish to be a power user.

Knowing me, I'll get bored of this very quickly given what I've been used to and YoVille isn't exactly my cup of tea mainly because of its simplicity, but I'll admit that I'm looking forward to hanging out with my cousin in it. Perhaps that is the appeal.


HeadBurro Antfarm said...

My missus is in FB's FarmVille and loves it - she keeps logging on to check her pumpkins (a phrase that makes me chortle every single time) and I'm coming to beleive she is in the grip of a strange obsession...

Eladrienne Laval said...

omg thanks for reminding me!! I'm in Farmville too! I need to check on my strawberries!