The observant would have noticed that we’ve pulled the ‘claim a challenge with a video’ feature in our latest release earlier this week. (Just a coupla’ weeks ago, we rolled out a massive update to our web application which included the option for users to claim a challenge with a Youtube link.)
Well, it’s gone now. Why? You may ask.
It all boils down to the question of whether the feature is needed. Will users really use it? The team had a huge internal debate over this question.
The idea behind GameMaki is to get people out to do things and discover new experiences. And human beings in general have a certain level of inertia when it comes down to trying something new. Think about it. Trying to get over this inertia is difficult enough. Should we really make things more complex by trying to further encourage people to take videos of what they’re doing too?
Well, one might point out that the same argument can also be applied to photos. But photos are ubiquitous. People take photos when they meet their friends or discover something new or out of the ordinary. People like to take photos to commemorate they have actually done something.
It’s very simple to whip out a camera, point and shoot. Videos on the other hand, take time and effort. (And a hell of a long time – depending on length – to upload to video sharing sites like Youtube.) Additionally, pictures have an innate ability to tell the viewer a story with a simple glance. Videos on the other hand, require attention.
The key is to keep things as simple and natural as possible. We want to help people focus their attention on things they can do in real life (and claim challenges easily), rather than struggle with the technicalities of trying to validate that they have actually done something.
Originally, we went ahead to implement the video claim not because we felt it was needed, but fun to have. (Ooh, we can nao watch vidz of peepz pranking their friends or singing weird songz! Or videologz of peepz relating their experience of doing somethingz! Coolz!)
Then, we realized it was introducing unnecessary complexity to the claim process.
Even then, we know for sure that we cannot eliminate videos from the equation altogether. People will still want to share related videos in response to a particular challenge or as part of a challenge (i.e. a related video that well illustrates what the challenge is about).
So, where do videos fit in the GameMaki experience?
Videos as a method to validate claims is definitely out of the question. So, we focused our attention on making it easier for users to share and consume videos shared by others on GameMaki. Now, our engine detects any video links in challenges and comments and auto-embeds them instantly – a crucial first step with many more to come as we continually strive to simplify and streamline things.