Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 26: Part 2, Quiztastic

So, I've been paying attention to some of the Playfish applications on Facebook. They seem to be releasing some interesting and polished user experiences that are worth investigating further.

Today I played with Quiztastic. It's a usable and polished quiz creator, aggregator, and distributor that is similar to Everybody Votes for the Wii. Before I talk about the application itself, what I would really like to see Facebook (and FB app developers) figure out is how to let people discover and share this kind of content without spamming everyone's news feeds. Most of my friends have started to self-police their quiz taking, and those who don't self-police get hidden from my news feed.

What I wonder is whether Quiztastic might be too late to the party if all it is really going to do is make it easier for people to annoy their friends.

The social power of the application is clear, though. It allows users to easily distribute quizzes to select groups of friends, all friends, or the entire Facebook community. So, as a platform, it's easy for people to target their creations in meaningful ways (do they want to come up with custom content for a few close friends; or do they want to create the next quiz sensation that ripples through and beyond the Facebook platform?)

In terms of usability and user experience flow, this application serves both content consumers and content creators very well.

For content consumers, the application surfaces interesting quizzes in many ways.
  • It has a feed that tells you what quizzes your friends have taken (and with one click you can compete against them).
  • After completing a quiz it suggests other content-related quizzes.
  • You get awarded (or penalized) with points after taking each quiz, which can be very reinforcing. I haven't played long enough to figure out if there is some sort of leveling system or economy where you can spend points on socially/personally desirable things.
  • Browsing quizzes allows the user to filter by relevant categories and sort by useful categories (e.g., star rating, recency, number of people who completed it).
  • And there's a "Quickmatch" feature whereby with a couple of clicks you're dropped immediately into a new quiz.
For content creators, the application does a number of cool things.
  • Players are required to rate each survey after completing it. Ratings are great ways to reinforce good surveys and punish bad ones.
  • Although it's hard to find, there is a dashboard where creators can monitor their quizzes (how popular, how rated) and edit or delete them.
  • The content creation pipeline is straight forward and easy to use.
A couple of quibbles:
  • For the Personality Quiz, I'm not sure how to set thresholds (e.g., if you get a certain score you are a "big jerk", otherwise you're only a "medium" or "smalll" jerk).
  • It's hard to find the dashboard (where you can monitor quizzes you have created). Burying it under "profile" doesn't seem like the right place for it. Note that there is plenty of usable space on the Main Menu (where there are only "play" and "create" options) that could be used to tease recent updates/stats on quizzes the user has created. This could also be teased on the Create Menu page (something like "monitor your existing quizzles").
  • I wish there was a better way to design the status update blurb. It's a huge chunk of screen real estate that essentially includes a generic icon for the application (not needed) and a large image that may or may not be related to the quiz itself.
  • It also seems like there should be a better way to educate the content creator about how best to make the headline and image associated with the quiz inviting and engaging, and there might be a better way to streamline the feed item so that it isn't so aggravatingly large.
Overall, I think that this application is pretty easy to use for both content creator and consumer. I just wish that there were better ways to integrate these kinds of social data into my already cluttered Facebook feed.

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