Fun to Use or Easy to Learn?

Which is more important?  Something that is easy to learn or something that is fun to use once it’s learned?

Most software developers get this exactly wrong.

Riding a bicycle. At first, riding a bicycle is scary and physically painful. (Falling off a bike is not fun)  However, once you learn it, it is extremely enjoyable and the value of going much faster at a fraction of the expended energy is enormous.

Skiing.  My first day of skiing was brutal.  I fell on my face numerous times and looked like a complete dork doing the pizza wedge.  Learning was hard and slow.  However, the fun of skiing was so tremendous that I didn’t give up and still yearn to fly down a snowy hill.

The iPod. Up means right, and middle means left.  It took me a month to get used to that.  However, I love spinning the wheel.  It feels fun.

The point is: Its more important that something is fun to use than easy to learn.

Most software developers and usability experts (shocker) focus on the easy part, rather than on the software being fun to use after they learn it.  I have been trying to value the opposite priorities.  Of course, I am not trying to make something hard to use.  Rather, I am focusing on making sure the thing is fun to use.  I still apply tons of usability techniques and make sure to include all the big UI five for the user.

My question is: Why aren’t there funability experts?  Why aren’t we measuring fun?  Why aren’t their conferences for business software that talk about scoring high on the fun-o-meter?  Fun is a major source of customer loyalty and referrals.  Usability is not.

Usability is expected, although not often delivered.  Fun is a treat.  Fun is exceptional, remarkable, referable.  Fun will make all of your dreams come true.  Maybe Spongebob Squarepants puts it best.

Next time you are focusing on usability, ask yourself:  Is this easy or is this fun?

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