JC Herz on ‘The Sims’

JC Herz on ‘The Sims’ and information architecture

The author of ‘Joystick Nation’ writing in The Standard, with things to
say about the context and the determinist, isolationary viewpoints in
which some information architecture and online business are designed;
and how looking at game systems like The Sims show a way forward for
experience designers.

“For the business community, The Sims’ lessons are
twofold. The first is that interaction design trumps graphics. The Sims
is less photorealistic than any computer game on the market, or any
broadband site on the Web – it’s not even fully 3D. Yet it succeeds
tremendously because it allows players with different agendas to
interact as consumers, producers, mavens and community leaders and to
reap rewards for all of these activities. The richness and complexity
of an online experience, like the richness and complexity of a city, is
created by the people who live there as they engage with the place and
each other.

The second lesson is that online businesses don’t just
exist, like buildings, in space. They exist, like cities, in human
context over time. The best ones are designed to grow more
interconnected, not just bigger, as the population evolves. They’re
always messy. They’re never finished. They harbor an almost palpable
sense of around-the-clock activity and a sense of place that owes as
much to collective experience as to snazzy signage. When you open your
window, there’s a there there.”

The Standard.com: Learning From The Sims

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