Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Preschool Web Lessons

I run into a problem every now and again. Like many of you with kids, despite an incalculable amount of toys, every so often my children sit among the puzzles, dolls, balls, trucks, beads, books, and art supplies and complain that they have nothing to do. At my worst, I tell them if they don't think they've got enough stuff, I can make space for new stuff simply by throwing out or selling the current crop. But at my best, I call in my wife who changes out the baskets of "things" for toys, games, paper and markers, etc. that have been hiding in closets for months, just waiting for their big moment in the rotation to come out and be used again. The idea is so simple, but it comes from watching our kids' preschool teacher put out new and interesting things for the kids to come up and play with on a daily basis. Each day, a new set of interesting things to touch, consider, explore, try, and engage with.

You see where this is going, right?

Today, in discussing a next wave scope of work, a client of ours laid out clear objectives of: getting people to return to our site multiple times and to increase the amount of time they spend on the site with each visit. There's certainly nothing remotely wrong with that goal on the surface. Who wouldn't want to strive for that? It's a cool, informative side married to a fun idea and campaign. But it wasn't designed with Preschool Considerations, if you know what I mean. Which is to say, it was conceived to entertain and inform not to change shape on a daily basis.

But the truth is, if the hope is to get users to come, stay, and return, we must concept the work with that teacher mentality - introducing new pieces, featuring engaging content, creating unexpected and exceptional experiences and tools, etc. I know this is old news in this here digital world, but I find myself fascinated by the overlap of how people create engaging content and contexts for a specific target simply by bringing the shiny stuff out of the closet with some consistency and frequency. It doesn't matter if your world is hi-tech or analog, if you want someone to come back and stay, you've got to give them something new.

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the thoughts and opinions expressed below are entirely my own, and are not necessarily shared by my friends, family, or employer. (though they very well might be...)