OneUpMe

August 27, 2010

When I experience great products I’m going to write about them here so that I remember why I liked them. This week a colleague referred me to OneUpMe, a daily competition of wittiness. The structure of the competition is as follows:

  • Each day at 7AM OneUpMe posts a simile to the community (e.g. “She was like an Abacus – calculating”). Each simile has the exact same format.
  • Each member of the community has the opportunity to submit a more clever finish to the simile (e.g. in lieu of “calculating”). Only one submission per day is allowed (submissions and voting ends at 10PM), but each member can submit and remove as much as necessary to hone in on the perfect submission.
  • The community then votes on the submissions and the member with the most likes is the winner that day

All of the posts you make, likes you receive, and competitions you win are archived in your profile for bragging rights later on.

So why do I like OneUpMe so much?

The product is extremely buggy and I don’t care at all.

As an experience designer I get paid to ensure that a user’s experience of the products I work on is smooth and intuitive. OneUpMe has a long way to go. I’m logged in an out of Facebook randomly, elements display in unpredictable places, and much is to be desired in various interactions with the product. But guess what? I don’t care. I don’t care because products that are great, don’t have to be good, especially on Day 1. And that’s the sad truth of my profession. Users are incredibly forgiving of experience issues when value is undeniable. For example, Bloomberg only recently hired a UX team after decades of an extremely user unfriendly product that financial professionals simply couldn’t live without.

The onboarding process could not be more simple.

OneUpMe’s onboarding process is dead simple. All registration, authentication, and profile building is handled automatically by Facebook’s Open Graph APIs. More importantly, the first objective – the first set of actions a user needs to take – is completely clear: enter a submission in today’s competition. That’s it. And it’s clear that the attitude of the creators is “if you don’t like it, then don’t use it.” I love it.

Non-continuous engagement.

In a world in which content creators and service providers compete for our attention in an attention economy, everyone is vying for continuous engagement. Uttering the words “moderate” and “engagement” in the same breadth is likely to get you some very puzzled looks. These truths make me that much more appreciative of products that require non-continuous engagement. OneUpMe requires about ten minutes of real creative thought each day and that’s it. No friends requests, activity feeds, email notifications, Facebook notifications, tweets, or other touch points. Just one action, once per day. And that action is incredibly fulfilling and rewarding, even if I don’t win.


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