Designing for Social? Remember Zynga’s Recipe

Now months removed from the presentation that Brian Reynolds (Zynga’s senior strategist) delivered at sxsw, his main points are still resonant and useful.

Here’s what I’ve boiled down, which I hope helps you think differently, critically about what and how you approach your next social effort:

    Make everything possible sharable, and use double entendre / ambiguity in the status updates

    Asynchronous group play: help people achieve a goal without being in the same place at the same time. 

    Make the player the hero of the story

    Create hidden patterns that players can discover

    Make it fun by creating choices that lead to surprises

    Design for five minutes of gameplay

The funny thing is that this list really makes sense when you start looking at companies like groupon, google, apple, popular brand pages and apps.

For now, let’s leave it there, and ask you: have you been using similar principals? Are you seeing them be used well? Drop me a line here in the comments or continue the conversation on twitter @mleis….


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  • Anonymous

    Totally agree. Move out of the “broadcast content” mode and into structured interactions. We’ve seen some compelling results as a result of using “first-come, first-served” as a way to think about universal occasions amongst businesses, at all levels of operations from corporate down to the store level.