Do Our Websites Need to be More Snackable?

Last Wednesday’s SIAT Research Colloquium was presented by Dr. Drew Davidson, from the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. He reviewed concepts around video games in a world without secrets and snackable gaming; what these theories mean in terms of the design of a game and game-play mechanics.

Dr. Davidson explains the term snackability, first coined around the concept of how easy and convenient it is to eat food, referencing articles such as Twelve easy pieces from the New York Times, which commented on the poor design mother natures offers in fruits such as apples. He expands on the commercial industries movement towards snackability. Drawing on example such as the Lay’s prodding tagline, “betcha you can’t eat just one”. In 2007 Wired Magazine took the concept further by applying snackability to our current culture, describing the “Bite Size Entertainment” that consumes us daily: SportsCenter‘s highlights reel, one a day emails and of course Twitter.

This Little Big Planet commercial even references a snack while explaining its snackable features:

Dr. Davidson explains some characteristics of snackability in video games including power ups, meta games, progress meters, making the game easy to save, updates and ongoing rewards. Personally my faviourite video games are action based role playing games. To be specific, games like Fable, World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto, which  focused around tasks or quests, making them quite snackable.

The idea of snackability got me thinking: Would focusing on applying the concept of snackability make websites more successful?

As the March 2007 issue of Wired pointed out, there are obvious aspects of the online medium which apply to the snack culture. There examples included the one a day, top 10 lists and the “enter here” website link. What else makes a website snackable?

Some thoughts on what can make a website more snackable:

  1. Stickiness – snacks are sticky – enable abandoned shopping cart emails
  2. Fast – Make it easy to create sign ups – social sign up
  3. Use emotion – it is the old broccoli vs donut – logic vs emotion- incentives the process