UICraft: Why Facebook’s New ‘Stickers’ is Stupid Yet ‘Sticky’

Following Path’s step, Facebook recently introduced a sticker feature in their messaging experience. Stickers are a glorified version of ’emojis’ which user can send to their friend while chatting to express emotions. It usually comes with a package of different expressions/emotions. All Facebook’s current stickers are free to download, but the ‘Free’ tag could very quickly become ‘$0.99’ like most Path stickers do.

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Image via: phandroid.com

Stickers are no new creation by Facebook at all. A bunch of Asian messaging apps and services have already embraced it for some time. This whole ‘cuteness’ thing might seem silly, yet before you shout ‘stupid and cheesy!’, let’s not forget all the ‘stupid’ videos that got millions visits on YouTube. There is something behind all these ‘stupid yet popular’ fads. Most of them share one treats: They play very well to your emotion. And emotion, my friend, is usually our weakness. That is what’s behind all these impulse purchasing, all these ‘my brain tries to say no but my body screams YES’ moments, all those ‘this is so stupid but I just can’t stop laughing’ videos.

This is also why some  apps are successful in creating attractive experience. Enter ‘Clear‘, the highly successful to-do app with flat and simple visual but powerful physics and interactions. By swiping the item right, user can mark complete the task. Swiping left is delete the task, pinch open to add an item and pinch close to fold the current task list. It might sound simple, yet it’s physics is so great that when you are doing all these simple operations, you feel like you are manipulate a real object, you are throwing the completed task away like throwing your empty can of Coke to the dump. It relates to your feelings and emotions.

I still remember when the first time Apple released iPhone and introduced multi-touch, people are instantly amazed by the interactions without rationally knows why. Like Steve Jobs once put it in his keynote when demonstrating a multi-touch feature :” I can play this all day!’. As human-beings, we are sophisticated, we use our brains, we developed science. But most of the times, we aren’t that smarter when it comes to our emotion. We fall in love, get hurt, heal through it, and do it again. That just how emotion works. It is sticky and always comes back. No wonder after Path first announced their Stickers and In-app shop, they said the first week it brings in more money than all the money the company has ever earned before. No wonder Facebook is following suit.

Where Does PC Fall Short of Content Consuming

Here’s the major takeaways if you don’t have time to read the entire article:

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PC has taken us a long way. As Steve Jobs said in his interview at AllThingsD:

I’m trying to think of a good analogy. When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this transformation is going to make some people uneasy… because the PC has taken us a long way. They were amazing. But it changes. Vested interests are going to change. And, I think we’ve embarked on that change. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years? … We like to talk about the post-PC era, but when it really starts to happen, it’s uncomfortable.

PC used to be in the center of our digital universe. We used it to browse the Internet, read news, check emails, watch short videos, listen to music etc. Hell we still use PC to do all these things, but more and more we are leaning toward using alternatives. Tablets, smartphone, phablets,  netbook, these are the key words in our digital life now. We are stepping into a Post-PC era. But why? Where does PC stumble and fall short? The biggest one if you ask me, is ‘content consumption’.

We are an indulged generation. We came from an era where content is scarce and hard to find to today’s content overload. We grow accustomed to always having something tweeted to us on our handset, forwarded to us via email and broadcasted to us via TV. We become picky, we want to see our favorite show at any time, on any of our preferred screens (handset,tablet, TV or PC), and we even want to see the entire season in one go (That’s why House of Cards for Netflix is so popular now). PC, having carried us thus far, become less and less efficient in modern-day content consumption.

1. Provide a distraction free environment.

When we watch a movie or read a long novel, we hate distractions. For a great content consumption experience, being able to immerse in it is essential to fully appreciate the content. The truth is, there are too many distractions on a PC. In a short 5 minutes, you’ll probably get 10 emails, 100 tweets, 25 Facebook chat request and 1 ‘Adobe Flash Player Needs to be updated’ notification. Everything is trying to compete for your attention these days on a PC. Yes you can just turn all those off, but doing that will also make you concerned of missing something. Tablet and smartphone do a better job since they are mostly one-task-focus. TV is also good because all you can do with it is to enjoy the show. Movie theater is the best on this, where you even have to turn your handset off.

2. Allow comfortable body postures

We all like to be comfortable, especially when we are watching long movie or shows. That’s why movie theaters all have very comfortable chairs. AMC actually renovation several of its theatres to add power recliner with footrests. Talking about making it more comfortable. You can use a tablet or phone in any postures you want, lay down even. We see most of the tablet usage on couch or bed, which is designed to be very comfortable. PC (mainly laptop, desktop more so), on the contrary, are usually be placed on a flat surface with a chair close to it. It’s designed for people to sit straight when using it. Content consuming is only part of PC’s many functionalities  and people still do serious work on it, so the environment can’t be made too cozy.

3. Access to amenities

We mainly use our eyes and ears to consume the content, but we like our other senses to join in the party too. Yeah I’m talking about your chips, beers and sodas. Nothing beats a cold beer when watching football after all. This is limiting for PC since it is usually located in an office room, not living room or media room where snacks and beverages are readily available.

4. Bite-size, On-the-go style

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Image Source: http://techcrunch.com

With the rise of mobile, the pattern people consume information also changed. Bite-sized information are gaining traction in a ‘less is more’ world. That’s why YouTube initially limiting its video length to be less than 10 minutes, and Twitter still has the 140 characters limitation. People want access to their content wherever they go, whenever they want. PCs are too clumsy for this.

 

 

As Steve Jobs has said, PC, just like trucks, used to be both your working and entertainment machine, will gradually lose its entertainment value and be used mainly as a content creating device, leaving content consuming to the more capable hands of smartphone, tablet, or smart TVs.