The Angry Birds User Experience

My specialization for the degree I’m pursuing is Human-Computer Interaction. This means that I’m studying user experience and interaction design. Because of this, I found this piece on the user experience of Angry Birds interesting indeed.

Why is it that over 50 million individuals have downloaded this simple game? Many paid a few dollars or more for the advanced version. More compelling is the fact that not only do huge numbers download this game, they play it with such focus that the total number of hours consumed by Angry Birds players world-wide is roughly 200 million minutes a DAY, which translates into 1.2 billion hours a year. To compare, all person-hours spent creating and updating Wikipedia totals about 100 million hours over the entire life span of Wikipedia (Neiman Journalism Lab). I say these Angry Birds are clearly up to something worth looking into. Why is this seemly simple game so massively compelling? Creating truly engaging software experiences is far more complex than one might assume, even in the simplest of computer games. Here is some of the cognitive science behind why Angry Birds is a truly winning user experience.

The article goes on to discuss at length the ins and outs of the user experience of playing Angry Birds. Now if only someone could tell me why the pigs stockpile ham (it’s so disturbing).

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brad Millman
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 10:14:10

    Angry Birds requires skill! That’s what makes it so great. It is not just a time waster. It really is a great puzzle game that teaches cause and effect in an extremely simplistic way.


  2. caramol
    Mar 26, 2011 @ 21:32:19

    I think portability has a lot to do with it. If this game required a slightly more powerful machine than a cell-phone (like a laptop for example), I doubt people would be so into it and be wasting 1.2 billion hours/year. I think having those few minutes to kill here or there and having the game in your pocket is a big reason it’s so popular. Nearly everyone has a cell phone these days, and since the game is free, it’s the perfect storm for time wasting!


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