Designing for flow
In web design, when we think about flow we usually think about â€œtask flowsâ€ or â€œflow chartsâ€ but thereâ€™s another type of flow that we should keep in mind. Itâ€™s that feeling of complete absorption when youâ€™re engaged in something you love to do without being disrupted by anxiety or boredom caused by tasks that are confusing, repetitive or overly taxing.
Flow, as a mental state, was first proposed by psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and is characterized by a distorted sense of time, a lack of self-consciousness, and complete engagement in the task at hand. Software engineers might feel it when theyâ€™re writing code, gamers might feel it when playing Guitar Hero III, Christopher Cross felt it when he went sailing. For designers, itâ€™s exactly the feeling we hope to promote in the people who use our sites.
How do we create sites that inspire that feeling?