Living in the outskirts of a big city means taking a daily long commute by train – not that i complain about this, as the advantages outweigh the inconveniences. However, there is this long tunnel with zero connectivity in which i used to patiently wait for the signal to return. That is, until somebody hinted that i had to tap the dinosaur.
For those unfamiliar with this amusing gimmick, on android devices this opens a very simple mini game in the form of an endless runner. Tapping the screen instructs our cute dinosaur to jump over the different obstacles in our path. You can take a look at the stand alone version on this link.
This simple challenge allows the user to ease the boring wait for navigation data, chat, or whatever application of choice is executing at the moment.
Other than the curious trivia, from the usability point of view, this makes for an interesting reflection: companies understand now that is the final user the one choosing to use their product. As a perfect example, Dino run solves in a very satisfactory manner one of the biggest pet peeves of mobile browsing (the other being, i think, badly converted websites for small displays).
Ignoring potential roughness in the intended experience is a risk. Fluent use is transparent, but bad design is punished. This is a rule to keep in mind with every interface. The rule of five seconds or Mandel’s Golden Rules are good starting points, but feedback from your user base is the real source of information regarding the additional development and investment your application experience requires.
Myself, i will be playing daily around 10 minutes to this silly little game, waiting patiently to resume my navigation.