A few years back I was obsessed with the question of why some companies rocked at one thing, and sucked at another. How could Amazon be so good at Information Architecture & Interaction Design, and yet so bad at Graphic Design (and Apple software the opposite: pretty and pretty unusable.) I mean, they could afford hire endless numbers of designers, right?
Around the same time I was studying a lot of Game Design theory, and I came across MDA, a theory of how game design works. MDA is a theory about the emergent nature of game play. It says when you combine game MECHANICS (shoot something, collect coins, jump over something, open a locked door, etc) the combination becomes DYNAMICS (sidescroller, boss battle, etc) which then is experienced by a player as a type of fun, or AESTHETICS (Fellowship, Challenge, Fantasy etc.)
I also was reading up on Loops and Arcs, which are ways to organize game play. That’s when I realized MDA was missing architecture. Which led to asking what else was missing, trying to apply it to “mundane design” (the design of everyday things?) and tl;dr I came up with a theory for designing stuff I call CAMP. It’s an acronym.
Let’s walk through it.