Stephen Anderson

From Paths to Sandboxes

Stephen Anderson presents his thinking on the creation of open environments vs closed. Whereas many games were originally designed as specific paths, he shares examples and ties in the psychology of why open environments can create more seductive experiences. Using Candy Crush, World of Warcraft, Pinterest and other examples, he shows how the open-ended environment encourages exploration and engagement.

Through this talk, Stephen Anderson shares his personal journey, from trying to shape and influence a user’s path, to creating sandbox environments in which people can play, amaze, and delight us.

Learning questions

  • Try to identify other experiences that might be classified as sandboxes.
  • How does a sandbox still use psychology to influence behaviors?
  • How is the use of psychology different for paths vs sandboxes?
  • How you might apply the “practical takeaways” to your work.

Interaction Design, Designing Behaviors, Gamification, Motivational Design