Building an online mood pharmacy

Over the past few years I’ve been involved in a number of research studies exploring the psychology of entertainment. Through out this research, the importance of moods emerges as a consistent theme.

For 20th Century Fox we found that entertainment is actually dictated by moods – with DVD products acting as a ‘modern mood pharmacy’ for individuals. What’s the implication of this finding? What you buy and watch isn’t about age or price - it’s about how you want to medicate your moods.

Making money from moods:

Whilst ‘moods’ may seem abstract and potentially difficult to manage, they actually deliver a very simple and user-friendly experience. One of my favorite examples of building moods into a product experience is Musicovery; a website that generates playlists based on music moods.

Example: Musicovery interface and mind-map 
The interface is incredibly intuitive and allows the user to make selections by genre, year and most importantly, mood. The playlist is presented visually in the form of a mind-map, which is much closer to how human thought processes actually occur (not in linear lists, but in inter-connected webs).

This simple approach to information visualization has applications far beyond the generation of music playlists. Could you imagine searching a Yellow Pages listing for restaurants by mood and then getting connected to other types of entertainment in the form of a mind map? Much more fun and user-friendly than a list!