Lovely work by Pablo Alfieri whose portfolio site is dubbed Playful – a name I can thoroughly relate to (and was thinking of using myself – bah!). Many of his posters and images are physical set-ups, much like the work in the book Tangible: High Touch Visuals.
I like this digital analog clock from Alvin Aronson. Each segment slowly pushes forward or recedes back as the minute changes, which creates a analog in-between that you normally see on non-quartz clocks with a sweeping second hand. The white on white is a nice touch, adding to the blending into nothing effect.
Most digital clocks I have seen seem to follow the same, utterly boring lines as each other, based around the cheap standard components from Chinese factories. This is an elegant update to an old approach and it has a hint of playfulness to it too.
One of the aspects of the job of interaction design and strategy research is being asked the impossible task of predicting the future. It is a fool’s game, especially as the future never turns out to be anything nearly as interesting as the present.
I don’t read a lot of sci-fi for some reason, aside from the brilliantly prolific Neal Stephenson (how does he turn out those massive volumes so quickly?). But I was searching for a quote the other day and stumbled across this one from John Sladek, who I had never heard of before today, much to my loss probably.
“The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive.”
It seems to sum the situation up rather well. Apart from the interweb that is – everything is free online and must be true, innit?
Great collection of “free interactions” and insightful commentary from Chris Noessel on the Cooper blog. Basically these are little interactive extras, sometimes by-products of a design, sometimes seemingly deliberate (like the iPhone example above). Things that you like to just play with and that have no obvious, functional ‘use’, hence the term “free interaction”.
I don’t think we should be surprised that things like these make a difference – play and playfulness is critical to an interaction whether it is physical or virtual. Whether it is the weight of a nice piece of cutlery in your hand or an elastic interface element on-screen, they all make the everyday object and usage more engaging. It’s often an unconscious affect going on too, but designers who understand this do very well indeed.
It is also a different mindset. It’s interesting for me that Noessel calls it a “free interaction” because that comes from a position that ‘normally’ interactions should always have a tool- or purpose-like function. That mindset seems to be oblivious to the idea that creating pleasurable affect is an important and useful function.
I think it is great, although strangely newbie (he is no newbie), that he ends with a Call To Action for interaction designers:
Since we want our designs to be humane and, presuming they fulfill their utilitarian purposes well, emotionally satisfying, I suggest that designers begin to include one free interaction in their designs to enable the channeling of energy and simple expression. Design this interaction such that:
It’s “free,” i.e. having no significance to the task or content
It’s discoverable in ordinary use of the product
It’s quick and repeatable (Less than half a second.)
Almost everything I’ve been involved with in interaction design has been about trying to foreground this playful aspect.
Most people who know me in real life know that I have a tendency to swear too easily and too much.
They are, of course, twats.
Actually that last outburst is a rarity for me because I tend not to swear online all that much and, it seems, neveralmost never on Twitter. Perhaps it is the fear of the permanent, cached record of it somewhere. Perhaps it is that I’ve trained myself to be careful about crafting the written word.
Either way, Cursebird, a site that tracks people swearing on Twitter in real-time, shows how fascinating the everyday grittyness of humanity is. Who cares about tracking tweets about “Obama” or “Economic Crisis”? Swearing is much more entertaining.
Cursebird was put together by Richard Henry. @thinkingstiff seems to be leading the cursing pack at the moment, but I’m pretty sure he’s trying too hard.