I think I could write a whole series on lift buttons – I regularly see people struggle with this most rudimentary of interfaces. These buttons are from a smart new building at the Hochschule Luzern. They’re touch sensitive buttons displayed by an LED lighting up behind stencilled glass.
It looks trendy, but in practice, they’re awful. There is no satisfying affordance of pressing a physical button (and people love hammering lift buttons even though they know it doesn’t make the lift arrive faster). If the LEDs blow, you don’t know where the buttons are or even if they still work.
If the power completely goes, you won’t even see any of the emergency call buttons printed on top of the glass.
If you are blind, you are totally out of luck anyway. But despite this building having a toilet for the disabled on the ground floor, this lift appears to be only accessible after a flight of five steps, so obviously disability was pretty much and afterthought anyway. Shameful.
‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessible to anybody in public space. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop is installed empty except a readme.txt file explaining the project. ‘Dead Drops’ is open to participation. If you want to install a dead drop in your city/neighborhood follow the “how to” instructions and submit the location and pictures.
Aram Bartholl has also developed this into an exhibition piece for MoMA in New York.
It’s been a sad and bad year for interaction design losing some of its pioneers. Hillman Curtis, Andy Cameron and now Bill Moggridge, arguably the father of interaction design as a discipline and designer of the world’s first laptop, at just 69.
The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, where Bill was Director, has posted a lovely tribute (video embedded below) as well as resources of his talks and books. John Thackara, who has known him for many years, has also posted a nice personal tribute.
I’m particularly sad because Bill was one of the people on my “must meet one day” list, as his work and thoughts fed into many of my own. We were also hoping he would write the foreword to our book on service design, given his early interest and help in developing it and contact with the live|work founders, who appear in his Designing Interactions book. He would have been the man to connect the dots. Any of us working in this area – in design in general – owe him a great deal.