Inspirational

The Best Interface is No Interface

Posted in 2010s, Articles, Inspirational, Theory on February 7th, 2013 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Krishna, Golden, “The best interface is no interface,” 2012.

It’s time for us to move beyond screen-based thinking. Because when we think in screens, we design based upon a model that is inherently unnatural, inhumane, and has diminishing returns. It requires a great deal of talent, money and time to make these systems somewhat usable, and after all that effort, the software can sadly, only truly improve with a major overhaul.

There is a better path: No UI. A design methodology that aims to produce a radically simple technological future without digital interfaces. Following three simple principles, we can design smarter, more useful systems that make our lives better.

Magic and Software Design

Posted in 1990s, Articles, Inspirational on October 29th, 2012 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Tognazzini, Bruce, “Magic and Software Design,” 1993.

Perhaps no field other than magic is tied so closely to the field of graphical interface design: The people working at Xerox PARC in the 1960’s and early 1970’s were aware of the principles of theatrical magic when creating the first graphical interfaces, to the extent that David Smith named the interface itself the “user illusion” (Kay). We are designing interfaces for an interface system based on magic, yet there is almost nothing written about it in our literature. (An exception is a single page by Heckel.) Magicians have been struggling with the principles, techniques, and ethics of illusion for at least 5000 years (Burger). There’s a lot we can learn from them.

A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design

Posted in 2010s, Articles, Inspirational on March 18th, 2012 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Bret Victor, A Brief Rant on The Future of Interaction Design, 2011

Pictures Under Glass is an interaction paradigm of permanent numbness. It’s a Novocaine drip to the wrist. It denies our hands what they do best. And yet, it’s the star player in every Vision Of The Future.

How Print is the Future of Interaction

Posted in 2010s, Articles, Inspirational, Interface Design, Mobile on March 18th, 2012 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Mike Kruzeniski, How Print Design is the Future of Interaction, 2011

The literal analog affordance is no longer necessary, and yet, it’s the default path that so many interactive experiences follow. We don’t need to make an eBook look like a book for people to understand how to use it. The book isn’t the cover and binding, it’s the images and the text that make the story. Similarly, a movie doesn’t need to look like a DVD on a shelf to understand that it belongs to a collection, and an audio mixer doesn’t require cables and knobs to be capable as a tool, and a Notebook does not require leather and a spiral bind to be familiar. In the early days of interaction design when software concepts were best explained through heavy handed metaphors, the familiarity of these objects and textures was appropriate. However, the rendering of artifacts has outlived its usefulness as the definitive approach to UI design. As Designers we should be critiquing it for what it often is: shallow, meaningless, and often distracting from the information it surrounds.

The Robot-Readable World

Posted in 2010s, Articles, Inspirational, Robotics, Theory on March 18th, 2012 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Matt Jones, The Robot-readable World, 2011

Computer vision is a deep, dark specialism with strange opportunities and constraints. The signals that we design towards robots might be both simpler and more sophisticated than QR codes or other 2d barcodes.

What the Telephone’s Unbeatable Functionality Teaches Us About Innovation

Posted in 2010s, Articles, History, Inspirational on March 18th, 2012 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Stefan Boublil, What The Telephone’s Unbeatable Functionality Teaches Us About Innovation, 2011

Design has become almost useless to mankind since so few people pursue single-mindedness as a foundational purpose, but would rather purposelessly chase multi-functionalism down a dark and long tunnel that may well lead to magazine covers, but to little else.

Blessed are The Toymakers

Posted in 2010s, Articles, Inspirational on March 18th, 2012 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Tom Armitage, Blessed are the Toymakers, 2011

The best toys have hidden depths. The best toys are all super-simple on the surface; super-obvious. They let you know exactly what you ought to try doing with them. But as you explore them, you discover they have hidden depths. And: hidden affordances. Spaces for imagination to rush in. Toys allow you to play games, inventing rules that make the toy more fun, not less. Toys allow you to tell the stories you imagine, not that are baked into them.

Our Misguided Focus on Brand and User Experience

Posted in 2000s, Inspirational, Theory on March 3rd, 2011 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Jon Kolko, “Our Misguided Focus on Brand and User Experience” (2009)

Interaction design is the design of behavior, positioned as dialogue between a person and an artifact. A person commonly doesn’t talk to an object; they use it, touch it, manipulate it, and control it. Usage, touching, manipulation and control are all dialogical acts, unspoken but conversational. Conversation is only a metaphor for interaction, but it’s a useful one. Many of the same ways we “read” an actual, spoken conversation have parallels in describing and discussing interactions between people and things. Consider:

  • Both conversations and interactions have flow, and often have a beginning, middle, and end;
  • Both conversations and interactions act as intertwining of multiple viewpoints. In a conversation, the viewpoints come from people; in an interaction, viewpoints are embedded in an artifact by a designer;
  • Both conversations and interactions act as both methods of communication and methods of comprehension; participants both contribute to, and take from, the activity;
  • Ultimately, both conversations and interactions serve to affect behavioral change in participants.

This is powerful, as it describes an implicit way of extending a designers reach – and personal point of view, or message – into the masses. It is this mass distribution of dialogue that describes culture; we build culture through our objects, services and systems, as we define behavior through interactions. This is of equal prominence to the claim of “designing experiences”, yet leaves open the potential—the need—for the people (pardon, the consumers) to actually participate and contribute in a meaningful way. The things we do in the design studio have grand significance in the world. Our design decisions – even small, detailed, nuanced design decisions – resonate for years, and usually in a phenomenally large scale.

Crisis & Interaction Design

Posted in 2010s, History, Inspirational on October 16th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Chris Blow, “Crisis & Interaction Design” (2010)

Places to Intervene in a System

Posted in 1990s, Articles, Inspirational, Theory on October 7th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Donella H. Meadows, “Places to Intervene in a System” (1997)

Regarding “leverage points” in a system.

Inside Steve’s Brain

Posted in 2000s, History, Inspirational, Non-Fiction Books, Process, Project Management on October 7th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Leander Kahney, Inside Steve’s Brain (2008)

This book might be the most complete look at what a design managers, VPs of design, or creative directors should be doing to improve their products.

Interaction Design History in a Teeny Little Nutshell

Posted in 2000s, History, Inspirational, Presentations on October 5th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Marc Rettig, “Interaction Design History in a Teeny Little Nutshell” (2004)

The Demon-Haunted World

Posted in 2000s, Inspirational, Presentations, Ubicomp and Internet of Things, Visionary on October 5th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Matt Jones, “The Demon-Haunted World” (2009)

Neuromancer

Posted in 1980s, Fiction, Inspirational on October 5th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)

Sketching User Experiences

Posted in 2000s, Inspirational, Non-Fiction Books on October 5th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Bill Buxton, Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design (Interactive Technologies) (2007)

The Inmates are Running The Asylum

Posted in 1990s, Inspirational, Non-Fiction Books on October 5th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (1998)

Six Principles for Making New Things

Posted in 2000s, Articles, Basics, Inspirational on October 5th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Paul Graham, “Six Principles for Making New Things” (2008)

On the ground running: Lessons from experience design

Posted in 2000s, Articles, Inspirational, Ubicomp and Internet of Things on October 5th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Adam Greenfield, “On the ground running: Lessons from experience design” (2007)

Simplicity is Highly Overrated

Posted in 2000s, Articles, Basics, Cogniton, Inspirational on October 5th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Don Norman, “Simplicity is Highly Overrated” (2007)

This is My Process

Posted in 2000s, Articles, Basics, Inspirational on October 5th, 2010 by Dan – Be the first to comment

Michael Bierut, “This is My Process” (2006)