Excellent stuff – as always – from Matt B; I'm somewhat envious of his focus and the quality of his output. Nodded along heartily throughout.
"The lesson games have for design is not really a lesson about games at all. It’s a lesson about play. Play isn’t leisure or distraction or the opposite of work. Nor is it doing whatever you want. Play is the work of working something, of figuring out what it does and determining how to operate it. Like a woodworker works wood. By accepting the constraints of an object like a guitar (or like Tetris), the player can proceed to determine what new acts are possible with that object. The pleasure of play—the thing we call fun—is actually just the discovery of that novel action." Not just this quotation, but all of this article, really. So good. Immaterials, again.
"Software is a spidery, ambiguous apparatus that reaches through society and culture at all levels to shape our behaviours, practices and beliefs. CGI itself is complex, expensive, time-consuming and difficult to master. The impenetrable CG image masks a complex reality of representational bias, human-computer collaboration, software politics, soft power tax incentives, 24/7 render farms, international trade deals, mineral extraction, gender imbalances, bankruptcy and wage fixing. It’s far more than nerds clicking buttons, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry whose influence continues to proliferate." This is fantastic stuff from Alan Warburton.
Well that fixes one of my main problems with that funtionality.
A great summation – and some choice quotations – from one of my favourite books about games, design, and play.
I've not been pre-amping my piezos, so this sounds like something I should put together.
Simple, but non-horrible Processing GUI library that isn't ControlP5.
"The result is a rhythmic meditation on the tonality inherent in her instrument. To hear bits of the viola on repeat is to hear the organic turned into a machine, as nuances are frozen into employment as compositional elements." Yep.
It's great to see Omata leaking into the world, and I enjoyed this for the early sketches, the playful renderings, and the box of prototypes, as much as the interview.
"There are so many good stories to tell about relationships with some history. The stakes are higher than the stakes of a first crush; there’s all that context to add meaning to the interactions. The characters are invested in each other. And relationships between older people typically have involve juggling other responsibilities and commitments — jobs, children from previous relationships." Excellent stuff from Emily Short on all the *other* shapes of relationships you can show. (It made make think of two very different films I've seen recently that showed deep, adult, *sibling* relationships, for starters).
"But, I also think that in our efforts to define and legitimize our practice as a professional discipline we sometimes forget the history we inherit, the legacy of games made by communities of players, games made by amateurs, by dilettantes, by mathematicians, mothers, scientists, gym teachers, shepherds, inventors, philosophers, eccentrics and cranks.
And in honor of this tradition I would like to suggest other verbs for us to describe where games come from, alternatives to the overconfident precision of the word “design”. Words like invent, discover, compose, write, find, grow, perform, build, support, identify, copy, re-assemble, excavate and preserve." So much good thinking in this post from Frank Lantz
"Its weird really. You’re standing there in front of something, perhaps its an ancient artefact, buried for thousands of years – perhaps its a mummy, partially unwrapped. A real human being, you can see their face from all those years ago, see how they lived, what they ate. History, right there… But whatev’s. Look! There’s a telly over there!" Yep.
Brian Sutton-Smith has died; this is a solid – and impressive – obituary.
15 January 2015
I was talking to Tom and some other people at Matt’s coffee morning this morning, and I mentioned a tiny piece of interaction design I was fond of (that was pertinent to our conversation). Tom said ‘write that up so I can point to it‘, so that’s what I’m doing.
A long while ago, at an agency job, I was sketching out wireframes and interactions for a web-based feed reader. It was designed for users who possibly weren’t that used to RSS, and so it needed to guide them a bit through the best practices of interactions.
The list of articles looked a bit like this:
Pretty standard, although the important component was the unsubscribe button.
I put an unsubscribe button on every feed item.
I wanted to stress that if you weren’t enjoying a feed, you didn’t have to read it. Just bin it! You’ll be a lot happier. Clicking the unsubscribe button would do something like this:
to indicate the severity of your action. I felt that was reasonable – little button, big confirm dialogue. And then boom: the entire feed is gone.
It’s amazing how often you can mark an item as read, or archive an email, before committing to unsubscribing. I wanted to capture how ephemeral subscriptions could be. They weren’t commitments; they were just things you’re interested in.
I think the me-of-2015 would also ensure that there was a way of triggering this interaction based on patterns of behaviour. For instance, asking the user if they want to unsubscribe from a feed if they’ve marked it as read a surprisingly short time after they looked at it (indicating they hadn’t read an entry). And, similarly, checking a few weeks later that you didn’t want to subscribe back: frequently, I unsubscribe from things just because I need a break, or I don’t have the space – not because I want them gone forever.
It’s very easy to offer final, decisive actions; they’re very native to dialogue boxes, buttons, and digital systems. But some things are ephemeral, and it’s important to stress that in design. Just because I unsubscribe form a feed, or unfollow someone on Twitter, doesn’t mean it’s final: I might want it back one day; I might be taking a break from my higher-traffic friends. I wanted to try encouraging that.
And I wanted to remind users that there was an alternative to ‘inbox overload’: you could just have a break.
In these two stills, drawn a bit from memory, there’s a lot of gaps – and I’ve not sketched any of the possible animation or motion that would help convey what was going on. Still, that interaction – offering what feels like the nuclear option front and centre, reminding the user that it isn’t a nuclear option – I quite like that.