“They deliver potentially fundamental insights (Schneider, 2005) into the interaction between humans and the constructed environment surrounding them, including the mundance aspects of everyday routine (Carroll, 2000), even the potential subversion of the system or setting through its agents (Blythe & Wright, 2006). The user is advanced into a character or specific persona placed in fictional but feasible settings (Nielsen, 2002). The representation of scenarios through prototypes, use of storyboards, video, rapid prototyping tools and stories, annotated sketches, cartoons, photographs, role-playing or live dramatization (Suri & Marsh, 2000), allows the vision conveyed through the scenario to be opened up to critique (Carroll, 2000).”
“Design, here, does not assume the traditional role of problem-solving, but acts as a critical agent in the enquiry about real human needs and values by evoking reflection (Carroll, 1995) and stimulating debate amongst designers, industry and the public (Dunne & Raby, 2001). This critical strand in design, termed speculative design, critical design or design fiction, has emerged as a field in its own right and is establishing itself with the main markers of a new discipline, such as seminal publications (Dunne, 2005; Antonelli, 2008), exhibitions and conferences.”
Microsoft has two new ads, anticipating their upcoming Windows Phone 7 launch. The first is an almost post-apocalyptic vision of humanity stuck with their heads in their mobile devices:
Here’s David Webster, chief strategy officer in Microsoft’s central marketing group, explaining their anti-screen strategy:
“Our sentiment was that if we could have an insight to drive the campaign that flipped the category on its head, then all the dollars that other people are spending glorifying becoming lost in your screen or melding with your phone are actually making our point for us.”
I think Microsoft & Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s advertising strategy stands out in a world full of slick floaty media. The only problem is that without any strategy towards tangible interaction, I’m not sure the ’tiles’ interaction concept is strong enough to actually take people’s attention out of the glass.
A lovely piece of work by Lars M. Vedeler and Ola Vågsholm from the Tangible Interactions course at The Oslo School of Architecture & Design:
Olars is an electronic interactive toy inspired by Karl Sims’ evolved virtual creatures. Having thousands of varieties in movement and behaviour by attaching different geometrical limbs, modifying the angle of these, twisting the body itself, and by adjusting the deflection of the motorised joints, results in both familiar and strange motion patterns.
Still from the film xXx from Mark Coleran‘s portfolio.
The idea that Apple is grasping at real-life objects because they support effective visual storytelling is very interesting:
In Movie OS, visual storytelling is used to make the system’s important, critical reaction to a user’s action abundantly clear. In Movie OS, you know if you’re logging into Facebook.
I’d argue that visual storytelling doesn’t exist – if it does, it hardly exists at all – in computer or consumer eletronics user interfaces. The entire palette of visual storytelling in terms of interface, through accident of history, is purely engineering and control-led.
This is where, I’d say, Apple is grasping when it says that interfaces should sometimes look toward real-life objects. Real-life physical objects have affordances that are used in effective visual storytelling – and animation – that can be used well to make clear the consequences of actions. It’s more complicated than that, though, and it can go horribly wrong as well as right.
From Dan Hon at Extenuating Circumstances – The future is Movie OS.
Swiss Design Network Conference 2010:
Designers see the world not simply as it is, but rather as it could be. In this perspective, the world is a laboratory to explore the contingency of the existing and the thinking in options. Imaginations of the contra factual are a key source for the creation of alternative political, technological, social, or economic constellations of artefacts, interfaces, signs, actors, and spaces. At the same time, strategies of materialization are pivotal to shift the boundary between the fictional and the real and to finally bring possible new realities into being. The conference addresses the questions of how fictions are designed and how the multiplicity of possible new futures is negotiated and realized.
Design Fiction, Negotiating Futures October 28-30, 2010.
A few links on imaging and computation:
I’ve concluded that the promise of RFID was eclipsed by another technology out there that’s poised to become more and more disruptive, not only to RFID, but to a host of technologies, and that’s the CCD.
from CCD by Joe Gregorio. Via BERG.
Cameras might allow a photographer to record a scene and then alter the lighting or shift the point of view, or even insert fictitious objects.
The camera as a device you carry has completely disappeared. Image sensors have become part of the literal fabric of everyday life.
It takes ubiquitous computing as a significant case study because the future orientation practised in ubiquitous computing research and development is emblematic of the perpetual technological forecasting in which humanity engages.
“While Charles & Ray were frequently contracted by corporations like Polaroid, Westinghouse, and IBM, they never made films on demand. Nearly all their films represent a symbiotic relationship between the artist and the client, and they only made films when there was genuine interest. Witness Westinghouse ABC (1965), which is essentially a montage of the Westinghouse product line (note that the Westinghouse logo was designed by Paul Rand). Even here there is a spirited interest in the subject. In the film, Charles & Ray focus on the technology and typography at a break-neck tempo and transform what would otherwise be an incredibly dry subject into something rich and lively. Also, in SX-70 (1972), intended as a promotional film for the newly released Polaroid SX-70 camera, the Eames’ take advantage of the opportunity to discuss optics, transistors and to display their own polaroid photographs.
A good overview via The Films of Charles & Ray Eames.