In 1821, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano managed to erupt for more than a year. While transport chiefs rush to find solutions (and test planes) to cope with the cloud of ash drifting across much of northern Europe, the PSFK Team and European friends spent a little time imagining what the impact on business, people and culture would be if Europe became plane free for a whole year.
If there’s one thing my ol’ ma taught me, it’s that when life gives you volcanoes, make magazines. And so we shall.
If you’re out there and interested, email me and tell me what you do. I’ll then give you an assignment to complete today/tomorrow. Depending on how long this thing lasts, we’ll work the rest of it out from there. The copyright will remain yours on anything you produce, I just ask for permission to include it in the currently-untitled ashcloud magazine (working titles include Grounded, SkyFail and Someday We’ll Fly Away.)
It’s kinda interesting how this flight ban has turned into a full-on, highly visible crisis for the digerati and creative class, while everyone else seems to go about their business as usual (or maybe it’s just that business people and tourists aren’t quite as networked and vocal…)
I finally finished reading this amazing interview with Merlin Mann (of 43 Folders) at 3quarksdaily. There’s probably at least ten bits worth quoting in there, but i’ll limit myself to just one and trust that you’ll read the whole thing anyway:
I’ve asked a dozen of my friends, “How many times did you change you mind about who you were going to vote for during the election?” They all say, “Oh, I knew all along.” I was like, “Then why were you reloading Huffington Post 40 times a day?” This is really the crux of where my brain is on this stuff right now. How do you know when you have enough information to do something? I really feel like that combination of little, easy motor skills and clicking combined with feeling a little less bored for a minute is completely addictive to people.
The Archigram Archival Project makes the work of the seminal architectural group Archigram available free online for public viewing and academic study. The project was run by EXP, an architectural research group at the University of Westminster. It was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and made possible by the members of Archigram and their heirs, who retain copyright of all images.
I’m wondering what Mr Shirky’s idea that “abundance breaks more things than scarcity” might do to UIs and OSs. How would you write a note-taking app if you could waste as much processing power and screen space on it as you liked? You wouldn’t add extra functionality, you’d add extra cool and humanity. You’d break all those ideas about efficiency and wrap other stuff around it instead. As in the real world; people don’t buy Moleskines for the extra functionality.
Because while some set of application development is going to be about solving new problems and developing new technologies some other set is going to be about finding new ways to solve the old ones. And some of those new ways won’t be about function or efficiency they’ll be about beauty or values or context or fun.
For those of us around Apple for the launch of the 1984 Mac, things are awfully familiar.
In bringing that original Mac to market, Steve hit on a formula that worked for him. He keeps repeating it, and it seems to get better every time. It worked for the iPhone, and it worked for the iPad, too. Here are the necessary elements.
Viewer Friendly Interface is a collection of user interface design guidelines for user interfaces in movies and television, including helpful advice such as:
All applications must be run full screen – there is no multitasking on television. Windows may show in the background, but they might as well be wallpaper for all anyone uses them.
Found via Dan Hon’s The future is Movie OS, which tries to make the case that practical, real world user interface design could take a cue or two from movie UIs:
Real computers don’t look anything like that! It’s like a Fisher Price interface! What’s all this stuff whizzing about? Why, when Meg Ryan uses AOL to send an email, does it animate a letter-fold, put itself in an envelope and fly off the screen? Why, when Hugh Jackman is messing around with RSA encryption, is he moving 3D objects around a screen? Why is the encrypted email displayed as gibberish, when it would just be a normal email with, say, a PGP icon next to it?
Because if none of those things happened, if it wasn’t shown that way, you’d miss it. Forget the 10 foot interface. This is the 50 foot interface for brain dead people who like explosions. It has to be abundantly clear. You can’t miss it.
Previously: User Interfaces in Film
At one point in time, J2ME (now Java ME) and WAP were the starting points for a discussion on mobile strategy and the web. Then, for a brief period of time, you talked about HTML/CSS. Now, for a growing majority of mobile strategies that don’t require a global presence on widely varying devices, the discussion begins with iPhone. Smart client is now iPhone app, and in many cases, the app is primary to the experience, not secondary to the browser. And iPad app may soon replace iPhone app as the starting point.
Web products should be designed for mobile first (even if no mobile version is planned). Over time, designing for the desktop web first will become a backwards way of doing things.
And then, a few days ago, Information Architects in an insightful article on Designing for iPad:
We found that the iPad applications we designed, made it relatively easy to be translated back into websites. iPad could prove to be a wonderful blue print to design web sites and applications. If it works on the iPad, with a few tweaks, it will work on a laptop.