5by5 - Systematic #6: Merlin Talks A Lot
Tagged with “creativity” (6)
Natural User Interface (NUI), is one of the favorite flavors du jour in certain interaction design and user experience circles. The term signals a change from the Graphical User Interface (GUI), that has been prevalent since the early 1980s. In many ways, that is good - not that the GUI is going to go away (any more than the QWERTY keyboard) - but progress does, as they say, progress. And just because there was a great idea that took hold, does not mean that that is all that there is.
But beyond the name, what is this new thing? The answer depends on who you ask. Ask enough people, and you will see that it can mean anything – which means that it might mean nothing. According to Bill Buxton, the many views means that there is a lot of diverse conversations accompanying them, and he sees that as healthy. Complacency is rarely a worthy aspiration for design. But out of the collective conversations one would hope that there is some convergence, insight or growth.
The purpose of Bill’s talk is to throw his own thoughts into the fray. Taking his cue from the term itself, he’ll start like a good naturalist, and strip the term bare, and build from there. Starting with diving into the essence of the term natural.
Freud popularised the term, “The Narcissism of Minor Differences”, to describe how adjacent villages—identical for all practical purposes—would struggle to amplify their tiniest distinctions in order to justify how much they despised one other. So you have to guess how much he would have enjoyed design mailing lists. And, Perl.
Truth is, to the untrained (un-washed, un-nuanced, un-Paul-Rand’d, and un-Helvetica’d) outsider, discourse in the design community can sometimes look a lot like a cluster of tightly-wound Freudian villages.
So, how is the role of design perceived by the people who are using the stuff you make? What role (if any) should users expect in the process of how their world is made and remade? What contexts might be useful in helping us turn all of our obsessions into useful and beautiful work?
Can an Aeron chair ever be truly ‘Black’? Will there ever be a way to get Marketing people to stop calling typefaces ‘fonts’? And, when, at last, will the international community finally speak as one regarding the overuse of Mistral and stock photos of foreshortened Asian women?
By leveraging his uniquely unqualified understanding of design, Merlin will propose some promising patterns for fording the gap between end-users and the unhappy-looking people in costly European eyeglasses who are designing their world.
Is there hope? Come to Brighton, pull up a flawlessly-executed mid-century-Modern seating affordance, and we’ll see what we can figure out together. One village to another.
Merlin Mann is best known as the creator of 43folders.com, a popular American website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.
Between The Alexandrian War of 48 BCE and the Muslim conquest of 642 CE, the Library of Alexandria, containing a million scrolls and tens of thousands of individual works was completely destroyed, its contents scattered and lost. An appreciable percentage of all human knowledge to that point in history was erased. Yet in his novella “The Congress”, Jorge Luis Borges wrote that “every few centuries, it’s necessary to burn the Library of Alexandria”.
In his session James will ask if, as we build ourselves new structures of knowledge and certainty, as we design our future, should we be concerned with the value of our ruins?
With a background in both computing and traditional publishing James Bridle attempts to bridge the gaps between technology and literature. He runs Bookkake, a small independent publisher and writes about books and the publishing industry at booktwo.org. In 2009 he helped launch Enhanced Editions, the first e-reading application with integrated audiobooks.
In an era of fast-moving markets and leap-frogging innovators, companies can no longer merely “unlock” wealth. Today they have to actively “create” wealth, or end up in the fossil layers of business history. As a result, brand-builders have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a key role in the next management revolution—the rise of the designful company.
In his session, Marty will explain why design thinking—in its broadest sense—will become the new best practice, and how you can leverage your unique position as a brand-builder to transform the way business does business in the 21st century.
Marty Neumeier began his career as a designer, but soon added writing and strategy to his repertoire, working variously as a designer, copywriter, journalist, magazine publisher and brand consultant. Having developed brand identities for companies such as Apple, Adobe, Kodak and Hewlett-Packard. He has also authored three bestselling books (‘The Brand Gap, ‘Zag’ and ‘The Designful Company’) which discuss how organisations can bridge the gap between business strategy and customer experience.
Expressing yourself. Telling stories. Playing games. Connecting with others. It’s what the Web is for, but too often we focus on the latest trendy technology meme or e-commerce scheme’ and forget that the Internet is really a sandbox for engagement, fun, and participation. Pioneering Web maker ze frank will sit down for a conversation with Scott Kirsner, author of the book Fans, Friends & Followers, to talk about being creative in the digital age ’ and earning a living at it.