Archives for the month of: October, 2011

Sorry I’ve been away — moving and traveling — aren’t those life’s constants, anyway?

InteractiveWall from Festo HQ via A List Apart on Vimeo. The wall reacts to the presence of users, just like responsive websites should.

Last night B and I re-watched Inception, and I was thinking this morning that it probably wasn’t as popular or deemed Oscar-worthy as it could have been, potentially because the film didn’t use universal archetypes to create its dream space. The few characters that were fleshed out had flaws and attributes, but they weren’t necessarily the kind that most people identify with. It’s the universal that draws people and allows them to engage with a film or product, but in order to access the universal, you have to truly know your users (audience).

Along this same note, earlier I was reading about responsive web design, and how web designers need to be aware that they don’t know much info about the user; and many times, they don’t have a clue what kind of device or screen resolution the user uses.

The idea is that you now have to design for every single variable and difference — for devices that don’t yet exist, that will react to users who may not exist yet either!

So perhaps the lesson is that the future of web design and user experience is HOW to create and architect a (white) space that allows the User to dream his own dream — to fill a universal space with his or her own particular subconscious. Easy, right?

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This week there’s a New Yorker article about BitCoin. I hadn’t heard of it until a few months ago in a separate New York mag piece, but it does make me think about where currency, or any kind of consumer exchange is headed. Are we all going to manifest destiny and become pioneers in a virtual wild West?

Even if BitCoin is a convoluted form of a Ponzi scheme, it does make an interesting use case of peer-to-peer networks, similar to file and music sharing (not easily regulated). This is how the flow of information has changed; instead of downloading (learning) info from a centralized repository (like school or a library), now anyone can exchange goods or services with anyone else online. When I was a child, if you wanted to learn about Japan or some other exotic subject, you were mostly limited to whatever books or articles were available in the library. Now, elementary school kids writing a book or travel report about Japan can actually email children in Tokyo to get a first-hand view.

This changes the user experience of any exchange. Even if the actual encryption software is safe, we are now placing trust in each other, and not a singular entity (like a federally insured bank). BitCoin exchanges money for virtual money, which can then be used for goods and services, but it’s because of growing distrust of the banking system that it’s gaining popularity. $5 debit card fees, anyone?

I just wonder, how soon before there are gun-slinging outlaws and high-noon showdowns in the virtual space? If I find a way to hold your BitCoins hostage, what rogue samurai warrior would be able to stop me?

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