This book has an intriguing premise, but no clear target audience.
The premise is to draw interaction design lessons from interfaces in scifi films andThis book has an intriguing premise, but no clear target audience.
The premise is to draw interaction design lessons from interfaces in scifi films and tv shows. In theory, because those interfaces visualize the future, they should be able to help designers to imagine interfaces beyond historic constraints.
The ostensible audience for these lessons is interaction designers, but the problem with writing for such an audience is that most or all of the lessons presented should already be patently obvious to most interaction designers. While a non-designer might find a lesson to "beware the uncanny valley" (written after observation of humanoid robots) to be mildly interesting, designers are likely to find such a lesson to be old news. Yet the non-designer is not likely to care enough about interaction design to want to read a full book of such lessons, so the book falls short of having any clear target audience.
The book does have a few fun examples of how scifi can be applied to the real world, such as: (view spoiler)[ • The X-Men movie (from 2000) has a table with pins that rise up to form local topology. After seeing the movie, a worker at the US Army Topographic Engineering Center commissioned a table using similar mechanics to be created in reality (p. 11-3). • Volumetric projections in scifi suffer from a gaze-matching problem. If one person is conversing by looking down at the volumetric projection of another person, then either (a) the projection that the other person is looking at will have to be above them or else (b) the projection can be placed below the other person's gaze as well, and both people's downward-pointing eyes will send a social signal of submissiveness. A way to solve this would be to automatically change the direction of the speaker's eyes, something which has real-world application for video-chatting, where both speakers appear to be looking down because they're looking at screens placed below webcams (p. 81-4). • In Star Wars Episode IV, gunners can hear fighters fly past their ship in space and can hear explosions when they hit those ships. Rather than treating this as an error in production (sound unrealistically traveling through space), the authors consider how such sounds could be useful as an augmented reality system; the ship's sensors could determine where other ships were and then play sounds to simulate their position, helping to give the gunners an increased awareness. By using ambient sound to convey useful information the system can make an unfamiliar situation easier to grasp (p. 113). (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book is PAINFULLY REPETITIVE. It says things over and over and over and over in only slightly different ways. First Michael Scott shows you sometThis book is PAINFULLY REPETITIVE. It says things over and over and over and over in only slightly different ways. First Michael Scott shows you something; then he tells you the same thing; then he includes the same information in dialog; then he includes the same information again in the description of how the characters having the dialog are acting or feeling; then (just in case you didn't already get what he was saying) he says the same thing again in a multi-paragraph block of narration. Just in case you forget it, he does the same thing with the same information in the next chapter. And the next. And the next. And the next....more
I hesitate to call the things in this book games. Literature on game design often includes the elements of feedback and voluntary participation in theI hesitate to call the things in this book games. Literature on game design often includes the elements of feedback and voluntary participation in the definition of the term game, but participation in this book's "games" would likely be required, and not all of them incorporate a feedback loop. They also often lack other components sometimes included in the definition of game such as being closed systems, being winnable, and using abstraction. Despite these limitations, each activity has a clearly defined goal and rules, and if approached with a playful attitude, most could be treated as games.
The authors—Gray, Brown, and Macanufo (which I'm going to assume is a color similar to Maroon)—explain that each good brainstorming session needs to have an opening portion to generate ideas, an exploratory portion to develop those ideas, and a closing portion to determine which ideas to act upon going forward. The book is organized around these three types of activities.
Many of the activities are such mainstays of the business world that many readers will likely already be well-acquainted with them. (Dot voting, anyone? How about a SWOT analysis?) Many were variants on the Post-Up activity, where people write ideas independently, place them on a board, and then do something with them. An astounding number of the activities were things I did during grade school but haven't had any occasion to do yet in professional life. (Okay kids, let's break into small groups, come up with our own ideas, then bring it back to the big group to present.)
Despite this general lack of novelty, several of the activities in the book were things I hadn't heard of before, and I expect to use the book as a regular reference when establishing agendas for brainstorming meetings. I particularly like the idea of representing a meeting agenda as a pie chart over the face of a clock, showing how long each part of the meeting should take (and thus its relative importance). I'd also like to give heuristic ideation a try (creating a matrix of two categories of attributes and seeing what new ideas lay at the intersections)....more
This book's excess of rhetorical mumbo-jumbo belies its valuable message that search is being (and should continue to be) reinvented to move beyond thThis book's excess of rhetorical mumbo-jumbo belies its valuable message that search is being (and should continue to be) reinvented to move beyond the constraints of the conventional search box.
For example, when reading it I had the idea of combining a search box with a social network...a phone-a-friend-like concept, where each person has tags of personal knowledge and the search suggests sending a message. (A hundred pages later, I discovered that such a search already exists as Aardvark.)
You could read only the first 60 pages of this book and not miss much. That first chunk contains the actual content of the book: ideas about the historical limitations of search and ways in which it might expand. The rest of the book lists common search patterns and examples of search engines, most of which should already be familiar to anyone who uses a computer a lot.
Some specific things this book says are: (view spoiler)[ *Search is currently limited by the constraints of a basic search box. It's an accepted pattern, but may not be the best solution. It requires people to know the correct keywords (p. 2-5). One way of reframing this is with contextual recommendations (such as on e-commerce sites) and discovery tools that recommend related content based on content you like (p. 12). *Search must be iterative and interactive to get at the underlying needs behind a question (p. 9). *There's tension between users wanting to see only the results they're looking for and vendors wanting to attract them with related results (p. 26). *A good search is federated, faceted, and fast (p. 45). *"Thrashing" is an antipattern where a user iteratively refines a bad initial search (such as one with a typo) rather than exploring other ways of phrasing (p. 60-1). *When designing a search engine for experts in a domain, don't expect them to be experts at searching (p. 146). *Some other forms search might take are a message projected to parts of a social network, a decision tree, a list of related topics, or a serendipitous suggestion (p. 151-3). *Comparing the external searches people use to reach a page with the searches they make once they're on the page can provide insights to improve both your search engine optimization and information architecture (p. 156). (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more