Push the Platform lecture links

Collected hyperlinkable references from Teams, Friday 13 November 2020, with Kingston School of Art, BA Graphic Design Level 6. Shared here in blog post form, in my own little push, to the platform of presenting and following up on a lecture.*

It’s Mice That
A record from the day that mice took over It’s Nice That.

“Pair Up is a place for creatives to find and offer their time to others with the goal of sharing, learning and problem solving with each other.”

A fun little retro video explaining the idea of ‘affordances’, presented by Don Norman, who also features in the Wireframe podcast referenced below. It would be well worth your while to research more about Don Norman, his books and his influence. 

Thoughtless Acts
This blog post serves as a good summary relating to my rubber bands, my references to where others have hacked/fixed things, and to my shared observations of emerging user needs. All these things I feel can fall generally under the ‘thoughtless acts’ umbrella, and in turn, point loudly toward UX opportunities and insights. 

The affordance of Excel (drummachine)

The affordance of a record player (animation)

The affordance of pano mode (warped reality and massive hotdogs)

The affordance of a lamp (passive yet intimate conwnectivity)

The affordance of a wooden toy (Availabot)

The Alternative Uses Test
A little more background on the object affordance task.

Blu-Tack affordance as an advert
I randomly came across this while quickly checking the correct spelling of Blu-Tack (was it Blu-Tack, Blu-Tak, Bloo-Tak?). Interesting to see them pushing the multiple uses of the product as an intended feature.

Instagram slideshow ‘hack’
This was the first example I had seen of someone creatively hacking the horizontal slideshow functionality, shortly after Instagram added it to the app. By ‘hack’, I mean by using it in a way that it was not necessarily designed for. Pushing the boundaries of the designed parameters.

A lot of this pushing behaviour has occurred on Instagram over the years, in much the same way that the app itself has classically pushed the platform of the iPhone camera, image filters and image sharing.

Although, to be honest, I’ve always felt that Instagram was less an innovator, than the most successful trickle down supply chain, for innovations made by others. Much like a Madonna of the app industry. A posts on these accusations to follow another time, perhaps. 

Less a hack, and more a meta exploration of the instagram platform itself. 

Instagram layout hacks 
A collection of these, featuring the Rick and Morty example at the top, which sadly no longer works, as all the internal tags and links seemed to have died. 

On desire paths
“paths and tracks made over time by the wishes & feet of walkers, especially those paths that run contrary to design or planning”.

More on desire paths
I really am a big fan of desire paths. Also of this podcast. Subscribe and start listening now if you’ve never heard of it. 

Different types of Zoomers
Note links through to his various other parts. Again, consider here how relatable these little skits are. How quickly video conferencing has become ubiquitous, and in turn, parodied in such a relatable way. Every one of these types highlights a friction with the platform. An opportunity to solve or address a user need.

Room Rater
As above, a comedy account that only works because of the now common voyeuristic pastime, of looking behind people, into their previously private spaces. Note the double edge reality of this though, as people are doing the same to you. What future design solutions exist to address this behaviour?

Goats in meetings
Part business innovation in times when your farm is closed. Part recognition and solution to the issue of video conference calls being so damn boring sometimes. Come on design community! When a small farm is offering more innovative solutions to user needs than you, you know your falling behind.

Wireframe Podcast S03E02
Make particular note of the emergent use and related behaviour with the security camera. From impersonal, paranoid, and defensive security device, to intimate, familial and emotional portal. 

TV remote made easier
From Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge. An aside on the book that this image comes from: Consider how changes in technology mark the passing of innovation into irrelevance. When this book came out in 2007 it was still quite cutting edge – and a very attentive consideration toward user needs – to attach a DVD with supplementary video content. Now, it seems almost naive, that a book about designing good interactions could include such an inaccessible, unsharable and obsolete format. Note that the book remains to be a great historical document, and I encourage that you seek a copy for reference. 

WFH and the making of
One of my favourite video production companies, with a brilliantly smart and rapid response to life and work and getting on with things back when the first lockdown started. Watch both videos on this page. The first is simply a great advert. The second, is an even more impressive reveal of how the ad was made and the ingenuity that was employed to make it happen.

Video conferencing in the movies
Clip from Avengers Assemble (there’s also another good clip in Captain America Winter Soldier (at 00:23:00), and a great one (Thanks AOD) from Kingsman. This one could be even more prophetic in coming years as the AR glasses product market evolves). 

With the Avengers Assemble example in particular – consider how we accept (albeit in the fantasy narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) that this makes sense and would be possible for a super secret agency. It’s just a video call, right? Like we do, but with bigger screens and cooler seeming user interfaces. No big deal. 

But consider the conceit, of what it would take for all the meeting attendees to appear in the exact same way on screen. Each one must have a special little booth in their remote locations. Perhaps a stand alone box in their lounge? Or under the stairs, like some people have a little second toilet. Or in the garden, like those fancy studio sheds.

Now, consider that someone designed these boxes, and explicitly decided to install just one dim light, directly above the occupant, so that their face couldn’t be seen… IN A VIDEO CONFERENCING BOOTH. This design concept was signed off by the S.H.I.E.L.D Creative Director, and put into production.

Next, imagine the install team and tech support required. Each booth would have had a team of workers, traveling all over the world to install them, and will no doubt need ongoing support, like firmware updates and security patches, and maybe even light bulb replacements (in fact, maybe the lights are so dim because they’re all about to die?).

Finally, every attendee is wearing a suit. Nick Fury (the dude with the eyepatch, in case you’re not as invested in these movies as I clearly am), has just called them during an emergency. Do they all just wear suits all day? Just in case they’re called into a quick dimly lit conference call? Are some still wearing PJs and slippers under the desks? Or was this a scheduled call time, which Nick Fury previously spent hours emailing back and forth about, looking for a time that fitted with everyone? 

These thoughts go through my mind every time I see fictional tech in movies like this. It would seem I’m not the only one… 

Video conferencing in reality
Make sure you’ve watched the Avengers Assemble link above (and I recommend playing this at 1.5 speed to improve the timing a bit). Once more, consider how these jokes, parodies, frictions, classic issues and user needs, are all clear signals of room for improvement or innovation. 

Portl Hologram (not a hologram) video box
One company looking to improve in this space, although, as joked about above, who has the space for the equipment needed? A 7 foot box sure won’t fit under the stairs. But then, it’s not quite intended for video conferencing. But could it be? Or a version of it?

*A blog post? 
Is this a good way for sharing references after a lecture? Is this falling foul of the accusation above, with a book containing a DVD? Is this an obsolete and so, irrelevantly inaccessible format? What other way could / should we engage after a lecture? And is post lecture conversation and engagement a new issue, emerging from remote learning? Or has it always been a problem that we’ve previously just not noticed?