velcro clock

Making clocks: two goals for using technology to revisit the design of an existing tool. 1-Maximize instances for relevant user input into a design object. Opportunities for users to insert meaning and relevance that is specific to a present instance of interaction. 2-Minimize moments where the designer imposes top-down vocabularies that rely on users to consent to design premises that may not necessary or relevant at that particular moment. We should only have to consent when ABSOLUTELY necessary. minimize amount of UNDO.

People moving and patterns. We navigate the world in the most efficient way possible. In a straight line. Stopping to ask questions only when it is necessary. At a blockage, a signal, an alarm. At moments when our forward moving inertia is or is about to be challenged. Designers take advantage of this behavior, and build in patterns, short cuts that condense the pathways to certain goals. There is a problem here. There are a few problems here. The first problem is that once we hit a barrier, it is often too late to take a step back. We have already consented to the vocabulary, impositions of a designer that set the stage for the problem to occur. We don't necessarily know where those moments of consent were, or even if they were necessary at the time.

When designing a user experience, we code these scenarios, hoping for the magical moments where users seamlessly consent, when conscious attention is not alarmed, when users do not have to stop and question. It is a way to cut corners, and it makes things work for most people, but not necessarily everyone. Humans are great at adapting to new behavior. We make designers jobs pretty easy. But I think designers should have to work harder. We should not be designing patterns. We should be designing transformations that can be triggered through pathways determined by the user. This past week google decided to add the "invisible" option to gChat. This made me really annoyed. When I started to think about why I was mad, I realized that it was because google introduced a new vocabulary into their product that they were forcing me to consent to. Why today? Why now? How did they happen upon this decision (and I'm sure they did a ton of research)? But what data were they using to reach this decision? And how is it relevant to me and my experience with the product right now? I was annoyed because even if I chose not to make my status invisible, I was consenting to it's inverse, which was to be visible. And all of a sudden I was using new words to describe my user experience that were not relevant to my current interaction. This language could potentially have some implications further down the road... every pattern has it's inverse, something that you may one day be accountable for.

Technology lets us do better at addressing these problems. With new materials for design, we can build things in ways to continuously channel user input, and use data derived from that input to restructure the design of the object.

I have decided to make a series of interactive clocks. Not because I think they should be used, but because I want to show that just because something is a certain way, doesn't mean it always has to be like that. The first clock is one where users can adjust the numbers. The hands move at a constant speed, but users can change the distance between the hours. Why do certain parts of the day seem to go by much faster than others? How do we adjust a clock so that the time between hours actually looks the way it feels. Sometimes you might want more time between 2 and 3 o'clock...or maybe you are bored and need 7'oclock to come sooner. How do you design for this type of interaction? How does such an object channel input from a community? Especially a clock, how do you interact with one?

But we are not all good at the same things, we do not all have the same triggers. The goal of a design object is to grant keys to access to some transformation. We cannot all use the same keys, nor do we want to, but we are all looking for certain experiences.

Advances in technology should lead to increased instances of asking questions. (not consciously), but we should design in a way that is empowering to users of all abilities and all types of input.

A pattern and it's inverse is implicit in the design object. We should minimize these moments of consent and instead be focusing on designing the transformation. And all of the different relevant and meaningful ways to access the user experience.

some clocks

**c_03-2beadPulley designs**c_05-pegboard clock
**c_04-liquid clock
c_02-pulley bead


Adam said...


Elim said...

very nice document. looking forward to see your cool clocks.

taylor levy. taylor levy. taylor levy. taylor levy. taylor levy. possible design object. possible design object. possible design object. itp. itp. itp. itp.