Tag Archives: device

a new direction for mobile design


for the most part when we think about design for our mobile devices we have an image like the one above in mind — its a bit of a personal relationship we’ve developed with our smartphones, and the interactions are considered ‘micro-interactions,’ quick, task-based little spurts of use to check a little buzz or beep that went off in our pocket — we’ve got a little friend on us at all times now, and that little friend brings us the magic of real-time updates of information and some simulated sense of ‘being social’ through experiences like Twitter, Facebook and the like

a lot of the graphics you’ll find pertaining to using smartphones in particular show the one-to-one — person to machine — sort of relationship — and the person engaged with looking down at the little magic screen in the palm of their hands is either smiling and content, as if staring into a good friend’s or lover’s face directly or somewhat serious if the visual story being told is more about critical business communications


we get the picture though — we all know the experience, the interaction, that’s going on between the facial expression, the position of the hands and fingers and the general body language and position of the neck and gaze

its a rather solitary experience, though, right?

even with the advent and common, everyday use of the supposed social web, the interaction is really between you and the data being displayed on a tiny shiny screen


in her book Alone Together — Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, MIT Psychologist Sherry Turkle takes a deep look at the worlds of sociable robotics and social media in their current state and the general effect these technological advances are having at a societal level — and as amazing as our inventions may be, the overall experience we end up having as human beings engaged with our technologies is unfortunately one largely steeped in isolation, loneliness and a sort of transactional behavior between people as mediated through the interactions we’re afforded to interact through

of course, we can also still participate and interact with each other in the moment, face to face, the old fashioned way, right? the analog means are always there for us to fall back upon, thank goodness — being in the same place at the same time can actually foster a certain vibrant energy and more efficient and active way to communicate, collaborate and get things done — but we can’t always meet face to face, in the current moment in today’s fast-paced society, unless, of course, we make the time and travel happen — at the end of the day, the feeling our device-driven world often leaves us with is a strange jumbled aftertaste of miscommunication, misunderstanding and an awkward, near-real-time, off-kilter distance between the actual people interacting through the devicery invented to facilitate better communication that can happen ‘anytime, anywhere’ according to the hypertechnophilic marketingSpeak we swim through on a daily basis

i would love to take the expertise i’ve built up over the last 20 sum odd years to try and steer the course in an entirely different direction

if our smartphones and other mobile paraphernalia are instruments of communication, might we then compare our iPhones and Androids to something more akin to a musical instrument? like a banjo, for instance?


or maybe the comparison we try to draw is to something more like an orchestral instrument like the french horn


whatever the metaphor might be — i would like to change how our interactions through these technologies feel and hopefully even change the actual way we use them

i’d like to take ’em and shake up the paradigm in a big way, ya know? and why not? i’m a fucking rather accomplished experience design architect and designer after all — i want to change the story of these technologies before we become more isolated and distant from each other

if we think of our smartphones and mobile devices more along the lines of music-making machines, as tools for thinking and collaborating together in real-time and space, we just be able to retell the story a bit and design for more orchestral synergistic ways to use these truly phenomenal technologies


i don’t know what the actual experience or interface for these new interactive paradigms might be quite yet, but shouldn’t our devices and our interactions through them feel more like this beautiful photograph of this string trio as opposed to this business dude getting some off-sync email back in the city office?


i actually think we need to start designing ways to allow our experiences through mobile and other new or evolving technologies actually better work in a together-like fashion, right? so instead of all the clutter and drowning information over-saturation of email and other truly horrendous collaborative cloud environments that only offer up a sandbox of confusion and uncoordinated, often disjointed collaborative team efforts — our new experiences should feel a lot more like what happens within the context of a real team — agility, muscle memory, easy means to pass the ball back and forth

or maybe better yet — maybe, just maybe — we might be able to think even bigger than that and design for interactions as graceful and wonderful-feeling as the coordinated, collaborative music-making of an orchestral ensemble


i know its entirely possible — we just need to aim for that level of collaborative platform design — i don’t know that there’ll even be a Microsoft or Apple to take on this high task, as i’m sure its an enormous effort, but a truly wonderful one at that — i know that i would personally like my interactions and collaborations with all the people i work with to feel that powerful, fun and harmonious — and this is what i’ll be dreaming up through a storyFirst, iterative, human-centered process in my ample free time

i think this is gonna be a fun project to take on — i think its one of many projects that we need to design for in the world, one of many, too, that i personally want to dream up, brainstorm, workshop and design for — i can’t wait to share the progress as my efforts bear even little grapes and cumquats along the way as i’m sure its going to be an interesting journey

won’t you come and join me? 


objects of desire

the semester is over, you may go in peace

summers here + the time is right to go drinking in the street

analysis of the internationally still infamous Surrealist film ‘Un Chien Andalou’ … with a bit of simple subcutaneous research into concepts behind the storytelling … reveal some interesting insights into the fetish objects ofttimes automatically rendered through the lucid daydream creativities of the mad genius revolution started in the early 1930s

those familiar with the principle character, the ‘Chien’ himself, + the delightfully strange cinematic sequences of the film as they unravel + peel away, will recognize this satirical modernization of the classic Dalinian swarm of ants within the palm of the hand


i call my cyberSurreal iPhone automatic app suggestion ‘formis Andalou’ in homage to the original … Dalí affords the presence of ants special symbollic meaning … ‘ants point to death, decay, and immense sexual desire’ … from my previous research the inference is multivariate + deep + actually suggests a sort of societal decay

watching the passage from ‘Un Chien Andalou’ … the man + woman standing + staring into the palm of his hand … mysteriously mesmerized by the vision of these ants as they run in + out of a stigmata-like opening in the center of his palm … as a living, breathing witness of incessant + neverending myriad similar watchers, similarly hypnotized fiends visually engaged with all that dances in the palm of their hands … well, i cannot help but ask about the data that plays within these, our daily apps … ants, data, information … the device itself, perhaps this is the hole … our own informatic stigmata allowing this newfound, willingly self-afflicted weapon of our own societal decay … Dalinian ants reborn again as the very data that makes us dance around like ants in our own unstoppable puppetshow afterlife … we follow the data … we watch + check + cannot help but come back + gently stroke our shiny, beloved touch-interface objects of desire { thank you to Toby Bottorf for this brilliant description, the way we touch our device }

i am certain Buñuel + Dalí were not attempting to peer into the future … no, no … their purpose, as was the primary goal of much of the original Surrealist movement, was to explore the subconscious … to create a dreamlike expression of the Freudian worlds within us all … and perhaps, in doing so, unintentionally reveal some of the Jungian collective unconscious pertaining to our timeless existence

interviews with Buñuel helped decipher the metaphor of the diagonally-striped box … a box first carried by the bicyclist … a disembodied hand is placed into the box … later, the fashion remains of the deceased bicyclist are taken from the box … and from the fashion remains the female heroine of ‘Un Chien Andalou’ is able to bring our anti-hero back to life … she literally reanimates the man, the fiend

Buñuel calls the striped box an ‘object of desire’ … + many of the poetic objects imagined + realized by the Surrealists played with sexual tension + in some respects our inescapable human condition … our new ‘objects of desire’ are the machines … not the machines glorified by the original Futurists … not the automobile or steam engine … not at all … instead, our modernday equivalent to the striped box, to the ants in our hand … our machines, our ‘objects of desire’ are the computer, the laptop, the mobile device, the electronic reader … the ants go in + out … ‘death, decay, and immense sexual desire’

i wouldn’t say that the desire is directly sexual … but it can truly be addicitive … our need to phsyically interact with data becomes very obsessive-compulsive … i see it everyday … the most crowded room filled with the most amazing, intelligent + engaging people can become an instant information graveyard of stonefaced data-retrieval meatware … a ring, a buzz, all screens come out + suddenly the socialSpace we all exist in is swept away, everyone whisked into email, text, tweet + feed … the data rules supreme … + the desire itself, this is opportunity … the promise of a quick, witty message … maybe messages that will lead to an interesting conversation a few hours down the road … as most of us earn our living off from the new information economy, its difficult to not think of every ant as some new opportunity, some new chance … chance though that is far different from the joy of random, automatic expression through parlor games + madcap theatricality … chance that is totally unrelated to Duchamp + his chance procedure, a sort of zenlike appreciation for what destiny might bring your way … how unCagian is this new chance, this new chance is far less playful, utterly unSurreal …

i hope i am wrong … that my train of thought stops soon at the very next station up ahead

i truly hope that the word i am about to change, that our ‘objects of desire’ … that this chance, as i was about to say … well, it feels a bit desperate … our interaction with the data, with our technologies … its all flipped now at this point, hasn’t it?

the information, the data, the tools, the technologies … well, we originally created it to use … for the betterment of our human condition, right? to improve our standard of living … to help make the world light + playful + free … this was the original intention … the 1950s vision of what our technology could bring to humanity

but this addictive behavior … our relationship to our technologies … and our changing relationship with each other … there is something of desperation in it all from what i can sense + see

i need to sleep on this for now … get away from the monitor myself for a bit, right? after all, i might be writing more about myself, observations about myself, my own inner psychology + my own conflicts than about the universal change that might be going on in the world … maybe i’m imagining it all … maybe i’m putting more into what i think i see in my daily life { but i honestly don’t think so … which completely scares me } … yes, yes, for now i will go to sleep … but these are the thoughts i am left with after another year of research into cyberSurrealism … after a year of discovering what my personal motivations might be in wanting to explore the cybernetic + the Surreal … as Toby also pointed out, in a very Carlinesque sort of way actually, the material is all already there … i just need to point it out to people … to report on the state of things per se … to nurture a better awareness + live somewhere between … to mistrust things just enough + report on my experience

this is my story

these are my dreams