20 November 2009

MX: the Interface Reading Response Part 2

The interface PAAART 2222222222

Pages 78-93

New concepts learned in the passage:

In this portion of the reading, they continually brought up the term VRML, but never once cared to define it, so I looked it up on good ol' wikipedia, and it actually means "virtual reality modeling language", but interestingly, it has been superseded in recent years by a new language, called another crazy name. They were using this concept in talking about the computer interface as relating to cinema, and how we use a lot of virtual reality in creating environments that give users real life metaphors and spaces on the screen. In this reading I also learned a lot about video games from the 1990's, especially Myst, which was made in 1993, and also games such as Dungeon Keeper, from 1997, Super Mario 64, from 1996, Tomb Raider also from 1996, Myth: The Fallen Lords from 1997, Tekken 2 from 1994, The 7th Guest from 1993, and Voyeur from 1994. I found out that these games began pushing the 1-point perspective, that was a cultural default, into new and exciting territory. Some games even promoted these new features, saying on the package that "you can change your camera angle AND kill bad guys!!". But the author failed to mention how the cinema metaphor carried over into aspects other than his favorite hobby, like for instance, the internet. That brings me to the second point to be talked about–

Make connections between the reading and your MX projects

He talks so much about video games and the cinema metaphor, how the camera angles can change, how there's now dramatic lighting, zooming, panning, depth of field, and how the characters are made as real as possible, so they can move freely around the environment rather than on only certain paths etc, but I'm assuming that this same metaphor of the cinema is made in interfaces relevant to this class by things like moving transitions between pages, buttons animating, etc. Things that move around and entertain? Because otherwise we won't pay attention. He never mentioned it though, so it's only an assumption.

What I did find interesting from the reading was found later on, where he talked about how today's postmodern culture is always pushing people to be original, and how every new thing that comes out needs to be exactly that- new, and never before done. But he then went on to say that while computer interfaces try and do the same thing, by designing the 'magnify' icon in new and original ways, he said that the icon still needs to look like a magnifying glass- with HCI, there needs to be set standards and rules so users can actually follow along and know what's happening on this crazy screen-thingy. It's always about consistency and principles, yet our culture says something different. He called it a 'tension between standardization and originality', which I have felt during my work in MX. The point of the projects is to push web design into new and experimental realms, because that's what popular these days, you know, but we still need to be consistent and expected as far as how the user interacts with the interface. Where do you draw the line? Greg and I tried pushing the boundaries in our project, yet the guy from Sprint still had some serious qualms about it... "How are these slidy things helping the user? Sheesh". I'm feeling the same pressure in this new project, where we're starting with the 'crazy awesome' actions, that are different and unique, and then we'll try and apply them to an HCI interface, so users can navigate through it.

Makes connections between the reading and non MX stuff

This reading made me think back to my childhood quite often, when I would see my little brother drooling in front of the video game screen for hours and hours everyday, and how all my guy friends went home after school, grabbed a 6-pack of Mountain Dew and a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips and went to town on their video games. I hope I never design things that make people act like that. That was the main nugget that I pulled from the reading. Also, these readings continue to solidify my aversion to screen-based designing, as it talks about how this new form will be just as strong if not stronger than the printed word, and how designers for the web mainly do the same thing over and over and over and over and over again, because that's consistency, and if they stray away from it to try and appease our postmodern culture, then people probably wont understand it, or find it irrelevant. Also, I feel that web design is rooted in copying, and that's not what I want to do.

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