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robertogreco : windowsphonemetro   6

What Screens Want by Frank Chimero
"We need to work as a community to develop a language of transformation so we can talk to one another. And we probably need to steal these words from places like animation, theater, puppetry, dance, and choreography.

Words matter. They are abstractions, too—an interface to thought and understanding by communication. The words we use mold our perception of our work and the world around us. They become a frame, just like the interfaces we design."



"When I realized that, a little light went off in my head: a map’s biases do service to one need, but distort everything else. Meaning, they misinform and confuse those with different needs.

That’s how I feel about the web these days. We have a map, but it’s not for me. So I am distanced. It feels like things are distorted. I am consistently confused.

See, we have our own abstractions on the web, and they are bigger than the user interfaces of the websites and apps we build. They are the abstractions we use to define the web. The commercial web. The things that have sprung up in the last decade, but gained considerable speed in the past five years.

It’s the business structures and funding models we use to create digital businesses. It’s the pressure to scale, simply because it’s easy to copy bits. It’s the relationships between the people who make the stuff, and the people who use that stuff, and the consistent abandonment of users by entrepreneurs.

It’s the churning and the burning, flipping companies, nickel and diming users with in-app purchases, data lock-in, and designing with dark patterns so that users accidentally do actions against their own self-interest.

Listen: I’m at the end of a 4-month sabbatical, and I worry about this stuff, because the further I get from everything, the more it begins to look toxic. These pernicious elements are the primary map we have of the web right now.

We used to have a map of a frontier that could be anything. The web isn’t young anymore, though. It’s settled. It’s been prospected and picked through. Increasingly, it feels like we decided to pave the wilderness, turn it into a suburb, and build a mall. And I hate this map of the web, because it only describes a fraction of what it is and what’s possible. We’ve taken an opportunity for connection and distorted it to commodify attention. That’s one of the sleaziest things you can do.

So what is the answer? I found this quote by Ted Nelson, the man who invented hypertext. He’s one of the original rebel technologists, so he has a lot of things to say about our current situation. Nelson:
The world is not yet finished, but everyone is behaving as if everything was known. This is not true. In fact, the computer world as we know it is based upon one tradition that has been waddling along for the last fifty years, growing in size and ungainliness, and is essentially defining the way we do everything. My view is that today’s computer world is based on techie misunderstandings of human thought and human life. And the imposition of inappropriate structures throughout the computer is the imposition of inappropriate structures on the things we want to do in the human world.



We can produce a vision of the web that isn’t based on:

consolidation
privatization
power
hierarchies
surveillance

We can make a new map. Or maybe reclaim a map we misplaced a long time ago. One built on:

extensibility
openness
communication
community
wildness

We can use the efficiency and power of interfaces to help people do what they already wish more quickly or enjoyably, and we can build up business structures so that it’s okay for people to put down technology and get on with their life once their job is done. We can rearrange how we think about the tools we build, so that someone putting down your tool doesn’t disprove its utility, but validates its usefulness.



Let me leave you with this: the point of my writing was to ask what screens want. I think that’s a great question, but it is a secondary concern. What screens want needs to match up with what we want.

People believe there’s an essence to the computer, that there’s something true and real and a correct way to do things. But—there is no right way. We get to choose how to aim the technology we build. At least for now, because increasingly, technology feels like something that happens to you instead of something you use. We need to figure out how to stop that, for all of our sakes, before we’re locked in, on rails, and headed toward who knows what.

One of the reasons that I’m so fascinated by screens is because their story is our story. First there was darkness, and then there was light. And then we figured out how to make that light dance. Both stories are about transformations, about change. Screens have flux, and so do we."
frankchimero  2013  screens  flux  build2013  plasticity  jamesburke  plastic  skeoumorphs  containers  materials  change  transitions  perception  flatdesign  windowsphonemetro  ios7  software  replacement  shape  affordances  grain  design  paper  print  eadwardmuybridge  movement  motion  animation  customization  responsivewebdesign  responsiveness  variability  mutability  mutations  ux  interactiondesign  interfaces  language  ethanmarcotte  maps  mapping  representation  cartography  embodiedmeaning  respresentation  tednelson  computersareforpeople  softwareisforpeople  unfinished  responsivedesign 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Windows Phone Doomsaying is Making Me Surprisingly Sad | Hazlitt | Random House of Canada
"In part, my affinity for it is a matter of aesthetics. Windows Phone eschews the rows of icons and multiple pages of iPhones and Androids for one main screen composed of squares and rectangles of different sizes, with a list of all your other apps in a single list off to the right. Rather than pictures or treatments meant to resemble physical objects, Microsoft’s approach follows the principles of flat design—since aped by Apple—in which clear shapes, fonts and bright colours work together to produce a purely digital look. The overall effect is vastly cleaner and more organized, particularly for attention-addled brains like my own—even an iPad feels visually cacophonic in comparison.

As any iPhone owner will tell you, it’s easy to become attached to objects because of how they look. Becoming attached to software, however, is a bit more strange. And with Windows Phone, the affection you begin to feel isn’t so much toward aesthetics or one particular function but, rather, processes—of movements on a screen, or patterns of motion inscribed into muscle memory. It is the flow of the thing that compels, the way the interface asks for a back and forth between quick, short swipes and taps that leaves one feeling that a smartphone operating system isn’t only a tool, but more akin to an interactive language.

Software is an intermediary between people and the world. As such, screens aren’t a sphere unto themselves as much as a sort of lens onto reality, and the confluence of aesthetics and interaction—even on my clunky old Nokia—shapes that perception in subtle, important ways. It structures a relationship to information.

“But!” the analysts say, “Microsoft-Nokia’s products are doomed!” I’m not convinced that’s entirely true. Assuming it is, though, and Windows Phone heads the way of Palm, WordPerfect, or, probably soon, BlackBerry, what then? If software isn’t just a tool but a window onto life, and picking one is almost like choosing a language or a style, what are we supposed to do when our chosen way of mediating a connection to the world of information disappears?

I don’t have an answer to that—beyond “learn programming,” I guess. But as it stands now, the aesthetic and processual cleanliness of Microsoft’s recent approach helps me to deal with information overload and media glut. Market forces and consumer desire mean that, save learning how to create my own, I might be forced to use a system less suited to my needs. It’s as if I’m presented with this malleable, highly adaptable mechanism for constructing my relation to media, news and the world… and it could, at almost any moment, be taken from me by rigid, entrenched forces far beyond my control."
windowsphone  windowsphonemetro  nokia  2013  software  interface  aesthetics  navneetalang 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Brand New: Why Microsoft Got its Logo Right
"There are two interesting threads that build into this logo. The first is Microsoft’s decision to push aside its corporate logo history and not try to revive or recycle any of the previous stylings… nstead they have chosen to build the new logo around the history of Windows, building on the four-color square arrangement first seen in the form of a flag and most recently as a single-color, tilted version in the Windows 8 logo. This is smart. …

The second thread is, obviously, the evolution into the Metro system and the reason why this new logo feels so underwhelming and like not such big news at all. For the past two, three, and perhaps four years, Microsoft has been slowly deploying different interfaces, advertisements, and products that feature this simplified approach helmed by the Segoe font that has become as distinctive of Microsoft as Myriad of Apple."

[Read on for "the interesting reversal of roles between Apple and Microsoft."]
windowsphonemetro  metro  2012  windows  design  branding  logo  logos  apple  microsoft 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Augmented Paper - Matt Gemmell
"For me, software experiences that feel like Augmented Paper are those that second-guess our (developers’) natural tendency to put functionality first, or to think of our apps as software. Apps are only incidentally software; software is an implementation detail. Instead, apps are experiences. Design an experience. Make it as beautiful — and as emotionally resonant — as it can possibly be. Then adorn the core experience and content with only as much functionality as is absolutely necessary. Functionality…is like seasoning. A little is an enhancement; any more destroys the flavour…and may well be bad for you. These new classes of devices, so immediately personal and portable and tactile, aren’t desktop-era shrines demanding incantation and prostration. They’re empowering extensions to our real, actual lives - and that’s a profound thing. They take what was once prosaic or mundane, and give us just a taste of superpowers. They’re augmentations, and they should be beautiful."
instapaper  aesthetics  tactile  clear  invisibleinterfaces  instinctivecode  digital  minimalism  skeuomorph  tablets  augmentation  mobile  ipad  iphone  applications  augmentedpaper  mattgemmell  2012  via:preoccupations  designasexperience  ui  ux  windowsphonemetro  windowsphone7  metro  windows  design  ios  apple  android  wp7 
april 2012 by robertogreco
From Transportation to Pixels - Mike Kruzeniski
"…summary of a talk Windows Phone Design Team has given…originally posted on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

In November, myself & Albert Shum drove a few hours north to visit our friends at the Vancouver User Experience Meetup, to talk about Metro & the design philosophy behind Windows Phone. The beginning of the presentation traced the roots of the Windows Phone Metro design language, a topic we’ve spoken about at a number of developer conferences (Watch Albert at MIX 2010). From there, we decided to push the discussion a bit further this time, to look at where we see Metro going next. As you can imagine, this was a lot of fun. Our presentation was over an hour long and covered a lot of material, so rather than just posting the slides up, I’ll describe the talk in its four parts. First, the story of Metro. Second, a look back at history of UI design. Third, visions of future UI design in Science Fiction. Fourth and finally, where we see UI (& Metro) headed in the future."

[Now here: http://kruzeniski.com/2011/from-transportation-to-pixels/
and here: http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2011/02/16/from-transportation-to-pixels.aspx ]
design  mikekruzeniski  windowsmobile7  windowsphone7  windowsphonemetro  ui  typography  motion  digital  vannevarbush  bumptop  designfiction  gestures  eink  2011  wp7  metro  microsoft 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Entelligence: Let's get digital -- Engadget
"one of the things I like about WP7 is that it's not a digital UI pretending to be analog. The user interface is flat...no photorealistic depictions of real world items, no shading, & no 3D effects. Everything is conveyed through the use of fonts, shapes & color. It's digital & it's proud. Overall, I like it, & the more I use it, the more I prefer it. Returning to a more digital approach means Microsoft was able to rethink the nature of applications and services and create the concept of hubs, where like functions meet similar functions w/out need for separate applications. It takes some getting used to, but the more I use it, the more natural it feels."

[via: http://twitter.com/tcarmody/status/20098622824 ]
analog  digital  technology  design  wp7  windowsphone7  microsoft  ui  ux  skeuomorph  windowsphonemetro 
august 2010 by robertogreco

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