University of Cambridge academic James W. P. Campbell and Will Pryce, the award winning architectural photographer, have spent the last three years visiting 84 libraries in 21 countries, compiling a history of library design from the ancient world to the present day. The Library: A World History covers the development of university libraries across the world, as well as public and private libraries. Here we provide a selection of key moments in the history of the development of academic libraries.
While we speak of libraries everywhere being under threat, university libraries are coping with ever greater quantities of printed material created by the digital age. Architecturally they are changing, too.
Subtitled “A year after the game’s mobile launch, we still can’t stop playing. The app’s designer and psychology experts weigh in on exactly what makes it so irresistible.”
Read more: http://business.time.com/2013/11/15/candy-crush-saga-the-science-behind-our-addiction/
Photo from http://www.digibuzzme.com/candy-crush/
Here are some of the reasons-slash-design decisions that have contributed to the game’s popularity, according to Time:
1. It Makes You Wait
Perhaps the most genius element of Candy Crush is its ability to make you long for it. You get five chances (lives) to line up the requisite number of candy icons. Once you run out of lives, you have to wait in 30-minute increments to continue play. Or, if you’re impatient, you can pay to get back in the game — which is why it’s bringing in so much revenue. “You can’t just play all the time. You run out of lives,” says Andy Jarc, 22, one of the few players to reach level 440 in the game. “So the fact that they kind of constrain you — the whole mantra, ‘You always want what you can’t have.’ I can’t have more lives and I want them.”
“I think it makes the game more fun long term,” says designer Palm. “If you have a game that consumes a lot of mental bandwidth, you will continue playing it without noticing that you’re hungry or need to go to the bathroom. But then you binge and eventually you stop playing. It’s much better from an entertainment point of view to create a more balanced experience where you have natural breaks.”
2. We’re All Suckers for Sweet Talk
You flick four candies in a row, and they zap away. Candies above begin to cascade down, making even more matches. At the end words pop up on your screen, accompanied by a voice that says “Sweet” or “Delicious.” This feedback is essential for player immersion. “Positive rewards are the main reason people become addicted to things,” says Dr. Kimberly Young, a pioneering expert on Internet and gaming addiction who treats those addicted to the cyberworld. “When you play the game, you feel better about yourself.”
3. You Can Play With One Hand
According to Palm, the icons and setup were created so players could multitask. You can play Candy Crush while carrying a drink, toting a purse or bag, clinging to a subway pole, or hiding your phone under the table. That’s a huge advantage and makes this game perfect for a train ride, a distraction while you’re waiting to see a doctor, or something to get you through boring meetings. Plus, you can play offline as well — so even if you’re stuck in a tunnel, you can be “crushing.”
5. You Don’t Have to Pay – but if You Want to, It’s Easy
King reports that of all the players on its last level — 544 — more than 60% of them didn’t pay a cent to buy extra lives or chances to get there. But if you want to pay, it’s easy. Connected to Facebook or the app store? Just click to pay.
Earlier this month, Andrew Zolty, Asa Alger, and Ken Lonyai all spoke at Huge in Brooklyn as part of a Meetup at Huge looking at Natural User Interfaces.
I wasn’t able to attend (not being in Brooklyn as I am not), but Huge has posted the video from the event. Lots of interesting points and projects came up during this discussion.
Earlier this year, I helped out on the new TechCrunch redesign. I’m a UX Designer by trade (kinda) but on this project, I actually helped Brad Frost with HTML & CSS as we took medium size screen wireframes and translated them to small and larger screens in the browser.
Here’s Brad on the Atomic Design process we that he’s been inventing and how it played out on the project. Brad’s also included some project snippets like wireframe and content hierarchy diagrams.
From UX Week 2013: Bill McIntyre on “Patterns of Play and Interaction”
Play is the work of childhood, and a lens through which we discover the world. Toy Inventor Bill McIntyre takes a look at essential play patterns from the world of toys and games and explores some ways to use these for building engaging, rewarding and (most importantly) fun interactive experiences.
Bill McIntyre invents toys and games for a living. After many years of building web applications for IBM eBusiness, The New York Times News Service, and others, Bill turned his love of toys, robots, and technology into Atomocom, a company that invents and builds electronic prototypes for toy inventors, toy manufacturers and game inventors. Bill has developed electronic Barbie prototypes, talking Tron action figures, infrared action games, computer connected dolls, and just about everything in between. Working with other toy inventors, manufacturers, and game designers from all over the industry has given him a unique perspective on technology and toys, and their potential for twenty-first century interactive play.
Here are the notes I took while viewing this presentation …
“Play is whatever is done spontaneously and for its own sake.”
Tools of play:
“Play is the work of childhood”
“Fun is just another word for learning.” - Ray Kostler
What makes something play:
How do you make something playful:
Playing means choosing:
Free from consequence
No real-life penalties
free to experiment
child as scientist
Adding consequences changes the whole context of play.
Mildren Parten - “Stages of Play” - 1932
Parallel Play (Bowling, Golf)
Cooperative Play - activity becomes shared and organized. Roles may emerge. A group identity may emerge. Play is enhanced in you involve players together.
Play Pattern - common play experiences. A way to play that is separate from the narrative and theme.
Root of all play is exploratory play.
Sensory - Motor Discovery
Learning cause and effect
Tranformative play - creative play
Painting, drawing, sculpting
Changing the world
Construction play - blocks, legos, minecraft
Sports, dance, skill play
Always has two elements:
Narrative — something is going to happen
Root is role-playing. Root of role-playing is nurturing. Exploring the parent-child relationship.Extends quickly to pets. Doll (action figure) play - you play multiple characters at the same time. Dynamic that lets you explore all sides of the situation. People explore social outcomes.
Doll houses/action playsets - enhance the narrative. Gives the child an environment where they have a sense of control.
Outfits = role
Props = role
Are there differences in the ways that boys and girls play?
All children draw from the same essential play patterns - times that different children utilize different patterns varies by child. “Pink Brain/Blue Brain” - Lise Eliot, Ph.D.
Disney Infinite Toybox
Get Your City Walking With DIY Wayfinding
Urban designer Matt Tomasulo has launched Walk [Your City], a website that enables users to generate custom street signs in order to improve walkability of their neighborhood. Main objectives of the platform are building a local sense of community and helping citizens becoming more engaged.
Another important reason for Tomasulo to build Walk [Your City] is to stimulate people to exercise more, for instance by taking a simple walk. “In 1960, 1:4 citizens took one useful, 10-minute walk each day. Now that number is 1:10”, he explains. The website is built around a handy tool that allows everyone to create custom street signs based on walkability. Users draw a route between two points and the tool automatically calculates the walk or cycle minutes from A to B, as well as generates a good-looking sign. A QR code in the bottom corner links to a mobile website that displays the entire walking route.
Users can order their custom-made signs, which is rather expensive. One sign costs you $25 including shipping — that’s not cheap if you take into account the chance that your beautiful sign will be removed after a short while by some enthusiast policeman. Nevertheless, Walk [Your City] could turn out a great way for people to guide others to great places, such as a new bar, a street intervention or an event that would be hard to find otherwise.
The platform once started as a guerrilla project in Raleigh comprising of 27 street signs in three zones of the city. The signs caught the eye of city officials who considered making them permanent. However, they didn’t like the design of the signs. A year later, the City of Raleigh officially adopted the program and incorporated it into its city-marketing. With the launch of the Walk [Your City] website, Tomasulo gives the rest of the world the opportunity to add a user-generated layer of wayfinding to cities.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, it’s a pretty good “gut check” test (it may itself take only about 15 seconds to run) to run against any experience you are in the process of creating - it’s another way of putting the needs and desires of your users first - because if you don’t, you have probably lost them.
"In the first 15 seconds, your visitors are lazy in the sense that they have no extra time to invest in something they don’t know. They are vain in that they want to look good quickly using your product. And they’re selfish in that, despite the big picture potential and purpose of what your service stands for, they want to know what will immediately benefit them."
I’ll put this technique in the same camp as the squint test for usability — a quick check you can run against what you’re working on to try and ensure you’re on the right track.
The squint test is one technique you can use to quickly test the layout, design and how your experiences priorities are expressed through layout and design.
When you squint at a screen (or screen-in-progress), it helps you view the “layout and the major elements – hero shot, call-to-action, buttons – without being distracted by the details to see if your new page is laid out well and has a clear eye path.”
I took that definition from Daniel Burstein and the Marketing Experiments blog:
Which is also where this image comes from:
I was talking about this with my wife this morning as she gave me a ride to work.
Let’s say you Start with the driverless car:
Google has been working on its self driving car technology, where the user is required to enter an address in Google maps, after which the system gathers information from Google Street View and combines it with artificial intelligence software. The software includes information from video cameras in car, a LIDAR sensor on top of vehicle, radar sensors in front and a position sensor attached to one of the rear wheels that helps locate the car’s position on map. These sensors aid the car in maintaining distance with surrounding vehicles/objects.
For a larger version of this infographic, visit http://www.danielrrosen.com/2012/02/driverless-cars/)
(Testing of driverless cars has begun in at least three states.)
And then you Layer in your on-call ride sharing, currently exemplified by services like Lyft or Uber:
Lyft app interface
Uber app interface
Side Car app interface
And then mix in the concept of the renting and sharing (as opposed to owning) economy:
The strategists point to projections that suggest the “sharing” and “rental” economies will generate $3.5 billion in revenue in 2013, and grow to as big as $110 billion over the next few years.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/rise-of-the-renting-and-sharing-economy-2013-8
"As proponents of the sharing economy like to put it, access trumps ownership."
And then what might you have?
Here’s what I envision might come to pass:
Riderless cars outnumber cars driven by people. Cars-for-hire outnumber cars owned by individuals. Whenever you need a ride, you fire up your “Community Robot Car” app and call for the type of vehicle you desire. Whichever vehicle of that type is closest to your location and currently without a passenger drives itself to you, where it picks you up, takes you to your destination and then heads off in search of its next passenger.
You get to your destination nearly as quickly as you would driving your own car (maybe faster, because I have to imagine that a driverless car transportation network would be faster and more efficient than our current system of frustrated, easily distracted and prone to road rage human drivers). The vehicle your rode in is constantly in use. And everyone who took a ride in that vehicle does not have to own a car of their own (saving on insurance, maintenance costs, car payments, storage space, etc.)
I wonder how many vehicles we would need if all vehicles on the road were in continuous use and not spending 3/4 of their day in the company parking lot or the home driveway? What happens when nearly everyone is using individualized mass transit? Will we (the majority of us, or even a significant minority) ever want to give up ownership of our cars? (I would, theoretically, in a hot second. But maybe that is just me.)
Wait! Maybe that future is already here. Or at least closer at hand than we might expect …
Driverless cars could become commercially available as early as 2017 …
What do you think?
It’s worth checking out this Kickstarter campaign to see some of the thinking Sung has done about where we can take the interfaces of our mobile devices, what could happen when we strip away some of the presumptions that we carry with us from all the other interfaces we’ve used in the past.
Here’s how Sung describes his endeavor.
"GESTURES is going to provide a fundamentally better picture taking experience for the rest of us – people who just want to take great pictures quickly without the clutter of traditional camera interfaces or complex settings we never use."
"Think of this camera app as a clear window to our beautiful moments in life. Now we can capture them effortlessly with simple gestures."
"There are no gimmicks or complicated features – it’s just you and your memories captured in those images, and nothing in between."
"GESTURES is going to take full advantage of today’s touchscreen capabilities and provide a fundamentally better picture taking, managing, and sharing experience by:"
"Replacing outdated camera interfaces with simple gestures so you can take, manage, and share pictures more effortlessly.”
"Minimizing clutter and distractions so you can immerse yourself in the experience of capturing beautiful things in life.”
"Auto-enhancing images in the background so you don’t have to worry about color balance, vibrancy, contrast, etc.”
"Rather than adding more bells and whistles, we focus on enhancing the most essential core features of the camera."
He’s currently 9 days — and about $3,500 — away from meeting his goal. Check it out and if you dig what you see, join the Gestures party by becoming a backer — http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gestures/gestures-minimalistic-intuitive-gesture-based-came
Did you hear? Lyft is now in Atlanta.
It’s a ride-sharing alternative to taking a cab.
If you’ve seen the cars around town with the pink mustaches on the front — those are Lyft cars. Drivers are people who sign up to give others rides in their own vehicles. Passengers are greeted with a fist bump when they get into the car and Lyft has implemented other policies that make a Lyft experience feel more friendly and casual than your regular cab ride.
You download the app to your phone and tap a button to signal that you’re looking for a Lyft. The app uses your location to pinpoint the drivers closest to you, and you can see how those drivers have been rated by past passengers before accepting the ride.
I saw the poster above at the Arts Center MARTA stop the other day. I’m not sure it’s a viable alternative to public transportation, but it is nice to see other transportation alternatives being explored.
I heard about this service earlier this year when I was out in San Francisco. It will be interesting to see how it is received in this market.
The code “ATLOVE” gets you a free first ride (as long as your first ride is $20 or less).
Some more info on Lyft: