"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

"To Clarify, Add Detail" – Edward Tufte’s Review of the iPhone

Posted: February 1st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Interaction Design | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Edward Tufte, information design master, has released an insightful and educational video review of the iPhone on his website. It’s a large movie shot in clear, Apple style black background with Tufte talking through his observations as he goes. Delivered in calm, soothing tones are such wonderful phrases such as “To clarify, add detail” and “Clutter and overload are not an attribute of information, they are a failure of design”.

Tufte has a high regard for the iPhone’s high resolution (163dpi) screen as well as how Apple have removed “computer administrative debris” to ensure “the information is the interface” with direct interactions by humans on the content, not via buttons – or at least with transparent controls where necessary. Where he’s not so impressed is with the “strong colours and zebra stripes, but not much information” on the stocks page – suggesting that instead of the “cartoon/Excel resolution” Apple could employ their “image level resolution” to let people zoom in and out of complex, informative displays. Similarly for the weather page shown above.

Aside from these few suggestions for information design improvement Tufte seems to like the iPhone – to quote; “If the information is in chaos don’t start throwing out information, instead fix the design – and that is exactly what the iPhone has done.” Go watch the video and learn from a master.

Laser Graffiti

Posted: February 21st, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: , | No Comments »

Graffiti. The ‘scourge’ of modern society, and of my spell-checker. Well society need fear no more, with this amazing laser guided graffiti projector. Beautiful in its simplicity – you just point the project at a building, callibrate it and then ‘draw’ directly onto the building with your laser pointer. Genius. [Thanks to Boing Boing]

Sound Sensitive Virtual Touchpad

Posted: November 28th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Interaction Design | Tags: , | No Comments »

Imagine being able to turn any surface into a touch tablet – think of the possibilities. Walls. Tables. Your partner. Hmm… OK, stop thinking about that now and go read about (and watch) how some clever types over in Europe have used sonar type methods to ‘hear’ the location of a writing device on wood. [From Boing Boing]

What’s really interesting about this is that it is another example of technology that could potentially expand the effective size of a small, mobile device without you having to carry something larger. Imagine being able to put a few bluetooth sensors on a wall or table and have your phone or PDA pick up the touch of your finger on that surface? This is similar to the light projection keyboards we’ve already started to see.