Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Taking back territory: UX/ID are spatial problems.

Not problem in the sense of how will we ever cope as designers, but problem in the sense of avenue for innovation.

User eXperience design and Interaction Design are ever-growing professional fields within Information Technology, and primarily deal with web-based, stuck-to-the-screen formats, such as your Amazon.com shopping experience. Rarely do these relate to a physical interaction with the virtual realm, or seek to develop a more immerssive, cybermimetic* environment.


James Turrell is the prominent cybermimetic spatial orchestrator, combining virtual boundary within physical enclosure to adapt spaces which rival the CG visualizations of the Tron worlds, placing you inside the light cycle arena.

What I'm set to propose, then, is not a full on war against the much higher rate-of-growth IT counterparts, but a collaboration in recognition that interaction with inaccessible screens is not the future, but environmental design with keen blurring tactics, is.

A simple diagram which intends to start the conversation on imagining the nature of user experience and interaction design as a spatial strategy is shown with a simple integration of human with screen, and computational response to said figure.


Like an easy recipe, the designer will flower with adjustments for sensory perception augmentation, tuning the experience as desired. A plan for a physical installation? I'll get started on the coding...



*Cybermimetic is a term coined by Dennis Dollens, in Digital Botanic Architecture which studies plant algorithms for growing architecture, including video game environments. Cybermimetic refers to anything which mimics cyber/virtual/computational space IRL.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Branding thyself: I swear I was just making things match like a good little designer.

And then there was the purchase of richardrano.com, leading to blog.richardrano.com (from its original ranodc.blogspot generic), thus the need to fulfill multiple mediums as borne from a single hand. In all honesty, this kind of self-branding exercise is necessary to get yourself noticed, appear coherent, and ensure you are hitting the right people, no matter the way they receive new information.


The physical portfolio, the business card, the cover letter/CV package, the folio content (which means web folio), and website all appear as one. Admittedly, this blog doesn't match worth beans. Deal with it :)





The design industry has always experienced this in terms of individuals defining 'what kind of designer' they are in order to appeal to specific types of employers or clients or academic institutions, and in the time of web 2.0, everyone must compete on this level. As experienced curators, should designers bring it to the next level? With all individuals self-branded, is there room or reason to work institutionally? With everyone operating in micro-ecologies, is individual branding another form of mass-customization? There are many a business development meta-blogs that speak on the subject, so just look at some pics, and maybe take a pedagogical position on the architectural / design world.



As experienced curators, should designers bring it to the next level? With all individuals self-branded, is there room or reason to work institutionally? With everyone operating in micro-ecologies, is individual branding another form of mass-customization? There are many a business development meta-blogs that speak on the subject, so just look at some pics, and maybe take a pedagogical position on the architectural / design world.






Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On Mutability in Architecture:

Recently, while perusing through my thesis sketchbook of last Spring, I ran across what can now be considered, in significant hindsight, as a catalog of approaches to architectural mutability. All of these, I would consider are common / historical examples as I looked for my own medium, which ended up relying heavy on the sciences. Some follow sci-fi approaches, some just human ingenuity in time of crisis. Take a look?

This first page explores the principals of self-organization, and like any good student, is the replication of Boids Birds. The act of flocking in nature is observed to have no General, but only ad-hoc communication between organisms which follow simple rules to work together. As designers, the instinctual decisions are applied in defining those simple rules to manipulate responses, which are only marginally predictable. A useful tool in foregoing entirely assumption based design, and allowing reactionary architecture to surface. The main criticism? It's reactionary :)


 You can't go wrong with small robots which live in the walls, watch how you live, then collect and re-organize junk in order to formulate a hard-edged spatial depiction of an everyday routine. The implication of SPATIAL RECONFIGURATORS is a designer's reaction to green washing products stamped as sustainable, whereas in reality, to make aging spaces useful again it is necessary to invent new methodologies for the items around us which may be considered unusable. Re-use is extreme recycling, and robo-stalker-junk-accumulators are extreme re-use. I must be an environmentalist.

Man-made Mutability takes a strong influence from Leebus Wood's past-futuristic war scenarios where average man is often called upon to invent new spatial languages based on what's left post-bombing run. Having done some studying in the Favelas, I have an appreciation for this kind of improvised work commonly found in slums. The informality frees creativity, in both of the examples, borne out of necessity. Found materials, re-purposed, new connection types invented to combine these things. It's fascinating, and admirable work both in fantasy and reality.


The culmination of these initial efforts were two disappointingly predictable results in determinable form. Project:Flex to the left, is just that, a flexible  muscle which allows for a tight womb, or a soft-edge grand hall, with only medium in between. SpatialBreakout is a less exciting sketch of the same principals of those robots we looked at before. While I find these early proposals without much depth, I do think there is work being done on the larger body, where new forms of interaction with environs are currently in question. It's not so much whether or not we can find shelter as fortunate people of a rich nation, but how can we find new livable experiences within our dwellings at home, work, school, or dreaded doctor's office. UserExperience design is about virtual storefronts in today's market, but the spatial neglect will be short lived. Architects re-purposed as UX designers of the physical world?

Clearly, all of these subjects show their faces more or less in the thesis package at the point of presentation, which, if you haven't already, can read about in previous posts! Please discuss!