Items for an Archive of Experience Design
fter completion of the virtual roundtable, we asked our participants to
imagine themselves curators of a collection of experience design history
and to tell us what they would choose to include in it. If an organization
like AIGA were to start an archive of Interaction / Experience design,
creating this list would be critical.
Particpants responses ranged broadly from the highly
personal to the universal, from hand-tools to websites. Some responded
with a requirements checklist of what components would be needed to archive
such artifacts. Brenda Laurel suggested the following items included with
every archived work:-Initial goals and target audience for the project:
A description of process
Critical responses, if any.
Fate of the project, if it no longer is up and running.
A list of credits.
IP status: patented or copyrighted, shareware, public domain, etc.
-funding/revenue: commercial, nonprofit corporation, foundation
grant, subscription, etc.
A list of keywords, which might take the form of categories, for
format: website, online game, stand-alone software, location-based,
usage category: entertainment, education, personal development,
intended audience(s): preschool, elementary, tween, teen, females,
themes: (not multiple choice, but limit number of wordse.g.,
Renaissance role-playing game).
Jodi Forlizzi suggested that an archive would need to include
the critical successes and failures of product design in the last
millenium. Wed have to include products that changed us emotionally,
cognitively, and socially. Wed have to include products that we
loved and we hated and products that took us by surprise as designers
and as consumers.
Peter Lyman suggests forming a strategic
alliance with the Internet Archive, which is archiving the web and as
many other documents as possible, adding, This might help solve
the problem of context, and allow your archive to focus narrowly upon
excellence in design.
Weve attempted to pull together the
remaining lists into the alphabetical order below. Many dates have been
omitted due to our inability to determine accuracy. Below each item we
present our participants commentary. By no means is this thorough, exhaustive
or objectively factual. We did not intend to attempt to build such a list.
In fact, we challenge Loops reader to add to this list by
using our commenting feature to the left.
ACCESSPRESS Travel Guides
Nathan Shedroff comments: Innovative organization based around regions and neighborhoods with innovative maps.
Jodi Forlizzi notes the emotional and social changes brought about by
this first commercially-available artificially intelligent robot companion.
Alto Computer and InterPress-based Laser Printers (Xerox)
Hugh Dubberly comments: In 1972, Xerox built for research a personal
computer with mouse and graphical interface. Later, it added a publishing
system The Alto, Star, Lisa, Macintosh, Windows story is well known. The
InterPress to PostScript story less so. Both are important landmarks.
One summer while I was in grad school, I worked for Xerox. My office came
with an Alto. Imagine my surprise when I went to work at Wang and couldn't
even send email.
Apple Guides interfaces
Nathan Shedroff comments: For at least
version 3.0, this guidebased (as opposed
to agent) interface to a history database represented
multiple points of views on the same entries.
It included sophisticated sorting of relevance algorithms, character and narrative in the interface.
Apple’s Piles Interface
Nathan Shedroff comments: Innovative document visualization, management, and manipulation interface. Ambient indications of document age,
browsing, and gestural interface elements.
Apple’s Rosebud WAIS search technology
Nathan Shedroff comments: Interface involving “Reporters” as a representation of knowledgeable agents.
APS Typesetting System (AutoLogic)
Hugh Dubberly comments: When I was an undergraduate at RISD, the
Providence Journal allowed students to use its typesetting system. This
was my first experience trying to use a computer to produce design work.
More than 20 years later, mark-up languages remain relatively unchanged.
As We May Think
Hugh Dubberly comments: Vannevar Bush, President Roosevelt's National
Science Advisor, published this landmark article in the July, 1945, issue
of The Atlantic Monthly magazine. In it, he forecasts the development
of networked hypermedia which he embodied in a system called the Memex.
While he postulated that such a system might be based on microfilm, his
description of linked information was remarkably prescient. His article
remains required reading for anyone working on interactive projects.
Bubbe's Back Porch
Nathan Shedroff comments: Digital Storytelling,
Character-based agent (though not interactive)
personification, storytelling techniques, Digital
Computer Lib / Dream Machines
Hugh Dubberly comments: In 1974, Ted Nelson's
published this zeen-like double book describing
what computers should be like to use. In it,
he first used the term hypertext. Also required
Digitalspace.com (Bruce Damer et al.)
Brenda Laurel comments: The inventor of avatars and most graceful
software for using them; also a key contributor to Adobe Atmosphere.
Englebart's 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference Presentation
Hugh Dubberly comments: This 90-minute demonstration changed computing.
Doug Englebart demonstrated a graphical display, windowing, outlining,
linking, andof coursea mouse. This demonstration and his 1962
paper Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework are
seminal works in a seminal career.
Nathan Shedroff comments: Online
storytelling with user contribution / discussion
HyperCard (Apple Computer)
Hugh Dubberly comments: In 1987, Bill Atkinson and team developed
an amazing hypermedia development system. Many web designers started working
on interactive projects using HyperCard to control CD-based multi-media.
Brenda Laurel comments: Reality TV before
reality TV, on the web.
MacOS 7, 9, X (Apple Computer)
Nathan Shedroff comments: Standard GUI interactions, desktop metaphor, etc.
MIT Architecture Machine Group's Interactive Video Project
Hugh Dubberly comments: In the late 70s, this precursor to the Media
Lab developed an amazing Oil Change interactive tutorial for
the Department of Defense. In what I recall as a related project, Wendy
Richmond developed anti-aliased (gray-level) screen fonts. Both projects
were unequaled commercially for years.
Netscape Web Site (March 1996).
Peter Morville comments: The Netscape Communications Corporation
played a major role in popularizing the World Wide Web and unleashing
the creative energy and that powered the "new economy." Netscape.com
became a showcase for the capabilities of the Netscape browser. In 1996
and 1997, the Frames and Java epidemics (see http://www.webreview.com/1997/02_07/developers/02_07_97_3.shtml
for sample article from this period) started here before infecting web
sites around the world. If AIGA could somehow capture the experience of
navigating Netscape.com using the Netscape 2.0 browser, this would provide
wonderful insight into the state of technology-driven experience design
during the Internet boom.
Hugh Dubberly comments: William Gibson's classic noire novel of
Next Exit (Dana Atchley)
Brenda Laurel comments: The canonical digital storytelling performance.
Brenda Laurel comments: Visionary VR content
and interface (breath-driven).
Nathan Shedroff comments: Visually-stunning
VR systems employing multiple transparent imagery and movement with natural visual metaphors.
OXO Goodgrips (OXO)
Jodi Forlizzi notes the emotional and cognitive change brought about by
these steel kitchen and household tools with OXO's trademark flexible
Pac Man (Bally/Midway)
Brenda Laurel comments: often seen as the
best of the arcade games and the first to attract
PalmOS and PenPoint
Nathan Shedroff comments: Both are well-designed gestural interfaces.
PDP 11 based Timesharing System and Teletype
Hugh Dubberly comments: When I was in 8th grade, my school had a teletype connected to a timesharing
system. The teletype was connected by inserting a telephone headset into
a coupler (a little cradle) and dialing the telephone. The teletype had
a keyboard for entering instructions. It printed results on a continuous
role of newsprint. Instructions could be saved by printing out paper tapes.
I spent hours watching it type out patterns generated by the game Life.
Later, I learned to program in Basic on that system.
Placeholder (Laurel, Strickland,
Naimark, and Tow)
Brenda Laurel comments: Groundbreaking
exploration of place and story in VR.
Nathan Shedroff comments:
Collaborative VR system (with 2 concurrent
users), innovative movement mechanisms and user
representations and narrative VR elements.
Brenda Laurel comments: The original arcade game.
Hugh Dubberly comments: It's wide distribution changed
perception about computing and gaming. Atari released Pong in 1972, but
I was a late adopter not playing until 1976.
Powers of Ten (Charles and Ray Eames)
Nathan Shedroff comments: Innovative magnitude-based perspective of scale (from the furthest reaches of the known Universe to the smallest sub-atomic particles).
Hugh Dubberly comments: Many years before AOL's Instant Messenger
became popular, and even before IRC, IBM Professional Office system (PROFs)
allowed people to exchange messages in real time.
Purple Moon website and CDs
Brenda Laurel comments: Powerful online
girls community with virtual objects.
Nathan Shedroff comments: There
is emotion-based navigation in the CD-ROM games
for girls. The website site is a collaborative
web community for teen (and younger) girls using
trading tokens, postcards, and scrip economy.
Innovative user profiling and communication with
security features to protect community members.
Backstory is present for CD products as well
as E-mail communications from the Purple Moon
Rockys Boots (Robinett, The Learning Co.)
Brenda Laurel comments: First and best educational software for
The Sims (Will Wright, Maxis)
Brenda Laurel comments: Will finally got the interface right for
a game about human social behavior with both truth and humor.
Sissyfight (Eric Zimmerman,
Brenda Laurel comments: Hilarious, simple,
novel, politically incorrect game see www.gamelab.com.
SMART Yellow Pages
Nathan Shedroff comments: Innovative information
design of community information. Clear innovations
in searching and browsing to solve some very
specific and intrinsic problems: subject searches,
task searchers, page layout and numbering, reference
links, diagrams and mapping systems and many
series of innovative, clear and beautiful icons.
Hugh Dubberly comments: Neal Stephenson cyberpunk novel provides
a detailed view a digital Metaverse and its inhabitants.
Spacewar, VT-100 version
Brenda Laurel comments: The original multiplayer game on computers.
Nathan Shedroff comments: Video communications and community tool.
Star Tours (Disney)
Brenda Laurel comments: First and best motion platform ride, with
excellent waiting in line design.
Spyonit Net Agent
Nathan Shedroff comments: Online agents.
TomPaine.com, 2000 election release
Brenda Laurel comments: Powerful democracy website.
Hugh Dubberly comments: In this classic piece of science fiction,
Vernor Vinge first used the word Avatar to describe identities inhabited
in an online world.
Ultima Online (Electronic Arts)
Brenda Laurel comments: Huge success fueled by social energy.
Upshift (Art Center College of Design, Media Design
Brenda Laurel comments: A complete transmedia service devoted to
encouraging the adoption of low-emission vehicles.
Brenda Laurel comments: New model for activist
Nathan Shedroff comments: A voice-activated and automated interactive agent phone system.
Windows 2000, XP (Microsoft)
Nathan Shedroff comments: Same as MacOS mentioned above but with different visual design and slightly different interactions.
Brenda Laurel comments: new business model.
Nathan Shedroff comments: A variety of very successful community tools.