The spatial memories seem to translate into more immersive reading and stronger comprehension. A recent experiment conducted with young readers in Norway found that, with both expository and narrative works, people who read from a printed page understand a text better than those who read the same material on a screen. The findings are consistent with a series of other studies on the process of reading. “We know from empirical and theoretical research that having a good spatial mental representation of the physical layout of the text supports reading comprehension,” wrote the Norwegian researchers. They suggested that the ability of print readers to “see as well as tactilely feel the spatial extension and physical dimensions” of an entire text likely played a role in their superior comprehension.
Yearly Archives: 2013
“If everyone had the luxury to pursue a life of exactly what they love, we would all be ranked as visionary and brilliant. … If you got to spend every day of your life doing what you love, you can’t help but be the best in the world at that. And you get to smile every day for doing so. And you’ll be working at it almost to the exclusion of personal hygiene, and your friends are knocking on your door, saying, “Don’t you need a vacation?!,” and you don’t even know what the word “vacation” means because what you’re doing is what you want to do and a vacation from that is anything but a vacation — that’s the state of mind of somebody who’s doing what others might call visionary and brilliant.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Listening Cloud
A data-driven light sculpture that visualizes social media conversation in real time. Installed in the lobby of RPA, it is a continuous display of the buzz around client brands.
Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal.
Albert Einstein, giving advice to his son
John Cleese On Creativity
An interesting project that attempts to change the way we deal with our mobile phone.
An Instrument for the Sonification of Everday Things
Description below from maker Dennis Paul:
This is a serious musical instrument. It rotates everyday things, scans their surfaces, and transforms them into audible frequencies. A variety of everyday objects can be mounted into the instrument. Their silhouettes define loops, melodies and rhythms. Thus mundane things are reinterpreted as musical notation. Playing the instrument is a mixture of practice, anticipation, and serendipity.
The instrument was built from aluminum tubes, white POM, black acrylic glass, a high precision distance measuring laser ( with the kind support of Micro-Epsilon ), a stepper motor, and a few bits and bobs.
A custom programmed translator and controller module, written in processing, transforms the measured distance values into audible frequencies, notes, and scales. It also precisely controlls the stepper-motor’s speed to sync with other instruments and musicians.
If the government demanded that we all carry tracking devices 24/7, we would rebel. Yet we all carry cell phones… If the government demanded that we give them access to all the photographs we take, and that we identify all of the people in them and tag them with locations, we’d refuse. Yet we do exactly that on Flickr and other sites. Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer for British Telecom
See also: The Internet Is a Surveillance State and Beware Trading Privacy for Convenience.
Sketching helps you better understand the problem you are trying to solve and lets you visualize possible solutions. It is a fast and inexpensive way to brainstorm and to test out a lot of UI ideas before committing to one. Sketching speeds us the concept creation and iteration phase and makes it possible to get feedback early on, when changes are easy to make. Lennart Hennigs, Smashing Magazine
Mobile Information Architecture: 4 different models
Mobile devices have their own set of Information Architecture patterns, too. While the structure of a responsive site may follow more “standard” patterns, native apps, for example, often employ navigational structures that are tab-based. Again, there’s no “right” way to architect a mobile site or application. Instead, let’s take a look at some of the most popular patterns: Hierarchy, Hub & spoke, Nested doll, Tabbed view, Bento box and Filtered view.
Designing for Mobile, Part 1: Information Architecture. Via Small Surfaces
A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.
In the 1950s, the researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that we sleep in cycles of roughly 90 minutes, moving from light to deep sleep and back out again. They named this pattern the Basic-Rest Activity Cycle or BRAC. A decade later, Professor Kleitman discovered that this cycle recapitulates itself during our waking lives.
The difference is that during the day we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes. Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves — the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity. Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. They begin in the morning, take a break between sessions, and rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day.
Relax! You’ll Be More Productive
Researchers from John Moores University in the UK tested the effects of afternoon napping on sleep-deprived people. The subjects napped for half an hour just after lunch and then researchers measured their alertness. There have been numerous studies into the effects of power napping, but this one measured heart rates and reflexes as opposed to surveying participants. As per their hypothesis, alertness was significantly higher compared to the non-nappers.
Thoughts on the Creative Career
Ze Frank on forging a creative career.
Typography and ease of use
…It’s helpful to understand one of the basic mechanicals of reading: saccades. Instead of moving smoothly across the page when we read, our eyes actually make discrete jumps between words, fixating on one word for a short period of time before making a ballistic movement to another one. We call these movements saccades.”
“But despite their “ballistic” nature, these rapid eye movements actually improve our reading capabilities. While we process the words immediately within our focus, we use the additional information just outside of it to further guide our reading. As readers, our time to comprehension is aided by the context of adjacent words-to the extent that we are often able to automatically process (and thus skip over) shorter functional words like and, the, of, and but.
Just as food companies learned that if they want to sell a lot of cheap calories, they should pack them with salt, fat, and sugar — the stuff that people crave — media companies learned that affirmation sells a lot better than information. Who wants to hear the truth when they can hear that they’re right?
The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption
PAINTWORK – A brief glimpse of our augmented reality future
New Scientist’s Arc Magazine and science fiction author Tim Maughan are proud to announce the online debut of the low budget, experimental short film Paintwork. Set in near-future Bristol – the British city known internationally for spawning Banksy – it follows augmented reality graffiti artist 3Cube as she illegally transforms an all-too familiar advertising billboard into a work of high tech street art, and poses questions about the relationships between technology, advertising and the control of public spaces.
Inkscapes is an interactive drawing performance designed for the 120 by 11 feet video wall at the InterActive Corps (IAC) building in New York.
The content of the installation is dynamic and different every time it runs: three artists create it live, by drawing on an iPad that scales their sketches to the unexpected magnitude of the giant screen. The narrative is guided through the dialog between performers and the system itself, which evolves and transforms the drawings over time.
With Ambient the physical environment becomes an interface to digital information rendered as subtle changes in form, movement, sound, color or light. Current information interfaces are either interruptive or too detailed. For the first time in history, ubiquitous wireless networks can affordably deliver digital information anytime, anywhere. The result for most of us is cacophony. Ambient wants to make the world calmer.
George Lois: Ideas are the Product of Discovery, Not Creation
I don’t think I create anything. I’m really serious — I discover the ideas.
If you understand how to think… If you have a background of graphic art, and you are a sports fan, and you’re literate, and you’re interested in politics, and you love opera, and ballet’s not bad either, and if you understand people… and you understand language, and you understand that product, and you understand the competitive products… and you put that all together in about ten minutes — the idea’s there.
We often tend to see children as the best and fastest language learners, and attribute their success to a brain plasticity and flexibility that we adults no longer possess. One might quibble with the definition of “brain plasticity”, but a key factor in the learning process is often omitted: the way they acquire a foreign language is different from ours.
Children hear whole sentences. They don’t start with syllables. They simply hear chunks of a language and then identify the single components by themselves. As adults, we tend to think that we can figure out the structure of a language by analysing every single aspect of it, and we lose sight of the general, broader picture. As adults, we still have the capacity to hear, but we have partially lost our capacity to listen. A Polyglot Dream
Baratunde Thurston: Getting Things Done Is Inspiration + Sheer Willpower
Comedian and author Baratunde Thurston walks us through his own journey from lone standup comic to Director of Digital at The Onion. He shares his insights for pushing projects to completion and the lessons he learned while working with skeptical teammates. The key, he says, is to not confuse using tools with creativity.
How to Design Social Experiences
Facebook’s Global Head of Brand Design, Paul Adams, on the complex task of designing social experiences.
The web is evolving, orienting around people rather than content. As a result, almost all UX professionals will increasingly need to design social experiences. Designing interactions between people is different from designing user experiences. For example there is often no clear task to design for, no set user goal, and no clear outcome.
To complicate matters further, people’s sense of identity and the social interactions they have with others are subtle and nuanced. This means you can never predict how people will respond to what you create for them. Not only does this uncertainty mean that we need a very different approach to product development to be successful, it means that we need to be ready to iterate in real time – to change what we have launched almost immediately after we have launched it.
Paul will talk about the social design process, how it differs from classic user-centred design methods, and will explain why he thinks UX professionals will need to change how they work to be successful in the future.
In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer… to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service. Steve Jobs in a Fortune magazine interview
I spent half my time as a designer trying to overcome the design as veneer fallacy.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan
Children should be allowed to get bored so they can develop their innate ability to be creative.
When children have nothing to do now, they immediately switch on the TV, the computer, the phone or some kind of screen. The time they spend on these things has increased.
But children need to have stand-and-stare time, time imagining and pursuing their own thinking processes or assimilating their experiences through play or just observing the world around them.
Being happy, being outside, and getting fresh air is clearly important for today’s children. We’re competing with computer games and Games Boys. It’s important to give children the desire to be outside & motivate them to be creative outdoors.
Why not give a 5 year old a sharp knife? Or a box of matches? Or let them climb a tree? Are we really helping our children by attempting to remove risk from their lives? The benefits of outdoor preschool education, even in the Arctic north of Norway.
Las Calles de Borges
“Poets, like the blind, can see in the dark.”
Jorge Luis Borges
A little homage to the Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges, one of the greatest writers of all time. This video was shot in the winter of 2010 in Buenos Aires and Capilla del Señor, Argentina.
Art and music are the first things to go in schools. The role of art is disappearing. When we were kids, we learned about bakers and candlestick makers. We learned about cobblers and all these old-school, awesome things that people did their entire lives. They specialized in making one thing. … In archeology, the things that matter most are handmade: ceramics, glass, sarcophagi, paintings. The most valued objects of lost cultures are the things that were made by hand. We need to start making things with our hands again.
Ira Coyne, sign painter.
How farming planted seeds for the Internet
An interesting TED talk which unfortunately has some outdated misguided conclusions about the hunter-gatherer life style. Many of our current dietary problems can be traced back to the agricultural revolution and our now over-reliance on industrial food.