serious design

While listening to tech-prophet Bruce Sterling’s recent rant my mind ran to virtual world design. There is no doubt. I am fully immersed, again. To digress…

If you dig tech, but are unfamiliar with his writing and reporting, you would probably still enjoy Bruce Sterling‘s closing remarks at this year’s SXSW conference and festival.

Plug in here.

Apparently, at the same conference, Google gave a glimpse in their vision by sharing four key design principles for Google Glass.

  1. “design for Glass”
  2. “don’t get in the way”
  3. “keep it timely”
  4. “avoid the unexpected”

Sterling then described what an evil Google Glass would look like…

You just take the four Glass design principles and you reverse them. You use software that was not designed for glass; buggy, abusive software; stuff that breaks up, or jams, or just fails to display.

You grab fiercely for attention.

You disrupt the user’s day.

You send the user stale, useless information.

You do freaky coding that breaks, or hacks—or powns—the device.

This is when I drifted off. Pause audio, make note, start a list; then, back to Bruce…

He continued, within days of Google’s announcement to close down Google Reader, speaking of how technology consumes itself.

Yes we killed the past. We didn’t pull the trigger on it directly; but, it died for our benefit.

Yes we burned it up. No one is historically innocent.

Yes we are carnivores at this barbecue. The saving grace here is that we eat what we kill.
Go on, eat it. Don’t pretend…live up to it…to kill and eat it is fierce, but honorable.

His closing primed me to proceed with prejudice.

How can we get past the wow factor? How can really inquire with this, how can we treat it with moral seriousness? The first step is to accept that our hands are not clean. We don’t just play and experiment. We kill.

So, now, I ask you: “What are the design principles delivering the best VW designs?”