Reboot9.0 doggy bag
Some notes about the first day at Reboot9.0.
Highlights were: Kars Alfrink (Mobile Social Play) The talk introduced very relevant design guidelines to design for "mobile social play" 1. Design for different level of player engagement (casual, hardcore...). Keep people there, engaged gradually to provoke flow. 2. Provide players with roles, role creates dynamic, assigning roles to players so that social interaction emerges [I do think this is why games like WoW works better than social platforms like SL] 3. Encourage "meta-gaming" (like kids painting their miniature to play a tabletop game). It augments their engagement and keep them involved. 4. Support implicit rule creation. You should have hard rules encoded in the game BUT also unwritten rules that players agree on. Example: soccer on the street = soccer rules + rules negotiated by players about street constraints 5. Play with the game's existence
Aram Bartholl (Online Symbols in the offline world) He presented some intriguing art projects about how network data world manifest itself in our everyday life: - de_dust: The de_dust installation consists of a large number of various sized stacked crates arranged in a cluster. All the crates are printed with the same imitation wood texture from the computer game Counter-Strike. - WoW: people's name and identity is floating above people's head, visible to every body else in the street as in WoW. - Plazemark: real life representations of digital places generated by users of the Location Based Web2.0 platform Plazes.com. I also liked when he described how virtual places such as Countersike maps becomes part of people's memory, showing a CS map drawn in the sand.
Tom Armitage (The Uncanny Valet) A great talk about re-examining "the notion of manners on the web, and how we teach our software to be appropriate - but never too-polite. Tom's claim was that applications and tools that we are building define the manners of the web today, whether we like it or not. His point was illustrated by diverse examples. - modern web brings potential surprises (ajax, rich interface that zoom out, drag and drop that is only for nerds, click on RSS feeds that open up weird codes...). This is RUDE. - have a look at the Jack Principles, there are important lessons there - anthropomorphic representations (a la MS Bob, clippy...) destroy the sense of accomplishment for the users (“agents make people diminish themselves” and “redefine themselves into lesser beings.” Jaron Lanier) - a good example of a correct behavior is the email sent by the Little Moo robot:
" I'm Little MOO - the bit of software that will be managing your order with us. It will shortly be sent to Big MOO, our print machine who will print it for you in the next few days. I'll let you know when it's done and on its way to you. (...) Remember, I'm just a bit of software. So, if you have any questions regarding your order please contact customer services (who are real people) at: http://www.moo.com/service Thanks, Little MOO, Print Robot"
Why is it correct? because it's endearing, it reinforces the status as a computer, it better builds the user's relation with the company AND it naturally dissuades people from hitting "reply" to this email. SOme other stuff he mentionned, slightly less related to these notes: - kids use blank SMS to express their will to party - telescopes in the UK that tells on Twitter what they're looking at: a nice background machine. Tube lines in London that have twitter streams: it's polite and appropriate.
Matt Jones (Travel and serendipity) Matt described Dopplr, a social software that allows you to share when and where you will travel. His talk had a very interesting subtitle: "How personal informatics are engineering coencidence, lowering environmental impacts and forging a new golden age of travel". This reminded me a research paper by Christian Licoppe. This researcher (see "ICTs and the engineering of encounters: a case study of the development of a mobile game based on the geolocation of terminals" looked at how Mogi designers created a system that "engineer" encounters and specific forms of social play. Mr. Jones showed how "Dopplr is about the future, which you can't automate. You have to declare it". The Dopplr interface is meant to lower the energy to declare it. This point is very important and directly relates to the conclusion of my PhD research: there is always a cost related to location-awareness. Generally the capture of the location information is either automatic (by a computing system) or self-declared. My dissertation examined this difference and showed the importance of self-declaration: the cost is higher than the automatic version for the sender BUT for the others, the BENEFIT is high: it's more than an information, it's an information AND an intention. Another good point here is that Dopplr focuses on a single benefit, instead of having tons of "features". Dopplr is part of a larger service called the "Internet", as Dave Winer described it for Twitter, it's a "coral reef" on which one can plug lots of other services. For example, when Julian asked Matt about the past locations, Matt said another services could provide that but Dopplr only focuses on the future. The point of Dopplr is to create a model of what's going on (for instance sparklines of people's location as one can see below or timelines between you and a friend) and the service allows you to change one's mind about our model of the future.
(Sparkline designed by Matt Biddulph)
I also enjoyed a lot Jyri Engeström (Microblogging: tiny social objects ad the future of participatory media) and Jed Berk's work but I was so tired after my talk that I could not take more notes.