Monday, December 11, 2006

More thoughts on pliability as an aesthetic of IxD

Looking at the degree of pliability ...

"Last week, I wrote a short blurb referencing Jonas Löwgren’s article describing pliability as a type of aesthetic for interaction design. Here I expand a little more on the topic with some of my own ideas.

As a refresher, Jonas uses the word “pliability” to describe the quality of an interaction where there is an immediate appropriate reaction to the physical action a user takes. The more immediate (tight) this action is, the more pliable it is.

One of the great examples he gives it the use of a mouse drag to move a map in Google Maps. Mousedown > move mouse and the map moves along with you. Compare that to the Mapquest model and the idea of pliability becomes really clear. In Mapquest, you move a map by clicking on arrows that surround the map. Mousedown > wait for system refresh > page reappears recentered towards the direction you gave.

This mode is not only not pliable, but is also disruptive. the GMaps way allows the user to always remain in context to the movement as opposed to the more jolting MapQuest approach.

... You could say that the D--pad on the Zune is just as pliable. I hit down and the selector goes down. I click up and it goes up, right?

But where the iPod has an increase in pliability is in the wheel to software interaction around the speed of circular movement. The faster I go around the wheel the faster the selections move. This acceleration of physical action directly impacting the acceleration of a corresponding and appropriate virtual response to me is the epitome of the definition of pliability."    (Continued via Synaptic Burn)    [Usability Resources]


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