back on magic - frog design

13 Oct 2009 - 5:54pm
4 years ago
2 replies
488 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

We were talking about magic a while back (so long ago that on the web site I
can't add to the thread). But it is hear for reference:
http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=46102

frog design had a design leadership meeting and one of the aspects they
seemed to dive deeply into is "magic". I like the discussion.
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/blog/at-stake-a-unified-understanding-of-design.html-0

I for one WANT to manipulate the world towards change. My change. My ideals.
That fear is dishonest because every form of design is a manipulation, an
insertion into the cultural pool. Anyway, I found it interesting that it
isn't just us talking about this.

-- dave

--
Dave Malouf
http://davemalouf.com/
http://twitter.com/daveixd
http://scad.edu/industrialdesign
http://ixda.org/

Comments

13 Oct 2009 - 6:45pm
Anonymous

In my vision the two views collapse into one. One thing we that we can
readily agree on is that design "lives" in the minds' eye of the one
experiencing it. No matter whether the design just allows survival
(usability, function) or affords magic (rising above seeming constraints).
Given that design lives in the mind of the "experiencer", then surely magic
also arises there too. So what is magic
then?

It arises when design *effortlessly* connects intention with result - it
meets the goals of the user with such little impediment that it *almost
seems like magic*. With design, I believe magic *must be a meaningful
surprise. *

As an example of where there is meaning and thus magic: suppose I found a
way to effortlessly let you connect with the computer such that subtle
movements of ones fingers could control appliances, on/off switches on the
wall and other such things from a distance...well that would be magic!
There is great meaning to this interaction, I can control things I already
do, but now with a great ease - thought-to- action with almost no
impediment.

As an example of where there is no meaning and thus no magic: suppose I
found a way to let you effortlessly open a ketchup packet with a subtle
brush of the fingers on the ketchup packet...well that would be banal.
There is little value to this interaction, a problem not needing to be
solved. While the technology may be magic, it is doubtful that anyone would
care much as it isn't a meaningful problem to anyone.

I would argue that the goal of the designer is bound to the problem at hand.
When the stakes are opening a ketchup packet, maybe usability or function
is just fine. But when the stakes are much higher, when audience may be
eager for a tighter connection between effort and result then magic may
arise in the design.

Navid

On Tue, Oct 13, 2009 at 5:54 PM, Dave Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:

> I for one WANT to manipulate the world towards change. My change. My
> ideals.
> That fear is dishonest because every form of design is a manipulation, an
> insertion into the cultural pool. Anyway, I found it interesting that it
> isn't just us talking about this.
>
> -- dave
>
>
>

13 Oct 2009 - 11:07pm
Bob Miller
2007

Isn't this one of Clark's Three Laws? That any sufficiently advanced
technology is indistinguishable from magic?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke's_three_laws

Fascinating topic. My 2 cents would be that it doesn't matter
whether the designers think they're creating magic. If the designs
are effective and good, then surely some of the users wouldn't be
able to distinguish the technique from magic. That is, if they could
detect it at all!

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46699

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