Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

Ergonomics – Thoughts on Territory as Interface: Design for Mobile Experiences

Territory as Interface: Design for Mobile Experiences

As our projects (the creation of augmented reality stories) continues I was struck by the following statement, “…we wanted to design experiences that get people engaged as much with the space around them and each other, as they are with the technology; and finally needing to design along a continuum that ensures a seamless transition from the real to the virtual.” (Michael Longford) This goal, to have users engaged in the physical space and people as much as the technology is a well identified key factor in creating experiences that transcend the technology. Our group of AR novices has already been contemplating how to motivate simple hand held device movement. It is this goal that will turn AR from a technology of attractions (as Gunning referred to some early cinema) to an immersive and potentially emotional experience. Longford’s question concerning how to create a collective knowledge through an interface is an interesting concept, the answer to which is likely the key to any production’s success. The concept of ‘flow’ has again appeared. Longford quotes Thackara who writes,

“redesigning the space of flows needs to be continuous, rather than episodic. It needs to focus on how things work, rather than just on what they look like. And it entails a fundamental change in the relationship between people who make things and the people who use them”

A strong argument can be made for a special awareness or effort to design ‘flow’ in these physical story spaces. The failure to create ‘flow’ will likely decrease user immersion in both the mental and physical aspects of the content. What does ‘flow’ look like in a physical space such as a cemetery or city square? What are the parameters that influence ‘flow’ in such physical story experiences? Is ‘flow’, in this sense, about narrative(?) or is it visceral sensory augmentation and sound? Or is immersion tied to a collective experience as Longford discusses earlier? The focus on ‘how things work’ will be key in creating ergonomic augmented experiences and will likely foretell their success or failure. Design cannot solely focus on content but must also pay close attention to the mechanics of the experience. Creating stories that involve; moving users in space, flow, temporalities, content sharing or social engagement, have so many moving parts that it will take a concerted effort to make the experience worthwhile for the user. Of course it is exactly these and a plentitude of other unanswered questions that make the whole effort within this mode of storytelling so energizing and compelling.

The Questions Again

1. What is ‘flow’ in physical augmented reality? What concrete factors influence its success?
2. Can ‘flow’ exist without social/collective engagement?
3. Do you think that a physical language of movement by users will eventually develop as this technology and storytelling continues to grow?

Wed, February 12 2014 » FC2_2014

One Response

  1. Francine February 12 2014 @ 10:52 pm

    With what my understanding of flow is, I feel like it is almost more likely to exist without social/collective engagement. If I think of all the times I’ve gone down the YouTube portal or played (this is embarrassing) Mario Kart on my Wii until 5am, they are always solitary experiences. I think if I had some type of social engagement I would probably be drawn out of my “flow” (again, I may be misunderstanding this term). I wonder if it is more challenging to achieve flow for a group of individual/unique users. Surely we all would want to take different paths and experience different stories. One person would inevitably get bored of another’s story and draw them out of that world.