End of week notes and 3 (approx) interesting things, new or old, found (approx) this week. Also on Powered by Uniform Medium publication.

Two proposals we’ve been working on last week were about interactive installations for events. I always find these pleasing to work on, as there’s space to be more playful and conceptual and also because this is the kind of work that brought me close to Interaction Design in the first place, before I’ve started to be interested in designing and prototyping products.

And working both in installations and products, it’s especially interesting to compare their user journeys. If the methodologies for developing products and installations experiences are the same, there’s one fundamental factor that make them differ radically: time.

With a product you can account that some time will be needed by user to learn how to use the product, you can expect features to be discovered gradually by the user, and you are expected to think of reasons why the product would be still useful over time. And these experiences often are expected to occur over days or months.

But for interactive installations the whole experience needs to be over in seconds, minutes at most. There’s only a limited space for illustrating how the installation would work: the experience needs to be as much self-explanatory as possible. And the experience ends in one iteration: no further interactions with the installation is expected.

The way we approach interactive installation proposals is by reducing the experience to the bare minimum. Focusing on the main event in it - the emotional highlight - and removing everything that doesn’t contribute to it. In this brutal process of reduction, storyboards are still a key aiding tool. But good installations’ storyboards should look more like gifs than films: a detailed choreography of movements to make sure that each step that the user is required to getting to the experience main part was absolutely necessary.


1. Airbnb’s Backyard (2018)

Airbnb’s has a project called Backyard in which they are planning to produce and sell houses.

The spaces will be designed to be shared, from the ground up.

The spaces will be designed to be shared, from the ground up. What exactly that looks like remains to be seen, but the suggestion is clear: They will be optimal Airbnb rentals to anyone who is interested in hosting, or perhaps even investing in the big business of backyard cottages.

The spaces may also support co-living,

(On a side-note, the project is developed by Airbnb’s internal research studio Samara, which was funded set-up after the acquisition by Airbnb of Lapka, in my opinion the producer of the most beautiful product from this side of the millennium).


2. Doodle Master (2018)

Somebody did an implementation of that near Airbnb’s Sketching Interfaces concept: turn UI sketches into real (web) code. Looks neat.


3. Paperclip Maximizer (2018)

Hi! That’s me sharing a small experiment with genetic algorithms I’ve been working on.

Here’s the simplest definition I could find of a genetic algorithm

The genetic algorithm is a method for solving both constrained and unconstrained optimization problems that is based on natural selection, the process that drives biological evolution. The genetic algorithm repeatedly modifies a population of individual solutions. At each step, the genetic algorithm selects individuals at random from the current population to be parents and uses them to produce the children for the next generation. Over successive generations, the population “evolves” toward an optimal solution.