This is exactly the type of stuff I used to do when working video games. These things are so subjective that it takes a very philosophical and multi-disciplinary type of approach.
There are often no right or wrong answers, something may work, but then something else may work better, or worse. Or maybe they work the same but designed completely different.
I think people are often too trapped by design conventions and making things look the way something else looked. The popularity of a lot of things are based on their originality, and some things are based on familiarity. You have to design things based on your own ideas and if it's good, people will come to it. I find this preferable than just copying something and changing the graphics around a little. Besides it makes you a better person to work on new ideas as opposed to rehashing old ones.
To wrap this up, my design philosophy was based on seeing how the largest video game publishers created their user interfaces. Places like Activision, Sega, Sony, 2K Games, Vivendi Universal and THQ. These are pretty much the largest publisher/developers out there besides Microsoft and Nintendo. People always take all my experience and poo poo on it because I didn't stay at one company and learn nothing.
I went around and learned everything from each company. Unfortunately, I can't give my experience away except through obnoxious emails like this. I hope it helps someone. I decided to go to school and learn to put my experience to benefit myself. I have a few years to go.
But anyway, MY philosophy of User Interface design is just that, a philosophy. A broad strategic view. People get lost in the details too much, what font to use and what graphics to use. Very important but those are just details. Like putting the paint and rms on a car. But the car is more than just the bells and whistles you know. You want to drive a BMW or a Kia? Kias can look really nice on the outside, but in the end you know you getting a Kia as opposed to a BMW.
Or say a bicycle compared to a motorcycle or a bus. They can look great on the outside, but you haven't changed the overall structure. So even though someone thinks they got a Lexus, they are still riding a Moped.
1) Substance more important to me than hype.
2) The minimum amount of effort and time with the maximum amount of effectiveness.
These are arbitrary amounts. These are the same philosophies the Japanese used when building cars that use very little fuel, building castles that can withstand any size earthquakes, creating swords that don't rust, and creating video games like Zelda, Super Mario, and every other awesome branded character.
See, the Japanese not only make great games with solid game interfaces and code, they also create extremely incredible Brands. Things like Toyota, Nintendo, Sony, Sega, Honda, Kawasaki, Nissan, etc, I could go on forever about good Japanese companies that you know when you buy their product, you get something good.
This same philosophy goes towards their martial arts. The Japanese took Kung Fu which has literally thousands of moves and styles, and refined it down to some basic styles like Aikido (way of gentleness based on Judo), Judo (grappling and striking for sport based on Jujitsu), Karate (based on Kung Fu), Kendo (swordsmanship), Kyudo (archery) and so on.
Refinement, simplicity, beauty, aesthetics. These things are all exemplified by Japanese culture, as seen in their gardens, their architecture, their art, their theater, and so on.
But, don't get me wrong, I take the best aspects of their culture. I am half Japanese and half Polish, but I am a fourth generation American born citizen. I think that is the crux of American culture and Japanese culture.
People don't realize that the Japanese are like the Americans/English of Asia. Japanese are very democratic, and very Westernized.
Japan is a Rock N' Roll nation. They like Rock N' Roll. They are very American and their design style compliments American tastes and styles very well.
And in the same way, it is a friendly competition, with each culture building on each other's strengths.
Because I see flaws and unoriginal design all the time in Japanese games. But, it's not just in the games, it's everything.
Sorry to ramble, but all my years of experience have served me naught. I seriously hope this helps someone, because I see some HORRIBLE design by people who should know better and make more money in a year than I have in my lifetime.
But, the greatest inventions in the world are made by people who see something and say, "I can do it better."
I see that with everything. That's the Japanese philosophy and I think that is also the American philosophy. I think that is a general philosophy of all awesome-sauce.
I think we, as a culture and as a people, have lost that drive to do better, to improve. To really push the envelope. To think outside the box. To really WOW someone.
To reinvent the wheel, or un-invent the wheel, or re-un-invent the wheel. Or the square wheel? That would work on Ice wouldn't it, a square wheel?
That's the great thing about code and programming and design. It is art and should be treated as such.
The art of AESTHETICS is of utmost important. It literally makes someone decide whether they like something or not. A subliminal trigger, based on the Golden Rule of design and other basic elements like symmetry and color.
I don't know what beauty is, but I know it when I see it!
The sky is the limit with programming. With anything. People need to lose the boundaries that society has imposed on your creativity.
This may seem like I may be a little off-balance, but you'll find the most brilliant people are wack jobs like me. I mean truly eccentric people make the best art, because art is original, unique, and it pushes the limits of your perceptions and makes you ask questions. Any question. It just makes you think. But in a good way.
I see a program as a living entity.
If you were to take this basic concept of programming and multiply it by the correct amount of exponential's, you'd have a human brain.
I don't see any limitations when programming.
I am very excited and wish I had started programming earlier as a child.
Oh, that's another thing I need to remember, integrating programming courses as core elements of any school curriculum. And I mean even starting at Elementary school, and giving kids a taste of programming and other advanced careers, so that they can start preparing right away.
I know if I had been introduced to guitar or programming early on, I may be living in a nice house in Malibu, making 100k a year.
I mean, this is a community, and I hope this is what it's for. To exchange ideas (shoot ideas), and have them bounce around in people's brains like a laser in a prism, and when they come back they are faster and more focused, and then bounce it back through my mental prism back towards the group.
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 2:37 PM, Jonathan Lane <[address removed]>
Wow, William...you've just provided about a thousand dollars worth of free consulting (at least)! Very creative, thorough, and insightful.
On 6/6/12 2:00 PM, William Ryan Kus wrote:
Sorry if anyone is offended by my "Reply to All". Just thought I'd add my two cents.
Without putting too much time into researching your question, I'll throw out some ideas.
One possible suggestion is having the screen set up like Beauty Pageant Contestants on a stage.
And maybe they would be arranged according to how sexy they are at the moment.
Then have a calendar someplace, maybe something with major events in the future, like movie releases or press events, that will significantly alter a person's perceptions depending on how they look and who they are with and how they conduct themselves.
It would seem only the most popular actors and actresses, maybe the top 50, could be shown, but then that limits the scope of the project.
But, that's a good things, then you just concentrate on the popular people of the day, like uh, Leonardo DiCaprio, or whoever else is trending.
Otherwise I can see it being no other way than to have a complicated Stock Market type of engine, because there are too many movie stars, singers, politicians, and whoever else is trending at the moment.
I would also look at that website Hot or Not, because they were one of the first ones to really capitalize on that.
Then I would look at some popular games on Facebook and see how they do things.
I'm not saying copy them, but it's a good place to start on how you might develop the game.
If the jerks on Facebook can understand how to play MafiaWars and FarmVille, they should be able to understand a game using a similar interface.
If you are looking for something even more simple. I'd a picture of the people's face's or person with their name, then a time line, like a stock line, showing their popularity.
To visualize this, I would take the celebrities face and graphically change it depending on where it is on the scale.
If it were trending popularly, the face would be happy and smiling, and if it weren't, it would by unhappy or some funny look.
Really popular people will have all sorts of funny faces.
Maybe it would even be better to rate different pictures and expressions of the celebrities, and not just how they look at the moment.
But as far as teaching people how to basically play a stock game, there's going to have to be instructions like you'd have on a Zynga type game.
You could have a very simplistic structure to start with, like a Hollywood casino.
Just throw the person right into the game, then as they get involved, they can explore deeper aspects of the stock game.
But initially, the person should be told to choose a celebrity from a list, or type their name in (this should be created so that a lot of different social media can be used to be able to access celebrities) then it should ask a few simple questions.
You can either ask the user for their favorite celebrity, which is going to be a real hassle, or you can focus on just the top 5 or 10 trending celebrities, thus saving you untold amounts of labor and time, and saving the idiot consumer, who given too many choices, can't make a decision.
Also, you would have a better runnign system, instead of people all voting on randomly weird people who you don't really know how popular they are or are not because they aren't that popular in the first place.
While I mention popularity, beauty and popularity are going to be the same thing.
So instead of asking them too many questions. I'd five them a choice, like a Horse Race, of about 10 to 20 celebrities to Bet on.
Let them know exactly what they're doing.
1. Choose a celebrity.
1a. Each celebrity will have a basic Hotness rating and then show a graph with their hotness ratings, much like a stock market, with the high and low points of their popularity on the site and if there were any major events that changed how they were rated.
2. Then as: Do you think the Tom Cruise will be "hotter" or "colder" (I'd find something more catchy than that.)
3. Then ask them to choose a date.
4. Give them some cash to use.
5. You're going to need to use some sort of interface that can display a lot of people as if they were stocks on the NASDAQ or horses on a race track.
But instead of having too many numbers or letters, I would incorporate a graphical interface that shows how people are currently doing by the expressions on their face or something clever.
I would want the game to be very simple and basic on the surface, but to be a very complex betting/prediction system for those that want to try and take it more seriously by studying the trends.
So, in a nutshell.
Maybe if this were for a iPhone or something, which I have heard of in rumor and gossip, but do not own one myself, I might make something like...
Ok, give me a second to boot up Illustrator.. LoL...
Then I would have a screen with a history of their hotness shown on a timeline/stock type graph so that people can have a clue.
You could give odds for guessing how hot they will be or something.
I think the simpler the better to begin, because the level of complexity could rival that of anything.
You're dealing with aesthetics, beauty, predictions, popularity, and so many other outrageous factors, you want to keep it as simple as possible for development costs.
I might even just concentrate on maybe a few celebrities that will be easy to track, like the Presidents, or the various Presidents, or the top 5 music stars or movie stars.
That way you could really make it personalized to each star and have a lot of updated pictures and news that will alter people's decisions.
Because these sorts of things aren't just about beauty, but they really say a lot more about people and society.
I hope this helps some or at least gives you some ideas to shoot you off in your own creative directions.
This is how I would approach it, given the vagueness of your idea.
(I have about 10 years quality assurance experience for video games so that's where my experience comes from.)
--This message was sent by Jonathan Lane ([address removed]) from The Los Angeles User Experience Meetup.
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