“What I bring to ux from architecture.”

As a user experience designer, the mental gymnastics that were previously required to mentally flip from plan to section to elevation at both a macro and a micro level are now used to visualize the relationship between the elements in a product. This helps me to understand the implications of a change to one element and visualize how it cascades through the inter-related pieces in the design.
The above quote comes, via this Archinect forum thread which was discussing this page where Jennifer Fraser discusses what she brought to UX from architecture.
If one thinks of social networking (ing) as a key “user experience” of contemporary society, then think about how the user experience could be enhanced spatially. What could be done to change the architecture of our social networks?
Over at the thread Gregory Walker concludes “i’ll say the one thing i’ve learned on my own little side project is that architects can (and maybe should) be more well versed to develop a holistic vision for how someone experiences an object, space or environment. a lot of ux people can’t do that, especially when thinking about that experience across time. “
Typically, our interaction with social networks is defined chiefly through the interface of a stream or timeline. A continuous linear low of information. How could this be re-imagined spatially? Less linearly. What would an architectural representation of our social network look like? Could the concept of rooms be explored not in the sense of circles or groups but in terms of virtuality?
What about the idea of visualizing relationships at macro to micro levels? Does this also have implications with regards to user experience? Wherein, one could have micro spaces which where inter-related through their macro design.

Both augmented reality and announcements such as the recent extension that Google’s Maps Street View service will pilot indoor photos of business etc, indicate that one approach to our digital networks has been to make them even more real. Pulling in the details of our external networks into our virtual, social ones. Additionally, through the use of imaging and other technologies like integrated location sharing, we can make our virtual networks more data-rich, an experience of broadcast(able) moments. I would suggest however, that what is needed is actually more of a representational aesthetic. One less interested with “reality” though and rather more interested in spatialization. The difference seems one of : a tracing of reality to vs a reality shaped.

I would rather see an user experience that is more representational but less realistic. Social network user experiences that drew more from the aesthetics of Myst than Google, or Nokia. Or think of the concept of dreamtime (ie:  songlines or “Yiri” in the Warlpiri language). The signs of the Spirit Beings may be of spiritual essence, physical remains such as petrosomatoglyphs of body impressions or footprints, amongst natural and elemental simulacrae” compared to the “horizontal service… which makes places referenceable” of the digital broadcast now.

Cross-posted, originally here at phenomenalab.com. A new project by a close friend of mine, William Ogle. He bills the new project “PhenomenaLAB is the first full service social media agency”.


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