Sunday, November 23, 2008

Micro-Interactions and Magnetic Prototypes

In this post I will touch upon two interesting but unrelated pieces of content that I came across earlier today. The first is a presentation about the importance of micro-interactions in today's Web 2.0 world, from Critical Mass' David Armano. The second is a short post regarding a new prototyping technique that involves use of ink jet-printed magnetic, from Adaptive Path's Alexa.

Micro-Interactions in a Web 2.0 World
I came across this presentation as I was surfing around, after having gone through Bill DeRuchey's presentations. David Armano's background as the VP of Experience Design at a Digital Agency comes across loud and clear from his focus on "brands" in this presentation [link to David's blog]. The one main point that I took away is that "your brand is the sum of all it's interactions" (captured in his own words).

I fully agree with his perspective though I would change his words slightly to "your brand is the sum of peoples' experience of all it's interactions." I know this sounds quite a bit clunkier, however, I think it is important to call out that peoples experience of the same interaction may vary widely based on their beliefs, values and mental models.

I also want to call out that this presentation includes a thoughtful, and in my view accurate, perspective regarding the impact that web 2.o has had in the way people interact with each other, communities, brands and society at large.

Magnets for Prototypes
In this short post from Adaptive Path, Alexa makes a strong case for the use of custom-made magnets for prototyping interfaces. Now-a-days magnetic sheets for ink jet printers are widely available on Amazon or your local Staples. So you can create magnets that represent each interface elements and/or widget and that can be easily manipulated on a magnetic board. Though it does not work for every project, Alexa claims that this technique has "expedited concept communication, prompted new ideas through playfulness, and equipped people (who often don’t like to draw) to express ideas quickly." Definitely worth a try.

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