So, we were at @media 2008 last week. Marty and I had a couple of good days listening to a lot of very clever and interesting people talk about all sorts of things to do with design, data, communities and code libraries, to mention just a few!
Although most of the talks we went to were very informative, there were a few that stood out to me as an interface designer and developer and those were the talks from Jeff Veen (ex. Google, Adaptive Path) and James Box (Clearleft). I’ll talk about Jeff’s presentation first.
Jeff was talking about telling stories with data, about how to present reams of information in a more intelligent and useful way. This is something that was piqued my interest because in Moshi we have a lot of data present on the main HUD (and potentially it may fill up more as we add more features) so I was keen when designing the HUD to display these pieces of data in groups that would make the most sense in context. Now although Jeff was primarily speaking about visualising data from a more tabular source, the approach he talked about is still useful, because he emphasises that it’s not the raw data that’s important, it’s actually the story that data has to tell and how we as designers can help the user make sense of it.
In Moshi we’ve aimed to group related data into specific groups that should (hopefully!) makes sense to a child. As a result we have 3 main areas of interest. The top right section holds Moshi’s two core metrics in terms of your progress in the game, one being your level (based on the amount of experience earned in minigames and puzzles), the other being it’s Monstar rating, essentially how popular the monster is in the community. The side bar is all about your monster, it’s health, happiness, wealth and well-being, and you can even check out a little bit of it’s history if you click on the profile button. The final section is related to the room itself, how visitors rate it and how many visitors you’ve actually had in total. I think it’s a good start to quite a difficult problem, but as with everything in design there’s always more to do!
Talking about interface design for children, this is a major challenge we face with the design process at Mind Candy. None of us are children (well… ahem, no comment), but we have to make sure our interfaces work for them. I’m sure this is something we’ll no doubt explore at a later date on this blog, along with a bit more usability research, once we finally get a hold of a copy of Silverback!