I have been developing Interactive work for over 15 years, and sadly, my son may never see any of it. That’s because we are living in what future generations will undoubtedly call: The Digital Dark Ages.
THE USER IS YOUR KING. YOU ARE THE SUBJECT.
The User is your King. You are the subject. Like it or not the User is in control. The User is the ultimate master. The User is King. Those of us who create interactive experiences must accept our lowly positions in the Grand Interactive Order, serving, amusing, and satisfying; ready and able to wield every ton of technical prowess and creative ingenuity we can muster to completely conform to each user’s unique interest, desire, whim and disposition. To delight the user when she grows bored. To shuttle the user to the very thing she needs or wants instantly- with nary a second spent indulging interests of our own. Don’t bow to this Axiom, and you will fail…
Some time ago, I found myself thinking about all our amazing technical advances – especially those that beg moral questions- and I began a journey that changed the way I approach technology, and changed how I think of humanity… and headphones.
The last thing the web needs – no, the last thing the world needs is another Blog. I admit that.
Or at least that’s what I thought 10 years ago. But a decade later we’re still struggling to advance this medium past the point of base comfort.
I had a brilliant roommate in art school who was an exchange student from Hong Kong. English was his second language, and he came into the country with very little ability to communicate. His accent was thick and his vocabulary limited. Years into his time in the US, his accent still just as thick and his vocabulary still limited, he admitted to me that at some point shortly after arriving he’d lost the drive to work on his language skills because he was getting by. He was functional. At least that’s what I think he said.
And I guess that’s where I think we, as members of the interactive industry, are resting at the moment. Glowing in our vague Web 2.0 awareness, we are functional. We’re getting by. We lived through a time of extreme and chaotic experimentation, then the bubble burst, and a lot of people got scared, and now we’re resting on the resulting knowledge base. We’re content in our current understanding of Interactive Language. It’s even reassuring after all that unknown expansiveness of the mid 90s.
Well, I’m not at all happy about that. From where I sit, innovation, real creative innovation, the kind of innovation that expands the language and changes everything, has cooled to a quiet drip. We’ve fallen into a process of dull incrementalism. And yet-
We have a long way to go before the children born today will cut us the slack we’ll want 10 years from now.
Before they look at what we’re doing with a nostalgic understanding, as opposed to the snort and rolling eyes I think we deserve at the moment.
In this nascent age of MultiTouch interaction, what have you done, what has your company done to expand our language?
I hope, as time passes, and I manage to extricate the concepts and principles I’ve been sitting on and researching during my years in this industry, I can participate, in some way, in expanding your appreciation for Interactive Language.
It’s what this blog is meant to do.