March 5th, 2008
Want to know what relationship behind magical illusions, practiced by professional magicians, and experience design, practiced by UX designers, really is?
That’s the subject of a presentation I’m giving twice over the next week. The first time is tonight, at Yahoo!’s Sunnyvale offices, and open the public. The second time is at South by Southwest Interactive on Sunday.
I get really nervous when presenting this talk, since the magical illusions I’ve embedded into it take more concentration and focus than a normal presentation, where all I need to do is focus on the lecture portion. So, if you come, please be gentle.
Here’s the official talk description:
Magic and Mental Models: Using Illusion to Simplify Designs
As children, we’re told the world is a magical place. Babies are delivered by storks. The tooth fairy harvests retired teeth in exchange for currency. Bunnies deliver candies in brightly covered baskets on a spring holiday. The world’s adults use magic to explain away the complexity of life.
In our work, confusing complexity is the natural result of an unchecked design and development process. Teams work hard, responding to customer requests through incremental improvement and feature enhancements, yet they often end up with a dismaying array of features that make users unhappy.
In this entertaining presentation, Jared will share some of his recent research into the craft of professional magic. He’ll demonstrate the parallels between the world of magical illusions and the world of digital design, comparing the similarities between professional illusions and some of today’s top design techniques.
In this presentation, you’ll learn how:
- Illusions performed by professional magicians follow the same design principles as your computer’s file system
- Designers can create specific mental models to eliminate perceived complexity
- Simple design tricks can make designs seem to be faster than they really are
- Whimsicality, attention, and functionality are essential elements to creating delightful experiences
You’ll see examples of illusions built into a variety of designs, including those from Microsoft, Flickr, Netflix, iTunes, and Facebook. Jared will also, possibly at his own peril, reveal the secrets from several magical illusions to show you just how the tricks were created and the effects are realized, giving you the ammunition necessary to build illusions into your own designs.Tweet