Blogless: Blog of Design Less Better.

Posts tagged Puzzles.

Reverse Geocache Puzzle

By leaving out any kind of instructions for his Reverse Geocache Puzzle Box, Mikal Hart achieves a kind of minimalist experiential design, leaving plenty of room for imagination, chance, and discovery.

Here’s a much abbreviated version of the scenario:

Imagine receiving a little wooden box that looks like it holds a treasure. The box cannot be opened. There is a button on top and an LCD display. You press the button and the display reads, "This is attempt 1 of 50. Distance: 55km. *Access Denied* Powering off...". The next time you press the button, in a different location: "Attempt 2 of 50" and a different "Distance" reading. And so on, until you’ve figured out that the box, equipped with a GPS inside, is leading you to one specific location where the box can be opened and the treasure inside it claimed.

His full writeup is here.

Via Cultureby

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AndreaNov 10, 2010
 
Tagged with: Games, GPS, Maps, Minimalism, Puzzles

Ryan-Biggs

This isn't much of a post, but this little logo caught my eye this week.

Ryan-Biggs Logo

It was created for structural engineering firm Ryan-Biggs by Bryan Kahrs at id29. I always like these sort of visual puzzle logos. The letterforms are weirdly structural in a way that tickles my brain.

That is all. Go forth and weekend.

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PaulAug 14, 2009
 

Four Design Links: July 16, 2009

Time to drop the Trends label, I think. Not everything in my Thursday posts is up-to-the-minute, nor is it "trendy". Let's go with Four Links from here on out!

1. Less, But Better

BBH labs has an long article featuring the work of influential industrial designer Dieter Rams that concludes with an interview. It's worth checking out. Rams is certainly a favorite around here!

2. A Solution to Print Relevancy? Solving Wired's Puzzle Issue

A while back I posted a link about the possible demise of the print version of Wired Magazine. May's special puzzle issue, guest edited by J.J Abrams, makes a case for the potential still left in the medium.

Text from Wired Magazine's Puzzle Issue

Lone Shark Games hid 15 puzzles in the magazine whose solutions unlock a final metapuzzle. Fittingly, the final solution (SPOILER) bridges old and new media, as it involves both cutting the magazine and visiting a website. Read about it here.

3. You Should Follow Me on Twitter

An informal study by Dustin Curtis (the infamous AA.com blogger) suggests that to gain more Twitter followers, you may wish to choose your language carefully.

Dustin Curtis -- You Should Follow Me on Twitter

4. Collection of Baseball Infographics

Finally, for a little bit of summer, check out Craig Robinson's Flip Flop Fly Ball for some beautifully presented baseball data.

Distance covered by runners in a season, plotted on a US map.
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NickJul 16, 2009
 

"With augmented reality like this…"

Levelhead is a game in which, by moving and rotating coded blocks, the “player” attempts to move a tiny trapped man through an elaborate, interlocking labyrinth. You know, to escape from daily life.

New Zealand artist Julian Oliver's latest work, levelHead, allows viewers of the piece to interact with a 3D world by simply moving wooden blocks around in front of a web cam...Through moving and rotating coded blocks, the "player" attempts to move a tiny trapped man through an elaborate, interlocking labyrinth stretching one's spatial memory and logical reasoning skills.

As much as I like taxing the limits of my reason in order to understand the complex requirements of a seemingly hostile world, I'm not sure I need an augmented reality in order to do it.

Could this possibly be any fun, or is it just training us for something unsavory?

Via.

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PaulJul 29, 2008
 

Designing Money

When you're designing something as omnipresent as money, you're operating in an area of ambient design — an area with a set of affordances quite unlike any that we might consider "normative". But that doesn't exactly mean that the standard rules don't apply.

If you're keeping up with the design-blogosphere, you've probably already seen that the British Royal Mint recently revealed their new coinage.

The new British coinage, from the Royal Mint
If not, then you have now.

The young gentleman responsible for these designs (which were chosen from a public contest) is Matthew Dent, who says this:

I found the idea that members of the public could interact with the coins the most exciting aspect of this concept. It's easy to imagine the coins pushed around a school classroom table or fumbled around with on a bar - being pieced together as a jigsaw and just having fun with them.

I've always thought that being charged to design currency would be an interesting design project. It certainly seems as if it would be incredibly high-stakes: as if literally everyone would have an opinion, as if this moment of design would really count. But would it?

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PaulJul 7, 2008
 

Capitalizing on Perceptual Fluency

Users of designed interfaces are operating with a degree of pre-established perceptual fluency. Here, the question is asked—and not answered—as to whether we can utilize this fluency simultaneously positively and negatively to good effect.

In the late 1870s, scientist and eugenicist Sir Francis Galton developed an image of the prototypical "face of crime" by creating composite photos of men convicted of serious offenses.

Though Galton failed to discover anything abnormal in his composite criminal faces, he did find that the resulting visages were shockingly handsome. (The middle face here is the product of 14 criminals.) Studies have since established that people find prototypical faces—those with average features—to be attractive.

Maggie Wittlin, Seed Magazine

An attractive 'average' face generated by the Face Research Lab
An attractive 'average' face generated by the Face Research Lab

Back in September, 2006, a paper published in the journal Psychological Science proposed a new explanation for this phenomenon: Prototypical faces are pleasing because they're easy for the brain to process.

"The principle finding is that you like a pattern to the extent that you classify the pattern fast," the study's author and psychologist at the University of California, San Diego Piotr Winkielman said.

On the one hand, this is pretty old-hat to anybody in the design business, and particularly anyone in the interface design business (web or otherwise).

We all learned in UI 101 that (a) a good operative definition of "usability" is that a user doesn't have to think about how to do what she's going to do, (b) that one of the best ways we can accomplish this is give them interface elements that they've already learned how to use.

On the other hand, the Gestalt Laws of Prägnanz provide us with some formal figurations that explain why our brains like puzzles.

Just as doing a bit of physical exercise, mental exercise is not only helpful to us in the long run, but can provide an "adrenaline-rush".

The Mac Logo: A simple Gestalt Figure-Ground puzzle
A simple Gestalt 'Figure-Ground' puzzle

So, obviously our designs should be created to take advantage of our user's perceptual fluency both positively (providing familiar UI components) and negatively (using Gestalt and other techniques to provide users with the endorphin-rush of solving a simple visual puzzle).

The really interesting question is whether you can do both of these things at once in a way that preserves the value of each. Now that's a design problem.

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PaulJun 30, 2008