My grandiose plans for the day were aborted this morning when I locked myself out of the house. Our flat is on the third floor so squeezing through a window was out of the question, and after hopping our 15-foot gate and squeezing through its greedy wrought iron spikes I discovered that yes, the back door was locked as well. I took the BART into downtown so I could grab my roommate’s keys, and by the time I had sorted myself out of my little predicament it was too late to leave on my prescribed bike ride.
This evening I went to Adaptive Path to learn about Mobile Literacy, a research and design project where they traveled to rural India to understand how illiterate users interact with mobile technology. It’s a fascinating project, with strong currents of cultural sensitivity, social justice, and the role that empathy should play in design. Their blog continues to reveal further details regarding Mobile Literacy, so it’s worth a look if you’re into this sort of thing.
What’s super cool is that Adaptive Path has released all of their primary research under a Creative Commons license. Research findings, interview videos and transcripts, the whole shebang is open for you to study and pick apart, firsthand.
Their process culminated in two proposed devices. One is the MobilGlyph concept, which aims to make data tangible by sharing it through two-dimensional bar codes, similar to Cheng Fan’s wayshowing work last semester. The other is the Steampunk concept, which aims to make the functions of the phone as physical as possible, granting them affordances that invite dismantling and tinkering.
Finally, it’s been nearly five years but it still rings true today. Jeffrey Veen is still larger in life than he is in legend. We are lucky that he is such a kind and gentle soul, because he could very well crush every last one of us. Fortunately, instead of scheming how easily he could mash humanity into a fine paste, he directs his energies into building amazing things like Typekit, which stands to revolutionize how you use typefaces (or “fonts”, for those of you who aren’t an insufferable snob like myself) on the web.
Yes, Jeff is a benevolent giant, but I am a man of small stature and predictable bitterness. Thus I will use these newly found typographical powers only for evil, blanketing the landscape with cruel renderings of Papyrus, Hobo and Copperplate.
But not Comic Sans. No one would dare go that far.