What Software can Learn from the World of Magic


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My presentation from the Mix11 UX Lightning talk. http://channel9.msdn.com/events/MIX/MIX11/UXL03

Visuals by Dennis Estanislao (aka @fwdAnimation)

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  • My intro (:15)I am Not a magicianI will Not be performingWhy am I giving this talk if I’m not a magician? I’m been watching and a discussing magic since I was a kid.Because I believe that we can learn from magic?That we have limitations that we must work around in tech and this can give us tools to do that.
  • First,Magician's get Design (:45)-They understand that it helps to craft the experience-They have a theme that flows through the trick. A banter, a story supporting components.-The style of magic matches the performance. (David Copperfield vs. a street magician)
  • SHOWMANSHIP THEY HAVE IT (1:45)Magicians work with the External Senses of (of the 5 they work with Sight and sound and sometimes touch)And we have the same parallel in the software world.Elements of their shows are Grace (or ease of effort), Thrill and surprise, Seduction, FocusThey don't do the trick if it's not perfect - practice, practice, practice They can sit on a trick for decadesThey will create a feedback loop when doing the trick to improve and upgrade each time they do it.They have smooth movements that flow together in a minimal and solid fashion. They have timing down to allow people to react.
  • Appeal (2:00)They know what appeals to an audience. Here’s a list put together by DarielFitzkee in 1939 the author of “Showmanship for Magicians”. Think whether or not you consider any of these in your software…SurpriseSpectacleMusic GraceConflictTimingPunchComedyShort turns or scenesNostalgiaTireless RehearsalMovementCareful GroomingEfficient PacingEffortless SkillHarmonyRomanceSex AppealPrecise AttackEscapeUp to dateColorYouthPersonalityRhythmUnitySpecial MaterialGroup CoordinationThrillSentimentCareful RoutineSituationCommon problemsPhysical ActionCharacterPointingProper costuming
  • Magic is secret / Arcane (3:00)To the spectator it is magic, but to the magician it is deception.Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C Clarke Geolocation is like that arcane secret knowledge. How does it know where I am?With the on set of devices like the kinnect we’ll need to provide these visual clues.Special effects to provide proof to users that something has happened ala Rick Barraza and the emotiv headset.
  • Attention control (4:00)Attention can be maintained only for a limited time. And magicians take advantage of it. By Anticipation - do something before the attention is on it or after it is off of it.  Attention - how to hold it and how to direct it-In person versus tv screens-They get the importance of brevity -They get to the point, They're brief, they keep it interesting and quit before they've had enough.-They appeal to the instincts, not the mindRelaxation - Getting the spectator to be comfortable via actions and tone and do not make fun of their spectators.
  • Simulation & Dissimulation (5:30)Magicians work with not only the external senses but on Internal (they Manipulate the thought process) (cognitive loading) and they are masters at leading and framingSimulation-The act of making something that is not to appear so. Exhibiting false information. For example the French drop you make the coin appear to be in your "grabbing hand".- Easing, movement & secondary clues reinforce the simulation.-Example: Drag and Drop is a perfect example of Simulation. Dissimulation-The act of concealing the true state of something. A false bottom that hides another compartment.-Example: Loading a long running component like the map.
  • Suggestion & Inducement (6:30)-A subtle, positive act of putting something into the mind of the spectator. -The magician forces their reality by suggestion not direct statements. They never say I have an ordinary empty object. -They just present the object and let the spectator make the connections. -That’s why they work with real world objects. Automatically we are thinking about the object. -Like a deck of cards. Automatically you think “it’s a deck of 52 cards, 4 suites, and if you drop them they’ll fall and make a mess”-Software Example is that of photos scattered out on a surface unit. Automatically we think of items that can be moved, turned, etc.-Beware of suggestion that might frustrate like a circle with a triangle on a photo, and you spectator thinks it’s a movie when it’s not.-Inducement is like twitter. When you sign up a new account after you follow someone they show you 10 empty slots which induces you to fill them.
  • Maneuver & Ruse (7:30)Maneuver-The management and manipulation of circumstances and actions. Think of how items are handled within a show. A deck of cards is held in a certain way. -When you eye tracks it actually suppresses the background. The example of Apollo Robbins to stand next to someone to enter their space.Ruse-It disguises purpose instead of things. It diverts attention from the real purpose and therefore diverts attention from the real purpose. Like reaching into a pocket for an item.
  • Monotony & Confusion (8:30)Monotony-The repetition of an act until it becomes invisible to the spectator. All of the details are the same. For example, The way you perform a move over and over. Think the daily backup of your phone when you sync. Repetition creates a level of comfort.Confusion-Confusion is different from monotony because of the multiplicity of details. The individual elements are not the same, variety is desired. (this is a good tool for magicians, however I don’t see it as a good tool for software.) By removing confusion, you will relieve tension.
  • Diversion & Distraction (9:30)Diversion -Turning the attention aside by diverting from the significant things by substituting a newer and stronger interest. (the spectator is lured away)-So were you listening to what I was saying or were you looking at the girl in the red dress.-Example you’re filling out a form and at the end the primary action is highlighted.Distraction-Distraction forces the attention away from the significant thing.-Example:A popup is the classic distraction example.
  • (9:50)"The secret (of the trick) impresses no one, the trick you use it for is everything.“The technology impresses no one, the experience you create with it is everything.
  • Photos of vintage posters used under the CC http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en license.http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en for http://www.flickr.com/photos/11303774@N08/5390215097/
  • What Software can Learn from the World of Magic

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    13. 13. Credits<br />Dennis Estanislao (aka @fwdAnimation) for the best Visuals EVER<br /><ul><li>Vintage posters – Flickr Creative commons License
    14. 14. http://www.flickr.com/photos/trialsanderrors/2868331084/
    15. 15. http://www.flickr.com/photos/38375554@N05/with/3596090004/
    16. 16. http://www.flickr.com/photos/11303774@N08/5390215097/</li>