It’s been a busy week here at the East 43rd Street Design Center. Ian Bogost was in town to teach at a conference called Serious Issues, Serious Games, and stayed to work on an evolving notion I like to call DUI[^]Dynamic User Interface. Ian is the designer of the Dean Iowa Game, which allowed people to understand the mechanics of canvassing in Iowa.
Whatever your view, the The Dean for Iowa game was a seminal event among those who know that people respond at a gut level to such games, and learn far more than they do from static information. The project received a lot of attention in the press, including these 10 mentions linked to from the Persuasive Games web site (NYTimes, Slate, Ad Age, CNN, Good Morning America, etc.).
Last November, Joi Ito told Ian that if he wanted to build a policy-oriented simulation for the Dean Campaign, he should contact me, since I was embedded with the campaign, spending a week each month in Burlington. The timing and the zeitgeist were propitious, and it took Ian and Nicco Mele and me about a week to spec, budget and commit to the project. By then it was Thanksgiving week, and we wanted the game by late December. Ian and his company produced the finished product in 3 week, over the holidays, no less. Ian tells a little of the history today, and a terrific treatise on Visualization as the new eBusiness.
Ian created the first Presidential candidacy game, and now he’s creating the second, this time a policy game for a major political party group. He’s still in the stealth (coy) phase of development
Doin’ the DUI
Serious work needs engaging graphics
Ian and I also worked actively on DUI concepts for Spirit of America. Spirit of America “Full Throttle” will be a membership campaign that employs strawberry roots activism, by which supporters can directly recruit other supporters and build their own activities to support requests from people we want to demonstrate the awesome power of Americans’ generosity toward previously oppressed peoples.
That’s where the DUI comes in. Ian will present a proposal to the SoA folks to depict each members’ activities dynamically, through various metaphors: a forest with trees, or a flower garden, that sprout branches and leaves and blossoms as a member’s recruits (and their activities) grow; or a bungalow that expands into a mansion as the member’s recruits and activities grow. Of course, we can still use the Solar System DUI that Ian mocked up for the mydeanpeople project, described previously:
This will be the first organized use of metadata about how members recruit others and empower them with the tools to act, essentially, as their own franchise of the Spirit of America enterprise. This is the “polymer” structure that I harp on until my friends’ eyes glaze over.
We couldn’t get it done for the Dean campaign, but maybe the SoA experience will indicate if it would have worked as I envisioned it last October.
Why 2004 Won’t be Like 1984 [^] CLI to GUI to DUI
“Why 1984 won’t be like 1984” was the headline
Ian is suggesting another interface revolution, where dynamic graphics depict a user’s motion through her flight plan of commitments, deadlines and opportunities. Perhaps, as the FD-109 did for the KC-135, it will also make our lives more manageable and enjoyable.