Empowering Instant Creativity
Designers Fujie, Ali, and Johnny (Team JIE-LI-NY) collaborate to design conceptual interphases to empower creative, intuitive minds.
Three minds are better than one.
Instead of conceptualizing alone, we decided to collaborate to present stronger concepts. In fact, individually the three of us were drawing blanks.
When we began to work together, the first suggestion was inspired by treadmills for your desk. We played with the idea of having an incentive to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
Not so fun for designers.
We realized that utilizing and programming the Makey Makey with an added health benefit was far-fetched.
The only other concept I was able to imagine was designing a way to interact with the Adobe Suite in a more interactive way that could help speed up the process of creation.
I suggested using the keyboard shortcuts as the threshold for designing our interface. In an over zealous pitch I asked: what if we used physical objects that matched the tools in photoshop that, with a single touch, could change the tool being used by the creator?
We discussed attaching the Makey Makey wires to metal we could attach to the tools, but after realizing how cumbersome this tool would be, we immediately gave a practical and modern finesse to the concept. Fujie suggested a grid with images of the current icons as the surface of the compartmentalized sections. We talked about the grid being customizable; the user could shift the sections in the grid around to accommodate their use of keyboard shortcuts.
Ali grounding the ideas in practicality.
Running with our new concept that we could tell was picking up momentum, Ali suggested a more linear form of the tool. He offered up the idea to keep the customizable feature but in a set of fewer keys. His idea had the keys able to pop out of a frame and move up and down the line per the user’s desire. From this idea, I suggested we could even have them slide in from the side of the frame to avoid any wire tangling (think “Connect Four”). With this method of moving keys, one could shift their shortcuts without hassle.
A linear form to the concept.
We thought about what keys are most often used to speed up the process of switching between tools and decided to have six or seven squares that resembled scrabble keys but with pictures of the tools instead of letters like the actual board game.
Customizing with magnets (think "Little Bits")
A dual-side tray that angles the tool up for visibility
The issue we began to run into in every quick sketch of the new refined version of our concept was: to what extent was it necessary to allow the user to have a customizable interface? Not only were we questioning the necessity, but the ability to avoid tangling wires on the Makey Makey tool. By the end of collaborative session, we made the decision it was unnecessary because the the tool would be so small the effort required by the user to press one key over another was minimal.
With decisions being made we began to envision how this tool could not only empower a creator in the Adobe Suite programs, but could be a useful asset across many platforms including music, and games provided keyboard shortcuts were available, and those shortcuts were able to be edited.
With this new prospective on being able to improve the speed of the user interface on different platforms, we decided to remove the icon images on the tool. Instead, we would use keyboard shortcut letter denotations to label each button. Since the initial intention was to support those using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, these keys would reflect common tools such as “selection”(V), “brush”(B), “marquee”(M), etc. The idea of adding a “control” or “comman” key is still being mulled over.
We’re very excited to continue our trajectory and see where we can take this idea. It’s Monome, Guitar Hero, and Scrabble in one!