Rough notes for Matt Webb — Making Senses

Nav­i­ga­tion­al metaphor. How to use senses.

5 human senses for fea­tures of next gen web browser.

Sight Dis­tance — short dis­tance is mean­ing­ful Peo­ple who are look­ing Periph­er­al vision Mov­ing through world — active vision All about sur­face, we only see cov­er, spectacle

What is sight? 

Idea: sitemapdb. Zoals CDDB maar dan voor sites. Crumb­trail, local nav, search.

Smell We’re embed­ded in smell, we move through it. It’s a mute sense. Maybe we’re mov­ing to smell­space rather than spec­ta­cle. Cat­e­gories for smell are cul­tur­al­ly depen­dent. 5 categories.

Bad meat: no mis­take. Code has bad smell sometimes. 

For brows­er we need taste too.

Taste Is active smell. Destroy things in our mouth. Fla­vor is taste, smell and sight as well.

Voor­beeld: screen grab, page type, terms. 

Voor­beeld voor smell: brows­ing trend, heatmap, all links.

Mov­ing away or towards a smell. Smell like barometer.

Sound Is like sight, it’s spa­tial. Sound is like smell too. Sound is sig­nal of s’thing alive. Hear­ing is rhythm analysis. 

Idea #4: iden­ti­fied rhythm, oth­ers to vis­it. Who else res­onates with me? We could meet each oth­er. Assis­tance. Make vis­i­ble per­son­al map of brows­ing. Map that’s just a map.

Touch Not sure. Touch is low res. Like every­thing else. Not good for look ahead. If you feeel it, you’re too late.

It’s all browsers do right now. Like stum­bling around dark build­ing. We can only flinch. Gen­er­alise it, cre­ate undo (for ajax).


What does sense involve? 

  1. recep­tion

<li>instant perception</li>

More sens­es

  • Bal­ance


<li>Electroceptive (vogelbekdier!)</li>

Echolo­ca­tion Sense of close­ness. WWII lis­ten­ing ear. Before radar. Vir­tu­al glove = mobile phone. Use it to change channel. 

Mag­net­ic It’s like GPS! Sound that gets loud­er when you near deci­sion point.

Elec­tro­cep­tion Use of periph­er­al vision. Infos­treams. Ambi­ent. Feed for­ward before some­thing happens.

E.g.: Emer­gency eject before some­thing bad happens.

Oth­er senses 

  • Dan­ger

<li>Good or bad</li>


Step back: summarize

Recep­tion isn’t enough we need perception.

Why now?

Wayfind­ing — “The Image of the City” — direct toepas­baar op grote web­sites. Direct manip­u­la­tion is dom­i­nant. Nav­i­gat­ing isn’t enough. 

Data exists every­where and we’re just reveal­ing it.

Renais­sance of the senses.

Before pangea — ear­ly cam­bri­an peri­od. Illus­tra­tion of sea floor. Dirty seas — only touch on sur­face. Seas clear, light pen­e­trates, sight and sens­es were nec­es­sary. Ideas in book are non­sense but design­ers can use it. We’re in the same sit­u­a­tion. Oceans of inter­net are clear­ing. We’re build­ing super senses.

End. No questions?!

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Kars Alfrink

Kars is a designer, researcher and educator focused on emerging technologies, social progress and the built environment.

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