The idea that you can invent something that nobody has used before and then for the users to embrace it because it feels more natural blows my mind. That’s exciting to me as a UX Designer. That’s exactly what happened with the video game D-Pad. In 1982 Gunpei Yokoi was working for Nintendo on a handheld Donkey Kong game when he ran into a problem fitting four separate direction buttons on the unit, there wasn’t enough room. Previous methods for multi-direction navigation employed either four separate buttons or a joystick, neither of which would fit on the clamshell gaming unit. His solution was to create a top piece that rocked in four directions, pivoting on top of a sturdy ball bearing, and triggering tiny switches inside the unit.
This new invention saved space and had an unintended consequence, users described playing games with the D-Pad as feeling more natural. A qualitative response backed up by quantitative data, when using the D-Pad players looked at the screen more, their hands less. So enjoyable, useful, and natural was the experience that Nintendo made the D-Pad the standard directional control for the wildly successful Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System. Since then, all major video game consoles have had a D-Pad on their controllers. For something to feel natural it has to seemingly disappear.
For something to disappear lets look at The Hierarchy of User Needs (From bottom to top: Functional, Reliable, Usable, and Meaningful). The D-Pad is functional because it accomplishes the task of moving your character in four directions. Is it reliable? The design of the D-Pad is more reliable than four buttons because the user ’s thumb puts pressure on a sturdy ball bearing in the rocker pad, not on an actual button. Allowing the handheld unit to control the amount of pressure being exerted on the sensitive buttons. The usability is also high because the size of your fingers don’t matter as much because you rock your thumb versus move it around and press buttons close by each other. With the D-Pad you cannot error and accidentally hit two directions at the same time like with four closely placed buttons. Is it meaningful? I don’t know. If really good usability equals meaningful, then yes. To quote early video game developer Martin Graetz (Spacewars!) from 1960 after he built one of the first controllers and used it for the first time, “the mechanism improved one’s playing skills considerably, making the game even more fun”.
-Joel Lueders, UX Designer
Vaporwave music is modern electronic music created from the analog music of the 80's and 90's. Vaporwave Art is similar but tends to sample later towards the 90's. While in the backroom of a grocery store I snapped a picture of a crate of reissued Crystal Pepsi. To increase the Vaporwave Aesthetic I tinted it pink and purple, added a popular 90's slogan that is both applicable and for a different product (Jucy Fruit, "The Juice is Loose"), then saved the image as a gif to impart texture reminiscent of websites from the 90's.
This is the cover I made for a Christmas single by Das Freakout. They consider themselves a messy, experimental music group, so I made a "messy photoshop" of the original album by Merle Haggard on top of a image of robots, then saved it as a low resolution Gif to add artifacts and texture.
The Santa Rampage is where you dress like Santa and bike around to breweries in Minneapolis. Here are the posters I made for the last three years.
CH.3 TV is a not-so-serious news channel created by the Emmy award winning actor, editor, and multi instrumentalist Sam Heyn. I'm usually found behind the camera or doing graphic work for the channel. Today I'm in front of the camera in what YouTube user Greenpro2009 describes as, "the best ghost pepper-eating video I've ever seen. I laughed with the first hiccups and haven't stopped for 10 minutes. This needs to be seen by millions!!" #ghostpepperchallenge #ghostpepper
In July's edition of Minnesota Parent Magazine you'll find the puzzle I designed for Marbles: The Brain Store!
Learning geography, especially the U.S. states and their capitals, can actually be a pretty cool activity for kids, starting as
Thank you Sara Dorison, Editor of Minnesota Parent Magazine, and thank you Marbles.