A Bunch of Strange, Interactive Sketches I Made at USC

I finally got around to posting documentation for a bunch of little projects I made while I was at USC.

Among them is a game called WhiteSpace, which eventually grew into my current project, The Unfinished Swan. Note that the project started in color, then changed to black and white (unlike just about everything else in the world, which tends to go the other way — films, newspapers, cell phones, etc). I’ve also included footage of the non-interactive previsualization, which is a design methodology I should really talk more about on this blog. In fact, looking back over all these projects I think getting comfortable with non-interactive prototyping was one of the most helpful lessons I got out of grad school.

Basically, making interactive prototypes is hard and often unnecessary. Doing non-interactive prototypes like animations, physical mockups, or shooting video footage can get you most of the way there for a lot less work. And in the early stages all you really need is something concrete to help you visualize where you want to go, as well as to help you start communicating what’s in your head to other people.

Another lesson I’ve taken away from these sketches: quantity is often more helpful than quality. As a designer there’s a huge temptation to make things perfect, or at least less-sucky, and that’s great for later in the process. But early on you’re better off just throwing a ton of ideas at the wall to see what sticks. Or to put it more bluntly, the desire to polish can insidiously prevent you from actually getting anything done. The blog Coding Horror had an interesting post on that subject awhile back related to a pottery class that was given an option to spend their time making one perfect pot or lots of crappy ones.

These sketches are like my shelf full of misshapen pots.

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