BayCHI 10-Feb-1998

Part 1: "What's So Interactive about Interactivity"

Nathan Shedroff of "vidid studios"

Nathan put pictures of various things on the projection screen and had the audience fight amongst itself about whether items were or weren't interactive.

I believe large portion of the audience would have rather heard what Nathan had to say on the topic, rather than hear so much from the audience memebers who happened to enjoy fighting for the floor (these may or May Not have been the same audience members who had well-developed opinions).

Someone eventually offered a three-level scale of interactivity:

After much getting-nowhwere debate about whether various objects are/aren't interactive, an audience member astutely suggested that you have to consider separately whether (1) a device is interactive; (2) the content available through the device is interactive; and (3) the experience of using the device is interactive.

Nathan: "Research has proven that meetings *are not* interactive."

Photoshop 3.0 is interactive because it "destroys your data differently depending on what you do."

"Quake" is interactive "because you kill people."

Regarding "Myst" as an interactive experience: "Is the experience worth the effort?"

Deep trivia from an audience member, about 2 kinds of interactive devices:

Nathan offered a list of 7 dimensions that affect wanna-be intereactive products:

  1. Interactive rather than passive
  2. amount of feedback
  3. amount of control
  4. amount of creativity / co-creativity
  5. productivity (can you make/do something useful)
  6. communications
  7. adaptivity (does the experience change based on actions/choices)

He then said it's not necessarily good to be at the high end of all these scales.

Part 2: "Personal Websites"

Nathan ended Part 1 by saying he didn't "want to use up the next speaker's time." A minute later, he was back (in a new sweater as a disguise) as the Next Speaker.

He demoed a bunch of interesting, liveley personal web sites. You can probably still find them by starting at his home page:

(all the little symbols at the top of the page are things you can click on, including one for "Other Nathans"...some of whom were really pissed off that this Nathan got the "" domain before they did).

WHY do people have personal web sites?

Nathan didn't seem to approve of searching for personal relationships on the Web. He asked, "What kind of a person are you going to find that way?" To which an audience member quickly responded, "You!" [much laughter]

WIRED magazine (which shares an office building with Nathan) was quoted as saying, "Sadly, most web pages are just self-aggrandizing, or digital photo albums." Nathan disagrees with their sentiment. The web is a communications medium more than a publishing medium.

"We don't complain about how people use telephones. 'My god, people are talking about their cats on those things!' But when people put their cats on the web, people complain."

"People who own content [TV networks, etc] are afraid that people reading other people's web pages are taking time away from watching re-runs."

Many famous people don't do their own web sites, and don't even visit them. You can tell. They don't feel at all personal.

Someone in the audience offered this tale: He was about to walk up to Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) fame, and congratulate Penn on his web site. But before he could, the guy who made Penn's web site walked up & met Penn for the first time ever.

[ Page last revised 23-Jul-2001. ]

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