Today’s idea falls out of a few questions I’ve often wondered about: What is the role of subtle feedback in interaction design and human-computer interaction? How can we recognize design gaps, where subtle feedback would be useful or undesirable?
BTW this post was originally much too long and contained a few different interrelated ideas. Rather than posting a very long post I’m spreading the ideas and questions out over the next few posts.
Mindful Football is today’s fun idea, and it builds on my previously posted ideas around pico projectors. Imagine you’re about to kick a football, and the football knows exactly how you’re going to kick it before you kick it. The Mindful Football knows how hard you’re going to kick it, in what direction you’ll kick it, and it can predict how it’ll behave after you kick it. Of course the surface of the football is also a kickable smashable display, and the ball can project images all around itself (its got inbuilt 360 degree kickable pico projectors!).
Just as you’re about to kick the Mindful Football it predicts and shows you the results of your kick. Close by the football on the ground you see a projected blue arrow, which points in the direction the ball thinks it’ll go. Further in the distance, the ball also projects a big blinking orange circle showing where it’ll land, or what it’ll hit (yes, you want the orange circle to be in the goal or at a teammates feet). Would the real-time visual feedback about your kick enable you to change how you kick the ball, so that it goes where you want at a speed you want? If you used the Mindful Football when playing friendly games, would the real-time visual feedback improve your ball control skills, even when you switch back to using a normal football?
What other forms of visual feedback could be shown to you as you’re kicking the ball? For example, a star could be displayed on the video surface of the football. The location of the star indicates where you should kick the ball to send it in the direction of the goal. You can easily imagine this idea applied to lots of other sports, such as tennis, baseball, rugby, American football, etc.
Another visual feedback possibility includes having the surface of the football show lots of animated red dots, where each red dot indicates where a teammate is relative to the ball. When you have control of the ball and are looking at it, the purpose of the red dots would be to the enhance your awareness of your teammates positions. Would that really increase real-time situational awareness? Would it help you learn how to predict where your teammates normally are relative to you?
Mind you, if you were really dastardly and mischievous, you could hack the opposite team’s Mindful Football so it provides slightly inaccurate feedback. Potentially leading to the players becoming less skilled at kicking the football!
A Mindful Football is an example of providing real-time feedback at the moment of action, i.e. when kicking the ball provide feedback. What about cases where we achieve a goal by performing a lot of interrelated actions that are spread out over time, such as when we cook a meal? I’ll cover that in the next post.