Picking up the discussion from the norns topic, I think this is somehow a valuable thing to talk about in general, not just related to the grid or other monome instruments.
To sum up what has been said so far, the discussion started with this post:
which was followed by Zebra stating this.
I think this is the central aspect of the whole discussion… affordance-based design as a poor fit? Is “affordance” really the right term here? But more about this later.
Never used any of the above mentioned “greatest hits” but I can only second this.
To those who are familiar with the wide world of monome, would you say that it has developed itself in an “organic growth” kind of way? From the outside that is how it looks like, and I think there’s great beauty in it.
There is this big divide, or I actually I’d call it conflict, that one often faces between designing something and just letting the thing design itself. Design usually is about control, about planning, conforming, standardizing and ultimately about making things fit into the boxes we have created for it to fit in. Design tends, by nature, towards being very “top down”.
On the other hand systems involving a community, where the design effort is not centralized in one or few people, often have the ability to grow and shape themselves in an organic manner.
This can of course produce anomalies, incongruence and idiosyncrasies, but it’s kind of part of the process and the value in it is that as things evolve further, some practices/solutions can be abandoned in favour of new, more efficient, more inspiring or more natural ones (depending on their nature). This means that we indeed need to keep observing and analysing. As far as I can tell nothing in the monome world is static, and actually a lot of it is already beyond the control of the original makers.
With the arrival of norns standards (if we want to call them like this) can indeed be redefined.
There’s a lot of discussion right now about how boring, bland, annoyingly edge-less everything has become due to Apple/Google dominating everything with their design guidelines.
Design has seen a new “brutalist” wave happen. Partially it’s just a fashion, but it’s also a reaction, and arguably it’s a needed one. A world where everything is perfectly designed would be a total horror to me.
The other aspect is that once we all start to just blindly follow design guidelines produced by big corporate companies, we stop to question the processes and principles of what these guidelines define as being good design. And lots of questioning is needed for design to stay healthy.
But let’s get back for a moment to the grid and to affordance-based design.
I mentioned earlier that I am not sure affordances is really what we should be talking about, can you maybe elaborate a bit more about what you mean here @zebra?
To me it looks like affordance-based design is the perfect fit for a minimal hackable interface canvas, since what Brian and Kelli have done with the Grid is almost to reduce the interface to the bare affordance one could say.