Final Project: Development

1 minute read

Playtesting the new project in ICM went well.

It turns out I’m not the only one who finds spinning a yarn ball winder deeply satisfying as a kind of tangible interaction.

I met with Mimi an hour prior to the ICM playtesting session and she strongly encouraged me to whip together a mock-up of the ‘algorithm’ driving how the text of the poem is revealed on the screen. We discussed possibly using a blank piece of paper with a cut out that acted as a kind of ‘mask’ laid on top of the poem but soon after she wondered aloud about using a Google Doc I realized I could animate the effect by cycling through a series of keyboard-driven Undo hotkeys and try my best to match fluctuations in speed as the user turned the crank on the yard winder.

Here’s a mock-up of the experience:


The onscreen effect looked something like this:


Some of my ICM classmates had some really fantastic feedback.

Ashley felt the interaction was compelling and strongly believed the text should be a rolling reveal one letter at a time, giving the reader the opportunity to hear the poem according to their own rhythm rather than imposing the staccato effect of revealing one word or cluster of words at a time.

Bora picked up on the moment the yarn runs out as a metaphor for the release that comes with death that but also interpreted the spinning motion of the ball winder as a metaphor for the cycle of both life and death, which was an interesting read.

Mara mentioned my notion of there being twenty balls of yarn (one for each poem) evoked the collective experience of a knitting circle, and wondered whether this might be expanded into an interaction that allowed for – if not depended upon – multiple users. She also wondered whether there might be a danger of the user fixating on the yarn ball winder thinking it might be a toy or puzzle of some kind and suggested I think about how to design the interaction with that in mind. She also wondered whether the bottom of the poem ought to appear ever so faintly, just enough to communicate the context without being legible or distracting.