GUI Play by Gerrit Rietveld Academy @ Studio 80, Amsterdam

What does Wikipedia without text and only links look like? Why don’t we recycle the content of our trashcan? Are you dreaming of a startup sound karaoke?

Last night the graphical design students of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam presented us a number of projects that deal with the Graphical User Interface.

GUI Play

The projects arose out of the following questions:

  • what are the conventions of GUI (Graphic User Interface) design
  • what is fascinating or attractive
  • what is good or bad design
  • what is user friendly
  • what kind of metaphors are used
  • what are alternative ways of operating
  • what is it’s history
  • how deal others with the GUI conventions
  • what is the relation to our human interfaces? (Wikipedia)

The quality of the projects was wide ranging but overall the projects were interesting and topped with humor. Here are a few of my favorite projects:


GUI Play

This handy application will desummarize all your files and will show you everything that makes up your single file. The application works with every single file on your computer. Do you have an mp3? It will let you hear all the different instruments. Do you have a JPG? Deconstruct it by color or lines or anything!

Super Mario Brothers Speed Competition

GUI Play

A videoclip of people competing in finishing Super Mario Brothers first. The most relaxed looking people finished first. The video reminds me of the work of Mr. Toledano who photographed people while playing games to reveal “a hidden part of their character.” Another interesting photographer is Robbie Cooper who photographed gamer’s alter egos.

Traces of Your Inbox

GUI PlayThis movie shows the different traces people leave when checking their e-mail. Every user will create it’s own path and image because users will use different e-mail applications, different e-mail services, different operating systems and different e-mail checking habits. Your digital traces are translated into material traces.

GUI Labyrinth

GUI PlayIn the age of the information overflow we are constantly distracted by e-mail, instant messaging and other applications that want our attention. It is now a task to actually get things done. This “game” turns your GUI into a labyrinth where you have to get to the exit without accidentally bumping with your mouse into one of the icons of the running applications which will launch once hit.

Emoticon Photoseries

GUI Play

Hey, this looks familiar! A few months ago Esther and I did a photoshoot in Brussels where we imitated the Skype emoticon set. Our set (bottom left) also includes the new Skype emoticon (los) which stands for loughing out silently. We visit a lot of conferences where we often communicate using Skype.
Skype emoticon setThe (los) emoticon was born during a conference speech where someone had to lough out loud but was forced to laugh out silently. Our absolute favorite Skype emoticons are (poolparty) and (heidi) because you can use them in almost every single situation.

A lot of projects dealt with the idea of “window washing” or, in other words, stripping the GUI or application down to the minimum or the basics. Award for the best project in this category goes to: A contentless Wikipedia. Wikipedia is stripped from its text but the links are kept. I thought it was really interesting to see Wikipedia with only links. It shows the context instead of the content. Lovely!

Other great projects: Trashare, CPU Forecast, Startup Tune Karaoke, A visualization of .DS_Store and the rotating mouse pointer.

All the pictures from the GUI Play Presentations can be found on Flickr.

Sorry if I got any of the project names wrong, they flashed by in seconds. If anyone knows where I can find the project website (except for the one on Wikipedia) please share it in the comments.

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