Wednesday, 13 March 2013

What is this place?

One for you narrative designers.

Here's a simple but true piece of advice from Margaret J. King, Director of The Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, interviewed in The Immersive Worlds Handbook.

"There's an intuitive cascade of questions the mind asks when it enters a new place. It never varies. Before they can do anything else, designers have to answer the Cascade. The first question a designer needs to answer is "What is this place?" The answer has to be clear and instantaneous, which means that the first element of the design must be the Mindsetter. The Mindsetter is the capsule, the thumbnail portrait, the abstract - the first thing people see that gives them an impression of what they can expect the place to be. Without it, you have uncertainty, and uncertainty leads to avoidance. Time and time again I've seen people walk into museum lobbies - stunning architectural statements - look at the admission price, and see nothing that gives them any idea of what experience they are being asked to buy into. They turn and walk out. Without an effective instantaneous Mindsetter, the rest of the designer's work is wasted because it will never be seen."