– Nickolas Nikolic's Port/Blog

A response to a paper by Beat Signer I read this morning:

I just spent my morning reading an IT and UX paper by Beat Signer (and others). The paper, entitled, “ArtVis: Combining Advanced Visualisation and Tangible Interaction for the Exploration, Analysis and Browsing of Digital Artwork Collections” discussed an experiment to improve usability of the venerable Web Gallery of Art found at

What I found especially interesting about this paper was that the work it described sought a more responsible display of information to the history it presented.

I was taken by surprise by the clear speech in the following quote from the paper:

The contribution of ArtVis is twofold. In a first step, we have defined visualisation requirements for the exploration of the WGA data set. In a next step, ArtVis has been extended with a tangible user interface to attract and stimulate end users in museum settings.

It’s interesting because it frankly uses the word “contribution” in light of the UX projects’ utility. This is something we often don’t broach upon in the work of UX: it is a form of kindness to consider the frame of reference of our counterpart, the user.

We have come to a head in UX, reliant on large corporations to lead the way into information consumption patterns. I refer to UI Kits and standards documents such as Google’s Material. This need not be the case: we should be thinking of not the least time to success, but of the well-being of our users regardless of the investment of time.

Too often, we use such tools as the UI kit of Google Material habitually, considering the UI/UX simply handled. But it has grown tired a pattern. Front end developers should better consider the art and designers of UI should better consider the technology. Put simply, it’s not about us.

I applaud the attitude of bringing the concept of contribution to the consumption of art media. If you are to check the paper, itself, the application developed succeeds in improving the chances of virtual museum goers understanding and finding meaning in the myriad works of art.

The paper may be found at the following link:

The Boox is an incredible note-taking device.

The Boox is excellent now that it has Google Play on it. I find it my favorite reading device as well as a formidable note-taking device. Those of you students irritated by the sheer amount of books and notebooks you must carry around should look into getting one. Color is available, but it’s still a small screen. Frankly, the bigger a writing surface, the better.

I have applied to the Canada Art Council for a grant to do open source software in music.

For the Canuk artist living in the USA, it may not be apparent, but these resources out of Canada are still available to you. The NEA is in a sadder state then ever after being shocked into submission through the last 15 years of Republican ‘leadership’. You may find help there.

I’ll keep readers abreast of how the process goes. The application for both peer judging as well as grants was pretty easy. Well worth looking into.

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