Design Language Babel
Dave Williams
12

I’m always attracted to ideas like this, and I’m thinking for similar reasons that something like Esperanto is interesting. But, I think the achievement of this goal is doomed to fail (or at least not succeed in the way you imagine) for the same reasons, and that’s probably a good thing (maybe?). (Some would contest the idea that Esperanto “failed”, but that’s an argument for a different day.)

Referring to Esperanto, look at its history, its evolution, over the years.
People found “good” reasons to modify what was supposed to be an eternally static yet expandable (or compoundable?) language.

Look at other aspects of language..
Among loved ones and friends, shortcuts are used all the time to make communication more compact or more intimate. Sign-language is very compact and also dependent on orientation in physical space that only vaguely has analogs in spoken language.

Look at aspects of UX..
There has been much research and experimentation in finding optimal line length, methods of focusing attention, and generally improving readability. But, these same rules do not apply for people who are degrees of or completely blind.

As anyone who has seen well-formed visual representations of data, color can encode data in ways that feel almost intuitive to decode. Yet, as you’re aware, this isn’t always possible (or is at least more prohibitive for the publisher) to convey the same to people with various types of color-blindness. Shapes come in to play also, and here we can find even more common ground, but still a great deal of variation based on culture.

I think we’ll find different “surfaces” useful for various interface limitations. I don’t see table/paper style interfaces going away, just being re-purposed, as we begin to form 3D interfaces. Manipulating objects composed of pre-defined properties will be done some way, while defining the properties of said objects may be done another way. While we’re trying to find common ground and boil our contexts down to a singularity, I don’t want us to inadvertently tuck away a mental pathway that would lead us to yet another form of transferring data between all-the-things.

So.. Yah. Let’s try to find this singularity, but also refuse to stop pulling the newness past the event horizon. =]

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