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Widgets, buttons, icons, thingies.
Custom user interface design
Pointing, clicking, discerning, communicating.
It's probably no surprise, given the similarities between television screens and computer screens (in the age of digital television, a distinction between them is all but vanishing) that companies have wanted to turn television sets into something like a computer interface, to unleash the power of computers and broadband to legions of couch-ensconced potential buyers of whatever they're selling.
As part of the search for that grail, companies with any sense turn to design firms that understand that the average turn-of-the-century analog television is not really all that like a computer display, and the average remote control sure as heck isn't a keyboard and mouse rolled into one.
I think that's why AT&T Broadband (what once was TCI cable, what now is...I'm having trouble keeping up...is it Comcast?) called one day to begin a lengthy relationship that involved developing a series of interfaces for people to use so that in the middle of watching Oprah, they could check email, shop, and order pizza.
A lot of this development work happened in that way-optimistic time right at the turn of the century where there were a lot of dot-com dollars and Aeron chairs to go around, and I think it's fair to say that not all of that pizza-ordering capability made it out into the average American home.
But still, it made for an interesting design project, and I still work on interesting interface design work for interactive TV today, juggling legibility and readibility with style and punch.
You'll find a number of examples of that interactive design work here, many executed as Flash animations in collaboration with my talented brother James Burns. You also can find a few other, maybe more offbeat examples of interface design, such as the interactive weather screens done for viewing in the Netherlands as part of my wide-randing work for WeatherPlus, who had plenty of Aeron chairs themselves.
And then, there was the time I designed the GUI for Chyron's 1990s-era CG (hey wait, it's still around...)...the Infinit. Point and click, and ye shall find.