Blending mechanical movement and digital awareness

Pixel Track from Berg on Vimeo.

Continuing the MEX series examining interactions, we look at Berg’s Pixel Track as an example of using movement to enhance utilitarian signage.

Watch the whole video above, but pay particular attention to the contrast between examples of existing LED and LCD signage (from 01:15 in the video) and Berg’s Pixel Track prototype (from 03:18 in the video). Pixel Track, with its characteristics of mechanical performance, feels like it would be more likely to capture a user’s attention and yet would not seem overly demanding of that attention.

By analysing the interaction design we can start to understand why:

  1. Firstly, there is movement. Pixel Track does not merely display information, it performs it as a choreographed sequence. The human eye is naturally attuned to pick up on this kind of movement; it draws our gaze and holds our attention as the performance unfolds.
  2. The specific style of movement is also important. Once noticed, it follows a continuous and predictable pattern. This ensures it is relaxing and rewarding to observe, where more random or unexpected movement would cause distraction.
  3. Lastly, consider the subtle links to established conventions around signage: sound cues which remind us of the flip-board signs in airports and railway stations, scrolling reminiscent of ticket tape and LED signs.

As we’ve come to expect from Berg, their attention to the details of interaction design and their confidence with blending mechanical and digital elements leads to a video concept which feels balanced and immediately applicable to improving daily life.

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