Designer Cameron Moll on Natural Mapping
Onstage at An Event Apart New Orleans, 2008, designer Cameron Moll discusses what happens when a computer novice bumps heads with a computer expert.
(Shot by Bonnemaison of Baltimore, MD. Edited by Ian Corey. Music courtesy Jason Dove.)
CAMERON MOLL: [Talking about his uncle, a computer novice.] He bought one of those early iMacs and that was his first computing experience. He brought me over one day. He asked me to come fix something on his computer. I don’t remember what it was, but I said, sure, let me see what I can do.
CAMERON MOLL: So I sat down with him. This is essentially what his Finder looked like. Now, he’d never been exposed to computing before, so he didn’t understand directories and lists and things like that. He treated the computer as if it were this physical object. So imagine his Finder being something just like a giant table. And he would take files and set them on the table [demonstrates] in groups and categories.
CAMERON MOLL: He was big into fishing. So over here, he’d have anything related to fishing. Pictures and web addresses and so forth. Also big into airplanes, so over here, something related to airplanes and so forth.
CAMERON MOLL: So if this was a physical object, his Finder, it would have been something like four by six feet. There were probably two or three times as many files as I’m showing here, I kind of recreated this. Probably had somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 to 500 files in this Finder set up just like this.
CAMERON MOLL: And so I said, you know what? I can’t fix this problem this other problem you’ve asked me to fix until I fix this one. I can’t even get through these files.
CAMERON MOLL: And so here’s what I did. I thought I’d help him out by cleaning up that nasty arrangement of icons. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER]
CAMERON MOLL: Now I cannot articulate the look on his face when I did that. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] Because as you know, this is not un-doable.