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Dear Kerning Game, A Love Letter

October 13, 2011

in design,inspiration

I played the kerning game a few days ago and then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The game wasn’t just good, it wasn’t just cool because it was done in HTML5 (ok, fine, that made me giddy) and, sure, it was touch enabled…but that wasn’t it. This game was about kerning, KERNING. Type nerds, print designers adore analyzing every possible flaw, the tiniest spaces between symbols, but I would never dare admit my love for it in mixed company. My dev buddies might just laugh and tell me to go make them a t-shirt, right?

I needed to know who the hell made this game, someone with clear dev chops and enough design geek to love this sacred art as old as the printing press. The Method Action blog, held the answer and his name is Mark MacKay, Twitter handle @duopixel. But let’s go back to that blog…

Most of my time is spent, split between speaking to devs and designers, usually at separate conferences (that’s a different problem). The topics are always similar; ux, mobile design, user research, prototyping, but how I format the content for each audience is markedly different. MacKay’s writing, his raison d’etre, is something that I’ve been working on for years; bridging the gap between design and dev. This piece in particular, brilliantly tackles the issue.

Especially, how design is written and talked about, how we frame design in an effort to explain it to more right brained folks is flawed. Mark’s points are similar to the message I give to dev’s: you already have the skills. Design, in its most simple form, is a problem with a set of constraints. Problem solving skills, attention to detail, a scientific approach and a solution based eye are the critical shared DNA that devs already possess.

What Method of Action is building, games for participatory learning, is not only genius, it bridges the divide in understanding and communicating in and with technology. No small thing. Addressing this huge problem deserves some props, in fact, I’ll be bragging about this in future talks. Thanks Mark and Maria, keep it up!

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