The winner of the User Interface design contest was announced today, and congratulations to Rheta Shan who took the top prize, followed by Jacek Antonelli and Roy Cassini.
The difference between the entries was so small that making a decision was difficult and I can’t thank the judges enough for their hard work and wisdom: Ordinal Malaprop, Eristic Strangelove, Vint Falken and Keystone Bouchard.
Indeed, the differences in approach among the top three highlighted that there were individual and highly creative approaches to what was a broad mandate: improve the user experience through changes to the viewer.
Without the hard data that might be available to a usability team, the contestants used what all of the judges agreed were insightful approaches to rethinking the user experience. On that basis alone, all of the entries were winners, and each contributed in some way to broadening the range of how we articulate current obstacles in the viewer and their possible solutions.
First Place: Rheta Shan
Rheta Shan’s entry, like all the entries, had specific features that myself and the judges would love to see implemented today. She also rethought the interface “from the ground up” giving us a logic in how the functions of the viewer should align to user activities. Her innovative use of a “work bench” for specific functions such as photography and video or building demonstrated this philosophy.
As a special thank you to Rheta, we have created a quick Flash-based demo of her entry. See it here and click on the avatar and the ‘flashing’ icons to see how her design works.
Second Place: Jacek Antonelli
Jacek’s entry ran an extremely close second. In this case, one of the strong appeals of the design was that it could be fairly easily implemented. In fact, tests of Jacek’s menu system are already making the rounds. An innovative approach to inventory management was a strong feature of this entry, and there was more than one of us that wished we had that tool today.
Third Place: Roy Cassini
Finally, Roy’s entry focused on the new user, and saw the interface not just as an opportunity for simplified menus and functions, but as a learning environment for the new user. His implementation of tutorials as part of the process of learning the new viewer was a stand-out contribution aimed at easing the new user’s transition during the first hour.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the other contestants. ALL of the entries truly deserved a winning spot.
Thank you to everyone, including the folks at Metanomics for helping to promote the work of the contestants and the hard efforts of the judges.
I’ve personally learned a lot from this process and look forward to continuing to promote the creative talents of the Second Life residents as participants in the development of a better virtual world.
Anyone up for entering a mash-up contest?