iOS has proven some of the appeal of on-demand interactive artwork and audiovisual toys. But even the iPad is limited to a 10″ screen; these days, the biggest screen in the house that isn’t a TV is often attached to a computer. (In fact, I regularly run across people who use a large computer monitor as their TV.)

App stores are, indeed, spreading like a virus; on Create Digital Music, we contend with some of the challenges posed by Apple’s upcoming Mac App Store. The major obstacle: far from simplifying access to applications, a proliferation of different stores threatens to make things more complex for users and developers alike.

That’s why it’s encouraging to see Mozilla thinking about an “Open Web App” store. Add some simple metadata, and a dashboard of apps is available anywhere – from any browser. Opera running on your Wii, Chrome on your TV, Firefox on your desktop, and Safari on your MacBook? No problem – access the same apps everywhere.

Mozilla Shows Off Plans for an Open Web-App Store [Wired Epicenter]

I think the term “open” is rapidly getting diluted to the point of meaning absolutely nothing, so let’s use another word.


punch drunk

Couch to the rest of all technology: I will outlast you. Photo (CC-BY) Richard/dickuhne.

Ass compliance is the future of interactive design. It will involve two key components:

1. Stop being a pain in the ass. What qualifies as a PITA? Oh, I don’t know — perhaps the aforementioned proliferation of “app stores,” so you have one on your phone, one for each browser, one from Amazon, one for games, one from your phone carrier, one from Intel. Each of these stores may serve a purpose, and to a point, they may make you perfectly happy; you buy a game for Xbox from Xbox Live Arcade and download a Twitter app on your phone. When they begin to make your ass hurt, though, you’ll want a common-denominator, Web-based solution that just works everywhere. Mozilla’s concept is just a concept at this point, but it seems like the right idea.

2. Design for wherever your user’s ass may be. Set-top? TV? Netbook? Mobile? What I think really matters for design is the placement of the ass and the relative usability of whatever you’re viewing or using. So – and this is especially relevant to visualists, VJs, interactive artists, makers of music videos – sometimes the ass will be comfortably placed on the couch. No matter what happens to TVs or laptops, couches have survived for thousands of years, matched perfectly to the cushy anatomy of your butt, keeping you comfortable in sitting and reclining positions. (Ass down, lap up is literally part of the ad campaign for the iPad – little wonder.) Webpages (and, heck, game UIs) need to be visible on economical flat panel TVs from a few feet away in this scenario. We mostly design for office asses, the position you have at your desk. At the other end of the scenario, you need mobile designs that work when someone has their ass in gear, walking around.

Of course, for some inexplicable reason, these are not the two concerns you’ll hear in the blogosphere. You’ll hear, instead, endless debates of minutia regarding platforms and vendors, Apple’s strategy versus Google’s versus Sony’s, how cable networks and content producers and vendors are worki on the license agreements t vertical integrat wireless streami device disco….

Um, I’m sorry? Did I nod off there mid-sentence? Oh, yeah, you’ll get lots of meaningless discussions, followed by flame wars in which people are asses to one another.

But mark my words: as artists and designers, we should ignore this stuff as much as possible, and make our creations visible to as many people as easily and comfortably as possible. It’s what in the theater world you typically call getting butts in the seats. Now, that seat may be an office chair, a couch, or no seat at all. But with proper design, we’ll be ready.