Visual Organizer and Spatial Architecture
How architecture came to invent a new way to mind map, note-take and visually organize thoughts and ideas.
My early training is in architecture, a career that has allowed me to travel across the world, designing buildings of all sizes and typologies. I’m a designer at heart and whilst it has been a fulfilling journey, I’ve also always had a ‘thing’ for tech. Growing up in the DOS era, I remember early memories of how I became familiar with the PC - by way of accidentally formatting the hard drive of my brother's computer.
Whilst I like tech, I also remain very low tech and I like to think this analog part of me has been important in the development of Inclr - a software that doesn’t seek to be quick and temporary, but rather tries to speak to the heart and walks at a slower pace.
In 2015, I began tinkering with iOS code. I saw how architecture had become increasingly more digital and I became interested in what scripts can do. By the end of 2015, I discovered I loved one aspect of coding - somehow, coding felt meditative, like being in a quiet "other world", away from the routine daily life. In some ways, coding was a similar zone to when I design architecture. I was coding every night and every lunch break, any chance I could get I’d be on the laptop.
One day I created circular menu. It was intended as a navigation menu for a design news app I was creating at time. I thought to myself, “Circles are an interesting shape. Single dimensional in that it's defined by a point and a radius. Architecturally they are difficult inclosures, but... what if... what if I put life into it?” And when I meant Life, I meant everything made up of life, information, space, feeling, freedom. If everything was bundled into interactive packages, it would represent Life better than what we currently have, singular data points with a search engine. This is the moment Inclr was born.
Data is normally what we associate with today’s world. Form, a term borrowed from architecture, is the visible manifestation of design. In the tech world this could be the UI and the icons. But think for a minute and compare the long history of Art with the short history of UI. There’s so much more theory about form and function (data) than we can have possibly explored in current UI/UX theory.
| Data + Form = Emotions
All designs play with this equation - Form coupled with Function (Data) will illicit an emotional response. Emotions then become knowledge and hopefully wisdom if you keep it long enough, which ultimately adds to your sense of self or self identity.
| Emotions + Data = Sense of Self
Do you ever experience infomation overload? Perhaps we experience this new phenomena because the data is structured in a boring way. It is without form and visual or emotive logic. The way form plays with function(data) says, "You're not suppose to enjoy this data. So try to forget it coz it's boring." With better form, the consumable data becomes more palatable and more memorable, providing more effective stimuli for longer term memory cues.
Inclr is a designed form of data. It's not just a circular menu. It's a design ethos baked throughout the system. We went a step further and added spatial data. Why? The first steps to creating a more beautiful vision for cyberspace for tomorrow.
Ghost in the Shell, a long time favourite anime of mine, depicts a visual network, an eventual evolution of the internet into a spatial cyberspace. What I propose is a version of our digital world that is emotive and made sense through intuition, graphics, space and muscle memory. Not a cyberspace that is run by ads and corporations. A world built beautifully, a city made for the public and by the public, a world of data that is given the urban infrastructure to experience places worth remembering. Take that William Gibson...
Want to find out more about the genesis of Inclr and it’s concepts, here are some links:
Chuck Frey's Inclr interview with me on the Mindmapping Software Blog
US Patent for Inclr link here
China Patent for Inclr link here
My speech on about how Inclr was created Pecha Kucha speech.