Interface Guildlines for One Laptop per Child

The human interface guidelines for the One Laptop per Child project are online. The guidelines are really interesting (and probably still evolving). Most educational software design is layered on top of an existing hardware platform and operating system, but with OLPC, there’s an opportunity to integrate core interface elements and metaphors with the underlying OS.

For example, take the notion of journaling. The core idea — that you want to remember what the learner has done, not just what the learner explicitly indicates should be saved — is not new. Ben’s dissertation work on the Progress Portfolio pushed this idea pretty far. But when you’re building a journaling tool that’s not tightly integrated with the OS, it turns out it’s not so easy to remember everything the learner does, because the tool isn’t notified of everything that’s going on. So the idea of building journaling into the OS itself is a very cool idea.

There are several other ways in which the design of the user experience for OLPC appears to leveraging the opportunity to integrate core learning affordances into the OS, and the interface guidelines are a pretty good way to get beyond a bullet list of technologies and understand the design principles behind these decisions. Take a look.

posted December 12, 2006 by eric

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