worlding.earth Post Mortem

Reflecting on the process of making my interactive website

A still from worlding.earth.
  • 🔄 It’s easier to iterate than make something new (a story on success)
  • 🐢 If there are turtles all the way down, choose the right turtle (a story on failure)
  • 🚪 Accessibility and deadlines are interlinked, but not opposed

Iteration and Inspiration

During the immersive, between classes, I discovered a site called pointcloud.garden made by the artist Clement Valla. I had been keen on Valla’s works since I first saw Surface Proxy, where he plays with notions of photogrammetry, surface design, digital image as proxy, and computers as seeing machines in an organic context. Those themes carried over to his latest project pointcloud.garden which is an elegant site that hosts a few of Valla’s 3D pointcloud scans of garden flora: flowers, grasses, shrubs.

From Valla’s pointcloud.garden.
Another still from worlding.earth.

Choose Your Turtles Wisely

A-Frame was what I was taught in the class as an easy to use tool to get 3D graphics into the web. A-Frame, as mentioned earlier, is built on three.js. What I did not mentioned was that three.js is built on WebGL, a web engine that taps into a computers GPU to efficiently display complex graphics. Should we go a layer deeper, WebGL itself is based on OpenGL ES 2.0, which is itself… etc. Turtles all the way down.

A pace layering diagram from “How Buildings Learn.” The Site doesn’t change as quickly as the Stuff inside. In my thinking, the Stuff is easier to use than the Site. A-Frame is close to Stuff, WebGL is closer to Site.

Accessibility — Hardware and Affordances

One of the struggles I encountered was the design of the loading screen. I hinted earlier that there were a few technical struggles getting the loading screen working at all, but this struggle I think is broader and more amorphous: grappling with the accessibility of the project, and dealing with deadlines.

A great article on affordances and loading bars can be found on the 99 Percent Invisible blog.

In Summary

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