the interactive conversation interface

December 26th, 2006


One of the most interesting software titles of produced during the 1990’s “CD-Rom era” of computing was the “You Don’t Know Jack” series of games. Set up like a game show, with a sardonic and surprisingly real host, the game was a hoot to play with a friend and a showcase for how much audio could be stuffed on a CD.

The truly impressive aspect of the games was the seamless interaction with the host; it always seemed eerily real. Jellyvision, the company who made the YDKJ games, lays out some of their hard-earned secrets in the “Jack Principles of the Interactive Conversation Interface“. It’s packed with really insightful HCI (Human Computer Interface) maxims, and should be studied by anybody making software that people have to interact with.

Also good news: the You Don’t Know Jack guys have created a web version of their game, “The Daily Dis or Dat“. It’s short, it’s punchy, it changes every day, and it’s just as much fun now as it was back in 1999.

~Jeff

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