Musings on our first SoFIE app.

Our first SoFIE app, the Relaxatron, was pushed to the Apple App Store and now has a couple of reviews. There are three reviews total. If you don't include my own review of the app, there are two reviews. They both say, essentially, that the app "doesn't work."

Allow me to make an observation of these observations. I guess I'm taking the role of the artist observing the people observing the artwork.

What strikes me as odd is that neither of these people tried to interact with the Relaxatron. From their comments, it seems like they expected it to do something for them - to hold their hand and tell them what to do. I think this is an interesting, and not a little sad, commentary. Have we reached a place where we have to be told in detail what to do all the time? Is there no more room for discovery? What about playing with something to see how it works? Were these people afraid of breaking the Relaxatron? It's only software - and as Paul points out - it's very difficult to break software. And do these people demand to be entertained, while they participate only passively? Did the Relaxatron threaten this "amuse me" attitude so much that they were compelled to write bad reviews? What happened?

My reaction was twofold. First, I thought that I should "fix" the Relaxatron so that it was more accessible to people with no inquisitiveness or who have a passive-consumer approach to art. But that sort of defeats the purpose. That being said, there were some finer points of animations and CALayer technology that I haven't really explored yet so I used this as an excuse to deepen my craft in this area. I added a "tap me" toast that appears after a couple of seconds of inactivity, and a pulsing play button if you add stamps but don't press play. These are real attention getters!

Second, it occurred to that SoFIE can actually make a difference by encouraging discovery and inventiveness. It's fun to figure stuff out on your own. It's boring to be told what to do all the time. Maybe we should promote a more playful spirit of investigation at SoFIE? We're open to suggestions.