Goldbergian Flash Fits Rube Goldberg Web Site

Posted on September 20, 2008  Comments (1)

Intentionally, I hope, the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest web site illustrates how to use needlessly complex engineering to design a tool that fails to follow sensible engineering guidelines. Rather than aiming for well designed usable products, the desire is to produce a machine that sort-of complies with the requirements but in a extremely foolish, convoluted way. Obviously it would be much more sensible to design that web site with html and it would just work simply, easily and quickly for everyone. But flash is the perfect tool to use if you want to promote Goldbergian thinking.

The web site, for example, does display content to a web browser. If that web browser has a flash plugin installed and it is the proper type. And sure the conventions of the web don’t work in this crippled environment but who cares about that when designing Goldbergian web sites. Of course if you actually want to design a good web site such choices would be – lets see, oh yeah, lame. I could link to the contest information – but in good Flash Goldbergian fashion that is not possible with the non-website website they have.

Related: Rube Goldberg Machine ContestRube Goldberg Devices from JapanNASA You Have a Problem340 Years of Royal Society Journals OnlineNSF Engineering Division is ReorganizationHow to Design for the Web

One Response to “Goldbergian Flash Fits Rube Goldberg Web Site”

  1. Dr J Bateman
    September 21st, 2008 @ 6:59 am

    I’ve designed a flash based medical education website using the free Virtual Learning Environment Moodle. As a UK MD I have little/no experience of flash and web design and was struck by
    1) how easy and great moodle is to use (for a novice)
    2) how complex it is to embed flash based content into websites (for a novice)

    Without the aid of a friend (Pro web designer) I couldn’t have done it. This is really limiting good teachers to become good educators. you can now find video on my site, but it was a major headache in implementing the stuff. You can check the content on the website.
    I cant promise that the actual video is any good though…

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