The feedback I received on Rebus Chat is very interesting, especially because I will be continuing to work on this project for the final exhibition. A few themes I heard a lot were:
- It turns communication into a game – This is something I am glad people said, because it was part of my goal. Rebus Chat is not for making communication of big ideas any easier, but for giving people access to fun puzzles to solve as part of their regular communication. There were mixed opinions about just how much of an explicit “game” this app should be, and I personally don’t think I want to go full-out with points, stats or other game-y elements like that. But I do want to encourage people to craft interesting puzzles!
- It is related to emojis and/or hieroglyphics – Both of these things were mentioned by people in McLuhan’s Tetrad. I find the connection to emojis particularly interesting, because in some ways they are very alike (both are images sent as messages), but they also are fundamentally different; emojis generally represent the thing they depict (be that happiness, money, pizza, etc) whereas rebus images represent the sound of the thing they depict. That’s part of why I am intentionally avoiding using emojis as the images in this project–I don’t want people to start using them literally.Hieroglyphics, on the other hand, are more closely related. There are many kinds of hieroglyphics, but often each pictogram does relate to a particular syllable or sound, and sometimes the images even come from depictions of one-syllable words. I guess Rebus Chat is kind of like a modernization of hieroglyphics, putting them into a messaging application.