Kathy Sierra (see earlier post) is talking about how her Java books became the best selling Java books. and their newest title in the HeadFirst series that she and Bert Bates created.
Drawing from Neurobiology (work on learning and increasing memory), game design, advertising and marketing, psycology, learning theory and entertainment, she and Bert redesigned books to add emotion (so to aid memory). How does the brain work to prevent memory? most of brain chemistry is dedicated to preventing long term memory she says. Brain wants to keep non-life threatening material out and to let life-preserving material in. long memories are from insults and other passions. straight facts fall off the skull thanks to brain chemistry.
Their books have been acused of being comix, but they are not (says I).
(speaking of emotion — lunch was various grilled wursts and salad. i remember it well)
Game designers (she holds up the book Flow and Chris Crawford’s “The Art of Interactive Design”) why do we keep on just one compile away. seeing the end very very close. a challenge with a solution close at hand keeps you at it. basically the programming zone. game designers are the masters of this. levels in games and rewards pull you along.
learning theory and cognitive overload. knowledge must be a co-creation. the learner must be engaged in building knowledge.
marketing etc. using sex? can you say learning java servelets will get you sex? no bud swedish bikini team for o’reilly books.She cites the Substance of Style. Donald Norman also on style and on emotions. lovemarks the future beyond brands. even Tom Peters has a DK book out.
A move from formal language to conversational gives a 40% improvement in performance.
elearning book – imbedding text is better than a caption. a caption is better than a textual reference.
Culting of Brands
Their book was designed with cliff hangers, incomplete information etc.
Reviewing the reviews for love. mentions of the word “love” first names used to identify or name the authors (instead of last), number of exclamation points (no greater than 2 in a row count tho), reviewers say more about themselves using “I” during the review.
Looking to create the preceived “I rule.” in the reader. not to impress the reader with how smart the authors are.
Could this be the Java version of Jacques Derrida‘s Glas for Geeks?
Her talk also made me think a bit about Vladamir Mayakovski and the wonderful museum in his honor in Moscow. And while I’m on it, McLuhan’s collage designed books like War and Peace in the Global Village.
Next book will be on design patterns due out soon.
Why’s (Poignant) guide to Ruby