LEGO Mindstorms visual programming concepts

© LEGO

 

Shown here are a few of several experimental interface styles I was exploring during initial production work on the LEGO Mindstorms programming software.

 

Rather than being just an aesthetic exercise, the idea was to devise a modular programming technique that would be clear and easy to follow visually and within a limited 640 x 480 pixel screen space. A great deal of consideration was spent in understanding the functionality of the product. The best compromises had to be figured out in order to display essential numerical information in a way that was visually appealing and not too dry for kids.

 

As the combination of programming elements within the Mindstorms software was of a modular nature, a parallel visual metaphor had to be found, hence the jigsaw puzzle type elements I eventually went with. I'd tried experimenting with images of LEGO bricks themselves, but found that the dimensions that made them recognisable didn't lend themselves to contain enough essential numbers and text within each shape. What's more, the quintessential brick studs would be concealed next to additional contiguous brick elements.

 

The result below was then developed from the above concept by a third party, namely Europress in the UK.