The UX of the Muppets

By | January 29, 2009

We have been watching the entire television series from Netflix for The Muppets.  We watch it with the text “interesting tidbits” option turned on so we can read about the scene we are watching.  The boys are loving it.

The design of the show is brilliant.  First the name, The Muppets.  It’s like a puppet, but different.  It evokes a whole new kind of thing.  Perfect naming both fun and unique.

Second is the premise of the show.  It’s a show about a weekly theatre show.  That allows the theme to be self-referential without seeming odd.  It has vaudville acts and more modern numbers.  The muppets themselves are beautifully constructed so that they look like real sentient beings and not clumsy hand puppets.  The characters have life in them and personality.  Through and through, it is not cheap or flimsy or stupid.  It’s smart and funny and musical and sophisticated.  It is nearly a perfect design that evolved as the show progressed.

The kids have a hard time understanding how the muppeteers can make it work.  The arms don’t seem right, the head is too long.  It took me years to understand that it’s often two people doing the puppeteer work and just clever camera angles. The details are just amazing.

As you build whatever it is you build, you should take inspiration from the Muppets. Pay attention to the details. Do it better than anyone ever imagined. Leapfrog the current status quo. Imagine how it “could” be if you had a magic wand. Then make it happen.

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