I’ve been looking at new WordPress Themes recently for a little something that I’m working on. As part of my searching and testing I’ve discovered the Creative Synthesis themes developed by MIT’s Media Lab. It appears to be the work of researchers Matthew Hockenberry and Ernesto Arroyo and the basic principle is that they’re carrying out a bit of on the fly experimentation.
As they say in the theme page, it’s not just in design, but in experimental methodology, sharing and process.
The license the the theme is offered under is not a creative commons, gpl, or anything that you are probably familiar with. The recycled learning license is a little different, and deserves some explanation.
Essentially if you use the theme you agree to install a wordpress plugin that collects some data and sends it back to us. Mostly weâ€™re after mousetracking data – the x,y coordinates that your visitors send their mouse tails to. For more information about this, see Ernesto Arroyoâ€™s short paper on the mousetracking tools. This data is completely available for anyone to see (including, unfortunately, unscrupulous types like advertisers – although commercial uses are technically forbidden by the terms of the license).
The intent is to use this for academic research in how people share designs, use blogs, and a variety of other purposes. It takes a few minutes to sink in, so please read the license details before you click download.