Putting People First

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October 2005
17 October 2005

Experientia participates in UNESCO toys workshop in Armenia

Toys for Children's Rehabilitation
Experientia takes part in an international creativity workshop on “toys for children’s rehabilitation” in Yerevan, Armenia.

The symposium, workshop and exhibition, which will take place from 20 November to 3 December, is a joined organisation of Studio-College of the National Aesthetics Center, the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute (OSI), World Vision Armenia, Fördern durch Spielmittel – Spielzeug für behinderte Kinder e.V. (Toys for Children’s Rehabilitation) and UNESCO Armenia.

During two weeks participants in collaboration with specialists, including Experientia’s partner Jan-Christoph Zoels, will be involved in various activities together with children with special needs in different childcare facilities to develop completely new toys for therapy and rehabilitation of these children.

The results of the first Armenian creativity workshop will be shown in a public exhibition.

After the exhibition, an interdisciplinary group chooses the most interesting toys. Selecting criteria are therapeutic aspects and innovative character. These toys will then be modified, copied and tested for three months by children with and without special needs.

The organisers will arrange further development of toys and publish a book containing instructions to make toys on one’s own.

Invitation letter (pdf, 304 kb)

16 October 2005

Design experience in public spaces

The Isreali Design Center, Israel’s first museum dedicated to design will open in Holon by 2008. A series of conferences exploring the role of design in society and raising awareness for the forthcoming museum have been planned.

The first conference, organised by Prof. Erzi Tarazi of the Bezalel Academy and Amnon Silber of the Israeli Design Center, will be on the subject of Design Experience in Public Spaces. The conference will take place on 2 November at the Mediatheque in Holon.

Keynote speakers include: Internationally celebrated designer and architect of the planned museum Ron Arad, Experientia partner and user experience specialist Jan-Christoph Zoels, and architecture writer and recently appointed Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at Kingston University, Deyan Sudjic.

View programme (scroll down for English text)

15 October 2005

IBM on the role of the user experience designer and on ease of use

According to an IBM UX fact sheet, the user experience designer creates a design that satisfies the business, market and user requirements received from market planning and user experience research, while at the same time incorporating the feedback received from user experience evaluation.

IBM then goes on to describe the goals, activities, products and required skills.

Interesting too is a 2003 issue of IBM’s Systems Journal (html / pdf) is devoted to ease of use.

Twelve papers focus on aspects of design for ease of use as applied to the entire design process, from understanding user requirements to conceptual design, prototyping, field testing, and redesigning.

The history and future of User-Centered Design (UCD) and User Engineering (UE) are discussed, and case studies illustrating the role of UCD and UE in many fields are presented. Topics include the design of wireless devices, on-screen documentation, and database management and data visualisation systems.

15 October 2005

Australian children and technology

Two recent Australian reports investigate how children and teens relate to internet and mobile devices.

kidsonline@home – Internet use in Australian homes [April 2005]

NetAlert and the Australian Broadcasting Authority recognised a need to capture behaviours and attitudes associated with Internet use in the home, particularly among children aged 8 to 13 years and their parents.

Research was undertaken with the objectives to examine patterns of internet usage and behaviour, perceptions of the internet and online experiences, strategies for ensuring safety online, internet safety information resources and needs, and the use of mobile communications.

Download report (pdf, 1.6 mb, 123 pages)

eGeneration Study 2005-2006 [August 2005]

This study into internet and technology usage patterns among Australia’s online kids, teens and their parents revealed that 66 per cent of parents believe their children to be more internet and technology savvy than they are themselves.

The bi-annual study by Nielsen//NetRatings Australia and sponsored by Nickelodeon Australia was based on telephone interviews with 350 metropolitan and 150 rural households

Download press release (pdf, 124 kb, 2 pages)

13 October 2005

Shared experience design calendar

Edged on by our friends at CPH127, I explored the social calendar tool (now part of Yahoo!) and create a shared experience design calendar with events and conferences related to experience design and user experience issues.

The experience design calendar is now hosted on Eventful.

13 October 2005

Redefining the mobile user experience [Usability News]

When we talk about redefining the mobile user experience, we are talking about changing this linear approach and encouraging everyone in the industry – whether they are a chipset manufacturer several stages removed from the end consumer or an MVNO seeking direct customer relationships – to improve their understanding of what users really want. Every component of a product has an impact on the overall customer experience and every component provider could benefit from a better insight into what drives these customers.

In 2004, PMN and Alloy, the award-winning British industrial design firm, initiated the Design for reality project to experiment with involving customers directly in the development of handsets. We spoke to users, we watched how they actually behaved in the real world and – once we’d identified some common needs – we divided the development team into clearly focused segments. In each segment we appointed a ‘user champion’ from among the members of the public we’d observed.

Read full story

12 October 2005

EU presents plan to boost research spending [AP]

The European Commission presented a plan Wednesday to catch up with the United States and Japan in spending on research and development and to keep at bay rising powers like China and India.

The plan, which still needs the backing of European Union governments, calls for a “major upgrade” in prioritizing research and innovation in Europe.

The plans include better spending of EU aid to research firms and schools and boosting intellectual property protection. It also aims to encourage more industry-university partnerships.

Read full story
EU press release
EU backgrounder

12 October 2005

New platform for government services on mobile phones

USE-ME.GOV (usability-driven open platform for mobile government) is an EU-sponsored research and development project designed to support and encourage access to new e-government services anytime and anywhere through the use of mobile communications and internet technologies.

The main goal of the project is to create a next-generation open service platform for mobile users that can be shared by networked authorities and institutions (e.g. on a regional scale) in terms of technical infrastructure, content, and commercial exploitation.

Before the end of the year, four pilot projects will start testing ways of delivering information about healthcare, schools and transport to the mobile phones of citizens.

The Italian city of Bologna will provide citizens with traffic-related information. The Spanish city of Badajoz will experiment with using mobile services to improve communication between teachers, parents, and students. Authorities of the city of Gydnia in Poland, and the town of Vila Nova de Cerveira in Portugal will also take part in the project.

(via Usability News)

9 October 2005

How usable is Jakob Nielsen?

Jakob Nielsen is still very popular outside the usability community. Amongst his colleagues however, his popularity has been eroding steadily. Why? There are a couple of reasons for this.

It’s an older story, but nevertheless still relevant.

Read full story

8 October 2005

Ezio Manzini on design, social innovation and sustainability

Ezio Manzini, who is a professor at the Milan Polytechnic and one of the world’s leading experts on sustainable design, recently talked about his ideas at the British Design Council.

A background paper entitled Enabling solutions, social innovation and design for sustainability (Word document, 64 kb) is available from the Design Council website.

8 October 2005

RED: design and socio-economic innovation at the Design Council

RED is a unit at the (British) Design Council that wants to challenge accepted thinking on current social and economic problems by exploring new solutions through innovative design practice.

The unit takes a proactive approach to solving problems and developing new concepts and processes for change. They see their role as to provoke, stimulate, surprise and deliver, within a context that puts people first and is based in the real world.

A small team of designers works with a range of experts drawn from such fields as economics, science, anthropology and psychoanalysis, in partnership with organisations and individuals from the public and private sector.

Through a series of rapid turnaround projects, seminars and publications in collaboration with relevant partners, they aim to provide ahead-of-the-curve insights in the context of government policy in order to make change happen.

Visit the RED website
Read manifesto (PDF, 764 kb)

8 October 2005

The state of the experience

Nick Finck of Blue Flavor ponders the question one has to ask oneself as a business owner: what kind of experience do you want your customers to receive before, during, and after they have purchased your product or service?

Read full post

7 October 2005

Twelve things that will be free []

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, has been presenting audiences with a prediction and a challenge about the free culture movement: Ten Things that Will be Free. Jimmy’s list is inspried by David Hilbert’s address to the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris, 1900, where he proposed 23 critical unsolved problems in mathematics. This list was enormously influential in shaping mathematical research over the 20th century, and most of the problems have been resolved. Jimmy’s list is, like Hilbert’s, an outline of what we don’t know how to do yet in the world of free culture, and a call to action. It’s also, to a certain extent, a prediction of the future – Jimmy makes the point that it’s 10 things that will be free in the next ten to twenty five years, not should be free.In a recent (September 27th) talk at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, where Jimmy is a non-resident fellow, he presented the most recent version of the list, updated since he presented it at the Frankfurt Wikimania conference. The list is a dynamic one – it’s being reprioritized as he receives feedback from colleagues and audiences, and currently includes 12 Things that Will be Free.

Read full story

5 October 2005

Don Norman interviewed on Red Nova

Science and technology website Red Nova just published a long interview with Donald Norman on his meanwhile very well known book Emotional Design: why we love (or hate) everyday things.

(via Usernomics)

5 October 2005

New York Times on networked collaboration impacting business

Companies are embracing the potential of networked computing to let workers share their knowledge more efficiently as they nurture new ideas, new products and new ways to digitally automate all sorts of tasks.

[They] are drawing on collaborative models that first blossomed in nonbusiness settings, from online games to open-source software projects to the so-called wiki encyclopedias and blogs to speed up innovation. This networked collaboration is creating new opportunities and disrupting industries. New styles of work and, in business schools, new theories of innovation are rising.

Read full story
New York Times Circuits special edition on networking

5 October 2005

Brand value and the user experience []

Companies like Nordstrom, Jet Blue, Amazon and Dell have all built their brand value on providing a positive experience for their customers, online and offline. Successful companies match business objectives with customer needs. They combine ongoing testing, feedback and improvement cycles into their daily practices and invest in listening, learning and modifying the user experience to create positive returns in revenue and loyalty. This means user experience is not just a practice or a process—it is a philosophy.


The user experience should be comfortable, intuitive, consistent and trustworthy. The term “user experience” has been defined and described in many ways, but we define it as “the overall perception and comprehensive interaction an individual has with a company, service or product. A positive user experience is an end-user’s successful and streamlined completion of a desired task.”

Read full story

(via Usernomics)

5 October 2005

Creativity as people’s tool to transform society

This spring I have been working with Cittadellarte, the foundation of the (world-) famous arte povera artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, on bringing more clarity to its identity and mission, allowing them to inspire a more people-centred and responsible impact on society.

Wired News has now published a long story discussing these ideas in detail, based on the foundation’s presentation at the Venice Biennial and on interviews with Pistoletto, Paolo Naldini, the foundation’s administrator, and Francesco Bernabei, its economics expert.

In the words of Michelangelo Pistoletto: “Creativity can outline the parameters, the ways in which we can think about the relationship between people and the planet.”. To which Naldini adds: “The creative mind is the mind that wants to take responsibility for what’s happening.”

4 October 2005

Dubrovnik forum on leadership and responsibility

Today I am leaving for a short trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia, where I will be attending the Dubrovnik Leadership Forum, organised by two top central European business schools, IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia) and ESMT-European School for Management and Technology (Germany). I will also be blogging about it on a special Dubrovnik 2005 blog.

The forum is a yearly gathering where leaders from the worlds of arts, science, politics, management education and business come together to focus on the challenges of the broader world and to find sources of mutual inspiration, not only to better manage their own organisations, but also to improve the education of future leaders and to benefit society at large.

Some interesting speakers this year include the deans of the two schools, Danica Purg and Derek Abell, the social thinker Charles Handy and the leadership specialist Jonathan Gosling.

4 October 2005

Nokia Concept Lounge

The Nokia Belgium and Nokia Netherlands sites feature a Nokia Concept Lounge that was developed for the Nokia Benelux Design Awards.

The site aims at exploring the future of mobile communications and gathers many student ideas to advance the thinking of the mobile phone giant. It also presents three Nokia concept phones and features the five award winners, including Tamer Nakisci’s armband phone.


3 October 2005

Philips presents prototypes based on simplicity-led design

Philips unveiled more than 25 new design concepts, demonstrating how the company’s focus on ‘simplicity-led design’ is likely to translate into new products over the coming three to five years across its entire healthcare, lifestyle and technology portfolio.

Read press release
Read backgrounder
View images

(via we-make-money-not-art)