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Putting People First

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January 2006
3 January 2006

Hopes and fears on the future of mobile

 
Nokia’s Charlie Schick shares with us his hopes and fears on the future of mobile.

He is probably right on all of them.

(via Rudy De Waele)

2 January 2006

The experience of everyday things

Everyday_things
On January 12 the symposium ‘The Experience of Everyday Things’ will explore how the human sciences can inspire, feed and provoke designers.

Four speakers operating in the field between the human sciences and design – Donald Norman, Josephine Green, Henk Janssen (Indes) and Paul Hekkert (IO) – will provide position statements in engaging presentations. The four positions will form the basis for a lively debate between the speakers and an audience of designers and design researchers.

Entrance to the symposium is free of charge.

Visit symposium website

(via John Thackara)

1 January 2006

Having your ears on the ground [International Herald Tribune]

Signbank
If you can track what consumers actually do, why bother with what they say?

Instead of simply producing ads, advertising agencies now want to be seen as creative consultancies, helping clients develop marketing strategies or even new products. DDB, part of the Omnicom Group, last month rolled out a service called SignBank, which taps the power of the Internet and the agency’s global office network to collect thousands of individual snippets of cultural change, identify trends in them and advise clients on what it all means for them.

“Focus groups confirm what you already know,” said Eva Steensig, a sociologist at DDB Denmark. “Talking about toilet paper for two hours in a room doesn’t really help.”

The problem, she said, is that most consumers are not experts on their own consumption patterns. They have other things to worry about – their families, the weather, their moods. So, in focus groups they are easily led in one direction or another and rarely come up with the kinds of original insights that a marketer needs to stay ahead in a fast-changing game.

Read full story
Read DDB press release

1 January 2006

Ethnography and the iPod

Ipod_social
As part of a long and critical post on the design and usability problems of the iPod (entitled “What’s wrong with the iPod), Jeff Axup of Mobile Community Design also looks at the social systems surrounding iPod usage:

“We all know Apple didn’t do an ethnographic study of how people listen to music before they started. They had a “visionary” come in with the idea to make a mp3 walkman with a hard drive in it – that had already been on the market for years (see Nomad Jukebox). If they had taken the time to do their research first they would have found that people use Walkmans in complex social settings. Users are often distracted. They often use the devices to shield themselves from unwanted attention. They use it while doing other things (e.g. shopping, entering the bus, talking to people). They hold it primarily in a pocket or purse. They struggle with headphone wires. They make subtle changes to their music rapidly and then drop it back in their pocket. The IPod is not designed to support or improve on these things.”

He argues that “the [Apple] designers [do] not understand the social nature of handheld devices that hold personal data”, and concludes that “the innovation at Apple appears to happen in the marketing and sales departments and not in the mobile design department” and that the only way Apple can avoid being overtaken by mobile phone companies is for the iPod to “deliver a sufficiently superior social media experience”.