“Shedroff’s definition gets things started: “Experience design is an approach to design, and you can use that approach in pretty much any discipline—graphic design or industrial design or interaction design, or retail design. It says the dimensions of experience are wider than what those disciplines normally take into account. And if you think wider—through time, multiple senses and other dimensions—then you can create a more meaningful experience.”
And he follows it up with the 5 levels of significance:
- Function (“Does this do what I want it to do?”)
- Price (“There are lots of cars out there to get me from point A to point B”)
- Emotion (“That’s where lifestyle is engaged. How does this make me feel?”)
- Identity or Value (“This is subconscious: “Would I be caught dead with this?; am I a Nike fan, or an Adidas fan?”)
- Meaning (Not “Is this me?”, but “Does this fit my reality?” “Does this even fit inside the world as I perceive it?”)
“As we’re spending more and more time with digital products, UI is becoming one of the most important areas of design, but it’s also one of the trickiest to judge. When user interface design is good, it’s hassle-free and we don’t have to think about it; but when it’s bad, it can make our lives hell. [...]
Digital devices have become progressively more complex. Making them easy to use has become more difficult for their designers, and even more important to their users — as everyone who’s had to struggle with an over-complicated cellphone knows to his or her cost.”
The article goes on to describe fun and sensuality as important factors in good interface design.
The paper contains interviews with industry experts and a summary of consumer research, based on interviews with 3,000 people in Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the U.S.A in December 2006.
The document is not particularly innovative in the description of the technological and social changes taking place. More insightful is its analysis of the impact on business, although it positions KPMG a bit too much as the wise guide for companies trying to adapt to these changes.
Broadly, there have been four big developments in the online world in the past few years. The first is the decline in the cost of media distribution—thanks to digitisation and broadband—which has helped to make even relatively unloved content commercially viable. The second phenomenon [...] has been the rise of user-generated content perhaps better described as “participatory media”. [...] The third development is the rise of sharing. [...] The way in which information is organised is also changing – phenomenon number four. Instead of a traditional hierarchy of information by experts, i.e., a taxonomy, web users are increasingly categorising online content—web pages, photographs and links—for themselves. given rise to new businesses. [...]
With the costs of distribution tumbling, media companies should spend less time trying to find blockbusters, and more time trying to make it easy for consumers to find the stuff that interests them, however arcane. [...] Media companies [should also] incorporate user-generated content into their own offerings, [...] make offline content richer and more analytica, [...] and reduce the cost of traditional content generation.
Download report (pdf, 1 mb, 36 pages)
“Blogging on the internet is different from blogging on the mobile,” said chief executive Paddy Holahan of Newbay, a company that provides mobile networks with servers and back-end support for picture and video uploads. “The mobile user is more likely to take a picture or a video and upload it, because he’s got a cameraphone in his hands. The internet blogger is more likely to type because he’s got a keyboard in his hand. [Therefore] mobile tends to be much more about your lifestyle; internet blogging tends to be much more about your opinions, politics, things like that.”
The virtual world Second Life currently seems to represent the cutting edge of the idea of Web 2.0, populated as it is by user-generated characters, buildings and businesses.
IBM’s private Second Life play area is a kind of “thought lab” where the company is trying out methods to combine Web 2.0 and mobile devices in a more homogenous way. IBM’s master inventor Zygmunt Lozinski explained his vision does not simply involve accessing Second Life from your phone – it involves using your mobile as a bridge between the virtual world and the real world.
Makkuni is not only building bridges between technology and traditional, spiritual cultures, but also creating new paradigms for modern computing (based on the aesthetics of developing nations) and making new links between technological interfaces and the body, by an emphasis on the sense of touch, texture, gesture and craft.
So I am very delighted that David Womack featured Makkuni’s thinking and work in the latest issue of Business Week:
Former senior researcher at Xerox PARC, Ranjit Makkuni is using sophisticated technology to change how we interact with computers. In the process, he’s taking traditional Indian beliefs back to the future.
Makkuni spent nearly two decades as a senior researcher at the legendary Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, California, where he was part of a team widely credited with developing the first GUI, or graphical user interface; he then went on to break new ground in tactile interfaces. Now, Makkuni has returned to his native India and founded the Sacred World Foundation, an organization whose mission is to revolutionize interaction between humans and computers by bringing together the ancient traditions of India and the innovations of Silicon Valley. [...]
Much of Makkuni’s research is focused on freeing us from what might be called the modern posture: slumped with belly sagging, eyes restlessly scanning the screen, fingers twitching on computer keys. This posture is a result of the western paradigm in which data comes in through the eyes, makes a loop through the head, and exits through the mouth or fingers. We might as well be brains in jars, at least for the duration of the workday. In many eastern traditions, however, it is believed that intelligence is distributed throughout the body, and that thinking and moving are inextricably connected. [...]
Makkuni’s largest project to date is the Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum, which opened in March 2005 at Birla House in New Delhi, the site where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last few months of his life and where he was assassinated in 1948. The goal of the exhibition is to bring Gandhi’s message to a new generation by engaging them both intellectually and physically. [...]
By showing that traditional practices can help to inform modern technology, Makkuni is challenging the conventional wisdom of the country’s elite, who often see traditional beliefs as a barrier to modernization.
Michael Dell recently launched IdeaStorm where he is “asking his customers for advice on how to improve Dell (DELL) products in hopes that their collective wisdom will offer some unique insights that will help turn the company around. [...]
Dell told us that he sees customer-driven innovation like this as the linchpin of his strategy for Dell 2.0. “We need to think differently about the market and engage our customers in almost everything we do,” he says. “It’s a key to us regaining momentum as a technology industry leader. [...]
In [this] new model, customers participate in the creation of products in an active and ongoing way. They do more than customise or personalise; they add value throughout the product life cycle, from ideation and design through aftermarket opportunities. Increasingly, customer-driven production is at the heart of some of the most innovative products and services around—from the user-generated content on MySpace, Flickr, and YouTube to customer-created advertising campaigns to virtual communities such as Second Life, in which “players” create all of the game content, own their intellectual property, and even provide volunteer customer support.”
Tapscott and Williams conclude that “the opportunity to bring customers into the enterprise as co-creators of value presents one of the most exciting, long-term engines of change and innovation that the business world has seen. But innovation processes will need to be fundamentally reconfigured if businesses are to seize the opportunity.”
Don Tapscott is chief executive of New Paradigm, a technology and business think tank, and the author of 11 books about information technology in business and society, including Paradigm Shift, The Digital Economy, and Growing Up Digital. His recent book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything is a New York Times bestseller. Anthony D. Williams is an author, researcher and former lecturer at the London School of Economics. He is vice-president and executive editor at New Paradigm and co-author of Wikinomics.
Intel Corporation has announced the mobile clinical assistant (MCA) is ready to enable nurses to spend more time with patients, do their jobs on the move while remaining connected, and manage the administration of medications.
As Intel’s first platform built specifically for healthcare, the MCA is an important step in the company’s efforts to better connect clinicians to comprehensive patient information on a real-time basis. The lightweight, spill-resistant, drop-tolerant and easily disinfected MCA allows nurses to access up-to-the-minute patient records and to document a patient’s condition instantly, enhancing clinical workflow while reducing the staff’s administrative workload.
Some of the features designed to ease the nurse’s daily workload include: wireless connectivity to access up-to-date secure patient information and physician’s orders; radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for easy, rapid user logon; a digital camera to enhance patient charting and progress notes, to keep track of wounds as they heal; and bluetooth technology to help capture patient vital signs.
So really nothing new in terms of technology.
To develop the MCA, Intel also conducted a broad range of pilot studies in hospitals worldwide, including El Camino Hospital in Northern California, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom, and Changi General Hospital in Singapore.
Social scientists from Intel’s Digital Health Group conducted ethnographic studies of clinicians using the MCA at each hospital to understand the platform’s usage, usefulness and usability in the context of real clinical work practice. Across these hospital settings, nurses and physicians appreciated the integrated handle; immediate anytime, anywhere access to secure patient information and orders; and the docking station that allows them to easily swap batteries to achieve shift-long use.
The ethnographic research clearly also informed the promotional video, which does not talk about technology at all, but is totally focused on the experience of nurses using it.
Turin is setting up a second-generation type of cinema. It is written, created and distributed by a community of film lovers. The project is called CineTma (www.cinetma.org) and is about to be launched by Finpiemonte and the Piedmont Region as part of its broader “Creativity Platform”.
This initiative bets on a new and sustainable development for the movie industry: to make a feature movie where script, casting, soundtrack, investment and distribution result from the collaboration of many movie lovers, who can taken possession again of the cinema product by investing their creativity in an interactive web platform.
Also the editing process can now be done in streaming, thanks to a new open-source technology developed by the Polytechnic University of Turin. It allows various editors to work simultaneously on the same material online. [...]
This of course means that the very concept of creating something needs to be redefined.
And this is what the people behind the CineTma project are doing, inspired by the pioneering experience of “A Swarm of Angels,” which gave birth to the movement of “Cinema 2.0.” The connection with the Web 2.0 model is obvious: it offers the consumers of a creative product the possibility of also interacting with it: by completing it, improving it, or creating new products with the original one as the basis. [...]
In the case of Cinema 2.0, the process is not limited to the co-creation of online contents, but also includes offline activities that use human and material resources, which are of course relatively expensive on the market, to shoot the actual feature movie. As opposed to what happens in traditional movie production, the participants in the CineTma project are also its financiers, each one of them investing a small sum somma (about 35 euro). Multiplied by all those who invest in the movie, this can help assure the full movie budget, which is rarely less than 600,000 euro.
The article (available in Italian via Cotec) was written by Irene Cassarino who works on user-driven innovation policy for Finpiemonte, the agency supporting research and innovation projects in Piedmont.
The trade organisation Dansk Erhverv will carry out the pilot project together with i.a. Danske Designere, Dansk Design Center, Odgaard Consult, Gemba Innovation and the Capital Region of Denmark.
According to managing director at Danske Designere, Steinar Valade-Amland, the innovation project is special because it is the first time that all parties in a user-driven innovation process, including researchers, respond to a more thorough formulation of a problem.
At the moment 16 design companies and 13 trade and service companies have shown interest. And they include everything from communication design agencies to industrial designers as well as IT, transport, retail companies and consultancy companies.
The common link for the participating companies is that they all need a designer to assist in the innovative thinking of their product and business development. The primary focus is on service and the support functions, relates Steinar Valade-Amland.
The pilot project is expected to start in May and last approximately one year.
“One of the problem with internet has been that it is impossible to control or censor it. Internet or the world wide web never remains the same.
Thousands of pages are added to it every second. Hundreds of new sites pop up every second. Now, web’s new version, Web 2.0, driven by users, is creating a completely new set of problems for the Indian law makers. The challenge is that content, music and video is being generated by millions of users and put on the world wide web.
Earlier, the government could regulate content by pulling up publishers like portals, ISPs and other service providers. These large corporations would bend to the government’s will as they did not want to get on the wrong side of a government.
But now, lawmakers are in deep see, wondering how to control copyright infringement of an hindi movie hosted for free downloads. How to prevent a defamatory posting on a blog. How to prevent downloads of a video clip that violates somebody’s privacy.
Recently the Mumbai Police started a dialogue with portals such as YouTube.com and orkut.com on how to handle these situations.”
The organisation just invested 1.4 million Euro to support a portfolio of projects focusing on activities in support of user-driven innovation.
NICe was set up by the Nordic Council of Ministers to promote an innovative and knowledge-intensive business sector in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Another worthwhile read is “Understanding User-Driven Innovation” (pdf, 399 kb, 33 pages), which was excerpted from a briefing paper which was prepared for the first meeting of the Northern Dimension Learning Forum on User-Driven Innovation (NDLF-UDI) – a project initiative of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
“The project aims to facilitate policymakers in the region to develop increased competencies in this field of innovation policy, as well as to support and inspire each other in defining the policy rationale and possible mechanisms to catalyse user-driven innovation.
The briefing paper was prepared to provide a general overview on the area of user-driven innovation, and to provide a basis for discussion of the policy rationale. The paper was geared toward a policymaking audience and is meant to serve only as an overview on the topic and a basis for discussion, and therefore does not provide the level of depth, analysis or academic rigor that would be expected from a research document.”
(Thank you Irene for the lead)
“At Oracle, we believe that we can deliver the software that our customers want and need deploying user-centered Design tools and methods. We deliver a successful user experience to our customer by working with design partners, and by involving end users in our iterative design process.
The Oracle User Experience groups provide comprehensive usability engineering, interface design support, and user interface research for the entire corporation.
Team members have experience in a wide variety of disciplines, including usability engineering, cognitive psychology, graphic design, interaction design, and computer science with a specialization in Human Computer Interface (HCI). Oracle’s tradition of of investment in human factors dates back 17 years. Our executives believe it to be a critical competitive differentiator, if included early in the software development process.”
Their UX and usability work is primarily conducted in California, USA; Reading, UK; and Hyderabad, India. New sites are under construction in Denver, USA and Bangalore, India.
I have been very impressed with the pace and quality of innovation of these sites except for one vital ingredient: usability. If you have to go through several stages of evaluation after each story there will be even less time to read the newspaper itself. Few of these sites – yet – are easy on the eye and until they look less like nerdy lists, they may find it difficult to make the jump to mass-market acceptability. [...]
The question is whether these new approaches will sweep all before them or, as the noises get more confusing on the web, people will migrate back to “trusted sources” such as the BBC and the Guardian (which is engaged in an each-way bet, expanding on the web while strengthening the paper as a trusted source). What will happen?”
“At Club Penguin, which launched in October 2005 and had 4 million unique visitors in January, according to comScore Media Metrix, your 8- to 14-year-old can waddle through a virtual world as a flightless waterfowl, interacting with other penguins of her choice. Registration is free, but if junior wants to decorate her penguin’s igloo or use other advanced features on the site, you’ll need to pay a $5.95 monthly membership. And Club Penguin is just the tip of the iceberg.
A new site designed for the skinned-knee demographic seems to pop up nearly every day. Their potential market is huge: there are some 28.5 million kids between the ages of 8 and 14 in the United States, according to emarketer.com. A 2006 Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg survey found that an equal 38 percent of both male and female teens aged 12 to 14 use MySpace (even though the site’s age cutoff is 14) or some other social-networking site.”
“Our lives are becoming increasingly digitised—from the ways we communicate, to our entertainment media, to our e-commerce transactions, to our online research. As storage becomes cheaper and data pipes become faster, we are doing more and more online—and in the process, saving a record of our digital lives, whether we like it or not.
As a human society, we’re quite possibly looking at the largest surge of recorded information that has ever taken place, and at this point, we have only the most rudimentary tools for managing all this information—in part because we cannot predict what standards will be in place in 10, 50, or 100 years. [...]
As designers of user experiences for digital products and services, we can make people’s digital lives more meaningful and less confusing. It is our responsibility to envision not only techniques for sorting, ordering and navigating these digital information spaces, but also to devise methods of helping people feel comfortable with such interactions. To better understand and ultimately solve this information management problem, we should take a holistic view of the digital person. While our data might be scattered, people need to feel whole.”
“A new IT department is being born. IT managers don’t control it. They may not even be aware of it. But their users are, and figuring out how to work with it will be the key to the IT managers’ future and their companies’ success.”
“The consumer technology universe has evolved to a point where it is, in essence, a fully functioning, alternative IT department. Today, in effect, users can choose their technology provider. Your company’s employees may turn to you first, but an employee who’s given a tool by the corporate IT department that doesn’t meets his needs will find one that does on the Internet or at his neighborhood Best Buy.
The emergence of this second IT department—call it “the shadow IT department”—is a natural product of the disconnect that has always existed between those who provide IT and those who use it.
And that disconnect is fundamental. Users want IT to be responsive to their individual needs and to make them more productive. CIOs want IT to be reliable, secure, scalable and compliant with an ever increasing number of government regulations. Consequently, when corporate IT designs and provides an IT system, manageability usually comes first, the user’s experience second. But the shadow IT department doesn’t give a hoot about manageability and provides its users with ways to end-run corporate IT when the interests of the two groups do not coincide.”
The article advocates that IT departments do user research into employees’ real needs to come up with solutions that are both innovative and don’t compromise company security.
The two slideshows used during his presentation are available for download.
Exploratory field user research (PowerPoint, 3 mb, 64 slides) describes exactly that: how a company like Nokia uses exploratory field user research techniques to design better products. Techniques covered include street interviews and observations, diaries, shadowing, home visits, contextual interviews, lead users, mystery shoppers, data logging, asking smarter questions, and how all of this is communication in the end. Make sure to read the notes too.
The second presentation, Repair Cultures (PowerPoint, 3.4 mb, 37 slides), is an elaboration of earlier presentations by Chipchase and illustrates how mobile phone repair practices, observed in Ji Lin, Chengdu, Xiamen, Lhasa, Ho Chi Minh City, Delhi, Ulan Bataar and Soweto, ought to be seen as a culture of innovation.
I have no idea what the English version of the day is because, despite the eagerness of Italian newspapers (see here and here) to promote the initiative as “international”, no trace of “La Giornata Mondiale Della Lentezza” can be found outside of Italy.
This slow-down initiative, which has been organised by an association in Pavia, has only one scope: to “hold on a moment, slow down a bit, retake our time”.
And it has been surprisingly successful in Italy with a slow marathon in Rome, symbolic fines for the most frenetic Milanese, a slow bicycle race in Ferrara (the slowest wins!), donkey rides in Pisa, and poetry in the supermarkets of Cagliari.
Apparently something also happened in Heidelberg, Germany.
“The real transformation comes from having the ability to take other people’s content and then filter, refine, recombine and reuse it in interesting and innovative ways.
This remix model brings us closer to the original vision of a hypertext, put forward by Vannevar Bush in the 1940s and realised by Tim Berners-Lee at Cern in the 1980’s.
Bush’s “Memex”, an electro-mechanical system for providing easy access to information stored on microfilm, relied on cross-references and user annotation, allowing people to add new documents but not directly to edit those they have.
Now Yahoo! has launched a new service that could have a massive impact on the way we think about our online activity.
While Google concentrates on challenging Microsoft Office with its online word processors and spreadsheets, Yahoo! has looked much more deeply into the way the net works and given us the building blocks for a brand new way of dealing with online content.
Their new offering, Pipes, lets you take a data feed such as the result of a web search, or an RSS feed from a blog or news site, or a set of tagged photos on Flickr, and transform it to produce the outcome you want. You can then make it available for other people to see. [...]
This isn’t user-generated content, it’s user-controlled content. And unlike personalised pages or simple feed subscriptions it really does put control into the hands of the user.
The book’s expected publication date is October 2007. The publisher is Basic Books (New York).
Tentative table of contents:
- Cautious cars and cantankerous kitchens: how machines take control
- Servants of our machines
- The psychology of people & machines
- The role of automation
- Natural interaction
- Six rules for the design of smart things
- The future of everyday things
- Afterward: the machine’s point of view
A Word document of the first chapter (24 pages) can be downloaded here.
The Afterward (3 pages and here entitled “How to take to people”) is available as a pdf download.