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Putting People First

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January 2008
30 January 2008

Blyk as a user-generated media company

Blyk
Marek Pawlowski of MEX thinks that Blyk, the advertising-funded MVNO, is really a user-generated media company:

“Blyk is typically described in press reports as ‘an advertising-funded MVNO’, but after spending some time looking at the company’s model and talking to the management, I’m inclined to think of it as a new type of mobile business.

Blyk is actually user-generated media company, but with some important differences. Unlike most ‘user-generated’ content ventures, it does not rely on users going out of their way to compose their own web pages or post photographs. Nor does it seek to place advertisements within the ‘content’ itself. Instead, Blyk’s ‘media’ is the free person-to-person communications it offers its subscribers.

Traditional media companies, like magazines and television studios, must employ staff to produce a constant stream of compelling content onto which they can tack their advertising inventory. User-generated services face their own set of challenges, particularly the need to gain scale with breakneck speed, thereby conquering the ‘empty rooms’ problem. Blyk’s offering, however, enables the company to sidestep the scale issues of the user-generated model and avoid the production costs of traditional media. All they need is for people to remain interested in the idea of making calls and sending texts.”

Read full story

Blyk by the way announced today that they are expanding into the Netherlands and that they have some new investors, including Goldman Sachs and Industrial and Financial Investments Company (IFIC).

29 January 2008

A view from France on the school of the future

Futurelab
Jean-Marc Manach has written a long story on the school of the future — the School 2.0 — on my favourite French website InternetActu.

Manach covers the international developments in this area (mainly USA and Germany) and gives an overview about what is going on in France.

The article, which is written in French, is worth a read if you know the language. If not, check out the links: many of them lead to English sites.

29 January 2008

New NESTA report on local social innovation

Transformers
“Transformers – how local areas innovate to address changing social needs” is a new report by the UK National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) that explores why some places innovate more effectively than others.

Taking a series of case studies – drawn from the UK and internationally (including Lille, France; Gouda, Netherlands; and Portland, USA) – as a starting point, this report draws some fascinating conclusions about the factors common to success. Above all, it clearly shows that innovative capacity can be nurtured, even in unpromising circumstances.

Overall, three critical factors are identified as essential to successful innovation – the will to change, strong internal capacity, and external resources and feedback. The report builds a strong working model based on these three factors, and shows how it can be applied to a variety of situations, from community organisations to frontline services.

- Press release
Report highlights
Report (pdf, 6 mb, 140 pages)
Policy briefing (pdf, 5 pages)
Videos of launch event

29 January 2008

Mobile phones mainly used for calls and texts, research shows

Carphone Warehouse
Usability News reports on a new survey which shows that despite heavy investment in mobile phone development and services, the majority of UK consumers continue to use their mobile phones for calls and texts only.

The research, commissioned by mobile interaction management expert SNAPin Software, shows that as many as 60 percent of UK mobile users exclusively call and text from their mobile phones.

Amongst a third of respondents who do take advantage of their mobile phone features, the mobile camera was a top choice: 30 percent of respondents use the camera or take and send pictures to friends and family. However just 12 percent of mobile users e-mail from their mobile phone or access the Internet.

According to SNAPin Software, UK consumers are experiencing a number of issues that may be perceived as barriers to the wider adoption of mobile features and services. Based on the research results, these can be identified as services apathy, billing confusion and manual fatigue.

  • More than half of respondents (60%) are not interested in using the mobile services available on their phone.
  • Almost a third of respondents (29%) are confused about mobile operators’ billing rates and how they are being charged for additional offerings.
  • Many respondents (18%) cannot not be bothered to go through a user manual in order to learn how to use certain applications.

“Today’s mobile phones are packed with functionality, yet many mobile users only discover a mere fraction of the features and applications available,” said Robert Lewis, president and CEO, SNAPin Software. “We believe this situation is symptomatic of how mobile handset manufacturers and operators approach user education. Users need simpler and less time intensive ways of discovering their mobile phones’ potential. These need to be delivered at the right time – when users require them most”.

28 January 2008

Prof. Ollivier Dyens about the “inhuman” revolution

La condition inhumaine
With the publication of the book “La condition inhumaine: essai sur l’effroi technologique” [The inhuman condition: essay on the fear of technology] by Ollivier Dyens, the French newspaper Le Monde published an interview with the author.

Here is a quick translation:

To adapt ourselves to the power of digital technologies, we will have to profoundly change the vision that we have of ourselves, says Ollivier Dyens, professor at Montreal.

As a professor of French Studies at the Concordia University in Montreal, you have been studying the impact of new technologies on society for the last fifteen years. Will the striking growth in power of the digital domain be able to transform us in depth?

A few years back, I thought that technology would indeed change the human being. Now I think that technology will change the perception we have of the human being. I believe less and less in the myth of the cyborg, the man-machine. But the vision we have of ourselves will have to change to adapt itself to the technological reality of tomorrow.

Your latest book is entitled “The Inhuman Condition”. Why this title?

The term “inhuman” is not referring to cruelty, but to what lies beyond the human. The answers provided by science and technology to the essential questions that man has been asking since the dawn of time – Who am I? Where do we come from? – are more and more in conflict with what our senses and our mind tell us. So there is a growing tension between our biological reality and our technological one, and this leads to what I call the “inhuman condition”. We have always considered tools and languages as structures that existed to respond to our needs. It is vital to rethink this relationship.

Why is the growing overlap between biological and technological realities troubling us so much?

A Japanese robot specialist once drew a mental picture to be able to explain our concern. He called it the “Uncanny Valley”. As long as robots are quite different from us, they do not disturb us. But when they become too close, we fall in the Uncanny Valley. The artificial hand becomes disconcerting the day it looks too much like a real hand – a hand that you can touch and shake just like a natural one. That’s where we are now with the digital, which is becoming increasingly “intelligent”, increasingly “alive”…. That’s what worries us, because it looks too much like us.

You say that machines took charge of civilisation at the start of the new millennium.

Do you remember we had on 31 December 1999 for the Millennium Bug? The fear was real and existed within the biggest IT companies. On that day all of mankind held its breath, waiting for the verdict of the machines on whether they would or not be able to “understand” the three zeros of the new date. And what happened? The computers, all over the world, were able to adapt. No catastrophe happened — not in the countries where little was done in preparation, not in the countries where much was done.

What I am saying is that digital systems have become too intertwined, too powerful for us to be able to determine what makes them efficient or inefficient. They have become a little bit like the weather conditions, which we know are too complex in order for us to extend our forecast beyond just a few days.

It’s quite distressing to be bypassed by the autonomy of the machines we ourselves created.

Yes for some, it is. But others consider it a normal evolutionary process. Important are the dynamics of life, whether that is in the DNA or in the silicon. Whatever the conclusion, technology is now forcing us to redefine our place in the planetary hierarchy. We can no longer put ourselves at the top of the pyramid, but have to see ourselves in a dynamic position that takes the machines into account as an integrating part of the human species.

And if we don’t succeed in doing that?

Then we risk ending up in the near future in a world which is polarised, Manichean and violent, where the larger part of humanity is completely cut off from the world of representations, ideas, theories and culture. A world of frustration and despair borne out of a new alienation: the knowledge alienation.

This risk is already present: we find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between information and its synthesis – in other words, knowledge. Why? Because the machine generated culture is bypassing us. To use a maritime metaphor: the quantity of information on the web is an ocean, but we don’t know the art of navigating it. In order to survive, we are increasingly left with no other choice but to stay on the surface of the ocean, “surfing” the web. But we humans still navigate the old way, and link knowledge with the idea of deepening our insight. Surface and depth: we will need to reconcile these two notions again.

Will the “inhuman condition” have positive consequences?

Less war, perhaps. The more that countries are economically and culturally intertwined, the less reason there is to see the other as a stranger, that has to be fought. Digital technologies and the internet stimulate this connection between human beings. Email, chat, blogs recall what connects us, beyond geography, our body or our skin colour. Never before have we spent so much time at communicating, enriching ourselves and debating issues through our networks.

Will the internet create new forms of collective intelligence?

Yes, I am convinced of that. The communication means offered to us by these instantaneous digital networks seem to share one main objective: to nourish or create global coherence. A blog acquires its legitimacy if it is linked to from other blogs, and the first site to appear in Google results is the one that is “hyperlinked” by the largest number of sites… This legitimacy coming from the collectivity carries some danger: it defends itself against the individual and doesn’t care much about things that are outside of the norm and marginal. But it also carries great potential, able to profoundly change our relationship with the world. The human aspect of the inhuman condition is after all much closer to us than the ant — which lives, exists and comprehends its world through the collective – and therefore is no autonomous, conscious and unique individual.

28 January 2008

Four speakers debate the future of design

Activmob
Alice Rawsthorn, the design critic of the International Herald Tribune, chaired a debate last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, about the future of design.

Other participants were Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Hilary Cottam, who develops design solutions to problems in education, health care and other public services as co-founder of the London-based agency Participle; and John Maeda, the digital design star and newly appointed president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), have to say about the future of design.

The brief was simple: identify three themes that, you believe, will define design in the future.

Here is what they came up with:

Alice Rawsthorn

  • designing for the underprivileged majority
  • dematerialisation
  • guiltless consumption

Paola Antonelli

  • 3D printing
  • the yearning for privacy
  • translating the advances in science and technology into things we need or want

Hilary Cottam

  • addressing the big social issues of our time
  • tackling social problems through mass collaboration
  • policy making

John Maeda

  • moral responsibility
  • simplicity
  • appreciating the beauty of the everyday objects and places

Read full story

28 January 2008

Thinking about tomorrow

Thinking about tomorrow
The Wall Street Journal looks 10 years ahead and imagines how technology will change the way we shop, learn, entertain ourselves, get news, protect our privacy and connect with friends.

The long article is structured in seven sections, each written by a different WSJ staff writer:

  • How we shop
  • How we play games
  • How we watch movies and TV
  • How we make and keep friends
  • How we search online
  • How we get news
  • How we protect our privacy

Read full story

26 January 2008

‘Google Generation’ is a myth, says new UK research

Google generation
A new study overturns the common assumption that the ‘Google Generation’ – youngsters born or brought up in the Internet age – is the most web-literate.

The first ever virtual longitudinal study carried out by the CIBER research team at University College London claims that, although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web.

The report Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future (pdf, 1.7 mb) also shows that research-behaviour traits that are commonly associated with younger users – impatience in search and navigation, and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs – are now becoming the norm for all age-groups, from younger pupils and undergraduates through to professors.

Commissioned by the British Library and JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), the study calls for libraries to respond urgently to the changing needs of researchers and other users. Going virtual is critical and learning what researchers want and need crucial if libraries are not to become obsolete, it warns. “Libraries in general are not keeping up with the demands of students and researchers for services that are integrated and consistent with their wider internet experience”, says Dr Ian Rowlands, the lead author of the report.

The findings also send a strong message to the government. Educational research into the information behaviour of young people and training programmes on information literacy skills in schools are desperately needed if the UK is to remain as a leading knowledge economy with a strongly-skilled next generation of researchers.

Read full press release

26 January 2008

Recent publications by Prof. Paul Dourish

Paul Dourish
Putting People First regularly features the work of UC Irvine professor Paul Dourish, whose interest lies in the crossover areas between computer science, anthropology, ubiquitous computing, mobility, design and HCI.

Here are some of the recent publications by this very prolific researcher:

Brewer, J., Bassoli, A., Martin, K., Dourish, P., and Mainwaring, S. 2007. Underground Aesthetics: Rethinking Urban Computing. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 6(3), July-September, 39-45

An ethnographic study and a design proposal for a situated music-exchange application suggest how explicitly foregrounding the experiential qualities of urban life can help rethink urban computing design.

Dourish, P. 2007. Seeing Like an Interface. Proc. Australasian Computer-Human Interaction Conference OzCHI 2007 (Adelaide, Australia)

Mobile and ubiquitous computing systems are increasingly of interest to HCI researchers. Often, this has meant considering the ways in which we might migrate desktop applications and everyday usage scenarios to mobile devices and mobile contexts. However, we do not just experience technologies in situ – we also experience everyday settings through the technologies we have at our disposal. Drawing on anthropological research, I outline an alternative way of thinking about the relationship between technology and “seeing” everyday life and everyday space.

Brewer, J., Mainwaring, S., and Dourish, P. 2008. Aesthetic Journeys. Proc. ACM Conf. Designing Interactive Systems DIS 2008 (Cape Town, South Africa)

Researchers and designers are increasingly creating technologies intended to support urban mobility. However, the question of what mobility is remains largely under-examined. In this paper we will use the notion of aesthetic journeys to reconsider the relationship between urban spaces, people and technologies. Fieldwork on the Orange County bus system and in the London Underground leads to a discussion of how we might begin to design for multiple mobilities.

Williams, A., Dourish, P., and Anderson, K. 2008. Anchored Mobilities: Mobile Technology and Transnational Migration. Proc. ACM Conf. Designing Interactive Systems DIS 2008 (Cape Town, South Africa)

Mobile technologies are deployed into diverse social, cultural, political and geographic settings, and incorporated into diverse forms of personal and collective mobility. We present an ethnography of transnational Thai retirees and their uses of mobile technology, highlighting forms of mobility that are spatially, temporally, and infrastructurally anchored, and concepts of the house as a kinship network that may be globally distributed. We conclude in pointing out several ways in which our observations and analysis can influence design.

Troshynski, E., Lee, C., and Dourish, P. 2008. Accountabilities of Presence: Reframing Location-Based Systems. Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI 2008 (Florence, Italy)

How do mobility and presence feature as aspects of social life? Using a case study of paroled offenders tracked via Global Positioning System (GPS), we explore the ways that location-based technologies frame people’s everyday experiences of space. In particular, we focus on how access and presence are negotiated outside of traditional conceptions of “privacy.” We introduce the notion of accountabilities of presence and suggest that it is a more useful concept than “privacy” for understanding the relationship between presence and sociality.

(via Pasta&Vinegar)

24 January 2008

Palpable computing: a taste of things to come

Palpable
ICT Results reports on an EU-funded research project on “palpable computing” (Palcom), led by the University of Arhus in Denmark. The ideas behind it seem similar to concepts developed by both Genevieve Bell (see here and here) and Adam Greenfield.

“Palpable computing”, a term coined by Morten Kyng, a researcher at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, refers to pervasive computer technology that is also tangible and comprehensible to its users.

Ubiquitous computing, in the traditional sense, is based on the vision of making the computers invisible, Kyng suggests. “The problem is that when the technology is invisible you can’t see what it is doing, how it functions or comprehend it.”

By making the technology visible when it needs to be and comprehensible all the time, palpable computing reduces the complications of using the technology, while opening the door to developers creating new applications more easily.

The vision of ubiquitous computing has focused on tools honed through use over time and well suited to what they are designed to do, comments Kyng. “The problems arise when you want or need to do something new or different from what the designers intended: the user is not really in control,” he adds.

Read full story

22 January 2008

Future Platforms’ Sergio Falletti on mobile usability

Sergio Falletti
E-Consultancy interviews Sergio Falletti, director of mobile app specialists at Future Platforms, about the challenges and opportunities of mobile website design.

Read interview

22 January 2008

The practice of beeping – making intentional missed calls

Beeping
Nokia researcher Jan Chipchase reports on just published research from Microsoft Research India‘s Jonathan Donner that explores the practice of beeping – making intentional missed calls.

The paper draws on field research from Rwanda in 2004, categorising three different types of beeping: call back beeps; pre-negotiated instrumental beeps; and relational beeps, and discusses the rules that define the what, why and how.

Chipchase continues:

“Reacting to prevelance of this informal practice carrier’s such as MTN [in Ghana] have introduced the Call Me service – where the user can send one of four pre-defined text message for free – Please Call me, Can’t talk now. Please text me, I’ve missed you. Please call me! and It’s important. Please call me!. Given the myriad of ways that a beep can be interpreted which is a better, for whom and in what contexts

It’s probably more efficient for the carrier to send a pre-defined text message (small bits of asynchronous data) than to tie up an exchange trying to connect a call in real time (a synchronous connection), so this new service could be a win/win.”

22 January 2008

User research informs design of Nokia phones for emerging markets

Phone in Kenya
Nokia announced today that it unveiled two handsets that offer a range of useful features and colours aimed at consumers in emerging markets. Interestingly they have each been designed based on extensive user research.

Nokia 2600 classic for personalisation

The Nokia 2600 classic allows consumers to customize their phone with colourful, fully changeable Xpress-on covers and MP3 ring tones, and also features a number of entertainment features, including an FM radio and a VGA camera.

“While cost sensitivity is an important element in creating mobile devices for emerging markets, the overwhelming feedback we receive from consumers in these markets is that they want their mobile device to complement their personality and offer a range of colours and entertainment features,” says Alex Lambeek, Vice President, Entry Devices, Nokia.

Nokia 1209 for phone sharing

According to a recent Nokia survey of consumers in emerging markets [conducted in India, China, Brazil, Pakistan, Vietnam, Russia and Egypt], a new trend appears to be emerging: phone sharing. More than 50% of respondents in India, Pakistan and nearly 30% in Vietnam indicate that they share, or would share, their mobile phone with family or friends – a figure which contrasts consumer behaviour in more mature markets.

“Phone sharing is a logical trend – more and more families are purchasing a mobile phone for the entire family to use, not just the head of the household. In addition, digital cameras are quickly becoming more popular in these markets, and as such taking and sharing digital images is becoming more common,” adds Lambeek. “In response, Nokia has developed a number of innovative features like the multiple phonebook to support phone sharing, and we have added technologies like Bluetooth to some models to make transferring images and ringtones easy and affordable.”

The second model introduced today, the Nokia 1209, offers additional cost management features to make phone sharing easy and convenient. Innovations include the pre-paid tracker, a cost-tracking application, and the multiple phonebook – which allows up to five people to store personal contact lists of up to two hundred numbers on a single phone.

Read full story

Nokia now also has a dedicated website devoted to user research and phone designs for emerging markets, with PDF downloads and video material.

21 January 2008

PC designers take aim at feel, usability

Proximity
The American Statesman reports on how PC makers are not only investing in design but also adding the “user experience” to the style (and to what extent they are influenced in this by Apple Inc.).

“Though the colors and exterior designs of their latest models drew most of the attention, Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and other Windows-PC makers have put a renewed focus on usability, reliability and the full experience.

Dell and H-P have reshaped their design operations in recent years, combining once-separate teams. The changes have resulted in some clever touches to the hardware but also different software features designed to help differentiate their systems from other Windows-based computers.”

Read full story

(via Usability in the News)

21 January 2008

The expectation economy

Expectation economy
Trendwatching.com’s latest report is devoted to the “expectation economy”:

“The expectation economy is an economy inhabited by experienced, well-informed consumers from Canada to South Korea who have a long list of high expectations that they apply to each and every good, service and experience on offer.

Their expectations are based on years of self-training in hyperconsumption, and on the biblical flood of new-style, readily available information sources, curators and BS filters. Which all help them track down and expect not just basic standards of quality, but the ‘best of the best’.”

Read full story

20 January 2008

First European Regional UPA Conference

 
The Usability Professionals’ Association is proud to announce the first European Regional UPA Conference.

The conference will take place from December 4th to December 6th 2008 in the beautiful city of Turin, Italy – the 2008 World Design Capital.

The conference theme “Usability & Design: Cultivating Diversity” aims to overcome the conceptual separation between usability and design, two professional approaches that are often seen separately. In order to transcend this separation, understanding and cultivating diversity is crucial, especially in Europe – a continent characterized by great diversity.

The UPA Europe conference provides a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of usability and user-centered design in Europe, and will underline the central role of the UPA in advocating these ideas,” says Michele Visciola, UPA Europe 2008 Conference Chair.

Stay tuned and pre-register today to stay informed!

Michele Visciola, Conference Chair, President UPA Italy
Silvia Zimmermann, Conference Co-Chair, UPA Vice President

www.upaeurope2008.org

18 January 2008

Charles Leadbeater on self-directed public services

Self-directed services
Demos, the UK think tank “for everyday democracy”, has published a new report on “self-directed public services”, entitled “Making It Personal“.

Abstract

his report advocates a simple yet transformational approach to public services – self-directed services – which allocate people budgets so they can shape, with the advice of professionals and peers, the support they need. This participative approach delivers personalised, lasting solutions to people’s needs at lower cost than traditional, inflexible and top-down approaches, by mobilising the intelligence of thousands of service users to devise better solutions.

The self-directed services revolution, which began in social care with young disabled adults designing and commissioning their own packages of support, could transform public services used by millions of people, with budgets worth tens of billions of pounds. From older people to ex-offenders, maternity to youth services, mental health to long-term health conditions, self-directed services enable people to create solutions that work for them and as a result deliver better value for money for the taxpayer.

Self-directed services can be taken to scale safely while minimising fraud and risk. They can also be good for equity because they empower those people who are the least confident and able to get what they want from the current system. Self-directed services give people a real voice in shaping the service they want and the money to back it up. Previous approaches to public service reform have reorganised and rationalised public services. Self-directed services transform them.

Charles Leadbeater is a Demos Associate, author of We-Think, a visiting fellow at NESTA, the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, and a partner in the new start-up Participle (the other partners are Hilary Cottam and Colin Burns). The two other authors, Jamie Bartlett and Niamh Gallagher, are researchers at Demos.

Download publication (pdf, 56 pages, 2-sided)

In an article in The Guardian, Leadbeater makes the report more concrete and provides this summary of his approach:

Self-directed service turns traditional public services on their head. In social care, for example, if someone is eligible for local authority funding, social workers devise a care plan that allocates the individual to services that are paid for and are commissioned by the local authority. It is rare for the individual to have much of a say in how services are designed, but self-directed services put the person at the centre of the action. Professionals help an individual assess their eligibility, and the person is then given an approximate budget so they can design services that make sense for them. Once the plan is approved by the authority, the money flows to the individual and on to the service providers of their choice.

18 January 2008

Interactions Magazine – first impressions

Interactions
This morning I received a print copy of Interactions Magazine with the mail.

Wow.

It looks, feels, and reads exactly like a magazine for our profession should be. Why did no one think of this before? It contains a lot of in-depth articles by people I respect or others I am curious about. It is the ideal magazine to take with you and read on the road or on a couch.

Another first impression is that Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko, the editors-in-chief, have gone out of their way to transcend an American perspective on the profession: from the British Elizabeth Churchill, to the Austrian Telecommunications Research Center, and from Stefana Broadbent and Valerie Bauwens of Swisscom Innovations, to South African Gary Marsden and the Beijing-based Gabriel White. I applaud this commitment very much, especially since many USA-based blogs and publications do not take this global view, or assume – wrongly – that the American view equals the global view.

So bravo to the two editors in chief for the direction taken, and bravo to ACM, the publishers, of providing them with this opportunity.

The ACM advertising department has a golden opportunity now: the new “Interactions” approach is out there, but the advertising hasn’t caught up. It’s still very much old style. Some fresh and creative approaches there could make Interactions Magazine a really sustainable publication.

Once I have finished reading the whole magazine, I will definitely write something more in-depth. Meanwhile, Richard and Jon, keep on going in this direction. I hope ACM will take the logical next step: making the articles available online. I am also curious to hear where ACM (an abbreviation which stands for Association for Computing Machinery, a rather awkward name in this day and age) as an organisation wants to go with this, and how it wants to position itself in the new UX landscape. The magazine is silent on that topic. Perhaps ACM’s executive editor or group publisher can be prodded for an article on this in the March-April edition or on the website.

In any case, I strongly suggest the readers of this blog to subscribe to the magazine, if you haven’t already done so. It’s only 50 USD.

PS. In Boston – Next week my partner Michele Visciola and I (Mark Vanderbeeken) will be in Boston for a client meeting. We will arrive on the 23rd and leave on the 27th. If readers of this blog are in Boston then, it would be nice to meet. Please contact us at info at experientia dot com.

17 January 2008

Experience design trends in financial services

Banking experience
Scott Weisbrod, director of insight & planning at Critical Mass, published a write-up on the four experience design trends he sees in online financial services:

1. Banks get serious about customer experience
2. Mobile banking still isn’t ready for prime time
3. Metrics drive experience design decisions
4. Banks look to innovative personal financial management start-ups for inspiration

Read full story

17 January 2008

Masters of collaboration

Continuum
Business Week reports on how the 21st century design environment trades individual stars for teamwork uniting designers, engineers, anthropologists, and others.

“Just as forward-thinking engineering firms have worked to team up with design partners to offer a holistic output to clients, many design consultancies have responded to the seismic shifts in technology and culture by adopting a radical, collaborative approach—in stark contrast with the magician/know-it-all designer type of old. And while there may well be outsize personalities within the consultancies’ offices, the new philosophy seems to sit comfortably within these open-source, consumer/user-driven times. […]”

Rather than depending on the unique vision of a star designer or two, these companies assemble teams of specialists who perform face-to-face studies of consumer behavior and they work closely with their clients throughout the creative process. The aim is to come up with products and experiences that fit clients’ customers, rather than express the individual tastes of designers.”

Read full story