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May 2008
13 May 2008

The Politics of Public Behaviour

The Politics of Public Behaviour
The UK think tank Demos has launched a new publication, The Politics of Public Behaviour, which explores the role of government in influencing people’s lifestyles and everyday decision-making.

Abstract:

The personal has become political. Increasingly, governments find themselves drawn into questions about how children are parented, how household waste is disposed of, how people travel, how much they save for later in life, and how much they eat, drink, smoke and exercise.

A combination of new challenges and new thinking has given rise to the politics of public behaviour. However, a debate that concerns itself with people’s personal behaviour raises important questions. Where do personal freedoms stop and mutual obligations begin? Which decisions should be public and which private? And how and when should government play a role?

This pamphlet presents three perspectives from different political traditions. Andy Burnham MP, Andrew Lansley MP and Chris Huhne MP offer contrasting views on the public implications of private decisions, and what they mean for the relationships between people and government. The pamphlet concludes with a framework with which to negotiate the politics of public behaviour.

12 May 2008

May/June edition of Interactions Magazine

Interactions
The May/June issue of Interactions Magazine just came out and some of the content is available online (and more will follow soon).

The issue is all about “colliding worlds” with “interactions disciplines” becoming “more appropriately integrated into other creative disciplines (e.g. architecture and music), into business, and into the new business models that will shape the 21st and 22nd centuries,” as described by the editors Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko in their editorial.

It also features contributions by Allison Arieff (Sunset), Eli Blevis (Indiana University at Bloomington), Shunying Blevis (Indiana University at Bloomington), Benjamin H. Bratton, Valerie Casey (IDEO), Elizabeth Churchill (Yahoo! Research), Dave Cronin (Cooper), Allison Druin (Human-Computer Interaction Lab), Hugh Dubberly, Shelley Evenson (Carnegie Mellon University), Jonathan Grudin (Microsoft Adaptive Systems and Interaction group), Zhiwei Guo (Adobe Systems Inc.), John Hopson (Microsoft’s Games User Research group), Steve Howard (University of Melbourne), Tuck Leong (University of Melbourne), Zhengjie Liu Dalian Marine University), Bob Moore, Donald Norman, Steve Portigal, Scott Palmer (University of Leeds), Sita Popat (University of Leeds), Kai Qian, Laura Seargeant Richardson (M3 Design Inc.), Richard Seymour (Seymourpowell), Frank Vetere (University of Melbourne), Huiling Wei, and Ning Zhang (Dalian Marine University)

Interactions Magazine is the bimonthly publication of the ACM [Association of Computing Machinery] and is distributed to all members of SIGCHI [Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction].

It recently underwent a complete makeover the inspiring and volunteer (!) leadership of Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko who turned it into a publication full of timely articles, stories and content related to the interactions between experiences, people, and technology — the must have magazine for the user experience community!

12 May 2008

Design strategies for sustainable user behaviour

sustainable use
‘User-centred Design for Sustainable Behaviour’ is a paper by Renee Wever (TU Delft), Jasper van Kuijk (TU Delft) and Casper Boks (NTNU Norway) that explores how to involve users in more sustainable product use.

The paper was published in the first issue of the new International Journal of Sustainable Engineering, published by Taylor and Francis.

Abstract
Traditional eco-design has a strong focus on the supply side. Even when focusing on the use phase of products, still impacts directly under the control of the manufacturer dominate. However, the way users interact with a product may strongly influence the environmental impact of a product. Designers can try to influence this behaviour through the products they design. Several strategies have been proposed in the literature, such as eco-feedback and scripting. Existing literature in this field has its limitations. Publications either focus on a single strategy, or do not take a design perspective, or lack empirical data. This paper will present a typology of the different strategies available to designers. This typology will be illustrated with examples and experiments related to two sustainability problems, namely littering behaviour and energy using products. Furthermore a methodology will be presented for applying these strategies. This will be demonstrated in a case study on an energy meter.

- More background by Jasper van Kuijk
Download paper (preprint version)

10 May 2008

Microsoft’s Patient Journey Demonstrator

Gifticon
The Microsoft Health Common User Interface (CUI) is a site conceived by Microsoft providing user interface Design Guidance and Toolkit controls that address a wide range of patient safety concerns for healthcare organizations worldwide. Microsoft has created it in order to allow a new generation of safer, more usable and compelling health applications to be quickly and easily created.

The MS CUI site is aimed at user interface designers, application developers and patient safety experts who want to find out more about the benefits of a standardized approach to user interface design.

Kirsten Disse, who works at MS CUI as a user experience consultant, just alerted me to the launch of CUI’s Patient Journey Demonstrator, that she was responsible for. It is a technology demonstrator looking at the future of clinical software applications.

The Patient Journey Demonstrator conceptualizes an end-to-end journey where a specific clinical scenario is used to illustrate how an integrated, patient-centric care record can transition seamlessly between care settings. It demonstrates how data can be accessed and entered from many of the care sources experienced along the patient journey.

In this scenario, a man with suspected heart disease is examined by his family doctor. Using decision support tools, his doctor decides that the best course of action is to refer him for further tests. The scenario then tracks the activities that take place from the initial consultation through secondary care to an Angiogram.

9 May 2008

Paper is passe for tech-savvy South Koreans

Gifticon
Reuters report on mobile coupons and gifts in South Korea:

oung, tech-savvy South Koreans are making coupon clipping a thing of the past and turning to their mobile phones instead.

Some of the fastest-growing mobile phone services in the country let retailers send discount coupons and users send gift certificates for anything from lattes to movie tickets through their handsets.

The merchandise vouchers have a barcode embedded in the message. Users show the coupon on the screen and retailers scan the barcode to apply the discount. [...]

SK Telecom rolled out a service a little more than a year ago called a “gifticon” that allows users to send gift vouchers for items such as convenience store merchandise and pizzas via mobile phones. The sender is billed for the cost of the goods.

Read full story

9 May 2008

Our surveillance society goes online

Phone
The Guardian reviews a book that argues that our privacy is under threat by increased digital surveillance.

Being able to make your own decisions and hold your own views without interference; controlling information about yourself; and being in charge of your personal space – these basic elements of privacy are under threat, according to a new book, The Spy in the Coffee Machine: The End of Privacy As We Know It, by Kieron O’Hara and Nigel Shadbolt, two computer scientists at the University of Southampton.

While our offline activities are tracked by CCTV cameras, Oyster cards and RFID tags, the details of our online searches and purchases accumulate in databases that know more about us than we’d tell our closest friends. Many of us also broadcast our lives through blogs and social networking sites. “When one’s self as a social entity, with history, with transactions, is all out there, then privacy is not the same old notion,” says Shadbolt, who is professor of artificial intelligence at Southampton and one of the leading scientists shaping the protocols for the future internet.

Read full story

9 May 2008

The future of social networking: mobile phones

Phone
The (UK) Times reports on how you don’t need a computer anymore to browse people’s profiles.

“After the explosion in internet-based social networking (MySpace, Facebook) doing the same thing in real life instead of in front of a computer became an obvious next step. Much of it is already happening on a small scale as dozens of companies seek to exploit social networking on the go.”

“So how does it work? The key is the coming together of internet-connected mobile phones and location or proximity technology.” [...]

“Effectively, by linking these two developments, your phone can tell if someone is near you and can access lots of information about them – the perfect ingredients for real social interaction.” [...]

“One company based in Berlin has just gone live with its mobile social network. More than 3,000 young Germans have signed up to the aka-aki service in just over a month.”

Read full story

8 May 2008

France Telecom: from 1000 ideas to 1 product

Orange
A series of web pages on the France Telecom/Orange site give an insight in how the company moves from the many ideas that come out of R&D, to a product or service that is ready for the market.

In 2005-2006, France Telecom created two structures, the Explocentre and the Technocentre, which work in close collaboration with the R&D laboratories installed all over the world, but are run by the Strategic Marketing Department, which provides the group’s orientations and knowledge of the market.

The Explocentre is an “incubator for R&D projects” and “concentrates on nurturing highly innovative concepts with strong potential, but that could be deemed too risky to be placed directly on the market”. The Explocentre determines their feasibility and potential, and tests new uses and technological breakthroughs before market launch. Interestingly, the centre works with “new methods based on co-creation with customers and partners, using design to drive innovation. Ideas for services are investigated, tested and re-worked with customers to find real value potential.”

Once explored, the most promising concepts are submitted to the Technocentre, which deals with the implementation of these “mature” projects. The Technocentre is responsible for turning them into products ready for the market, either by industrialising them for a commercial launch or by transferring to a spin-off or joint venture for development. The centre brings together around 30 teams consisting of a marketing specialist, a researcher and a network engineer.

So at the one end of France Telecom’s innovation chain there are ideas coming in from R&D, and the company’s industrial partners and employees. Those ideas with high development potential go to the exploration centre, where they are analysed and tested. The integrated strategic marketing in the innovation chain then takes over marketing the product within the technocentre. Finally, agreed projects are integrated into the Group’s Product Roadmap and 3-year plan, which is the other end of its innovation process.

8 May 2008

Interview with Lou Rosenfeld and Liz Danzico

UXmatters
The May issue of UX matters contains an interview with Lou Rosenfeld and Liz Danzico of the publishing house Rosenfeld Media, a publisher of user experience design books.

After working on five books as an editor or co-author, Lou Rosenfeld became disenchanted with the traditional book publishing model. So, in late 2005, he founded Rosenfeld Media, a new publishing house that develops short, practical, useful books on user experience design. Rosenfeld Media published their first book, Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior, in early 2008. I recently had the opportunity to interview Lou—along with Liz Danzico, Senior Development Editor at Rosenfeld Media—about starting a new publishing house and “eating their own dog food.”

Lou is also an active member of the board of directors of UXnet, the user experience network.

Read interview

7 May 2008

Ethnographic study on how young children interact with the web

Parenting 2.0
Consumer Reports WebWatch released the results of an ethnographic study on how children interact with online environments.

The study, “Like Taking Candy from a Baby: How Young Children Interact with Online Environments,” used ethnographic methods and focused on young children, ages 2½ to 8.

For the study, parents in 10 families used video cameras to keep journals, providing insights into the way children use sites such as Club Penguin, Webkinz, Nick Jr., Barbie.com and others. Footage from those journals, which can be viewed at www.youtube.com/cwwkids, illustrates how young children respond to advertising and marketing tactics online.

The digital world offers a wealth of opportunity for young children to play and learn. But even in this small sample of 10 families the study found—too easily, in several circumstances—repeated examples of attempts to manipulate children for the sake of commerce.

The study’s key findings:

  • Even the very young go online.
  • The Internet is a highly commercial medium.
  • Web sites frequently tantalize children, presenting enticing options and even threats that their online creations will become inaccessible unless a purchase is made.
  • Most of the sites observed promote the idea of consumerism.
  • Logos and brand names are ubiquitous.
  • Subtle branding techniques are frequently used.
  • The games observed vary widely in quality, in educational value, and in their developmental match with children’s abilities.

The study’s executive summary (contained within the report download), also contains a range of recommendations for parents, publishers, and policy makers.

The report was written by Warren Buckleitner, Ph.D., an adviser to Consumer Reports WebWatch. Buckleitner is editor of Children’s Technology Review, a periodical covering children’s interactive media. He is also the founder of the Mediatech Foundation, a nonprofit public community technology center based in Flemington, N.J.

Press release
Download report (pdf, 58 pages)

7 May 2008

Chronic’Art interview with Adam Greenfield

Chronic Art
The French magazine Chronic’Art recently interviewed Adam Greenfield (Nokia’s new head of design direction) about his recent book Everyware and ubiquitous computing in general.

An English version of the interview can be found on Greenfield’s blog.

Read interview

5 May 2008

Service design symposium videos online

Service Design Symposium
At the beginning of March, the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID | blog) a symposium on service design.

The symposium featured speakers who are pioneers in service design thinking and practice from several countries, including Andrea Koerselman (IDEO), Andrew Mcgrath (Orange Global), Bill Hollins (Direction Consultants), Bill Moggridge (IDEO), Ezio Manzini (Milan Polytechnic), Jørgen Rosted (FORA), Lavrans Løvlie (Live|Work), Magnus Christensson (Social Square), Mikkel Rasmussen (ReD Associates), Oliver King (Engine), Shelley Evenson (Carnegie Mellon) and Toke Barter (Radarstation).

With topics ranging from understanding service design, academic explorations & industry case studies, to younger, more experimental practices, the symposium was meant to act as a platform for deeper understanding of how to harness design thinking as a strategy and adopting best practices in the public sector.

The videos of three of the presentations are now online:

(via InfoDesign)

5 May 2008

CHI 2008: user experience evaluation at Nokia

CHI 2008 proceedings
Virpi Roto, Pekka Ketola and Susan Huotari presented a paper describing user experience evaluation at Nokia at the recent CHI 2008 conference:

Abstract
Nokia has a long history in designing for experiences, as mobile phones are very personal and experiental devices. We have established processes to take user needs and wants into account when designing new concepts, and we do various types of evaluations with real users during the development process. Experience evaluations are, however, an area we want to improve. In this paper, we describe the user experience evaluation practices in the different phases of Nokia product development process.

Download paper

(via InfoDesign)

4 May 2008

Joshua Porter on simplicity as a design goal

Joshua Porter
Joshua Porter, a user interface designer, wonders whether simplicity is a bad design goal, and expresses his ideas in a thoughtful post.

Most designers place simplicity above all else. We value simple things because they do all the things we need easily and none of the things we don’t. Simplicity is harmonious. Even Leonardo Da Vinci said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” This is one of my favorite quotes, and it plays on the idea that being simple isn’t banal, it’s elegant.

Don Norman recently ignited a discussion about simplicity in his piece Simplicity is Highly Overrated. He observes that although designers treat simplicity as the ultimate goal, many consumers, when faced with a purchase decision, choose complexity instead. He uses examples from shopping in South Korea: people there choose complex, feature-laden electronics and SUVs over simpler ones. Norman says that people choose complexity because they assume a complex product is more capable.

Porter rethinks the discussion as not one about simplicity but as one about the psychology of trade-offs:

Users face a trade-off when they must make a choice between a simple product or a complex product with more features. If they choose the product with fewer features and eventually need some functionality that is missing, they’ve made a bad choice. However, when users choose the complex product with more features, they don’t have to make this trade-off. The complex product is more likely to have the feature users may need in the future.

People are reluctant to make trade-offs because they can’t predict what functionality they will need in the future. Choosing a product with fewer features is a trade-off that could hurt them down the line. When users don’t understand the advantages of each feature, such as when a user is buying her first digital camera, they are much more likely to avoid making a trade-off by choosing the feature-laden product.

When users choose a feature-laden product, they may not be exhibiting a desire for complexity. Instead, users are anxious about predicting their future needs. The black/white distinction of “choosing complexity over simplicity” seems too blunt an instrument to describe the behavior we see from users. Schwartz’ theory suggests that people in this type of situation don’t know enough about the features of a product or their own needs. The result is that users avoid making a trade-off by choosing the one that looks like it has more features.

Read full story

4 May 2008

Book review: Groundswell

Groundswell
Today I read Groundswell: winning a world transformed by social technologies (alternate siteamazon page) by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (analysts at Forrester). [I was sent a review copy].   

It is a book aimed senior managers in charge of marketing, pr, customer support and (to some extent) product development at major international companies, who are trying to figure out what to do about all this user-generated content (UGC) and who tend to perceive it as a threat to institutional power.

The premise of the book is that these people, who are steeped in one-directional communications and marketing culture, now have to face a different world that they don’t know how to handle. They are ‘digital immigrants’ rather than ‘digital natives’.

This business strategy book, which contains a lot of practical ‘how they did it’ stories, is set out to help those people see UGC not as a threat, but as an opportunity, to communicate, to reach out, to listen and to learn, and puts a lot of emphasis on putting people and their relationships first, above all the rest (and in that sense, I am or course pleased).

It is not a book though that is aimed at me, nor at the readers of this blog: the first chapter for example contains “how they work” descriptions of blogs, social networks, virtual worlds, wikis, forums, tags, and rss, which is not something Putting People First/UXnet readers need input on.

However, people like me will undoubtedly gain some good ideas on how to talk better with our customers/senior managers, media relations, or public.

That said, it is not a book that gives something valuable to all: though it might be valuable for its intended target group, I was somewhat irritated since the book didn’t contain any deep and revealing insight. I was hoping for a groundswell in thought, a new conceptual way of looking at things, something that would make me look at my professional world in a different way, but such depth was absent.

The book is what the subtitle says: it is how-to guide about “winning in a world transformed by social technologies”. The emphasis is on the ‘winning’ bit. Don’t expect to learn much about the social technologies.

Here are some paragraphs from the corporate press release:

Using technologies like blogs and wikis, YouTube and Facebook, discussion forums and online reviews, today’s customers are taking charge of their own experience and getting what they need — information, support, ideas, products, and bargaining power — from eadch other. This phenomenon, or groundswell, has created a permanent shift in the way the world works. Most companies see it as a threat — but the authors of a new book see the groundswell as an opportunity. So where should company strategists start?

In GROUNDSWELL: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, Charlene li and Josh Bernoff, two of Forrester Research’s top analyst, show executives, marketers and general managers how to turn the force of customers connecting to their own advantage.

Based on real customer data and over ten years of research analyzing the effects of tecnology on business, the authors provide real stories of the people who make the groundswell and amazing place — and shed light into the psychology what’s happening. Li and Bernoff provide the following information for managers, executives — anyone looking to understand this social phenomenon:

  • Applications for every kind of manager, from marketing to research to customer support to product development
  • A focus on clear objectives and examples with ROI laid out in detail
  • Data from Forrester’s Technographics, a collection of global technology surveys
  • Management examples that show how the groundswell can supercharge employee productivity
  • A clear look at the future of the groundswell and tips for groundswell thinking

The groundswell phenomenon is not a flash in the pan. The technologies that make it work are evolving at an ever-increasing pace, but the phenomenon itself is based on people acting on their external desire to connect. GROUNDSWELL helps executives in all industries from media and retail to financial services and health care understand this trend.

And here some links to other reviews:
– by Jacob Morgan
– by Elizabeth Albrycht

4 May 2008

Recent immigrants driving advanced mobile phone use, both in Europe and in the US

Latino boy on mobile phone
Last year, The Economist published an article about ethnographic user research at Swisscom. One of the findings it highlighted was that immigrant workers are the most advanced users of communications technology:

“It is migrants, rather than geeks, who have emerged as the “most aggressive” adopters of new communications tools, says [Swisscom anthropologist Stefana] Broadbent. Dispersed families with strong ties and limited resources have taken to voice-over-internet services, IM and webcams, all of which are cheap or free. They also go online to get news or to download music from home.”

That same trend is also present in the United States, with Latinos depending on their cell phones for more services than other [major] ethnic groups, turning to it for messaging, downloading music, surfing the Web and e-mailing, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

“According to [a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey released last month], on a typical day, Latinos were more likely to use their phone to send or receive a text message, play a mobile game, send or receive e-mail, access the Internet, play music, instant message, or get a map or directions. Fifty-six percent of Latinos said they did at least one of these activities, compared with 50 percent for African Americans and 38 percent for whites.

The numbers are supported by a Forrester Research survey last year that found Latinos were more likely than other users to text, instant or picture message, send e-mail, check the weather, get news or sports updates, research entertainment, check financial accounts and receive stock quotes through their phone.”

Interestingly, “the cell phone in some cases is being used as the primary computer for Latinos, serving up e-mail and the Internet, in the process bridging what has been called the digital divide that still exists for some minority and disadvantaged groups.”

The article mentions many reasons for this: economic (lower mean household income, so less broadband access at home), demographic (family and friends are spread out across the United States and across the border), and cultural (a higher value is placed on staying in touch with family and friends).

But even though these ethnic minorities are advanced users, mobile phone marketing companies consider them as only interested in the cheap offers: “Hendrik Schouten, director of marketing for the Hispanic segment at AT&T, said carriers assumed Latino users wanted the cheapest phones and were more likely to use prepaid plans because of limited budgets.” This now seems to be changing.

3 May 2008

Reviewing the CHI 2008 conference

CHI 2008
A few weeks ago I attended the CHI conference in Florence, Italy.

I was only there for a day and a half, and this being my first CHI conference, I am not in a position to give it a solid review.

One thing that stands out of course is that it has a strong academic angle, which can make some of the presentations and discussions quite irrelevant for practitioners such as me. On the other, there was a lot of emphasis on the term “user experience”, which came back in titles, abstracts, presentations and papers.

Combing through the (Mac unfriendly) conference DVD, I found quite a few treasures, and I selected 40 papers out of a total of 556, that I will be presenting in ten separate posts, under the headings: emerging markets, mobile banking, mobility, product design, security, social applications, social context, strategic issues, sustainability, and usability.

The conference is not set up in order to help you meet new people, and this is a real pity. You just tend to meet those you know already, or those whose presentations you attended. (Unless you are lucky enough to be a speaker of a well attended session, so everyone else knows you.)

During CHI, I conducted interviews with Bill Buxton (Microsoft), Elizabeth Churchill (Yahoo!) and Mike Kuniavsky (ThingM), on which I will report in the coming weeks. Also in the coming weeks I will publish reviews of the books: Sketching the User Experience by Bill Buxton and Keeping Found Things Found by William Jones.

Because of this blog, and in particular a post of praise, I was part of a panel (others were Elizabeth Churchill, Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko) on the relaunched Interactions Magazine, now under the inspiring and volunteer (!) leadership of the latter two. Check out the magazine!

3 May 2008

CHI 2008: a selection on emerging markets

CHI 2008 proceedings
Here is my selection on emerging markets related papers presented at CHI 2008.

(Papers are linked to their pdf downloads, if available)

Re-placing faith: reconsidering the secular-religious use divide in the United States and Kenya [abstract]
Authors: Susan P. Wyche (Georgia Institute of Technology), Paul M. Aoki (Intel Research) and Rebecca E. Grinter (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Abstract: In this paper, we report on design-oriented fieldwork and design research conducted over a six-month period in urban centers in the United States and Kenya. The contributions of this work for the CHI/CSCW community are empirical and methodological. First, we describe how recent design discourse around “designing technology for religion” creates an artificial distinction between instrumental and religious ICT use, particularly in developing regions. As illustrative examples, we relate three themes developed in the course of our fieldwork, which we term mindfulness, watchfulness, and embeddedness, to both “secular” and “religious” aspects of life in the communities studied. Second, we make a methodological contribution by describing how we used design sketches of speculative design concepts to extend and complement our fieldwork. By producing these sketches and soliciting feedback, we elicited additional data about how participants viewed the relationship between religion and ICT and prompted self-reflection on our own ideas.

Asynchronous remote medical consultation for Ghana [abstract]
Authors: Rowena Luk (Intel Research), Melissa Ho (UC Berkeley), Paul M. Aoki (Intel Research)
Abstract: Computer-mediated communication systems can be used to bridge the gap between doctors in underserved regions with local shortages of medical expertise and medical specialists worldwide. To this end, we describe the design of a prototype remote consultation system intended to provide the social, institutional and infrastructural context for sustained, self-organizing growth of a globally-distributed Ghanaian medical community. The design is grounded in an iterative design process that included two rounds of extended design fieldwork throughout Ghana and draws on three key design principles (social networks as a framework on which to build incentives within a self-organizing network; optional and incremental integration with existing referral mechanisms; and a weakly-connected, distributed architecture that allows for a highly interactive, responsive system despite failures in connectivity). We discuss initial experiences from an ongoing trial deployment in southern Ghana.

A resource kit for participatory socio-technical design in rural Kenya [abstract]
Authors: Kevin Walker (London Knowledge Lab), Joshua Underwood (London Knowledge Lab), Tim Mwolo Waema (University of Nairobi), Lynne Dunckley (Institute for Information Technology, Thames Valley University), José Abdelnour-Nocera (Institute for Information Technology, Thames Valley University), Rosemary Luckin (London Knowledge Lab), Cecilia Oyugi (Institute for Information Technology, Thames Valley University) and Souleymane Camara (Institute for Information Technology, Thames Valley University)
Abstract: We describe our approach and initial results in the participatory design of technology relevant to local rural livelihoods. Our approach to design and usability proceeds from research in theory and practice of cross-cultural implementations, but the novelty is in beginning not with particular technologies but from community needs, and structuring technology in terms of activities. We describe our project aims and initial data collected, which show that while villagers have no clear mental models for using computers or the Internet, they show a desire to have and use them. We then describe our approach to interaction design, our expectations and next steps as the technology and activities are first introduced to the villages.

3 May 2008

CHI 2008: a selection on mobile banking

CHI 2008 proceedings
Here is my selection on mobile banking related papers presented at CHI 2008.

(Papers are linked to their pdf downloads, if available.)

From meiwaku to tokushita!: lessons for digital money design from Japan [abstract]
Authors: Scott Mainwaring (Intel Research), Wendy March (Intel Research) and Bill Maurer (UC Irvine)
Abstract: Based on ethnographically-inspired research in Japan, we report on people’s experiences using digital money payment systems that use Sony’s FeliCa near-field communication smartcard technology. As an example of ubiquitous computing in the here and now, the adoption of digital money is found to be messy and contingent, shot through with cultural and social factors that do not hinder this adoption but rather constitute its specific character. Adoption is strongly tied to Japanese conceptions of the aesthetic and moral virtue of smooth flow and avoidance of commotion, as well as the excitement at winning something for nothing. Implications for design of mobile payment systems stress the need to produce open-ended platforms that can serve as the vehicle for multiple meanings and experiences without foreclosing such possibilities in the name of efficiency.

Human-Currency Interaction: learning from virtual currency use in China [abstract]
Authors: Yang Wang (UC Irvine) and Scott D. Mainwaring (Intel Research)
Abstract: What happens when the domains of HCI design and money intersect? This paper presents analyses from an ethnographic study of virtual currency use in China to discuss implications for game design, and HCI design more broadly. We found that how virtual currency is perceived, obtained, and spent can critically shape gamers’ behavior and experience. Virtual and real currencies can interact in complex ways that promote, extend, and/or interfere with the value and character of game worlds. Bringing money into HCI design heightens existing issues of realness, trust, and fairness, and thus presents new challenges and opportunities for user experience innovation.

UbiPay: conducting everyday payments with Minimum User Involvement [abstract]
Authors: Vili Lehdonvirta (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology), Hayuru Soma (Waseda University), Hitoshi Ito (Waseda University), Hiroaki Kimura (Waseda University) and Tatsuo Nakajima (Waseda University)
Abstract: As services embedded into public spaces become increasingly transparent, one peripheral aspect of use continues to demand explicit user attention: payment. UbiPay is a system that carries out small everyday payments in a way that minimises user involvement by choosing an interaction method based on context information. The aim is to make paying like breathing: something we are only peripherally aware of unless we exert our resources beyond the usual. This has powerful implications for business and design.

3 May 2008

CHI 2008: a selection on mobility

CHI 2008 proceedings
Here is my selection on mobility related papers presented at CHI 2008.

(Papers are linked to their pdf downloads, if available.)

A diary study of mobile information needs [abstract]
Authors: Timothy Sohn, Kevin A. Li, William G. Griswold, and James D. Hollan (UC San Diego)
Abstract: Being mobile influences not only the types of information people seek but also the ways they attempt to access it. Mobile contexts present challenges of changing location and social context, restricted time for information access, and the need to share attentional resources among concurrent activities. Understanding mobile information needs and associated interaction challenges is fundamental to improving designs for mobile phones and related devices. We conducted a two-week diary study to better understand mobile information needs and how they are addressed. Our study revealed that depending on the time and resources available, as well as the situational context, people use diverse and, at times, ingenious ways to obtain needed information. We summarize key findings and discuss design implications for mobile technology.

Accountabilities of presence: reframing location-based systems [abstract]
Authors: Emily Troshynski, Charlotte Lee and Paul Dourish (UC Irvine)
Abstract: 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.