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Putting People First

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September 2008
8 September 2008

Intel navigating future moneyscapes

Jo
Digital technology is changing the everyday forms and experience of money. Cheryl Miller reports on the Research@Intel blog how field research by Intel’s People & Practices Research team identified key themes and opportunities for technological innovation.

The researchers presented their findings at the Day Zero press event for the Fall IDF conference.

They also created Navigating Future Moneyscapes, a comic-like scenario and personas to help convey their findings about the emerging global landscape digital money.

One size does not fit all

  • Monetary literacies: There is no single or “best” practice with which to locate money in daily life, and the changing financial landscape requires on-going reassessment and skill development.
  • Currency wrangling: People juggle public and private money forms (cash, credit and debit cards, loyalty points, airline miles, etc.) and create their own earmarked subdivisions.

People use money socially

  • Relational banking: People consume financial services, but also produce them in the form of loans, donations, and partnerships with family, friends, and valued groups.
  • Expressive consumption: Not just what we buy, but how we buy it, is an important part of constructing our individual, cultural, regional, and political identities.

The project seems to be quite related to another Intel initiative, with MA students in the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art exploring the future of money when it disappears as a physical currency.

8 September 2008

EuroITV2009 conference

Networked TV
Normally Putting People First doesn’t promote conferences, but this is one organised by a good colleague, held at the Belgian university town where I studied, and on a topic that we at Experientia are professionally quite heavily involved with. So here is the announcement, to be seen as an exception to the rule:

EuroITV2009 – “Networked Television”
7th European Interactive TV Conference
June 3rd to 5th 2009
Leuven, Belgium

EuroITV2009 is a forum for professionals not only from Europe, but from all over the world who are interested in, work with and do research on all aspects of interactive television. The conference will be held in the lively university town of Leuven, Belgium on 3, 4 and 5 June 2009.

The theme of the 7th European Interactive TV Conference is ‘Networked Television’. Interactive television is becoming one piece in a bigger puzzle of different interconnected devices. This not only has technical implications, but also impacts users and television viewers.

Viewers use their cell phones to send text messages to broadcasters, they use their PC to download movies that can then be watched on the big television screen, social networks are including TV content and iTV is including social network features, secondary screens can be used to control the content on television, etc. Instead of an age of device convergence, we see that in practice we’re heading towards device divergence.

The conference will look at how we should shift our focus from looking at iTV as a system that functions on itself, to iTV as part of a bigger set of networked devices and explore how this impacts users as well as technologies.

A call for papers (pdf) has just been issued. Papers are solicited from, but not limited to the following topics:
– Beyond the home context, extended home, Mobile TV
– Ambient intelligence, ambient media environments
– Social TV, sociability, usability and user experience
– Digital content production, HDTV and digital cinema
– Asset management, metadata and content enrichment
– Entertainment computing, games, betting, game shows
– Broadband, IPTV, 3DTV and VR systems
– Audience research, television studies, ethnography, user studies
– New advertising and revenue models for television
– Accessibility, universal access, multimodal interaction
– Business models, media management, media economics, t-commerce, t-learning
– Web2.0, social media, community television, user-generated content
– Communication services, video conferencing, messaging
– Content management, digital rights management
– Interactive storytelling, interactive advertising
– Electronic program guide, video search, video navigation
– Enhanced TV (news, weather, sports)
– Changes in technical requirements and infrastructures (ubiquitous and mobile)
– Standards (TV-Anytime, MPEG-4, MPEG-7, SMIL)
– Multimedia, graphics, broadcast and video technology
– Personalization, user modeling, intelligent user interfaces
– Ethical, regulatory and policy issues
– Everyday life practices by family, elderly, youngsters and children
– Digital divide and e-inclusion issues
– Methods for digital television research and design

8 September 2008

Nokia presentations at LIFT 08

LIFT09
Two of the three Nokia presentations at the LIFT Asia conference are now online.

Raphael Grignani (Nokia Design, USA) talked about how Nokia Design addresses environmental and social issues including recycling, energy and making the benefits of mobile technology available to more people, as exemplified by the Homegrown project.
Presentation (with audio)

Jan Chipchase (Nokia, Japan) explains the trends that will shape the future social, when we will have to evolve new use-practices and put a greater emphasis on communicating our intended use to people in proximity.
Presentation

Now Adam Greenfield (Nokia Design, Finland) still.

7 September 2008

The Adaptive City, an essay by Dan Hill

Men watching data
The Adaptive City is the title of an excellent essay by Dan Hill on recent ideas around urban informatics and urban information design, the impact of real-time data and collaborative planning on urban form, and most of all the changing role and new empowerment of people living in these cities. In Hill’s words: cities as an user interface for governance, in which [citizens] play an intrinsic role.

“However, these urban informatics do become manifest in the built fabric nonetheless; they have a potential physical presence, as the model is only partly concerned with drawing data from the city. It also feeds it back. Urban information design emerges in a call-and-response relationship with informatics, filtering and describing these patterns for the benefit of citizens and machines.

The invisible becomes visible, as the impact of people on their urban environment can be understood in real-time. Citizens turn off taps earlier, watching their water use patterns improve immediately. Buildings can share resources across differing peaks in their energy and resource loading. Road systems can funnel traffic via speed limits and traffic signals in order to route around congestion. Citizens take public transport rather than private where possible, as the real-time road pricing makes the true cost of private car usage quite evident. The presence of mates in a bar nearby alerts others to their proximity, irrespective of traditional spatial boundaries. Citizens can not only explore proposed designs for their environment, but now have a shared platform for proposing their own. They can plug in their own data sources, effectively hacking the model by augmenting or processing the feeds they’re concerned with.

If a group of interested parents suspect that a small playground added to the corner of their block might improve the health of their kids, with knock-ons for nearby educational facilities, cafés and the natural safety of a more active street, they can wrangle these previously indiscernible causal relationships into a prototype and test their new designs, garnering the requisite public engagement along the way.

Everyday design could become a conversation within social software networks, and citizens have data and tools that urban designers can only dream of. In fact, professional urban designers have this data too, and thus their practice is transformed.” [...]

“The new technologies of urban informatics and city information modelling enable citizens to reflect on their city, engage in the design, adapt their behaviour and the city around them. It could well lead to a new understanding and a new respect, and so to a new city.”

Dan Hill is a senior consultant at the renowned and highly innovative engineering firm Arup. Prior to that, he was the director of web and broadcast at Monocle and the head of interactive technology and design at the BBC.

The essay will be published in the exhibition catalogue for Urban Play, a project Scott Burnham conceived and then developed with Droog Design.

5 September 2008

Ambient awareness

Awareness
The upcoming New York Times Magazine has a long feature on the effects of News Feed, Twitter and other forms of incessant online contact.

“Social scientists have a name for this sort of incessant online contact. They call it “ambient awareness.” It is, they say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye. Facebook is no longer alone in offering this sort of interaction online. In the last year, there has been a boom in tools for “microblogging”: posting frequent tiny updates on what you’re doing. The phenomenon is quite different from what we normally think of as blogging, because a blog post is usually a written piece, sometimes quite long: a statement of opinion, a story, an analysis. But these new updates are something different. They’re far shorter, far more frequent and less carefully considered. One of the most popular new tools is Twitter, a Web site and messaging service that allows its two-million-plus users to broadcast to their friends haiku-length updates — limited to 140 characters, as brief as a mobile-phone text message — on what they’re doing. There are other services for reporting where you’re traveling (Dopplr) or for quickly tossing online a stream of the pictures, videos or Web sites you’re looking at (Tumblr). And there are even tools that give your location. When the new iPhone, with built-in tracking, was introduced in July, one million people began using Loopt, a piece of software that automatically tells all your friends exactly where you are.”

Read full story

5 September 2008

The techno-mobile life in our networked cities

LIFT09
Nicolas Nova and Bruno Giussani have been blogging two of the LIFT Asia conference sessions that took place in Seoul today.

Session: Networked city
The new digital layers provided by ICTs are transforming contemporary urban environments. What does that mean for its inhabitants? What changes can we expect? How will ubiquitous computing influence the way we live? « Everyware » author Adam Greenfield (Nokia Design, Finland), as well as architects Jeffrey Huang (EPFL, Switzerland) and Yang Soo-In (The Living, Korea) provided their vision on this not so distant future.
> Report by Nicolas Nova
> Report by Bruno Giussani

Session: Techno-nomadic life
Mobile technologies have freed us from the tyranny of “place”, but have they introduced new constraints? New behaviors? Is the mobile web going through the same process as the Web in the 90s?
Star design researcher Jan Chipchase (Nokia, Japan) will present some insights nomadic work/life practices enabled by mobile technologies, while i-mode father Takeshi Natsuno (Keio University, Japan) and Christian Lindholm (Fjord, UK) will talk about the future of mobile services.
> Report by Nicolas Nova
> Report by Bruno Giussani

4 September 2008

Book: Mobile Nation

Mobile Nation
Mobile Nation: Creating Methodologies for Mobile Platforms
by Martha Ladly and Philip Beesley, editors
Riverside Architectural Press (August 15, 2008)
Hardcover, 272 pages

Mobile Nation explores the emerging field of mobile experience design. The papers in this anthology include essays on design theories and methods for locative technologies, devices, experiences, and games, featuring international scholars, researchers and industry experts. Discussions are wide-ranging, addressing technological issues, such as GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, Radio Frequency ID tagging, intelligent materials and garments, alongside theoretical and cultural issues including mobile-social interaction, participant observation, iterative and participatory design methods, ambient media applications, and geo-locative experiences. Designers, engineers, and creators write about the potential for mobile platforms in cultural industries, architecture, engineering, industrial design, advertising, entertainment, recreation, and education.

Mobile Nation focuses on five key areas of research with the questions:

  • How can mobile technologies be “reimagined” and repurposed for new user communities?
  • How can mobile technologies be designed and adapted for multiple platforms?
  • How can mobile experiences move beyond text, sound, and image to respond to the diverse and ever-changing needs and desires of mobile users?
  • How are new paradigms in mobile communication challenging the way we experience art, design and performance?
  • How are rapidly emerging hybrid, open-source, and do-it-yourself communities intersecting with social science, engineering, architecture, and other media disciplines?

Includes contributions by: Matt Adams, Julie Andreyev, Philip Beesley, Joanna Berzowska, Jim Budd, Barbara Crow, Steve Daniels, Marc Davis, Janice de Jong, Sara Diamond, Tom Donaldson, Judith Doyle, Anne Galloway, Paula Gardner, Judy Gladstone, Robert Gorbet, Nathon Gunn, Drew Hemment, James E. Katz, Ehren Katzur, Filiz Klassen, Martha Ladly, Angus Leech, Maroussia Levesque, Jason Lewis, Michael Longford, Douglas MacLeod, Krystina Madej, David McIntosh, Shawn Micallef, Laura Mulligan, Tek-Jin Nam, Leena Saarinen, Kim Sawchuk, Thecla Schiphorst, Parmesh Shahani, Leslie Sharpe, Geoffrey Shea, Rob Shields, Suzanne Stein, Jenna Stephens-Wells, Maria Stukoff, Nigel Thrift, David Vogt, Nina Wakeford, Ron Wakkary, Robert Woodbury, Eric Zimmerman, and Jan-Christoph Zoels.

The book includes the full papers and proceedings of the conference with the same name (see also here), which was organised by the Mobile Experience Lab of the Ontario College of Art & Design.

Note the article “Deep Places – mobile 2.0 and spatial experiences” (page 207-210) by Experientia’s senior partner Jan-Christoph Zoels.

Sample pdf

2 September 2008

Eight habits and eight ideas at Core77

Schlock
Two new articles on Core77 caught my interest:

Beyond the schlock of the new: eight strategies for design and foresight
by Kevin McCullagh
[For those from outside the USA: "schlock" is a play of words, referring to both the "shock of the new" and the "schlock" that this newness often incorporates. "Schlock" is an English word of Yiddish origin meaning "something cheap, shoddy, or inferior".]
When done well foresight can help designers make sense of a world in flux, bring clarity to planning, and help situate strategy within a future context in a way that can be communicated to senior management. Kevin McCullagh, director of Plan, presents eight good habits he learned to adopt when doing foresight strategies.

Conventional wisdom: eight ways to save design conferences
by Alissa Walker
Design conferences have become exercises in regenerated, wasteful spectacle. Alissa Walker, a self-described conference junkie shows us how to bring back the magic, also with eight ideas.

2 September 2008

Urban computing and locative media

Stripes
Anne Galloway of Purse Lip Square Jaw has published her PhD thesis, entitled “A Brief History of the Future of Urban Computing and Locative Media“.

It builds on available sociological approaches to understanding everyday life in the networked city to show that emergent technologies reshape our experiences of spatiality, temporality and embodiment.

“Following urban computing and locative media and their accompanying visions from labs, conferences and classrooms to journal publications and popular media accounts, this dissertation presents four case histories in corporate, academic and artistic design practice. An analysis of the Mobile Bristol, Passing Glances, Sonic City and Urban Tapestries research and design projects draws out the idea that everyday life in the future city is expected to become more expressive, engaging and meaningful. The increased extensibility and transmissibility of the city itself, along with an increased ability to be socially embedded within it, is seen to be a fundamental promise inherent in these projects. The dissertation argues that such spatial and cultural potentialities can be productively understood as involving temporary, selective and mobile publics, where creative and playful interactions emerge as primary means of social innovation.”

Download thesis

(via Small Surfaces)

2 September 2008

The history of interaction with Bill Verplank

Bill Verplank
Jared Spool recently interviewed Bill Verplank, the extremely gentle man at the origins of the fields of interaction design and experience design, whom I had the pleasure of meeting many times at the meanwhile defunct Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.

“Have you ever thought about how many buttons should be on a mouse?

Bill Verplank has. Bill was part of the Xerox PARC team who was responsible for taking the mouse and many other computing paradigms from theory to indispensable.

I had a chance to speak with Bill about his time at PARC and all of his other influential work for this week’s podcast. If you’re interested in where many of today’s computing metaphors come from, or in design and computing history in general, this is the show for you.

Today’s usability, interaction design, and experience design disciplines have their roots in human factors engineering, which many, including Bill, trace back to the 1950s, when the U.S. government was investing heavily in cockpit design of jet fighters. It was upon that foundation, Bill studied design and engineering at Stanford and did his PhD. work at MIT in man-machine systems.

From there, he spent considerable time with Xerox PARC, working on some of the first office systems, including the Xerox Star, which was a major influence for both the Macintosh user interface and Microsoft Windows. Bill continues to trace his history through some of the most influential design agencies of our time, like IDEO, and winds up with a question of design education: what happens when engineers and artists meet and try to create something usable for humans? Bill is seeing important schools, like the Rhode Island School of Design and Carnegie Mellon University, experimenting with programs that put engineers and artists together. We also debated the impact and interpretation of experience design and its impact on various industries.

Our conversation ended with a preview of Bill’s Spotlight Plenary presentation at our UI Conference this fall. Bill is known for his mesmerizing talks where he sketches his points along with the talk. (At the conference, we’ll have a camera set up so you can watch him sketch as he talks!)”

Audio file (mp3) | Text transcript (txt)

1 September 2008

Usability in the UK communications sector

Ofcom
In June 2008 Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, held a one day event about usability in the communications sector.

The event was held to encourage debate, to share ideas about good practice, to hear others’ views on how usability can be promoted and to explore the themes of inclusive design and design for all. Attendees included industry, the voluntary sector, journalists, civil servants and academics. The keynote speech was given by the Minister for Digital Inclusion.

The full report is published this week, together with the contributions made by delegates via the ‘suggestions box’ and a list of the online resources mentioned by speakers at the event.

Download report and resources

(via Usability News)