Putting People First

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January 2009
31 January 2009

35 Picnic conference videos

On Vimeo you can find no less than 35 videos of the Picnic conference. They are great.

My personal favourites (quite a few):

Jim Stolze: The virtual happiness project
“Virtual Happiness” is a research project that aims to provide insights on the relationship between internet usage and happiness.
– Jim Stolze specializes in new thinking on digital communication.

Matt Hanson: Celebrating Collaborative Creativity
Matt Hanson, a filmmaker, working on the open-source movie project A Swarm of Angels

Panel Discussion: Celebrating Collaborative Creativity
In this fast paced session, several examples of collaborative creativity are under review- what processes and business models appear? What changes will occur in the movie, music, ppublishing and advertising industry?
Moderator: Laurent Haug, entrepreneur and co-founder Liftlab
– Matt Hanson, a filmaker, working on the open-source movie project A Swarm of Angels
– Ton Roosendaal, founder of Blender, an open-source, cross-platform suite of tools for 3D creation
– Katarina Skoberne is the co-founder and managing director of, ‘The biggest Creative Department’
– Pim Betist, a music lover and founder of Sellaband, an audience supported business model for bands.
– Eileen Gittens, founder and CEO of Blurb, has built a creative publishing platform that makes it easy for anyone to design, publish, share and sell real bookstore-quality books

Ben Cerveny: Can you see what I know?
Artists, scientists and designers are exploring a new world of software aesthetics and developing new languages for interactive and visual expression. How can we make information intuitively meaningful?
– Ben Cerveny is a strategic and conceptual advisor to Stamen, specialists in creative visualization. He is highly regarded experience designer and conceptual strategist.

Stefan Agamanolis: Dueling with Distance
Based on his work at MIT and Distance Lab, Stefan Agamanolis reports on hot trends in communication and connectedness that are doing battle with distance in unexpected ways, ranging from sports games you play over a distance to telephones crossed with flotation tanks.
– Stefan Agamanolis is the Chief Executive and Research director of Distance Lab

Matt Jones: The Emerging Real-Time Social Web
Matt Jones is a creative director and user experience designer who worked a Sapient and the BBC before founding travel service Dopplr

Jyri Engestrom: The Emerging Real-Time Social Web
Jyri Engestrom is a social scientist as well as the founder of the Finnish mobile presence service Jaiku, which was acquired by Google in 2007; his subsequent move to Silicon Valley resulted in his renewed attention to social processes in new media platforms.

Conversation the Emerging Real-Time Social Web
With ubiquitous internet connections and a surge of connected mobile services, slices of reality can be saved that people could not capture before. Saving and sharing our presence, we can feel those of others as well. We are on the verge of a reality with ‘social peripheral vision’, in which ambient friendships flourish and life stories and life’s details are stored, shared and searchable.
– Matt Jones is a creative director and user experience designer who worked a Sapient and the BBC before founding travel service Dopplr
– Philip Rosedale is founder of the 3D online world Second Life and a pioneer in virtual worlds
– Addy Feuerstein is the co-founder and CEO of AllofMe, a service that allows you to create digital personal timelines form digital assests such as pictures, videos, and blogs.
– Jyri Engestrom is a social scientist as well as the founder of the Finnish mobile presence service Jaiku, which was acquired by Google in 2007

Younghee Jung: Design as a Collaborative process
New interactions develop into new design practices; new processes induce new forms of creativity. How can creators involve the peopele they want to create for in their work?
– Younghee Jung, a senior design manager at Nokia, shows how users are imagining new products.

Bill Moggridge: Design as a Collaborative Process
New interactions develop into new design practices; new processes induce new forms of creativity. How can creators invovle the people they want to create for in their work?
– Bill Moggridge is founder of IDEO, one of the most successful design firms in the world and of the first to integrate the design of software and hardware into the practice of industrial design.

Ethan Zuckerman: Surprising Africa
A presentation on vibrant and fast-moving tecnological and creative developments in cities and rural areas across Africa, from mobile naking to new communication patterns.
– Ethan Zuckerman, the co-founder of Global Voices, a research fellow at the Berkman Center, and a prodigious blogger interested in hte impact of technology on the developing world.

Conversation with Ethan Zuckerman, Helen Omwando and Binyavanga Wainaina: Surprising Africa
An update on vibrant and fast-moving technological and creative developments in cities and rural areas across Africa, from mobile banking to new communication patterns.
– Ethan Zuckerman, the co-founder of Global Voices, a research fellow at the Berkman Center, and a prodigious blogger interested in the impact of technology on the developing world
– Helen Omwando, head of market intelligence for Royal Philips Electronics
– Binyavanga Wainaina, Kenyan author and journalist

Clay Shirky: Here Comes Everybody
A revelatory examination of how the spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exict within them. Our age’s new technologies of social networking are evolving- and causing us to evolve into new groups doing new things in new ways.
– Clay Shirky is a leading Internet thinker, the author of Here Comes Everybody, and a sharp analyst of social media developments.

Wolfgang Wagener and Jared Blumenfeld: Eco Map
What can we do with an open source collaboration platform that enables citizens and business to see collective results of their actions?
– Wolfgang Wagener, Director, Sustainable Cities Connected Urban Development, CISCO and Jared Blumenfeld, Director, Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco

Euro Beinat: The Visible City
What if we could view an entire city from above, as if from an airplane – and see not only the buildings and squares but also all the human beings populating it, oudoors and indoors?
– Euro Beinat, professor of location awareness at Salzburg University, CEO if Geodan Mobile Solutions, and founder of the Senseable Future Foundation

Stan Williams: Tracking our World
CeNSE: The Central Nervous System for the Earth is based on the believe that nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionise human interaction with the Earth as profoundly as the Internet has revolutionised personal and business interaction.
– Stan Williams, HP senior fellow; director, HP Information and Quantum Systems Lab

Adam Greenfield: The Long Here, the Big Now, and other tales of the networked city
Future urban life will thrive on new modes of perception and experience, based on real-time data and feedback. What will the networked city feel like to its users? How will it transform our sense of the metropolitan?
– Adam Greenfield , head of design direction for Nokia and author of Everyware

Charles Leadbeater – We Think: The Power of Mass Creativity
The conflict between the rising surge of mass collaboration and the attempts to retain top-down control will be one of the defining battles of our time. An exploration of what this means for our culture, the way we work, government, science and business.
– Charles Leadbeater, thinker, famed policy advisor to former UK prime Minister Tony Blair, and author of We Think, a groundbreaking analysis of a changing world

Charles Leadbeater in conversation with Clay Shirky
The conflict between the rising surge of mass collaboration and the attempts to retain top-down control will be one of the defining battles of our time. An exploration of what this means for our culture, the way we work, government, science and business.
– Charles Leadbeater, thinker, famed policy advisor to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and author of We Think, a groundbreaking analysis of a changing world,
– Clay Shirky, leading Internet thinker

(via Laurent Haug)

31 January 2009

Dopplr designer Matt Jones on bionic noticing

Matt Jones
Reporting on PSFK’s Good Ideas Salon yesterday in London, Guardian writer Jemima Kiss highlights the presentation by Dopplr designer Matt Jones:

He sees mobile as something of a super power device and described something he calls “bionic noticing” – obsessively recording curious things he sees around him, driven by this multi-capable device in his pocket. […]

He’s frustrated with the disembodied way that we engage with mobile devices: “beautiful shiny plastic things with some gangly bag of mostly water tapping away on them”.

“We should be an embodied person in the world rather than a disembodied finger tickling a screen walking down the street. We need to unfold and unpack the screen into the world.”

Read full story

Photograph: adactio/Flickr/Some rights reserved

31 January 2009

W3C workshop on the future of social networking

A few weeks ago, W3C, the body in charge of global web standards directed by Tim Berners-Lee, organised a Workshop on the Future of Social Networking in Barcelona, with a high level goal of bringing together the world experts on social networking design, management and operation in a neutral and objective environment where the social networking history to date could be examined and discussed, the risks and opportunities analysed and the state of affairs accurately portrayed.

Within the W3C workshop, the issues facing social networking growth could be documented and, in this workshop in particular, taking into account social networking on mobile devices/platforms with and without PC/broadband Internet services.

The workshop also explored whether it is worthwhile to consider the creation of an Interest or Working Group under the auspices of W3C to continue these discussions.

The discussions of the workshop were fed by the input of the 72 (!) position papers submitted by the participants, and animated by the Program Committee composed of experts from the industry and academics on this topic.

Companies that submitted papers include Atos Origin, Ericsson, IBM, Microsoft, Opera, Samsung Electronics, SUN, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Vodafone, Yahoo!, and YouTube, so the papers section definitely requires a quick scan. You can read the brief summaries by Libby Miller on each of them.

You can also read rough minutes of Day 1 and Day 2 of the workshop, download the slides of the various presentations (linked from the agenda) and watch videos of some of the sessions.

In a short article, the New Scientist focuses on one of the papers on the potency of mobile social networking in developing market economies (with the great subtitle: “The Revolution will be ‘mobil’-ised”), written by South Africa-based mobile social media consultant Gloria Ruhrmund.:

Western consumers are becoming used to the idea that the computing power of their phone is catching up with what is traditionally expected from a computer. But in Africa and some other poor regions it is phones that have all the computing power – mobile handsets far outnumber PCs and broadband connections.

As a result, innovative new uses of mobile connectivity are appearing in those developing areas first, possibly providing a glimpse of what the future holds for cellphone users in richer countries.

29 January 2009

An experience designer at a technology company

Clive Grinyer
Clive Grinyer wrote a highly honest, yet optimistic post about his experience of working in a hardcore technology company (Cisco) as a user experience designer.

It starts off with a very recognisable problem description:

“In the conventional industrial product development process at that time, my design specification was handed to a mechanical engineer, with specialisms in a greater level of detail of material and process. It was a shock to then realise that the design was treated as merely a guide, where the engineer would take hold of the reigns and steer the object in whatever route made the production easier and more robust. Persuading engineering specialists of all types, mechanical, electronic, software and even procurement that the user/ customer point of view and desire was paramount and that design decisions should be around their needs, was the challenge, the same for small UK companies and global consumer electronic companies. It is only in exceptional circumstances, such as at Apple, where their leadership, investment and strategy embraces those values, that you see the full impact.

In the mobile world I saw a culture again dominated by technology and decisions and assumptions made at every level that impacted badly on the end experience of the user. This might be technology developed without any thought of how it would be used, or 3rd party application providers incapable of customising or improving usablity.”

But Clive is optimistic, as he has found a way of making a difference in this context:

“So for the last 7 months I have taken all these developments and developed a methodology that does three very simple things.

1. Talk about people.
[…] It’s a standard tool of design but creating personas that replay what starts of as data from research or insight from focus groups as believable, pinchable representations that you feel you know is very powerful and useful tool. It focuses people understanding of whom they are creating things for and helps to drive decisions around real people, away from the engineer or technical or even business perspective. […]

2. Discover the customer journey.
[…] Because of the vertical way that companies are organised, almost nobody ever gets to experience the journey the way a customer does, travelling horizontally across the different touchpoints and business functions. […] The real customer journey is always a revelation to all, from managers to chief executives alike.

3. Tell stories of how it could be.
[…] Visualisation is very important in reaching shared understandings of what something is, showing that to real people and understanding the impact of any decision on that vision.”

Read full story

29 January 2009

“Publicy”, the rebirth of privacy

Laurent Haug
Laurent Haug, an entrepreneur based in Geneva, Switzerland and founder of the LIFT conference, launches a new concept: publicy.

“What happens with social networks is they publish information about you to the world. Two kinds of information: the ones you control, and the ones you don’t control.

The solution to fight the ones you don’t control has been known for years. If you can’t control the conversation improve it! Become the one stop source of info about yourself. […]

Now that you are back in the driver seat, you have your privacy back. Just of a different kind. You have built a space that could be called “publicy”, or “the plausible me”. It is a credible space where people expect to see information about you. Whatever credible information you say in there will be taken as true by the world.

That is your new privacy.”

Read full story

29 January 2009

Mike Kuniavsky detangling the meanings around the design of services

Mike Kuniavsky (ThingM) is currently writing a ubicomp user experience design book. He just posted a few tidbits on service design:

“There are two fundamental ways of looking at a service: from the perspective of the technology and from the user experience perspective. […] From the technical perspective, a service is an atomic unit of functionality. […] From the user experience perspective, a service is an atomic unit of activity. […] Some of the confusion about the definition of “service” comes from the fact that end-user services may be composed of a number of software services, so service designers looks at them as unified experiences, whereas software architects look at them as combinations of things they consider to be different.”

“The core philosophy [is] that there isn’t a single path that ends with a product being purchased and consumed, but an ongoing relationship between users and organizations that is maintained through engagement with a range of designed experiences (which could be tangible products, media messages, environments or personal interactions). This top-down holistic design philosophy is comparable to that advocated by cybernetics and systems science in the mid-20th century, now updated for modern technologies and business contexts.”

Read full story

29 January 2009

Pachube: connecting environments, patching the planet

Pachube is a web service that enables you to connect, tag and share real time sensor data from objects, devices, buildings and environments around the world.

The key aim is to facilitate interaction between remote environments, both physical and virtual. Apart from enabling direct connections between any two environments, it can also be used to facilitate many-to-many connections: just like a physical “patch bay” (or telephone switchboard) Pachube enables any participating project to “plug-in” to any other participating project in real time so that, for example, buildings, interactive installations or blogs can “talk” and “respond” to each other.

Pachube is a little like YouTube, except that, rather than sharing videos, Pachube enables people to monitor and share real time environmental data from sensors that are connected to the internet. Pachube acts between environments, able both to capture input data (from remote sensors) and serve output data (to remote actuators). Connections can be made between any two environments, facilitating even spontaneous or previously unplanned connections. Apart from being used in physical environments, it also enables people to embed this data in web-pages, in effect to “blog” sensor data.

Tish Shute of Ugotrade has been conducting a lengthy interview with Pachube founder, Usman Haque, which just got published. The interview describes how Haque was influenced by Dutch architect Constant Nieuwenhuys and thinkers such as Adam Greenfield and Bruce Sterling, how Pachube was founded in response to current predicaments within the field of ubiquitous computing and how “an ethically driven business model [will] allow a diverse group of companies and individuals to transition to the internet of things”.

Sensor/actuator integrations are a part of what Pachube is about, and an interest in home automation and energy management is giving a lot of early momentum to Pachube.

But Usman makes clear Pachube is about “environments” rather than “sensors.” “An ‘environment’ has dynamic frames of reference, all of which are excluded when simply focusing on devices, objects or mere sensors”. A central part of Pachube is the development of the Extended Environments Markup Language. […]

Pachube is here to make it easier to participate in what I expect to be a vast ‘eco-system’ of conversant devices, buildings & environments.

Pachube will facilitate the development of a huge range of new products and services that will arise from extreme connectivity. It’s relatively easy for large technology companies like Nike and Apple to transition into the Internet of Things, but Pachube will be particularly helpful for that huge portion of smaller scale industry players that *want* to become part of it, but which are only now waking up to the potentials of the internet — small and medium scale designers, manufacturers and developers who are very good at developing their products but don’t have the resources to develop in-house a massive infrastructure for their newly web-enabled offerings.

Basically, having built a generalized data-brokering backend to connect physical (and virtual) entities to the web, others can now start to build the applications that make the connections really useful.

And here is the phrase I think is most important of all:

“It’s relatively easy for large technology companies like Nike and Apple to transition into the Internet of Things, but Pachube will be particularly helpful for that huge portion of smaller scale industry players that *want* to become part of it, but which are only now waking up to the potentials of the internet — small and medium scale designers, manufacturers and developers who are very good at developing their products but don’t have the resources to develop in-house a massive infrastructure for their newly web-enabled offerings.”

Read full interview

(via Bruce Sterling)

28 January 2009

Interactions Jan/Feb ’09 fully available online

The entire contents of the January-February 2009 edition of Interactions Magazine are now available online.


(via InfoDesign)

28 January 2009

The next digital experience

The Davos session on the “Next Digital Experience” involving Hamid Akhavan (Deutsche Telekom), Eric K. Clemons (The Wharton School), Chad Hurley (YouTube), Craig Mundie (Microsoft), Shantanu Narayen (Adobe) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), can be viewed live online (Friday 30 January, 4 pm CET).

Social networking applications and sophisticated mobile devices are combining elements of the real and virtual worlds, and delivering an augmented experience of reality.

How is this digital experience changing consumers and communities?

Many other sessions are also available for online viewing.

28 January 2009

New blog series on media practices in international contexts

A new blog series, New Media Practices in International Contexts, looks at the intersection of youth, new media and learning in a range of countries outside of North America and Western Europe.

The authors, a group of people around Mimi Ito, believe that examining new media practices from an international (and, in some cases, transnational) perspective will enhance their current efforts to theorise youth, new media and learning, a wider MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative.

Over the next three to four months they will be introducing six case studies – Brazil, China, Ghana, India, Korea and Japan.

China (by Cara Wallis): introductionmobile phonesgaminginternetnew media productionconclusion
Korea (by HyeRyoung Ok): introductioninternetgamingmobile phonesnew media productionconclusion
India (by Anke Schwittay): introductionmobile phonesgaminginternetnew media productionconclusion
Brazil (by Heather Horst): introductioninternetnew media productiongamesmobile phonesconclusion
Japan (by Mimi Ito and Daisuke Okabe): introductioninternetmobile phonesnew media productiongamingconclusion
Ghana (by Araba Sey): introductionmobile phonesinternetnew media productiongamingconclusion

Each case study will focus upon the telecommunications landscape, internet and mobile phone practices, gaming, and new media production, and will provide a unique perspective on the ways in which infrastructure, institutions and culture (among other factors) shape contemporary new media practices.

(via Mimi Ito)

28 January 2009

User experience deliverables

UX treasure map
Peter Morville (author of Ambient Findability) and Jeffery Callender (co-author of Search Patterns) are planning a new book (in process) about design for discovery and the future of search.

As part of this effort, they have begun collecting user experience deliverables, which can now find on Peter’s blog, with wonderful small illustrations and links to relevant resources and examples.

The twenty deliverables — stories, proverbs, personas, scenarios, content inventories, analytics, user surveys, concept maps, system maps, process flows, wireframes, storyboards, concept designs, prototypes, narrative reports, presentations, plans, specifications, style guides, and design patterns — are collected in a beautifully designed (and print-ready) treasure map (pdf).

Read full story

28 January 2009

Service design is simple. It’s all about three things.

LG WashBar
“Service design is simple. It’s all about three things,” says Idris Mootee, a business and innovation strategist, “creating compelling user benefits, optimising based on the separability of the service, and making educated trade-offs between human and technology.”

Develop Compelling User Benefits. Understand what type of benefit/value a service innovation can provide. Is this innovation an important core benefit or a new way of delivering an existing benefit? Examples: Cirque du Soleil (new core benefit), Netflix mail order DVD rental (new benefit), Blockbuster’s self-destruct DVD in 48 hours (new benefit), Ford’s latest use of radar-based active safety technology linked to satellite (new benefit).

Optimize based the separability of the service. Is this innovation for a service that is produced and consumed simultaneously? Examples: Telemedicine (create separable services), Blackberry (mostly inseparable services), Enterprise Car Rental (create inseparable services) or iTunes (create inseparable services).

Model the service economics and making trade-offs. Customers are expensive. Dealing with them cost money. Putting them through a speech recognition application to offload calls save money but lower the quality of the experience. Each year, call centers implement new technologies that can take over the functions previously handled by people. Why then are customers so unhappy, if we expect call centers to implement technology that will make customers happy and provide them faster service? Simple, because technology does not equal quality customer service.

Read full story

27 January 2009

Call centres and user-centred design

Call centre
Robert Schumacher, managing Director of User Centric, has published a long article in the Financial Post of Canada on the user-centred design challenge of call centres.

“As the scale of contact centre operations increases, it is becoming a primary area of focus and opportunity for the field of user-centred design. […]

This domain has an inherent complexity that should not be underestimated. Designing user interfaces for contact centres is a balancing act that involves the ability to weigh multiple considerations, issues, and pressures. Usability professionals must be aware of some vital factors before they can design interfaces that are suited to the tasks of a contact centre end user.”

Read full story

27 January 2009

Two Experientia/Vodafone workshops at the upcoming LIFT conference

LIFT 2009
Experientia, in collaboration with the Vodafone User Experience team, is running two workshops on 25 February at the upcoming LIFT conference to present the results of two recent projects and explore their impact.

KashKlash: exchanging the future

Join us for a workshop to explore alternative methods of exchange. The focus is on a possible future ecosystem – in a new world where today’s ageing, less useful and even dangerous financial systems are replaced by (or mixed with) more disruptive innovations and exchanges. Imagine yourself deprived of all of today’s financial resources. Maybe you’re a refugee or stateless. Yet you still have your handset and laptop and Internet and a broadband cellphone connection….

This is one of the provocations posed on KashKlash , an open forum and web project focusing on alternative economies in a post-money future. What will such a world look like? How will the concept of value be measured? What concepts will shape the formal and informal economies? Bright thinkers from around the world came together to discuss, debate and ideate in this innovative and exciting project.

KashKlash is a collaborative project between Heather Moore of Vodafone, Irene Cassarino, Mark Vanderbeeken and Michele Visciola of Experientia and a group of independent visionaries. The project started with four bright and innovative provocateurs, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein, Bruce Sterling, and Régine Debatty, and as the debate gathered steam, contributions, comments, flickr photos and twitter streams rolled in from more than 50 additional participants to shape and envision possible futures.

Intrigued? We are looking forward to exchanging ideas with you. See you at the workshop!

Lifestream – Visualizing my data
Explorations of large quantity information visualization

Current technologies allow people to capture, warehouse and retrieve vast amounts of data; more information than we can comprehend as individuals – more than we will ever need. As we move through our days, generating text messages, phone calls, photos, documents, and their inherent metadata, we are not conscious of the cloud of information that we create and carry with us.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded by more information than we can process, it is tempting to entrust this information to computers to store and organise for us. It is tempting to think that the more we store, the safer our memories and important ideas are. We let paradigms that are logical for computers govern the way our personal data is organised and accessed, at the expense of more human forms of interaction.

This workshop explores new paradigms to overcome the defects of current visualization methods. How can interfaces support traditional ways of coping with large amounts of information? How best can we facilitate such cognitive processes such as forgetting and constructing memories? Can our data be presented to us in such a way that it accrues layers of meaning, enhances nostalgia about our past, keeps us in contact with the present, while aiding us in thinking ahead? How can we design information patterns to make visible the connections, patterns and coincidences in our lives, remind us of favourite memories and moments, and allow all that is no longer relevant to fall away like dust.

The workshop by Willem Boijens, Vodafone, and Jan-Christoph Zoels, Experientia will introduce insights and examples of information visualizations, engage the participants in interactive exercises and team discussions.

I might want to add that the original concepts on both projects stem from Willem Boijens (Vodafone) as well, who was also the driving force in making sure that these projects would be presented at the LIFT conference.

A third workshop might be added still. More soon.

27 January 2009

Book: Designing Social Interfaces

Designing Social Interfaces
Designing Social Interfaces
Principles, Patterns, and Practices for Improving the User Experience
Christian Crumlish and Erin Malone
O’Reilly Media and Yahoo! Press

Designing for social interaction is hard. People are unpredictable, consistency is a mixed blessing, and co-creation with your users requires a dizzying flirtation with loss of control. We will present the dos and don’ts of social web design using a sampling of interaction patterns, design principles and best practices to help you improve the design of your digital social environments.

Christian Crumlish is the curator of Yahoo!’s pattern library, although he prefers to describe himself as a pattern detective. He’s a design evangelist on the Yahoo! Developer Network team and helped develop the Yahoo! Open Strategy. He has been participating in, analyzing, designing, and drawing social interactive spaces online since 1994. He is the author of the bestselling The Internet for Busy People (McGraw-Hill, 1994), and The Power of Many: How the Living Web is Transforming Politics, Business, and Everyday Life (Sybex, now Wiley, 2004). He co-hosts the blog conference on the Well and is mediajunkie on Twitter. He has spoken about social patterns at BarCamp Block, BayCHI, South by Southwest, the IA Summit, Ignite 2 (SF Web 2.0 Expo), and iPhoneDevCamp. Christian has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Princeton. He is currently serving on the board of directors of the Information Architecture Institute as director of technology.

Erin Malone is currently a partner with the user experience design firm Tangible UX. She spent the last four years of her 22-year career at Yahoo! managing experience design teams and designing websites and applications, social experiences and components, and building the internal and external Yahoo! Design Pattern Library. During her tenure at Yahoo! she was responsible for Community products and platforms, and for helping develop the Yahoo! Open Strategy, including its social offerings. Before Yahoo!, she was a Design Director at AOL, with teams working across community, and personalized products, including AOL groups, AOL Journals—the first AOL blogging tool, My AOL and You’ve Got Pictures—AOLs picture sharing tool. Prior to AOL, she was the Creative Director at AltaVista and launched the AltaVista Live portal and their community offerings. She built first generation community tools at Zip2 for national newspaper consortiums, including the NY Times offering NYToday, and for AOL greenhouse partners before AltaVista.
She was the founding editor-in-chief of Boxes and Arrows, author of several articles on interaction design history and design management, and a founding member and recent advisory council member of the IA Institute.
Erin has a BFA in Communication Design from East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina and an MFA in Graphic/Information Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York.

Follow the book’s progress and participate in the pattern creation / review process by joining the wiki.

(via Info Design)

27 January 2009

Dissolving service design

Dan Saffer, who together with Interaction-Ivrea alumni Jennifer Bove, recently started the interaction design studio Kicker, is working on a revision of his book Designing for Interaction.

Most interestingly, he will dissolve the service design chapter and “just place the topics and tools that were once ghettoed there throughout the book,” because, he says, “I’m not sure that, from this point out, at least for interaction designers, the distinction between products and services is a meaningful one.”

“I simply cannot think of a service that interaction designers would be involved in that doesn’t have some sort of product, and typically a technology product, at its center. The product might be anything from a physical object to a website to an interactive environment, but there is something there to be designed. Secondly, I can only think of very few products that interaction designers (and really, almost any designer) are designing any more that are not part of some kind of service.”

Read full story

27 January 2009

Matt Jones on Dopplr’s new personal annual report for all its users

Matt Jones
Peter Merholz of Adaptive Path asked Matt Jones, founder/lead designer of Dopplr, on the new ability for every Dopplr user to download a Personal Annual Report of their 2008 travels in pdf.

“All of us at Dopplr are fascinated by the blur between the digital and the physical that it’s becoming easier and cheaper to create (for instance we just helped stage the first ‘papercamp‘ to investigate this) and we were definitely inspired by things like The Day-to-Day Data Exhibition, Lucy Kimbell’s LIX project, Nicholas Feltron’s annual reports and even, Schott’s Miscellany. Creating something procedurally in print from digital data seemed like the natural next step for us.”

Read full interview

See also this review by Ben Terrett.

26 January 2009

The OLPC versus the mobile phone – a false dichotomy

OLPC and mobile phone
Katrin Verclas of Mobile Active reports on the ongoing debate over the value of cheap and open laptops for users in developing countries as opposed to mobile phones continues, most recently with a post from Cory Doctorow in the Guardian UK (reported also on Putting People First).

Verclas argues that Doctorow’s distinction between mobiles and laptops, and his insistence that mobile phones will never be laptops, is a false one, and cites Steve Song’s rebuttal to Doctorow.

The idea that Africa needs laptops and not mobiles (or mobiles and not laptops depending on your perspective) is a false dichotomy. Whether it is a laptop using a mobile GPRS Internet connection or a mobile phone running the Opera web browser, there is a steady trend towards applications and services which interoperate seamlessly over mobile networks and the Internet. Some of the most interesting Internet applications and services today such as Twitter integrate very well with mobile phones.

To argue that laptops are a solution as opposed to mobiles reinforces a dichotomy between mobile networks and the Internet that frankly should not exist. Equally, promoting “mobiles for development” as most development agencies have latched on to entrenches mobile operators in their current roles, legitimises them when they should be taken to task for collusion and rent-seeking behaviour.

I think there is a temptation to pick one technology that is going to “save” the developing world but the reality is that there are going to be many solutions. The only thing that we need to be absolutely clear on is that everything should run on the Internet Protocol (IP). The real problem with mobiles is that mobile networks are walled gardens that you have to pay to get in and out of. We don’t put up that nonsense on the Internet. Why should we do so in the mobile world? Cory drives home the point about how frustrating developing an application for a mobile phone can be but throws the baby out with the bathwater. Mobile phones and mobile networks are amazing, we just need to get the operators to move from an economic scarcity model to an abundance model. Sign up millions of users, make it dirt cheap to call, and watch pro-poor services and enterprise emerge. Then it won’t matter if you connect with your shoe-phone or your Beowulf cluster.

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26 January 2009

The unforeseen consequences of the social web

Unforeseen consequences
Lidija Davis reflects on ReadWriteWeb on the consequences of what you do on social media and its traces that cannot be easily removed from the Web.

The social Web has given users great power: the ability to create and share content with people around the world – easily and quickly. The problem of course, is that power is often not compatible with effective and clear thinking. The thought that germinated in an instant can be immortalized in perpetuity on the Web.

With the extraordinary growth of the Internet and the interlinking of information that the social Web has brought with it, it’s time to examine the footprints we leave on the Web as we move into the future that promises to “throttle the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ from turning into the ‘madness of the mobs,'” as described so eloquently by Jason Calacanis.

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(via All Things Digital)

25 January 2009

What technology has taught us at dizzying speed

What technology has taught us
Alice Rawsthorn, the design critic of the International Herald Tribune, reflects on what skills have, because of technology, become less useful than they would have been 10 years ago and what we have them replaced them with.

In her analysis, which is also a reflection on the book “Grown Up Digital” by Don Tapscott, we have become better at multitasking, synthesising, adapting to change, and visualising.

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