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Putting People First

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February 2009
11 February 2009

Seismic shift in Internet age mass

PEW_logo
According to surveys through 2008 by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, larger percentages of older generations [in the United States] are online now than in the past, and they are doing more activities online. Generation X (not Y) is the most likely group to bank, shop, and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email.

The biggest increase in internet use since 2005 is the 70-75 year-old age group. While just over one-fourth (26%) of 70-75 year olds were online in 2005, 45% of that age group is currently online, and doing more activities online.

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Additional information and PDF download

(via Customer Experience Crossroads)

11 February 2009

The Internet of Things and mobile devices

Ajit Jaokar
Ajit Jaokar, founder of futuretext, just wrote a somewhat technical article on his blog where he discusses the basic ideas and significance of the Internet of Things, especially in the context of its integration with mobile phones.

Still worth a read. Also for the links.

Read full story

11 February 2009

Book: The Language of Things

The Language of Things
The Language of Things: Understanding the World of Desirable Objects
by Deyan Sudjic
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co. (June 1, 2009)
Hardcover: 224 pages

Description
What is it that persuades us to camp outside Apple stores to be the first to buy an iPhone? Why is it that a generation ago a typewriter might have lasted someone a lifetime, but now we write on computers that we upgrade every couple of years to shinier, faster, sleeker models? Why do the clicks of some car doors sound “expensive”? Deyan Sudjic charts our relationship—both innocent and knowing—with all things designed. From the opulent excesses of the catwalk to the playfulness of an Alessi jam jar, he shows how we can be manipulated and seduced by our possessions. With scintillating wit he addresses these questions and more, exploring the reasons why every designer yearns to put a personal stamp on a chair or an adjustable lamp, and where design ends and art begins.

About the Author
Deyan Sudjic is director of the Design Museum, London. He is the author of 100-Mile City and The Edifice Complex and the coauthor of The Architecture Pack.

Donald Norman about the book:
How do I sum up this book? “Witty and sophisticated,” or is it “seriously funny.” A deep penetrating look at the ever-perilous battle among the competing forces of art, fashion, and practicality that designers face. Sudjic examines the role of design in culture, society, and its continuing battle with art, neatly sandwiching in a marvelous treatment of luxury and fashion. Difficult to read because I was laughing so much, I kept losing my place.

11 February 2009

Becoming a customer experience-driven business

Peter Merholz
Peter Merholz, founding partner and president of Adaptive Path, now writes the “Experience Matters” column for the revamped HarvardBusiness.org where he tries “to articulate the things that matter to us, to folks who know little to nothing of what we do, but without whom we ultimately won’t succeed.”

The first article, “Becoming a customer experience-driven business,” just went online:

“Customer experience is an organizational mindset. It’s not something a business buys, it’s something a business becomes.

Customer experience refers to the totality of experience a customer has with a business, across all channels and touchpoints.”

Read full story

(via Adaptive Path blog)

11 February 2009

Designing people-centred policy: how can user centred design help public services?

Ampersand
Nick Marsh of Engine Service Design contemplates how user-centred design can help public services.

How do we enable patients with chronic conditions to take care of themselves better? How do we include partners from other sectors such as charities or even families in our service delivery systems? How do we encourage personal responsibility for service outcomes? What policy frameworks will best support innovative practices? How do we do more with less?

As we head towards the second decade of the 21st century the challenges are significant and pressing. Our traditional local authority and national public service frameworks, focused on centrally organised delivery and designed over 60 years ago for a different set of societal problems, were not built for these problems. We need new approaches for understanding people and their needs and then translating these findings into operational services and supporting policies.

Read full story

10 February 2009

Jan-Christoph Zoels talk at India’s National Institute of Design

NID
Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels is currently in Ahmedabad, India, for a client project.

But he found time for an informal talk at the highly acclaimed National Institute of Design, scheduled for Wednesday 11 February at 17:15.

“Join us for the Baatein session with Jan-Christoph Zoels on Wednesday at 5: 15 pm sharp in auditorium. Please be there on time to witness how new forms of interactive media can create wonders with strong functional value.

Jumping jack flash – new forms of interactions

This talk presents some key trends and design ideas for our interactions with devices, services or applications. As more and more devices support location-aware, contextual or rich media, how will we interact with them, choose content, navigate or connect multiple sources of information? The presentation explores gestural, haptic and other sensorial interfaces for a variety of applications.

Jan-Christoph Zoels is responsible for user experience design at Experientia, based in Turin, Italy. Until recently he was senior associate professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, where he ran the business innovation workshops called Applied Dreams.

In his work Jan-Christoph focuses specifically on people’s experience of mobile services and applications, and on using information technology to support simplicity.

Previously he was director of information architecture for Sapient (New York), and senior designer at Sony Design Center USA. He holds four patents. He has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht, Samsung’s Innovative Design Laboratory in Seoul, and Domus Academy, Milan.”

10 February 2009

Interview with John Knight, user experience manager at Vodafone

John Knight
John Knight, user experience manager at Vodafone’s UE Design Development team was interviewed by Giles Colborne of cxpartners.

“One of the things I’ve learned is that we often think too much about designing interfaces. If you design an interface, there is a tendency to put too much in, you think about the buttons and the visual layout, even the use case (if they are tied to an interface) can lead you to overburden the UE. The interface is the end point and we should not forget that. The experience – all the technical functions and the interactions are what you really want to design – users do not see that and it’s the hardest but most valuable thing we can design as UE practitioners.”

Read full interview

(via UsabilityNews)

9 February 2009

Dan Ariely on a new type of economy

Dan Ariely
IdeasProject, an excellent Nokia site, interviewed behavioural economist, MIT Media Lab contributor and best-selling author Dan Ariely.

He said that web technologies like remote cameras can enable individuals to bypass traditional financial systems and engage directly in transactions like mortgages and business loans. Assuming we can created a mechanism to establish trust and legal guarantees he sees the potential for the rapid emergence of a new type of economy.

Ariely also outlined the requirements that are necessary to facilitate remote access financial transactions including a good technology for reputation, guarantees and legal language.

Dan Ariely is the author of the best-selling book, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, (HarperCollins).

Watch video
Read transcript

Also new on IdeasProject is an interview with Third World entrepreneurship advocate Iqbal Quadir talking about mobile phone banking and global communication opportunities.

If you want more background, check Quadir’s talk at TED 2008 and a reportage about his work in Bangladesh.

8 February 2009

Why computers can’t kill Post-its

Infoscraps
MIT researchers argue that computers need to become as easy to use as those yellow sticky notes.

Office workers are like electricity: When they want to get something done, they follow the path of least resistance.

Which is why, say researchers at MIT, the Post-it note continues to flourish on every surface of the contemporary office, despite all those expensive computers ready and willing to help.

David Karger helps lead a group at MIT exploring the way people work with computers. A recent paper from his team chronicled the attraction of “information scraps” like Post-Its, which, says Karger, are actually near-perfect data base tools. They’re accessible and easy to use, and they take advantage of the brain’s facility to remember an object’s location in the three-dimensional world.

Read full story

7 February 2009

UX Week 2008 videos

UX Week
Over the last months, Adaptive Path has been uploading videos of their latest UX Week that took place in August 2008.

Donald Norman conversing with Adaptive Path president and founder Peter Merholz
Author and co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group

Scott Griffith about the car sharing experience at Zipcar (synopsis)
Chairman and CEO of Zipcar

Dennis Wixon about the challenge of emotional innovation (synopsis)
Manager of the user research team at Microsoft Surface

Dave Wolf about a prototype for democracy in the 21st century (synopsis)
Vice president of Synergy

Dan Saffer about designing for gesture and touch (synopsis)
Experience design director at Adaptive Path

Bruce Sterling about user experience in the Balkans
Science fiction author, design essayist, and net critic

Jennifer Bove and Ben Fullerton about what makes a memorable service experience (synopsis)
Jennifer Bove, vice president of user experience at HUGE, and Ben Fullerton, interaction designer at IDEO

Audrey Chen about The Daily Show (synopsis)
Senior Information Architect at Comedy Central

Aaron Powers about human-robot interaction (synopsis)
Human-Robot Interaction Software Engineer at iRobot

Jay Torrence and Sarah B. Nelson about the Neo-Futurists (synopsis)
Jay Torrence, artistic director of the Neo-Futurists theatre company, and Sarah B. Nelson, design strategist at Adaptive Path

Jane McGonigal about game design and the future of happiness (synopsis)
Game designer and future forecaster

Rod Naber and Dan Levine about Current TV (synopsis)

Dan Albritton about game playing on large displays, with cell phones as controllers
Co-founder, Megaphone

Aurora panel about the future of the web browser (synopsis)
Following the release of Aurora, a panel discussion about the project was hosted at UX Week by Leah Buley. The panellists included Dan Harrelson, Julia Houck-Whitaker and Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path, Alex Faaborg of Mozilla Labs, futurist Jamais Cascio.

Enjoy (and thank you, Adaptive Path).

5 February 2009

Service thinking

Hillerod
The UK service design consultancy live|work has published an excellent manifesto on service thinking:

“We have identified three key service imperatives that must be considered if we are to create great services that make things better for people, businesses and society.

The first imperative is to put people at the heart of services. If we try to produce a service without the participation of the customer it cannot either satisfy that customer or achieve its potential. We must find ways to re-engage people in the services they use.

The second imperative is to create networks that enable services. Services have always been networks; a rail network, a telephone network, even a church service is a part of a social network. We currently have such powerful information technologies that service networks are now possible in all sectors.

The third imperative is to install sustainability as the bottom line. In this case we are talking about a triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental sustainability. We expect services to be there for us at all times – whether a phone connection or a doctors’ surgery – and we feel lost when they are not. Ultimately, Service Thinking is the ongoing consideration of how we meet our collective needs without overstretching our human and natural resources.”

Read full story

(via InfoDesign)

5 February 2009

David Orban on the spime innovations and its dilemmas

David Orban
David Orban, founder & chief evangelist of WideTag, Inc. (OpenSpime) and advisor to the newly announced Singularity University, recently spoke at TechnoArk in Switzerland.

His summary:

When you set out to make into reality something that has been dreamed up by a science fiction writer, Bruce Sterling in our case, you have to carefully balance many factors. On one hand you have to freedom of interpreting the original vision almost any way you want, as there is nobody to tell you that you are wrong. On the other hand, you are not in the same business of imagining a future that might never become reality, as a writer of fiction is, you are supposed to carry a message that indeed is in touch with reality. Maybe extending it, or stretching it even towards the goals that you set, but nonetheless there have to be ways for you to show that what you are planning is doable. And then do it!

One consequence of the innovations that we introduce, and of the open, and transparent manner that we talk about them at conferences, and post about them on our blog or the OpenSpime twitter account, is that people come to us with their very welcome feedback, criticism, advice, which in turn of course influences our way of thinking, and implementing the new generations of ideas that we develop in the meantime.

Watch video

5 February 2009

RCA Design Interactions’ Tribal Futures project for Vodafone

Tribal Futures
Matt Jones writes about a short project he worked on last November with the students on the Design Interactions course at the RCA in collaboration with Vodafone’s User Experience group.

The brief was deliberately wide and intended to steer us all from thinking about mobile phones. It was entitled “Tribal Futures”, and asked the group to:

“…focus in on the mundane and the extremes of our behaviour in groups and propose design interventions to support, subvert and celebrate our tribal connections. We encourage you to extrapolate the current trends in mobile, social and other technologies in terms of their failures as well as successes, and examine what technologies intended and unintended consequences might be.”

A short summary of the work can be found on Matt’s Magical Nihilism blog.

All of the projects can be found at http://beta.interaction.rca.ac.uk/ft/ and they have kept the project blog that the group used for research and work-in-progress live (but with comments closed) at http://beta.interaction.rca.ac.uk/futuretribes/ to show some of the process along the way.

5 February 2009

IDEO’s David Kelley wins Edison Award for Innovation

David Kelley
On April 1, IDEO founder David Kelley will be awarded the Edison Achievement Award by the Thomas Edison Papers at Rutgers University for his “pioneering contributions to the design of breakthrough products, services, and experiences for consumers, as well as his development of an innovative culture that has broad impact.”

Fast Company used this opportunity to devote a series of articles to David and IDEO:

Ideo’s David Kelley on “design thinking”
David Kelley, founder of the design firm Ideo and the Stanford d.school, was leading a charmed existence. Then he felt a lump.

17 career lessons from IDEO’s David Kelley
David Kelley is well-known for his astute application of design thinking to many of life’s intractable problems. Less known is that he’s also a veritable Dr. Phil of good advice about life, careers, and the importance of not being a jerk.

Why a bowling shirt made me love David Kelley
It was a Power Point slide of Ettore Sottsass in a bowling shirt that first made Jim Hackett, CEO of Steelcase, want to get to know David Kelley.

Ideo’s newest design projects (slideshow)
Under founder David Kelley, Ideo has received more than 1,000 patents since 1978 and 346 design awards since 1991. Here are a few of the firm’s many projects.

3 February 2009

What the heck is user experience design??!!

Jesse James Garrett
Audio interview with Jesse James Garrett, president and co-founder of Adaptive Path.

Some describe it as making things easy and enjoyable to use. Others describe it as all the elements that impact someone’s perception of a product or system. Jesse James Garrett says it’s a lot like going on a great first date.

For those who haven’t heard of it before: You’ll be surprise by how much it impacts your life.

For those who know it well: Believe it or not, the complexity made simple. You’ll finally know what to say in the elevator when someone asks you what you do for a living.

(via InfoDesign)

3 February 2009

Book: The Reconstruction of Space and Time: Mobile Communication Practices

Reconstruction
The Reconstruction of Space and Time: Mobile Communication Practices
By Rich Ling, Scott Campbell (editors)
Published by Transaction Publishers, 2008
ISBN 141280809X, 9781412808095
304 pages
Google preview

Summary

One of the most significant and obvious examples of how mobile communication influences our understanding of time and space is how we coordinate with one another. Mobile communication enables us to call specific individuals, not general places. Regardless of location, we are able to make contact with almost anyone, almost anywhere. This advancement has changed, and continues to change, human interaction. Now, instead of agreeing on a particular time well beforehand, we can iteratively work out the most convenient time and place to meet at the last possible moment—on the way to the meeting or once we arrive at the destination.

In their early days, mobile devices were primarily used for various types of emergency situations and for work. In some cases, the device was an essential element in various business operations or used so that overseas workers could communicate with their families. The distance between a remote posting and the people back home was suddenly and dramatically reduced. People began to share these devices not necessarily out of economic issues, but also questions of family and interpersonal dynamics.

The process of sharing decisions as to who is a legitimate partner makes the nature of relationships more explicit. By examining the economy of sharing, we not only see how sharing mobile phones restructures social space, but are also given insight into an individual’s web of interactions. This cutting-edge book deals with modern ways of thinking about communication and human interaction; it will illuminate the ways in which mobile communication alters our experience with space and time.

About the authors

Rich Ling is a sociologist at Telenor’s research institute near Oslo, Norway and has been Pohs visiting professor of communication at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the author of New Tech, New Ties: How Mobile Communication is Reshaping Social Cohesion and The Mobile Connection: The Cell Phone’s Impact on Society.

Scott W. Campbell is assistant professor and Pohs fellow of telecommunications in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. His research has been published in the journals Communication Education, Communication Monographs, International Journal of Communication, Journal of Applied Communication Research, New Media & Society, and others.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The reconstruction of space and time through mobile communication practices
by Rich Ling and Scott W. Campbell

Tailing untethered mobile users: Studying urban motilities and communication practices
by Dana Diminescu, Christian Licoppe, Zbigniew Smoreda and Cezary Ziemlicki

Migrant workers and mobile phones: Technological, temporal, and spatial simultaneity
by Fernando Paragas

Portable object in three global cities: the Personalization of urban places
by Mizuko Ito, Daisuke Okabe, and Ken Anderson

New reasons for mobile communication: Intensification of time-space geography in the mobile era
by Ilkka Arminen

Nonverbal cues in mobile phone text messages: The effects of chronemics and proxemics
by Nicola Doring and Sandra Poschl

Mobile phones: Transforming the everyday social communication practice of urban youth
by Eva Thuline and Bertil Vilhelmson

Mobile phones: Transforming the everyday social communication practice of urban youth
by Eva Thuline and Bertil Vilhelmson

Negotiations in space: The impact if receiving phone calls on the move
by Ann Light

Mobile phone “work”: Disengaging and engaging mobile phone activities with concurrent activities
by Marc Relieu

Beyond the personal and private: Modes of mobile phone sharing in urban India
by Molly Wright Steenson and Jonathan Donner

Conclusion: Mobile communication in space and time—Furthering the theoretical dialogue
by Scott W. Campbell and Rich Ling

Chapter summary

Beyond the personal and private: Modes of mobile phone sharing in urban India
by Molly Wright Steenson and Jonathan Donner

This chapter contributes to the overall dialogue on the significance of mobile communication for human, social space by expanding the inquiry into one of the world’s largest communities of mobile users, India. In this context, we draw on ethnographic research to identify various modes of mobile phone sharing which cannot be entirely explained by economic necessity, and instead reflect deeper processes of human organization. In the process, the chapter further illustrates how mobile communication helps people create and alter the social spaces around them.
(via Jonathan Donner)

3 February 2009

Book: Mobile Technologies – From Telecommunications to Media

Mobile Technologies
Mobile Technologies – From Telecommunications to Media
Editors: Gerard Goggin; Larissa Hjorth
ISBN: 978-0-415-98986-2 (hardback) 978-0-203-88431-7 (electronic)
Series: Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies
Google preview

Summary

In light of emerging forms of software, interfaces, cultures of uses, and media practices associated with mobile media, this collection investigates the various ways in which mobile media is developing in different cultural, linguistic, social, and national settings. We consider the promises and politics of mobile media and its role in the dynamic social and gender relations configured in the boundaries between public and private spheres. In turn, the contributors revise the cultural and technological politics of mobiles. The collection is genuinely interdisciplinary, as well as international in its range, with contributors and studies from China, Japan, Korea, Italy, Norway, France, Belgium, Britain, and Australia.

Table of Contents

Part I: Reprising Mobile Theory
1. “The Question of Mobile Media”- Gerard Goggin and Larissa Hjorth
2. “Intimate Connections: The Impact of the Mobile Phone on Work Life Boundaries” – Judy Wajcman, Michael Bittman and Jude Brown
3. “Gender and the Mobile Phone” – Leopoldina Fortunati

Part II: Youth, Families, and the Politics of Generations
4. “Children’s Broadening Use of Mobile Phones” – Leslie Haddon and Jane Vincent
5. “Mobile Communication and Teen Emancipation” – Rich Ling
6. “Mobile Media and the Transformation of Family” – Misa Matsuda
7. “Purikura as a Social Management Tool” – Daisuke Okabe, Mizuko Ito, Aico Shimizu and Jan Chipchase

Part III: Mobiles in the Field of Media
8. “Mobile Media on Low-Cost Handsets: The Resiliency of Text Messaging among Small Enterprises in India (and Beyond)” – Jonathan Donner
9. “Innovations at the Edge: The Impact of Mobile Technologies on the Character of the Internet” – Harmeet Sawnhey
10. “Media Contents in Mobiles: Comparing Video, Audio and Text” – Virpi Oksman
11. “New Economics for the New Media” – Stuart Cunningham and Jason Potts
12. “Domesticating New Media: A Discussion on Locating Mobile Media” – Larissa Hjorth

Part IV: Renewing Media Forms
13. “Back to the Future: The Past and Present of Mobile TV” – Gabriele Balbi and Benedetta Prario
14. “Net_Dérive: Conceiving and Producing a Locative Media Artwork” – Atau Tanaka and Petra Gemeinboeck
15. “Mobile News in Chinese Newspaper Groups: A Case Study of Yunnan Daily Press Group” – Liu Cheng and Axel Bruns
16. “Re-inventing Newspapers in a Digital Era: The Mobile E-Paper” – Wendy Van den Broeck, Bram Lievens and Jo Pierson

Part V: Mobile Imaginings
17. “Face to Face: Avatars and Mobile Identities” – Kathy Cleland
18. “Re-imagining Urban Space: Mobility, Connectivity, and a Sense of Place” – Dong-Hoo Lee
19. “These Foolish Things: On Intimacy and Insignificance in Mobile Media” – Kate Crawford
20. “Mobility, Memory and Identity” – Nicola Green

Chapter summary

Chapter 8. “Mobile Media on Low-Cost Handsets: The Resiliency of Text Messaging among Small Enterprises in India (and Beyond)” – Jonathan Donner
This chapter begins by describing the limited use of most mobile functions—except for voice calls and SMS/text messages—among small and informal business owners in urban India. It draws on this illustration to suggest that forms of mobile media based on low cost, ubiquitous SMS features have the potential to be accessible, relevant, and popular among many users in the developing world. Further examples of SMS-based mobile media applications illustrate an important distinction between these systems. While some applications stand alone, others function as bridges to or hybrids of other media forms, particularly the internet. Over the next few years, these hybrid forms will play an important role in offering flexible, powerful information resources to a sizable proportion of the world’s population.
(via Jonathan Donner)

Also note chapter 7.

1 February 2009

New report: Mobile phones as media platforms in the global south

The Promise of Ubiquity
African peasants paint their mobile phone number over their front doors. Indian slum dwellers buy SIM cards to use on friends’ handsets. Chinese students spend three months’ allowance on a phone they can use to surf the web. Once almost the exclusive domain of rich countries, the mobile revolution has swept through the developing world. An estimated 3.8 billion people, or half the world’s population, own a mobile, and most of the growth is taking place in the global South. This has deep implications for the media, but the change has been so rapid that it has completely overtaken most media outlets – they are struggling to digest its impact.

The Promise of Ubiquity report was commissioned by Internews Europe in order to help the media to understand the exciting potential, the incredible challenges and the perils of refusing to change. What kind of information services can be carried on the mobile now and in the next five years? Is the mobile viable as an information channel even when many new users may be illiterate? There may be few right answers, but author John West provides a roadmap on how to navigate through the brave new world of mobile telephony. West suggests a checklist of useful questions and of some best practices which have emerged so far.

Through interviews with leaders in the field – software engineers and designers, journalists, and businessmen – the book examines current and future trends, from the dominance of SMS texting to mobile Web, and suggests approaches on how media outlets can negotiate with network operators as well as decide what services to offer.

Read full story
– Download executive summary | full report