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Putting People First

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September 2009
8 September 2009

Organizational Culture 101: a practical how-to for interaction designers

Culture 101
“To navigate the landscape of organizational culture interaction designers need a set of practical tools, language & knowledge drawn from the world of cultural anthropology.” That is the core of the argument of Sam Ladner on the Johnny Holland blog.

“Interaction designers are accustomed to discerning individual preferences, particularly for interactivity. But they may not be as well versed in understanding cultural preferences. Anthropology offers us a very clear framework for mapping cultures against key values.”

Read full story

8 September 2009

Josephine Green and Ezio Manzini featured in Philips magazine

Chulha
From pyramids to pancakes
The era of elitism, top-down management and deterministic ideals is over. We are now living in an age of social innovation and sustainability that opens up the future to the many, not just the few. Mass consumerism has given way to mass creativity, which is transforming how we think about and how we engage with the world around us. It is a transformation that Philips Design’s Josephine Green calls the ‘Pyramids to Pancakes’ model, in which the hierarchical 20th century has given way to the flattened, more co-creative 21st.

A few words with Ezio Manzini
Ezio Manzini, Professor of Industrial Design at Politecnico di Milano, Director of the Research Unit Design and Innovation for Sustainability and coordinates the Masters in Strategic Design and Doctorate in Industrial Design programmes. He works on strategic design and design for sustainability, with a focus on scenario building and solution development. He has written several books on product-service systems and sustainability.

On structures and relations, real and virtual
As we are changing and transforming the world, we look for something capable of organizing everything within it, something that configures all its components into meaningful relations.
By Andreas Fruchtl, Director Strategic Futures Design

7 September 2009

OPEN digital experience design: a strategic, trends-based approach

DMI
A recent article by Nita Rollins on DMI’s Digital Management Review:

“As the Web has matured, brand relationships have become ever more dynamic. Nita Rollins outlines and illustrates the kinds of digital brand experiences consumers have come to expect–on-demand efficiency and ease-of-use; personalization, including dialogue, customization, and privilege; an engagement characterized by belonging, entertainment, and inspiration; and a networked blend of self-expression, community, and meaningful change.”

Read article

(via Dexigner)

7 September 2009

All learning processes can be supported through mobile phones

 
Abhijit Kadle explains how the mobile phone can easily be used as a learning tool:

“Like all communication and computing devices, mobile phones can be used to learn. The content delivered would depend on the capabilities (features) of the device accessing it.

There are many kinds of learning and many processes that people use to learn, but among the most frequent, time-tested, and effective of these are listening, observing, imitating, questioning, reflecting, trying, estimating, predicting, speculating, and practicing. All of these learning processes can be supported through mobile phones. In addition, cell phones complement the short-attention, casual, multitasking style of today’s young learners.”

Read full story

Related articles:
From toy to tool: cell phones in learning
Using cellphones to learn and save lives
– What do we know about using mobile phones in education? Part 1Part 2
More background articles (W3 Foundation)

2 September 2009

The value of information

The value of news
Oliver Reichenstein, a Tokyo-based information architect, explores the value of information:

“While producing information costs money, information as such doesn’t necessarily carry monetary value; it mostly carries intellectual, social, artistic, practical value. And that’s why, historically, news has been commercially, publicly, politically and privately subsidized.

That information is not necessarily connected to a physical good (paper) or a concrete service (the delivery), or a limited quantity anymore, making it difficult to measure its price. We have difficulties spending money for digital information because at the end of the transaction we neither save time nor do we hold anything concrete or limited in our hands.”

Read full story

2 September 2009

Eva Hornecker on tangible interaction

 
Eva Hornecker explains on interaction-design.org the evolving concept of Tangible Interaction.

“Broadly, Tangible Interaction encompasses user interfaces and interaction approaches that emphasize
– tangibility and materiality of the interface
– physical embodiment of data
– whole-body interaction
– the embedding of the interface and the users’ interaction in real spaces and contexts.

Tangible Interaction is a very interdisciplinary area. It spans a variety of perspectives, such as HCI and Interaction Design, but specializes on interfaces or systems that are in some way physically embodied – be it in physical artefacts or in environments. Furthermore it has connections with product/industrial design, arts and architecture. Finally, new developments in Ubiquitous Computing, Actuation, Sensors, Robotics and Mechanics contribute through enabling technologies to the field of Tangible Interaction.”

Read full story

(Also check out the site’s new World Map of Conferences).

2 September 2009

Exploring first-time internet use via mobiles in a South African women’s collective

Jonathan Donner
Jonathan Donner, a researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group at Microsoft Research India, has submitted a paper — together with Shikoh Gitau and Gary Marsden — on first-time mobile internet use in South Africa to the upcoming (3rd) conference of the International Development Informatics Association, to be held at Berg-en-Dal in Kruger National Park here in South Africa on 28-30 October 2009.

According to Jonathan, the paper focuses specifically on two questions: what happens when the first and only means of accessing the internet is via one’s mobile? What are the implications for M4D and ICTD?

Abstract

This study reports results of an ethnographic action research study, exploring mobile-centric internet use. Over the course of 13 weeks, eight women, each a member of a livelihoods collective in urban Cape Town, South Africa, received training to make use of the data (internet) features on the phones they already owned. None of the women had previous exposure to PCs or the internet. Activities focused on social networking, entertainment, information search, and, in particular, job searches. Results of the exercise reveal both the promise of, and barriers to, mobile internet use by a potentially large community of first-time, mobile-centric users. Discussion focuses on the importance of self-expression and identity management in the refinement of online and offline presences, and considers these forces relative to issues of gender and socioeconomic status.

Download paper

2 September 2009

Donald Norman on products as services and experiences

Yachting
Donald Norman’s latest column for Interactions Magazine explores systems thinking and service design.

“A product is actually a service. Although the designer, manufacturer, distributer, and seller may think it is a product, to the buyer, it offers a valuable service. The easiest example is the automatic teller machine (ATM), or as many people think of it, a cash dispenser. To the company that manufactures it as well as to the bank that purchases it, the ATM is a product. But to the customer, the ATM provides a service. In similar fashion, although a camera is thought of as a product, its real value is the service it offers to its owner: Cameras provide memories. Similarly, music players provide a service: the enjoyment of listening. Cell phones offer communication, interaction, and other pleasures.

In reality a product is all about the experience. It is about discovery, purchase, anticipation, opening the package, the very first usage. It is also about continued usage, learning, the need for assistance, updating, maintenance, supplies, and eventual renewal in the form of disposal or exchange.”

Read full story

2 September 2009

Experientia’s senior designer Luca Troisi on experience design and yachting

Yachting
One of our staff members, senior designer Luca Troisi, worked previously in the yachting industry and has not forgotten those roots when he joined Experientia. Luca’s extensive and excellently written article explores what experience design could mean for the yachting industry:

“In design terms there are a few obvious analogies between depression of the 1930s and today. Consider two product groups that symbolise both ages: the car then and the mobile phone now. The yachting industry during the past few years has taken the automotive industry as its reference point.

But in order to attract the customers of the future, it will most likely have to take a lead from other industries, even those that may seem very distant from a product standpoint; in a number of ways the mobile phone industry points the way that designers should view the future…”

Read full story

2 September 2009

The architect of experience

Peter Fossick
Paula Wallace, president of the Savannah College of Art and Design, interviews Peter Fossick, who is the coordinator of a new program in service design at the college.

“Everything is moving toward service design. Design is becoming more intangible, less about product and more about the experience of the product. Look at Vélib’, the bicycle rental program in Paris. The technology is ancient–it’s a bicycle, after all–but the program is so brilliant thanks to the service architecture. I’m not saying we’ll stop inventing new products. I’m just saying that designing the experience of the product is becoming just as fundamental as the product itself.”

Read interview

2 September 2009

The rise of the super fakes

Kashi
What happens when a large % of your target market wants your brand cachet but is happy with a decent-enough quality fake? Nokia’s user anthropologist Jan Chipchase has published an essay on the current state of the fake mobile phone market in China, and what the shift to services means for the manufacturers of fake products here.

“In many instances the cash-poor, slightly savvy consumer wants to own the brand, doesn’t or won’t pay the premium charged so they head to the, usually sizable used/fake/stolen phone market to pick up a bargain.”

Read essay

2 September 2009

How mobile is connecting people to what matters

The Progress Project
Via Dina Mehta, founder and managing director of Mosoci India, I found out about Progress, a highly interesting new website set up by Nokia and Lonely Planet:

“The Progress Project is the initiative set up by Nokia and Lonely Planet that is focused on capturing the human impact of mobile innovation; tackling social, environmental or economic challenges; bringing to life real stories of people through video. The site’s not fully live yet – I was told it will be up and running fully by Sept 3 – still, I thought I’d share this now, as videos of the documentaries that were made by the Lonely Planet and Nokia teams on our immersions into the Nokia Life Tools and Nokia Tej projects are already up there!”

Read full story

2 September 2009

Experientia helps Helsinki reduce carbon emissions

Low2No
Helsinki, Finland — Yesterday, Turin-based company Experientia was announced as part of the winning team for a project in Jätkäsaari, Helsinki, which aims to construct an urban zone with low or no carbon emissions.

Sitra, the Finnish innovation agency, revealed that the winning team of the Low2No development design competition was made up of Arup, Sauerbruch Hutton , Experientia and Galley Eco Capital — selected out of 74 initial entries — for their C_life – City as living factory of ecology project.

Experientia bring their unique perspective as an innovative experience design company to the project. With a focus on people-centred design, and people’s real needs, behaviours and experiences, Experientia provides a balance to the architectural and financial parts of the project, and considers the impact of sustainability on people’s day-to-day lifestyles.

The competition jury stated that the multinational team leveraged a particularly promising consumer/behavioural framework to empower citizens in meeting the goal of sustainability.

Marco Steinberg, director of strategic design at Sitra and chairman of the competition jury said “A well developed holistic proposal, the strategy highlighted two important insights: the creation of a carbon neutral district dovetailed with consumer oriented planning, thus supporting Sitra’s objective of empowering citizens.”

While other team members devised the architectural and financial strategies for the project, Experientia’s responsibility was to address the delicate theme of how to initiate behavioural change to support a sustainable style of living in this completely renewed urban district. Starting with the concept that people, their contexts, social networks, habits and beliefs are crucial tools for creating sustainable change in behaviour, Experientia explored ways to offer people control over their consumption and to see the effects of their actions on the environment.

Using their expertise in designing valuable user experiences, Experientia’s strategies to empower people’s change include: developing engagement and awareness programs, through services aimed at creating social actions based on green values; using technology to assist people in making decisions, such as energy metres and dynamic pricing systems; producing positive reinforcement loops (with incentives and benefits) for people who live, work and visit Jätkäsaari; and using the community as a knowledge network to share best practices.

Over the next 6 years, the Jätkäsaari district will be designed, constructed and opened to people. From there, the sustainable ideals that govern its day-to-day life will act as a model and example for the rest of Helsinki, Finland and the world. Through Experientia, Turin will be a vital part of this journey.

See also this earlier post on Putting People First.