“With new social-networking communities popping up continuously, 100,000 apps in the iPhone Appstore, 500+ contacts in multiple places, two to three email accounts per user, Internet feeds from multiple sources, and different end-user credentials to remember for each service, can people still manage their digital lives? If on top of this, a text message notifies you of a new voicemail and an email notifies you of a new status update, something is wrong and the burden to manage it all is on the end-user.
There have been several efforts to bring the consumer’s content, contacts or information conveniently in one single place. Think instant messaging aggregators such as Adium or Nimbuzz, or a social-networking feed aggregator such as Tweetdeck. However, aggregators tend to only provide simultaneous access to multiple competing services, they usually don’t hide the service boundaries or add value by integrating with other content types or services.
The core of these problems is not accessibility or usability but relevance.”
In essence, the centre coordinates research projects addressing the physical, cognitive and social consequences of ageing, all informed by ethnographic research and supported by a shared pool of knowledge and engineering resources. It aims to discover and deliver technology solutions which support independent ageing, ideally in a home environment, based on the assumption that this will improve the quality of life of older citizens while reducing the burden on carers and on the healthcare system.
As part of the initiative, an ethnographic research unit (ERU) was established within the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at the National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway. Since its inception the ERU has conducted ethnographic research with individuals across Ireland – from inner city Dublin to remote areas of Counties Roscommon, Cork and Kilkenny. This research has been used to support clinically oriented work, to shape the direction of research projects and to learn how new technology was used in the homes of older people.
Looking back after nearly three years of multi-disciplinary work, the ERU felt that it would be worthwhile to bring together in one accessible volume a sample of their interactions and perspectives. The objective is to showcase some of their achievements and highlight the collaborative nature of their endeavours.
interactions: information, physicality, co-ownership, and culture
Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko
From tangible computing, to societal problem solving, to the trials and tribulations of user reserach – this issue explores the evolving nature of experiences, people and technology.
Tangible interaction = form + computing
Mark Baskinger, Mark Gross
The ability to merge physical and digital interactions has long been the goal of designers; the ubiquity of technology is now making that goal a reality. This piece from Mark Baskinger and Mark Gross explores that melding of physical and digital.
Why marketing research makes us cringe
What separates design research from marketing research is a core but elusive principle: There is a phenomenal distinction between evaluating a product before it is finalized, the focus of design research, and evaluating consumer response after a product is finalized.
Why designers sometimes make me cringe
Why is it that user experience design-often hailed on the covers of major contemporary business magazines as the creative savior of everything from product innovation to business operations-seems to prefer to paint a picture of itself as a misunderstood, misapplied, and unrecognized profession; a victim of ruthless market forces and incompetent business managers?
The transmedia design challenge: technology that is pleasurable and satisfying
I agreed to give a keynote address at the 21st Century Transmedia Innovation Symposium. Traditional dictionaries do not include the word “transmedia,” but Wikipedia does. Its definition introduced me to many other words that neither I nor my dictionaries had ever before heard (for example, “narratological“). Strange jargon aside, I do believe there is an important idea here, which I explore in this column.
The art of editing: the new old skills for a curated life
This age is not about writers learning new tools, nor is it about readers sift through content; it’s about editors experimenting and making meaning of stories for themselves and for their new audiences-whether those are small or large.
interactions cafe: on designers as catalytic agents
Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko
Meanwhile, MySpace encouraged self-expression and the organizing of subcultures. boyd’s latest paper entitled, “White Flight in Networked Publics? How Race and Class Shaped American Teen Engagement with MySpace and Facebook” suggests that those same origins also propel race-based divisions. She likens the mass teen migration from MySpace to Facebook to “white flight”.
The article, that quotes design researchers Mizuko Ito and Younghee Jung, describes at length the cultural differences in mobile phone use, but then asks if “such differences between cultures [will] persist and grow larger, or will they diminish over time?”
Companies would like to know, because it costs more to provide different handsets and services in different parts of the world than it would do to offer the same things everywhere.
A few years ago such questions provoked academic controversy. Not everybody agrees with Ms Ito’s argument that technology is always socially constructed. James Katz, a professor of communication at Rutgers University in New Jersey, argues that there is an Apparatgeist (German for “spirit of the machine”). For personal communication technologies, he argues, people react in pretty much the same way, a few national variations notwithstanding. “Regardless of culture,” he suggests, “when people interact with personal communication technologies, they tend to standardise infrastructure and gravitate towards consistent tastes and universal features.”
He was trained at Johns Hopkins in preventive medicine and pediatrics. He realized just what a mess the health care system is, with messy delivery processes and frustrating experiences. He figured it could be simpler. So Jay co-founded Hello Health, a novel way of experiencing healthcare via a Facebook-like platform that uses office visits, email, instant messaging and video chat to restore the traditional doctor-patient relationship.
Now Jay has a design firm, The Future Well, focused on creating the future of health and well-being.
“Our lifestyles are increasingly driven by technology. Phones, computers and the internet pervade our days. There is a constant, nagging need to check for texts and email, to update Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn profiles, to acquire the latest notebook or 3G cellphone.
Are we being served by these technological wonders or have we become enslaved by them? I study the psychology of technology, and it seems to me that we are sleepwalking into a world where technology is severely affecting our well-being. Technology can be hugely useful in the fast lane of modern living, but we need to stop it from taking over.”
“Futurologist Ian Pearson predicts an explosion of such services next year.
“I’m surprised we haven’t got there yet. But it makes a lot of sense if a friend is a street away then you can meet up for coffee,” he said.
And it won’t end there as the physical and virtual worlds increasingly blur, he says.
“Instead of seeing people as they are you might well be able to see their Facebook profiles appearing as bubbles above them,” said Mr Pearson.”
“As a company, 3M is at the forefront of a movement that appears to be gaining traction: customer innovation centers, typically located near company research facilities, that provide a forum for meeting with corporate customers and engaging them directly in the innovation process. [...]
The idea behind the centers is to foster innovation by combining a richer understanding of customer needs with creative links among 3M technologies. “Being customer-driven doesn’t mean asking customers what they want and then giving it to them,” says Ranjay Gulati, a professor at the Harvard Business School. “It’s about building a deep awareness of how the customer uses your product.””
Even though travel and accommodation was paid by 3M, against New York Times policy, the article is worth a read.
Since the beginning of our company, we had hosted our websites and mail with Aventure Host, a United Kingdom based webhosting company, that has provided us with excellent service allowing our company to grow from an idea to a 20 member organisation, with complicated web hosting demands.
For a variety of reasons (Italian privacy law, an inhouse server investment, a new tech person who is not proficient enough in English, and a need for more direct control), we recently decided to move our web services to Italy, and some of them even to our own office.
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