IBM’s two-year research program, which also involves the National Institute of Design of India and Tokyo University, will explicitly focus on making cell phones easier to use, for both the elderly and the illiterate. Moreover, the software it develops will be open-source, so all governments and businesses can take advantage.
MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy was a joint commission by the UK Cabinet Office and the Institute for Government. It shows how the latest insights from the science of behaviour change can be used to generate new and cost-effective solutions to some of the current major policy challenges, such as reducing crime, tackling obesity and climate change.
In their joint foreword to the report, the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, and the Executive Director of the Institute for Government, Sir Michael Bichard, said that behavioural theory has the potential to help policy makers deal with some of the difficult issues ahead and achieve more for less:
“Many of the biggest policy challenges we are now facing – such as the increase in people with chronic health conditions – will only be resolved if we are successful in persuading people to change their behaviour, their lifestyles or their existing habits. Fortunately, over the last decade, our understanding of influences on behaviour has increased significantly and this points the way to new approaches and new solutions.
“So whilst behavioural theory has already been deployed to good effect in some areas, it has much greater potential to help us. To realise that potential, we have to build our capacity and ensure that we have a sophisticated understanding of what does influence behaviour. This report is an important step in that direction because it shows how behavioural theory could help achieve better outcomes for citizens, either by complementing more established policy tools, or by suggesting more innovative interventions.”
Nikki Barton, head of digital design at Nokia Design Studio, points out that a good design delivers the goods that are not only pretty to look at, but also work the way people want them to. [...] “As all the models must be user-friendly, designers often spend hours observing how people all over the world use and interact with their phones. They then bring back their new insights to the studios.” [...]
For Younghee Jung, her work as a phone designer is mostly about forecasting future trends, focusing on people. “People’s behaviour and motivation change slower than technology, but simultaneously guide its development,” says the research leader at Nokia Research Center. [...]
For design manager Robert Williams, his work revolves around giving people a better mobile experience. He is responsible for creating the icons used on Nokia phones.
“Only a few years ago, digital services were about bandwidth, wireless protocols, and emerging standards for mobile television. To the keen observer, however, there has recently been a significant shift from antennas to services that might completely change the way we as citizens live, work and interact with technology around us. [...]
From the integrated digital services in the transportation system of Paris, to the integration of mobile and online public services of the City of Westminster, the way citizens interact with the city in which they live is changing rapidly.
Around the world, groundbreaking services are already being piloted to allow the visually impared to move seemlessly around cities, to solve congenstion problems once and for all through intelligent and personalised car pooling, and implement sensor-networks in cities to create a smart city that only cleans the streets, turn on the street lights, and empties the harbage bins when there is a need.”
“A student of design, Medhi has developed text-free user interfaces (UIs) to allow any illiterate or semi-literate person on first contact with a computer, to immediately know how to proceed with minimal or no assistance.
As Medhi points out, in text-based conventional information architecture found in mobile phones and PCs, there are a number of usability challenges that semi literate people face. By using a combination of voice, video and graphics in an innovative way, Medhi has overcome this challenge.
Medhi discovered the kind of barriers that illiterate populations face in using technology through an ethnographic design process involving more than 400 women from low-income, low-literate communities across India, the Philippines, and South Africa.”
In the latest issue of Science, Allcott and co-author Sendhil Mullainathan, of Harvard, advocate passage of a bill currently in Congress that would fund more behavioral research about energy consumption. The authors also note initiatives like that of OPOWER, a Virginia company, which has found that the user-friendly energy reports it sends to consumers can influence behavior enough to reduce household energy use by 2 percent, at minimal cost (OPOWER is an affiliate of Ideas42, an MIT-linked think tank to which Allcott also belongs). MIT News spoke with Allcott about how behavioral economics addresses our energy needs.
“I feel like there’s this tension that goes on in business and especially in marketing, this conceit that we can take humans—you know, messy, irrational, organic—and somehow cut them open and figure out the binary, rational, predictable, money-making algorithms that determine what they do. You see all this harnessing of science, you know, whether it’s neuro-this or lie detector-that or psychotherapy-this that gets used in the service of, not helping people, but helping marketers crack the nut of what people want, where is the desire center in the brain. You know, that we can learn things about people in a way that is “true”—that is predictable and true, and will determine consumption patterns. I find the idea that we should be able to do that just fascinating, because that’s not the world of people that we live in as people, so why as marketers or designers or producers do we think that we should turn people into things that they really aren’t?”
“Writing in the British Journal of Education Technology in 2008, a group of academics led by Sue Bennett of the University of Wollongong set out to debunk the whole idea of digital natives, arguing that there may be “as much variation within the digital native generation as between the generations”.”
Shum was offered the job of director of “Mobile Experience Design” for the Windows Phone group, with the challenge to recreate the operating system’s user interface in a way that would let users “emotionally” connect with Windows smartphone.
The work of Shum and his colleagues on redesigning the mobile user experience for Microsoft customers is the first visible result of this effort, and Windows Phone 7 was unveiled last month.
To showcase our latest projects, ideas and methodologies, we have redesigned our website – www.experientia.com – giving it a fresh look, and creating a brand new experience for the viewer. The site follows top user experience standards, and will be easily updatable with new projects, staff and news as we continue to grow.
The new site is visually engaging, with slideshows featuring our work, and also content rich, sharing our methodologies and our ideas about some of the most important questions in experience design today. Our design aesthetic is evident throughout the site, in the impeccable attention to detail and the eye-catching composition.
Our innovative filtering approach helps people to quickly and easily find their way to our services, and a library of some of our most exciting and representative projects. Content can also be accessed through pictures, making the site highly visual, and exploring new directions in filtering content, particularly for a corporate website. All content can be accessed in multiple ways, designed to meet different needs and points of view, such as through services, past projects, and the common challenges that businesses face. Integrated into our services and methodologies are actual projects from the last four and a half years, showing how we work in action, and our great results.
The projects on the site are a selection, chosen to reflect the breadth and width of areas we deal with, and our varied expertise. In addition to this, the viewpoints section “Our Perspectives”, shares our thoughts on some of the most vital issues and developments in experience design today. These will change regularly, creating an interesting focal point for frequent visitors to our site.
The site also offers a portal to our popular and successful blog, Putting People First, where Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken explores daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation.
Currently in English, we envision an Italian version being online in the next few months. The site is online at www.experientia.com.
For more information on Experientia contact us at info at experientia dot com.
A couple of their research reports are highly recommended reading:
The diffusion of environmental behaviours: The role of influential individuals in social networks
An investigation into the notion of ‘green’ mavens, with a view to identifying specific opportunities for communications and policy.
> Summary report
> Technical report
Public understanding of sustainable energy consumption in the home
Brook Lyndhurst was commissioned by Defra [the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] to conduct qualitative research into public understanding of sustainable energy consumption in the home. Through the course of 12 focus groups, in-home energy audits and follow-up, in-depth interviews, we were able to identify how energy attitudes changed across different segments of the UK population, e.g. ‘dark green’ consumers, wastage focused etc. This innovative segmentation analysis enabled us to make policy recommendations to Defra across five key behaviour goals, notably installing domestic micro-generation, insulation products and energy efficient appliances.
For many years, the “Cambridge Phenomenon” has been associated in most peoples’ minds with academic spin-off firms, established to develop new products based on intellectual property created within their university laboratories, and with Silicon Valley style venture capital providing the finance. But a two year research study at Cambridge University has found that the key to the success of hi-tech firms generating the most employment lies in developing solutions to customer problems. [...]
The report found little enthusiasm amongst successful, fast growing high-tech firms for the kinds of multi-partner research grants involving university-industry collaboration that are favoured by UK policy makers and, in contrast to the US, a dearth of R&D contracts with public sector customers. [...]
Instead the report proposes a series of new policies to encourage more R&D contracts between small companies and lead customers, including a new grants scheme and increased use of procurement to meet Government innovation needs.
On March 19 the Darden School of Business [Charlottesville, VA, USA] and the Batten Institute [an academic research center of the business school] will launch Darden’s new innovation laboratory, or i.Lab, a state-of-the-art learning environment that inspires a new approach to teaching innovation and entrepreneurship. [...]
“In contrast to many traditional business-school offerings, the i.Lab provides experiential, team-based and collaborative learning opportunities, such as a design-based studio where students can transform concepts and ideas into physical prototypes,” said Elizabeth O’Halloran, Managing Director, Batten Institute. [...]
The Innovation Lab, or “i.Lab,” at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, is a unique physical learning environment rooted in multidisciplinary thinking and informed by ethnographic, anthropological, and other methodologies traditionally used in the social sciences.
Internet on Mobiles: Evolution of Usability and User Experience (pdf)
Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy presented at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on 11 December 2009.
The mobile Internet is no longer a new phenomenon; the first mobile devices supporting web access were introduced over 10 years ago. During the past ten years technology and business infrastructure have evolved and the number of mobile Internet users has increased all over the world. Service user interface, technology and business infrastructure have built a framework for service adaptation: they can act as enablers or as barriers. Users evaluate how the new technology adds value to their life based on multiple factors.
This dissertation has its focus in the area of human-computer interaction research and practices. The overall goal of my research has been to improve the usability and the user experience of mobile Internet services. My research has sought answers to questions relevant in service development process. Questions have varied during the years, the main question being: How to design and create mobile Internet services that people can use and want to use? I have sought answers mostly from a human factors perspective, but have also taken the elements form technology and business infrastructure into consideration. In order to answer the questions raised in service development projects, we have investigated the mobile Internet services in the laboratory and in the field. My research has been conducted in various countries in 3 continents: Asia, Europe and North America. These studies revealed differences in mobile Internet use in different countries and between user groups. Studies in this dissertation were conducted between years 1998 and 2007 and show how questions and research methods have evolved during the time.
Good service creation requires that all three factors: technology, business infrastructure and users are taken in consideration. When using knowledge on users in decision making, it is important to understand that the different phases of the service development cycle require the different kind of information on users. It is not enough to know about the users, the knowledge about users has to be transferred into decisions.
The service has to be easy to use so that people can use it. This is related to usability. Usability is a very important factor in service adoption, but it is not enough. The service has to have relevant content from user perspective. The content is the reason why people want to use the service. In addition to the content and the ease of use, people evaluate the goodness of the service based on many other aspects: the cost, the availability and the reliability of the system for example. A good service is worth trying and after the first experience, is it worth using. These aspects are considered to influence the ‘user experience’ of the system. In this work I use lexical analysis to evaluate how the words “usability” and “user experience” are used in mobile HCI conference papers during the past 10 years. The use of both words has increased during the period and reflects the evolution of research questions and methodology over time.
Related to her thesis, is her article “Mobile internet: Past, Present, and the future“.
The Mobile Internet is no longer a new phenomenon; the first mobile devices supporting Web access were introduced over 10 years ago. During the past 10 years many user studies have been conducted that have generated insights into mobile Internet use. The number of mobile Internet users has increased and the focus of the studies has switched from the user interface to user experiences. Mobile phones are regarded as personal devices: the current possibility of gathering more contextual information and linking that to the Internet cre- ates totally new challenges for user experience and design.
Paola Antonelli – Talk to Me
Whether openly and actively, or in subtle, subliminal ways, things talk to us, and designers write the initial script that will let us develop and improvise the dialogue.
Richard Banks – The 40 Year-Old Tweet
Most entries on Twitter are throwaway. They’re mundane, in the moment, with an expected period of interest of only a few minutes. This is true of much of what we put online. Yet as we grow older, breadcrumb like these, little traces of what we did in the past, will become more and more important as a way of looking back, and reminiscing on our lives. What seems mundane now will likely seem odd and forgotten in the future, and play an important role in triggering our memories. I suspect we’ll want to see, in 30 or 40 years time, what we were motivated enough about in 2009 to Tweet.
There’s a danger, though, that when we get old the services we used to express ourselves, and make records of our interests and activities in the past will either no longer exist, or will have changed beyond recognition. Do you think Twitter will still exist in 2049?
This presentation will talk about the role of the digital objects, products and services we are designing today as they take over from physical things as the primary way we remember our past. What are our responsibilities as designers in making sure not only that people’s lives are preserved for reminiscing, but also that the record of their past can be passed on to their offspring and become part of a family’s history?
Matt Cottam – Wooden Logic: In Search of Heirloom Electronics
In this session Matt Cottam will present a recent project entitled Wooden Logic: In search of Heirloom Electronics. The project represents the first phase in a hands-on sketching process aimed at exploring how natural materials and craft traditions can be brought to the center of interactive digital design to give modern products greater longevity and meaning.
Where furniture and fine art are cared for and handed down through generations as heirlooms, the value of digital products rarely survives beyond their short useful lifespan. Their rapid obsolescence makes them seem poor candidates for the use of natural materials and time-consuming manufacturing techniques. Yet these objects also occupy a very privileged and intimate position among our possessions, often living in our pockets, handbags and at our bedsides.
For centuries artisans have had the ability to sketch with wood and hand tools to craft high-quality, precious objects. With digital technology the functionality of objects became less tangible and visible, and their making fell almost exclusively to engineers and computer scientists. It is only in the past decade or so that the community and tools have evolved to the point that designers can sketch with hardware and software. This project seeks to combine seemingly dissonant elements, natural, material and virtual, and explore how they can be crafted to feel as if they were born together as parts of a unified object anatomy that is both singular and precious.
Timo Arnall – Designing for the Web in the World
From NFC mobile phones to Nabaztag and Nike+, there is an entirely new class of consumer product that becomes almost useless when disconnected from the network. How can designers deal with the vast complexity of designing not only interactive physical products, but the connections and resulting interactions with the data that they produce? In the Touch project we have been working with designing interactive products and services that involve RFID, NFC and mobile devices. The project has developed useful models for designing across tangible and mobile interactions, networks and the web, that allow us to see where existing products succeed or fail, and to get to a grip on the design of new networked products.
Kevin Cheng – Augmented Reality: Is It Real? Should We Care?
This year, we’ve seen the mobile market make incredible strides in technology. The iPhone, Android and Palm platforms have increased their functionality well beyond just being a phone and have added critical functions such as faster internet connectivity, video cameras, GPS and compasses. Handheld gaming devices have also converged, adding cameras and accelerometers to their devices.
The combination of all of these pieces have made Augmented Reality—overlaying information and technology virtually over what you see—become a true possibility. Suddenly, science fiction has become much less fictional.
Gretchen Anderson – The Importance of Facial Features
The tactile controls of an electronic, interactive product form its most recognizable aspects, or “facial features.” Choosing which controls to use and how they appear has an enormous impact on the impact the product makes on first impression. The process of deciding on your product’s facial features is tricky; a team must collaborate closely across multiple disciplines to determine what controls are needed, how they should appear and how they relate to the product’s form. Even with touch- and gesture-based interfaces, people need cues that point to (or obscure) the function, value, and lust-factor of the product.
This session will look at some well-known products and illuminate best practices for integrating interaction designers, industrial designers, and engineers to make well-informed decisions about a product’s (inter)face. This session looks at how design teams can make sense of user research to inform the design of the user interface as well as the aesthetic expression. It will also look at how emerging interactive models (gesture, touch and voice) change the historical relationship of industrial and interaction design.
Peter Morville – The Future of Search
Search is among the most disruptive innovations of our time. It influences what we buy and where we go. It shapes how we learn and what we believe. It’s a wicked problem of terrific consequence and a radically cross-disciplinary, creative challenge. In this talk, we’ll define a pattern language for search that embraces user psychology and behavior, multisensory interaction, and emerging technology. We’ll identify design principles that apply across the categories of web, e-commerce, enterprise, desktop, mobile, social, and realtime. And, we’ll show how futures methods and user experience deliverables can help us to create better search interfaces and applications today, and invent the unthinkable discovery tools of tomorrow.
Tom Igoe – Open Source Design: Camel or Unicorn?
Open source development has taken hold in software design, and is beginning to show up in electronics hardware design as well. Thus far, however, open source has been limited mainly to the engineering side of development. Open source tools for design tend to be abysmal, largely because there are no designers working on them. And open source has not made a blip on consumer-facing issues like licensing, warranties, and customer support. Should it? What impacts could it have, and how can the design community help to bring that about? How does the open source “democratic project development” model fly in design? In this session, I’ll examine some current examples of how open source is expanding beyond software, and discuss ways in which is might continue to do so.
Nicolas Nova – From Observing Failures to Provoking Them
One of the reasons why product and technology failures are important is that they can be seen as “seeds of the future” or “good ideas before their time”. A common example lies in the use of personal communication with pictures, which failed several times in its phone instantiation, but is now a huge success with laptops, PCs, webcams and Skype.
In the context of design, this talk with discuss how failures can be explored through field research and eventually help creating innovative products or services.
The underlying rationale of field research in design is generally to conduct studies so that the results can bring out insights, constraints and relevant material to design inventive or groundbreaking artifacts. When it comes to failures, this investigation can be tackled through two approaches. On the one hand, research can observe design flops and identify symptoms of failures. On the other hand, I am interested by a much more radical approach: provoking product failures as a way to document user behavior. What I mean here is the conscious design of questionable prototypes to investigate user experience. The point is to have “anti-probe”: failed materialization of the principles of technology that can be shown to people to engage them in open-ended ways. This alternative to start dialogue with users highlight inspirational data about how people would really happened.
The presentation will describe different case studies about failures following these two approaches to shed some light on original design questions.
Nathan Shedroff – Meaningful Innovation Relies on Interaction and Service Design
Interaction designers can play a key role in creating a more meaningful, sustainable, and post-consumer world. come learn about frameworks and approaches that help designers make real change for customers.
Dan Hill – New Soft City
The way the street feels may soon be defined by the invisible and inaudible. Cities are being laced with sensors, which in turn generate urban informatics experiences, imbuing physical space with real-time behavioural data. The urban fabric itself can become reflexive and responsive to some extent, and there are numerous implications for the design and experience of cities as a result.
Multi-sensory interaction design merges with architecture, planning and an urbanism informed by the gentle ambient drizzle of everyday data. Drawing from projects in Sydney, Masdar, Helsinki, Seoul and elsewhere, I’ll explore the opportunities implicit in this new soft city – how we might once again enable a city alive to the touch of its citizens – and what this means for an urban interaction design.
Kendra Shimmell – Environments: The Future of Interaction Design
What is the future of interaction design? I propose that it’s movement — natural, fluid interactions — your body interfacing with the environment around you.
As an interaction designer, I understand the inherent drawbacks of hardware-based interfaces — the range of movement is limited and it is frankly kind of lame to be bound to a device.
In 2001 I became involved with the Environments Laboratory at The Ohio State University. Our focus was to explore movement analysis, motion capture, and interactive performance. Since then, I have befriended a few choreographers that have been developing very sophisticated tools to explore the reality of the human body as interface.
Some questions that I’ve been exploring: Can we obtain meaningful data on human motion? Is there a design research implication? What are the potential industry applications for this type of technology? Can gesture and movement be standardized (Laban Movement Analysis and American Sign Language)?
Join me in exploring the human body as interface. You will get to try it out (yes, control light and sound with your body), and I will lead you in a workshop to explore the more practical use cases for such a technology moving forward.
Dave Gray – A Grammar for Creativity and Innovation
We’re moving from an industrial to a knowledge economy, where creativity and innovation will be the keys to value. New rules apply. Yet two hundred years of industrial habits are embedded in our workplaces, our schools and our systems of government. How must we change our work practices to thrive in the 21st Century? Dave Gray will share insights from his upcoming book on the work of creativity and innovation, due to be published in the first quarter of 2010.
Christopher Fahey – The Human Interface (or:Why Products are People too)
In the half-century since the first transistor was invented we’ve seen radical changes in how humans interact with computers and digital systems: We’ve gone from punch cards to text commands, from mouse pointers to touchscreen gestures, from menus to voice recognition.
What all of these user experience innovations have in common is an inexorable movement towards interfaces that behave more and more like the way real humans have interacted with one another for millenia.
Our interactions with systems increasingly feel like interactions with real people because our systems are increasingly designed to sound, look, and behave just like humans do. We’re interacting with web sites and software on a conversational, physical, and emotional level. In a way, our interfaces are actually becoming more human.
We can no longer ask users to think like machines just to be able to use software. Instead, our systems must act more like people. User experience designers, in turn, need to stop thinking about interfaces as dumb control panels for manipulating machines and data and start thinking about them (in many ways literally!) as human beings.
This talk will explore diverse areas of non-digital human experience – including language and theater, neurology and sociology – in order to frame and showcase some of the most exciting current and emerging user experience design practices, both on the web and in other media such as video games and the arts. The objective is quite simply to inspire designers to humanize their interfaces. This new way of understanding user experience design crosses many disciplines, from branding and content strategy (your product’s voice and personality) to interaction design and information architecture (your product’s behavior and motivations), and has many practical applications at every point in current and future design scenarios.
More importantly, this kind of thinking can be framed as part of a longer term trend in interaction design generally: Looking even further ahead – but probably sooner than many of us might imagine – future UX designers will almost certainly be moving from designing screens to designing actual personalities, for example artificial intelligences, virtual characters, and even human-like androids. We’ll peek a little further out and look at what the next generation of human interfaces will be and discuss what skills future interaction designers will need to have.”
Ezio Manzini – Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability
1. In the last decades we have been witnessing a growing wave of social innovation. A multiplicity of institutions, enterprises, non-profit organisations, but also and most of all, individual citizens and their associations have been capable to move outside the mainstream models of living and producing and to invent new and sustainable ones.
2. Social innovation is driven by diffuse creativity and entrepreneurship. That is, by resources that, in a densely populated and highly connected world, are very abundant (if only they are recognized and valorised). In the next future, social innovation has high potentialities to become a major driver of change. But something has to be done to help the process.
3. Social innovation cannot be planned, but it can be made more probable creating favourable environments and empowering creative people. Creative people can be empowered by specifically conceived sets of products, services and communication artefacts, i.e by conceiving and developing enabling solutions, and in particular, enabling digital platforms.
The presentation articulates the previous statements and introduces the discussion on what interaction design can do to catalyse diffuse creativity for sustainable changes.
Jon Kolko – Keynote: My Heart is in The Work
In 1900, Andrew Carnegie quietly declared that his “heart is in the work” – that he had found an endeavor worth pursuing, and that he would passionately follow-through on that endeavor until it was complete. We interaction designers feel that passion on a daily basis, as we’ve found ourselves at the heart of industry, policy, and culture. Our endeavors are worth pursuing and we approach them with the whole of our hearts. We build the artifacts and frameworks that support engagement, that keep us entertained, aroused, engaged and productive. We are building the culture we live in, and we possess the capability to enable massive change in an increasingly fragmented and tense world.
This talk will examine our ability to affect change at the intersection of experience, behavior, meaning, and culture, and will emphasize our responsibility to approach our work with philanthropic enthusiasm that would make Carnegie proud.
Also online are:
- Jeff Blais – Designing for Mobile Experiences
- Cindy Chastain – Thinking Like a Storyteller
- Allan Chochinov – Girls and Women: Objects Lessons in the Primacy of Interaction
- Maria Cordell – Interaction Design for the Fourth Dimension
- Shelley Evenson – Service as Design
- Ben Fullerton – Designing for Solitude
- Jamin Hegeman – Service Design: An Interaction Design Perspective
- Livia Labate – Ceci n’est pas une KPI
- Alexis Lloyd – New Interactions With News
- Rob Nero – TRKBRD: From Idea to Conception with Physical Prototyping
- Kel Smith – The Use of Virtual Worlds Among People with Disabilities
- Guillermo Torres – Rapid prototyping with Adobe Flash Catalyst
- Kate Waiser – The Change We Need Needs IxD: Designing Gov 2.0 That’s Inclusive
- Denise Wilton – Writing for Relationships (and applications)