“Welcome to the Relationship Revolution—a radical shift in the way we view ourselves and our social ties. The Internet creates “ambient intimacy,” which London-based tech designer Leisa Reichelt defines as “being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible.” As a result, we’re awash in relationships. There’s always someone we can turn to for advice, information, solace, validation, a good laugh, a thought-provoking suggestion—and there’s always someone listening.”
“Eric von Hippel, a long-time affiliate with the Berkman Center, leads off our 2010 season of lunch talks with a discussion of “Household Sector” innovation. To explain his body of work, von Hippel explains that he’s tried to bring thinking about the communications space into the world of physical things, examining how processes we think of as affecting digital media can also apply to other forms of innovation.
Today’s talk introduces a [UK] survey of innovation carried out by customers – there’s 2-3 times more innovation from consumers than there is from the industry. This counters our traditional thinking about innovation. We generally believe that manufacturers dominate innovation – users satisfy their own, personal needs, but manufacturers can spread costs across customers, allowing for innovation that serves wider audiences. As a result, our understanding of intellectual property tends to protect manufacturers, not users.”
“The problem, as I see it, is that many small startups, and even some larger social media companies and efforts, lack user-centric and objective definitions of their goals and objectives. Companies are started to extend existing practices or applications, to take advantage of emerging market and social technology trends, and to explore opportunities in the marketplace. Those are either product or business-centric approaches, and they take user participation and interest for granted.
But the participation of users is precisely what will shape a company’s success. Social interaction design should be an essential step in vetting and defining product and service features. It can be relatively quick, and is not a full-time requirement. But insofar as it supplements the skills already covered by engineers, front-end designers, and business sense, it is a role that should not be overlooked.”
“The increasing rate of technological innovation and integration into the daily lives of many online users has spurred both the reconceptualization of the digital divide, and the promotion of user-centered research methods; that emphasize the significance of variability in technology acquisition. No longer is technology to be considered an external tool, where success depends on basic functionality, but an integrated player affected by the social relations and environment in which it resides. Through Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory in combination with actor-network theory, this study aims to look first at the systems in which nonprofits and web designers separately operate; how their processes are altered with the introduction of design ethnography and WordPress; and finally which human and nonhuman actors may be utilized in the creation of websites for nonprofits who desire technological self-sufficiency.”
A few blogs report on Bell’s contribution, but so far no video is online.
“Aside from asking the right questions, it’s also about learning through engagement and designing a set of experiences. Bell cited one of her latest coup in the last couple of years was that users are now as important to Intel as silicon. One of her biggest breakthroughs was the realization that she needed a roadmap that reflects what users needed instead of a simple processor update. However, she conceded that unless the intended experience of the silicon is very clear, it’s hard to make the right call throughout the entire process of conceptualizing and designing to testing in the homes and labs.”
“We’re marrying social science with engineering. Taking what we know about human beings,. We have a centre of excellence for understanding people, and one for engineering. The lab thinks about human IO, not just computer IO, and running the gamut with new forms of input method, being playful and provocative. Having engineers makes this happen In the next ten years, you will see some very different things from Intel,” said Genevieve Bell.
“Intel thinks the idea of understanding future user experiences is important enough that it has funded an entire arm of its research organization to this, known as “Interactions and Experiences Research.” Split into design and technology elements, and headed by Dr. Bell, the idea is to understand how users worldwide experience their technology, what they love about it, and what frustrates them.”
“Speaking on Day Zero of this year’s Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Bell suggested that Intel should begin to “think about experiences as a starting point for designing new technology”. Instead of working around a list of features, she explained that this would require Intel to understand the experiences people have with technology today. With such understanding, the company could focus on creating new technologies to better those existing “beloved” experiences and facilitate new ones.”
“Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist and Intel researcher spoke about how she is trying to get Intel to think simple instead of complex. She and her team travel the world watching how people use technology in public and at home.”
“You’ve likely never heard of him, but he has almost certainly had an impact on your life. A principal researcher with Microsoft Research who commutes from his home in Toronto to Redmond, Washington one week out of every month, he conceives and develops innovations in user interfaces. He played a chief role on the team that invented the multi-touch user interface. That was in 1984. He was also co-recipient of an Oscar for scientific and technical achievement in film in 2003. And he’s currently lending a hand developing an exciting consumer technology that he predicts will begin its march toward ubiquity in just three short years (no spoilers here—you’ll have to read on to discover what it is).
A conversation with Mr. Buxton is filled with fascinating digressions about the history of current technologies and how decades-old innovations can be the foundations of some of the most stimulating modern gadgets. The interview I had with him in July was arranged so that we could discuss Kinect, Microsoft’s new controller-less interface for the Xbox 360, but that ended up being just one part of our lengthy and enlightening discussion. That’s why I’ve decided to transcribe the bulk of the conversation. To do anything less would deprive readers of his captivating tales of technology.”
The first part deals with the back stories of several modern consumer devices, from touch screen phones to smart watches.
The second part focuses on Kinect, the motion-based, controller-less interface that will come to the Xbox 360 this November.
In the final part Buxton reflects on what the next big thing will be.
“A century ago, when the first home phones were “party lines” shared by neighbors, “worrying you were being listened in on was a common feature of American culture,” says sociologist Claude Fischer of the University of California-Berkeley.
Oh, how times have changed.
Now, we’re not only unconcerned about overheard phone calls, we purposely broadcast our personal business to large groups of “friends” and “followers” on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
As a result, we’re fast becoming a nation of casual eavesdroppers, where every day we tune in to a constant stream of updates on what others are saying and doing, from where they’re about to eat lunch (complete with photos) to their conversations with others.
All this sharing, some experts say, may be feeding a tendency toward exhibitionism, and devaluing the very privacy that earlier generations so desired.
But not everyone says the rise of widespread social snooping is such a bad thing.”
Research article by Melissa R. Ho (University of California, Berkeley), Thomas N. Smyth (Georgia Institute of Technology), Matthew Kam( Carnegie Mellon University) and Andy Dearden (Shefaeld Hallam University)
Recent years have seen a burgeoning interest in research into the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the context of developing regions, particularly into how such ICTs might be appropriately designed to meet the unique user and infrastructural requirements that we encounter in these cross-cultural environments. This emerging aeld, known to some as HCI4D, is the product of a diverse set of origins. As such, it can often be difacult to navigate prior work, and/or to piece together a broad picture of what the aeld looks like as a whole. In this paper, we aim to contextualize HCI4D—to give it some historical background, to review its existing literature spanning a number of research traditions, to discuss some of its key issues arising from the work done so far, and to suggest some major research objectives for the future.
(via relevant history)
Why your world, work, and brain are being creatively disrupted
by Nick Bolton
Crown Business, Sept. 2010
The New York Times has published an article that was adapted from the book I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works by Nick Bilton, the lead writer for The New York Times technology blog Bits. The book, to be published on Tuesday by Crown Business, examines the impact of technology on our lives.
“Now, we are always in the center of the map, and it’s a very powerful place to be.
When people want to know how the media business will deal with the Internet, the best way to begin to understand the sweeping changes is to recognize that the consumer of entertainment and information is now in the center. That center changes everything. It changes your concept of space, time and location. It changes your sense of community. It changes the way you view the information, news and data coming directly to you.
Now you are the starting point. Now the digital world follows you, not the other way around.”
“In doing so, it will map out the major issues, identify and discuss potential solutions, suggest the best ways forward and, we hope, as a consequence, provide a platform for collective innovation at a higher level than has been previously achieved.”
As the first global open foresight programme the Future Agenda began by identifying 16 of the most pressing issues to face society over the next 10 years, irrespective of location, industry or financial stability, and has invited experts in each area to publish an initial point of view for others to comment upon. The subjects and experts who have written the initial point of view include:
- Authenticity – Diane Coyle, OBE, Enlightenment Economics, UK
- Choice – Professor Jose Louis Nueno, Professor of Marketing, IESE, Barcelona, Spain
- Cities – Professor Richard Burdett, Professor of Architecture & Urbanisation, LSE, UK
- Connectivity – Jan Farjh, Vice President and Head of Ericsson Research, Sweden
- Currency – Dr Rajiv Kumar, Chief Executive ICRIER, India
- Data – DJ Collins, Head of Corporate Communications, Google Europe
- Energy – Dr Leo Roodhart, President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, VP Royal Dutch Shell, Netherlands
- Food – Jim Kirkwood, Vice President R&D, Centre for Technology Creation, General Mills, USA
- Health – Dr Jack Lord, CEO, Navigneics Inc, USA
- Identity – Professor Mike Hardy, OBE, Director of British Council Intercultural Dialogue, UK
- Migration – Professor Richard Black, Head of Global Science University of Surrey
- Money – Dave Birch, Founder Digital Money Forum, UK
- Transport – Mark Philips, Interior Design Manager at Jaguars Advanced Design Studio, UK
- Waste – Professor Ian Williams, Director of School of Civil Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, UK
- Water – Professor Stewart Burn Stream Leaders of Infrastructure Technologies, CISRO, Australia
- Work – Chris Meyer, Chief Executive of Monitor Networks, USA
The Future Agenda has also identified 20 insights which will have impact by 2020.
In 2010 the number of mobile subscribers reached 4bn. By 2020 there may well be as many as 50bn devices connected to each other. Everything that can benefit from a network connection will have one.
Fewer choices provide higher levels of satisfaction. We can see consumers making a trade‐off between variety and cost: Cost is winning and, as Asian consumers set the global trends, we will be focused on less variety not more.
The introduction of a broad‐basket ACU (Asian Currency Unit) as the third global reserve currency will provide the world with the opportunity to balance economic influence and trade more appropriately.
Virtual identity and physical identity are not the same thing; they differ in ways that we are only beginning to take on board. By 2020 this difference will disappear.
As urban migration increases globally, seen through the lens of efficiency, more densely populated cities such as Hong Kong and Manhattan are inherently more sustainable places to live than the spread-out alternatives found in the likes of Houston and Mexico City.
Access to information is the great leveller. As we become more comfortable sharing our search histories and locations, more relevant information will be provided more quickly and the power of innovation will shift to the public.
The days of ‘easy energy’ are over. However, as CO2 capture yields no revenues without government support, global emissions will only be reduced by fundamental changes in behaviour – for us all to use less energy.
Feeding the World
We are in a world of paradox where a growing portion of the developed world is obese at the same time as 15% of the global population is facing hunger and malnutrition. Technology to improve food yield will be accelerated to balance supply and demand.
In the next decade, the world economics of food will change and food will change the economics of the world. Decisions on where and what to produce will be made on a global basis not by individual market or geography.
Between now and 2020 we are likely to see somewhere between 2 to 3 global pandemics. These will arise in areas that do not have the top tier of preventative or public health infrastructure and will rapidly spread to developed Western countries.
Chinese train travel
China is now the pacesetter for change in inter‐urban transport and is investing over $1 trillion in expanding its rail network to 120,000km by 2020 – the second largest public works program in history. China is rapidly reshaping its landscape around train services.
The luxury market buyers increasingly want ‘better not more’. They will move away from Bling Bling to have items that are visually more discreet and will increasingly want to position themselves as being more responsible.
We are likely to move more quickly and more widely towards an integrated identity for work and social interaction. We will no longer compartmentalise our lives but the integrated ‘me’ and ‘you’ will be how we see each other and interact.
Money is the means of exchange that is most immediately subject to the pressure of rapid technological change. Digital money transfer via mobile phones will be the default by 2020.
Global waste production is predicted to double over the next twenty years. Much of this will be due to increased urbanisation and emerging economic growth. A shift towards the zero waste society is a desperate global need that will accelerate in the next decade.
Today over 6.6bn people share the same volume of water that 1.6bn did a hundred years ago. As population and economies grow and diets change we need more of this scarce resource. This will be the decade that we fight wars over water not oil.
As income increases in India, China, Brazil, and elsewhere, growth in demand for skilled services will occur disproportionately in these emerging economies. Combined with more global networks, this will lead to income stagnation in “established” economies.
Education will become increasingly industrialized ‐ broken into small, repeatable tasks and thus increasingly deskilled. As a consequence, the industrialization of information work is certain, and this will affect pretty much every business.
The drive towards personalized treatments will be matched by a greater focus on prevention. By delivering healthcare content to the individual’s handset, mobile technology can help to maintain wellness.
The nature of economic activity in cities seems to be leading to a greater degree of urban poverty as in-migration and the move to the knowledge society favours the educated and the nimble. This will widen the gap between the rich and poor.
Norman, Donald A
MIT Press, October 2010
If only today’s technology were simpler! It’s the universal lament, but it’s wrong. We don’t want simplicity. Simple tools are not up to the task. The world is complex; our tools need to match that complexity.
Simplicity turns out to be more complex than we thought. In this provocative and informative book, Don Norman writes that the complexity of our technology must mirror the complexity and richness of our lives. It’s not complexity that’s the problem, it’s bad design. Bad design complicates things unnecessarily and confuses us. Good design can tame complexity.
Norman gives us a crash course in the virtues of complexity. But even such simple things as salt and pepper shakers, doors, and light switches become complicated when we have to deal with many of them, each somewhat different. Managing complexity, says Norman, is a partnership. Designers have to produce things that tame complexity. But we too have to do our part: we have to take the time to learn the structure and practice the skills. This is how we mastered reading and writing, driving a car, and playing sports, and this is how we can master our complex tools.
Complexity is good. Simplicity is misleading. The good life is complex, rich, and rewarding—but only if it is understandable, sensible, and meaningful.
Business Week has named Don Norman as one of the world’s most influential designers. He has been both a professor and an executive: he was Vice President of Advanced Technology at Apple; his company, the Nielsen Norman Group, helps companies produce human-centered products and services; he has been on the faculty at Harvard, the University of California, San Diego, Northwestern University, and KAIST, in South Korea. He is the author of many books, including The Design of Everyday Things, The Invisible Computer (MIT Press, 1998), Emotional Design, and The Design of Future Things.
The International Training Centre of the ILO is an advanced training institute located in Turin, that sits at the forefront of strengthening the capacities, capabilities and competencies of governments, workers’ organisations, employers’ organisations and other development players in the areas of labour, social justice and development.
In its collaboration with Experientia, ITC-ILO wants to develop a richer and much more dynamic and interactive website, to increase the Centre’s effectiveness, to foster its means to engage partners and beneficiaries, and to facilitate finding and sharing knowledge and assets.
“The centre’s website is a strategic tool in our outreach and involvement of potential participants, donors and stakeholders,” said Robin Poppe, chief of Learning and Communication at the Centre. “The user-centred approach of Experientia with its thorough integration of usability, information architecture and design will allow us to strongly enhance the Centre’s operational capacity.”
Experientia is honoured to have been selected for this prestigious assignment and to be able to work within the United Nations system on a project of such crucial social value on a global scale. After all, the focus areas of the Centre are the issues of poverty and social exclusion, child labour and forced labour, migration and trafficking, social protection, safety and health at the workplace, as well as discrimination, freedom of association, social dialogue, employment and development.
Although thousands of people from all over the world come to Turin to take part in seminars, workshops and courses every year, most of the Centre’s activities and projects do take place in people’s home countries and regions, which makes a strong and effective website even more important.
The project covers the definition of the website information design and information architecture; the development of templates for departments and course websites; and the creation of web design and communication guidelines. The launch of the new site is foreseen for early 2011.
Juicy stories sell ideas
By Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks
Storytelling fits into the design process in many places. You probably know that collecting stories is key to user research and ensuring your UX designs tell a clear story makes the resulting user experiences better. But in this column, we’ll focus on that big moment when you have something to share and want everyone on your team to pay attention.
Three reasons why persuasive design isn’t enough to influence change
By Colleen Jones
While there is a lot to like about using design to improve our behavior and our world, achieving that is a tall order. If persuasive design is going to work on a large scale it needs to be complete. Colleen Jones lists three reasons why persuasive design is not enough to make all of its good intentions come to life.
Recruiting participants for unmoderated, remote user research
By Jim Ross
It seems new, online tools for conducting unmoderated, remote user research emerge every week. While this method of doing user research and these tools have generated a lot of interest and discussion, it is also important to consider how best to recruit participants for unmoderated studies. Though one might assume this would be similar to recruiting for moderated studies, very different methods of recruiting are necessary to find the large number of representative participants unmoderated studies require and convince them to participate.
Usability for mobile devices
By Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain
The mobile space is the new Wild West of technology. Much like the Web during the 1990s, mobile is the new domain at the forefront of innovation. Users are discovering new capabilities, integrating them with their daily lives, and experiencing new interaction models. The tech equivalent of indie bands, independent developers—working solo or in small teams—can create innovative new software in the form of mobile applications. These apps have the potential of launching a few software engineers from dorm rooms and garages into tech giants, in the tradition of Google or Facebook. Of course, accompanying this new era of innovation is a new set of usability concerns for software that runs on mobile devices small enough to fit in your pocket, which you can use while simultaneously walking around and interacting with the world around you.
The latter – screen technology – became the winner of the initiative. After concept design and video production, which TAT conducted internally, the movie which aims to showcase user interfaces in 2014 is now ready and available online.
“Each time Facebook’s privacy settings change or a technology makes personal information available to new audiences, people scream foul. Each time, their cries seem to fall on deaf ears.
The reason for this disconnect is that in a computational world, privacy is often implemented through access control. Yet privacy is not simply about controlling access. It’s about understanding a social context, having a sense of how our information is passed around by others, and sharing accordingly. As social media mature, we must rethink how we encode privacy into our systems.”
“A generation of digital activists had hoped that the web would connect groups separated in the real world. The internet was supposed to transcend colour, social identity and national borders. But research suggests that the internet is not so radical. People are online what they are offline: divided, and slow to build bridges.” [...]
All this argues for a cautious response to claims that e-communications abate conflict by bringing mutually suspicious people together.”
“If social data powers the new business ecosystem, then we must ask how it affects company fortunes. The business climate today is tough. It is highly competitive, customers have more choices than ever before, and loyalty is fickle, if it exists at all. Power has moved to the consumer side of the equation. Purchases and consumer power are no longer a matter of branding and brand image, but a matter of customer choice and decision-making. Consumers drive company fortunes today, and they do so with the help of an open marketplace that is overflowing with information. Consumers are empowered by their knowledge.”
“The next generation of operating environments will be social at their core. Our current operating environments are based on standard understanding of things that programmers care about, like files, directories, and access controls. The average person could care less.
We will see social operating systems where following people’s activities, or creating likes, or publishing profiles will all be built-in. These will not be features of apps, or managed as metadata in walled silos. The primitives that structure our social connections will be built into the fabric of the next generation of operating environments, just like file systems, URLs, and HTTP are well-integrated into today’s.”
“Considering that young people nowadays are natives of the so-called digital culture, Ms Merino explored their relationship with the new technologies and how they learn and socialise through them. With this research, the author wished to set out guidelines as a basis to continue studying the so-called digital natives in the future.
Ms Merino used, for example, data from EUSTAT (the Basque Institute for Statistics) as a source of information for her thesis but, above all, she undertook an ethnographic study of 306 students between 14 and 17 from three secondary schools in the Basque province of Bizkaia (capital Bilbao). [...]
the thesis underlines the phenomenon of socialising on the Net. Young people use the new technologies as a means of relationship and interaction, and mainly within the context of leisure. For them they are tools that bring them closer to their peers. As regards this, and in the case of Internet, the PhD reminds us that on the Net everything can be seen and shown. According to the study, this represents great symbolic satisfaction for young people, and they themselves accept practices on the Internet where they can see and be seen.”
(I have not been able to find the thesis online, and will update this post if I can find it)
“The many privacy related issues raised by the Web will be amplified in the world of mobility and even more so, in a world dominated by sensor networks. Current thinking seems to converge on one important conclusion: through the combined interaction of law, technology and Internet literacy, people should be in a position to control how their own personal information is made available and used for commercial (or other) purposes.
In this post, we explore the feasibility of users managing their own data .. i.e. if we indeed want users to manage their own data, what are the issues involved in making this happen? We also look at an alternative i.e. allowing devices to mirror social privacy norms. Hence, I see the discussion as ‘Changing user behaviour to incorporate new device functionality’ OR ‘Changing device behaviour to mirror privacy expectations in human interactions’”