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Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
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October 2011
16 October 2011

Brian David Johnson: Intel’s guide to the future

Brian David Johnson
Alex Knapp, Forbes Magazine contributor, talks with Intel futurist Brian David Johnson on what he take into account when planning the future:

“The answer is both intriguing and quite unlike most futurists I know. Johnson’s first stop is the social sciences. He works with Dr. Genevieve Bell, a cultural anthropologist who has been at Intel since 1998. Their teams work with ethnographers, social scientists, and others to understand the current state of the culture and try to figure out where it’s going.

The next step is then looking at the hardware. Johnson and his team work with computer scientists to look at the current state of the art in hardware, software, and algorithms, as well as the research coming up. The tech data is meshed with the social sciences data to answer a simple question: how can we apply this technology to capture people’s imaginations and make their lives better?

“At that point,” Johnson says. “I start to look at the trends. Which is really where most people start.”

Combining all of this data, Johnson then develops what he calls a “vision of the future” that his team can work to build.”

Read interview

12 October 2011

The many meanings of ethnography

 
Ethnography, Ethnography or Ethnography? What Happens When the Same Word Means Different Things to Different People? is the title of a new paper on ethnography by Sasanka Prabhala, Daria Loi and Subhashini Ganapathy of Intel.

This paper discusses how the notion and practice of ethnography differs for practitioners with different disciplinary backgrounds, especially in a context where ethnography exits academia to enter industry contexts. The paper is divided into four sections. The first provides background to specific experiences and briefly over-views existing literature. In the second part we compare our experiences through an industry case study. The third section proposes a taxonomy, suggesting a number of implications, and providing recommendations on how to integrate cross-disciplinary approaches to expand the scope of conducting user research. The final section wraps up our propositions and provides a number of recommendations.

(via Nicolas Nova)

12 October 2011

dConstruct 2011 videos online

dConstruct 2011
dConstruct 2011, the 2 September event in Brighton, England, brought together leading thinkers from the fields of interaction design, mobile design and ubiquitous computing to explore how we can bridge the gap between physical and digital product design. Videos are now online.

Don Norman – Emotional Design for the World of Objects
Welcome to the world of atoms. The human body is part of the physical world. It savors touch and feeling, movement and action. How else to explain the popularity of physical devices, of games that require gestures, and full-body movement? Want to develop for this new world? There are new rules for interacting with the world, new rules for the developers of systems.
(longer abstract and audio)

Kelly Goto – Beyond Usability: Mapping Emotion to Experience
Addiction or devotion? The complexity of our relationships between connected experiences, devices and people is increasing. Stanley Kubrick once said a film “should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what‛s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later”.
(longer abstract and audio)

Bryan Rieger & Stephanie Rieger – Letting Go
Design (or if you prefer—user experience) is at a crossroads. In our globalized, hyper-connected world, users no longer need to wait for us to create experiences for them. As we debate the value of design thinking, the usefulness of the next API, or strive to craft the ultimate cross-platform experience—users are sorting this out on their own, using whatever service or technology is “good enough” for them at the time.
(longer abstract and audio)

Craig Mod – What Is the Shape of the Future Book?
What are the core systems comprising the future book? What are the tools that need to be built? As designers we will need to provide the scaffolding for these systems. The interfaces for these tools. Not just as surface, but holistically—understanding the shifting of emotional space, the import of the artifact, the evocation of a souvenir, digitally.
(longer abstract and audio)

Frank Chimero – Oh God, It’s Full of Stars
The relationship between digital and physical products is larger than if it exists on a hard drive or a shelf. It’s the tension between access and ownership, searching and finding, sharing and collecting. It’s a dance between the visible and the invisible, and what happens when we’re forced to remember versus when we are allowed to forget. How does this affect us—not just as makers, but as consumers of these products?
(longer abstract and audio)

Dan Hon – The Full Stack of Entertainment: Storytelling, Play and Code
Forget transmedia. Forget alternate and augmented realities. Forget multimedia magazines, tablets, phones and puzzling QR codes. Our challenge lies in figuring out the full-stack of entertainment, designed from the bottom right to the very top: for phones, physical objects—part of the Internet of things or otherwise—tablets and conventional computing devices, where art, code and design mesh together perfectly with directorial vision.
(longer abstract and audio)

Kars Alfrink – The Transformers
In this talk, Kars Alfrink – founder and principal designer at applied pervasive games studio Hubbub – explores ways we might use games to alleviate some of the problems wilful social self-seperation can lead to. Kars looks at how people sometimes deliberately choose to live apart, even though they share the same living spaces. He discusses the ways new digital tools and the overlapping media landscape have made society more volatile. But rather than to call for a decrease in their use, Kars argues we need more, but different uses of these new tools. More playful uses.
(longer abstract and audio)

Matthew Sheret – Pocket Scale
I punch in a keycode and enter the office. Three steps through the door I swipe my travelcard against an old wooden box, which starts spitting out a radio station based on forty million people’s answer to the question ‘What songs would a Joy Division fan like?’ The sexyfuture arrived yesterday, and it colonised my pockets.
(longer abstract and audio)

Kevin Slavin – Reality is Plenty
Lately, Augmented Reality (AR) has come to stand for the highest and deepest form of synthesis between the digital and physical worlds. Slavin outlines an argument for rethinking what really augments reality and what the benefits are, as well as the costs
(longer abstract and audio)

12 October 2011

Mr Cameron, it’s time to get the designers in

Sitra meeting
Ageing populations and budget cuts mean devising a new social contract. So why not use real designers – it’s worked in Finland, asks Justin McGuirk, design writer at The Guardian.

“If a country has the best education system in the world, it could be forgiven for resting on its laurels. Yet Finland, which routinely tops the Pisa education rankings, refuses to do so. The country has other major issues on the agenda, such as how to become carbon neutral and how to look after the most rapidly ageing population in Europe. And when the nation wants to address these questions, it turns to Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund. Most governments have a cluster of thinktanks and policy groups at their disposal to tackle their country’s challenges. But what’s different about Sitra is that it uses designers.”

Read article

(Disclosure: Experientia is consultant to Sitra.)

12 October 2011

Guardian Tech Weekly podcast: creating a digital public space

Jemima Kiss
Jemima Kiss examines plans for a digital public space with the British Library, the Royal Opera House and the BBC.

“How can we preserve analogue culture in a digital world? Could something allow us to view, research & remix cultural items? Jemima Kiss examines plans for a digital public space – a part of the internet that could grant worldwide access and create links between museums, archives and libraries.

Jemima talks to Richard Ranft of the British Library and Francesca Franchi of the Royal Opera House about the items and artefacts from their archives that a digital public space could open up to the public, and how the reach of both organisations can be dramatically extended to a worldwide audience.

Bill Thompson, head of partnerships at the BBC’s archive (but also of the Digital Planet and Click programmes) explains how the corporation could help build what is needed, and how it could work.

And Jill Cousins of europeana.eu discusses how similar project that is funded by the European Commission works, and how it has now developed into a full service.”

Listen to podcast

12 October 2011

Video highlights from PICNIC Festival 2011

PICNIC
The videos of the presentations at PICNIC Festival 2011 (14-16 September, Amsterdam) are now online.

Jake Barton on Urban Collaboration and Storytelling
What will inspire and connect cities of the future?
At our core, we are linked together by the stories that we collectively tell. How can we create experiences that can bind us to each other, even as our technologies, economics and cultures are increasingly diverse and challenging?
Drawing on examples from the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Change By Us and the Frank Gehry-designed Eisenhower Memorial, Jake Barton explores collaboration at the urban scale.

V. H. Celaya and R. A. Celaya on Art to the People!
Victor Hugo Celaya and Ricardo Andrés Celaya are the founders of ARTO – Art Beyond Museums, which main objective is to take ART TO THE PEOPLE.
The Celaya brothers explore the power of art as a communication tool, an instrument to integrate cities and a vehicle for change. They discuss how disruption plays an essential role in making this happen. They share their experiences producing innovative art projects with the sole intent of promoting social inclusiveness and empowering people.

Lorenzo de Rita on The Best City Never Seen
It seems that history is full of cities thought up, imagined, and dreamed of, that were eventually never realized. Admirable projects, magnificent places, utopian plans… human fantasy has built many more cities than what we see on a map.
The Best City Never Seen is a 20-minute tour into the ruins of paleo-futuristic cities hoping to inspire a new way of thinking about cities and discovering the latent potential of the cities we now live in.

Adam Greenfield on Another City is Possible
So where do we find ourselves, after a solid decade of smart city rhetoric? What was promised to us, what has been delivered, what were the results, and what remains possible? Which cities have successfully capitalized on emergent technology, and which have made the wrong bets? Whose interests are reflected in smart city discourse, and whose have tended to be overlooked or pushed to the side?
This talk with Urbanscale founder and managing director Adam Greenfield aims to cleave hype from genuine potential, decode the claims currently being made for urban informatics, and lay out a set of criteria by which future proposals can be evaluated.

Ben Hammersley on Rioting, Ballet and Elvis’s Hips
Smart cities, ubicomp, and other technological wonders are all very well, but cities are made of people, and people are weird.
Ben Hammersley looks at how cultures and society change, how technology can outpace good manners, and how designers and makers can change the world without getting into a fight, punching an artist, or taking off their ballet shoes. Featuring music, silly jokes, some quantum physics, and no slides whatsoever!

Eric van Heeswijk and Jasper Koning on Holland from Above
Ever wondered if Holland runs like a clock, how does it look? And why doesn’t it go wrong? Holland from Above is a project from innovative Dutch broadcaster VPRO where cameras take the bird’s eye view on the Netherlands and discover the beauty of patterns and stories you have never heard before.
What makes the project even more special is the unique data visualization, for TV, but in an interactive form also on the web. Jasper Koning and Erik van Heeswijk explain why the VPRO wants to do this complex and labor intensive crossmedia project and let you peek behind the scenes.

Matthias Hollwich on the Aging City
We have to start a revolution! The way we age in America is inhumane and inadequate. We might live a good life after retirement, but the last three years are hell. There are 17,000 nursing homes in America, and 17,000 reasons to not move into any of them. The dignity of aging needs to be reinstated and we cannot do that by chasing eternal youth.
Matthias Hollwich, architect and co-founder of HWKN and Architizer, explores a new way for society to deal with aging, by outlining how we can pioneer our own future selves, and how architecture and urbanism can be re-engineered to support new living typologies, service proximities, and social relevance and space. Become part of the New Aging revolution and join the conversation!

Lawrence Lessig on Help U.S.
How are governments responding to the entitlement, engagement and sharing brought about by the Internet? How can policy “mistakes” be fixed in “high functioning democracies”?
Harvard law professor and Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig describes how policy errors in the United States are having unintended negative consequences and he implores “outsiders” to help US to correct its mistakes with balanced, sensible policy alternatives.

William McDonough / Green Challenge Keynote Lecture
Opening keynote lecture at the Green Challenge Award Ceremony by honorary jury chair and sustainability architect and author William McDonough.

Saskia Sassen on Urbanizing Technology

Scott Snibbe on Biophilia, An App Album
Media artist and developer Scott Snibbe present Björk’s Biophilia – the first app album – and discusses how the emergence of music apps for mobile devices promises to reacquaint listeners with an immersive, intimate music experience that has been lost in the age of the digital download. He will particularly share Björk’s view, which he enthusiastically embraces, on how technology can bring people closer to nature and music.

12 October 2011

The birth (and death) of market research: why design research will prevail

Haptica
The market research industry is built for the 20th Century mass production model, which is rapidly disappearing, argues Sam Ladner. The “mass audience” is gone and a fragmented diverse populace has taken its place. This new “audience” defies the easy aggregation of summary statistics on which market research so often relies.

“Market researchers may argue that with proper segmentation, you can understand every niche within the long tail. This may be true, but to truly understand the diversity between people, your task is not simply to “summarize” the audience, but to delve deeply into the dynamics of what makes them different.

This is why design research is a better fit for today’s long-tail economic model. Context matters. Design research is all about understanding the context because it is rooted in qualitative methodologies, and ethnography in particular. Designers solve contextual problems.”

Read article

12 October 2011

Audio interview with design anthropologist Dori Tunstall

Dori Tunstall
Debbie Millman of DesignObserver.com interviewed design anthropologist Dori Tunstall on the insights that anthropology brings to consumerism and branding, and about the powers of transformation in design and designers.

“Dori Tunstall is a Design Anthropologist, meaning she tries to understand how the processes and artifacts of design help define what it mean to be human. Design Anthropology argues that by taking into account how others see and experience the world differently, products and services can be designed that work with people and nature rather than disrupt them.

Dori is an Associate Professor of Design Anthropology at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia as well as Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Design.”

Listen to audio

11 October 2011

Embodied interactions: in touch with the digital

Embodied interaction
Fabian Hemmert will be one of the keynote speakers at Interaction 12. In this article on Johnny Holland, he reflects on “recent developments in the research field of Human-Computer Interaction [that] point to emerging styles of interaction that make use of our very abilities as human beings, putting us directly in touch with the digital world.”

In particular, he looks at three series of prototypes that illustrate what ‘Embodied Interaction’ is – in the different physical and social spaces that we live in.

Read article

11 October 2011

Flow in design

Flow
Dana Chisnell reports on the importance of flow in UX design.

Flow comes from focused attention, deep engagement, a feeling of mastering a challenge. The outside world ceases to exist and time fades away. Awareness heightens and senses are charged, increasing productivity and creativity.

Read article

11 October 2011

The existential challenges of human-robot interaction

When bots die
How will we react when a loyal humanoid robot that has served us for years suddenly fails? Will we genuinely grieve for no-longer working bots that have accompanied us through so much of our lives?

And when bots die, will we treat them like cherished family pets and bury them in our gardens (or robot graveyards)? Will we place the deceased bots’ body in a glass case in the livingroom? Or keep a head on the mantlepiece as a memento?

Read article (Wired UK)

6 October 2011

Five myths about social media

Social media
Ramesh Srinivasan methodically breaks down five ‘myths’ about social media in this Washington Post article:

Here are his myths (which few in the UX community would flatly believe in, I think):
1. Social media gives power to the people
2. Governments easily monitor and censor social media
3. Facebook and Twitter enabled the Arab Spring
4. Only young people use social media
5. Social media creates a global village

4 October 2011

New Master in UX in Rome, Italy – But only part-time and one year

Master UX
The La Sapienza University in Rome is organising the first User Experience Master for students who already have a previous degree.

Although a highly laudable initiative, this part-time programme points to an important gap, since Italy really needs a full-time, two year masters programme in UX to address the changing nature of the profession. The proliferation of 1 year or part time masters will not address adequately the lack of skilled user experience designers in Italy.

Below some information in Italian:

Il Master di II livello UX-User Experience promuove un approccio al design di ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) centrato sullo studio degli utenti reali, sull’individuazione dei loro bisogni, delle pratiche e dei significati che guidano le loro azioni nei contesti di uso quotidiano.

Il Master avrà una durata di 12 mesi e si svolgerà nelle giornate di venerdì e sabato per un totale di 12 ore settimanali.

L’iscrizione al Master è stata limitata a 24 studenti, per garantire adeguate possibilità di collaborazione all’interno dei gruppi di lavoro, e chiude il 21 novembre 2011.

Il Master insegnerà conoscenze e competenze di tipo teorico, metodologico e pratico all’interno di 4 ambiti disciplinari:
– User Experience
– Ergonomia cognitiva
– Design (strategic design, communication design, design for all)
– Sistemi interattivi

La didattica sarà quindi diviso in formazione teorica-pratica per acquisire le conoscenze necessarie e in workshop per tradurre i concetti teorici in esperienze reali e tangibili;

Infatti il Consiglio Didattico Scientifico del Master sta stringendo accordi con aziende e enti di settore per poter permettere agli studenti di lavorare in team interdisciplinari su mission concrete assegnate dai partner del Master.

4 October 2011

Investigating the experience of love for products

Love stories
Shoes, cars and other love stories: Investigating the experience of love for products is the title of the doctoral dissertation (and a book!) by Beatriz Russo Rodrigues (Brazil) at the Technical University of Delft in The Netherlands.

“People often say they love a product. What do they really mean when they say this, and is this a phenomenon that is relevant to the field of design? Findings from a preliminary study in this thesis indicated that people describe their love as a rewarding, long-term, and dynamic experience that arises from a meaningful relationship built with products they own and use. Inspired by existing approaches to the experience of love from social psychology, research tools are developed for the closer study of person-product love. Using those tools the research in this thesis investigates how person-product interactions are linked to the experience of love and how these influence love over time. The findings reveal how the experience of love arises from person-product relationships, how love relationships develop over time, and which factors can provoke change in the love experience and love relationships over time. These findings present opportunities for design researchers and designers to foster rewarding experiences and long-lasting person-product relationships. Person-product love relationships can bring emotional rewards that benefit people’s wellbeing and stimulate sustained efforts to keep loved products for longer.”

Download thesis

(via InfoDesign)