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Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
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November 2011
10 November 2011

Smarter, better cyborgs

Grid fingers
Instead of augmenting reality, we should make technology more aware, argues Christopher Butler in this article for Print Magazine.

“Though an initial AR [Augmented Reality] experience can be thrilling, it quickly becomes clear, especially to visual thinkers, that AR is a misapplication of the technology currently at our disposal. AR is disappointing precisely because it is so visual.”

Read article

10 November 2011

Sciences of human understanding

Sciences of human understanding
Dirk Knemeyer has published a call to rely on foundational science(s) to better understand users.

“The preponderance of research and publications on user studies deal more with principals and practices of the discipline and less with understanding the users themselves, much less in a deep, multi-disciplinary scientific way.

The future of design will belong to those who are able to untangle what people do and why, even those who can predict and understand – using a scientific basis – what people are likely to respond to and why and how, as opposed to simply making gut decisions.”

Read article

10 November 2011

Brief rant on the future of interaction design

The future of interaction design
Interaction designer Bret Victor has published his “brief rant on the future of interaction design“.

“To me, claiming that Pictures Under Glass [as in touch screens] is the future of interaction is like claiming that black-and-white is the future of photography. It’s obviously a transitional technology. And the sooner we transition, the better.”

Highly recommended.

5 November 2011

Intel using soft sciences to help predict the future

 
Larry Dignan discusses – in a conversation with David Ginsberg, director of insights and market research at Intel, and Tony Salvador, senior principle engineer of the Experience Insight Lab at the company – how Intel is boning up on its soft sciences to divine what drives customers to buy a certain device and what characteristics matter.

Ginsberg was a Clinton/Kerry campaign manager and a researcher at Penn Schoen. Salvador was the first ethnographer to join Intel.

The combination of demographics with social, neurological and market research gives Intel insights into product design as well as customer targeting.

Read article

3 November 2011

Digital product strategy, gamification, and the evolution of UX

Chess
Greg Laugero writes about two trends that have recently entered the realm of digital product development.

First is the incorporation of gaming concepts into products that seemingly have nothing to do with gaming.

Second, the importance of designing products that are not only easy to use but a pleasure to use.

Read article

3 November 2011

Jawbone releases UP, a wristband for tracking your wellness

UP
Priced at $100, the device is a leap for Jawbone. And its aimed at nothing less than making its wearers happier and healthier. Fastco Design reports.

“The UP wristband is meant to be worn 24 hours a day. When you’re awake, its accelerometer monitors your movement–whether you’re running, walking, or climbing stairs–and then sends that data to the app, which shows how many calories you’ve burned. When you’re asleep, the UP monitors your sleep stage, by tracking subtle fluttering wrist movements (a natural occurrence during REM sleep, which is similar to eyelid flutter). When its time to wake up, the wristband vibrates slightly, and times its alarm to the best phase of your sleep cycle. And finally, the UP smartphone app allows you to take pictures of your food and log your meals.

The cleverest features, however, are a bit more subtle. The UP isn’t meant to be a passive health-monitoring device–if so, it would be hard to see how people would keep using it, given how often, for example, diets fail. Instead, it’s meant to constantly nudge you into better behavior. For example, you can set the wristband to vibrate when you’ve been sedentary for too long–a reminder to keep moving around. There are also challenges you can take on, such as running or walking a certain distance each day, or biking to work three times a week. Users can track their progress as they go along, and they can choose challenges created by others (including professional trainers and public-health experts).”

Read article

(see also this Wired article)