counter

Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
Audience Business Culture Design Locations Media Methods Services Social Issues

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


May 2012
31 May 2012

Facebook threatens to ‘Zuck up’ the human race

andrew-keen

Andrew Keen, a British-American entrepreneur and the author of “The Cult of the Amateur” and “Digital Vertigo”, tells CNN why he believes that Facebook is stealing the innocence of our inner lives, by sabotaging what it really means to be human.

“I call this shift from the private to the public self “digital narcissism.” Behind the communitarian veil of social media, we have fallen in love with ourselves. But this is a super sad love story. Because the more we self-broadcast, the emptier we become; and the emptier we become, the more we need to self-broadcast.” [...]

“Social media’s ubiquity means that we are losing that most precious of human things — our sense of self.”

Read article

31 May 2012

My life as me – to be and to change

1429821251_8e98f418ed_z

Ethnographic research by the Ericsson User Experience Lab, in collaboration with Trendethnography, aimed to discover unconscious behaviour related to health and to describe patterns of action.

The study looked at events or insights that resulted in change. These turning points are essential in our life stories as they give direction and emphasise the contrasts between before and after.

The post hints at an extensive study (which I would love to read), but in essence only contains some quick insights:
– The persons we met in the study often talked about their lives as two or more distinct parts
– Feelings of success and accomplishment are crucial to sustain an ongoing change
– People often try to make their change measurable and visible
– Routines are also important to maintain change

Read article

29 May 2012

The right to be forgotten

delete

Dr Paul Bernal, a lecturer in information technology, intellectual property and media law at the University of East Anglia (UK), provides clarification on what the Right to be Forgotten means and what the issues are.

Read article

28 May 2012

Experientia concept video for a sustainable trade fair centre

event_6

The Event project for Kortrijk Xpo, Belgium, developed concepts for how to make trade fairs and temporary events more sustainable.

Experientia® developed the resulting concepts into a video, showcasing four of the best concepts in action.

The video of these concepts is now online on Experientia’s vimeo channel.

The “Virtual Xpo” concept focused on ways to reduce travel and to encourage lower-impact travel to expositions.

“Living Kortrijk” envisioned ways to make the expo centre’s sustainable values and solutions available throughout the city.

The “Booth dashboard” visualises the carbon impact and/or savings of creating each expo booth, as well as its energy use during the event.

“Eco-fair network” proposes a collective, global movement to make expo centres more sustainable.

28 May 2012

Video online of Experientia’s mobile phone concepts for emerging markets

developing-markets_7

Experientia® has posted a new video on its vimeo channel, showcasing mobile phone concepts for emerging markets.

The video was made three years ago for a project in developing markets for Vodafone, but we can only show it now.

Set in India, the video introduces a suite of mobile phone concepts to help people at the economic Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) in emerging markets carry out daily tasks, such as package delivery, travelling home alone, or accessing the internet for the first time. It imagines solutions outside of the usual commercial alternatives, taking advantage of existing networks and workflows.

Detailed background on the project can be found in our “Developing markets” project description.

26 May 2012

The Smartphone Psychology Manifesto

home_cover

In Perspectives on Psychological Science (May 2012 vol. 7), Geoffrey Miller publishes a “Smartphone Psychology Manifesto” with methodological suggestions for the use of smartphones in psychological research that could indeed have a huge impact on the study of cognition and culture.

By 2025, when most of today’s psychology undergraduates will be in their mid-30s, more than 5 billion people on our planet will be using ultra-broadband, sensor-rich smartphones far beyond the abilities of today’s iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries. Although smartphones were not designed for psychological research, they can collect vast amounts of ecologically valid data, easily and quickly, from large global samples. If participants download the right “psych apps,” smartphones can record where they are, what they are doing, and what they can see and hear and can run interactive surveys, tests, and experiments through touch screens and wireless connections to nearby screens, headsets, biosensors, and other peripherals. This article reviews previous behavioral research using mobile electronic devices, outlines what smartphones can do now and will be able to do in the near future, explains how a smartphone study could work practically given current technology (e.g., in studying ovulatory cycle effects on women’s sexuality), discusses some limitations and challenges of smartphone research, and compares smartphones to other research methods. Smartphone research will require new skills in app development and data analysis and will raise tough new ethical issues, but smartphones could transform psychology even more profoundly than PCs and brain imaging did.

Download manifesto

(via cognition and culture)

25 May 2012

SAP co-CEO on social networking and the future of business

4022f13a-46d4-11e1-85e2-00144feabdc0.img

Facebook’s IPO demonstrates the power of networks for innovation, growth and jobs, says Jim Hagemann Snabe, SAP’s co-chief executive.

“A fully networked business environment means better access to customer profiles and preferences, resulting in a stronger ability to deliver individualised products that consumers want. Broader knowledge of health data and energy consumption patterns will lead directly to more efficient use of scarce resources. Direct access to all of the suppliers in a product category will lead to stronger supply chain and supplier relationship management. That in turn will result in more competitive pricing, greater flexibility and less capital tied up in inventory.

When data generated at the level of an individual – whether they are shopping preferences, energy consumption patterns, social relationships or health data – can be captured and analysed along with other relevant datasets in real-time, existing value chains are turned on their head. It benefits the consumer, because the consumer gets more directed, more personal, more economical offerings.”

In an incisive reflection, Stowe Boyd thinks that “aside from the oblique mention to network effects in Facebook use, and some almost self-congratulatory mentions of existing SAP products, [he doesn't] hear a compelling vision of the socialization of business processes.”

Boyd thinks the central “nub” is “how to create a social environment that runs above the entrained business processes of the enterprise, as opposed to creating a social sidebar to an enterprise model dominated by inflexible and mechanical business processes.”

25 May 2012

For productivity apps, PCs still rule (for now)

6d7f4cde-9ba5-11e1-8b36-00144feabdc0.img

Gartner research suggests that there is an inverse correlation between portable devices and PC usage, reports the Financial Times.

“Is the PC era really over? The success portable computing devices including smartphones and PC tablets has some speculating that the dominance of the desktop PC, and even the laptop, may be coming to an end.

Gartner research analyst Nick Ingelbrecht and Mikako Kitagawa recently conducted a series of focus groups in the US, UK, China, Taiwan and Japan to explore consumers’ device usage and their research provides an insight into the growing importance of mobile devices and their impact on PC usage.”

Read article

25 May 2012

Interview with and lecture by Daniel Kahnemann

Portrait Daniel Kahneman

Debunking the Myth of Intuition
Can doctors and investment advisers be trusted? And do we live more for experiences or memories? In a SPIEGEL interview, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman discusses the innate weakness of human thought, deceptive memories and the misleading power of intuition.

Daniel Kahneman on the Trap of ‘Thinking That We Know’ (video)
The National Academy of Sciences did a great service to science early this week by holding a conference on “The Science of Science Communication.” A centerpiece of the two-day meeting was a lecture titled “Thinking That We Know,” delivered by Daniel Kahneman, the extraordinary behavioral scientist who was awarded a Nobel Prize in economics despite never having taken an economics class.
The talk is extraordinary for the clarity (and humor) with which he repeatedly illustrates the powerful ways in which the mind filters and shapes what we call information. He discusses how this relates to the challenge of communicating science in a way that might stick.
Please carve out the time to watch his slide-free, but image-rich, talk. It’s a shorthand route to some of the insights described in Kahneman’s remarkable book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”.

25 May 2012

Be Everyday

carolienslidec

On Be Everyday, the site of a Brussels-based project, you can follow the stories of inspiring people that live in European cities and who have found their own creative ways to lead sustainable and meaningful lives, everyday!

“Why are we stuck in non-sustainable lifestyles? There is a clear need for behaviour change and revisiting values and norms. We have a reasonably good knowledge of the problems and the barriers to change. What is less developed is the discussion of possible solutions, answers and examples of ways to live and overcome real and perceived barriers at the individual level. We are still confused as to how we as an individual can make a real change in our lifestyles. What is a meaningful and sustainable life? And how do we get there?

This website aims to address these questions and provide real solutions based on peoples experiences. On this website we will tell stories of real people doing real things. Starting in Belgium and moving to other cities in Europe, we will follow people who live everyday in a meaningful sustainable way. They are all inspiring characters that are true to the idea of sustainability in most of their actions, their work, life, and travel. Furthermore, these people are not marginal, self-sacrificing or “ecological weirdoes” but “ordinary everyday people.” They all have an interesting story to tell and they are willing to share these with us here.”

25 May 2012

Mobile: A Serious Contender to the Desktop Computer

ipad-300x199

With the introduction of mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and various other smart phones and tablets, the demand for websites to be ‘mobile friendly’ has never been greater.

The purpose of this article by Chris Kinsey, a digital designer for Sixth Story (a UK branding & communications agency), is to highlight the impact mobile devices have had on web design in recent years. The article looks at various aspects such as best practices, challenges and design trends as well as taking a look at what may lie ahead for the future of mobile web design.

Read article

25 May 2012

Obama White House unveils plan to bring US Federal Government into the mobile age

seal

The White House has unveiled plans to bring US governance into the mobile-centric twenty-first century. Dubbed the “Roadmap for a Digital Government,” the plan has two central principles.

First, it tasks federal agencies with giving citizens easier access to information and services on modern web and mobile apps. Second, it hopes to instil a culture of treating government as an open-source project by inviting external developers to create third-party apps using federal data and APIs.

At its core, the roadmap is an acknowledgment of the growing proliferation of mobile devices and demand for easier access to government information in the United States. A study conducted in March of this year found that almost half of all Americans own a smartphone, up from 35% last year.

Article (The Information Daily)
Official announcement by the Federal Chief Information Officer
Digital Government Strategy (PDF / HTML5)

25 May 2012

Journal of Business Anthropology

cover_issue_441_en_US

The Journal of Business Anthropology is an Open Access journal which publishes the results of anthropological and related research in business organizations and business situations of all kinds. On the website you will find the Published Issues as well as Reviews of literature relevant to the field. The journal also publishes Field Reports and Case Studies as they are submitted.

Vol 1, No 1 (2012)

Editorial: What’s in a Name? – Editors’ Introduction to the Journal of Business Anthropology (pdf)
Brian Moeran, Christina Garsten

Anthropology and Business: Influence and Interests (pdf)
Marietta L. Baba
The premise of this article is that the expansive domain of business, as expressed in its market-transaction based, organizational, and institutional forms, has influenced the development or “making” of anthropology as a discipline and a profession for the better part of a century (i.e., since the 1920s). The influences were reciprocal, in that making anthropology played a role in forming the industrial order of the early 20th century and established precedents for the interaction of anthropology and the business domain that continues into the contemporary era. Anthropologists acknowledge that the time has come for our discipline to attend to business and its corporate forms and engage them as legitimate subjects of inquiry, and this suggests that it would be prudent to examine the ways in which business is focusing upon anthropology, and the potential implications of such attention. Throughout this article, the term “business” will refer to private firms as members of an institutional field, meaning “organizations that in the aggregate, constitute a recognized area of institutional life”. Over time, this field has attracted prominent academic researchers (as will be discussed herein), who may become intellectual “suppliers” to businesses, and thus part of the field. Therefore, the term “business” may include any organization or individual that is part of the field, including academic suppliers (see also discussion section). To reflect the scope and complexity of the institutional field, the term “domain of business” may be used interchangeably with “business”.

Horizons of Business Anthropology in a World of Flexible Accumulation (pdf)
Allen W. Batteau, Carolyn E. Psenka
Classically, anthropology supplied a cultural critique, by contrasting the Noble Savage to contemporary institutions and exposing the effects of structures of authority. This understanding of humanity was expanded a hundred years ago by Boas’s embrace of cultural and linguistic variety within a common humanity. Similarly, the classical role for business anthropology and other forms of applied anthropology has been to identify areas in contemporary enterprises and institutions where improvements could be made. Today anthropologists’ engagement with the contemporary world of business in a régime of flexible accumulation is expanding our understanding of the human project, interrogating the régimes of value and extension whose scale is global and whose scope penetrates to the deepest levels of consciousness. Using contemporary ethnographic insights from the authors and other anthropologists, this article suggests an enlarged understanding of and direction for business anthropology at the frontier of anthropology that uses classic anthropological approaches to investigate the sites where new human possibilities are being assembled and created.

Close Encounters: Anthropologists in the Corporate Arena (pdf)
Melissa Cefkin
The corporate encounter invites casting an anthropological gaze on the objects and practices of corporate worlds. This article delineates three perspectives of the anthropologist on this encounter: (1) with the things corporations make (products and services), (2) with the way they make them (acts of production), and (3) with organizational imperatives (corporate forms). This examination draws specifically on the work of those who operate from within the corporate arena by referencing papers from Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC). Corporate actors, in turn, seek more nuanced views on human experience and aim to exploit the “people” and “practices” dimensions of their existence and have turned to anthropologists in the process. A brief exploration of the hopes and disjuncture that help shape the encounter from the point of view of anthropologists’ interlocutors inside the corporation rounds out this examination of the anthropologists’ corporate encounter.

Organization Theory Meets Anthropology: A Story of an Encounter (pdf)
Barbara Czarniawska
This text briefly depicts the history of an encounter between anthropology and organization theory in the Anglo-Saxon literature in the period 1990-2010 as seen by an organization scholar. In focus are some stable characteristics and some changes in this relationship, against the background of wider developments in societies and in social sciences. The article ends with suggestions concerning future possibilities of combining the insights of the two fields in a fruitful and interesting way.

Studying Consumption Behaviour through Multiple Lenses: An Overview of Consumer Culture Theory (pdf)
Annamma Joy, Eric Ping Hung Li
Since Miller’s (1995) ground-breaking directive to the anthropology community to research consumption within the context of production, CCT has come of age, offering distinctive insights into the complexities of consumer behaviour. CCT positions itself at the nexus of disciplines as varied as anthropology, sociology, media studies, critical studies, and feminist studies; overlapping foci bring theoretical innovation to studies of human behaviours in the marketplace. In this paper, we provide asynthesis of CCT research since its inception, along with more recent publications. We follow the four thematic domains of research as devised by Arnould and Thompson (2005): consumer identity projects, marketplace cultures, the socio-historic patterning of consumption, and mass-mediated marketplace ideologies and consumers’ interpretive strategies. Additionally, we investigate new directions for future connections between CCT research and anthropology.

24 May 2012

RSA Animate: The Power of Networks

manuellima

In this new RSA Animate, Manuel Lima, senior UX design lead at Microsoft Bing, explores the power of network visualisation to help navigate our complex modern world:

Network visualization has experienced a meteoric rise in the last decade, bringing together people from various fields and capturing the interest of individuals across the globe. As the practice continues to shed light on an incredible array of complex issues, it keeps drawing attention back onto itself.

In his talk (held in London on 8 Dec 2011), Lima explores a critical paradigm shift in various areas of knowledge, as we stop relying on hierarchical tree structures and turn instead to networks in order to properly map the inherent complexities of our modern world.

The talk showcases a variety of captivating examples of visualization and also introduce the network topology as a new cultural meme.

Watch animated version [10:58]
Watch talk [edited highlights - 18:31]
Listen to audio [mp3 - 55:41]
Manuel Lima slides [Slideshare]

24 May 2012

Aljazeera’s The Stream on alternative currencies

drachma

Aljazeera’s The Stream reports on how people declare economic independence by establishing alternative currencies.

“People and businesses are establishing micro-currencies in the wake of the global financial crisis in order to take matters into their own hands. These small alternative forms of money are used as a way to promote local commerce and challenge the current economic system.

Critics, however, claim they are merely a gimmick. Others say it is a way to keep money within a local economic area while forming resilience against the volatility of the global system.

In this episode of The Stream we speak with Eric Garland (@EricGarland), Heloisa Primavera (@jelenabartermad) a sociologist in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Peter North, a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool.”

Watch episode (YouTube)

24 May 2012

Ericsson User Experience Lab blog

ericsson

Cristian Norlin, master researcher at the Ericsson Research User Experience Lab, alerted me via Twitter to the Lab’s new blog.

The User Experience Lab at Ericsson Research studies people and make prototypes to better understand the experiential, affective and meaningful aspects of people’s interactions with technology and network infrastructures.

On the blog, which started in April 2012, “we will write about things that we think could inform, influence and inspire the development of future technology, products and services.”

Some of the recent posts:

24 May 2012

“Beautiful things that matter” – Experientia’s new website for granstudio

granstudio

Site works also as a full-screen swipeable tablet web app

Today granstudio, the international design studio based in Turin, launches its new website, created by Experientia®.

Founded by internationally-renowned designer Lowie Vermeersch, granstudio is a creative, multidisciplinary consultancy that combines automotive design expertise with a strategic vision on performance, beauty and functionality.

The site features granstudio’s first concept car and will be constantly refreshed with new projects including Interieur, the acclaimed design fair and event in Belgium that Vermeersch will be curating later this year.

Experientia® created the granstudio site to be highly usable and attractive on both computers and tablets, using the gesture of swiping from screen to screen as a key navigation element. The HTML5 site can also run as a web app on tablets. Simply by creating a home screen shortcut to the site, the shortcut icon opens the website in full screen mode, offering the feel of a native app without having to download it through an app store.

The granstudio team create “beautiful things that matter”, and Experientia’s very visual website is the ideal showcase for their projects, inspirations and design talent.

Experientia® and granstudio are currently exploring further collaborations on mobility interface, interaction and service design.

> A personal note: Lowie and his team are good friends and we are really excited about this new studio in Torino. All of us at Experientia wish the team the very best with this exciting venture.

23 May 2012

Design prototypes as boundary objects in innovation processes

 

Holger Rhinow, Eva Köppen, and Christoph Meinel: Design Prototypes as Boundary Objects in Innovation Processes. Conference Paper in the Proceedings of the 2012 International Conference on Design Research Society (DRS 2012), Bangkok, Thailand, July 2012

Abstract:

In our paper we focus on how design prototypes can foster communications in organizations that deal with the development of innovations. We distinguish the impact of prototypes between two different organizational levels; we first conduct the impact of prototypes at the level of organizational design teams that develop ideas and concepts for solutions. We then focus on the impact of prototypes on the level of organizational teams and departments that have not been part of the initial design phase but are responsible for further developments in the innovation process, e.g. production, financing, and marketing.

Previous research has indicated that prototypes have a significant influence on both organizational levels. Prototypes, in the best cases, can become so-called boundary objects between different domains and stakeholders and may deliver positive effects within the innovation process. However, the successful management of stakeholders in this context remains highly challenging. In this paper we want to address these difficulties as well as the current state of research in this field. We propose that a prototype does not only stand for an important design technique but should moreover be regarded as a management tool that can be integrated into a structured dialogue between stakeholders. We provide first insights on what a structured dialogue, based on prototypes, can mean and what it thereby should imply. We will synthesize prior research findings and begin to develop a concept on how to utilize prototypes as boundary objects from a management perspective.

23 May 2012

Ecosystems rule over products now. Here’s how Samsung’s designers are coping

 

In order for designers to navigate the complex ecosystem of digital platforms, they’ll need to master business modeling and become comfortable working across disciplines, says Samsung’s design chief, Sunghan Kim.

The big design leadership challenge is the familiar one of managing design’s input and role in large cross-functional teams. “Design is more of a community-based activity now,” he reflects. “For designers to succeed, they need to be able to collaborate with team members from different disciplines. We mull over to what extent product and service designers need to become with familiar with business modeling, or merely work effectively alongside business analysts. For Sunghan, it’s both. Just as in the Noughties, many product, UX, and service designers taught themselves how to code, in his view, designers in the coming decade will need to have a working knowledge of business modeling, especially at the concept stage, and learn multidisciplinary collaboration for the development phase.”

Read article

19 May 2012

After ethnography, and other papers by Iota Partners

iota

Iota Partners is a new Chicago-based venture of Rick Robinson and John Cain (with whom Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels once worked at Sapient) that deals with user experience research, sensor-based data, and smart modelling.

The papers section on their website is worth exploring in some depth. Here are some of them:

After ethnography
This paper is based on the transcript of Rick E. Robinson’s talk “After Ethnography,” which he presented at a Telefonica-sponsored conference on user-centered design in Madrid, in December 2010. Bringing together a series of points Rick calls his “tiny arguments” it forms a larger assessment of the state and future of user research.

Nice work
This sample chapter comes from a book in progress by Rick E. Robinson that will bring together many of Rick’s talks and writings on the theory and practice of user research. Based on a talk Rick gave at an internal research colloquium for senior staff members at a major technology company—an audience already familiar with Rick’s previous work at E-Lab—the talk focused on creating an effective research practice and on working with the idea of models.

Valuable to Values: How “User Research” Ought to Change
“Valuable to Values: How ‘User Research’ Ought to Change,” written by Maria Bezaitis and Iota Partner Rick E. Robinson, originally appeared in Design Anthropology: Object Culture in the 21st Century (Springer Vienna Architecture, 2010) edited by Alison J. Clarke, a professor at University of Applied Arts Vienna, and a student of anthropologist Daniel Miller when she did her graduate work at University College, London. It covers a lot of ground. Some history. Some reflection. A healthy dose of unsolicited advice to several different fields of research. Enjoy.