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June 2012
2 June 2012

Interactions Magazine is (nearly) fully online, archives included

May+June2012

Somehow I hadn’t noticed but Interactions Magazine is now (nearly) fully online.

As far as I could discover (nothing is explained, sic), only some of the current year’s articles are fully available. Yet all the previous issues (up to 15 years ago) are fully available.

The only way to find out what is fully available and what not, is by clicking on an article title (and hoping for the best).

Notwithstanding such a blatant usability error, it is still a major improvement, and this after an unsuccessful battle to achieve this by the likes of Donald Norman, Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko and myself, some years back. The ACM is finally starting to see the light.

Here are the cover and the fully available features stories of the latest issue (May-June 2012)

Interactions with big data analytics (cover story)
Danyel Fisher, Rob Deline, Mary Czerwinski, Steven Drucker
We report on the state of the practice of big data analytics, based on a series of interviews we conducted with 16 analysts. While the problems uncovered are pain points for big data analysts (including HCI practitioners), the opportunity for better user experience around each of these areas is vast. It is our hope that HCI researchers will not only turn their attention toward designs that improve the big data research experience, but that they will also cautiously embrace the big data available to them as a converging line of evidence in their iterative design work.

Technologies for aging gracefully
Ronald Baecker, Karyn Moffatt, Michael Massimi
Technology by itself cannot solve these [aging] problems. Yet technology designed to empower older adults and to make them more capable, resourceful, and independent can help.

Interaction as performance
Steve Benford, Gabriella Giannachi
Our overall goal is to lay the foundations for a “dramaturgy of performance” by establishing a framework of concepts — a language, if you like — to help express the different ways in which computers can be embedded into performative experiences. We intend this framework to guide practitioners and researchers who are entering the field of artistic, performance, and cultural applications of computing. However, we also aim to stimulate wider thinking in HCI in general around the changing nature of the extended user experience and the new challenges this raises.

2 June 2012

MA thesis: Service Design in the Age of Collaboration

 

MA thesis by Veronica Bluguermann in collaboration with Nokia, presented as part of the graduation requirements of the Industrial and Strategic Design Programme of Aalto University’s Department of Design.

Not so long ago, cell phones were only used just to make phone calls. Today hundreds of thousands of applications and services are available for smartphones. With them, people can communicate, play games, find places, and organize their day. However, the vast amount of possibilities can confuse users when choosing the best option. In addition, the global mobile content market makes it hard for users to find local solutions. This thesis in collaboration with Nokia proposes services that aim at:

  1. helping customers to meet closer their needs by customizing the mobile phone content at the time of purchasing; and
  2. generating means of collaboration among content developers, retailers and customers for producing mobile content targeted to local needs

A Participatory Design approach was applied for developing the customization services. Observation, contextual inquiry and cultural probes methods were implemented to learn from diverse users. A co-design session was conducted to explore new opportunities with Nokia stakeholders. The results are several scenarios envisioned for Mass Customization services of mobile phone content at the point of delivery. The thesis offers:

  1. a framework of collaborative creation models for Mass Customization; and
  2. insights on customers’ engagement in the activity of customization.

Download pdf

(via International Service Design Network)

1 June 2012

Ethnographic research in a world of big data

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Reacting to the Wired Magazine article that suggests that “the data deluge makes the scientific method obsolete,” Jenna Burrell, sociologist and assistant professor in the School of Information at UC-Berkeley, lists some questions that she (and maybe other ‘small data’ people) have about the big data / data analytics trend:

  • What do researchers consider the most compelling examples, the ‘showcase’ applications of big data that involve study of the social world and social behavior?
  • To what end is such a research approach being put? What actions are being taken on the basis of findings from ‘big data’ analysis?
  • The data analytics discussion appears to be US-centric debate … how well are researchers grappling with the analysis of ‘big data’ when dealing with data collected from across heterogeneous, international populations?
  • How do ‘big data’ analysts connect data on behavior to the meaning/intent underlying that behavior? How do they avoid (or how do they think they can avoid) getting this wrong?
  • How might the analysis of ‘big data’ complement projects that are primarily ethnographic?

For good measure, she also provides a couple of interesting, probing takes on big data:

Jenna Burrell is an assistant professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley. Her book Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafes of Urban Ghana is forthcoming with the MIT Press. She completed her PhD in 2007 in the department of Sociology at the London School of Economics carrying out thesis research on Internet cafe use in Accra, Ghana. Before pursuing her PhD she was an Application Concept Developer in the People and Practices Research Group at Intel Corporation. Her interests span many research topics including theories of materiality, user agency, transnationalism, post-colonial relations, digital representation, and especially the appropriation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by individuals and social groups on the African continent.