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Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
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April 2013
15 April 2013

Report: People Powered Health

PPHsystemspaper

People Powered Health: Health For People, By People and With People
by Matthew Horne, Halima Khan and Paul Corrigan
April 2013 – 58 pages
NESTA, UK

This report, and the People Powered Health programme it’s part of, makes the case for changing the ways in which healthcare is organised. It shows how healthcare can better combine the very best scientific and clinical knowledge with the expertise and commitment of patients themselves.

The People Powered Health approach advocates changing three vital components of the current system:

  • Changing consultations to create purposeful, structured conversations that combine clinical expertise with patient-driven goals of well-being and which connect to interventions that change behaviour and build networks of support.
  • Commissioning new services that provide ‘more than medicine’ to complement clinical care by supporting long term behaviour change, improving well-being and building social networks of support. Services are co-designed to configure and commission services around patients’ needs.
  • Co-designing pathways between patients and professionals to focus on long-term outcomes, recovery and prevention. These pathways include services commissioned from a range of providers including the voluntary and community sector.

Other links

15 April 2013

Right to erasure protects people’s freedom to forget the past, says expert

Viktor Mayer-Schˆnberger

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger says the ability to forget our past, both on and offline, is an essential part of what makes us human.

“The more I’ve worked on data protection over the past 20 years, the more I’ve realised that at the heart of this, what matters as much as the privacy aspect is the issue of human decision-making,” said Mayer-Schönberger, professor of internet governance at the Oxford Internet Institute. “Humans need to make decisions about the present and the future. The beauty of the human brain is that we forget, which enables us to think in the present. That is necessary to help us make decisions.” […]

“Knowledge is based on forgetting. If we want to abstract things we need to forget the details to be able to see the forest and not the trees. If you have digital memories, you can only see the trees.”

15 April 2013

Does design thinking address quick fixes at the expense of root causes?

thestanforddaily

Does design thinking address quick fixes at the expense of root causes, asks John Thackara, referring to “Why the d.school has its limits,” a provocative article in The Stanford Daily by Danny Buerkli, a Swiss Fulbright student at Stanford University:

“Like any method, design thinking structures how you approach and conceptualize a problem. The way the method is currently taught, however, preordains the result.

The answer to any problem unfailingly is a product or a service. Some problems are indeed best solved with a product or a service. Yet other problems need systemic solutions (e.g. political action).”

15 April 2013

Rx: Human nature

HP-0413-highlights5

Why doesn’t a woman who continues to have unwanted pregnancies avail herself of the free contraception at a nearby clinic? What keeps people from using free chlorine tablets to purify their drinking water? Behavioral economics has shown us that we don’t always act in our own best interests. This is as true of health decisions as it is of economic ones. An array of biases, limits on cognition, and motivations leads people all over the world to make suboptimal health choices.

The good news is that human nature can also be a source of solutions. Through her studies in Zambia exploring the reasons for unwanted pregnancies and the incentives that would motivate hairdressers to sell condoms to their clients, Nava Ashraf (an associate professor at the Harvard Business School) has found that designing effective health programs requires more than providing accessible, affordable care; it requires understanding what makes both end users and providers tick.

By understanding the cognitive processes underlying our choices and applying the tools of behavioral economics — such as commitment devices, material incentives, defaults, and tools that tap our desire to help others — it’s possible to design simple, inexpensive programs that encourage good health decisions and long-term behavior change.

15 April 2013

To Dwell Is To Garden: An empathic approach to employee experience design

dwell-to-garden-small

Liana Dragoman writes on UX magazine about the role of experience design in employee empowerment.

“It has become increasingly important for customer-focused organizations to turn their lens on employee engagement or how employees connect with, think about, and process their work in meaningful ways.

Design researchers and practitioners — in addition to CEOs — have learned that in order to enable positive service experiences that yield increased customer satisfaction, organizations have to empower employees in authentic ways. In addition, employees who have a strong sense of shared purpose, the time and space to perform work appropriately, a synergistic work culture that aligns with their motivations and goals, and access to employee-centered resources (digital and otherwise) tend to collaborate seamlessly, develop innovative products, and deliver satisfying customer experiences.

Mutually beneficial work environments built around nurtured, reciprocal human relationships have the potential to increase an organization’s creative output and eventual profit margins but can also enhance people’s lives in the process. This is what success can look like.

The methods of experience design uniquely situate experience designers to address employee disengagement in textured ways. By uncovering the root behavioral causes and co-producing solutions with employees, experience designers can create the right kind of resources, which empower organizations to own their desired change over time.

As employee experience design is not a tidy activity, this article will focus less on concrete deliverables or step-by-step how-to-recommendations. Instead, a working framework is presented to assist experience designers in thinking through their own process-centric approaches and solutions.”

15 April 2013

Book: Interviewing Users (by Steve Portigal)

interviewing-users

Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights
by Steve Portigal
Rosenfeld Media
To be published: early May 2013

Interviewing is a foundational user research tool that people assume they already possess. Everyone can ask questions, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Interviewing Users provides invaluable interviewing techniques and tools that enable you to conduct informative interviews with anyone. You’ll move from simply gathering data to uncovering powerful insights about people.

Interviewing Users will explain how to succeed with interviewing, including:

  • Embracing how other people see the world
  • Building rapport to create engaging and exciting interactions
  • Listening in order to build rapport.

With this book, Steve Portigal uses stories and examples from his 15 years of experience to show how interviewing can be incorporated into the design process, helping you learn the best and right information to inform and inspire your design.

12 April 2013

#wethedata

wethedata

Right now, data may be what we intentionally share, or what is gathered about us – the product of surveillance and tracking. We are the customer, but our data are the product. How do we balance our anxiety around data with its incredible potential? How do we regain more control over what happens to our data and what is targeted at us as a result?

We The Data is born of a partnership between a group of friends, TED Fellows, and some visionaries at Intel Labs. Brought together by a common belief that ‘the internet is an organism in the process of being born’ and that we all have an important role in the data revolution, these groups worked together to seed what was to become a movement, #wethedata.

“WE THE DATA is a hub of conversation, news, and events celebrating innovative communities who are each focused on democratizing data in their own way. Our goal is to spark synergy among people and organizations who are tackling a nexus of interdependent Core Challenges and collectively giving rise to the Gutenburg press of our era: flows of data that are at once more fluid and more trustworthy, new and more accessible tools for analysis and visualization, and vehicles of communication and collaboration that help communities come together to gain a voice, mobilize resources, coordinate action, and create the ventures of the future.”

(thanks, Todd!)

12 April 2013

Insights from network data analysis that yield field observations

museum

As part of Ethnomining, the April 2013 Ethnographymatters edition on combining qualitative and quantitative data, edited by Nicolas Nova, Fabien Girardin describes his work with networked/sensor data at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Based on this inspiring case study, he discusses the overall process, how mixed-methods are relevant in his work, and what kind lessons he learnt doing this.

Fabien Girardin @fabiengirardin is Partner at the Near Future Laboratory, a research agency. He is active in the domains of user experience, data science and urban informatics.

12 April 2013

Bitcoin is just the poster currency for a growing movement of alternative tender

brixtonpounds

Scott Smith of futures research lab Changeist writes in Quartz about the long history of alternative currencies, and criticizes Bitcoin because “they set too high a bar for the average person”:

“There have been various alternative currencies kicking around developed countries like Britain and the US for years, but the global recession has spurred increased interest in setting up small local systems of payment using money designed around local needs. These range from the gray hairs of local currency such as the Brixton Pound, set up five years ago in the South London neighborhood that gave it its name, to more recent entrants like Bavaria’s Chiemgauer, a currency that started in a school and has spread to wider use, and the Credito, used by the Damanhur eco-community in Northern Italy.”

See also his 2012 article: “The Future of Informal Economies“.

12 April 2013

Designing better experiences through data

better-experiences-data-small

Access to big data is growing at an incredible pace. With increased information from various sources available on smartphones and tablets, many companies now realize winning services will be those that transform big data elements into personalized data experiences.

The key to creating great service experiences lies with uncovering data and using it in meaningful contexts that have real benefits to users.

Recent advances in wearable tech, location-based data and sensors are driving greater interest by consumers in personalized data experiences. Google Glass and the Nike FuelBand are pushing boundaries on what users can expect inside the services of tomorrow.

For designers, however, data presents a very interesting challenge: How can we better understand the value of data and leverage it to make digital experiences more meaningful?

Jason Napolitano, service design lead at Fjord, provides some examples of emerging companies that are embracing the conceptual power of data to create truly breakthrough services.

9 April 2013

Book: Service Design by Industrial Designers

servicedesign

Service Design by Industrial Designers
By Froukje Sleeswijk Visser
Technical University Delft
2013, 104 pages

Design practice is changing. The applications of design skills, knowledge, activities and processes seem to become wider everyday. More and more designers are tackling complex societal issues, and apply their design skills to projects where product development no longer plays a big role. Many refer to these applications as ‘service design’.

This book is aimed at people who want to learn more about the current dynamics and challenges the wave of service design brings to design practice. We critically reflect on recent developments related to service design and specifically on the consequences for the education of a new generation designers to deliver value to design practice.

It is the result of a think tank at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology with a group of 25 master students, 8 staff involved in service design research and education, and 9 design practitioners.

Dr.ir. F. Sleeswijk Visser (Froukje) is Assistant Professor, Design Conceptualization and Communication, at the Department of Industrial Design of the Technical University of Delft.

6 April 2013

Videos of breakout sessions at the recent Interaction13 conference in Toronto

ixd13_logo

The IxDA gathered in Toronto, Canada’s largest center for design, for its 6th annual conference. Here are the video records of the breakout talks that took place (grouped thematically).
 

AGILE / LEAN

Josh Seiden: A designer’s introduction to lean startup [15:04]
Josh Seiden introduces you to the key ideas of Lean Startup, talks about the amazing opportunities for designers this movement presents, and shares case studies of how he and his partners have used the techniques of Lean Startup as the foundation of their design studio.
 

BUSINESS

Johanna Kollmann & Martina Schell: Lean startup in design consulting: lessons learned [35:01]
As fast, user-centered development gains acceptance, many startups have successfully adopted a Lean Startup philosophy. But, why is it that many agencies and their clients still struggle to apply this methodology to larger-scale projects?

Matthew Connors: Print, snap, tap, track: using interactive print analytics to empower your design [25:32]
This session discusses the convergence of ink on paper and mobile through interactive apps that transfers the rapidly improving camera functionality and capabilities of iOS and Android devices to allow print readers to engage in various types of interactivity.

Nir Eyal: Stop designing apps and start designing habits [33:01]
Companies need to know how to harness the power of the desire engine to improve peoples’ lives, while consumers need to understand the mechanics of behavior engineering to protect themselves from manipulation. More and more developers realize that their success hinges on understanding user behavior.
 

CONCEPT DESIGN

Adam Little: Realism in design – communicating authentic experiences for the real world [10:02]
Drawing on examples from outside of the design world, we will see how artists and film makers have used the spirit of realism to create lasting works that are authentic and truthful.
 

CONTEXT

Jason Brush: The dream of the 90s is alive [43:35]
This personal talk excavates key ideas and media from the 1990s, which we may have forgotten, that, twenty years ago, inspired a generation to embrace digital technology and invent the world we live in today, and investigates how the many of the dreams that drove the 1990s — whether we realize it or not — may be alive today still.

Julia Barrett: Social networks suck – social computing frees you [33:12]
Most browser and mobile applications are designed to suck you in and away from the people that are right near you. We’re often busy updating our statuses instead of talking to the people we’re ‘statusing’ about.

Trip O’Dell: If UX can kill it probably will: designing for the 70 mph interface [36:36]
How do you create a great experience when you have to balance a user’s desire for a “killer app” with one that will not get them killed?
 

EDUCATION / COMMUNITY

Gretchen Anderson: Driving impact not serving shareholders – lessons from the non-profit world [11:24]
This session shares the tools we use to orient our organization, GreatSchools, toward the impact we seek to achieve and how those in the for-profit space can benefit from their use too.

Michael Wolf: Interaction design for learning [35:38]
The talk introduces the audience to the background and theory of interactive learning environments, whilst presenting exciting examples of interaction design projects in the field.

Sami Nerenberg: Design for America – students creating local and social impact – No video available as yet
Design for America (DFA) is an award-winning nationwide network of interdisciplinary student teams and community members using design to create local and social impact.

Rob McMahon, Ken Reddick & Dave Holland: Intuitive Interfacing – No video available as yet
The use of interactive media in the Royal Ontario Museum’s Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana exhibit.
 

GAMING

Kunal Patel: Badges are the backup quarterbacks of game design [33:21]
While badges, points, and leaderboards can be used to create compelling digital products outside of games, how can we be sure they were the cause of success? Plenty of terrible games employ points and encourage competition, but what separates the good from the bad?

Ryan Coulter & Greg Martin: Navigating the media minefield [36:07]
So you’re designing a media UI — the one, multi-platform content solution that finally solves the living room, forever. It’ll be thoughtful, coherent, social and beautful to behold.

Timothy Garrand: Tell Me a Story But Make It Interactive! [28:02]
What interactive game narrative can teach us about UX process design.
 

HEALTHCARE / WELLNESS

Andy Goodman & Marco Righetto: Hack you – the human body is the next interface [33:15]
Today’s breakthroughs in “Bodytech” include a host of incredible innovations that will to transform our bodies, communication, society – even the human psyche. This provocative presentation will address emerging “smart medicines,” medical technologies, synthetic biology, robotics and organic body part replacements.

Audrey Richard-Laurent: Compliance – design to facilitate a healthcare service [11:49]
How to connect patients to their illness and the medical staff, while complying to the constraints of patient management in the care system?

James Senior: Designing a compassionate healthcare experience [33:26]
This session aims to inspire designers working in healthcare & wellness to keep compassion at the heart of our UX practice.

Juhan Sonin: Hacking Health – Designing for and understanding my health – No video available as yet
This presentation traces the evolution of the author’s health design experience covering open source solutions to interoperability and policy to the design of health stations and corporate clinic experiences.

Sweta Mohapatra: Health on the go – designing electronic health records for mobile [11:20]
This talk covers some of the lessons learnt from building mobile EHR applications, the types of design problems that need solving when designing an application based on desktop software, and the complexities of designing applications where patients’ lives are at stake.
 

METHOD

Derek Vaz: Bury the wireframe – a primer in interaction prototypes [14:16]
This talk discusses why interaction designers should abandon printouts for interaction prototypes, how to introduce them into your process and showcase real world examples and success stories.
 

MOBILE

Behzad Aghaei: Towards buttonless touch interaction [25:31]
Presentation of an interaction concept that attempts to replace traditional buttons or tap interactions with gestures for list navigation and contextual actions.

Calvin Tennant: Moving past the navbar – No video available as yet
This presentation addresses the shortcomings of the navbar and introduce alternate navigation methods.

Michael Costantino: Toucha toucha toucha touch me [16:42]
Comparing standard touch-based input in iOS with musical gesture and how MIDI might provide a framework for us to think about touch.

Nate Archer: Beyond responsive [10:33]
If we have learned anything from the recent push to mobile, we need to anticipate the future sooner rather than later; not only the next wave of formats, but everything after that.
 

PROCESS

Carla Diana: Making meaning in an Internet of Things [38:22]
The Internet of Things presents a juicy opportunity for designers to pioneer new territory in rich interaction, but it also can backfire, filling people’s lives with more frustrations over technology than ever before.

Chris Pennell & Jessica Bailey: Designing for Complexity – What Did I Get Myself Into? [08:44]
In an ideal world, UX designers get to learn all about the people who use these types of systems – what they do, and why they do it – in order to design and redesign experiences that meet users’ needs. But what do we do when the information available is less than ideal?

Dan Saffer: Microinteractions – Designing with details – No video available as yet
The difference between a good product and a great one are its details: the microinteractions that make up the small moments inside and around features.

Dane Petersen: On aircraft and craft [11:00]
This talk discusses self-imposed principles, and how they can inform the way we think about our own design experience.

Davide Casali: Social experience design – shifting the focus where really matters [36:55]
Too much focus on external metrics will harm in the long term the effectiveness of your social strategy as well as your company as a whole.

Jason Alderman: Learning visual design to become a better unicorn [18:25]
Designer and author Cennydd Bowles refers to hybrid designers as “unicorns”–those mythical creatures who not only can do user research, information architecture, and interaction design, but ALSO can make gorgeous interfaces.

Jason Ulaszek & Brian Winters: Setting course – design research to experience roadmap [38:19]
In this session you’ll learn how to turn design research activities into a mental model, identify potential new business opportunities and derive business and experience direction from your newly found consumer insight.

Josh Cothran: Personas made personal [14:38]
This talk provides an overview of the Meyers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI), highlights research and thought leadership relating personality types to technology usage, examines controversies and limitations of the MBTI and shares ways to use personality types to support and communicate design, including a brief case study.

Judith Siegel: CNN and the UX challenge of presenting long-form stories [10:01]
How is design and user experience considered when constructing pages and templates for these stories? How does the editorial process differ and adapt to web-based journalism?

Ron Goldin: Design and the mobile startup – Toronto edition [33:54]
Design and the Mobile Startup: Toronto Edition is the third in a series of discussions about how great mobile products emerge from the chaos and uncertainty that is startup culture.

Sander Viegers: Designer as connector [11:55]
The story of adding 722 emoticons to Windows 8 and designing the invisible parts of the UX by connecting people.

Silvia Calvet: Switch on and design for good everyday [22:22]
This presentation is about how to adopt a new awareness to add human and ethical strand into our everyday work.

Susan Dybbs: Beautiful failures [11:45]
In this talk Susan Dybbs shares failures from three categories: relationships, results and process. Each story has its own foreboding indicator that provides opportunity for reflection but also an opportunity to reframe the failure as something to be celebrated.
 

ROBOTICS

Matthew Powers: Smart and beautiful – designing robots and intelligent machines [33:50]
Think about the design implications of robots and intelligent machines working in our world, does not only include considering the physical and interaction design, but also the robot’s impact on our social ecosystem.
 

SERVICE DESIGN

Franco Papeschi: Innovation, investment, influence and impact: design that fosters change [38:04]
In this session, Papeschi presents an approach that goes beyond user-centred design and activity-centred design: impact-driven design.

Sara Cantor Aye: Designing everything but the food [34:59]
This year, in partnership with the SAIC, Greater Good Studio designed and built a new public school cafeteria. While that sounds like an architecture project, it really means designing interactions between kids and food, staff, space and other kids!
 

STRATEGY

Azmina Karimi: Grandma likes my Facebook status – how older adults are influencing the digital enterprise
This talk helps us understand the digital practices of older adults, and new opportunities it can create for the social and business models of our clients and brands.

Carina Ngai: Failed futures [15:01]
To design meaningful futures, designers will need to embrace a different perspective: It’s no longer about out of the box thinking, but finding the right box to frame the opportunity space.

Cindy Chastain: New frontiers – the UX professional as business consultant [47:17]
This talk is meant to be both a thought starter as well as a lively group discussion around how UX can begin to play a substantive role in a company’s digital strategy.

Iram Mirza & Jannie Lai: You’ve been asked to re-design the wheel [15:08]
…and while you are at it “make it like Apple”!

Jan Moorman: Measuring user delight using the Kano methodology [39:44]
Learn why and how this methodology can be harnessed in design strategy decisions.

Jonathan Rez: Tomorrow’s news [15:54]
In this session Rez highlights some of the issues with current news websites and apps and presents a number of proposals for the delivery of tomorrow’s digital news.

Juan Cartagena: Getting what you want
This talk covers the mistakes we made, what we have learnt from them, and how we now lead users to do what we expect with our “dietary” approach to UX.

Matt Walsh: Tense up – creating positive tensions in experiences [47:32]
A few months ago we asked designers to finish this sentence: “One of the best ways I’ve seen positive tension created in an experience is…”

Peter Stahl: Rhythm, flow and style [32:37]
Your choice of rhythmic style, and how it’s expressed, can set up predictable behavior patterns and foster intuitions and extrapolations that will result in an engaging, rewarding experience.

Stephen Gay & Rich Redka: Ignite potential – value exchange networks [34:23]
Services are shifting from an era in which companies created and delivered monolithic offerings to passive consumers, to an era in which services exist as networks of value co-creation.

6 April 2013

Videos of keynotes and panel discussions at the recent Interaction13 conference in Toronto

ixd13_logo

The IxDA gathered in Toronto, Canada’s largest center for design, for its 6th annual conference. Here are the video records of the keynotes and panel discussions that took place.

KEYNOTES

Albert Shum: Connecting – emerging themes for interactions [36:59]
This session will share some of the design thinking behind emerging interactions themes and provide ways for design making that will help us create holistic human experiences to enrich people’s lives.

Jer Thorpe: Data & human experience [41:57]
By framing data in a human context, we can use it more effectively, and ultimately foster better practices for data-focused design.

John Bielenberg: Rubber ducks and hockey gloves (or, how to jump the ingenuity gap) [38:22]
How do you unlock the ingenuity that exists within people and organizations? Welcome to Future Blitz, the process of using rapid ingenuity to address your greatest challenges.

Kate Hartman: Social prosthetics – technology and the human form [43:54]
What gizmo can we use to read our minds, expose our hearts, or settle disputes? What gadget can improve our communication with house plants or buildings or glaciers?

Paul Adams: How to design social experiences [46:52]
Paul talks about the social design process, how it differs from classic user-centred design methods, and will explain why he thinks UX professionals will need to change how they work to be successful in the future.

Ravi Sawhney: Our power to empower – the satisfaction of designing for social impact [27:04]
Creating social impact is one piece of a very large world that flows through our fingertips as we conceive and create not only new user experiences but in fact new, highly empowered users… everywhere.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS

Data depth and ingenuity [46:19]
Panel with Jer Thorp, Todd Silverstein, Andrew Crow & Ben Fullerton
Big Data…so what? Have you heard it isn’t the size of the data, but what you do with it that matters? Cutting across industry and domain, we’ve invited some of the top creative minds to discuss and debate the value of information, in an information age. What to look for, how to determine what is important in the loads of data captured, and why making meaning out these mountains of digits can be so valuable.

Design led startups [40:21]
Panel with Ben Fullerton, Todd Silverstein, Raphael Grignani, Josh Seiden & Suzanne El-Moursi
This panel brings together a group of designers and entrepreneurs to discuss the real value of design in the startup world, how designers can think about entering the entrepreneurship world and what it takes to “jump ship” and start your own company.

Interaction design education workshop report back [1:13:10]
Panel with Dave Malouf, Haig Armen, Kendra Shimmell, Kristian Simsarian & Dianna Miller
The workshop co-organizers and the topic session facilitators present their session topics as well as communicate the next steps this group of people have planned in relation to interaction design education.

IxDA 10th anniversary panel [59:02]
Join members of the IxDA leadership – past and present – for a look at how our community has evolved between 2003 and 2013. Learn how IxDA started. Discover some of IxDA’s secrets: key moments, inflection points, lessons learned, and how it’s impacted peoples’ lives and work. Hear about where IxDA is today and where it’s going – what are our ideas & goals for the future and how we might get there through working together.

Open Brands: The future of brands is OPEN [52:14]
Panel with Matt Walsh, Donald Chestnut, Steve Baty & Suzanne El-Moursi
The role of interaction design in building an open brand.

ReDux Live: IxD13 [40:29]
Panel with Cliff Kuang, Jeroen van Geel & Lin Yee Yuan
With their fresh eyes and ears they shared from their perspectives the big ideas, trends and predictions from IxD13 and reflected on them while we were still together as a community in Toronto.

The great UX debate [1:02:32]
Panel with Robb Stevenson, Lou Lenzi, Angel Anderson, Donald Chestnut & Mikkel Michelsen
Following the outstanding success of the ‘Great IxDA Debate’ at Interaction12, Dublin, SapientNitro & IxDA have joined forces once again to organize another ‘Great UX Debate’ at Interaction13, Toronto.

6 April 2013

Two recent articles from UX Magazine

uxmag

Killed at Launch: A complete disregard for user experience leads to drastic action
by Pete MacKie
A failure to account for UX results in an e-commerce being pulled offline shortly after launch.

POP UX! Clued Into Curiosity
by Andrew Zusman
Clue, the classic murder-mystery board game, shows designers how to create an information gap and a narrative that leads users to the other side.

5 April 2013

Free resources provided by the Interaction Design Foundation

idf_logo

A few days ago, I reported on the news that SAP has become the first major sponsor of the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF).

Today, Rikke Friis Dam, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the The Interaction Design Foundation, provides an overview of the kind of resources IDF provides, largely free of charge.

4 April 2013

Steamrolled by Big Data

big-data-swarte

“Some problems do genuinely lend themselves to Big Data solutions,” writes Gary Marcus in The New Yorker.

“But not every problem fits those criteria; unpredictability, complexity, and abrupt shifts over time can lead even the largest data astray. Big Data is a powerful tool for inferring correlations, not a magic wand for inferring causality. The field has thus far apparently yielded only modestly improved weather prediction, and had little, if any, impact on challenges such as getting computers to program themselves.” […]

“The more complex a problem is, and the more particular instances differ from those that came before, the less likely Big Data is to be a sure thing.

In the years to come, scientists and engineers will develop a clearer picture of the circumstances in which Big Data can and can’t make a big difference; for now, hype needs to be tempered with caution and a sensitivity to when humans should and should not remain in the loop. As Alexei Efros, one of the leaders in applying Big Data to machine vision, put it, Big Data is “a fickle, coy mistress,” inviting, yet not without risk.”

4 April 2013

Gestural, Wearable, Neural – the new pillars of interaction design

neural-gestural-wearable-300x202

This is an exciting time to be a digital designer, as the future of digital interaction is all around us, writes Nev Fordyce, reflecting on his SxSW experience.

“What many have touted as the rise of the ‘Digital Native’, may be better described as the arrival of the ‘Digital Born’.

This new species will benefit extensively by the promise of the three new pillars of interaction design. Through the implementation of gestural, wearable and neural technologies the Digital Born will simplify their everyday life, amplify their learned knowledge, and even extend their natural life.”

4 April 2013

Jan-Christoph Zoels speaker at three Salone del Mobile events

jan-christoph

Jan-Christoph Zoels, one of Experientia’s founding partners and our creative director, is going to be a lot in Milan next week.

Aside from his participation on Monday 8 April at the IxDA organized “The Long View of Interaction Design,” he will also speak on Thursday and Saturday.

On Thursday 11 April he will be one of the invited speakers at “The Future of Design,” an evening conference (7 to 10 pm) organized by frog design at their Milan studios.

The theme of the event is “Designing the Future, The future of Design”: “With technology embedded where we work, live, and play, the pace of innovation is increasing. Connected products and services create a new complexity for companies and consumers alike. Making sense of it by designing the human experience has never been more important and strategically relevant than today, but how can we design the future in a meaningful way?

The other speakers are Mark Rolston (Chief Creative Officer, frog), Paolo Ciuccarelli (Associate Professor, Communication Design, Politecnico di Milano), and Tjeerd Hoek (Vice President Creative, frog Europe).

On Saturday 13 April (3 to 4 pm) he is one of the panelists at the UNStudio Platform Dialogues at at Emporio Building, Opificio Courtyard, Via Tortona 31, Milan. Experientia and UNStudio, the famous Dutch architectural design studio led by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, have previously collaborated on the design of sustainable buildings, environments and behavioral change.

The theme of the Saturday talk is the “Interface“: Whether it is as a portal to the World Wide Web or active nano-technologies, the communication between users and materials is no longer only one-way. The surfaces and objects through which we communicate and design provide new tactile and virtual feedbacks. This Dialogue – which will also involve Markus Benz (CEO Walter Knoll) and Birgit Lohmann (Associate Editor-in-chief Designboom) will explore the current and future possibilities of Interfaces with each other and through materiality.

The other UNStudio Platform Dialogues are also worth checking out:

DESIGNING (FOR) CO-CREATING
TUESDAY, 9 APRIL – 11.00 – 12.00
Panelists:
Ben van Berkel – Co-Founder/ Principal Architect UNStudio
Jurgen Bey – Director/ designer Studio Makkink & Bey and director PROOFFLab
Leo Schouten – Founder / director PROOFF

MATERIAL ATTAINABILITY
FRIDAY, 12 APRIL – 15.00 – 16.00
Panelists:
Gabi Böhm – Senior Architect/Project Manager, Premier Composite Technologies
Micol Costi – Director of Materials Research Material Connexion Italia
Giammichele Melis – Associate Director Buro Happold
James O’Callaghan – Director Eckersley O’Callaghan Structural + Facade Engineers
Federica Sem – Managing Director Permasteelisa Interiors

3 April 2013

EthnographyMatters on combining qualitative and quantitative data (edition by Nicolas Nova)

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The April 2013 EthnographyMatters edition is edited by Nicolas Nova, consultant and researcher at the Near Future Laboratory, and is about combining qualitative and quantitative data.

In his introduction, Nova writes:

“While ethnography generally draws on qualitative data, it does not not mean that quantitative approaches shouldn’t be employed in the research process. Combining the two leads to a “mixed-method approach” that can take various forms: data collection and analysis can be either separated or addressed together, and each of them can be used in service of the other. Of course, this isn’t new in academic circles and corporate ethnography but there seems to be a renewed interest lately in this topic.

One of the driving forces of this renewed interest is the huge amount of information produced by people, things, space and their interactions — what some have called “Big Data“. The large data sets created by people’s activity on digital devices has indeed led to a surge of “traces” from smartphone apps, computer programs and environmental sensors. Such information is currently expected to transform how we study human behavior and culture, with, as usual, utopian hopes, dystopian fears and *critical sighs* from pundits.

Although most of the work of Big Data has focused on quantitative analysis, it is interesting to observe how ethnographers relate to it. Some offer a critical perspective, but others see it as an opportunity to create innovative methodologies to benefit from this situation.

Aside from Rebekah Rousi’s post (featured here yesterday), EthnographyMatters will feature various case studies and perspectives on the implications of mixed-methods approaches, including Fabien Girardin (on how he used sensor data to yield field observations in a study for Le Louvre in Paris), Alex Leavitt (discussing his research on Tumbler using a computational ethnography perspective), Tricia Wang (sharing her thoughts about the opposite of Big Data, in what she calls “thick data”) and David Ayman Shamma from Yahoo! Research (describing his personal perspective on the topic).

3 April 2013

SAP sponsors the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF)

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SAP has become the first major sponsor of the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF), writes Gerd Waloszek on the SAP Design Guild blog.

The HCI encyclopedia, which recently appeared in its second edition, is one of IDF‘s major assets. But IDF offers designers a plethora of free educational materials:

  • Free Textbooks: 100+ expert authors on how to design interactive systems. Used by universities and tech companies around the world.
  • Free Educational Videos: HD video interviews with leading technology designers and professors. Filmed around the world.
  • Free Educational Images: Royalty-free images suitable for learning, teaching, publications or just plain fun.
  • Free Wiki Bibliography: The world’s largest wiki bibliography. A goldmine of research on designing interactive products.
  • Free Toolbox: A curated toolbox of essential products/tools for interaction designers. Our paying members get significant discounts.
  • Free Conference Calendar: A curated calendar of great conferences – ideal opportunities for learning and professional networking.

In addition, IDF supports a professionals association that “is meant for those who want to invest in their career” (membership cost is $98). Thanks to SAP’s sponsorship, membership in this association and access to the resources is free for SAP employees (they will find the respective information on SAP-internal Websites).

In the future, IDF will, among others, cooperate closely with SAP’s new User Experience Community.

IDF is overseen and guided by a distinguished executive board of industry experts and leaders in the field of high tech, software design, and user experience. Members include Michael Arent from SAP and SAP’s former Vice President of User Experience Dan Rosenberg.