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Putting People First

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September 2013
19 September 2013

The Internet of Things and the mythical smart fridge

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In this article for UX Magazine, Avi Itzkovitch explores the opportunities the Internet of Things presents to designers. Because the smart fridge is the cliché people usually refer to when discussing the Internet of Things, he uses this mythical smart fridge of the future, to illustrate how these devices may one day work and to reveal insights about the technology we will need to use as we design products for the Internet of Things.

The smart fridge remains an enigma to me though. To what problem is this an answer?

19 September 2013

Who commits virtual identity suicide?

 

Who Commits Virtual Identity Suicide? Differences in Privacy Concerns, Internet Addiction, and Personality Between Facebook Users and Quitters
Stefan Stieger, Christoph Burger, Manuel Bohn, and Martin Voracek. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. September 2013, 16(9): 629-634. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0323.
Published in Volume: 16 Issue 9: September 12, 2013

Abstract:
Social networking sites such as Facebook attract millions of users by offering highly interactive social communications. Recently, a counter movement of users has formed, deciding to leave social networks by quitting their accounts (i.e., virtual identity suicide). To investigate whether Facebook quitters (n=310) differ from Facebook users (n=321), we examined privacy concerns, Internet addiction scores, and personality. We found Facebook quitters to be significantly more cautious about their privacy, having higher Internet addiction scores, and being more conscientious than Facebook users. The main self-stated reason for committing virtual identity suicide was privacy concerns (48 percent). Although the adequacy of privacy in online communication has been questioned, privacy is still an important issue in online social communications.

16 September 2013

Experientia and Intel present at EPIC 2013 in London

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EPIC 2013, the conference on “ethnographic praxis in industry”, kicked off in London today, with experts from around the world gathering for the three-day conference exploring ethnographic investigations and principles in the study of human behavior as they are applied in business settings.

This (Monday) afternoon, Experientia will give a joint presentation with Intel, titled Mobility is More than a Device: Understanding complexity in health care with ethnography. The presentation describes a recent research project on how doctors use mobile devices in the healthcare industry, and the impact that new technologies are having on workflows and patient care.

The project was conducted by Experientia for Intel last year, with research in hospitals in China, Germany, the USA and the UK. The conference presentation focuses on how ethnography can be a vital tool in understanding complex environments such as health care facilities, and outlines key methodological insights from the project.

Experientia UX researchers Anna Wojnarowska and Gina Taha co-authored the EPIC paper with Intel’s Todd Harple and Nancy Vuckovic. The paper will be published in full in the EPIC conference proceedings. Today, Nancy and Anna will present a concise overview of the key findings, in the Faraday Theatre at London’s Royal Institution of Great Britain venue.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken will moderate the conference’s Town Hall Debate on the recent challenges in ethnography. Short statements by Natalie Hanson (ZSAssociates), Sam Ladner (Microsoft), Tricia Wang, Leisa Reichelt (GDS) and Stefana Broadbent (UCL) will introduce the public debate, that is set up to strongly involve the participants.

12 September 2013

Experientia workshop on strategic UX design for Taiwanese businesses

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Taiwan meets Italy this week, in a series of workshops and company visits hosted by Experientia for Taiwanese business people.

The 15 participants are from a diverse range of roles, from secretary to CEO, and a wide range of industries, including IT, appliances, car accessories, B2B suppliers (sugar, saw blades, electronic components), a dental clinic and a law office. Their visit is a part of a China Productivity Centre (CPC) initiative to introduce Taiwan to the Italian business world, from a user experience perspective.

Experientia, in collaboration with Taiwan-based partner ScenarioLab, has prepared and organised a programme of workshops and company visits that will conclude on Friday 13th, focused on User Experience (UX) design for high-end lifestyles and for sustainability. Experientia has created the majority of the workshops and activities, which are designed to offer the participants both theoretical and practical knowledge of UX design.

In their time in Italy this week, the participants have attended workshops on the main principles and practices of strategic UX design, with successful case study examples. Hands-on sessions have focused on learning, applying and implementing UX methodologies. Other sessions focused on measuring the business impact of UX design, and differentiating company offerings.

The visit to Italy has also focused on introducing and promoting Italian businesses, thanks to meet and greet opportunities provided by the Piemonte Agency for Investments, Export and Tourism. The visitors have had the opportunity to visit some of Piemonte’s most successful businesses, with tours of Gessi, Officine Arduino, Italdesign Giugiaro, Eataly, Maserati, and BasicNet.

On Friday, the visit will conclude with a lecture on “Sustainability as a Strategic Vision” at the Polytechnic of Milan, and a final opportunity for the participants to share their insights and experiences from the week with the group.

Experientia looks forward to continuing its collaboration with ScenarioLab, CPC and the Taiwanese companies that are participating in this trip, and supports the City of Taipei in its ambitions to become World Design Capital in 2016.

12 September 2013

What are users up to when they have an experience?

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Understanding the experience of using an object depends on understanding the context of use, argues Jeff Doemland in UX Magazine.

However, “The prevailing understanding of user and experience–the understanding behind my clients’ preoccupation with the properties of the tools they provide their customers–grows out of Descartes’ thinking, according to which, each of us is a self-sufficient subject (“a thinking thing”) engaged at a purely intellectual level with objects and their properties. So it’s no surprise that we define users as primarily concerned with the appearance and function of the objects they use, and require that experience be explained in terms of these properties.

According to Descartes, as thinking (rational) beings, an object’s properties are all that are truly available to us. The instinctive, intuitive–non-rational, absolutely contextualized–ways we access and use objects for meeting the demands of a specific situation are effectively invisible to this understanding of user experience.”

11 September 2013

The consumer has spoken but is anyone listening?

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One would expect that listening to your customers’ needs and wants is a basic prerequisite for any business active in a competitive industry. It also is understandable that no business can satisfy all of its customers’ needs nor always meet the basic needs for most of its customers. This is where a competitive market and assistance of adequate regulation comes into place. It’s about correcting the behaviors of non-performers.

But what happens when an entire industry, not just one firm, persistently refuses to listen to most of its customers?

A reflection by Rene Summer, Ericsson’s Director of Government and Industry Relations on the needs and wants of TV and video consumers.

11 September 2013

Design, innovation and government

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Last week Joeri van den Steenhoven, attended the How Public Design? conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which was organized by MindLab, the Danish design lab that has been an inspiration to many in social and public sector innovation.

MindLab had gathered a small but global crowd, from countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Canada, most of whom were running innovation labs, such as Nesta27th RegionKennislandStanford ChangeLabs and DESIS Lab at Parsons the New School for Design.

The conference looked at design-led approaches to innovation in government, and here are some of the lessons Joeri took home.

9 September 2013

From nice view to amazing journey: UNstudio and Experientia transforming the observation wheel experience

 

An architectural rendering of the Giant Observation Wheel, to be built in an undisclosed location in Japan.
Click on image to view slideshow
 

Recently, Fast Company, Dezeen Magazine and Wired have featured articles about UNStudio’s design for the Nippon Moon, a Giant Observation Wheel (GOW) to be located in Japan that could rival the London Eye and Singapore Flyer. To make the Nippon Moon unique, UNStudio teamed up with Experientia to create a journey that takes the customer into the heart of the view, and helps to bring the landscape to life in an immersive, innovative experience.

UNStudio invited Experientia to develop the interactive aspects of the project, while engineers Arup and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are collaborating on the technical specifications. From a distance, UNStudio’s concept may look similar to the well-known observation wheels of London and Singapore. As UNStudio notes, the wheel’s look is governed by structural constraints (defined by Arup and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries — two of the world’s most specialised wheel engineers), as well as by the location and the size of the wheel. But closer up, the concept is highly innovative, creating a complete user experience where the journey is much more enduring than the 40-minute rotation on the wheel itself.

Architecturally speaking, there are several innovations which make the Nippon Moon stand out. Although the size and location are currently undisclosed publically, UNStudio confirms that it will be nearly twice the scale of the London Eye. It also features double-decker capsules – a world first. But it is the focus on user experience aspects that make the wheel concept truly unique.

Experientia researched the various experiences of the customer journey from “Discovery” and “Ride” to “Return”, and designed various touchpoints and applications. The discovery moment starts as people begin to find out information about the wheel and purchase tickets online. With the Nippon Moon app, interactive features allow people to choose the time of their ride and their capsule, each of which has a unique internal theme. The app also builds excitement over the interim, sharing views from the top of the wheel and counting down to when customers start their rides. On the day of the ride, people can use the app to keep track of how long until it is their turn to board, allowing them to move within the facility freely, and avoiding queues.

Once on board, the experience of looking out at a city landscape is transformed by augmented reality techniques, built into the transparent skin of the capsules. Imagine looking out at a city skyscraper, for example, and being able to see how tall it is compared to towers around the world, or compared to Godzilla. The augmented reality offers viewers the option to immerse themselves in the historical and cultural relevance of the landscape they are looking at – or they can choose to simply enjoy the unenhanced view.

Experiences are shared however, and the app also allows riders to interact with each other. The Nippon Moon app lets people communicate the other capsules during the ride, or to send their own photos to the Hall of Fame, where they will see them displayed in a dynamic digital photo installation as they leave the facility. With original concepts and high-tech implementation, a ride on the wheel will become a truly unforgettable experience.

To read more about the wheel, check out the articles in Fast Company, Dezeen and Wired:
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3017693/in-wheel-life-spinning-the-worlds-largest-ferris-wheel
http://www.dezeen.com/2013/09/02/gow-nippon-moon-by-unstudio/
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-09/03/nippon-moon-giant-wheel

 

GOW Nippon Moon, Japan, 2012

Client: UNStudio
Location: Japan
Programme: Giant Observation Wheel
Building surface: Terminal and platform 7.200m2
Building volume: Terminal and platform 90.000m3
Building site: 18.000m2
Capsules: 32, single and double-decked
Platform level: 21m
Wheel type: ‘Ladder rim’, hybrid tension wheel
Pylon: 5-columned pylon
Rotation speed: 40min/rotation
Status: Design

 

Credits

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Gerard Loozekoot with Frans van Vuure, Filippo Lodi and Harlen Miller, Jan Kokol, Wendy van der Knijff, Todd Ebeltoft, Tina Kortmann, Patrik Noome, Jeroen den Hertog, Iain Jamieson

Advisors

Engineer: Arup Tokyo + Melbourne

Interactive design and customer journey: Experientia, Italy:
– Jan-Christoph Zoels | Creative Director
– Takumi Yoshida | Interaction Designer
– Renzi Guisti | Interaction Designer
– John Welch | Interaction + service designer
– Eloisa Fontana | Interaction Designer

Animation: Submarine, Amsterdam

Visualisation: MIR

6 September 2013

Four new papers by anthropologist Brigitte Jordan

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Brigitte Jordan, the legendary corporate anthropologist, once described as one of the “godmothers” of design ethnography, has posted four new papers on her website:

The Double Helix of Learning: Knowledge Transfer in Traditional and Techno-Centric Communities
Draft. Comments appreciated.
In this paper I formulate a new, integrated theory of learning and show how it plays itself out in three distinct learning ecologies: the ethno-obstetric practices of Yucatec Maya village midwives, the operations room of a U.S. airline where ground operations are coordinated, and a set of global industrial factories where silicon wafers are processed into computer chips. I do this in order to argue that since time immemorial, consistently and continuously, two kinds of knowledge and skill acquisition have existed that are exercised to varying degrees in those settings in a constant process of mutual adjustment, suggesting that they have co-existed with different kinds of balance and legitimization throughout history and across societies. I provide evidence that the ancient, experiential, immersion-based kind of learning is massively present in high-tech industrial workplaces, and suggest that it will be increasingly useful and recognized as valuable as the world moves into the digital age.

Dancing with Tools: How Technologies Have Shaped Society and Vice Versa
Anthropology News (March/April): 54:3-4:6-7.
We have been in bed with tools from the beginning. Every societal advance that we can trace or imagine has involved an intimate interplay between tools and social formations in the making. Now, at a time when the world is crying out for tools that help manage the uncertainties of globalization, automation and the digital revolution, we should consider what we can learn from the millions of years our ancestors have been engaged in making (and living with) tools not only for making things, but also for making sense of the world. – See more at: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2013/02/07/dancing-with-tools-2/#sthash.AzzPsHfU.dpuf

Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities
Walnut Creek, CA. Left Coast Press
In this innovative volume, twelve leading scholars from corporate research labs and independent consultancies tackle the most fundamental and contentious issues in corporate ethnography. Organized in pairs of chapters in which two experts consider different sides of an important topic, these provocative encounters go beyond stale rehearsals of method and theory to explore the entanglements that practitioners wrestle with on a daily basis. The discussions are situated within the broader universe of ethnographic method and theory, as well as grounded in the practical realities of using ethnography to solve problems in the business world. The book represents important advances in the field and is ideal for students and scholars as well as for corporate practitioners and decision makers.
The linked file contains the book’s introduction by Brigitte Jordan, who is also the editor of the book.

Pattern Recognition in Human Evolution and Why It Matters for Ethnography, Anthropology and Society
Chapter 12, Pp. 193-213 in: Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities, Brigitte Jordan, ed. Walnut Creek, CA. Left Coast Press
This final chapter [of the same book referenced above] is concerned with a world that has been irrevocably changed by the arrival of the Internet and the massive amounts of data its affordances have generated. It speaks to issues that are of fundamental concern for all of us who are thinking about where we are coming from and where we are going, given that we find ourselves in a present that experiences unprecedented changes in the material and symbolic environments in which we live, facing an uncertain future, and, significantly, coming from a more or less unexamined past that goes back several million years. What do these versions of the world have to do with each other? Why are we “we” and “here,” and not “something other” or “somewhere else”?
We are concerned then with a number of wide-ranging issues, from the basic existential questions that confront society today to specific questions about the role of anthropology and ethnography in a world of ever-increasing complexity.
This chapter attempts to build a case for the significance of evolution for ethnography as a methodology, for anthropology as a discipline, and, in the end, for the future of our society.

6 September 2013

Experience design is now part of business logic

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Om Malik of GigaOm argues that the cambrian explosion of mobile apps and cloud-based services as well as the exponential growth of data has led him to a very simple understanding: user experience is part of business logic.

“The emergence of the cloud has made a lot of the underlying technologies into commodities. Instead, the focus has shifted to creating smart and emotional experiences that use these ample commodities. The experiences are based on our social connections and are shaped by conclusions we can derive from data, but ultimately we need to make the experience memorable: and that is where design thinking comes into play. It is experience as a part of business logic.”

6 September 2013

Selected videos from “The Conference” in Sweden

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Media Evolution The Conference is an international conference organized annually in Malmö, Sweden. The event focuses on factors that are affecting our society, with a media industry angle to it, exploring who sets the agenda, what changes the playing field and how we all can shape society from now on.

The main themes are “Human Behavior”, “New Technology” and “Make it Happen” with sessions that look into topics such as big data, learning, non visual communication, online harassment, responsive web design, boredom, change making and tactility in a digital world.

Here are some selected videos from the August 2013 edition. There are 56 in all online (just from 2013), so I invite you to explore them as well.

Suzannah Lipscomb – Opening keynote [41:19]
Suzannah Lipscomb is Senior Lecturer and Convenor for History at New College of the Humanities. She also holds a post as Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. Suzannah opened The Conference by looking back and talked about what we can and can not learn from the past.

James Bridle – Naked Lunch [43:07]
The world is shaped by new technologies, but perhaps it is shaped more by how we understand those technologies, how they impact our daily lives, and the mental models we have of them. James Bridle, who coined the term “New Aesthetic”, talks about architectural visualisation, online literatures, contemporary warfare and contemporary labour, in an attempt to articulate new ways of thinking about the world.

An Xiao Mina – The Internetz and Civics [12:54]
An Xiao Mina is an American artist, designer, writer and technologist. She explores the disruptive power of networked, creative communities in civic life. Dubbing memes the “street art of the internet”, she looks at the growing role of meme culture and humor in addressing social and political issues in countries like China, Uganda and the United States.

Golden Krishna – The Best Interface Is No Interface [16:25]
Golden Krishna, Senior Designer at Samsung, speaks about how “The best interface is no interface”.
Many people believe that the future of design is on screens. But what if we can design communication that doesn’t involve screens.

Mike Dewar – Seeing From Above [18:25]
Mike Dewar, Data Scientist at The New York Times R&D Lab, will talk about how we can build tools to let us see behavioral phenomena from a heady new perspective with big data and data science. In an increasingly complex and networked world, tools for recording, filtering and visualising data is powering a new breed of storytelling.

Petra Sundström – Digitals [13:52]
Petra Sundström is a leading researcher within the fields of Human Computer Interaction and Interaction Systems Design. She is Lab Manager for the Crafted Technology and Experiences lab at SICS and Mobile Life.
We all know how paper feels and that we interpret things by touching them But how does digital features feel, and how can we better understand “digital materials” to design augmented digital experiences.

Tricia Wang – The Elastic Self [17:23]
Tricia Wang is a global tech ethnographer who researches how technology makes us human. She advises organizations, corporations, and students on utilizing Digital Age ethnographic research methods to improve strategy, policy, services, and products.

6 September 2013

Thoughts on clever cities

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The multiplexed metropolis
Enthusiasts think that data services can change cities in this century as much as electricity did in the last one. The Economist – in a piece written by Ludwig Siegele, online business and finance editor, argues that they are a long way from proving their case.

The role of the citizen in the smart city
Technology has changed how we look at city infrastructure, raising the possibility of smart cities. Could it now change how city governments and citizens interact?
(With contributions by Dan Hill, Saskia Sassen, Usman Haque, William Perrin and Rick Robinson)

“Against the smart city” teaser
The smart city pretends to an objectivity, a unity and a perfect knowledge that are nowhere achievable, even in principle, argues Adam Greenfield.

6 September 2013

Rebecca Solnit on the downside of social and mobile technology

 

Rebecca Solnit writes – in an excellent piece – that she feels as though she is in a bad science fiction movie where everyone takes orders from tiny boxes that link them to alien overlords. Which is what corporations are anyway.

“Previous technologies have expanded communication. But the last round may be contracting it. The eloquence of letters has turned into the unnuanced spareness of texts; the intimacy of phone conversations has turned into the missed signals of mobile phone chat. I think of that lost world, the way we lived before these new networking technologies, as having two poles: solitude and communion. The new chatter puts us somewhere in between, assuaging fears of being alone without risking real connection. It is a shallow between two deep zones, a safe spot between the dangers of contact with ourselves, with others.” […]

Getting out of it is about slowness, and about finding alternatives to the alienation that accompanies a sweater knitted by a machine in a sweatshop in a country you know nothing about, or jam made by a giant corporation that has terrible environmental and labour practices and might be tied to the death of honeybees or the poisoning of farmworkers. It’s an attempt to put the world back together again, in its materials but also its time and labour. It’s both laughably small and heroically ambitious.

Rebecca Solnit is the author of Motion Studies: Time, Space and Eadweard Muybridge, about technological change in the 19th century. She lives on the edge of Silicon Valley.

5 September 2013

Pew: 86% of USA adults make efforts to hide digital footprints online

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Pew Research Center found that 86 percent of surveyed adult Internet users in the U.S. have made efforts to obscure their “digital footprints” — which could include simple measures like clearing cookies in your browser or something more involved like encrypting your email, writes Ingrid Lunden on TechCrunch.

Some 55 percent have taken this one step further by trying to block specific people or organizations — services like Disconnect.me, for example, have built an entire business on creating these tools.

These efforts are not directed solely at state or government groups — despite all the recent attention from the PRISM revelations and the government’s role in gathering data.

“[Users’] concerns apply to an entire ecosystem of surveillance,” writes Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and one of the report’s authors. “In fact, they are more intent on trying to mask their personal information from hackers, advertisers, friends and family members than they are trying to avoid observation by the government.”

> See also this Fast Company article

5 September 2013

Experientia designs mobile site for UN affiliate to promote mobile learning

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This week, the ITC-ILO, a United Nations affiliate, officially launched an Experientia-designed mobile site to promote mobile learning tools within the organisation.

The mobile site is an internal communications tool to showcase best practice mobile learning use within ITC-ILO, and it has been designed to be optimally viewed from a smartphone or tablet.

The ITC-ILO is the training arm of the UN’s International Labour Organization. Based in Turin, Italy, ITC-ILO runs training, learning and capacity development services for governments, employers’ organizations, workers’ organisations and other national and international partners in support of Decent Work and sustainable development.

With the dominant shift to mobile learning, ITC-ILO is keen to demonstrate how it uses mobile tools within its programs and frameworks, and to promote future use of mobile tools to extend ITC-ILO’s activities into a variety of settings, through a broader range of interactions with people, exploiting different types of content.

mobile.itcilo.org focuses on the three key advantages of mobile learning: improved ability to engage participants, with dynamic content, and lasting contact; more opportunities to share knowledge, from one to many, and from many to many; and the ability to connect and interact with information in new ways, generating meaningful insights and providing access to expertise and resources.

Experientia designed the site, and helped to develop the content and promotional materials. The site is optimised for iOS and Android, offering an excellent user experience from smartphone and tablet, as well as from desktop PC. It’s online at mobile.itcilo.org.

3 September 2013

Book: Putting Citizens First

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Putting Citizens First
Engagement in Policy and Service Delivery for the 21st Century
Evert A. Lindquist, Sam Vincent and John Wanna
Australian National University – Co-published with ANZSOG
August 2013, 220 pages

Free pdf (alternative link)

This book explores the ways in which governments are putting citizens first in their policy-making endeavours. Making citizens the focus of policy interventions and involving them in the delivery and design is for many governments a normative ideal; it is a worthy objective and sounds easy to achieve. But the reality is that putting citizens at the centre of policy-making is hard and confronting. Are governments really serious in their ambitions to put citizens first? Are they prepared for the challenges and demands such an approach will demand? Are they prepared to commit the time and resources to ensure genuine engagement takes place and that citizens’ interests are considered foremost? And, more importantly, are governments prepared for the trade-offs, risks and loss of control such citizen-centric approaches will inevitably involve?

The book is divided into five parts:

  • setting the scene: The evolving landscape for citizen engagement
  • drivers for change: Innovations in citizen-centric governance
  • case studies in land management and Indigenous empowerment
  • case studies in fostering community engagement and connectedness
  • case studies engaging with information technology and new media.

While some chapters question how far governments can go in engaging with citizens, many point to successful examples of actual engagement that enhanced policy experiences and improved service delivery. The various authors make clear that citizen engagement is not restricted to the domain of service delivery, but if taken seriously affects the ways governments conduct their activities across all agencies. The implications are enormous, but the benefits to public policy may be enormous too.

3 September 2013

Book: Interactive Visualization

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Interactive Visualization: Insight through Inquiry
By Bill Ferster
The MIT Press, 2012
ISBN-10: 0262018152, ISBN-13: 978-0262018159
(Amazon link)

Abstract

Interactive visualization is emerging as a vibrant new form of communication, providing compelling presentations that allow viewers to interact directly with information in order to construct their own understandings of it. Building on a long tradition of print-based information visualization, interactive visualization utilizes the technological capabilities of computers, the Internet, and computer graphics to marshal multifaceted information in the service of making a point visually.

This book offers an introduction to the field, presenting a framework for exploring historical, theoretical, and practical issues. It is not a “how-to” book tied to specific and soon-to-be-outdated software tools, but a guide to the concepts that are central to building interactive visualization projects whatever their ultimate form.

The framework the book presents (known as the ASSERT model, developed by the author), allows the reader to explore the process of interactive visualization in terms of choosing good questions to ask; finding appropriate data for answering them; structuring that information; exploring and analyzing the data; representing the data visually; and telling a story using the data.

Interactive visualization draws on many disciplines to inform the final representation, and the book reflects this, covering basic principles of inquiry, data structuring, information design, statistics, cognitive theory, usability, working with spreadsheets, the Internet, and storytelling.

Bill Ferster is on the faculty of the University of Virginia with a joint appointment to the Center for Technology and Teacher Education at the Curry School of Education and at the Science, Humanities, and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI) at the College of Arts and Sciences.

Book review by By Gerd Waloszek
SAP AG, Design & Frontline Apps – September 3, 2013

“Ferster’s book “stands out from the crowd” because it is based on what I would call a “holistic approach” to information visualization, namely his ASSET model described above. It starts by asking questions and culminates in “telling a compelling story” with the visual representation created from the data.

I am too impatient for such an approach, and prefer a “data-driven” approach instead, where you start right from data having a certain structure, look for a suitable visual representation, and then implement it. This approach could be considered the “SER” section in Ferster’s model, and it is closer to what the author probably would consider a “how to” approach. But, as Ferster writes in his introduction, this was not what he had in mind when he conceived his book. I therefore agree with Shneiderman that Ferster’s book is more tailored to students of the humanities than to those of the natural sciences, particularly considering the tutorials, which are an important ingredient of the book.”

2 September 2013

Ericsson Report: Identifying the needs of tomorrow’s video consumers

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The Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media 2013 report (presentation) looks at how the explosion of connected mobile devices in the home has opened a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to viewing TV and video content.

Consumer viewing habits now involve so much more than just the living room TV and traditional broadcast services. Today people take their entertainment with them around the house – and beyond.

Key findings

Mobile devices make up an increasing share of TV and video viewing
> 72 percent use mobile devices at least weekly for video viewing. 42 percent do this outside the home.

TV is becoming a multiscreen and multitasking activity
> 75 percent multitask by using mobile devices while watching TV. 1 in 4 even watch multiple video sources at the same time.

Even late adopters are becoming advanced video users
> As many as 41 percent of 65–69 year olds studied stream on-demand/time shifted TV and video content, including YouTube, on a
more than weekly basis.

Video-On-Demand (VOD) is increasingly used for relaxation viewing while linear and scheduled TV is shifting to appointment viewing
> The value of linear TV is becoming more focused on live sports, events and other content with high ‘here and now’ appeal. Social viewing continues to be closely linked to this kind of content.

User-Generated Content (UGC) is becoming increasingly important
> It is not only being used for entertainment, but also for education, how-to guides and watching product reviews. In fact, 82 percent use YouTube or a similar service at least monthly.

We are witnessing the birth of aggregated, pick-and-mix TV solutions
> The quest has begun to become the first easy to use, à la carte TV solution provider that aggregates consumer TV and video needs. Consumers rank having an à la carte TV offering as the fifth most important aspect of their viewing experience.

2 September 2013

BBC R&D launched the UX Research Partnership

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Some weeks ago the BBC announced the BBC User Experience Research Partnership, a long-term collaboration project between BBC Research and Development (BBC R&D) and leading UK universities in the fields of User Experience and Human Computer Interaction research.

The academic partners are The University of Bath, The University of Dundee, UCL (University College London), Newcastle University, The University of Nottingham and Swansea University, which have all committed to support the initiative for at least four years.

Through large-scale pilots and prototypes, the partnership will explore the potential of new forms of content and interaction in a multi-platform world, alongside new ways of producing media that will help make content more accessible to all audiences. The research outcomes will be shared with the industry to encourage wider audience-focused innovation, help define open standards and support the creative industries in producing engaging content in the future.

> More background on the BBC R&D blog

1 September 2013

How we do user research in agile teams

researchanalysis

Getting user research into agile teams in a way that is timely, relevant and actionable is a challenge that teams the world over are tackling. Working effectively in agile has recently been the driver of some fairly significant changes to the way researchers work at the UK’s Government Digital Service.

We’ve been iterating how we do research in the same way we iterate our product design, and learned that the following techniques seem to integrate good research into agile teams more successfully:

– Dedicated researchers for each team
– Test designs at least every fortnight
– Everyone in the team should take part
– A varied toolkit
– See it through from analysis to action
– Sharing what we learn