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Putting People First

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November 2013
29 November 2013

Design your way to better public services

 

Innovative design-based approaches to public service management can rapidly enhance user experience whilst driving effective and efficient policymaking, explains Lucy Kimbell on the site of the Policy Network (the UK’s leading thinktank and international political network based in London).

“[The UK Cabinet Office, the Young Foundation, the International Telecommunications Union amd Nesta] are all examples of organisations reaching out to something confusingly called “Design”, in their attempts to create and deliver better responses to social challenges. Here, “better” public services can be understood through the lens of Roman architect Vitruvius. Well-designed public services should be pleasing and easy to access and use from the end user’s perspective (venustas). They should use resources effectively and efficiently, for example, reducing public sector investment (firmitas). And they should achieve policy goals resulting in the impacts that were the point of creating the solution in the first place (utilitas).

Helpful is how Kimbell describes what is distinctive about an approach where a team of people from policy, social science, technology and design backgrounds together take a design-led approach to addressing social challenges.

28 November 2013

Design Week reflects on the business potential of service design

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Design Week investigates a new wave of service design proponants who are helping to embed design in big brands.

Taking the two-day Service Design Global Conference as a context, the author highlights the radical changes businesses are making by using design to deliver profitable customer-focused experiences.

In particular, the article profiles four cases:

The work of business management firm Capita in helping their clients reshape entire services – the recruitment process for The British Army, and the UK TV licensing process for example – through long term consulting contracts.

Barclays, and in particular the Barclays Pingit project, a payment mobile app that allows users to make and receive payments using their phone’s contact book.

Xerox’s transformation from a tech manufacturer into a services business.

Ideo.org‘s work with Unilever, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition to design a scalable business in Kenya selling water alongside hygiene and nutrition products.

27 November 2013

[Report] Leading Business by Design

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Design is now firmly on the business agenda. No longer the cherry on the cake for high-end goods and luxury brands, over the past decade it has gained relevance for the way organisations are structured, how they operate and how they think. An increasing number are starting
to use design strategically – to differentiate themselves from the competition, to launch new brands and strengthen existing ones, and to inform strategic choices. There is already considerable evidence for design acting as a mechanism for business growth and innovation.

This research, conducted by Warwick Business School on behalf of UK Design Council, aims to build on such evidence by asking business leaders of various organisations how they use design, and how they benefit from it.

Interviews with business leaders from world–class companies like Barclays, Diageo, Virgin Atlantic and Herman Miller led to three main findings:

  1. Design is customer-centred – Benefit is greatest when design is intimately related to solving problems, especially customers’ problems.
  2. Design is most powerful when culturally embedded – It works best when it has strong support in the organisation, especially from senior management.
  3. Design can add value to any organisation – Design can benefit manufacturing and service-based organisations, small, medium or large.

The report’s eight recommendations for how companies can maximise the impact of design:

  1. Don’t limit the context in which design can operate
  2. Use design to differentiate
  3. Integrate design and branding
  4. Introduce a design process
  5. Trust and support your design talent
  6. Embed design in your organisational culture
  7. Design your work environment
  8. Don’t let the designer’s role be a straitjacket
27 November 2013

Melinda Gates on the power of human-centered design

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Interesting quote from a Wired interview with Melinda Gates and Paul Farmer:

WIRED: What innovation do you think is changing the most lives in the developing world?
MELINDA GATES: Human-centered design. Meeting people where they are and really taking their needs and feedback into account. When you let people participate in the design process, you find that they often have ingenious ideas about what would really help them. And it’s not a onetime thing; it’s an iterative process.

How does that work in practice?
PAUL FARMER: In Haiti I would see people sleeping outside the hospital with their donkey saddle under their neck — they’d been waiting there for days. And no one was asking them, “What are you eating while you’re waiting? What is your family eating while you’re gone?” We have to design a health delivery system by actually talking to people and asking, “What would make this service better for you?” As soon as you start asking, you get a flood of answers.

27 November 2013

[Report] Next generation working life

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How will work be organized in the Networked Society? Fundamental changes are taking place. Cultural changes and rapid technological development are changing the rules and opening up for new ways of structuring business and changes in the workplace. Ideas and innovation are fueling this move forward. It is becoming more important, if not essential to stay in a constant state of evolution while creating a climate where new ideas can surface and grow. So how will you survive in this new game?

In its report ‘Next generation working life – from workspace to exchange space’, Ericsson has identified eight themes that are affecting the future of work and that are likely to have fundamental implications for working life, from both an employer and an employee perspective.

25 November 2013

BancoSmart video – Experientia’s ATM interface for UniCredit Bank

 

Experientia’s innovative ATM interface for UniCredit Bank has started to roll out across ATMs in Italy, and UniCredit has created a video to showcase some of the features.

Experientia’s interface design reinvents the ATM interface – making it easier to use, faster, and with more services, all offered through full touchscreen interaction. Not only is the ATM full touchscreen, it’s also personalised, featuring a home page tailored to users.

The ATM offers several original features, conceived especially for UniCredit Bank, based on Experientia’s research. The main innovations include:

  • Speedy withdrawal, with 3 predefined options on the Home Page based on the most frequent behaviours of the user, which the system learns over time. This cuts the time for common task completion by 30%.
  • Georeferenced payment service, which organises bill payment options and filters them based on what is available in the user’s location.
  • Adaptive interface, with a home page that offers personalised content based on the user’s banking profile.
  • Tone of voice, with the creation of a coherent language in all situations, which is more friendly and direct, and provides the correct support during operations.
  • Contextual support and feedback – Contextual messages and continuous feedback keep people informed during interaction, particularly in case of data entry errors or other problems, using a clear language and coherent visual support.
24 November 2013

[Book] Public and Collaborative

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Public and Collaborative
Exploring the intersection of design, social innovation and public policy

Ezio Manzini and Eduardo Staszowski (Editors)
New York, September 2013, 181 pages
Download [Alternative links 12]

This book edited by Ezio Manzini and Eduardo Staszowski documents and presents some reflections on efforts of DESIS Labs in Europe, Canada, and the United States that are participating in the Public and Collaborative Thematic Cluster. It includes 11 articles that present from a critical perspective the labs’ projects and activities during the 2012-2013 period. The book opens with Christian Bason’s paper, “Discovering Co-production by Design”. In this paper Bason, Director of Denmark’s MindLab, proposes a broad view of how design is entering the public realm and the policymaking processes. His essay offers updated and stimulating context for the entire book.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Ezio Manzini, Eduardo Staszowski

Foreword

Discovering co-production by design
Christian Bason, Director of Mindlab, Denmark
This article explores how design methods, including user research and involvement, ideation, prototyping and experimentation, are experienced and used by public managers.

Chapter 1: Designing new relationships between people and the State

  • Peer-production in public services: Emerging themes for design research and action
    Andrea Botero, Joanna Saad-Sulonen, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland
    This article collects a set of emerging themes for design research and action, based on lessons learned from case studies and research projects in Helsinki, Finland that deal with peer production of public services.
  • Service design for intercultural dialogue: Making a step forward towards a multicultural society
    Margherita Pillan, Irina Suteu, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
    How to promote social cohesion in multicultural urban environments? What role can service design play with respect to a full acceptance of social change due to multicultural complexity? How can we contribute to public service innovation so to correspond to multicultural issues?
  • Reflections on designing for social innovation in the public sector: a case study in New York City
    Eduardo Staszowski, Scott Brown, Benjamin Winter, Parsons The New School for Design, New York, USA
    This article examines the “Designing Services for Housing” project as a case study for identifying various challenges designers face in working in collaboration with public partners to effect social change in the public realm.

Chapter 2: Design schools as agents of change

  • Seven reflections on design for social innovation, students & a neighbourhood
    Nik Baerten, Pantopicon, Antwerp, Belgium
    The process to involve students from several schools and neighborhood inhabitants as well as the public sector in design activities aimed at social innovation, presents a series of challenges worth reflecting upon. This article presents seven key learnings, using the “Welcome to Saint-Gilles” project as its main inspiration and case study.
  • Learning together: Students and community groups co-designing for carbon reduction in the London Borough Of Camden
    Adam Thorpe, Lorraine Gamman, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, UK
    This article reflects on how the University of the Arts London (UAL) DESIS Lab, working in partnership with the London Borough of Camden’s Sustainability Team, supported students from CSM’s BA Product Design and MA Applied Imagination courses to collaborate with local residents to design new ways to change behaviors to reduce carbon emissions.

Chapter 3: Experimental places for social and public innovation

  • Participatory design for social and public innovation: Living Labs as spaces of agonistic experiments and friendly hacking
    Per-Anders Hillgren, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden
    This article will present some learning’s and reflection on what role we as a design school can take when running a DESIS lab where we approach several of the urgent challenges that face society today.
  • From welfare state to partner state: The case of Welcome to Saint-Gilles
    Virginia Tassinari, MAD, Genk, Belgium
    This article shares a series of reflections on the nature of Public Innovation Places (PIP), looking at the process that eventually can lead to establish a PIP and at the role of design schools therein – starting from the concrete experience of the project ‘Welcome to Saint-Gilles’.
  • Innovation without boundaries: Ecology of innovation and municipal service design
    Luigi Ferrara, Institute without Boundaries, Toronto, Canada
    Magdalena Sabat, New York University, New York, USA

    The Institute without Boundaries (IwB)’s emphasis on design thinking and an ecology of innovation approach have enabled creative interventions and design solutions for the public service sector. The article describes the IwB’s collaborations with the cities of Markham and Dublin.

Chapter 4: Collaborative design – methods and tools

  • The Teen Art Park Project: Envisioning spaces for artistic expression and social sustainability
    Mariana Amatullo, Design Matters at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, USA
    This essay presents the Teen Art Park Project as a case study of a collaborative public sector design endeavor that includes planning for a recreational environment that is intended to serve disadvantaged teenagers with structures co-designed to foster safe, artistic expression.
  • Collaborative design strategies: Helping to change the practice of care
    Kristin Hughes, Peter Scupelli, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Using a design-lead approach we help physicians aid conversations around obesity prevention with children. A highly participatory, transparent approach informed the design of a product and service known as Fitwits MD. We describe the design process, dissemination, and evaluation linked to the making and development of this tool.
  • Acupuncture planning by design
    François Jégou, Clara Delétraz, Giovanna Massoni, Jean-Baptiste Roussat, Marie Coirié, Brussels, Belgium / Paris, France
    The article discusses the experiences of design schools engaging in co-creating sustainable living scenarios with the population of Paris-Saclay Campus in France and Liège Saint-Gilles neighbourhood in Belgium, and questions how design schools approaches may renew the ways local urban planning is usually conducted:

The DESIS Network is an international network of design schools and organizations focused on design for sustainability and social innovation, in which research labs based in cities around the word are developing parallel projects at the intersection of public services, social networks, and design.
New YorkMilanMalmöLondonParis

24 November 2013

Bruce Sterling on the value of design fiction (and some example videos)

 

Bruce Sterling’s Wired UK article on the value of design fiction is very much worth a read, as it defines the field so well:

“A formal definition exists: “Design fiction is the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change.”

There’s heavy freight in that sentence, but most can be disposed of promptly. “Deliberate use” means that design fiction is something that people do with a purpose.

“Diegetic” is from film and theatre studies. A movie has a story, but it also has all the commentary, scene-setting, props, sets and gizmos to support that story. Design fiction doesn’t tell stories — instead, it designs prototypes that imply a changed world.

“Suspending disbelief” means that design fiction has an ethics. Design fictions are fakes of a theatrical sort, but they’re not wicked frauds or hoaxes intended to rob or fool people. A design fiction is a creative act that puts the viewer into a different conceptual space — for a while. Then it lets him go. Design fiction has an audience, not victims.

Finally, there’s the part about “change”. Awareness of change is what distinguishes design fictions from jokes about technology, such as over-complex Heath Robinson machines or Japanese chindogu (“weird tool”) objects. Design fiction attacks the status quo and suggests clear ways in which life might become different.”

So what is their value?

“The objects offered to us in a capitalist marketplace have three basic qualities: they are buildable, profitable and desirable. They have to be physically feasible, something that functions and works. They need some business model that allows economic transactions. And they have to provoke someone’s consumer desire.

Outside of these strict requirements is a much larger space of potential objects. And those three basic limits all change with time. Through new technology, new things become buildable. Business models collapse or emerge from disruption. People are very fickle. That’s how it works out — and the supposed distinction between “real” and “not-real” is pretty small.”

On his blog Bruce provides a huge, personally annotated catalogue of examples of design fiction.

They range from sketches to personas, from imaginary future scientific experiments to theatrical events, from apps to start-ups, from exhibitions
to exhibitions, and from physical objects to books, to inspiring videos.

Here are some examples of design fiction videos:


The future that Mirrobe (pronounced MEER-Obe), a design fiction by Samuel Kobe, is imagined to be from isn’t all the different from one we enjoy today. The technology will not be anything majorly advanced, but instead versions of existing technology both refined and more completely integrated into the household. Kobe expects it to be the year 2020 to 2025 when his design fiction would be in production and fully integrated into the households of the modern world.
[Video version without interface]
 


nuna by Guri Venstad is a system of patches that integrate with your skin and provide new sensory experiences.
In a time where visual displays are frequently asking for our attention, nuna offers a more subtle and unobtrusive approach using ambient touch. The system consists of three patches that use patterns in vibration, temperature and contraction to form a new haptic language.
 


Introductory video to Elvira Grob‘s speculative design project “Vitiosae Vigilis“.
 


A Digital Tomorrow” is a design fiction video produced for Curious Rituals, a research project conducted in July-August 2012 by Nicolas Nova (The Near Future Laboratory / HEAD-Genève), Katherine Miyake, Nancy Kwon and Walton Chiu from the media design program.
 


Corner Convenience is a thought experiment, newspaper, and series of three short films that explore the trivial and mundane objects coming soon to a store near you. Created by Julian Bleecker of the Near Future Laboratory with Nick Foster and students at a workshop at Arizona State University’s Emerge event.
> Article in The Atlantic

24 November 2013

An ethnographic study of UK policy making

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Professor Alex Stevens of the University of Kent, did quite an unusual ethnographic study – focused on understanding how UK civil servants use evidence in policy making, and in the process comes to some quite political conclusions:

“Based on participant observation in a team of British policy-making civil servants carried out in 2009, this article examines the use that is made of evidence in making policy. It shows that these civil servants displayed a high level of commitment to the use of evidence. However, their use of evidence was hampered by the huge volume of various kinds of evidence and by the unsuitability of much academic research in answering policy questions. Faced with this deluge of inconclusive information, they used evidence to create persuasive policy stories. These stories were useful both in making acceptable policies and in advancing careers. They often involved the excision of methodological uncertainty and the use of ‘killer charts’ to boost the persuasiveness of the narrative. In telling these stories, social inequality was ‘silently silenced’ in favour of promoting policies which were ‘totemically’ tough. The article concludes that this selective, narrative use of evidence is ideological in that it supports systematically asymmetrical relations of power.”
[Abstract]

The seminar blog post by Alex Stevens provides some further insight:

“How do civil servants use evidence in their everyday work as they create policies? That’s what I set out to understand when I was seconded to a Whitehall department for six months. My findings, I should warn, were a bit dispiriting. There is a systematic bias in both the kind and content of evidence that is used. I observed policy-making being distorted by the filtering of evidence to fit the particular goals of the powerful. The result? Policy-making that may be supported in public by evidence but certainly has not been determined by it. […]

Social scientists – perhaps naively – hope that increasing the role of evidence in policy will support democracy because evidence is perceived as being politically neutral. But the people who are making the choices about what evidence will be translated into policy come from the groups in society that already have unequal access to resources, money and power. So the process I have observed of ‘narrative filtering’ of the evidence tends to preserve existing inequalities and power structures rather than challenging them.”

Alex Stevens is Professor in Criminal Justice and Deputy Head of the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. He has worked on issues of drugs, crime and health in the voluntary sector, as an academic researcher and as an adviser to the UK government.

He presented his research at a special Seminar at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on Tuesday, 19th Nov 2013.

23 November 2013

The future of the workplace: through an ethnographer’s eyes

 

What will the workplace of the future look like? Will it even exist as a physical space? Ever since networked computers first became widespread the idea of the virtual organisation has been touted, yet most of us still work in conventional workplaces. Recent technological advances have given a second wind to the idea with some even questioning whether organisations will exist in their current form or whether workers will be free agents coming together to complete specific tasks as and when needed.

Discover the answer (video) through the eyes of Jacki O’Neill, a Xerox ethnographer who spends her time studying people in workplaces.

This video was one of the 4 Emerging Trends presentations given at the XRCE 20th anniversary Oct 4th 2013.

21 November 2013

The changing nature of service and experience design

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The ubiquitous nature of smart products and smart systems underscores the fact that the definitions of “service design” and “experience design” are becoming moving targets. Many products are becoming services and experiences are becoming products that differentiate brands. What does this mean for design and design managers? What does it mean to “design services?” How do you design services “in the cloud”? How do designers contribute to and lead systems planning strategies? How does design management effectively integrate online and offline experiences? How can designers successfully transition to the intangible opportunities in service design systems? What kinds of new alliances will form? What kinds of tools will be needed?

Great Q&A with Live|Work partner Lavrans Løvlie and Professor Andy Polaine (co-authors of the book “Service Design – from Insight to Implementation”.)

21 November 2013

The intersection of UX, CX & corporate strategy: The holy grail for 21st century business?

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Chris Allen (CUA – HFI US Sales Director Eastern Region; Global Accounts Director) went to the UX STRAT Conference in Atlanta and came back with one big question: How do we as business leaders leverage the best techniques and outcomes of various research and design methodologies to create more rewarding, fun & useful interactions with our current and potential customers so they become loyal, repeat customers and advocates?

This question, he says, “really transcends whether or not we are advocates of Customer Experience (CX), User Experience (UX), Agile, Lean, or any SDLC methodology in play today. The point is, how can we bring these different perspectives/approaches together for a common purpose, instead of building more Chinese walls or reasons why someone cannot play in someone else’s sandbox?”

20 November 2013

Teens in the digital age

 

Two talks on teens in the digital age:

The App Generation: identity, intimacy and imagination in the digital era (video – 21:18)
Talk at The RSA, London, UK – October 2, 2013
Today’s young people have grown up almost totally immersed in digital media. But have we really begun to take full stock of the impact that living in the digital era has on young people’s creativity and aspirations?
Drawing upon a unique body of new research, father of the theory of multiple intelligences, Professor Howard Gardner, an American developmental psychologist at Harvard University, explores the particular challenges facing today’s “App Generation” as they as they navigate three vital areas of adolescent life – identity, intimacy and imagination – in a digital world.
Addressing the areas in which digital technologies can both positively and negatively affect relationships, personal and creative growth, Gardner looks at how we might venture beyond the ways that apps are designed to be used, to ensure that technologies act as a springboard to greater creativity and higher aspiration.

It’s Complicated: Teen Privacy in a Networked Age (video – 22:14)
Talk held at Family Online Safety Institute, Washington, DC, USA – November 6, 2013
Dr. danah boyd, a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, expanding on her new book It’s Complicated (Amazon link).

Perhaps not surprisingly, Howard Gardner (born in 1943) and danah boyd (born in 1977) come to quite different conclusions. boyd’s talk is quite consistent by a great one by Tricia Wang at EPIC in London, by the way.

By the way, note Boyd’s definition of privacy: “Privacy is not simply the control of the flow of information, but it is in many ways the control of a social situation.”

19 November 2013

Talks and presentations from UX Australia

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UX Australia 2013, a 4-day user experience design conference that took place in Melbourne at the end of August, has posted a lot of presentation slides and audio recordings on its site.

Here a (small personal) selection:

Agile ethnography in New York’s secret public spaces
by Chris Holmes, AnswerLab (AUS/USA)
A unique user research project which sought to explore the user experience of ‘privately-owned public space’ (or POPS)

Design at the edges: Mobile UX in the developing world
by Gabriel White, Small Surfaces (AUS)
Examples of how organisations working in developing countries are using mobile technology in novel ways to solve real problems.

Design research for emerging markets: Making relevant and successful products
by Andrew Harder (AUS)
A deep-dive into developing customised products for emerging market users and the unique challenges that Westerners face when we try to understand and design in this domain

Two models of design-led innovation
by Steve Baty (AUS)
An introduction to two dominant models of design-driven innovation: hypothesis-led and insight-led

19 November 2013

[Book] Reputation Economics

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Reputation Economics: Why Who You Know Is Worth More Than What You Have
by Joshua Klein
Palgrave Macmillan Publisher
November 2013, 256 pages
[Amazon link]

Abstract
As the internet has increasingly become more social, the value of individual reputations has risen, and a new currency based on reputation has been created. This means that not only are companies tracking what an individual is tweeting and what sites they spend the most time on, but they’re using this knowledge to predict the consumer’s future behavior. And a world in which Target knows that a woman is pregnant before she does, or where a person gets a job (or loses one) based on his high school hijinx is a scary one indeed. But what if there were a way to harness the power of these new technologies to empower the individual and entrepreneur? What if it turned out that David was actually better suited to navigate this new realm of reputation than Goliath? And what if he ushered in a new age of business in which reputation, rather than money, was the strongest currency of all? This is all currently happening online already.

The author
Joshua Klein is an internationally known technology expert who studies systems, from computer networks and institutions to consumer hardware. His recent projects have included an acclaimed new television series on the history of innovation on the National Geographic Channel, called The Link, one of the most watched TED videos of all time (about vending machine to train crows to exchange found coins for peanuts) and the development of a cell phone application to create a virtuous cycle of education and employment in South Africa. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, O Magazine, and The Harvard Business Review. He has made appearances on MSNBC, NPR, and has spoken at conferences from TED to Davos, and presented in front of organizations ranging from the State Department to the Young Presidents Organization Global Leadership Congress, to Microsoft to Amazon. He lives in New York City.

Essay based on the book
Worth reading, although I am not sure how his second and third solutions (see below) would actually work for the very large majority of people (particularly in a world of corporations who are very smart with algorithms and pervasive surveillance):

Solution 1:

“We can opt out entirely, which is increasingly only possible if we want to wrap our heads in tin foil and live in a cave.”

Solution 2:

“We can limit how our personal information is gathered and utilized, and in doing so we can demand that it be purchased at higher rates than just access to Instagram. It may not mean cold hard cash (at least not at first), but we can certainly expect more premium services, more discreet advertising, or even just better control over who gets our data and for what purposes.

After all, once we start controlling what we share with whom, we can decide that certain kinds of information are worth more to which retailers. Want to know what sort of food I regularly order? I might decide to share that with FreshDirect (a grocery delivery service) and Seamless (a restaurant delivery service), but not with Good Eggs or GrubHub (their competitors). Once those services recognize that I’ve got a commodity they want—namely data that allows them to upsell, cross-market, and target-promote—and that I’m willing to withhold that information from one provider in favor of another, it changes the game substantially. In exchange for my precious data, companies might offer me meaningful dollar-value promotions, discounts, and special offers.”

Solution 3:

“|If companies won’t start offering genuine value for your data, then you should consider holding it back. Most of the tracking systems that exist online can still be circumvented or blocked: There are virtual private networks (VPNs) to prevent our location from being tracked, browser plug-ins to keep our Web page views private, encryption tools to keep our documents and emails from being scanned, and anonymizing software to allow us to participate in social networks without our real-world identities being connected to our online conversations. As an added bonus, many of these technologies (such as TOR for anonymizing our Internet traffic or PGP for encrypting our email) can also protect our data from government surveillance, both national and international.”

I guess I will have to read the book.

19 November 2013

UX and the civilizing process

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Kevin Simler is clearly a highly informed and engaging writer. In this essay, he argues that “UX is etiquette for computers“.

“A focus on appearance is just one of the ways UX is like etiquette. Both are the study and practice of optimal interactions. In etiquette we study the interactions among humans; in UX, between humans and computers. (HHI and HCI.) In both domains we pursue physical grace — ”smooth,” “frictionless” interactions — and try to avoid embarrassment. In both domains there’s a focus on anticipating others’ needs, putting them at ease, not getting in the way, etc.

Of course not all concerns are utilitarian. Both etiquette and UX are part function, part fashion. As a practitioner you need to be perceptive and helpful, yes, but to really distinguish yourself, you also need great taste and a good pulse on the zeitgeist. A designer should know if ‘we’ are doing flat or skeuomorphic design ‘these days,’ just as a diner should know if he should be tucking his napkin into his shirt or holding it on his lap. And in both domains, it’s often better to follow an arbitrary convention than to try something new and different, however improved it might be.”

19 November 2013

Behavioral change strategy cards

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Artefact Group, the Seattle based design company, has posted the first installment of its Behavior Change toolkit.

“We’ve curated this selection of cards to give you a sample of principles and strategies that you can apply to your own work, dealing with concepts like how timing, ownership, and perceived losses impact people’s decisions.

Our goal is to provide internal and external designers, talent managers, and organizations with tools to incorporate behavioral economics principles into their work. This first installment of our Behavior Change toolkit rounds out our library of free resources on behavior change, including:

19 November 2013

Bringing sharing to Korea

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Richard Heinberg, author of The End of Growth, gave the keynote address at the ‘Seoul Youth Hub Conference 2013, Reshaping the Way We Live’, held in Seoul, Korea from 6 to 8 November 2013.

The conference was co-hosted with 8 youth-led organizations working for transforming our lives into more sustainable way in various sectors.

The Seoul Youth Hub is a project of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and its mandate is to help young people “design a future society” by providing a place where they can share and resolve their problems, experiment with a sharing economy, and “discuss specific policies regarding various agendas such as work-labor, housing, life safety net, business creation, youth politics,” and more. The Hub is also intended as a model and a networking center for similar projects throughout Asia.

Richard was quite impressed about it all, and wrote a report on his experience on Shareable.

Very funny was his meeting with the Mayor of Seoul:

“On the evening of the first day of the conference I met Mayor Park at his offices in City Hall, a twisty new steel-and-glass structure whose ground floor is devoted to citizen-led social innovation projects.

Copies of The End of Growth were on the mayor’s meeting room table. Using an interpreter, we got right to it: He had clearly read the book and asked intelligent questions about it. What would I recommend that he and the City of Seoul do to prepare for the end of economic growth? It was a stunning question, given the circumstances, and he appeared eager to consider whatever suggestions I might offer. I started rattling off a laundry list of ideas — supporting farmers’ markets, community gardens, and other staples of a local food system; discouraging cars while encouraging bicycling and public transport; raising energy building standards to the Passive House level; staging more cultural events to increase the happiness quotient among citizens. When I finished, he recited examples of how he and the city have already begun doing nearly every one of these things. He was saying, in effect, “Check, check, check. Come on, what else have you got? Please tell me, and I’ll see if we can do it!” I suggested he find a way for the city to help bring Transition to Seoul. (There are currently two official Transition Initiatives in Japan, none in Korea.) He promised to do just that.”

19 November 2013

What human experiences are we missing by adopting new technologies?

drink

The more our data is used to determine our needs and desires, the less chance there is for serendipity, writes Bronwen Clune. Are we willing to make this concession in the name of progress?

“Tracking, data mining and collaborative filtering are now the way things are done. There is little room left for the art of finding something good by accident, or stumbling upon something useful while not searching for it. We shouldn’t underplay this, as luck and serendipity have long played a role in science when it’s come to discoveries; penicillin, radioactivity and gravity to name a few. What role could technology play in reducing these accidents from our lives? If we’re only ever exposed to what has been determined to appeal to us, we reduce the chances of these accidental discoveries. This can be from the personal to things of larger consequence. Put simply, the more our data is used to determine our needs and desires, the less chance there is for serendipity.”

11 November 2013

[Book] Mapping Design Research

mappingdesignresearch

Mapping Design Research
Edited by Simon Grand and Wolfgang Jonas
Birkhauser
2012, 256 pages
[Amazon link]
[Sample chapter]

An authoritative and scientifically based collection of 18 international texts since 1960 that mirrors and analyses the principal developmental phases of design research and scientific research.
The importance of the focus on pivotal texts for the design research cannot be overstated. However, while certain charismatic names come up in the discussion, the community has thus far lacked a handbook that is straightforward and accessible. Grand and Jonas have now filled this gap. Compiled on the basis of a deep and extensive knowledge of the field, their essays situate and elucidate these exciting texts and aid readers in understanding them.

[HT @nicolasnova]