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Putting People First

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February 2014
27 February 2014

[Book] The Moment of Clarity

the-moment-of-clarity

The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems
by Christian Madsbjerg, Mikkel Rasmussen
Harvard Business Review Press
2014, 224 pages

Traditional problem-solving methods taught in business schools serve us well for some of the everyday challenges of business, but they tend to be ineffective with problems involving a high degree of uncertainty. Why? Because, more often than not, these tools are based on a flawed model of human behavior. And that flawed model is the invisible scaffolding that supports our surveys, our focus groups, our R&D, and much of our long-term strategic planning.

In The Moment of Clarity, Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen examine the business world’s assumptions about human behavior and show how these assumptions can lead businesses off track. But the authors chart a way forward. Using theories and tools from the human sciences—anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and psychology—The Moment of Clarity introduces a practical framework called sensemaking. Sensemaking’s nonlinear problem-solving approach gives executives a better way to understand business challenges involving shifts in human behavior.

This new methodology, a fundamentally different way to think about strategy, is already taking off in Fortune 100 companies around the world. Through compelling case studies and their direct experience with LEGO, Samsung, Adidas, Coloplast, and Intel, Madsbjerg and Rasmussen will show you how to solve problems as diverse as setting company direction, driving growth, improving sales models, understanding the real culture of your organization, and finding your way in new markets.

Over and over again, executives say the same thing after engaging in a process of sensemaking: “Now I see it . . .” This experience—the moment of clarity—has the potential to drive the entire strategic future of your company. Isn’t it time you and your firm started getting people right?

Christian Madsbjerg is one of the founding partners of ReD Associates, an innovation and strategy consultancy. Madsbjerg advises the executive suite of many Fortune 300 companies on top-level strategic issues, integrating sophisticated techniques traditionally used in the human sciences into each company’s problem-solving processes. His work has had a significant impact in the market for each of his clients, and he is known for debunking more traditional market research practices.

Mikkel B. Rasmussen, also a founding partner of ReD Associates, is an expert in innovation and business creativity. As the director of ReD Associates Europe, he works closely with the top management of some of Europe’s most forward-looking companies, including Adidas, LEGO, and Novo Nordisk.

See also:
- TEDx talk by Christian Madsbjerg (Oct 25, 2013)
- Book review, Financial Times (quite critical, towards the end)

27 February 2014

[Book] The City as Interface

the-city-as-interface

The City as Interface
How New Media Are Changing the City
By Martijn de Waal
nai010 Publishers
2014, 208 pages

Digital and mobile media are changing the way urban life takes shape and how we experience our built environment. On the face of it, this is mainly a practical matter: thanks to these technologies we can organize our lives more conveniently. But the rise of ‘urban media’ also presents us with an important philosophical issue: How do they influence the way that the city functions as a community?

Employing examples of new media uses as well as historical case studies, Martijn de Waal shows how new technologies, on one level, contribute to the further individualization and liberalization of urban society. There is an alternative future scenario, however, in which digital media construct a new definition of the urban public sphere. In the process they also breathe new life into the classical republican ideal of the city as an open, democratic ‘community of strangers’.

Martijn de Waal is a writer, researcher, and strategist based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He is as an assistant professor at the department of media studies at the University of Amsterdam, and co-founder of The Mobile City, a think tank on new media and urban design.

> Read book review by Manu Fernandez

26 February 2014

What the tech business hasn’t yet grasped about human nature

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Genevieve Bell, Intel’s in-house anthropologist, sees constants in our behavior that could mean big bucks for businesses that find a way to capitalize on them. C|Net reports on her talk at the Mobile World Congress yesterday.

“In this digital world, the story we’re telling about the future is a story driven by what the technology wants and not what we as humans need,” Bell said at the WIPjam developer event during the massive Mobile World Congress show here. “We want mystery, we want boredom, a lot of us in this room want to be dangerous and bad and be forgiven about it later. We want to be human, not digital.”

24 February 2014

Will your clothing spy on you?

big-brother

In his lecture “The Ethicist’s and the Lawyer’s New Clothes: The Law and Ethics of Smart Clothes,” I. Glenn Cohen, Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School, warns of the potential for wearable technology to annihilate privacy for good.

According to Fortune’s David Whitford, Cohen drew an analogy with Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, where the action takes place in two locales: Venice itself, a hotbed of commerce and greed; and nearby Belmont, the refuge to which the protagonists escape for love and art. Smart clothes threaten to “disrupt the place of refuge,” even when we leave our phones behind. “At some point we squeeze out the space for living a life,” he warned. “Lots of people have things they want to do and try but wouldn’t if everything was archived.”

19 February 2014

Videos of Day 3 of Interaction14 conference

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Is there a Language of Interaction Design [Not yet online]
Keynote by Gillian Crampton Smith, Designer/Educator, IUAV University of Venice
> Full description

Bridging the Physical-Digital Divide [44:32]
Jason Mesut, Head of User Experience at Plan Strategic
Bridging the gap between Industrial and Interaction Design to develop better products and services for the physical-digital age
influence on our world. In some ways, this is great, but we seem to have forgotten those designers with the talent for crafting physical forms that can fit into our hands, our homes and our lives.
For a future Internet of Things we need to better engage Industrial Designers in what we do. This talk will explore how we do that.
> Full description

You’re unique. Just like everybody else. Or how your perspective is limiting your work and hindering your team [32:08]
Tash Wong, Chief Coaster Officer of Coastermatic
We pride ourselves on being empathetic, but how does our intrinsic understanding of the world work to hinder us?
Individual perspectives can keep us from understanding others. Using gender as a lens, we can uncover fascinating differences in the ways we use language and storytelling to communicate, as well as distinctive modes of approaching technology.
In this talk, learn how understanding different modes of interacting with the world can provide us with a framework to uncover new ideas, better empathize with users, and build stronger relationships between teams at work.
> Full description

Education summit debrief [40:17]
Dave Malouf, Sr. Manager of Product Design at Rackspace
During the 2014 Interaction Design Education Summit, several educators, practitioners and students participated in an interactive dialogue on the future of interaction design education.
Introduced by Jared Spool, and coached by Gillian Crampton Smith, Daniel Rosenberg and Fred Beecher, scenarios were created and developed around the themes of alternative educational models; design schools versus industry; online presence and portfolios and (new) forms of apprenticeship.
> Full description

Typography at the intersection of Design, Technologies and Languages [37:18]
Peter Bil’ak, Typotheque
Type design is full of contradictions — it is one of the most specialised design disciplines, but also the one whose results audience cannot escape, being bombarded by type daily.
Peter Bilak discusses what thoughts go into designing a typeface — starting with language, technology and how it affects its design.
> Full description

Pair Design and Why You Need It [Not yet online]
Christopher Noessel, Managing Director at Cooper
> Full description

Making More UX Designers: UX Apprenticeship in the Real World [41:00]
Fred Beecher, User Experience Designer at The Nerdery
The demand for user experience designers has skyrocketed. Interest in UX as a career has soared along with that demand. Every UX designer gets asked how to get into the career, but the sad fact is that there’s no real answer to that question. Although demand is high, that demand is only for designers with 2-3 years of experience or more. There are simply not enough experienced designers to fill these positions, and this experience gap is a barrier to offering potential designers a consistent path from interest to employment.
> Full description

Design in motion: the new frontier of interaction [37:58]
Antonio De Pasquale, Senior Interaction Designer at frog
Technological advances have allowed, in the last few years, a big step forward in the dynamic behaviors and interactions patterns that we used to do with software in the past. Motion is one of the key element of this change but how can we imagine & sketch the way something feels & reacts? Starting from the basic of motion design, we’ll discover a set of “standard” motion patterns and how we can sketch & use them in a design project to increase affordance, to simplify complex interactions and to give a new dynamic brand identity to our products.
> Full description

Jam session

A story a day keeps the doctor away [09:49]
Damjan Obal, UX Consultant & Chief Storyteller at Edgar
In July 2013 Damjan embarked on an epic journey to become a better storyteller. The motivation came when his team started working on their startup EdgarTells.me which he co-founded. Their goal is to encourage and help people craft and share their stories. On the other hand, the mission he set for himself was: share one story a day, mostly about and from new, random people he meets.
> Full description

The Shock of the New: Communicating Change [08:32]
Stephanie Aaron, Senior Interaction Design Consultant at Large Financial Institution
You’ve just made something great, now don’t piss off your customers.
We’ve all had the experience – we open an essential site, or our favorite app and – everything is different. It might actually be better – but may not seem so in that moment as we’re trying to accomplish a task.
Learn how we can ease our customers into the new by preparing them for those changes through better communication methods.
> Full description

When Things Come Alive! [09:01]
Gaurav Patekar
This talk presents a novel and fun way of interactions we will have with devices of tomorrow.
Imagine, on one of these regular mornings, you go to your kitchen to make breakfast, and hear your toaster saying “GOOD MORNING” in a voice good enough to brighten up your day. What happens when inanimate objects start talking to us?
This talk presents an exploration into ‘devices with character’. How the character affects the interactions and behavior that they have with us, and how this can be leveraged to make devices more understandable and fun.
> Full description

Interaction béchamel [27:26]
Guillaume Berry
Eating is a primary human need and one of our own energy source. We have developed tools and techniques to hunt, grow, produce and keep all sorts of food. We have designed countless solutions to cook and present food, make it an interesting activity to renew.
Interaction design is like a problem solving cake with human emotions flavors in it… Let’s find out if we can call ourselves Design Chefs or at least be good interaction cooks for people.
> Full description

Designing for Dasein: what philosophy class taught you about design [37:56]
Thomas Wendt
This talk examines philosophical origins of design principles and develop new models of practical implementation.
The main goal of this presentation is to trace design principles and practices back to their philosophical roots in order to gain new insight on how they complement one another.
The talk covers how modern design can be traced back to phenomenology, a philosophical tradition that emphasized active engagement in the world, understanding ourselves through objects, and practical implications of theory. It includes a short history of phenomenology followed by illustrations of how modern designers practice “applied phenomenology” through technology design.
> Full description

User Interaction: Experienced vs Remembered [53:28]
Lucinio Santos, User Experience Engineer at IBM
Your memory of an experience may not match the experience itself as you lived it. What constitutes a positive or negative user experience (as measured by observation or usability evaluations, for example) does not necessarily translate to a corresponding positive or negative memory of that experience (as captured by surveys or other forms of retrospective assessment). This session describes selected research in Psychology and Behavioral Economics relevant to the differential factors affecting how individuals experience their interactions, vs how they remember them. It also discusses how those two facets of an experience are relevant to different aspects of a product’s lifecycle.
> Full description

The Visual [Emotional] Vocabulary of Sustainability [33:43]
Arlene Birt
Structuring messages to help audiences connect with sustainability: Opportunities at the intersection of information, communication, visualization and interaction.
Social and environmental sustainability are complex and daunting topics. Convincing people to adjust their behavior in order to adopt more sustainable patterns is a challenge. When the goal is to help audiences understand the deluge of data, communicating context is highly important. This has a lot to do with establishing an emotional connection between individuals and information.
Data that is designed to tell a story can create a strong connection between high-level, abstract sustainability concepts and the daily, individual actions of consumers.
> Full description

Stop Fighting, Start Designing [33:01]
Dan Brown, co-founder EightShapes
In this session, Dan Brown talks about some basic techniques for dealing with conflict. As a participant, you will discuss ways for dealing with three common situations (perhaps you’ve faced them):
- Excluded from planning: Designers don’t get to participate in planning the project, and find themselves stuck with unreasonable milestones.
- Inconsistent expectations: Project participants and decision-makers change their tune from one meeting to the next.
- Lack of a decision-maker: The project doesn’t have a single point of contact for making decisions, causing the team to spin out when a final call is required.
> Full description

The Computer as Extended Phenotype [32:43]
Steven Pemberton, senior researcher at CWI
The “phenotype” in genetics is any characteristic of an organism like form, development, behaviour, even products of behaviour like birds’ nests. An unusual property of humans is language, where survival information can be passed by other means than genes.
This leads to ‘memes’, analogous to genes, as carriers of information. Memes have allowed humans to create buildings, cities, and fly like gods through the sky, though in cramped surroundings with terrible food. And to create computers.
So are computers part of our phenotype? Should we care?
> Full description

Choice…Gateway to Engagement [30:14]
Brad Nunnally, User Experience Solution Architect at Perficient XD
Understanding the anatomy of a choice is crucial to surviving the new world of product design. If designers, developers and product owners can better understand how choices are made and, more importantly, why they get made, they will be better equipped to disrupt the market. This talk explores the complexity of making choices and how an environment built for choice leads to a better customer experience.
> Full description

Interacting in the Global City [36:18]
Keynote by Saskia Sassen, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
In today’s global cities, public urban space is constituted in my different ways. Residents in the same neighborhood may have very diverse types of knowledge about their shared public space: The children know the neighborhood at ground level, the tech designer knows the Wi-Fi coverage at the cafes, the homeless know about the night fauna. How do these understandings of urban space affect our view, use, and design of technology?
> Full description

19 February 2014

Videos of Day 2 of Interaction14 conference

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Body Languages of Interaction Design [38:53]
Keynote by Irene Au
Design is both art and science, yet while we teach methods and practices for hard design skills, we don’t teach practices that address the art of design, which is often mystified as “creative genius”.
Irene’s talk will explore how through meditation and yoga we can acquire the most critical skills we need to be great designers: how might we become more focused so we can deliver the one or two key features that would be most useful; how might we more effectively cultivate access to our empathy and insight to create usable products; and how we can be more innovative and bring inspiration, delight, and heart to the people who use the products we design.
> Full description

Designing to unleash playfulness and curiosity [30:13]
Jan Willem Huisman, Founder, IJsfontein Interactive Media
Curiosity and playfulness are deeply embedded in our mind and feed the urge for learning and exploring. It’s this behavior that pushes intelligent species forward in their evolution. When Jan Willem graduated multimedia design at the Royal College of Arts in London, he was fascinated by this phenomenon and started his quest to unleash this primal source of energy.
In our current educational system curiosity and playfulness are often seen as inconvenient. However, the digital age gives us the opportunity to redesign the way we interact so we can evoke this energy instead of restricting it. In this presentation Jan Willem shares his quest and his findings on designing to unleash playfulness and curiosity.
> Full description

The Language of Physical Theater [37:58]
Mary Constance Parks
The language of physical theater is like the languages of typography and animation, but more obviously connect to the human.
In this talk, three basic principles from physical theater will be presented that function as high-level constraints on how physically-trained actors can capture peoples’ attention and maintain rhythm and focus during story-telling in a performance. These principles have correlates in film, animation, typography, and spoken discourse. In this talk, the principles will be demonstrated, and the attendees will be encouraged to find parallels between the physical theater structures and aspects of Interaction Design.
> Full description

Communicative Surfaces [15:07]
Svenja Keune, Founder, EmotionLab
What kind of effects do interfaces+interactions have to our everyday life, our senses, our behaviour? How can textiles makea change?
As the world of communication is more and more entmaterialized, this talk focuses on haptical and emotional languages of interaction. Svenja is working with textiles and technology, her special interest is the humans´ relationship to an object and vice versa.
> Full description

Design Thinking at Scale [39:09]
Surya Vanka, Director of User Experience at Microsoft
In his talk, Surya unpacks the five principles underlying Microsoft’s innovative integrated user experience model. He showcases a ten year journey of developing an authentic design voice and language, and describes how this was born from clarity of purpose and a shared sense of mission. He offers insights drawn from the cultural transformation of a large company that was known for technological prowess into one that is driven by user experience.
> Full description

Designing with Sensors: Creating Adaptive Experiences [32:30]
Avi Itzkovitch, Owner, IoT News Network
Avi Itzkovitch presents core concepts for utilizing smart device technologies and sensor data in order to understand context, and helps you add “Adaptive Thinking” to the UX professional’s toolset when designing experiences. In his presentation, Avi demonstrates the importance of understanding context when designing adaptive experiences, gives ideas on how to design adaptive systems and most important, inspires designers to think how smart device technology and context aware applications can enhance the user experience with adaptivity.
> Full description

Evangelizing and Designing Voice User Interface: Adopting VUI in a GUI world [37:37]
Stephen Gay and Susan Hura
Apple’s Siri and Google Now have ignited consumers’ interest in voice user interface (VUI) by delivering valuable and delightful customer experiences. Innovative companies can leverage VUI solutions to create a competitive advantage. But how do you drive the adoption of VUI in an organization with a long GUI-only history? Stephen Gay and Susan Hura share the frameworks they used to evangelize VUI, offer key insights and design principles to help you start your own grassroots VUI movement, and provide best practices and a VUI brainstorming canvas.
> Full description

The Executioner’s Tale [21:36]
Christina Wodtke
Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything.
Christina has spent her career attacking impossible tasks: at Yahoo, taking on the giant Google at search; at Linkedin, bringing people to participate daily at a site about resumes; at MySpace, reinventing the profile; at Zynga, building a social network for play. Some succeeded some did not. All had one thing in common: large groups of people all working toward a single goal. Lean can tell you what to build and Agile tells you how to build it–but neither tell you how to build it as a team. How do you build consensus? How do you inspire outlandish dreams? How do you create accountability in teams? Christina shares her toolkit for clarity and commitment.
> Full description

Jam session

Designing a Better Death / A good Death [Not yet online]
Navit Keren, UX at Huge
> Full description

Here, there be dragons: a fable of UX in the realm of Enterprise SaaS applications [Not yet online]
Krishna Brown, “Billy”
> Full description

How the London Underground map helped us solve the problems of one of the largest financial institutions in the world [Not yet online]
Kent Eisenhuth, Lead Designer at Electronic Ink
> Full description

Bad Design Advice [31:48]
Paolo Malabuyo, User experience design leader, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America
Paolo share ssome of the worst UX design advice he has received and what lessons he has really learned from them.
Sometimes you get good advice, often bad advice, and every so often you get bad advice masquerading as good advice. Here are a few in the last category that Paolo has received over the years with an explanation as to why they’re bad and what lessons he really learned from them.
> Full description

Designing for privacy in mobile and web apps [35:44]
Amber Case, Director at Esri
This talk covers best practices for designing web and mobile apps with the privacy of individual users in mind. Privacy has been an even bigger issue with location-based apps, and we ran into it head-first when we began work on Geoloqi. Designing an interface that made one’s personal empowering instead of creepy was our goal. The stories from our design desisions with Geoloqi are also included in this talk.
> Full description

Why Executives Obsess Over Icons (and other insights from the boardroom!) [26:29]
Uday Gajendar, Principal Designer at Citrix
This talk offers insights from real situations working with top-level executives (including the CEO) on major UX projects. We constantly clamor for a seat at ‘the table’ but what happens when you actually get there? How do you assert yourself as an authority of design that is perceived and valued as such, not someone who ‘makes pretty pictures’ or ‘plays with stickies’? Gajendar’s goal in this talk is to set up design leaders for success by raising their ‘executive IQ’. He presents an ‘executive persona’ and various contexts for dealing with executive inputs, with lessons learned.
> Full description

Designing without users [25:47]
Ian Fenn
Learn how to still get users into your design, even if your client has denied access to them.
> Full description

The Humane Enterprise [35:35]
Scott Nazarian, Creative Director at frog design
What new capabilities and service offerings might become possible if we can imbue the foundation—enterprise software and hardware—with human- machine elegance? Can we reconcile deep computing structures and practices with the more “nodal,” or highly mobile and personal sensibility that defines contemporary, daily computation? Interaction and experience designers can to transform human-computer interaction within the enterprise services layer to accomplish this.
> Full description

The Shift: UX Designers as Business Consultants [34:17]
Davide Casali, Experience Designer at Automattic
Businesses are increasingly adopting user-centered approaches to create experiences, moving UX design to be one of the core activities driving the company strategy and operations.
This is an incredibly valuable opportunity that we designers can take to step up and contribute to create the great experiences and services they envision, taking our vision, tools and understanding to a different level. But we need to learn the new skills to play at this table, a table that’s often speaking a different language with a lot of politics and different stakeholders.
> Full description

On earning respect and doing what we love [30:06]
Santiago Bustelo, Design Director, Keikendo
Our career and our professional relationships are a design problem that we can solve with a design process.
How can we designers get the professional respect we want? This talk explores several topics and models that can help not only you, but the design community as well, along the way.
> Full description

The De-intellectualization of Design [46:46]
Keynote by Daniel Rosenberg
During this keynote, Dan Rosenberg intertwines two frequently misunderstood topics relevant to the practice of UX design in the coming decade, which he faces daily in his consulting and educator roles. The first is to debunk a pervasive set of fallacies regarding the differences between designing enterprise solutions and consumer products. The second is the trend towards deintellectualization in UX practice and education, that both diminishes the UX professional value and also reduces our collective capacity to solve the hardest class of design problems. While these topics might seem disconnected, come to this keynote to gain insight into why they are tightly coupled and how both could affect your IXD practice in the future.
> Full description

19 February 2014

Videos of Day 1 of Interaction14 conference

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Languaging reality, dialogue and interaction [41:05]
Keynote by Klaus Krippendorff, Emeritus Professor of Communication at The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
In his keynote, Klaus distinguishes four theories from the philosophy of language and elaborate on dialogical conceptions of how reality comes to be constructed. To him, languaging – the process of conversing in language – is a creative and fundamentally socio-cultural practice. Language does not merely describe, it creates realities in conversations and actions. Dialogical conceptions raise doubts in several common epistemological assumptions. Questioning them could open possibilities of seeing interaction design in a new way.
> Full description

Food = interaction [44:04]
Bernard Lahousse, Partner at Foodpairing.com
The way we experience food is much more complex than taste only. Food is influenced through the interaction with and between our senses.
How important is our nose and how does that influence the food and combinations we like?
Can color change the way we perceive food? And what about sound, touch, the setting, do they interact with food?
In this talk, Lahousse explores modes where one will taste, smell, touch, hear food in ways never experienced before.
> Full description

Human Interactions: Physical and Virtual [37:44]
Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes, Founder at AKKA
Architecting Interaction explores designing for interaction through space. Space, a sort of physical interface, stimulates human, analog and digital interactions.
All our actions are interactions.
So how can we create the spaces for interaction to emerge? The key is in designing a context that embodies the three qualities of a human context.
> Full description

The UI of Nature: How nature’s hidden language of interfaces will impact the future of interaction [Not yet online]
Zak Brazen, Creative Director at George P. Johnson, and Wyatt Starosta, User Experience Consultant at OpenTable
> Full description

If light could fly [40:35]
Lorna Goulden, Founder, Creative Innovation Works
This presentation introduces the topic of interaction design in the context of the city as interface. With reference to an urban re-development program in the Netherlands, a range of interactive installations were presented to illustrate how a focus on the end-user experience and the application of key experience design principles has been pushing the boundaries of traditional approaches to urban re-development.
> Full description

The lost art of efficiency in interaction design [33:45]
Giles Colborne
For users, sitting home at their computers, it’s hard to judge the passage of time. That means there’s a big difference between perceived efficiency and actual efficiency. Little by little, we’ve lost our our ability to design for actual efficiency.
But perceived efficiency is no longer good enough. We need to create interfaces that people can glance at, use with a flick of the wrist or check a dozen times an hour.
> Full description

Jam session

A Model of Behavioural Design [10:33]
Steve Baty, founder and principal of Meld Studios, and president of IxDA
This talk outlines the key inputs in a model of Behavioural Design and how those inputs help designers to directly target specific behaviours. It looks at the role of interaction design, behavioural psychology, systems thinking and other tools. And it proposes that a model of design with behaviour as its focus offers a coherent and complete approach to design in a way that is consistent with the goals of client organisations.
> Full description

Design matters : Tackling poverty [11:15]
Lea Ward, Creative Director at Cnote
When families are living long term on social assistance, how can a system help them become self reliant?
How can design make a difference in a programme to help families living on social assistance become more self-reliant?
The Dutch city of The Hague started the EU funded pilot “Door-to-Door for Change” to help parents who have been out of the work for years to find work or social activities in their neighbourhood.
This talk shows how deep understanding of those involved helped design a successful programme.
> Full description

Important things about user experience design I’ve learned from my cat [10:18]
Anneli Olsen, Researcher, Tobii Technology
Do you like UX? Do you like cats? Have you ever thought about what they have in common?
Let’s face it – cats are probably the most selfish and self-absorbed creatures on the planet. Everything we’d hate in another human being, we love in our cats. So how have they succeeded in becoming one of our favorite pets? Whatever they’re doing must be a hell of a user experience.
In this talk Anneli presents some of the key things she has learned by doing a user experience evaluation of her cat.
> Full description

UX and the City [28:38]
Jonathan Rez Senior Experience Architect, Razorfish
How the built environment shapes our behaviour and how architects and urban planners design environments to shape our behaviour.
In this presentation he shares some of the lessons he has learnt along the way, while working with urban planners and architects, to create and improve human experiences in the built environment.
> Full description

Everybody Knows When You’re Talking To Your Mother [31:54]
Chris Clark, Product Designer for Fitbit
A crash course in sociolinguistics, and a challenge to find the messages hidden in your own words.
Words tell our customers what we think of them. Are we speaking to them like our elders? Like royalty? Like buddies? Or idiots?
Our language defines the product experience in more ways than we know. From labels to push notifications and support scripts, every turn of phrase hides a legacy of design decisions and company politics.
The way we compose our messages can invite or exclude, empower or admonish in different circumstances. This is a crash course in sociolinguistics, and a challenge to find and iterate on the messages hidden in our work.
> Full description

Pitching Ideas: How to sell your ideas to other people? [34:14]
Jeroen van Geel, interaction director and partner, Oak & Morrow
In this session Jeroen van Geel takes you on a journey through the world of presenting ideas. You will move through the heads of clients and your colleagues, learn what their thoughts and needs are, to the core of your idea and into the world of psychology.
> Full description

The Magic game circle as a model to design behaviorchange [26:19]
Ellis Bartholomeus, EllisinWonderland
If well designed games can be inviting and persuasive and even addictive. Game elements are like ingredients, there is an increasing amount of cooks, restaurants, kitchens, cookbooks, spices and flavours but no consensus is yet found what is play and how it is perceived. The magic game circle can help as a tool to discuss these elements and recipes in a constructive way.
> Full description

Designing your design project [36:16]
Jesmond Allen and James Chudley, both User Experience Directors at cxpartners
Designing large UX projects is a tricky business, particularly when they involve complex requirements, multiple stakeholders, ambitious deliverables and tight timescales.
It’s the part of the design process that no one seems to talk about. Which is strange, as the approach we take can make or break our projects. How do we choose the right techniques? How do we decide the order in which to do things? How do we keep true to the ideals of user centred design within the constraints of a commercial environment? How should our approach flex to accommodate new requirements? How can we keep our ideas fresh in a world of ever-evolving technologies?
> Full description

Curated experiences [37:59]
Thomas Kueber, Design Lead at Groupon, and Christian Drehkopf, Mentor at Startup Bootcamp
Today we need to talk about how we create services that not just run on any device but especially deliver experiences that create superb value for the users in their personal situation. Those services are aware of what people do, want, need, who they are with, which time and which conditions and what restrictions they have to deal with. This has to be accessed on a level far beyond just the device that calls the service.
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UX Awesomeness Through the Introvert/Extrovert Spectrum [44:47]
Angela Craven, Senior User Experience Designer at EffectiveUI, and SuAnne Hall, Senior UX Product Designer at Mapquest
Whether the idea of introversion speaks to you, or you more readily identify with more extroverted qualities, everyone can benefit from tapping into their quiet side.
The speakers set out to discover how many designers tend to be more on the introverted spectrum, and what makes them successful. We poured over findings from surveying over 100 people about the topic, 6 one-on-one interviews, and a group discussion with 20 UX’ers.
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Comics: A Medium in Transition [Not yet online]
Keynote by Scott McCloud
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15 February 2014

The anthropology of globalization / The ethnography of finance

 

Keith Hart is Professor of Economic Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Goldsmith’s, University of London. He has contributed to the concept of the informal economy to development studies and has published widely on economic anthropology.

The Memory Bank is Keith Hart’s digital archive and blog, which was created in 2000 to help publicize his book by the same name. The site includes a near final version of the book, short academic articles written and published in the last decade, and forays into journalism, stories, poetry, and film reviews.

In his latest essay, Money and finance: For an anthropology of globalization, Hart and co-author Horacio Ortiz (Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation, Paris), review recent developments in the anthropology of money and finance, listing its achievements, shortcomings and prospects, referring back to the discipline’s founders a century ago. and focusing on money’s role in shaping global society and bringing world history into a more active dialogue with ethnography.

“If the new ethnography of finance is to throw more than superficial light on society, we must transcend the categories that shape media discussion of the “crisis” and try to understand our shared human predicament as a moment in the history of money. We need new methods if we wish to account for how money underpins social identities and relations of conflict, hierarchy and interdependence in the world we are making today. This review proposes some of the tools we need, drawing first on some classical authors who combined openness to ethnographic discovery with a global vision of economic history in their times and then on contemporary anthropological research.”

14 February 2014

anthropology + design: nicolas nova

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Rachel Carmen Ceasar (@rceasara) is a doctoral candidate in the Joint Medical Anthropology Program at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco (California, USA). She writes about the subjective and scientific stakes in exhuming mass graves from the Spanish Civil War and dictatorship in Spain today.

She is now running a short series on Savage Minds that features interviews with design researchers, ethnographic hackers, and field work makers with their take on anthropology and design.

For the first interview, she talks with design researcher and ethnographer Nicolas Nova.

Nicolas Nova is a design researcher, ethnographer and co-founder of the Near Future Laboratory. His work is about identifying weak signals as well as exploring people’s needs, motivations and contexts to map new design opportunities and chart potential futures. Nicolas has given talks and exhibited his work on the intersections of design, technology and the near-future possibilities for new social-technical interaction rituals in venues such SXSW, AAAS, O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference and the design week in Milano, the Institute for the Future, the the MIT Medialab. He holds a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from the Swiss Institute of Technology in Lausanne and has been a visiting researcher at the Art Center School of Design (Pasadena). He is also Professor at the Geneva University of Arts and Design (HEAD–Genève) and curator for Lift Conference, a series of international events about digital culture and innovation.

Upcoming interviews are with Kat Jungnickel (Lecturer at Goldsmiths), Daniela K. Rosner (PhD student at UC Berkeley’s School of Information), and Silvia Lindtner (a post-doctoral fellow at the ISTC-Social at UC Irvine and at Fudan University Shanghai).

Kat Jungnickel is a sociologist interested in maker culture, DiY / DiT (do-it-together) technology practices, gender and mobilities and inventive methods. Her current work investigates the impact of (digital) technologies and material practices in knowledge transmission and the potential different stories hold for understanding social worlds.

Daniela K. Rosner is currently finishing her doctorate at UC Berkeley’s School of Information and holds a B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in Graphic Design and a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Chicago. Through fieldwork and design, she reveal and create surprising connections between technology and handwork. She is also an assistant professor in UW’s Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE), and co-directs the TAT Lab with Beth Kolko.

Silvia Lindtner is a post-doctoral fellow at the ISTC-Social (the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing) at UC Irvine and at Fudan University Shanghai. She researches, writes and teaches about DIY (do-it-yourself) maker culture, with a particular focus on its intersections with manufacturing and industry development in China. Drawing on her background in interaction design and media studies, she merges ethnographic methods with approaches in design and making. This allows her to provide deep insights into emerging cultures of technology production and use, from a sociological and technological perspective.

14 February 2014

An ethnography of the Brixton Pound

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Mario Campana (@mariocampana), a PhD student at City University London’s Cass Business School, researches the growing trend of local currencies – of which there are currently over 3000 around the world.

He recently presented at EPIC, where in a Pecha Kucha presentation he discussed his PhD research into the Brixton Pound, a neighborhood in South London.

Expanding upon the research presented in the rapid-fire format of his last presentation on this aspect of his research, this article expands upon his ethnographic inquiry into Brixton’s local currency, delving deep into the social forces driving the development of the currency and the surrounding community. Such forces include issues of gentrification, and the conflicting notions of community and belonging between previously settled and locally rooted immigrants from the Caribbean and the recent influx of young, wealthy, and upwardly-mobile settlers from other parts of the city.

14 February 2014

Interview with man at the heart of Facebook ethnography kerfuffle

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Tricia Wang interviewed Daniel Miller, the anthropologist at the heart of the Facebook ethnography kerfuffle, and published the transcript on EthnographyMatters.

Dr. Daniel Miller (@dannyanth) is Professor of Material Culture at the Department of Anthropology University College London and a Fellow of the British Academy. As an anthropologist he has contributed foundational theoretical and empirical work to the study of material culture and consumption. Even though Danny’s work is in academia, his research on consumption continues to influence the commercial world. As such, EPIC invited Danny to be one of the keynote speakers in London.

After reading Danny’s work for over a decade, [Tricia Wang] was beyond excited that [she] got to meet him at EPIC. In this interview, Danny tells us about his applied research on hospices and his current massive, multi-year, global social media research project that recently led up to what some called the “Facebook kerfuffle“.

13 February 2014

Exploring new markets for Firefox OS: mobile and internet behaviours in Central Europe

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Experientia has lately been doing a lot of work on mobile OSes, from feature evaluations of some of the more interesting new arrivals, to comparisons of some of the classics. We have also conducted user research into people’s behaviours and attitudes to OSes, exploring their relationships with mobile phones, internet, brands, and with OSes themselves.

In 2013, Experientia worked with Mozilla’s User Experience Research team as they prepared to enter new, emerging markets with FireFox OS. Experientia led an ethnographic research project exploring mobile and internet behaviours in Poland and Hungary. The project involved observation, shadowing and interviews in the two Central European countries.

In keeping with their open source roots, the Mozilla team has shared some key insights from these intriguing emerging markets in a three part blog series on mobile behaviours in Poland and Hungary. Among other insights, the project discovered a uniquely Hungarian mobile culture, where traditions of close family networks and group buying have left a legacy of complicated mobile contracts and ownership

Mozilla blog posts:

13 February 2014

Qualitative research in industry – videos from the Qualitative 360 Asia Pacific conference

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Qualitative 360 Asia Pacific 2013 took place in Singapore in November 2013, and some videos are now available:

Winning with shoppers via qualitative research [23:57]
Michael Biscocho, Consumer and Market Knowledge Manager, Procter & Gamble
• Leveraging qualitative techniques to complement quantitative methods in consumer behavior
• Exploring FMCG consumer decision making through qualitative research engagement
• Harnessing different methodologies of qualitative research to gain better understanding of market trends
• Implementing qualitative methodologies as part of overall research to develop retail strategies

Taking qualitative research to the cloud [33:38]
Jasmeet Sethi, Regional Head of ConsumerLab, Ericsson
• Learning the art of how to transform qualitative research from a 12 year old kid.
• How could you build and run on-demand insight communities with zero investment?
• Case study from Ericsson on the first ever ‘Over the Top Qualitative Research’

Tapping into the informal economy to create new opportunities for innovation. A case study in recycling and push cart aunties [24:45]
Juliana Koh, Director, Consumer Faces
Manisha Dikshit, Managing Director, Consumer Faces
• Informal economy is a large contributor to the global economy and presents several opportunities/learning for the commercial world
• This paper presents a case study to understand the role of informal economy and how it can be applied in commercial businesses
• The paper further provides pointers on how the corporate/formal world can implement this

Achieving maximum insights from challenging consumers using ethnography for product development in China and Vietnam [27:38]
Christelle Michon, APAC Sensory and Consumer Insights Manager, Symrise
• Understanding the culinary habits of low income consumers in Vietnam through ethnography
• Observing the fun and excitement of kids related to foods in China
• Benefits and challenges of using ethnography: what were the lessons learned?
• How actionable insight were achieved and used for new product development in Symrise

Exploring the meaning of digital: a case of ethnographic research on mobile life in Singapore [26:33]
Masao Kakihara, Senior Research Manager, Google
• How Google does research globally and locally
• Making sense of the meaning of digital life in Asia
• Methodological challenges in the age of big data

Great Wall, Great Reward: finding design-actionable insights for medical devices in China [28:43]
Tico Blumenthal, Global Customer Insights Manager, Medtronic
• Learn how qualitative research is used to drive applied medical device innovations
• Hear a thought-leader introduce examples of how medical devices can be optimized for Chinese customers
• Understand the designer’s viewpoint when filtering observational data
• Hear about some of the unique challenges doing qual. in China
• Tips and tricks for getting better insights

Performance discovery project: emerging market update [25:31]
Ajay Mohan, Director of Partner & Web Marketing APAC, Intel
• Understanding what “performance” means to customers and how they respond to advertising and branding
• Using visualisation techniques to gain unarticulated emotional drivers and emotions behind “performance”
• Employing trained professionals to conduct “therapy” interviews across US, Brazil, China, Germany and India
• Discussing the outcome of the research: What have we learned and how new insights help answer business questions

Digital Qualitative: from add-on to core research [29:25]
Nehal Medh, Managing Director, Consumer Experiences, GfK
• Can online qual methods replace offline qual?
• What advantages do they offer?
• What are the pitfalls we should be aware of
• What are the best ways to engage and motivate the participants in an online qual research?
• Within online what potential does mobile qual research have?
• Going beyond the obvious online tools such as bulletin board, focus group?

Consumer understanding through unarticulated responses and points of expression [26:48]
Marilyne Chew, Head of Qualitative, Nielsen
• Understand how Neuroscience insights are working to make a discussion flow sharper and more precise
• Identifying ways Neuroscience and Qualitative works best together
• Overcoming the challenges of combining the two methodologies in a research study

13 February 2014

A case study on inclusive design: ethnography and energy use

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Energy usage and conservation can be a seemingly mundane part of an individual’s daily life on one hand, but a politically, ecologically, and economically critical issue on the other. Despite its importance, there is a startling lack of insight into what guides and influences behaviors surrounding energy.

With conventional quantitative analyses of properties and income explaining less than 40% of variations in households’ consumption, Dr Dan Lockton (senior associate at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design) and Flora Bowden set out to unpack some of the behavioral nuances and contextual insights around energy use within the daily lives of British households, from the perspective of design researchers.

Their interviews had them meeting everyone from “quantified self” enthusiasts to low-income residents of public housing, and involving them in the design process.

What they discovered bears significant implications for design which seeks to influence behaviors around energy, for example, where policy makers and utility companies see households as “using energy”, household members see their own behavior as solving problems and making their homes more comfortable, such as by running a bath to unwind after a trying day, or preparing a meal for their family.

EthnographyMatters reports on what Dan and Flora learned in their ethnographic research, and how understanding “folk models” of energy – what energy “looks like” – may hold the key to curtailing energy usage.

12 February 2014

The Museum of Future Government Services

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The Museum of Future Government Services, which in Dubai on the 10th of February at the UAE Government Summit, is an interactive design futures exhibition.

The Museum explores the future of travel, healthcare, education and urban services. It brings together over 80 designers, technologists and futurists from nearly 20 countries to imagine how these services could be changed for the better in the coming years.

“The first of its kind, the Museum goes far beyond written reports or special effects. It highlights real prototypes of prospective services that could be developed by the governments of tomorrow.

This approach allows visitors to interact with, experience, and enjoy future trends in a way never before possible.

The Museum of Future Government Services paints a bold and hopeful vision of what the future could be. It shows how businesses, governments, and citizenry could work together to create a world-class experience of government services. It is just one possibility among many, illustrating the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The future is uncertain, but the work of the Museum suggests that bold vision, creative experiments and committed partnerships can build a better world.

Project partners
- Client: The Prime Minister’s Office of the United Arab Emirates
- Lead Exhibition Designer: Tellart, Providence, Rhode Island
- Lead Content Designer: Fabrica, Treviso, Italy
- Lead Creative Consultants: Superflux Studio, London, and Near Future Laboratory, Geneva
- Lead Researcher: The Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California
- Special Advisor: Dr. Noah Raford

12 February 2014

An anthropologist walks into a bar…

 

In 2006 a major European brewing company we’ll call BeerCo was faced with falling bar and pub sales and, despite muscular market research and competitive analysis, couldn’t figure out why. Customers liked its core product, a standard lager, and store sales were up. But something wasn’t clicking in bars, and aggressive promotions weren’t helping. What was wrong?

Having exhausted conventional research approaches, BeerCo commissioned a team of social anthropologists to visit a dozen bars in the UK and Finland to find out.

The – very introductory – article by Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel B. Rasmussen of ReD Associates, ends on a nice quote:

“Accordingly, many companies are turning to customer research that is powered by big data and analytics. Although that approach can provide astonishingly detailed pictures of some aspects of their markets, the pictures are far from complete and are often misleading. It may be possible to predict a customer’s next mouse click or purchase, but no amount of quantitative data can tell you why she made that click or purchase. Without that insight, companies cannot close the complexity gap.”

12 February 2014

Data and design in innovative citizen experiences

 

The past decade has brought enormous and growing benefits to ordinary citizens through applications built on public data.

Any release of data offers advantages to experts, such as developers and journalists, but there is a crucial common factor in the most successful open data applications for non-experts: excellent design, writes Cyd Harrell, UX Evangelist at Code for America.

In fact, open data and citizen-centered design are natural partners, especially as the government 2.0 movement turns to improving service delivery and government interaction in tandem with transparency.

It’s nearly impossible to design innovative citizen experiences without data, but that data will not reach its full potential without careful choices about how to aggregate, present, and enable interaction with it.

“Design is a critical practice for enabling open data to reach its full transformative potential. Without citizens being able to interact with government data directly, we are unlikely to trigger a revolution in how services are provided. We all know how much we need that revolution, for reasons of cost, fairness, and human dignity.

Methods drawn from the user experience field are the easiest way to translate open data into a format that’s usable and accessible for the average (or non-average) citizen. The most successful and broadly used open data projects have always relied on design, whether or not people formally trained in design were part of the teams. Our task now is to bring our best design ideas into our shared movement and take advantage of everything the discipline has to offer. With design, we can give the public back its data in real use, as well as in name.”

11 February 2014

How to involve children in the design process?

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What are the advantages and challenges inherent in working with children in the design process for creating games or apps? How do you stop them getting bored, and get useful information?

This case study by Monica Ferraro (a UX Researcher at City University London) looks in detail at a project that tried to do just that, and provides some handy tips at the end.

The case study builds on Ferraro’s dissertation, Designing applications for children, that she submitted as part of the Masters course in Human-Centred Systems at City University London in September 2012. For her dissertation, she worked with children aged 4-5 years old to design an iPad application to learn the names and sounds of the letters, and to read and spell simple words.

11 February 2014

Tricia Wang’s PhD dissertation — Talking to Strangers: Chinese Youth and Social Media

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Talking to Strangers: Chinese Youth and Social Media
by Tricia Wang
Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology, University of California, San Diego, 2013
Professor Richard Madsen, Chair

Abstract

The sudden availability of social media and open-market capitalism is creating new spaces in China that are shifting norms and behaviors in unexpected ways. This research investigates and explains the phenomena of semi-anonymous interactions among Chinese youth in online communities by introducing a sociological framework called the Elastic Self, which is characterized by the feeling that one’s identity is malleable and involves the trying on of different identities that are beyond the realm of what would be considered normal displays of one’s prescribed self. In informal online spaces, Chinese youth have achieved greater freedom to express heterodox identities without shame or anxiety by forging social bonds with strangers and maintaining distance from people they know, who might seek to enforce conformity to a single identity prescribed by traditional social and political norms.

Through these informal interactions online, Chinese youth are laying the groundwork for a public sphere with social ties based more on friendship than on blood ties or guanxi; on trust, rather than fear; and on self-expression, rather than self-restraint. These changes have potentially transformative power for Chinese society as a whole by altering the way that people perceive and engage with each other on personal and social levels. Under semi-anonymous conditions, Chinese youth are able to overcome the low levels of trust that characterize authoritarian societies and adopt broader forms of social trust that characterize more participatory societies. This increased trust enables youth to enter what I call the Participatory Phase, which is defined by engagement in citizenship practices that expand the public sphere through online debate that can precipitate offline civic participation. To get to that stage, youth must first pass through two critical phases—Exploratory and Trusting—during which they learn how to share information with and socialize with strangers in a low-risk context.

My research reveals that by creating an Elastic Self, Chinese youth find ways to connect to each other and to establish a web of casual trust that extends beyond particularistic guanxi ties and authoritarian institutions. To be clear, this new form of sociality gives youth a way to navigate Chinese society, not to disconnect from or to rebel against it. In doing so, youth are building the infrastructure of a civil society by establishing relationships in which they start out as strangers, thereby bypassing potentially restrictive social labels and structures that could otherwise prevent connection. Through semi-anonymous informal interactions, Chinese youth are primarily seeking to discover their own social world and to create emotional connections—not grand political change. Rather than attempting to revolutionize politics, Chinese youth are using these new forms of social engagement to revolutionize their relationships with themselves and each other.

Even though Chinese youth do not feel that internet censorship is a hindrance in their everyday lives, real name identification policies that limit communication to formal interactions threatens the viability of crucial informal online spaces where Chinese youth have been able to freely explore their identities. The future of the Chinese internet and Chinese society at large rests in this very tension that Chinese youth are negotiating between finding informal spaces where they can present an Elastic Self and formal spaces where they feel compelled to present a prescribed identity. The social and emotional changes catalyzed by the Elastic Self can only persist if the circumstances that allow them to flourish remain unencumbered.

> Download full dissertation
> Tricia’s thank you

Tricia Wang describes herself as a “tech ethnographer“.

Note that Tricia will be giving a talk at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University on Tuesday, February 18 12:30pm EST. It will be live-streamed for those who can’t come and forever archived.

9 February 2014

Adam Gopnik: “Why I don’t tweet”

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Adam Gopnik, who writes for the New Yorker, has only ever sent nine tweets. In this long BBC article he explains why:

” Everyone insists that the technological transformation of the daily shape of our lives by new gadgets is enormous, while allowing that their emotional effect is more dubious, leaving us with emptier, or at best, unaltered souls. I think the truth is closer to the direct reverse. The emotional effect of new devices is overwhelming – they are like having new pets, new children, trailing with them an overwhelming attachment. But the transformational effect they have on our lives is actually, looked at squarely and without sentiment, quite minimal. After the introduction of a new device, or social media, our lives are exactly where they were before, save for the new thing or service, which we now cannot live without.”

And note this sentence:

“Like so much modern media technology, [the smartphone] creates a dependency without ever actually addressing a need.”