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Search results for 'broadbent'
6 April 2011

Interview with Stefana Broadbent on our increasingly mixed personal and work lives (in French)

L'intimité au travail
Hubert Guillaud of the French online magazine InternetActu interviewed Stefana Broadbent, anthropologist and digital ethnographer, who in the last 20 years has been investigating the evolution of digital activities both at home and in the workplace, and has now written a book about her insights: L’intimité au travail : la vie privée et les communications personnelles dans l’entreprise (also available as an eBook)

Stefana is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology at the University College London, where she is in charge of the Digital Anthropology programme. Between 2004 and 2009 she developed the User Observatory at Swisscom.

Read interview

15 June 2009

Anthropologist Stefana Broadbent speaker at TEDGlobal

Oxford
Stefana Broadbent, the acclaimed tech anthropologist, will be an invited speaker at the upcoming TEDGlobal conference (21-24 July, Oxford, UK).

Stefana is currently a visiting research fellow in the Department of Anthropology at University College London, and was the head of the Customer Observatory at Swisscom.

Her work was published in Business Week and The Economist, and she was a speaker at many conferences, including LIFT and Picnic.

Check also her UsageWatch blog where she observes the evolution of technology usage.

27 October 2007

ComDays07 / Stefana Broadbent: The 20 people we communicate with

Stefana Broadbent
Bruno Giussani reports on a recent talk by Swisscom anthropologist Stefana Broadbent on how people really use technology. The talk was delivered at the 6th Communication Days conference in Bienne, Switzerland.

“In traditional marketing research, she says, if you ask what the main constraints on usage of communication services are, the obvious answer would probably be price and some personal attitudes towards tech. But what we find in our research, observing people closely, is that actually the real discriminants are time and social networks.

Time: we collect hundreds of timelines and logs, we ask people to reconstruct with us their previous day of communication: who they communicated with, how, etc. We ask them to describe their social environment. Let’s consider teenagers. The image adults have about teenagers online is lots of friends, connected all the time, etc. Swiss teenagers: all use instant messaging; e-mail is used only for communicating with adults and institutions; all of them have a mobile phone and send SMS daily; more than 50% have a profile page on social networking sites; they read blogs and use Youtube etc. BUT there is something very specific to the Swiss educational system. In Switzerland, there is a high proportion — 75% — of professional/vocational training (“apprentices”). Teenagers are in a professional setting; receive a salary; they are in constant contact with adults during the day; etc. If we compare the structure of the day of the teen apprentices and that of their parents, it’s often not that dissimilar, except for the evening hours. And their patterns of communication are also very similar: balancing between work and private life; have a rather limited set of contacts. Apart from instant messaging, in Switzerland from 13 to 50 year old the patterns of usage of communication channels are very similar.

The other factor that has an impact on communication behavior is social networks. The close circle of contacts is composed of about 20 people: 7 in the “intimate circle”, 13 in the “close circle”. A further 37 are “weaker ties”. This core of 20 is a number that’s consistent across countries in Europe and the US. Who’s in this core? About 60% are “given” contacts (family, schoolmates, work colleagues, neighbours), only 40% are “chosen”. If you look with whom people communicate, 3/4 of the contacts happen with the people within those 20 “core” contacts. What does this mean? It may look obvious, you only communicate with the people you know. But to me it means: those 20 people are our (telecom operator’s) playing field. When we think of services for our customers, we have to keep in mind that their space is 20 people wide.”

8 June 2007

The Economist features work by Swisscom anthropologist Stefana Broadbent

The Economist on Stefana Broadbent
The Economist published an article today on anthropologists who are investigating the use of communications technology and particularly on the sometimes surprising conclusions coming from Swisscom anthropologist Stefana Broadbent.

“Stefana Broadbent, an anthropologist who leads the User Adoption Lab at Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telecoms operator, has been looking at usage patterns associated with different communications technologies. She and her team based their research on observation, interviews, surveys of users’ homes and asking people to keep logbooks of their communications usage in several European countries. Some of their findings are quite unexpected.”

The article, which was written by Bruno Giussani, features six of Stefana’s interesting research results:

  • A typical user spends 80% of his or her time communicating with just four other people.
  • People are using different communications technologies (fixed-line calls, mobile calls, texting, IM, VOiP) in distinct and divergent ways.
  • There is a flattening in voice communication and an increase in written channels.
  • Instead of work invading private life, private communications are invading the workplace.
  • People generally do not work while on the move: hotel rooms and airports are not seen as an appropriate environment for substantive work and are mainly used for e-mail.
  • Migrants are the most advanced users of communications technology.

Read full story

16 September 2013

Experientia and Intel present at EPIC 2013 in London

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 16.21.07

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

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

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

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

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

4 November 2012

Book: Digital Anthropology

Layout 1

Digital Anthropology
Edited by Heather A. Horst, Daniel Miller
Berg Publishers, Oct 2012
328pp

Anthropology has two main tasks: to understand what it is to be human and to examine how humanity is manifested differently in the diversity of culture. These tasks have gained new impetus from the extraordinary rise of the digital. This book brings together several key anthropologists working with digital culture to demonstrate just how productive an anthropological approach to the digital has already become.

Through a range of case studies from Facebook to Second Life to Google Earth, Digital Anthropology explores how human and digital can be defined in relation to one another, from avatars and disability; cultural differences in how we use social networking sites or practise religion; the practical consequences of the digital for politics, museums, design, space and development to new online world and gaming communities. The book also explores the moral universe of the digital, from new anxieties to open-source ideals. Digital Anthropology reveals how only the intense scrutiny of ethnography can overturn assumptions about the impact of digital culture and reveal its profound consequences for everyday life.

Combining the clarity of a textbook with an engaging style which conveys a passion for these new frontiers of enquiry, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of anthropology, media studies, communication studies, cultural studies and sociology.

Authors/Editors
Heather A. Horst is a Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, Australia.
Daniel Miller is Professor of Material Culture at the Department of Anthropology, University College London, UK

Contributors
Tom Boellstorff, Heather Horst, Lane DeNicola, Faye Ginsburg, Stefana Broadbent, Danny Miller, John Postill, Jelena Karanovic, Bart Barendregt, Jo Tacchi, Adam Drazin, Haidy Geismar and Thomas Malaby

18 September 2012

A report on the Medicine 2.0 conference in Boston

prog-cover2012

Report by Experientia researcher Anna Wojnarowska

Harvard Medical School hosted this weekend the Medicine 2.0 conference in Boston.

The fifth edition of the event invited academics, practitioners and clinicians for two days of lectures, discussions and presentations, analyzing the changes taking place in the healthcare sector around the world.

A major topic recurring throughout the presentations was how decision makers can respond and finally fulfill patients’ needs to engage more consciously in their treatment, personal data management and the diagnosis process, areas that had been hidden from them beforehand.

Dave Debronkart, the closing speaker of the conference highlighted how the dynamics between the medical institutions and their patients reshape in the Web 2.0 reality and how they will further develop.

While we are used to a one directed top down relation between the authorities and the patients this is changing now into a growing interaction between the two and will further evolve into a dynamic environment where all of the parties involved will be able to freely share content, exchange opinions and expertise and look for advice.

The area of user experience research in healthcare seems to be still only developing, but with visible progress. An interesting presentation by Cassie Mcdaniel from the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation (Toronto) showed how the designers struggle to survive among the healthcare providers, trying to deliver user friendly solutions.

Two obstacles – complexity of the issues to address and the difficulty in cooperating with all the parties involved – render the implementation of changes slow and rarely effective. Nevertheless the reality is changing and more and more stakeholders see the value of users research methods when researching future opportunities for development.

As one of the presentation in the “Consumer empowerment, patient-physician relationship and sociotechnical issues” panel, I presented a project I conducted at University College London in 2011, under the supervision of Stefana Broadbent.

It was an ethnographic study of a cardiology institute in Warsaw with a focus on the way the digital technologies influence the dynamics between the doctors and patients. The audience admitted that approaching such a fragile context as hospitalization in an ethnographic, direct way is highly valuable and allows to formulate context relevant insights that would not be attainable through other methodologies.

I am looking forward to hearing about the progress in various research initiatives signaled this year during Medicine 2.0 2013 next fall in London!

1 March 2011

Discussing ethnography at University College London

Digital anthropology
Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken will be giving a talk tomorrow at 6 pm, as a part of the Digital Anthropology MSc course at University College London (UCL).

The “Anthropology in the Professional World” section of the course features talks from well-known practitioners in the field. Mark will speak about the challenges inherent in Experientia’s research and design work, focusing on qualitative user experience research: from device and user interface challenges to contexts, ecosystems and sustainability.

UCL’s Digital Anthropology programme is led by Stefana Broadbent, former chief anthropologist at Swisscom (and featured as such in The Economist in June 2007).

The talk is part of Experientia’s ongoing commitment to the education of upcoming designers, researchers, and usability experts, which has seen all of Experientia’s partners lecture at various tertiary institutions, as well as a recent five-year research and education collaboration agreement with the Design and Human Engineering School (DHE) of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in Korea.

More information on the UCL Digital Anthropology course, and Mark’s talk, can be found here.

23 July 2009

TEDGlobal: ‘The democratisation of intimacy’

Stefana Broadbent
Anthropologist Stefana Broadbent says that modern communications aren’t expanding our circle of friends but are strengthening our most important relationships, reports Kevin Anderson on The Guardian’s PDA blog.

“Modern communications are not expanding our social circle, but anthropologist Stefana Broadbent says that mobile phones, instant messaging and social networking are actually strengthening our core relationships.

Research has shown that with instant messaging, if there are 100 people on your buddy list, you’ll only chat with at most five people on your list. Eighty per cent of phone calls are to four people. With voice-over-internet service Skype, that number drops, with most people calling only two others.”

Read full story

Read more about the democratisation of intimacy on Broadbent’s UsageWatch blog.

23 July 2009

TEDGlobal updates

TEDGlobal
Both the Guardian newspaper’s PDA blog and TED itself are posting regular updates from the current TEDGlobal conference in Oxford, UK.

(TED stands for technology, entertainment and design, and it’s an exclusive conference that brings togethers thinkers and doers from around the world. The TEDGlobal edition is directed by Bruno Guissani.)

Here are some selected highlights:

Manuel Lima
An interaction designer at Nokia, Lima looks at how complex interconnectedness can be understood. He is compelled by the divide between information and knowledge. So he looks at information visualization.

Rebecca Saxe
In her talk at TEDGlobal, cognitive neuroscientist Rebecca Saxe presented her breakthrough discovery of a particular section of the brain that becomes active when we contemplate the workings of other minds.

Aza Raskin
Aza Raskin is the head of user experience for Mozilla Labs (the people who created Firefox), and today he’s giving us a demo of a whole new kind of Internet browser. Instead of asking us to become computer literate, he’s making the browser learn our language.

Stefana Broadbent
Technology anthropologist Stefana Broadbent analyzes how we text, IM and talk.

Jonathan Zittrain
TEDGlobal director Bruno Guissani takes the stage to welcome Jonathan Zittrain who is a lawyer that specializes in technological, and of course, Internet-based law.

Gordon Brown (video)
Speaking to an international conference of technology entrepreneurs, academics and artists at Oxford, Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for the creation of global institutions to deal with the global problems.
>> See also Guardian PDA post

Also check out the Guardian PDA blog post on a new mobile phone search service for Uganda. It talks about the work of Jon Gosier of Appfrica, who has launched a simple project using a corp of mostly volunteers with mobile phones to find out what Ugandans want to know.

14 April 2009

UCL London is starting a new MA in Digital Anthropology

MA in Digital Anthropology
UCL (which is the abbreviation for “University College London” although you have to look at the site‘s footer to find out) is starting a new MA in Digital Anthropology. And it seems serious stuff.

Digital technologies have become ubiquitous. From Facebook, Youtube and Flickr to PowerPoint and Second Life. Museum displays migrate to the internet, family communication in the Diaspora is dominated by new media, artists work with digital films and images. Anthropology and ethnographic research is fundamental to understanding the local consequences of these innovations, and to create theories that help us acknowledge, understand and engage with them. Today’s students need to become proficient with digital technologies as research and communication tools. Through combining technical skills with appreciation of social effects, students will be trained for further research and involvement in this emergent world.

This MA brings together three key components in the study of digital culture:
1. Skills training in digital technologies, including our own Digital Lab, from internet and visual arts to e-curation and digital ethnography.
2. Anthropological theories of virtualism, materiality/immateriality and digitisation.
3. Understanding the consequences of digital culture through the ethnographic study of its social and regional impact.

And what’s more: The Ma will be run by Danny Miller, one of the most outstanding anthropologists today, renowned for his book on the use of cellphones in Jamaica, and specialist on material culture. And no other than Stefana Broadbent (former chief anthropologist at Swisscom and featured as such in The Economist) is a fellow in the programme.

The MA starts in September 2009.

Read more

15 September 2008

Ethnic minority groups continue to lead the way on digital device take-up and use

Ofcom
Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, states that ethnic minority groups are the prime early adopters in Europe, thereby confirming ethnographic user research at Swisscom.

“Ethnic minority groups are at the forefront of digital communications in the UK, with high levels of mobile phone, internet and multichannel television take-up. But, despite this, many people from ethnic minority groups lack confidence finding content online and are concerned about content delivered on digital communications, new research from Ofcom reveals.

Ofcom’s media literacy audit of UK adults from ethnic minority groups draws on quantitative research from the four largest ethnic minority groups in the UK : Indians, Pakistanis, Black Caribbeans and Black Africans. The audit provides a rich picture of the different elements of media literacy across television, radio, the internet and mobile phones amongst ethnic minority groups.”

Read full story

23 July 2008

In three years…

Experientia
Three years ago we founded Experientia. It has been a very exciting ride since.

In three years we worked with some of the best companies in the field and some of the best people too.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Our clients
Alcatel-Lucent (France, Spain), Area Association (Italy), Arits Consulting (Belgium), AVIS (Italy), Barclays (Italy, UK), Blyk (Finland, UK), Cittadellarte (Italy), City of Genk (Belgium), Condé Nast (Italy), Conifer Research (USA), CSI (Italy), CVS-Pharmacy (USA), Design Flanders (Belgium), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Expedia (UK), Facem (Italy), Fidelity International (UK), Finmeccanica (Italy), Flanders in Shape (Belgium), Haier (China), Hewlett Packard (India), IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia), IKS-Core Consulting (Italy), Istud Foundation (Italy), Kodak (USA), LAit (Italy), Last Minute (UK), Max Mara (Italy), Media & Design Academy (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), Motorola (USA), MPG Ferrero (Italy), Nokia (Denmark, France, Finland), Research in Motion (Canada), Samsung (Italy, Korea, UK), Swisscom (Switzerland), Tandem Seven (USA), Torino World Design Capital (Italy), Voce di Romagna (Italy), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, UK), and Whirlpool (UK).

Our collaborators (interns, consultants and staff)
Sven Adolph, Ana Camila Amorim, Andrea Arosio, An Beckers-Vanderbeeken, Josef ‘Yosi’ Bercovitch, Enrico Bergese, Niti Bhan, Elena Bobbola, Janina Boesch, Giovanni Buono, Donatella Capretti, Manlio Cavallaro, Gaurav Chadha, Dave Chiu, Raffaella Citterio, Sarah Conigliaro, Piermaria Cosina, Marco Costacurta, Laura Cunningham, Regine Debatty, Stefano Dominici, Saulo Dourado, Tal Drori, Dina Mohamed El-Sayed, Marion Froehlich, Giuseppe Gavazza, Valeria Gemello, Michele Giannasi, Young-Eun Han, Vanessa Harden, Yasmina Haryono, Bernd Hitzeroth, Juin-Yi ‘Suno’ Huang, Tom Kahrl, Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil, Helena Kraus, Francesca Labrini, Alberto Lagna, Shadi Lahham, Jörg Liebsch, Cristina Lobnik, Maya Lotan, Ofer Luft, Davide Marazita, Claude Martin, Camilla Masala, Myriel Milicevic, Kim Mingo, Emanuela Miretti, Massimo Morelli, Peter Morville, Muzayun Mukhtar, Giorgio Olivero, Pablo Onnias, Hector Ouilhet, Christian Pallino, Giorgio Partesana, Magda Passarella, Romina Pastorelli, Danilo Penna, Andrea Piccolo, Rachelly Plaut, Laura Polazzi, Laura Puppo, Alain Regnier, Enza Reina, Anna Rink, Michal Rinott, Silvana Rosso, Emanuela Sabena, Vera de Sa-Varanda, Craig Schinnerer, Fabio Sergio, Manuela Serra, Sofia Shores, Massimo Sirelli, Natasha Sopieva, Yaniv Steiner, Riccardo Strobbia, Victor Szilagyi, David Tait, Beverly Tang, Akemi Tazaki, Luca Troisi, Raymond Turner, Haraldur Unnarsson, Ilaria Urbinati, Carlo Valbonesi, Marcello Varaldi, Giorgio Venturi, Anna Vilchis, Dvorit Weinheber, Alexander Wiethoff, Junu Joseph Yang, and Mario Zannone.

Our partners
Amberlight, Design for Lucy, Fecit, Finsa, Flow Interactive, Foviance, Italia 150, Launch Institute, Prospect, Savigny Research, Syzygy, Torino World Design Capital, UPA, URN, Usability Partners International, Usercentric, UserFocus, User Interface Design, and UXnet.

Our friends (insofar not covered by the above)
Nik Baerten, Valerie Bauwens, Toon Berckmoes, Ralf Beuker, Marco Bevolo, Daniella Botta, Stefana Broadbent, Francesco Cara, Jan Chipchase, Allan Chochinov, Elizabeth Churchill, Gillian Crampton-Smith, Regine Debatty, Federico De Giuli, Jesse James Garrett, Adam Greenfield, Hubert Guillaud, Wilfried Grommen, Laurent Haug, Bob Jacobson, Marguerite Kahrl, Anna Kirah, Simona Lodi, Peter Merholz, Bill Moggridge, Donald Norman, Nicolas Nova, Bruce Nussbaum, Laura Orestano, Vittorio Pasteris, Gianluigi Perotto, Carlo Ratti, Hans Robertus, Bruce Sterling, John Thackara, Joannes Vandermeulen, Lowie Vermeersch, Judy Wert, and Younghee Yung.

Thanks to you all!

Pierpaolo Perotto, Mark Vanderbeeken, Michele Visciola and Jan-Christoph Zoels
The Experientia partners

PS. We are constantly looking for great talent! We currently have openings for interaction designers, communication designer, information architect, IT staff, usability consultants, etc.

4 May 2008

Recent immigrants driving advanced mobile phone use, both in Europe and in the US

Latino boy on mobile phone
Last year, The Economist published an article about ethnographic user research at Swisscom. One of the findings it highlighted was that immigrant workers are the most advanced users of communications technology:

“It is migrants, rather than geeks, who have emerged as the “most aggressive” adopters of new communications tools, says [Swisscom anthropologist Stefana] Broadbent. Dispersed families with strong ties and limited resources have taken to voice-over-internet services, IM and webcams, all of which are cheap or free. They also go online to get news or to download music from home.”

That same trend is also present in the United States, with Latinos depending on their cell phones for more services than other [major] ethnic groups, turning to it for messaging, downloading music, surfing the Web and e-mailing, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

“According to [a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey released last month], on a typical day, Latinos were more likely to use their phone to send or receive a text message, play a mobile game, send or receive e-mail, access the Internet, play music, instant message, or get a map or directions. Fifty-six percent of Latinos said they did at least one of these activities, compared with 50 percent for African Americans and 38 percent for whites.

The numbers are supported by a Forrester Research survey last year that found Latinos were more likely than other users to text, instant or picture message, send e-mail, check the weather, get news or sports updates, research entertainment, check financial accounts and receive stock quotes through their phone.”

Interestingly, “the cell phone in some cases is being used as the primary computer for Latinos, serving up e-mail and the Internet, in the process bridging what has been called the digital divide that still exists for some minority and disadvantaged groups.”

The article mentions many reasons for this: economic (lower mean household income, so less broadband access at home), demographic (family and friends are spread out across the United States and across the border), and cultural (a higher value is placed on staying in touch with family and friends).

But even though these ethnic minorities are advanced users, mobile phone marketing companies consider them as only interested in the cheap offers: “Hendrik Schouten, director of marketing for the Hispanic segment at AT&T, said carriers assumed Latino users wanted the cheapest phones and were more likely to use prepaid plans because of limited budgets.” This now seems to be changing.

18 January 2008

Interactions Magazine – first impressions

Interactions
This morning I received a print copy of Interactions Magazine with the mail.

Wow.

It looks, feels, and reads exactly like a magazine for our profession should be. Why did no one think of this before? It contains a lot of in-depth articles by people I respect or others I am curious about. It is the ideal magazine to take with you and read on the road or on a couch.

Another first impression is that Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko, the editors-in-chief, have gone out of their way to transcend an American perspective on the profession: from the British Elizabeth Churchill, to the Austrian Telecommunications Research Center, and from Stefana Broadbent and Valerie Bauwens of Swisscom Innovations, to South African Gary Marsden and the Beijing-based Gabriel White. I applaud this commitment very much, especially since many USA-based blogs and publications do not take this global view, or assume – wrongly – that the American view equals the global view.

So bravo to the two editors in chief for the direction taken, and bravo to ACM, the publishers, of providing them with this opportunity.

The ACM advertising department has a golden opportunity now: the new “Interactions” approach is out there, but the advertising hasn’t caught up. It’s still very much old style. Some fresh and creative approaches there could make Interactions Magazine a really sustainable publication.

Once I have finished reading the whole magazine, I will definitely write something more in-depth. Meanwhile, Richard and Jon, keep on going in this direction. I hope ACM will take the logical next step: making the articles available online. I am also curious to hear where ACM (an abbreviation which stands for Association for Computing Machinery, a rather awkward name in this day and age) as an organisation wants to go with this, and how it wants to position itself in the new UX landscape. The magazine is silent on that topic. Perhaps ACM’s executive editor or group publisher can be prodded for an article on this in the March-April edition or on the website.

In any case, I strongly suggest the readers of this blog to subscribe to the magazine, if you haven’t already done so. It’s only 50 USD.

PS. In Boston – Next week my partner Michele Visciola and I (Mark Vanderbeeken) will be in Boston for a client meeting. We will arrive on the 23rd and leave on the 27th. If readers of this blog are in Boston then, it would be nice to meet. Please contact us at info at experientia dot com.

6 January 2008

Interactions Magazine relaunched

Interactions
A few weeks ago, I announced the new direction taken by Interactions Magazine under its new editors-in-chief Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko, and now the first issue is out.

The content looks very exciting indeed and the editors-in-chief have done a great job at getting some of the best people in the field to contribute.

Columns

Features

In addition, there are several “Forum” pieces and a few book reviews.

Unfortunately, the publishers (ACM) have taken a weird approach to the online version: while the site has all the trappings of an online publication (with a nice design, a good table of contents, commenting, and article blogposts), it contains hardly any content! They only have excerpts available online – you have to be an ACM member to read the full text – in the printed issue that is (at $50 for 6 issues). Also there is no information about the authors online. Not surprisingly, the site has very few comments and I doubt it has much traffic.

I hope the hard copy will arrive quickly here in Europe, but even more that Richard and Jon will be able to convince ACM that this is not a very good online policy.

27 September 2007

Picnic07: Swisscom anthropologist on why everything is moving into the background

Stefana Broadbent
Swisscom anthropologist Stefana Broadbent [see also these previous posts] spoke today at the Picnic07 conference in Amsterdam and Bruno Giussani was there to report on it:

“Anthropologist Stefana Broadbent talks about trends in entertainment and communication. With her team of sociologists and psychologists she observes people closely and collects a whole set of data (diaries, bookmarks, playlists, they ask people to keep logbooks of communication and media usage, etc). She is a great speaker and a much-needed tech myth buster.”

According to Giussani, she showed a set of apparently disconnected data that all point in the same direction: there is no substitution – everything is added. “There is more and more media piling on, more devices, more channels. What’s happening is that everything is moving into the background, everything is becoming wallpaper. [... There is] a constant flow of “open channel interaction”.

“Now, there is a problem: the whole industry is trying to say bye-bye to routine. The whole ICT industry today has to do with putting people in total control and deliberate choice of everything that they will listen to, look at, etc: VOD, HDD recorders, IPTV archives, podcasts, videocasts, personalized radio stations, layout skins, etc.

But users can only multitask if we don’t ask for all their attention. Choosing kills routines and requires attention — the moment you choose you commit to something — it moves the activity to the foreground; being in control means being actively focused.”

- Read full story
- Read review on Pasta & Vinegar (by Nicolas Nova)
- All Picnic07 videos

4 September 2007

People regularly featured on this blog

In alphabetical order:

A
Marko Ahtisaari
Ken Anderson

B
Nik Baerten
Genevieve Bell
Chris Bernard
Tim Berners-Lee
Ralf Beuker
Nina Boesch
Danah Boyd
Stefana Broadbent
Tyler Brûlé
Bill Buxton

C
Jan Chipchase
Hilary Cottam
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Alistair Curtis

D
Uday Dandavate
Liz Danzico
Regine Debatty
Paul Dourish

E
Jyri Engeström
Richard Eisermann

G
Jesse James Garrett
Fabien Girardin
Anand Giridharadas
Bruno Giussani
Adam Greenfield

H
Laurent Haug

I
Mizuko Ito

J
Bob Jacobson
Matt Jones

K
Jonathan Kestenbaum
Anne Kirah
Dirk Knemeyer
Jon Kolko
Mike Kuniavsky

L
Loïc Lemeur
Dan Lockton
Victor Lombardi

M
Nico Macdonald
John Maeda
Ranjit Makkuni
Ezio Manzini
Roger Martin
Stefano Marzano
Simona Maschi
Bruce Mau
Grant McCracken
Jess McMullin
Peter Merholz
Crysta Metcalf
Bill Moggridge
Peter Morville
Ulla-Maaria Mutanen

N
Jakob Nielsen
Donald Norman
Nicolas Nova
Bruce Nussbaum

P
Steve Portigal

R
Carlo Ratti
Howard Rheingold
Louis Rosenfeld
Stephen Rustow

S
Dan Saffer
Nathan Shedroff
Jared Spool
Yaniv Steiner
Bruce Sterling

T
John Thackara

V
Marco van Hout
Rob van Kranenburg
Mark Vanderbeeken
Joannes Vandermeulen
Jeffrey Veen
Timo Veikkola
Michele Visciola
Eric von Hippel

W
Tricia Wang
Luke Wroblewski

Z
Paola Zini
Jan-Christoph Zoels

30 July 2007

For better or worse, adults learn to say it with emoticons

Emoticons
“Emoticons, the smiling, winking and frowning faces that inhabit the computer world, have not only hung around long past their youth faddishness of the 1990s, but they have grown up,” writes the International Herald Tribune.

“Twenty-five years after they were invented as a form of shorthand for computer-geeks, emoticons – an open-source form of pop art that has evolved into a quasi-accepted form of punctuation – are now ubiquitous.

No longer are they simply the province of the generation that has no memory of record albums, $25 jeans or a world without Nicole Richie. These sweet hieroglyphs, arguably as dignified as dotting one’s I’s with kitten faces, have conquered new landscape in the lives of adults, as more of our daily communication shifts from the spoken word to text. Applied appropriately, users say, emoticons can no longer be dismissed as juvenile because they offer a degree of insurance for a variety of adult social interactions, and help avoid serious miscommunications.”

Note the casual observation that our communication is shifting from the spoken word to text, which is confirmed by Swisscom’s ethnographic research on communication patterns in Switzerland.

The article also includes a short interview with Scott Fahlman, the inventor of the emoticon.

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20 July 2007

Research on smartphones and the work-life balance

Blackberry on the train
According to research conducted by Research In Motion, BlackBerry devices and other smart phones may have had a huge impact on executive and employee productivity, but they also have a negative impact on work-life balance by making it more difficult to switch off from the office, according to a recent survey.

The USA Today article reporting the research highlights how these devices increase efficiency, reduce stress, and “swing the work-life balance to the company side of the scales”.

These results stand in contrast with Swisscom research recently reported by Bruno Giussani in The Economist, which makes one wonder to what extent the validity of the Research in Motion study is limited to senior managers only.

“Stefana Broadbent, an anthropologist who leads the User Adoption Lab at Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telecoms operator, has been looking at usage patterns associated with different communications technologies. [...] Although the rise of the BlackBerry has prompted concern about work invading private life, the opposite actually seems to be true: private communications are invading the workplace. Workers expect to be plugged into their social networks while at work, whether by e-mail, IM or mobile phone. Last year at a food-processing factory near Geneva, the workers revolted when the director tried to ban mobile phones from the factory floor, and he was forced to relent. Their argument was that they wanted to be reachable during the day, just as people who sit at desks are.”