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Posts in category 'Americas'

14 February 2010

Americans increasingly elevating experiences over things

Montoya
Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things, reports The New York Times.

“Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online.

But Americans are not just getting by with less. They are also doing more.

Some are working longer hours, but a larger proportion, the poll shows, are spending additional time with family and friends, gardening, cooking, reading, watching television and engaging in other hobbies.”

Read full story

14 February 2010

Nicolas Nova: from observing failures to provoking them

Nicolas Nova at Interaction10
The annotated slides from the talk “Design and Designed Failures: From Observing Failurs To Provoking Them” by Nicolas Nova (Lift Lab) at the Interaction10 conference are now available on Slideshare.

“Failures are often overlooked in design research. The talk addressed this issue by describing two approaches: observing design flops and identify symptoms of failures OR provoking failures to document user behavior.”

I thank Nicolas for the very kind words in his blog post on the inspiration he got from me.

10 February 2010

Reflecting on the Interaction10 conference

Interaction10
Both Jon Kolko (frog design) and Rob Tannen (Bresslergroup) reflect on their experience at the Interaction10 conference that took place last weekend in Savannah, Georgia.

Jon’s thoughtful analysis starts with a reflection on why he thinks the profession of Interaction Design reaching a critical divide.

“The divide seems to break down around two forces of gravity, loosely identified as:
A. Design, as a discipline. A locus of study, similar to science or art in breadth and depth, and focused on criticism, behavioral change, craft, empathy, humanism, and reflection.
B. UX, as a form of applied design in the context of marketing, and focused on consumption, speed, innovation, and often, apparently, compromise.”

Rob on the other hand emphasises the retrospective nature of this year’s conference.

10 February 2010

Live at Interaction’10: day 3

Interaction10
Niklas Wolkert & Brad Nunnally round up their reporting on Johnnyy Holland on the Interaction10 conference in Savannah, Georgia – this time focused on the third and final day.

This review covers presentations by Jeffery Blais, Cindy Chastain, Gretchen Andersson, Kel Smith and Dan Hill.

Read full story

8 February 2010

Microsoft Research Social Computing Symposium 2010

Microsoft Research Social Computing Symposium
For the past four years, Microsoft Research (MSR) has sponsored a symposium on social computing that “brings together academic and industry researchers, developers, writers, and influential commentators in order to open new lines of communication among previously disconnected groups.”

The theme of the 2010 symposium, held at ITP at NYU, was “The city as platform”, which revolved around various sub-topic such as urban informatics, the city as a social technology, pervasive games and government infrastructure/data.

Participants included Genevieve Bell, Julian Bleecker, Ben Cerveny, Tom Coates, Anil Dash, Russell Davies, Alexandra Deschamps-SonsinoAdam Greenfield, Liz Goodman, Usman Haque, Tom IgoeNatalie Jeremijenko, Steven Johnson, Matt Jones, Jennifer Magnolfi, Mike Migurski, Nicolas Nova, Ray Ozzie, Clay Shirky, Kevin Slavin, Molly Steenson, Linda Stone, Alice Taylor, Anthony Townsend, Duncan Wilson and many more.

You can read elaborate and well-written symposium reports by Nicolas Nova (LIFT Lab) and Dan Hill (City of Sound / ARUP).

By the way, do also check Dan Hill’s urbanistic take on the iPad.

7 February 2010

Live at Interaction’10: day 2

Interaction10
Niklas Wolkert & Brad Nunnally provide their second report on Johnnyy Holland on the Interaction10 conference in Savannah, Georgia – this time focused on the second day.

“After a night of some great parties, and even better conversation, the second day of Interaction 10 began with a preview of the new IxDA.org website redesign. The team doing the redesign covered all the great new features that are coming, and went into detail on how local groups will be able to leverage the new site for their own networks and events. The excitement from yesterday was easily carried over, and people were pumped to see what the presenters had in store for us today.”

This time they review presentations by Ezio Manzini, Shelly Evenson, Timo Arnall, Ben Fullerton, Kevin Cheng, Steve Baty, Chris Fahey, and Paola Antonelli.

Read full story

6 February 2010

Live at Interaction’10: day 1

Interaction10
Niklas Wolkert & Brad Nunnally report on Johnnyy Holland on the first day of the Interaction10 conference in Savannah, Georgia.

“If one thing had to describe the overall theme of the first day it would be the importance of providing meaning in the work that we do. Below are recaps of the opening and closing keynotes, as well as some of the sessions from the day.”

Check their review on presentations by Nathan Shedroff, Dave Gray, Nate Bolt, Matt Cottam, Kendra Shimmell, Nicolas Nova and Jon Kolko.

Read full story

2 February 2010

Digital Nation, in-depth documentary, online in full

Digital Nation
In Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier, FRONTLINE presents an in-depth exploration of what it means to be human in a 21st-century digital world.

Continuing a line of investigation she began with the 2008 FRONTLINE report Growing Up Online, award-winning producer Rachel Dretzin embarks on a journey to understand the implications of living in a world consumed by technology and the impact that this constant connectivity may have on future generations.

Joining Dretzin on this journey is commentator Douglas Rushkoff, a leading thinker and writer on the digital revolution — and one-time evangelist for technology’s positive impact.

Watch documentary (90 mins.)

See also this article on Salon.com and this thoughtful reflection by Henry Jenkins.

20 January 2010

If your kids are awake, they’re probably online

Generation M2
The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones.

And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.

Read full story

16 January 2010

Good: the Slow Issue

The Slow Issue
Good, the collaborative magazine, has published its “Slow Issue” with perspectives on a smarter, better and slower future:

“At its simplest, slow stands for a focus on quality, authenticity, and longevity rather than a mindless adherence to the faster and cheaper ethos.

This issue is about planning not only for tomorrow, but for the next year, and the next generation. Because if progress isn’t permanent, can it even be called progress at all?”

Here are the longer articles:

Hurry up and wait
We asked some of the world’s most prominent futurists — Julian Bleecker (Nokia/Near Future Laboratory), Esther Dyson, Jamais Cascio (Worldchanging), Bruce Sterling, John Maeda (RISD), and Alexander Rose (Long Now Foundation) — to explain why slowness might be as important to the future as speed.

Slow burn
Money—not the paper stuff in your wallet, but the bits of data that whip around the world in billions of instantaneous transactions each day—moves too fast.

Built to last
Designer/inventor Saul Griffith argues that we need to stop buying things and then throwing them away so quickly. In short, we need more “heirloom design.”

Mass reduction
Welcome to slowLab, a collective of designers applying a cradle-to-cradle philosophy to consumer goods.

Turning the tables
Tracing the slow-food movement back to its feisty Italian roots.

Pushing the limits
In Oregon, radical antisprawl laws aim to save the state’s bucolic paradises. But with land-hungry suburbs on the prowl, can these goats be saved?

11 January 2010

Yahoo studies social science

Social science at Yahoo
Yahoo Labs is beefing up its ranks of social scientists, adding highly credentialed cognitive psychologists, economists and ethnographers from top universities around the world, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

“In the last year, Yahoo Labs has bolstered its ranks of social scientists, adding highly credentialed cognitive psychologists, economists and ethnographers from top universities around the world. At approximately 25 people, it’s still the smallest group within the research division, but one of the fastest growing.

The recruitment effort reflects a growing realization at Yahoo, the second most popular U.S. online site and search engine, that computer science alone can’t answer all the questions of the modern Web business. As the novelty of the Internet gives way, Yahoo and other 21st century media businesses are discovering they must understand what motivates humans to click and stick on certain features, ads and applications – and dismiss others out of hand.”

Interestingly, the core value of Yahoo is shifting to the user experience:

“The most prominent example is the company’s search engine. It was originally Yahoo’s raison d’etre, but the company is now in the process of replacing its core search technology with Microsoft Corp.’s Bing tool. As part of the deal, it is moving about 400 search engineers over to the Redmond, Wash., software company.

Yahoo has emphasized it is now competing in search through the front-end user experience, positioning results based on what people are most commonly seeking.”

Read full story

15 December 2009

As we consume Apples and BlackBerrys, natural world beats a sensory retreat

Blackberry meeting
Technology has drawn us into our interconnected webs, in the office, on the street, on the park bench, to the point that we exist virtually everywhere except in the physical world, argues Adrian Higgins in the Washington Post, who writes about us being “digital zombies” and “symbionts” [i.e. an organism living in a symbiotic relationship, here evidently with an electronic world].

“Walk the streets of downtown Washington and you will see many people, a majority perhaps, plugged in to a two-dimensional world. Peer into the vehicles, and tally a scary number of drivers on hand-held cellphones, even texting. This may be illegal in the District, but the temptation is too great. We have become digital zombies.

Actually, we have become symbionts, says Katherine Hayles, author of “How We Became Posthuman.” Just as a lichen is the marriage of a fungus and an algae, we now live in full partnership with digital technology, which we rely on for the infrastructure of our lives.”

Read full story

12 December 2009

Presentations of the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change conference

BECC
Presentations are now available of last month’s Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference, which took place in Washington, DC.

The BECC conference focused on understanding the behavior and decision making of individuals and organizations and using that knowledge to accelerate our transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon future.

The conference brought together people from the US and around the world to share the latest insights, research, and experiences pertaining to behavior, energy and climate change.

The 2009 Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference was the 3rd annual conference to focus on accelerating our transition to an energy-efficient and low carbon economy through an improved understanding and application of social and behavioral mechanisms of change. This year’s conference built on the overwhelming success of previous BECC Conferences in which participants discussed successful program strategies, shared innovative research findings, and built dynamic new networks and means of collaboration. This conference brought together a diverse group of energy experts, social scientists, and policymakers to discuss the social and behavioral basis for, and practical implementation of, reducing energy use through the adoption and application of more energy-efficient technologies, energy conservation activities, and lifestyle changes.

Download presentations

Related materials:
- New York Times article on the conference
- Reuters article on the conference
- Article by Energy 2.0 Community
- Conference report by attendee Philip Johnson: Day 1Day 2Day 3
- Conference report by attendee Douglas Fisher: Part 1Part 2
- Conference report by attendee Scot Holliday
- A review by Experientia’s Irene Cassarino on a similar conference in Europe

8 December 2009

Motorola research shows technology use is becoming age-neutral

Media engagement
The 2009 Media Engagement Barometer commissioned by Motorola’s Home & Networks Mobility business has revealed a shift in [US] consumer influence that hasn’t been widely recognized yet: age no longer dictates a consumer’s willingness or ability to use media technology or services.

In fact, all generations – Millennials (75 percent), Gen Xers (74 percent) and Boomers (66 percent) – recognize the role entertainment technologies play in helping them keep their lives in order, which helps explain why Millennials (80 percent), Gen Xers (78 percent) and Boomers (78 percent) are equally likely to desire to be constantly connected.

Read press release

(via FutureLab)

5 December 2009

The dignity and courage of Donald Norman

Donald Norman
There is true dignity in the continuous engagement of Donald Norman, the Nestor of the user experience community, as well as courage is his willingness to question some of his (and our) profound beliefs. In short, Don — in defiance of his age (Don was born on Christmas day in 1935) — keeps on pushing the envelope for all of us, and we like him all the more for that.

Today, three stories landed in my inbox. A first one dealt with the search for new contributing editors for interactions magazine, that Don reacted to with considerable attention.

The second was his latest column for the same magazine. Technology First, Needs Last advocates that “design research is great when it comes to improving existing product categories but essentially useless when it comes to new, innovative breakthroughs.” It goes against many things we like to believe in, is provocative, and therefore highly useful.

Finally, Don was interviewed yesterday by the Irish Times on where he thinks the next focus of design should be. “Ecosystems,” he said, “where eco means not only the product, but also the environment, the planet.”

Thank you, Don, and keep up the pace.

4 December 2009

Designing the Intel Reader

Intel Reader
In a long article, the people in charge of the Intel Reader discuss the entire user-centred process of designing a new device for the blind or visually impaired which is aimed at making printed matter accessible to millions of people who find reading difficult or impossible, either because of vision problems or learning disabilities such as dyslexia [see also this Business Week article].

“When we started developing the Intel Reader we talked with end users who allowed us to gain insight into their needs, and who gave us the opportunity to hear how they use current technology in their everyday lives. To obtain a deeper understanding for end-user needs, we began with usage research. As part of this phase, we interviewed targeted users, followed them through a day in their lives, and observed their daily challenges at home and at work, and asked for their insights on the challenges of daily living. Over the course of this project, we have interviewed and tested the product at various stages with over 200 individuals.”

Read full story

3 December 2009

Roger Martin about design thinking (video)

Make/Think
In this video of Make/Think, the recent AIGA Design Conference, Roger Martin, dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, makes the case that businesses can do a better job of innovating if they embrace design thinking. He examines how companies can combine analysis and intuition to transform themselves into successful design-thinking organizations, integrating the future with the past in a constructive way.

Roger Martin, a leading proponent of design thinking in business, makes the case that we can understand innovation through a new model of how businesses advance knowledge over time, and that businesses fail to innovate when they show greater concern for producing reliable (predictable and reproducible) outcomes than valid ones that actually meet objectives. Martin argues that businesses can do a better job at innovating—and advancing knowledge—if they embrace design thinking. Using examples such as Procter & Gamble, RIM (BlackBerry) and Cirque du Soleil, he examines how companies transform themselves into successful design-thinking organizations.

Watch video [28:41]

Also available are videos of the talks by Stefan Sagmeister and Stefan G. Bucher.

(via Dexigner)

1 December 2009

IDEA 2009: Social and experience design

IDEA 2009
The IDEA Conference took place in Toronto on September 15-16, with a focus on social experience design. Boxes and Arrows, in collaboration with the IA Institute, brings recordings of most conference talks.

Day one
- The impact of social models – Luke Wroblewski
- Social spaces online: lessons from radical architects – Christina Wodtke
- Making virtual worlds: games and the human for a digital age – Thomas Malaby
- User experience as a crucial driver of social business design – Jeff Dachis
- Bare naked design: reflections on designing with an open source community – Leisa Reichelt
- Does designing a social experience affect how we party? Of course it does! – Maya Kalman
- The information superhighway: urban renewal or neighborhood destruction? – Mary Newsom

Day two
- Innovation parkour – Matthew Milan
- The art and science of seductive interactions – Stephen Anderson
- Social design patterns mini-workshop – Christian Crumlish & Erin Malone
- If you build it (using social media), they will come – Mari Luangrath
- The bawn of perfect products – Tim Queenan

11 November 2009

Accenture says tech-driven approach to CE innovation outdated

Accenture
Consumer electronics companies must rethink the old technology-driven approach to innovation because industry convergence has made this model obsolete, claims a study by Accenture.

In the converging world, “high-performance businesses in the CE industry have begun to embrace a consumer-engagement-driven model of innovation,” but many CE companies have not. Even those companies embracing the new approach to innovation, however, have difficulty converting successful concepts into successful products and services, the study said. [...]

Today, CE technologies have converged with “media, IT technologies, games, Internet, [and] mobile…into the same marketplace and compete against each other.” As a result, “the traditional eco-system is transformed. Technology, licensing, and content provider relationships no longer determine who dictates the rules of the game,” Accenture said. “The traditional standardization and alliance processes are becoming less effective due to competing interests, business models and strategies of ever more players and industries.”

“With so many industries competing for the consumer’s attention, the consumer has become the new focus,” the study claimed.

In this new environment, CE companies can better position themselves to accelerate growth if they “embrace a consumer-engagement-driven model of innovation,” Accenture contended. To accomplish this, “CE companies need to engage with consumers at the onset and throughout the innovation process.” [...]

Such companies also conduct a lot of consumer behavior research, but their research does not always take the form of traditional market research studies, the company said. Their research tends “to more observational and ethnographic in nature.”

Read full story

10 November 2009

Book: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media

Hanging out
Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out
Kids Living and Learning with New Media
(John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning)
An examination of young people’s everyday new media practices—including video-game playing, text-messaging, digital media production, and social media use.

Authors: Mizuko Ito, Sonja Baumer, Matteo Bittanti, danah boyd, Rachel Cody, Becky Herr-Stephenson, Heather A. Horst, Patricia G. Lange, Dilan Mahendran, Katynka Z. Martinez, C. J. Pascoe, Dan Perkel, Laura Robinson, Christo Sims and Lisa Tripp
MIT Press, November 2009, 432 pages
Table of contents and sample chaptersAmazon link

Conventional wisdom about young people’s use of digital technology often equates generational identity with technology identity: today’s teens seem constantly plugged in to video games, social networks sites, and text messaging. Yet there is little actual research that investigates the intricate dynamics of youth’s social and recreational use of digital media. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out fills this gap, reporting on an ambitious three-year ethnographic investigation into how young people are living and learning with new media in varied settings—at home, in after school programs, and in online spaces. By focusing on media practices in the everyday contexts of family and peer interaction, the book views the relationship of youth and new media not simply in terms of technology trends but situated within the broader structural conditions of childhood and the negotiations with adults that frame the experience of youth in the United States.

Integrating twenty-three different case studies—which include Harry Potter podcasting, video-game playing, music-sharing, and online romantic breakups—in a unique collaborative authorship style, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out is distinctive for its combination of in-depth description of specific group dynamics with conceptual analysis.

This book was written as a collaborative effort by members of the Digital Youth Project, a three-year research effort funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California.

The project was spearheaded by Mimi Ito, a Research Scientist at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

(via danah boyd)