counter

Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
Audience Business Culture Design Locations Media Methods Services Social Issues

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


Posts in category 'Australia'

21 August 2010

Do you own your device, or it you?

ZDNet Australia debate
On August 12, at noon, ZDNet Australia organised a live broadcast on the future of email. The discussion delved into the issues and challenges facing email in its current state, and looked at how social media is changing the way we exchange information.

The panel of local and global communications experts included Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow, Intel Labs, Director, Interaction & Experience Research, Intel Corporation; Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Lotus Software and WebSphere Portal, IBM Software Group; Mark Pesce, futurist, author, lecturer and technologist; and Adele Beachley, Managing Director, RIM Australia and New Zealand.

ZDNet Australia has posted a video of the debate as well as a short debate summary.

Read article

30 July 2010

Genevieve Bell’s Digital Futures report released

Digital Futures
In 2009, Dr. Genevieve Bell, an Australian-born anthropologist and ethnographer, who is an Intel Fellow and heads Intel’s newly created Interaction and Experience Research (IXR) division, was selected as South Australia’s Thinker in Residence.

In her assignment, she focused on the ways in which South Australians use new technologies in their everyday lives. Through extensive, often ethnographic, research she helped shed light on new opportunities for broadband and associated communication technologies in the state and beyond, and, equally importantly, how to meaningfully engage all South Australians in these technologies.

A dedicated website, SAstories, provides more background on her work in South Australia.

Bell’s final report “Getting Connected Staying Connected: Exploring South Australia’s Digital Futures” has now been officially released and is available for public comment.

“The recommendations made in the report set out a possible future plan for South Australia so individuals, communities, businesses and government can take full advantage of the opportunities created by information communication and entertainment technologies.

Genevieve Bell was South Australia’s 15th Thinker in Residence and her brief was to identify a set of strategies, directions and opportunities for all South Australians with regard to the future of new information, communication and entertainment technologies.

During her time here she traveled over 14,000 kilometres and visited 45 very different communities, from Adelaide to Amata and talked with hundreds of South Australians.

Genevieve discovered South Australians using technology in a huge range of creative and innovative ways to benefits themselves and their communities.”

Download report (alternate link)

See also this Fast Company article on the report release.

1 July 2010

The cities we need

The Cities We Need
The Grattan Institute, an Australian independent public policy think-tank, has published a new report, entitled “The Cities We Need“, that aims to set an agenda for thinking about the future of Australia’s cities. It asks how cities meet the individual needs of their residents, both material and psychological, and identifies emerging challenges to meeting these needs.

Abstract

The most important characteristic of a city is whether it meets the needs of its residents, both material and psychological. Despite the fact that these needs are central to our lives, they are often at the periphery of conversations about the future of Australian cities. With these criteria in mind, it is clear that while our cities operate well, there is much room for improvement.

We do not propose a set of solutions or prescriptions. Instead we argue that we need to realise that cities are complex systems, and lay out ten questions about our urban future that we must get serious about. As we manage growth and change in Australian cities, how bold are we prepared to be to get the cities we really need?

17 June 2010

Collaborative consumption

TEDx Sydney
Rachel Botsman, co-author with Roo Rogers of the upcoming book “What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption”, was one of the speakers at TEDx Sydney, the conference which featured a selection of Australia’s leading visionaries and storytellers on May 22nd.

The book Collaborative Consumption describes the rapid explosion in traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping redefined through technology and peer communities.

From enormous marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist, to emerging sectors such as social lending (Zopa) and car sharing (Zipcar), Collaborative Consumption is disrupting outdated modes of business and reinventing not just what we consume but how we consume. New marketplaces such as Swaptree, Zilok, Bartercard, AirBnb, and thredUP are enabling “peer-to-peer” to become the default way people exchange—whether it’s unused space, goods, skills, money, or services — and sites like these are appearing everyday, all over the world.

In her talk she presents a strong case for 21st Century sharing.

Watch video

(This video can also be found on TEDx, a weird aggregator site containing thousands of TEDx videos, yet also featuring a very poor search engine and an “About Us” page that is beyond belief.)

21 January 2010

Urban sensing via mobile phones, an ARUP project

CityRail
Arup Australasia has published a three-part technical overview on its research blog of its ‘urban sensing via mobile phones’ project.

The research project, in collaboration with the UTS Centre for Real-Time Information Networks, explores technical approaches to sensing the presence of mobile phones in transit environments (bus, train, ferry etc.) as well as pedestrians, in order to provide real-time data on such activity, potentially informing urban planning and transport planning decisions. Such approaches might reveal how the city is being used, in real-time.

Disclosure: Experientia is working with Arup on the Low2No project in Helsinki, Finland.

ApproachHardwareSensing

8 December 2009

Fixing healthcare in New Zealand

Bed patient
There is a group of people that believe the New Zealand health care system could be designed better than it currently is. That group consists of those who have actually used the New Zealand health care system.

In fact, it seems redundant and tiresome to even talk about the subject, let alone take pot-shots at it. We all feel it could be done better. But how?

In terms of design, there is a particular approach that is geared perfectly for health care: experience based design. This discipline focuses design efforts on the sorts of experiences customers have as they interact with a service. Do they feel valued? Do they feel listened to? Is their dignity preserved?

The British National Health Service’s (NHS) Institute for Innovation and Improvement has embraced this approach.

Read full story

19 October 2009

An Australian view on user-centred design

Outside in
Damian Kernahan (featured earlier) just published his second article in Fast Thinking, an Australian innovation quarterly — this time on user-centred design.

“Web designers have had a focus on user-centred design and have used it successfully as a discipline for many years and any Google search you care to undertake will be littered with web page and digital references. So what is ‘user-centred design’ and why hasn’t it taken off in the mainstream of Australian business? Why haven’t Australian businesses embraced using a methodology that allows them to get up close and personal with their customers and truly understand their customers’ unmet needs and wants for both products and services? And what is the process for user-centred design and how can companies employ it to keep hold of their most valuable customers in a market where every customer is increasingly precious?”

Read full story

10 October 2009

At your service

At your service
Damian Kernahan of Proto Partners asks in Fast Thinking, an Australian innovation quarterly, why service organisations don’t deliver their customers a great experience, when all it takes is a little planning and design.

“In this article we will look at trying to understand why we so often have these average customer experiences, why services are still most often developed using an industrial product mindset and how that might be improved. We will also provide a new approach to ensure that services are more regularly designed with the end user in mind rather than as an organic process, which has little connection to the importance of the crucial revenue stream that it has been set up to deliver.”

Read full story

24 June 2009

Intel’s Genevieve Bell on humanising technology

Genevieve Bell
Malaysian newspaper The Star devotes plenty of space to user-centred design in three stories that feature the work of Genevieve Bell, Intel’s user experience director.

“Marrying” anthropology and science

“I still write and publish my work in academic journals. To me, what we do in companies like Intel is the cutting edge of anthropological study.

“We form a relationship with the consumer and represent their needs. It’s a moral obligation to tell their stories.

“We find out what makes people tick, not just so that we can sell them things, but to make life better for them by ensuring that people in small towns and emerging markets can afford it. We want to help create technology for more people.”

Annoying things device-users do

“The top responses for strange mobile etiquette behaviour ranged from making a cashier wait until a cellphone call was completed and texting while driving.

Other responses included using a laptop in a public toilet, as well as hearing typing and conversations at church, during a funeral, and in a doctor’s office.”

Better television

“My engineering colleagues were desperately convinced that everything was a PC waiting to happen.

“What is needed is to meaningfully blend television and the Internet. My research conclusion was clear – consumers love television and only put up with their PCs because they want to connect to the Internet.

“It’s clear that people care about social networking and its technologies so how to we bring that into TV sets?

“Imagine accessing Flicker or Twitter on your television without turning it into a PC ? We desire for television to do more but it must not be too complicated. The challenge is to create technology that can accommodate local content,” she says, noting that there is a huge space for advancement in consumer electronics, especially to “make television better”.

20 March 2009

Sensing context in mobile design

Gabriel White
Gabriel White, interaction design director at Punchcut in San Francisco, affirmed context as king in the design of mobile and location-aware computing at Australia’s 4 day Web Directions South conference in September last year.

I came across the presentation only now, so here it is belatedly:

Mainstream mobile devices are being loaded with sensors. These devices can be used to create experiences that are tailored, adaptive and responsive to the way people live and work. Location-awareness allows devices to respond to place, networked address books enable socially rich communication experiences, and motion and gestural sensors empower designers to respond to context of use. All these elements are creating a ’sensitive ecosystem’; mobile devices that adapt gracefully to context and use.

This presentation will explore some of the design and technology trends that are shaping design for mobile devices, show examples of devices and services that are starting to take advantage of these trends, then explain how designers need to rethink design problems to take advantage of this technological ground-shift.

See the slides and hear the podcast

1 March 2009

What Margaret Mead could teach techs

Genevieve Bell
Fortune Magazine profiles Dr Genevieve Bell, an Australian-born anthropologist and ethnographer, and the Director of User Experience in Intel Corporation’s Digital Home Group.

Part of Bell’s job is to help the company understand quirks of human behavior that could determine whether its strategies fly or flop.

With computers taking new forms and turning up in new places [...], that job is harder than ever to do.

These days the tech landscape is an unpredictable jumble. A sampling: Consumers (particularly in Europe) are clamoring for shrunken, underpowered PCs called netbooks, much to the surprise of the major PC makers.

Amazon’s Kindle 2 wireless e-book reader is in high enough demand to claim the No. 1 spot in its electronics store — beating out the iPod Touch. (Not bad considering Steve Jobs last year dismissed the Kindle’s chances because “people don’t read anymore.”)

Foreclosures are reaching historic highs — yet in the depths of the worst recession in recent memory, consumers are still ordering movies from Netflix, buying downloaded software for the iPhone, and shelling out for wireless data plans.

You need an anthropologist to begin making sense of it all.

Read full story

1 March 2009

Web 2.0: a magic Ponzi scheme from a demon haunted world

Bruce Sterling at Webstock
Bruce Sterling keynoted last week on “The Short but Glorious Life of Web 2.0 and What Comes Afterward” at Webstock in Wellington.

No video is (yet) available, but American journalist Annalee Newitz was there and she reports:

Sterling began his talk by poking fun at Web 2.0, calling it mostly a social network of investors and developers. He complained that it’s not an ideology or set of aesthetic tenants; it’s just a little network – “a little network for the network.” He talked about how Web 2.0 uses the Web as a “platform” for services, and then dismissed that as an “utter violation of common sense” based on the kind of thinking, translated into the financial realm, that caused the current global financial crisis, where mortgages are aggregated together and turned into a kind of Ponzi scheme platform.

Sterling acknowledged that of course Web 2.0 is not the same thing as the financial system, “but that frail and problematic system was what funded Web 2.0. After all, Web 2.0 is supposed to be business.”

Read full story

Other local bloggers like Ben Kepes and Daniel Nations also wrote on Sterling’s talk but seemed not to have liked what they heard.

UPDATE:
Here is the transcript of the talk.

1 December 2008

The many futures of our digital lives

Genevieve Bell
We all live in a digital world, although it means different things to different people. In her inaugural public lecture as Adelaide’s Thinker in Residence, Intel’s Genevieve Bell will explore how digital technology is shaping our lives, our culture, and our future.

Dr Genevieve Bell is an anthropologist and ethnographer with both an academic and industry background. Her research has provided considerable insight to the importance of culture in the adoption and adaptation of technology. She is currently the Director of User Experience in Intel Corporation’s Digital Home Group in the United States.

Listen to lecture (mp3, 48 min, 16.5 mb)

22 November 2008

Intel anthropologist Genevieve Bell becomes Adelaide thinker in residence

Genevieve Bell
Adelaide, Australia has a Thinker in Residence programme that “brings world-leading thinkers to live and work in Adelaide to assist in the strategic development and promotion of South Australia.”

[Or, what cities and regions have to go through to attract the "creative class".]

The current Adelaide invitee is Dr Genevieve Bell, an Australian-born anthropologist and ethnographer, who is currently the Director of User Experience in Intel Corporation’s Digital Home Group.

During her residency, Bell will examine what people are doing with technology, what their aspirations and frustrations are, what people want to be when they grow up, and how technology fits into that. She said the internet, TiVo and mobile technologies were giving us more to worry about than ever before and that people were still trying to work out the issues and boundaries.

Read full story

26 August 2008

Dori Tunstall radio interview on anthropology and design

Elizabeth Tunstall
A few days ago Dori Tunstall, Associated Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois in Chicago, was recently interviewed on the Australian radio programme By Design.

What can designers learn from anthropologists?

Our guest today believes they can learn a great deal. In fact, she has married the two disciplines and is a leading exponent of what has come to be known as design anthropology.

She believes successful design begins with carefully observing human nature, whether it be how high-heeled shoes affect natural ways of walking or how participation in the design process empowers marginalised communities.

Listen to interview (starts at 39:52)

(via Culture Matters)

11 February 2008

The street as platform

The street as platform
Dan Hill, former head of interactive technology and design at the BBC and currently director of web and broadcast at Monocle, has published a long article on the street of the future. Here is his introduction:

“I was recently asked to comment on ‘the street of the future’; a response for a quango responsible for the built environment and a government department responsible for transport, roads and so forth. Which means it’s really the street of the near-future. I didn’t have enough time to write something short, so I dashed off the following, and I’m really posting here as a note to self, rather than an attempt to deeply discuss the everyday informational street circa 2008. Still, I hope you find it useful or engaging. The photos don’t relate directly but create a kind of composite illustrative city nonetheless.

It’s deliberately grounded in the here-and-now, more or less, so it will seem rather old hat to some of you. Which in a sense it is. And in another sense, it isn’t. But either way, this was a better strategy for the task-in-hand, and in imagining the scene below, via a kind of narrative, it’s still remarkable to even sketchily consider how much data is already around us, and is near-invisible to traditional urban planning perspectives. And I’d suggest that this data beginning to profoundly affect the way the street feels. Some quick analysis follows the narrative, raising a series of questions for governance, legislation and the public-private partnerships that also constitute the contemporary street.”

30 September 2007

Bill Buxton talks user experience on Microsoft video

Bill Buxton
Bill Buxton, the human-computer interaction and computer graphics pioneer, joined Microsoft Research two years ago as a principle researcher two years ago to help foster a design oriented culture at Microsoft.

In this interview with Charles Torre, Buxton talks about design thinking, experience design, and how design, technology and business interlink together focusing on end users.

(via UX Connection Canada)

16 September 2007

3rd Living Knowledge conference on community based, co-creative research

Living Knowledge 3
The recent 3rd International Living Knowledge conference (3LK) provided a forum where information on community based research, carried out in both community and academic settings, on new forms of partnerships between research and civil society and on new modes of innovation could be shared and developed. It aimed at disseminating and exchanging information on community based and participatory research, on citizens’ science and cooperative innovation.

The conference took place at the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 30 August – 1 September, 2007, and was organised by the International Science Shops Network, Fondation Sciences Citoyennes, International Network of Engineers and Scientists for global responsibility, Centre for the Sociology of Innovation of the Ecole des Mines, and the “Social and Political Transformations related to Life Sciences and Life Forms” (TSV) research Unit of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA).

Darren Sharp of Smart Internet CRC (Australia) was there to present an academic paper drawing on his organisation’s research on user-led innovation, Web 2.0 and participatory media from an upcoming report.

His paper titled “Citizen Innovation: using participatory research for knowledge discovery”, discussed how user-led innovation provides new concepts and methods capable of extending the field of knowledge about participatory research. It explored how practice-based methods such as Participatory Action Research and Community-based Research have facilitated the rise of Citizen Innovation which provides opportunities for citizen empowerment; supports the co-creation of new public-sector services and scientific knowledge discovery; and utilises knowledge that is embodied, experiential and collaboratively produced. The presentation also canvassed pathways for public-sector organisations to leverage the participation of citizens and amateur scientists in the interest of co-creating new forms of knowledge.

In his blog report on the conference, Sharp also mentions his meeting with Eric Seulliet, a Paris-based foresight consultant and founder of La Fabrique du Futur (The Factory of the Future) and their talk on his interesting new book project on user-led innovation.

The 4th Living Knowledge Conference will take place in Dublin, Ireland in 2009.

- Read full story (alternate link)
- Watch conference video

3 April 2007

The Vodafone journey

The Vodafone Journey
One of the sections of Vodafone’s new website is called The Vodafone Journey.

The first item in the menu of this flash-based mini-site are Vodafone’s customers. Ten stories explain how Vodafone has changed the way people work and play. The stories are quite promotional, but they nevertheless clearly emphasise the people-centred approach of the company.

Nice too is that the people featured are from New Zealand, Germany, Australia, Greece, Tanzania, Ireland, Spain, Egypt, UK and Italy, and that everyone speaks their own language.

5 March 2007

Design led futures

Design led futures
“Design prototyping is an excellent way to bring imaginable future(s) to life, to make them visible, tangible, ‘experiencable‘ and allow people to deal with their meaning(s) in versatile ways,” writes Nik Baerten on his foresight blog A Thousand Tomorrows.

“Prototyping – whether conceptual or physical – makes for possible contextual scenarios in the foresight-sense to give rise to possible scenarios-of-use in the user centred design-sense. As such, in foresight activities these designs not only help to evoke more in-depth qualitative reflections from stakeholders, they can also give direct leads as to how to take up certain strategic challenges posed by the scenario, thereby co-creating new value(s).

In ways reminiscent of experimental projects by Philips Design as well as the EU research project Designing for Future Needs (see also here), and with a time horizon of about 10 years, industry partners and students at Victoria University of Wellington School of Design in New Zealand envisioned future solutions in an initiative titled Design Led Futures.

Professor Simon Fraser started it in order to challenge students “to step back from the constraints of daily practice, to look beyond the immediate product, to look at it in context, and to investigate the broader issues that surround it – human issues, issues of society, culture and behaviour – including emotional issues that are fundamental to industrial design as a discipline.”

So far three projects have been concluded, in which the focus lay explicitly upon the overall experience rather than the mere object of design :

  • Domestic Bliss: students were required to create a new understanding of the role that appliances (such as fridges, washing machines and cookers) might play in the architecture and culture of the home
  • Inside-Out: project on the theme of outdoor living and the role that appliances might play in making this possible and pleasurable
  • Energising Water: project to explore and create a new understanding of the base material of water by creatively applying existing or new, specifically developed technologies

Check out the fascinating concepts that students developed.”