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Posts in category 'Book'

1 January 2014

[Book] Experience Design

9781118609637_cover.indd

Experience Design: A Framework for Integrating Brand, Experience, and Value
Patrick Newbery, Kevin Farnham
240 pages
October 2013
Wiley
[Amazon link]

Description
Businesses thrive when they can engage customers. And, while many companies understand that design is a powerful tool for engagement, they do not have the vocabulary, tools, and processes that are required to enable design to make a difference. Experience Design bridges the gap between business and design, explaining how the quality of customer experience is the key to unlocking greater engagement and higher customer lifetime value. The book teaches businesses how to think about design as a process, and how this process can be used to create a better quality of experience across the entire customer journey.

Experience Design also serves as a reference tool for both designers and business leaders to help teams collaborate more effectively and to help keep focus on the quality of the experiences that are put in front of customers.

Authors
Patrick Newbery and Kevin Farnham are the Chief Strategy Officer and CEO of Method respectively, an experience design company that solves business challenges through design to create integrated brand, product, and service experiences.

> Review in Dexigner
> Review by Carolynn Duncan

19 November 2013

[Book] Reputation Economics

reputationeconomics

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

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

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

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

Solution 1:

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

Solution 2:

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

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

Solution 3:

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

I guess I will have to read the book.

11 November 2013

[Book] Mapping Design Research

mappingdesignresearch

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

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

[HT @nicolasnova]

10 November 2013

[Book] Connect: Design for an Empathic Society

connect

Connect: Design for an Empathic Society
by Sabine Wildevuur, Dick van Dijk, Thomas Hammer-Jakobson, Mie Bjerre, Anne Äyväri, and Jesper Lund
BIS Publishers, 2014
216 pages
[Amazon link]

Abstract

The prospects are clear: we will probably live longer. The number of people aged 65 and up will increase enormously over the next few decades. Society will change as a result, but in what manner?

Europe – and, in fact, probably the world – faces the challenge of preventing loneliness and isolation amongst a growing group of senior people. The oldest part of the population is at particular risk of becoming isolated and lonely as they grow older and their work-related networks erode. While working in the field of technology and aging, the authors discovered that there is a whole new field to be explored, namely the phenomenon of connectedness.

This book is written by a group of authors with very different backgrounds, varying from business, ICT, marketing, anthropology, medicine, design and computer interaction. They all felt the urge to explore this field of connectedness and they discovered new opportunities for the emerging market of ‘aging-driven design’.

Design for connectedness is about support for behavioral change that increases connectedness in day-to-day routines. It’s not about encouraging a completely novel set of behaviors. Rather, it is about supporting human connections, especially during major transitions in life such as retirement.

Authors

Sabine Wildevuur works as Head of Waag Society‘s Creative Care Lab. She has an academic background in Medicine and Mass Communication and works as a programme manager, researcher and writer. She is passionate about innovation in the interdisciplinary field of healthcare, design, the arts, new media and ICT.

Dick van Dijk is Creative Director at Waag Society. He is interested in the crossover between virtual and physical interactions, in creating a narrative space, a place for imagination. Dick has a background in Business Economics and History of Art and is currently extending his creative skills in the context of an Arts Academy.

Thomas Hammer-Jakobson is Chairman of Copenhagen Living Lab, and has previously held top-level positions in the Danish Broadcasting Corporation for more than 10 years. Thomas is a specialist in welfare innovation. As such he has initiated and led many national and international projects in the field of elderly care and independent living.

Mie Bjerre is a partner at Copenhagen LivingLab, which assists public and private organisations in realising innovation and business potential. Mie has a background in European ethnology, realising while travelling that “understanding cultures, people and why people are doing what they’re doing holds great value when innovating”

Anne Äyväri, D.Sc. (Econ.), currently works as a Principal Lecturer at Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland. Her main responsibilities include managing RDI projects aiming at developing services and procedures in the social and health care sector. Her research interests include small firm networks, networking abilities, and learning in networks.

Jesper Lund has worked with digital innovation and user-centric design since 2004. He is currently working as a teacher and researcher at Halmstad University in Sweden, where he has been involved as a researcher in several R&D projects within the health technology field.

3 November 2013

[Book] Changing Behaviours: On the Rise of the Psychological State

changingbehavious

Changing Behaviours: On the Rise of the Psychological State
by Rhys Jones, Jessica Pykett and Mark Whitehead
Edward Elgar Publishers
2013, 240 pages
[Amazon link]

Abstract
Changing Behaviours charts the emergence of the behaviour change agenda in UK based public policy making since the late 1990s.
By tracing the influence of the behavioural sciences on Whitehall policy makers, the authors explore a new psychological orthodoxy in the practices of governing. Drawing on original empirical material, chapters examine the impact of behaviour change policies in the fields of health, personal finance and the environment. This topical and insightful book analyses how the nature of the human subject itself is re-imagined through behaviour change, and develops an analytical framework for evaluating the ethics, efficacy and potential empowerment of behaviour change.
This unique book will be of interest to advanced undergraduates, postgraduates and academics in a range of different disciplines. In particular, its inter-disciplinary focus on key themes in the social sciences – the state, citizenship, the meaning and scope of government – will make it essential reading for students of political science, sociology, anthropology, geography, policy studies and public administration. In addition, the book’s focus on the practical use of psychological and behavioural insights by politicians and policy makers should lead to considerable interest in psychology and behavioural economics.

The authors
Rhys Jones, Professor of Human Geography, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, UK
Jessica Pykett, Lecturer, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK
Mark Whitehead, Professor of Human Geography, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, UK

The Changing Behaviours project
The authors of the book have now began a Changing Behaviours research project that is exploring emerging strategies for changing human behaviours. The project is being funded as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Transforming Social Science programme. The primary aim of thistheproject is to consider the ways in which the emerging insights of behavioural science (in particular behavioural psychology, behavioural economics, microeconomics, cognitive design, and neuroscience) are shaping the design of public policy. This project has been designed to provide the first large-scale, international comparative study of behaviour changing initiatives. In addition to studying the application of behaviour changing policies in different countries throughout the world, the team is also exploring the use of alternative, and perhaps, more neurologically empowering approaches to behaviour change (including mindfulness, connected conversations, and critical behavioural literacy). The project, which started in September 2013, will run until February 2015.

[The book was mentioned in this long piece by Evgeny Morozov for the MIT Technology Review]

2 November 2013

New York Times book review of “Status Update”

statusupdatenyt

Putting People First has been following the work of Alice E. Marwick for a while, first when she published her PhD dissertation, then when her book “Status Update” came out.

Now the New York Times has published Walter Kirn’s extensive but not so positive review of her book:

“Alice E. Marwick, an academic observer of American online culture who teaches at Fordham University, would have us believe that the phenomenon of social media functions less as a revolutionary instrument of human liberation than as a peculiarly insidious agent of obedience and conformity. For Marwick, Web 2.0 is a promoter of what, following Foucault, she terms “technologies of subjectivity.” In other words, they turn its users into self-promoting, competitive, superficial “good corporate citizens” whose values are those of the very businesspeople behind the leading social media sites. She sees us as an army of little Mark Zuckerbergs, emulating without our conscious knowledge the highly effective, market-driven habits of “neoliberal” capitalism.”

2 November 2013

Publication: Smart Citizens (by FutureEverything)

futureeverything

Smart Citizens
Edited by Drew Hemment and Anthony Townsend
Future Everything
2013, 96 pages

This publication aims to shift the debate on the future of cities towards the central place of citizens, and of decentralised, open urban infrastructures. It provides a global perspective on how cities can create the policies, structures and tools to engender a more innovative and participatory society. The publication contains a series of 23 short essays representing some of the key voices developing an emerging discourse around Smart Citizens.

Contributors include:

  • Dan Hill, Smart Citizens pioneer and CEO of communications research centre and transdisciplinary studio Fabrica on why Smart Citizens Make Smart Cities.
  • Anthony Townsend, urban planner, forecaster and author of Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia on the tensions between place-making and city-making on the role of mobile technologies in changing the way that people interact with their surroundings.
  • Paul Maltby, Director of the Government Innovation Group and of the Open Data and Transparency in the UK Cabinet Office on how government can support a smarter society.
  • Aditya Dev Sood, Founder and CEO of the Center for Knowledge Societies, presents polarised hypothetical futures for India in 2025 that argues for the use of technology to bridge gaps in social inequality.
  • Adam Greenfield, New York City-based writer and urbanist, on Recuperating the Smart City.

FutureEverything is an art and digital innovation organization based in Manchester, England, founded in 1995 around an annual festival of art, music and digital culture. The organization runs year-round digital innovation labs on themes such as open data, remote collaboration, urban interface and environmental mass observation. FutureEverything presents an international art and innovation award, The FutureEverything Award, introduced in 2010.

2 November 2013

Book: Social – Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect

socialbook

Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
by Matthew D. Lieberman
Crown
October 2013, 384 pages
[Amazon link]

Abstract

In Social, renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter. Because of this, our brain uses its spare time to learn about the social world – other people and our relation to them. It is believed that we must commit 10,000 hours to master a skill. According to Lieberman, each of us has spent 10,000 hours learning to make sense of people and groups by the time we are ten.

Social argues that our need to reach out to and connect with others is a primary driver behind our behavior. We believe that pain and pleasure alone guide our actions. Yet, new research using fMRI – including a great deal of original research conducted by Lieberman and his UCLA lab — shows that our brains react to social pain and pleasure in much the same way as they do to physical pain and pleasure. Fortunately, the brain has evolved sophisticated mechanisms for securing our place in the social world. We have a unique ability to read other people’s minds, to figure out their hopes, fears, and motivations, allowing us to effectively coordinate our lives with one another. And our most private sense of who we are is intimately linked to the important people and groups in our lives. This wiring often leads us to restrain our selfish impulses for the greater good. These mechanisms lead to behavior that might seem irrational, but is really just the result of our deep social wiring and necessary for our success as a species.

Based on the latest cutting edge research, the findings in Social have important real-world implications. Our schools and businesses, for example, attempt to minimalize social distractions. But this is exactly the wrong thing to do to encourage engagement and learning, and literally shuts down the social brain, leaving powerful neuro-cognitive resources untapped. The insights revealed in this pioneering book suggest ways to improve learning in schools, make the workplace more productive, and improve our overall well-being.

The Author
Mathew Dylan Lieberman [Wikipedia - Personal site] PHD is a Professor and SCN (Social Cognitive Neuroscience) Lab Director at UCLA Department of Psychology, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.

> New York Times book review

2 November 2013

Book: Smarter Than You Think

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Smarter Than You Think
How Technology Is Changing Our Minds For the Better
by Clive Thompson and Jeff Cummings
Penguin Press
September 2013, 352 pages
[Penguin Press link - Amazon link]

Abstract

How technology boosts our cognitive abilities — making us smarter, more productive, and more creative than ever before It’s undeniable: technology is changing the way we think. But is it for the better? Amid a chorus of doomsayers, Clive Thompson votes yes. The Internet age has produced a radical new style of human intelligence, worthy of both celebration and investigation. We learn more and retain information longer, write and think with global audiences in mind, and even gain an ESP-like awareness of the world around us.

Modern technology is making us smarter and better connected, both as individuals and as a society. In Smarter Than You Think, Thompson documents how every technological innovation — from the printing press to the telegraph — has provoked the very same anxieties that plague us today. We panic that life will never be the same, that our attentions are eroding, that culture is being trivialized. But as in the past, we adapt, learning to use the new and retaining what’s good of the old.

Thompson introduces us to a cast of extraordinary characters who augment their minds in inventive ways. There’s the seventy-six-year-old millionaire who digitally records his every waking moment, giving him instant recall of the events and ideas of his life going back decades. There are the courageous Chinese students who mounted an online movement that shut down a $1.6 billion toxic copper plant. There are experts and there are amateurs, including a global set of gamers who took a puzzle that had baffled HIV scientists for a decade and solved it collaboratively — in only one month.

But Smarter Than You Think isn’t just about pioneers, nor is it simply concerned with the world we inhabit today. It’s about our future. How are computers improving our memory? How will our social “sixth sense” change the way we learn? Which tools are boosting our intelligence — and which ones are hindering our progress? Smarter Than You Think embraces and interrogates this transformation, offering a provocative vision of our shifting cognitive landscape.

The author
Clive Thompson is a contributor for the New York Times Magazine and Wired. He also writes for Fast Company and appears regularly on many NPR programs, CNN, Fox News, and NY1, among other news outlets. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

> New York Times book review

2 November 2013

Book: The App Generation

theappgeneration

The App Generation
How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World
Howard Gardner and Katie Davis
Yale University Press
October 2013, 256 pages
[Yale University Press link - Amazon link]

Abstract
No one has failed to notice that the current generation of youth is deeply—some would say totally—involved with digital media. Professors Howard Gardner and Katie Davis name today’s young people The App Generation, and in this spellbinding book they explore what it means to be “app-dependent” versus “app-enabled” and how life for this generation differs from life before the digital era. Gardner and Davis are concerned with three vital areas of adolescent life: identity, intimacy, and imagination. Through innovative research, including interviews of young people, focus groups of those who work with them, and a unique comparison of youthful artistic productions before and after the digital revolution, the authors uncover the drawbacks of apps: they may foreclose a sense of identity, encourage superficial relations with others, and stunt creative imagination. On the other hand, the benefits of apps are equally striking: they can promote a strong sense of identity, allow deep relationships, and stimulate creativity. The challenge is to venture beyond the ways that apps are designed to be used, Gardner and Davis conclude, and they suggest how the power of apps can be a springboard to greater creativity and higher aspirations.

Authors
Howard Gardner is Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and senior director of Harvard Project Zero, an educational research group. He is renowned as father of the theory of multiple intelligences. He lives in Cambridge, MA.
Katie Davis is assistant professor, University of Washington Information School, where she studies the role of digital media technologies in adolescents’ lives. She is a former member of the Project Zero team. She lives in Seattle, WA.

> New York Times review

27 October 2013

Book: Speculative Everything

speculative_everything

Speculative Everything
Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming
By Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby
MIT Press
Jan 2014, 200 pages
[Amazon link]

Today designers often focus on making technology easy to use, sexy, and consumable. In Speculative Everything, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby propose a kind of design that is used as a tool to create not only things but ideas. For them, design is a means of speculating about how things could be—to imagine possible futures. This is not the usual sort of predicting or forecasting, spotting trends and extrapolating; these kinds of predictions have been proven wrong, again and again. Instead, Dunne and Raby pose “what if” questions that are intended to open debate and discussion about the kind of future people want (and do not want).

Speculative Everything offers a tour through an emerging cultural landscape of design ideas, ideals, and approaches. Dunne and Raby cite examples from their own design and teaching and from other projects from fine art, design, architecture, cinema, and photography. They also draw on futurology, political theory, the philosophy of technology, and literary fiction. They show us, for example, ideas for a solar kitchen restaurant; a flypaper robotic clock; a menstruation machine; a cloud-seeding truck; a phantom-limb sensation recorder; and devices for food foraging that use the tools of synthetic biology. Dunne and Raby contend that if we speculate more—about everything—reality will become more malleable. The ideas freed by speculative design increase the odds of achieving desirable futures.

Anthony Dunne is Professor and Head of Interaction Design at the Royal College of Art. He is also a Partner in the design practice Dunne & Raby, London.

Fiona Raby is Professor of Industrial Design at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, and Reader in Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art.

> Video of Speculative Everything lecture by Anthony Dunne

21 October 2013

The Newspeak of ‘human-centred’ [Book]

freedomvsnecessity

Freedom vs Necessity in International Relations
Human-Centred Approaches to Security and Development

by David Chandler
Zed Books Ltd
224 pages, 2013
[Amazon link]

Human-centred understandings of the world have become increasingly dominant over the last two decades. Indeed, it is rare to read any analysis addressing the problems of insecurity, conflict or development which does not start from the need to empower or capacity-build local agency. In this path-breaking book, Chandler undertakes a radical challenge to such human-centred understandings and suggests that, in articulating problems as a result of human behaviour or decision-making, the problems of the world have become reinterpreted as problems of the human subject itself. Within this framework, the solutions are not seen to lie with structures of economic and social relations, but with the social and cognitive shaping of those who are often seen to be the most marginal and powerless. This shift – from the material problems of the external world to the subjective problems of human thought and action – has gone hand-in-hand with the shift from state-based to society-based understandings of the world. In a provocative analysis, Chandler highlights how human-centred approaches have shrunk rather than enlarged our world and have limited our understanding of transformative possibilities

Review by James Heartfield
In his new book, Freedom vs Necessity, David Chandler, professor of international relations at the University of Westminster, [...] lays bare the claims of governments to put people and their decision-making at the centre of policy. What Chandler shows to great effect is that the latest claims of policymakers and theorists to a human-centred approach result in something like its opposite. In a wide range of cases – from the United Nations’ Human Development Report to the Cabinet Office’s prioritisation of the ‘choice environment’ – Chandler explains how ‘human-centred’ policy is, in fact, very far from human-centred. The real aim is for people to align their behaviour and choices to the outcomes chosen by those in power, rather than deciding such outcomes for themselves. ‘Human-centred’ policy turns out to have as much to do with people deciding for themselves as the Ministry of Peace had to do with Peace, or the Ministry of Plenty to do with Plenty in Orwell’s novel.

28 September 2013

Book: People-Centered Innovation

OliveiraCoverWeb

People-Centered Innovation: Becoming a Practitioner in Innovative Research
by Pedro Oliveira
Biblio Publishing, 2013
194 pages
[Amazon]

Written with a general audience in mind, People-Centered Innovation focuses on innovation research in corporate settings. Starting with a biographical standpoint, it describes the author’s transition from the fields of psychology and anthropology into the fields of business anthropology and innovation. Through a rich description of case-studies of corporate work, the author takes us into a fascinating journey across different ways of observing relations between consumers and corporations and generating new ideas based on that observation.

Pedro Oliveira is an anthropologist and an ethnographic research consultant.

Some other papers by Pedro Oliveira:

19 September 2013

Book: Design Anthropology

9780857853691

Design Anthropology: Theory and Practice
Editor(s): Wendy Gunn, Ton Otto, Rachel Charlotte Smith
Bloomsbury Academic, 2013
304 pages

Design is a key site of cultural production and change in contemporary society. Anthropologists have been involved in design projects for several decades but only recently a new field of inquiry has emerged which aims to integrate the strengths of design thinking and anthropological research.

This book is written by anthropologists who actively participate in the development of design anthropology. Comprising both cutting-edge explorations and theoretical reflections, it provides a much-needed introduction to the concepts, methods, practices and challenges of the new field. Design Anthropology moves from observation and interpretation to collaboration, intervention and co-creation. Its practitioners participate in multidisciplinary design teams working towards concrete solutions for problems that are sometimes ill-defined. The authors address the critical potential of design anthropology in a wide range of design activities across the globe and query the impact of design on the discipline of anthropology.

This volume will appeal to new and experienced practitioners in the field as well as to students of anthropology, innovation, science and technology studies, and a wide range of design studies focusing on user participation, innovation, and collaborative research.

For all of us who work, think, teach, write, and dwell in this exciting interdisciplinary space, these essays will be of tremendous value.” – Paul Dourish, Professor of Informatics, University of California, Irvine, USA

3 September 2013

Book: Putting Citizens First

puttingcitizensfirst

Putting Citizens First
Engagement in Policy and Service Delivery for the 21st Century
Evert A. Lindquist, Sam Vincent and John Wanna
Australian National University – Co-published with ANZSOG
August 2013, 220 pages

Free pdf (alternative link)

This book explores the ways in which governments are putting citizens first in their policy-making endeavours. Making citizens the focus of policy interventions and involving them in the delivery and design is for many governments a normative ideal; it is a worthy objective and sounds easy to achieve. But the reality is that putting citizens at the centre of policy-making is hard and confronting. Are governments really serious in their ambitions to put citizens first? Are they prepared for the challenges and demands such an approach will demand? Are they prepared to commit the time and resources to ensure genuine engagement takes place and that citizens’ interests are considered foremost? And, more importantly, are governments prepared for the trade-offs, risks and loss of control such citizen-centric approaches will inevitably involve?

The book is divided into five parts:

  • setting the scene: The evolving landscape for citizen engagement
  • drivers for change: Innovations in citizen-centric governance
  • case studies in land management and Indigenous empowerment
  • case studies in fostering community engagement and connectedness
  • case studies engaging with information technology and new media.

While some chapters question how far governments can go in engaging with citizens, many point to successful examples of actual engagement that enhanced policy experiences and improved service delivery. The various authors make clear that citizen engagement is not restricted to the domain of service delivery, but if taken seriously affects the ways governments conduct their activities across all agencies. The implications are enormous, but the benefits to public policy may be enormous too.

3 September 2013

Book: Interactive Visualization

interactivevisualization

Interactive Visualization: Insight through Inquiry
By Bill Ferster
The MIT Press, 2012
ISBN-10: 0262018152, ISBN-13: 978-0262018159
(Amazon link)

Abstract

Interactive visualization is emerging as a vibrant new form of communication, providing compelling presentations that allow viewers to interact directly with information in order to construct their own understandings of it. Building on a long tradition of print-based information visualization, interactive visualization utilizes the technological capabilities of computers, the Internet, and computer graphics to marshal multifaceted information in the service of making a point visually.

This book offers an introduction to the field, presenting a framework for exploring historical, theoretical, and practical issues. It is not a “how-to” book tied to specific and soon-to-be-outdated software tools, but a guide to the concepts that are central to building interactive visualization projects whatever their ultimate form.

The framework the book presents (known as the ASSERT model, developed by the author), allows the reader to explore the process of interactive visualization in terms of choosing good questions to ask; finding appropriate data for answering them; structuring that information; exploring and analyzing the data; representing the data visually; and telling a story using the data.

Interactive visualization draws on many disciplines to inform the final representation, and the book reflects this, covering basic principles of inquiry, data structuring, information design, statistics, cognitive theory, usability, working with spreadsheets, the Internet, and storytelling.

Bill Ferster is on the faculty of the University of Virginia with a joint appointment to the Center for Technology and Teacher Education at the Curry School of Education and at the Science, Humanities, and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI) at the College of Arts and Sciences.

Book review by By Gerd Waloszek
SAP AG, Design & Frontline Apps – September 3, 2013

“Ferster’s book “stands out from the crowd” because it is based on what I would call a “holistic approach” to information visualization, namely his ASSET model described above. It starts by asking questions and culminates in “telling a compelling story” with the visual representation created from the data.

I am too impatient for such an approach, and prefer a “data-driven” approach instead, where you start right from data having a certain structure, look for a suitable visual representation, and then implement it. This approach could be considered the “SER” section in Ferster’s model, and it is closer to what the author probably would consider a “how to” approach. But, as Ferster writes in his introduction, this was not what he had in mind when he conceived his book. I therefore agree with Shneiderman that Ferster’s book is more tailored to students of the humanities than to those of the natural sciences, particularly considering the tutorials, which are an important ingredient of the book.”

20 August 2013

eBook: Rethinking UX

rethinking-ux-smashing-magazine-ebook-opt

Rethinking UX
Formats: PDF, EPUB, Kindle (DRM-free)
Pages: 62
Language: English
Released: August 2013
Publisher: Smashing Magazine GmbH

Abstract
In “Rethinking UX”, various UX professionals share their lessons learned and provide practical advice from their very own personal experience. The eBook is packed with interesting thoughts and concepts that let us reflect on our own practices. Every designer has their own user research techniques and strategies, but leaving the office and talking to people on the streets can foster innovation even more as any thought-out strategy ever could.

Is empathy possibly the best guarantor for great UX? Overcoming traditional patterns and designing with a new type of user in mind is among the many topics of this eBook.

Of course, you can also get your hands on some future scenarios. The Smashing authors dare to sneak a peak at some new challenges that we could face with the rise of innovative technologies such as Google Glass and Leap Motion, and explore how we can embrace entirely gesture-driven interfaces today. This eBook is a springboard for developing a new perspective and for creating future-proof user experiences.

17 August 2013

Lessons from monks about designing the technologies of the future

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Our technologies are designed to maximize shareholder profit, and if that means distracting, confusing or aggregating the end-user, then so be it.

But another path is possible, argues Alex Soojung-Kim Pang in his new book The Distraction Addiction: Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul (Amazon link).

Pang calls the idea “contemplative computing,” and Techcrunch’s Klint Finley reflects on his book:

“Pang’s notion of mindful, or contemplative, computing is useful, but ultimately it’s just a way of coping with a world of applications designed without our best interests at heart. Just as meditation, prayer and weekend retreats can help us cope with the harsh realities of the modern world, so too can it help us cope with flame wars, feral inboxes and the non-stop rush of social media. But just as citizens can demand safer cities, more humane governments and even economic reform, we can demand a new class of technologies.”

15 August 2013

Book: Lean UX

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Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience
by Jeff Gothelf (Author) and Josh Seiden (Editor)
O’Reilly Media
February 2013
(Amazon link)

“The Lean UX approach to interaction design is tailor-made for today’s web-driven reality. In this insightful book, leading advocate Jeff Gothelf teaches you valuable Lean UX principles, tactics, and techniques from the ground up—how to rapidly experiment with design ideas, validate them with real users, and continually adjust your design based on what you learn.

Inspired by Lean and Agile development theories, Lean UX lets you focus on the actual experience being designed, rather than deliverables. This book shows you how to collaborate closely with other members of the product team, and gather feedback early and often. You’ll learn how to drive the design in short, iterative cycles to assess what works best for the business and the user. Lean UX shows you how to make this change—for the better.

  • Frame a vision of the problem you’re solving and focus your team on the right outcomes
  • Bring the designers’ toolkit to the rest of your product team
  • Share your insights with your team much earlier in the process
  • Create Minimum Viable Products to determine which ideas are valid
  • Incorporate the voice of the customer throughout the project cycle
  • Make your team more productive: combine Lean UX with Agile’s Scrum framework
  • Understand the organizational shifts necessary to integrate Lean UX

Review by Ambroise Little:

The answer [to the pains associated with the staggered prints approach associated with the established Agile engineering process] situates itself within the Lean approach to product development. A lot of people seem to confuse Lean with Agile, and while they share some common characteristics, I would say that Lean is far more prescriptive. As Gothelf points out, Lean UX synthesizes the highly iterative structure of Agile with the creative and scientific methodologies of design thinking and Lean Startup (a set of concepts popularized by Eric Ries in his Lean Startup book), utilizing multiple frameworks to determine solutions.

Lean UX proposes a number of core principles and the ones that most directly address the key pain points mentioned above are:

  • Cross-functional teams – have UX folks integrated into the teams, not external consultant-type model
  • Minimize waste – few deliverables and handoffs

As Jeff relates in Chapter 4, the process is one that involves the whole team (as much as possible) in the user research and early design ideation. It goes further to have the team focused on the same problems at the same time. Together, this approach goes a long way towards eliminating the staggered sprint problems, and it also has other benefits around reduced waste and getting everyone on the same page more easily.”

7 August 2013

Book: Why We Fail

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Why We Fail: Learning from Experience Design Failures
By Victor Lombardi
248 pages
Rosenfeld Media

Why did Twitter succeed while Pownce plotzed? Why has “to Plaxo” become a verb? And Zune: great product, but are you using one right now?

More and more, products succeed because not because they provide better designs or functionality, but because their overall experiences are superior to their competitors’. Victor Lombardi’s new book, Why We Fail: Learning from Experience Design Failures is your field guide to failure. It’s packed with case studies and lessons that will help you, as Don Norman suggests in his foreword, “embrace failure to learn from failure” and “learn from failure to avoid failure”.

Just as pilots and doctors improve by studying crash reports and postmortems, experience designers can improve by learning how customer experience failures cause products to fail in the marketplace. Rather than proselytizing a particular approach to design, Why We Fail holistically explores what teams actually built, why the products failed, and how we can learn from the past to avoid failure ourselves.

Why We Fail is available from Rosenfeld Media in paperback and three DRM-free digital formats (PDF, MOBI, and ePUB). It’s also available from Amazon and O’Reilly.