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Posts in category 'Interaction design'

17 January 2013

World’s “tech elite” named to interaction design board

the_encyclopedia_of_human-computer_interaction,_2nd_ed-dot-_medium

From the press release:

Today the Interaction Design Foundation, the IDF, has announced its new executive board. The executive board includes Donald Norman; Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research; Ken Friedman, professor and formerly dean of the Faculty of Design at Swinburne University, Australia; Michael Arent, vice president of user experience at SAP Business Objects; Olof Schybergson, founder and CEO of Fjord, a digital service design consultancy; Jonas Lowgren, a professor of interaction design at Sweden’s Malmo University; and Dan Rosenberg, a user experience executive, consultant and professor. All executive board members are serving gratis.

The foundation’s keystone project is Interaction-Design.org, a website that publishes free and open educational materials for students, industry leaders and individual tech designers. The present centerpiece of the IDF is the ever-expanding Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction written by 100+ leading designers, Ivy League professors, CEOs, futurists and bestselling authors from across the high-tech universe. Currently the encyclopedia numbers 35 short textbooks or chapters which students, professors and professionals can assemble in any way they want in order to make their own individualized compendium.

A range of new chapters are in the making.

16 January 2013

Telling “Stories”: Experientia designs domestic energy consumption monitors (videos)

 

Videos showcasing two sustainability-related projects are now on Experientia’s YouTube channel. The videos, showing the Ecofamilies and Stories projects respectively, both focus on monitoring domestic energy consumption in different areas of Europe.

The Ecofamilies video (in French with our English subtitles) is a feature on the project by France’s TV France3. For Ecofamilies, Experientia partnered with the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB) of Nice, France, and a series of other agencies, for a French sustainability project, aimed at the development of a web platform for a pilot house to monitor domestic energy consumption.

Experientia’s contribution included a benchmark of existing solutions, and guidelines and supervision for the other project partners for conducting user research. We then translated the insights from the user research phase into an initial interface and prototype concept.

From March-June 2012, Experientia conducted participatory co-design workshops with 30 volunteer families. The workshops aimed to discover the real behaviours, attitudes and needs of families when it comes to energy consumption.

The project produced an innovative technological solution that allows families to have a concrete understanding of their energy consumption, and of the choices that are available to reduce it, with personalised tips, and detailed, useful information on household energy use.

The platform has now been implemented in a pilot house in Sophia Antipolis within the CSTB research centre. The outcomes from this pilot project will feed into future developments.

The Stories project is a service concept for monitoring domestic energy consumption, which is accessible while on-the-go.

Together with Telecom Italia, the Turin Polytechnic University, and the ISMB and CSP research centres, Experientia conducted a feasibility study on energy monitoring mobile services. Based on in-depth user research carried out in Turin, we developed a prototype for a mobile application to engage people in monitoring and comparing their energy consumption.

The project demonstrates the feasibility of advanced smart metering services in the Italian context, both from a technological point of view, and from the perspective of the actual user interest.

The project was funded by the Piedmont Region (POR FESR 2007/2013), the European Fund for Regional Development and the Republic of Italy.

(The Stories video is also available on Vimeo.)

21 December 2012

Should there be a standard user interface for cars?

 

Writer Jason Torchinsky makes a case for a standard user interface for cars:

“I know there’s already a number of official and unofficial standards in place — pedal location, use of a wheel for steering, turn indicator stalk location — but cars are getting more and more complex, and in some ways it’s pretty surprising this hasn’t already happened.

And that’s just standards for the things we actually interact with; industry-wide standards for the fundamental systems that make up a car’s brains could prove very useful as well.”

Yet, the commenters disagree and call it a bad idea or worse.

(via BoingBoing)

13 December 2012

The man looking to turn Samsung into a Silicon Valley trendsetter

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Samsung is doubling down on technology investments in Apple’s backyard, including two new R&D buildings in Silicon Valley that will house 2,000 staff and a recently announced startup accelerator.

Leading this effort is Young Sohn, who started at Samsung in August as president and chief strategy officer. He has spent a long career leading several successful Silicon Valley semiconductor and storage companies after founding Intel’s PC chipset business and running its joint venture with Samsung in the 1980s.

MIT Technology Review business editor Jessica Leber sat down with Sohn in his office in Menlo Park, California, to talk about his new mandate, why he still uses Apple devices at home, and what his company needs to do to stay ahead.

“I think we have probably the largest platform in the world between the devices and displays and televisions we sell. We actually provide more devices that are interacting with consumers than anyone in the world. But if you think about our experiences, it’s device-centric. It’s experienced by itself. It’s not experienced in a connected way. So we think we can provide a lot more things than what we are doing today with an open ecosystem with our partners.”

13 December 2012

Mark Rettig’s vent on the Connecting movie

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Yesterday I plugged Connecting, a short film that explores trends in UI, Interaction & Experience Design.

When Mark Rettig watched the video, he said he would “hesitate to refer friends and family to watch it as an explanation of some of this field, because they’ll come away believing that the essence of interaction design has to do with technical devices and networks.”

Here is a copy of his very wise reflections (that he shared on the IxDA email list and in part also on the Vimeo comments section):

“I just watched Basset & Partners’ nicely-produced short film about interaction design, called “Connecting.” You can watch it here on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/52861634. It’s well done, it’s full of people I like and admire, and I’m glad it exists. *Thank you* to the people who made it and the people who paid for it.

But it pushes a button, so, this post….

Every time I’m around a bunch of interaction designers (and I still consider myself one, at least some of the time) it jumps out at me: the field is SO so device- and content- fixated. Watch that video with paper and pen, and make tally marks every time someone says, “device, product, service, network, content, data, information, interface,…” You’ll fill the page. Do it again, and see if you hear “care, relationship, learn, belong, accomplish, confidence, ability, self-image, manage, relate, heal, wellness, reach, empower,…” any human-value words. I’m not sure you’ll get to 10.

Where are the people-words? I’m sorry, but to pick on one example, ubiquitous data and distributed interfaces showing up in the hospital system does not equal more care. (The “service designers” are a little better on this point, but still….)

There are lots of designers in this video, but all the rest of the people are fake-people. Architectural-model-people. Stock photo people. Let’s make another movie that has at least the same number of people who have to live with the designs as there are designers. And hey, sometimes, if you catch the right day, there could be both kinds of people in the same shot!

Yes, at the end there is excitement about connected society and social impact (with devices assumed, to my ear). And I know enough of the people in the video to know they really do care about people and are driven by that care. I’m not knocking them.

For me this is a snapshot of the times. Design in general has been so thoroughly enfolded in a culture of business and technology that it has a hard time finding an identify of its own APART from business or technology. It has allowed itself to be defined by its clients. That doesn’t have to be the case.

The design process, the methods designers employ, and the people and institutions who make up the practice have great powers and possibilities of their own, independent from clients, silicon, bits, atoms, or contracts. Let’s be identified by the possibility we bring into the room, not by a co-dependent relationship with our usual sponsors and materials.

I believe this can change, and I’m doing what I can to help.”

Rettig, Principal of Fit Associates, is very known to those who worked and studied at the former Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, for his much quoted advice that interaction design is both about “doing the right thing and doing the thing right.”

12 December 2012

A short film that explores trends in UI, Interaction & Experience Design

 

The 18 minute “Connecting” documentary, created by Bassett & Partners for Windows Phone Design Studio, is an exploration of the future of Interaction Design and User Experience from some of the industry’s thought leaders.

As the role of software is catapulting forward, Interaction Design is seen to be not only increasing in importance dramatically, but also expected to play a leading role in shaping the coming “Internet of things.” Ultimately, when the digital and physical worlds become one, humans along with technology are potentially on the path to becoming a “super organism” capable of influencing and enabling a broad spectrum of new behaviors in the world.

Featuring:
Jennifer Bove Kicker Studio
Andrei Herasimchuk Twitter
Robert Murdock Method
Jonas Löwgren Malmö University
Eric Rodenbeck Stamen
Robert Fabricant frog design
Raphael Grignani Method
Liz Danzico School of Visual Arts
Helen Walters Doblin
Younghee Jung Nokia
Blaise Aguera y Arcas Microsoft
Massimo Banzi Arduino

12 December 2012

Visualising data: seeing is believing

 

Richard Ingram has posted the transcript of his talk on data visualisation at CS Forum 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.

5 December 2012

Design patterns for mobile user interfaces targeted at older adults

 

The use of smartphones is becoming widespread among all sectors of the population.

However, developers and designers do not have access to guidance in designing for specific audiences such as older adults.

This study by Roxanne Leitão of Fraunhofer Portugal investigated optimal target sizes, and spacing sizes between targets, for smartphones user interfaces intended for older adults.

Two independent variables were studied — target sizes and spacing between targets — for two common smartphone gestures — tap and swipe. Dependent variables were accuracy rates, task completion times, and participants’ subjective preferences. 40 older adults recruited from several daycare centers participated in both tasks and a post-­‐session questionnaire.

The recommendations drawn from the authors’ research support two interaction design patterns relative to touch target sizes for older adults, and are presented in a scientific paper and on quite an attractive and hands-on website (although some visuals would have been nice).

3 December 2012

Morality, the next frontier in human-computer interaction

Gov. Brown Signs Legislation At Google HQ That Allows Testing Of Autonomous Vehicles

John Pavlus reflects in the MIT Technology Review on a short essay by Gary Marcus in the New Yorker about the ethical quandaries raised by Google’s driverless car.

“The real problems that artificially intelligent cars will bring with them,” he says, “aren’t the grand techno-ethical abstractions mulled over by the Singularity Institute, but practical issues of product and interface design, constrained by the usual vicissitudes of politics and economics. For better or worse, it’s the designers, lawyers, and consumers—not the philosophers or academics—who will be the ultimate arbiters of what passes muster as a “moral machine.’”

3 December 2012

How Ford makes its cars smarter

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In the fast-evolving world of connected cars, CTO Paul Mascarenas is bringing Detroit and Silicon Valley together to chart Ford’s path into the future.

Brian Cooley of CNet interviews him during a walk through Ford’s advanced research facilities.

26 November 2012

Why do the user interfaces of Smart TVs suck?

appletv

Driven by marketing tick lists and a seeming disregard for how ordinary people will use their products, manufacturers have simply chucked more and more features into their sets until existing user interfaces have creaked at the seams with it all.

Even new UIs, designed from the ground up – you’d have thought – to deal with the vast array of content accessible through a smart TV would have improved matters. But no, vendors have instead been content with flinging smartphone-style UIs at big screens in the hope that the buzz surrounding ‘apps’ will stick.

Nigel Whitfield reports for The Register

26 November 2012

New York Times interviews Jim Wicks, Design Chief at Motorola Mobility

jimwicks

Motorola Mobility, which Google acquired in May, recently released new smartphones and reintroduced itself as the “New Motorola.” But what does that even mean? One thing is for sure: Motorola is not the same company that it was when it was riding the huge success of the first Razr in 2004.

In an interview, Jim Wicks, senior vice president for consumer experience design at Motorola Mobility, who has been with the company for 11 years, talked about the company’s design strategy and how it will change going forward.

“We established [our] design organization about 11 years ago. The whole point was to build one centralized design organization in the business, one that was very holistic in nature, that covered both the physical and digital disciplines of design of product.

For the physical design, we have within our groups industrial designers, surface engineers, advanced mechanical engineers, material scientists and trends forecasters. On the digital side we have user experience designers. Additionally we would have design researchers, and there are people who are engaged in ethnographic studies on automobiles and homes. They track how people use technology and identify some of the needs that are unmet at this stage.

That’s what our design group is, and we’re located in Chicago, California and Korea.”

10 November 2012

A tablet still is not a book … not yet

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Dan Turner discusses why the experience of reading a book on tablets (iPads in particular) is a chore rather than a delight.

In a long article for UX Magazine, he discusses a number of reasons, often related to usability and even biology, why that may be so:

  • The physicality of books is linked to comprehension and memory, and reinforces focus and comprehension
  • The glossy, reflective screen is a physical strain, degrading the reading experience
  • The combination of thinness with weight puts a physical stress on your hands that a book does not
  • As a light source often used in darkened environments, potentially disrupt our sleep cycles
  • Due to the regular notifications we receive on our tablets, we are easily distracted and find it hard to achieve concentration or flow
  • We are conditioned to see screens as ‘work’ or ‘entertainment’ devices, again making it hard to enjoy a reading experience on them

So, he asks, what could we as hardware, system, and app designers do to help reduce distraction? And how can serious user research help us in that?

30 October 2012

Book: Meta Products – Building the Internet of Things

metaproducts

Meta Products
Meaningful Design For Our Connected World
by Wimer Hazenberg and Menno Huisman
BIS Publishers, 160 pages
2012

Meta Products discusses the rise of the Internet of Things, a twenty-first century phenomenon in which physical consumer products (meta products) connect to the web and start communicating with each other by means of sensors and actuators.

The book is written and designed by Dutch design agency Booreiland. The book is a result from their own design practice but it is written with an academic mind. What would be a good way for creative professionals to deal with the emerging demands of our connected world? How can designers and organizations gear up to face the challenges and take advantage of the possibilities the so called ubiquitous technologies?

These questions are addressed in the book to begin a dialogue, to take a step back, and to deeply reflect on our society’s history, our accomplishments, our aspirations, the way we build knowledge and learn individually and collectively. The book offers not only reflective insights but recommendations on design and development of new interactions.

Mike Kuniavsky (author of ‘Smart Things – Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design’) wrote the foreword, and many other experts from both commercial and academic worlds contributed to the book by means of interviews (TNO, Philips Research, Umeå University, MIT, University of Oxford, Delft University of Technology etc). Next to that, many cases are provided along the way to support the theory.

30 October 2012

Google and the UX challenge of augmented reality

fieldtrip

The new Google FieldTrip app probes the question: What digital information do you want to see overlaid on the physical world? A challenge that Bruce Sterling describes as “‘experience design’ problems”. Alexis G. Madrigal explores it in The Atlantic:

“If you pick up a book, do you see a biography of its author, an analysis of the chemical composition of its paper, or the share price for its publisher? Do you see a list of your friends who’ve read it or a selection of its best passages or a map of its locations or its resale price or nothing? The problem for Google’s brains, as it is for all brains, is choosing where to focus attention and computational power. As a Google-structured augmented reality comes closer to becoming a product-service combination you can buy, the particulars of how it will actually merge the offline and online are starting to matter.

To me, the hardware (transparent screens, cameras, batteries, etc) and software (machine vision, language recognition) are starting to look like the difficult but predictable parts. The wildcard is going to be the content. No one publishes a city, they publish a magazine or a book or a news site. If we’ve thought about our readers reading, we’ve imagined them at the breakfast table or curled up on the couch (always curled up! always on the couch!) or in office cubicles running out the clock. No one knows how to create words and pictures that are meant to be consumed out there in the world.”

17 October 2012

UX articles and dissertations from Denmark

md-top-banner-uk

Mind Design, the Design Research Webzine of the Danish Centre for Design Research, contains a wealth of information, all available in English.

Here are some highlights:

Article
Companies: Design Research Works in Practice
Design researchers are developing new, applicable knowledge together with organisations in the private and public sector. That was the clear conclusion at the mini-conference on the impact of design research that the Danish Centre for Design Research held at The Black Diamond in Copenhagen on 17 September 2012. Here, Rambøll, Bang & Olufsen and other companies shared case stories about how collaboration with researchers is creating value for their organisations.

Article
Using Experience Design to Reach a Broader Audience for Classical Music
How can we use new, digital technologies to make classical music more appealing and accessible – especially for a younger audience? A group of symphony orchestras and educational institutions in Denmark and Sweden have set out to address that question in a large-scale research collaboration that has received funding from the EU’s interregional development fund.

Dissertation
Inviting the Materials Into Co-Design Processes
Materials are important actors in co-design processes. Therefore they should be invited in and assigned roles when co-designers organise projects, workshops or events, for example in the field of service design. That is one of the key conclusions in a PhD dissertation on the role of materials in co-design which Mette Agger Eriksen defended at Malmö University on 13 June 2012.
> Download dissertation (pdf)

Dissertation
Realising the Full Potential of Drawing
Drawing is a language in its own right that holds a large potential for idea development, says Anette Højlund, who defended her PhD dissertation on drawing and creation on 13 April 2012. In the dissertation she examines what she calls the dialogue between the drawing and the person drawing. In this conversation with Mind Design she concludes that the potential of drawing could be utilised far better, for example in visualising issues that reach across disciplinary boundaries.
> Download dissertation summary (pdf)

Dissertation
Hierarchies and Humour in the Design Process
Humour plays an important role in the design process, argues Mette Volf, who recently defended her PhD dissertation Når nogen ler, er der noget på spil (When someone laughs there is something at stake). In her dissertation she explores the design process as social construct. Humour is used, for example, to turn the formal hierarchies on their head.

Dissertation
PhD Dissertation Challenges Traditional Interaction Design
Interaction design can easily incorporate both a body element and an empathy element. This was demonstrated by Maiken Hillerup Fogtmann, who as part of her PhD project developed interactive exercise equipment for team handball players and computer-based play equipment for children. She defended her dissertation, Designing with the Body in Mind, on 23 January 2012 at the Aarhus School of Architecture.
> Download dissertation summary (pdf)

Article
Making Active and Innovative Use of Your Customer Base
Companies are keen to get in touch with their customers and users in order to gain new ideas for products and business potentials. A project headed by the Danish Technological Institute focuses on user types that are potentially valuable for business. The conclusion is that the key lies in getting involved, identifying the company’s needs and involving the right users at the right time in the strategic processes.

Article
Design as Innovation Facilitator
Design-driven innovation in companies can result in both actual product development and the development of processes and business strategies. That was one of the points made at the workshop Design Driven Innovation – Organizing for Growth held at the Kolding School of Design in December 2011. Furthermore, the role of the position of design in relation to the individual company or organisation was emphasised.

26 September 2012

Alok Nandi to chair Interaction14 – February 2014 in Amsterdam

Ixda_logo

The IxDA Board of Directors just announced that Alok Nandi will be Chair of Interaction14, to be held February, 2014 in Amsterdam in conjunction with Utrecht School of the Arts and Delft University of Technology.

Alok, an independent media writer/director and designer exploring narrative spaces in cross-media project, was selected from a short list of candidates following an open call that resulted in more than 30 qualified submissions.

Interaction14 will be the second IxDA conference to be held in Europe, following from the successful staging of Interaction12 in Dublin, Ireland earlier this year. It will take place in Amsterdam in February 2014.

Interaction13 will be in Toronto in January 2013.

Alok has named Yohan Creemers, Chair of IxDA Netherlands and a member of the Dutch bid team, as his Co-Chair for Interaction14.

Congratulations, Alok!

21 September 2012

Five experts on what comes after the touchscreen

 

Post-touch hasn’t found the killer use case that the mouse found with GUIs and the touchscreen found with mobile web browsing and apps — but it’s not for lack of trying. We’ve had a flood of prototypes, demos and art projects, any one of which could flourish into an industry — that is, once every laptop comes with a near-field depth camera. As for which will take off…it’s anyone’s guess. But some guesses are better than others.

Read the opinions by Michael Buckwald, CEO of Leap Motion; Doug Carmean, Researcher-at-Large for Intel Labs; James Alliban, interaction designer; Andrew Hudson-Smith, Director of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis; and Casey Reas, co-creator of Processing.

18 September 2012

Book: Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction

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Make It So – Interaction design lessons from science fiction
By Nathan Shedroff & Christopher Noessel
Rosenfeld Media
September 2012
ISBNs: paperback (1-933820-98-5); digital editions (1-933820-76-4)

Many designers enjoy the interfaces seen in science fiction films and television shows. Freed from the rigorous constraints of designing for real users, sci-fi production designers develop blue-sky interfaces that are inspiring, humorous, and even instructive. By carefully studying these “outsider” user interfaces, designers can derive lessons that make their real-world designs more cutting edge and successful.

Make It So shows:

  • Sci-fi interfaces have been there (almost) from the beginning
  • Sci-fi creates a shared design language that sets audience expectations
  • If an interface works for an audience, there’s something there that will work for users
  • Bad sci-fi interfaces can sometimes be the most inspiring
  • There are ten “meta-lessons” spread across hundreds of examples
  • You can use — and not just enjoy — sci-fi in your design work

Also:

16 September 2012

Luxury brands need luxury retail experiences, even in the online space

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Jonathan Ross, business development director at FACT-Finder, discusses the steps luxury brands can take to ensure a more rewarding online retail experience for consumers.

“A recent study by McKinsey and Altagamma, the Italian association of luxury brands, appears to finally dispel the idea that online shopping is the preserve of discounted brands and shoppers looking to pick up a bargain. As far as the luxury category was concerned, there was a nagging suspicion that shoppers needed to experience a tactile relationship with their potential purchases in a way that could never be achieved online.

The McKinsey study surveyed more than 300 luxury brands, 700 websites and more than 2.5m online comments, including those on social media platforms. Digital sales are expected to reach about €15bn in the luxury market by 2016, but the survey also found that use of the internet by consumers for research and price comparison meant that about 15% of total sales in the luxury goods industry are directly generated by digital media. As much as a fifth of store sales (a market worth in the region of €34bn) is said to be directly influenced by the online experience.”

> Financial Times article about the Digital Luxury Experience report