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Posts in category 'Interaction design'

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

4 September 2012

Gestural interaction with data

 

The Ericsson UX Lab has been prototyping and testing gestural interaction solutions with data:

“This spring we worked on how to visualise and interact with data. One issue that we focused a bit more on is that of interacting with a material indirectly, such as when you present data as a projection on a wall and want to interact with it. There are of course touch sensitive surfaces to project onto (or through), but we focused on a passive surface only acting as a screen. This lead us to start investigating more physical ways of interacting with the presentation in question.

During recent years we have seen a fantastic development when it comes to sensor technologies of all kinds, ranging from grass root DIY solutions such as Phidgets and Arduino to commercial products such as Microsoft Kinect. We decided to investigate two interaction solutions – One based on the Kinect and the other on a Phidget distance meter. These trials were done rather quickly and with the only aim to get a better understanding of what these technologies could provide us with and to reflect upon the possibilities they could bring to our future work.”

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14 August 2012

Touch in cars is still too complicated

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It is not a secret that touch is not as easy as it seems and very difficult to get right, writes Wolfgang Gruener on Conceivable Tech. Cadillac is the first company that is trying to translate touch in a comprehensive way to be used in conjunction with a car’s entertainment system. He and his colleagues have had a few days to play with the CUE system and they walked away impressed and confused at the same time.

“I wrote about CUE (Cadillac User Experience) a few weeks ago after an initial demonstration that was admittedly breathtaking. However, that was in a parked car and only a product demonstration. This time I actually was given Cadillac’s new XTS sedan for a test drive over a week to see what CUE can accomplish in driving scenarios. After 200 miles, I am still impressed by the execution of this system, but I am convinced that not everyone will like the no-compromise translation of the smartphone/tablet concept into an in-car entertainment system. There is no grey area – either you like it and it is going to convince to buy the car around it, or you are going to simply hate it.”

Read review

25 July 2012

UX for learning: design guidelines for the learner experience

 

With educational applications for kids, corporate eLearning, and online degree programs, more and more UX designers face design briefs for creating digital experiences with an educational purpose.

In this article, Dorian Peters presents 14 design guidelines that derive from key findings from relevant psychology and education research on learning with technology. These findings relate specifically to user interface and interaction design for digital learning experiences.

He has drawn most of these guidelines from the pioneering work of educational psychologist Richard E. Mayer, whose discoveries form the foundation of much multimedia instruction today.

25 July 2012

Making wearable technology wearable

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This week at the San Francisco Wearable Technology Conference, Jennifer Darmour, UX designer at the Artefact Group, shared with other wearable technology experts her perspective and insights on the principles we must follow to make wearable technology more compelling to a broad consumer market.

Through the successes and failures of her research and design in the consumer electronics and wearable technology fields, she has developed four foundational principles, which if adopted will accelerate making wearable technology mainstream.

1 Contextual : Understanding your audience and what they need to improve their lives
2 Discreet : Pushing the technology to the background so it’s non-disruptive and ambient
3 Connected : Connecting to software and services that bring more value to the experience
4 Fashionable : Removing the geek-factor toward a broader consumer market

Read article

16 July 2012

The Machine and The Ghost

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Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things
Peter-Paul Verbeek
University of Chicago Press, 2011
183 pages
(Amazon link)

Christine Rosen has written a very long and excellent book review / reflection in The New Republic on the recent book on the moral dimension of technology by Prof. Peter-Paul Verbeek (pictured) of the University of Twente in The Netherlands.

Interaction designers ought to reflect on the fact that Verbeek locates morality not just in the human users of technology but in the interaction between us and our machines. In this affair, human beings no longer hold the autonomous upper hand when it comes to moral agency; rather, Verbeek argues, we should replace that notion with one that recognizes “technologically mediated intentions.”

In a world where new technologies seek to seduce us by invoking the language of self-improvement and where smart algorithms subconsciously bypass our emotional and cognitive “imperfections” in order to make us more efficient, those interested in behavioural change should be aware that this also brings about an increase in moral laziness and a decline in individual freedom. “Freedom, Verbeek says, “is a hollow promise in the absence of agency and choice.”

And all of us would be intrigued to read that Enlightenment principles of human autonomy are according to Verbeek “no longer sufficient grounds for moral thinking in an era whose technologies are as ubiquitous and powerful as our own.” Rosen also quotes Alex Pentland who argues in Honest Signals, his book about sociometers, “We bear little resemblance to the idealized, rational beings imagined by Enlightenment philosophers. The idea that our conscious, individual thinking is the key determining factor of our behavior may come to be seen as foolish a vanity as our earlier idea that we were the center of the universe.”

11 June 2012

A huge chapter on ‘socio-technical systems design’

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The people of the Interaction-Design.org Foundation have given us (and you) preview access to “Socio-Technical Systems Design”, the 24th chapter of the “Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction”

A socio-technical system (STS) is a social system operating on a technical base, e.g. email, chat, bulletin boards, blogs, Wikipedia, E-Bay, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Hundreds of millions of people use them every day, but how do they work? More importantly, can they be designed? If socio-technical systems are social and technical, how can computing be both at once?

The huge 30,000 word “chapter” has taken over a year to produce, involving 2 authors – Brian Whitworth and Adnan Ahmad – and 3 editors, including Mads Soegaard and Rikke Friis Dam.

Read chapter

2 June 2012

Interactions Magazine is (nearly) fully online, archives included

May+June2012

Somehow I hadn’t noticed but Interactions Magazine is now (nearly) fully online.

As far as I could discover (nothing is explained, sic), only some of the current year’s articles are fully available. Yet all the previous issues (up to 15 years ago) are fully available.

The only way to find out what is fully available and what not, is by clicking on an article title (and hoping for the best).

Notwithstanding such a blatant usability error, it is still a major improvement, and this after an unsuccessful battle to achieve this by the likes of Donald Norman, Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko and myself, some years back. The ACM is finally starting to see the light.

Here are the cover and the fully available features stories of the latest issue (May-June 2012)

Interactions with big data analytics (cover story)
Danyel Fisher, Rob Deline, Mary Czerwinski, Steven Drucker
We report on the state of the practice of big data analytics, based on a series of interviews we conducted with 16 analysts. While the problems uncovered are pain points for big data analysts (including HCI practitioners), the opportunity for better user experience around each of these areas is vast. It is our hope that HCI researchers will not only turn their attention toward designs that improve the big data research experience, but that they will also cautiously embrace the big data available to them as a converging line of evidence in their iterative design work.

Technologies for aging gracefully
Ronald Baecker, Karyn Moffatt, Michael Massimi
Technology by itself cannot solve these [aging] problems. Yet technology designed to empower older adults and to make them more capable, resourceful, and independent can help.

Interaction as performance
Steve Benford, Gabriella Giannachi
Our overall goal is to lay the foundations for a “dramaturgy of performance” by establishing a framework of concepts — a language, if you like — to help express the different ways in which computers can be embedded into performative experiences. We intend this framework to guide practitioners and researchers who are entering the field of artistic, performance, and cultural applications of computing. However, we also aim to stimulate wider thinking in HCI in general around the changing nature of the extended user experience and the new challenges this raises.

25 May 2012

Mobile: A Serious Contender to the Desktop Computer

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With the introduction of mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and various other smart phones and tablets, the demand for websites to be ‘mobile friendly’ has never been greater.

The purpose of this article by Chris Kinsey, a digital designer for Sixth Story (a UK branding & communications agency), is to highlight the impact mobile devices have had on web design in recent years. The article looks at various aspects such as best practices, challenges and design trends as well as taking a look at what may lie ahead for the future of mobile web design.

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17 May 2012

Researchers glean deep UI lessons from a haptic steering wheel

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According to a new driving study, conducted by Professor SeungJun Kim at Carnegie Mellon’s Human Computer Interaction Institute, young people and seniors each perform better with different types of feedback:

“71% of elder drivers thought the auditory modality was the most useful and 59% thought the visual modality was the most annoying. In contrast, 63% of younger drivers thought the visual modality was most useful and 50% of them thought the auditory modality was most annoying. Both groups ranked haptic feedback between auditory and visual feedback.”

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12 May 2012

New design practices for touch-free interactions

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Brian Pagán of User Intelligence in Amsterdam argues that touch-free gestures and Natural Language Interaction (NLI) may open up further paths toward a true Natural User Interface (NUI).

“User interfaces for computers have come a long way from vacuum tubes and punch cards, and each advancement brings new possibilities and challenges. Touch-free gestures and natural language interaction are making people’s relationship with computers richer and more human. If UX practitioners want to take full advantage of this changing relationship, our theories and practices must become richer and more human as well.”

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1 May 2012

Researching meaning: making sense of behaviour

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In his last article Simon Norris, founder and CEO of Nomensa, outlined a simple model ‘the meaning dimension‘ to help consider how we can understand the significance of meaning. The aim of the article was to introduce the meaning dimension as a scale that could be considered for interaction design. It also reinforces his position that truly great and engaging interactive experiences are meaningful and that’s because our need to understand represents a fundamental human need: we need to make sense of the world.

This article focuses on discovering and understanding what is meaningful in interaction design. Researching meaning raises many challenges. Meaning can be both obvious and ambiguous. We can interpret an event or situation in exactly the same way and yet, we can interpret it completely differently. It represents an interesting design challenge and this is why Norris consider it so important to explore and understand its implication.

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22 April 2012

From print to iPad: designing a reading experience

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UX consultant Harry Brignull spoke at UX London 2012 about the design of The Week magazine’s iPad app, telling the story of the project from the initial sketches through to its launch in Apple’s Newsstand.

In a long blog post on 90 percent of everything, he provides an annotated transcript.

“Let me tell you the story of an iPad app that I worked on for a magazine. As you can see (above), this story does turn out good in the end- but that’s not what I want to focus on. I want to focus on the bits that people would normally gloss over when giving a talk like this.”

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14 April 2012

Interactive eBook apps: the reinvention of reading and interactivity

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Avi Itzkovitch argues that the experience of interactive eBooks should not be confined to animations based on touch-and-response interaction, or merely flipping the page; when designing these Books one must ask what is the enhanced experience — why to move from print to digital, and how to create value and fun.

In this article, he showcases some examples for new eBooks that provide interactivity that goes beyond the superficial, adds value to the book and creates an experience that would be impossible in print, by using the full capabilities of a touch device to engage the user and enhance the learning and reading experience.

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12 April 2012

Designing for touch

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Fingers and thumbs turn desktop conventions on their head. Interaction designer Josh Clark explains what you need to keep in mind when designing for mobile touchscreens and compares finger-friendly touch interfaces for iPhone, iPad and Android.

“Great mobile designs do more than shoehorn themselves into tiny screens: they make way for fingers and thumbs, accommodating the wayward taps of our clumsy digits. The physicality of handheld interfaces take designers beyond the conventions of visual and information design‚ and into the territory of industrial design. With touchscreens there are real ergonomics at stake. It’s not just how your pixels look, but how they feel in the hand.”

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5 April 2012

Project Glass, new disruptive interface concept by Google

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Google released a YouTube video Wednesday showing the everyday uses of “Project Glass,” wrap-around virtual reality glasses with all the qualities of a smartphone – and much more.

“Google has once again unveiled a project mock-up that, if realized, would turn the technology industry on its head. This time, it’s Project Glass, wrap-around glasses that display reminders, the weather, messages, and more – right in front of the user’s eyes.”

Articles: New York Times | Christian Science Monitor

In a reflection on TechCrunch, Josh Constine asks how this will disrupt Apple and Facebook, and what should they do to defend themselves.

19 March 2012

Four new chapters on interaction-design.org

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Four new chapters of the interaction-design.org resource are now available:

Requirements Engineering
from an HCI Perspective
by Alistair G. Sutcliffe
The chapter is structured in six sections. In the section 13.1, the Requirements Engineering process is described. This is followed in section 13.2 by a review of scenario-based approaches which illustrate the convergence between Requirements Engineering and HCI. Section 13.3 deals with models and representations in the two disciplines, then section 13.4 returns to a process theme to assess the differences between HCI and Requirements Engineering approaches to development. Section 13.5 reviews how knowledge is reused in the requirements and design process, leading to a brief discussion of the prospects for convergence between HCI and Requirements Engineering.

Context-Aware Computing
Context-Awareness, Context-Aware User Interfaces, and Implicit Interaction
by Albrecht Schmidt
In this chapter, we introduce the basics for creating context-aware applications and discuss how these insights may help design systems that are easier and more pleasant to use

Disruptive Innovation
by Clayton M. Christensen
A disruptive technology or disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect. Although the term disruptive technology is widely used, disruptive innovation seems a more appropriate term in many contexts since few technologies are intrinsically disruptive; rather, it is the business model that the technology enables that creates the disruptive impact.

Open User Innovation
by Eric von Hippel
Almost 30 years ago, researchers began a systematic study of innovation by end users and user firms. At that time, the phenomenon was generally regarded as a minor oddity. Today, it is clear that innovation by users, generally openly shared, is a very powerful and general phenomenon. It is rapidly growing due to continuing advances in computing and communication technologies. It is becoming both an important rival to and an important feedstock for producer-centered innovation in many fields. In this chapter, I provide an overview of what the international research community now understands about this phenomenon.

10 March 2012

In praise of lost time

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Facebook Timeline is an exemplary bit of interaction design that does little to advance the timeline formally. Yet it might alter the nature of human memory itself. A Domus Magazine design report from Palo Alto by Dan Hill.

“It’s a simple design, with a deftness of touch in its elements, and as a form of flexible composition — the art of web design layout — it just works. As Timeline expands, the content unfurls before your eyes, not like the ‘res up’ of a video game, but with a sudden ‘pop’ of images, text and other people. […]

Given this easy orchestration of media, apps, games, services, places, objects, people, and relationships — the core social objects of this world — we might even see Timeline as a sketch of an entirely new operating system interface, in which your data, and its semantic containers, is organised over time, rather than by the pseudo-spatial layouts of desktops.”

Read article
Leggi articolo (versione Italiana)

Accompanying the review of Facebook Timeline, Domus has also published an interview with lead designer Nicholas Felton about filtering the noise of social media and mirroring personal memory.

Read interview
Leggi intervista (versione Italiana)

21 February 2012

Principles of Social Interaction Design: An Essay

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Adrian Chan, social media expert and social interaction theorist at Gravity7, has written a long essay to collect his thoughts on social interaction design.

“Imperfect and unfinished as any project on contemporary products will be, my Principles of Social Interaction Design is now available for free download. This project has taken a couple of years, and in places bears the marks of a theory worked out over time. Some of my core concepts appeared in my blog posts first. These include the idea of frames — for both conceptualizing interactions, as well as for design thinking. Concepts of mediation, of symbolic tokens, of realtime streams may also be familiar from topics I have blogged about over the years. I have developed these into simple logics.

Now, as always, I believe that mediation is real — mediated interactions should not be understood by their simple reference to face to face situations. Mediation makes a real and measurable difference. And this difference is experienced and produced as a mental engagement, by means of which users fabricate, imagine, project, internalize, and much more, their interpretations of others and of social worlds in general.

As always, I believe that any designer of social tools should appreciate the multi-faceted manner in which these experiences become motives; orientations; activities; and ultimately, social practices. The user experience is, in social interaction design, both more necessary, and farther from reach.

Many sources were drawn upon for this project: from contemporary designers/thinkers/bloggers to canonical sociological, psychological, and linguistic frameworks. My effort to pull together theoretical and conceptual architecture from outside the design world, in order to accommodate the needs of both mediated user experiences and emergent social practices, is unorthodox. Hence I am calling this an essay. I am excited to see it develop over time.”

Download essay

(via Johnny Holland)

16 February 2012

GE infographics offer hints about future of data-driven management

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A pair of remarkable projects created by Ben Fry (co-developer of Processing) and his company Fathom may seem like simple marketing, but one day soon could enterprise software look like this?

“The point is, as the data we produce continues to grow–a trend many people call Big Data–there will be more and more value gained by simply making sense of data that already exists. Reams of raw figures like the ones hinted at above don’t help if they’re too big to be captured by human intuition. And that, ultimately, is the great hope of infographics: To help us add intelligence and insight to the digital noise buzzing around us every day.”

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