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Posts in category 'Jan-Christoph Zoels'

4 April 2013

Jan-Christoph Zoels speaker at three Salone del Mobile events

jan-christoph

Jan-Christoph Zoels, one of Experientia’s founding partners and our creative director, is going to be a lot in Milan next week.

Aside from his participation on Monday 8 April at the IxDA organized “The Long View of Interaction Design,” he will also speak on Thursday and Saturday.

On Thursday 11 April he will be one of the invited speakers at “The Future of Design,” an evening conference (7 to 10 pm) organized by frog design at their Milan studios.

The theme of the event is “Designing the Future, The future of Design”: “With technology embedded where we work, live, and play, the pace of innovation is increasing. Connected products and services create a new complexity for companies and consumers alike. Making sense of it by designing the human experience has never been more important and strategically relevant than today, but how can we design the future in a meaningful way?

The other speakers are Mark Rolston (Chief Creative Officer, frog), Paolo Ciuccarelli (Associate Professor, Communication Design, Politecnico di Milano), and Tjeerd Hoek (Vice President Creative, frog Europe).

On Saturday 13 April (3 to 4 pm) he is one of the panelists at the UNStudio Platform Dialogues at at Emporio Building, Opificio Courtyard, Via Tortona 31, Milan. Experientia and UNStudio, the famous Dutch architectural design studio led by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, have previously collaborated on the design of sustainable buildings, environments and behavioral change.

The theme of the Saturday talk is the “Interface“: Whether it is as a portal to the World Wide Web or active nano-technologies, the communication between users and materials is no longer only one-way. The surfaces and objects through which we communicate and design provide new tactile and virtual feedbacks. This Dialogue – which will also involve Markus Benz (CEO Walter Knoll) and Birgit Lohmann (Associate Editor-in-chief Designboom) will explore the current and future possibilities of Interfaces with each other and through materiality.

The other UNStudio Platform Dialogues are also worth checking out:

DESIGNING (FOR) CO-CREATING
TUESDAY, 9 APRIL – 11.00 – 12.00
Panelists:
Ben van Berkel – Co-Founder/ Principal Architect UNStudio
Jurgen Bey – Director/ designer Studio Makkink & Bey and director PROOFFLab
Leo Schouten – Founder / director PROOFF

MATERIAL ATTAINABILITY
FRIDAY, 12 APRIL – 15.00 – 16.00
Panelists:
Gabi Böhm – Senior Architect/Project Manager, Premier Composite Technologies
Micol Costi – Director of Materials Research Material Connexion Italia
Giammichele Melis – Associate Director Buro Happold
James O’Callaghan – Director Eckersley O’Callaghan Structural + Facade Engineers
Federica Sem – Managing Director Permasteelisa Interiors

3 May 2012

Experientia at EPIC Europe meeting

cropped-epiceuropebanner2

Experientia® partner in charge of user research, Michele Visciola, will be one of the speakers at the EPIC Europe one-day meeting at the Elisava Design School in Barcelona next week, on 11 May 2012.

The European meeting is the first of its kind for EPIC (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference), and is designed to provide a space for anyone involved in the use of ethnographic research in industry to meet, and explore ethnographic practice from a European perspective. About 100 members of the ethnographic research community in Europe are expected to attend the event.

Michele will be talking on the ethnographic research arena in Europe and especially Italy, and current trends in methodology.

Experientia’s senior partner for user experience design Jan-Christoph Zoels will also be attending, together with Laura Polazzi and Anna Wojnarowska, respectively Experientia’s senior UX researcher and UX researcher.

25 January 2011

Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels speaks at workshop on smart living

ANCB
On Thursday 3 February, Experientia senior partner in charge of user experience design, Jan-Christoph Zoels, will speak at the TouchHouse. Smart living – Communicating surfaces workshop at the Aedes Network Campus Berlin (ANCB).

The opportunity mapping workshop, part of the ANCB Metropolitan Technologies Programme, focuses on the interface between building control, spatial and design implications, and energy efficiency, and will involve students from the fields of architecture, product design, graphic design, psychology, behavioural sciences, and sociology.

Jan-Christoph’s expert contribution will centre around Experientia’s recent work on advanced smart meter interfaces and behavioural change strategies for sustainable housing, as part of the Low2No project underway in Helsinki.

Carlos Alarcón, an architect from Sauerbruch Hutton, one of Experientia’s partners in the project will also be among the speakers at the workshop.

The objective of the workshop is to conceptualise and visualise innovative approaches for the further development of energy efficient, intelligent building control, as well as to examine its premises and consequences for architecture, urban space and human behaviour.

14 February 2010

Conversations in a weekend village — Interaction10 impressions

Interaction10
Written by Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels.

Interaction10 is over. Four days of presentations, workshops, games, installations stimulated vivid exchanges of ideas and reflections on the changing landscape of interaction design. Hosted in beautiful downtown Savannah by the international Interaction Design Association and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), the conference set the stage for lively face to faces encounters, practice discussions and sensory southern food discoveries. Deep thoughts and constant twittering.

Co-chairs Bill DeRouchey (Ziba Design) and Jennifer Bove (Kicker Studio and a graduate of Interaction Design Institute Ivrea) moderated a salon style conference across several historic venues getting the participants out onto the squares and into the charming nooks of Savannah. SCAD has over the years preserved historic buildings and filled them with live through their educational programs such as those in Interaction Design and Service Design, led by professors such as Dave Malouf, Jon Kolko and Diane Miller. A great experience! The following notes give some impression on select highlights.

Learning from the past – Talk to me

Paolo Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MOMA, laid out her exhibition plans charting the ‘subtle, subliminal ways, things talk to us’. Her talk showcased outstanding examples of how objects and interactions changed our way of seeing, mapping and explaining the world. She traced the impact of networks and systems on our capability to make and mix worlds to the shifting face of things. Examples range from Muriel Cooper‘s Visual Language workshop at MIT to Ben Fry‘s scientific information visualizations, and from the changing nature of prototyping via open source design tools Processing and Arduino, visionary scenarios such as Apple’s 1087 Navigator video to Applied Minds Touch landscapes. Take her title ‘Talk to me’ literally – Paola is looking for visionary artefacts from the history of interaction design.

Our scattered distribution of memories – The 40 year old tweet

Is there a life after the half hour half-life of tweets? How to approach your parents’ Flickr collection or find the heirloom experiences in your grand parents’ SMS exchanges? How does the web of metadata become part of our reminiscences years later? Richard Banks of Microsoft Research Cambridge explored in several prototypes the sentimental value, burden and sense of obligation digital exchanges will pose to future generations. Matt Cottam extends this search to heirloom electronics and our design capabilities to give modern products greater longevity and meaning.

Making it – Designing for the web in the world

Timo Arnall, Kevin Cheng, Ben Fullerton, Gretchen Anderson and Raphael Grignani offered diverse strategies to engage people’s experiences of physical products and digital services.

Timo Arnall explored in the Touch project controversial issues of technology usage such as leaking RFiD fields and the tangible experience of invisible data. Which kind of graceful interactions remain when a connected object goes offline or is without power? In his research and work with Berg, a London based interaction design studio, he proposes that interactive objects need to provide an immediate tangible experience even if not in use, that the purpose of being connected and data sharing should become obvious, and that long-term services and data visualizations provide feedback loops.

Twitter’s Kevin Cheng gave an excellent overview about the challenges and opportunities of Augmented Reality (see also his book in progress). He documented how context based smartphone applications expand our experience spaces such as in Yelp, Nearby, Layar, Arg DJ, Lego selections in retail stores, a USPS shipping box simulation, and ARhrrr games. Challenges are the lack of design patterns, glanceable interfaces and usability issues.

Gretchen Anderson, IxD director at Lunar, showcased our visceral reactions to facial features – ‘those key things your users see first’ – in products. What is the impression which we are giving? What can we understand at a first glance? Imbuing objects with a sophisticated character can enhanced the storytelling potential and interaction magic.

According to Bruce Sterling ‘Sense of wonders have short shelf life’. Our search capabilities have undergone dramatic change. Peter Morville of Semantic Studios spoke about the future of search. He introduced various behavioral and design patterns from his latest book Search Patterns. What we find, changes what we are looking for. How will we search in the future – feels like, tastes like, looks like, sounds like, smells like? Multi-sensory search is an untapped area of exploration – moving search beyond the web.

ITP professor Tom Igoe demanded to extend open source design to products and services to enable public knowledge and participation in the modification and/or reproduction of a product. Consequences might be flexible warranty agreements, impact on recycling and reverse engineering, or community patent reviews. Practical layers of openness need to include the whole value chain from physical construction, bill of materials, code, extendibility and reprogrammability, API’s and communication protocols, interoperability as well as design and interaction guidelines. This also requires to address frequent usability issues of open source projects.

From observing failures to provoking them was Nicholas Nova‘s contribution in addressing product non-usage, real-time accidents, traces and individual blame bias. ‘Failures are often overlooked in design research’. He proposed to actively provoke failures as a design tactic and to observe responding people’s behaviors.

Designing for the next billion

Nokia Design has over the years embraced ethnographic research and design discovery processes to shape mobile experiences and accelerate decision making processes. Raphael Grignani, head of Nokia’s San Francisco design studio, engaged workshop participants in exploring incremental and radical design innovation through community-based ethnographic design approaches. Nokia sends 3-4 times per year design teams to search for extreme behaviors in remote locations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe. Raphael guided us through the design process – discover, define, develop and deliver – with examples from the open studio project – My mobile phone, to Lifeblog to Remade and Homegrown.

See also:
- Patterns in UX Research
- Deconstructing Analysis Techniques
- Mobile Literacy
- Homegrown people planit profit

Processes and reflections – Design is the process of evoking meaning

Nathan Shedroff, chair of the MBA program in Design Strategy at California College of Arts in San Francisco, started of the row of thought leaders in situating meaning, behavioral change and sustainability as key challenges for interaction designers. How does a more meaningful world look like? Or a post consumer society?

Easy answers are difficult to come by. Next year’s conference needs a track of fast paced inspirational show & tells and the design thinking behind it. Dan Hill from Arup came closest in establishing a vision of a new soft city, merging multi-sensor interaction design ‘with architecture, planning and urbanism informed by a gentle ambient drizzle of everyday data’ – alive to the touch of its citizen. In his closing talk he exhibited a range of responsive well-tempered environments supporting civic relationships between individuals and communities around them. Examples of his call for civic sustainability feedback loops are projects in Barangaroo, the State Library of Queensland and the Sydney Metro in Australia, Arup’s contribution to the Masdar city centre, and the low2no carbon emissions project for Helsinki Harbor by Arup, Sauerbruch Hutton and Experientia.

A further exploration of the poetics of space were Kendra Shimmell‘s staging of interactive environments sensitive to movement and intent. Trained as a ballet dancer she presented motion capture studies in real time. Every movement unleashed auditory qualities in the space. A blink of an eye turned into sound, a raise of an arm provoked a tonal scale, fast movements elicit under her control musical compositions. Robert Wechsler provided the artistic motion tracking software.

‘You find things that you are nor looking for, when you are not looking’. Dave Gray continued the playful approach to innovation in his presentation of Knowledge Games: The visual thinking playbook. Fuzzy goals can lead to prospecting unexpected sensory, emotional and functional discoveries. Unfortunately he illustrated his engaging talk with a glorification of the AK47 as a ‘powerful tool of change’. His agnostic design philosophy hides an ethical ambivalence and repositions designers as hired hands of industry who do whatever is needed – even weapons of mass destruction. Can’t we find ethical examples which enable people, but don’t kill?

Chris Fahey applied the Uncanny Valley hypothesis of robotics to interface design. As interfaces behave eerily humanlike, people find them repulsive until they become more realistic representations of human behaviors. Human interface need to be ‘responsive to human needs and considerate of human frailties’. Qualities are sentience – the ability to feel subjectively, intimacy and personality. Character and personality may imbue interfaces with meaning and make them memorable. Now just watch your step, the uncanny valley is calling.

Ezio Manzini spoke about our growing desire for de-intermediated relationships between consumer and producers. Examples range from neighborhood markets and festivals, to community supported agriculture, urban farms, collaborative welfare servicesm etc. Digital platforms become catalysts of social resources and can support our vision of sustainable futures. Keywords to describe these futures are small-connected-local-open. Small-local interweaves issues of scale, relationships and identities, generally associated with control of a smaller set of variables and therefore supporting happiness. Open-connected outlines the rise of new organizational forms, whereas small-connected establishes nodes in a network society with the density of these links becoming important. Local-open: in a sustainable society the local is open, the connected local – resulting in an increase of cultural diversity and dialog between cosmopolitan participants. Manzini called on us to design enabling systems and engage in programs such as the US Social Innovation Fund, funded with 50 million USD by the US Government as announced by Michele Obama: “The idea is simple: Find the most effective programs out there and then provide the capital needed to replicate their success in communities around the country, … By focusing on high-impact, results-oriented nonprofits, we will ensure that government dollars are spent in a way that is effective, accountable and worthy of the public trust.”

If it’s not ethical, it is not beautiful. Jon Kolko expanded on Andrew Carnegie‘s “My heart is in the work” to ‘approach our work with philanthropic enthusiasm that would make Carnegie proud. Design for real cultural change starts by understanding how people really behave. He called on designers to emphasize with people, build trust and purposefully change behaviors. His heart is now in the new Austin Center for Design, a place for wicked problem solving.

Interaction11 is coming. See you on February 10-12, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado.

10 November 2009

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviews Jan-Christoph Zoels

Jan-Christoph Zoels
Check out Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels’s superb appearance on CNN’s Christiane Amanpour show yesterday… vividly describing how as an opposition member, he was among the first East Germans to cross into West Berlin for the first time when the Germans messed up their plans, and inadvertently started letting people through.

Christiane said she loved it, we were told.

This show, which is available in 250 million homes and businesses around the world and started off with Jan-Christoph’s vivid recollections, can be seen online here.

Here is his written recollection of the events, now twenty years ago:

“My memories of November 9th, 2009

It was a very dark Thursday night. I was one of the first few hundred who waited at the checkpoint Bornholmer Strasse to go and see West Berlin.

And here’s why:

That evening a group of writers and artists met at the house of one of the co-founders of the “Neues Forum” – New Forum – the first independent political movement of East Germany. The assembled group was the communications brain of the organization. Together we had prepared leaflets, posters, and press statements.

During the meeting that evening we discussed the cryptic announcement by the central committee of the communist party of East Germany. We knew that changes would be happening to the travel permissions of people who wanted to leave East Germany forever. What surprised us that evening was that the general traveling rights for everybody would be expanded – like the right to get a visa to visit the West…

About 22.00 I left home to work on a press statement for the next morning. My best friend Sabine came about 22.50 and asked me to get whatever western money I had and come with her by bike to the checkpoint Bornholmer Strasse. She said that West German TV had just announced that people could now visit the West, even though very few were able to get through.

We raced with our bicycles to the checkpoint ca 10 min away and arrived at a waiting crowd of several hundred people – shouting to open the wall. Ca 30-45 later we were let through a small gate, our passports were stamped (originally to prevent us from re-entering), then we went through a row of border facilities, and arrived on a bridge leading to West Berlin.

On this evening, I saw many people crying. I clearly remember another friend and co-founder of the opposition movement, a scientist, weeping like a child, as we moved through the border.

Sabine and I persuaded a taxi driver to take us nearly for free to our best West Berliner friends. After many years of their visits we were finally able to reciprocate. We laughed, cried, toasted to this new won feeling.

Later that night I went to see Reie, the sister of my former girlfriend. Reie had left East Germany some years earlier and was forbidden to re-enter. Together with her boyfriend Sascha A, later identified as a spy for the secret service STASI, we drove through Berlin by night, climbed the wall on the Brandenburg Gate, gathered some friends and celebrated through the night.

The next morning Reie drove me back to the check point to go to work. I arrived late to the private design studio in which I worked. My boss welcomed me with the statement, “The fall of wall is not a reason to come too late to work”. I knew then I would change work soon.”

3 November 2009

Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels speaks at Visualizar, Madrid

intheair
On Friday 13 (!) November, Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels will be one of the speakers at Visualizar’09, an international seminar on public data visualisation, organised by Medialab-Prado in Madrid, Spain.

The conference and workshop will be led by Ben Cerveny of Stamen, San Francisco.

Jan-Christoph’s talk, entitled “Imagining behavioral change – Smart meters and data visualizations of energy consumption” draws from Experientia’s successful competition entry at Low2No in Helsinki, Finland.

The presentation will introduce conceptual frameworks, insights and visual prototypes from a recent, collaborative project of Arup, Sauerbruch Hutton and Experientia for a Low2No carbon emissions competition for Helsinki Harbor. Sitra, the Finnish innovation agency, selected the winning team out of 74 initial entries, for their C_life – City as living factory of ecology project. The aim is to construct an urban zone with low or no carbon emissions in Helsinki, Finland, by 2012.

While other team members devised the architectural and financial strategies for the project, Experientia’s responsibility was to address the delicate theme of how to initiate behavioral change to support a sustainable style of living in this completely renewed urban district. Starting with the concept that people, their contexts, social networks, habits and beliefs are crucial tools for creating sustainable change in behaviour, Experientia explored ways to offer people control over their consumption and to see the effects of their actions on the environment.

Using their expertise in designing valuable user experiences, Experientia’s strategies to empower people’s change include: developing engagement and awareness programs, through services aimed at creating social actions based on green values; using technology to assist people in making decisions, such as energy metres and dynamic pricing systems; producing positive reinforcement loops (with incentives and benefits) for people who live, work and visit Jätkäsaari; and using the community as a knowledge network to share best practices.

The competition highlighted the need of stakeholder participation and replicability of the selected ideas. The presentation will focus on showcasing initial research insights and smart meter prototypes to support behavioral change. The speaker will show initial smart meters from the competition entry, their data visualizations and the challenges to get them realized.

Medialab-Prado provides live video streaming of the event.

30 October 2009

Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels speaks at IxD Fall Summit

IxD Fall Summit
On 6 November Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels will be speaking at the IxD Fall Summit 2009 organised by the Umeå Institute of Design.

Other speakers are German Leon (Vodafone User Experience, Germany), David Rose (Vitality, USA), Karsten Schmidt (PostSpectacular, UK), Reto Wettach & André Knörig (Potsdam, Interaction Design Lab and Fritzing, Germany) and Clive Van Heerden (Philips Design, The Netherlands).

7 July 2009

Jan-Christoph Zoels at London’s Media Futures Conference

MFC09
Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels was one of the speakers at London’s Media Futures Conference last week, which was themed “beyond broadcast” and explored the future of media.

Willem Boijens (Vodafone) and Jan-Christoph Zoels (Experientia) presented Lifestream, a research project that uses large data sets to uncover meaningful insights for users, revealing connections, patterns and coincidences in our lives.

Programmed and chaired by Nico Macdonald, the conference was set up as a high-level, well-informed, honest and inspiring discussion and debate to help people consider the entire gamut of challenges – and opportunities – faced by the media sector. The day explored key questions such as: What media futures would we like to see? Which ideas are feasible? And, how do we create new revenue models?

Some of the other speakers included Matt Locke (Channel 4), Fabio Sergio (frog design), and Bill Thompson.

As far as I could find out, no videos are as yet available.

30 June 2009

August new media gathering in Banff involves Experientia partner

The Makers
Interactive Screen 0.9: The Makers (10 to 15 August 2009) is the 14th installment of the Banff New Media Institute’s acclaimed new media summit, where media makers from Canada and the world gather to reflect on the current state of new media and the shape of things to come. At the end of each summer, producers, investors, and policy makers convene with artists, technologists, and cultural researchers of diverse horizons in the majestic mountain setting of Banff.

“Interactive Screen aims to stimulate the creation of emotionally powerful, creatively inspired, and economically viable new media in Canada and abroad. Part conference, part festival, part peer exchange, part creative workshop, Interactive Screen is always intensive. Over six days of work and play, workshop participants engage in constant dialogue and collaboration through various panels, workshops, and performances. Together, they delve into the creative, social, and business impacts of content, technologies, and networks. Participants invariably come away from the event with new projects and alliances, a refined set of skills, and a renewed faith in the cultural power of new media.

The theme of The Makers will explore the idea of a “society of makers”. This ties in to the “cultural object” — with a focus on those who “make culture”, not those who “own” it.”

Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels is a member of the program faculty, as well as Kate Armstrong, Natalie Bachand, Daniel Canty, Raphaël Daudelin, Andrée Duchaine, Sarah Hamilton, Melissa Mongiat, Jacob Wren, and Adam Zaretsky.

You can still register now.

1 March 2009

Lifestream workshop at LIFT09

Jan-Christoph Zoels
The other Experientia workshop at LIFT was Lifestream – Visualizing my data.

The workshop, which was completely packed, was run by Willem Boijens, Vodafone, and my business partner Jan-Christoph Zoels, Experientia, and set out to explore large quantity information visualization.

Boijens and Zoels started off with an introduction of insights, challenges and examples of information visualisations. This was followed by a breakout session during which participants engaged in a scenario exercise about data access and visualisation in 2020, and the session concluded with the presentations of each of the groups, and with a video of an information visualisation prototype that was developed by Experientia.

A video of the Lifestream workshop (and of many other workshops) can also be found on the Klewel website. On Flickr you can see about 40 photos of the workshop.

The actual presentation file and the prototype video will soon be uploaded on the Experientia site and announced here.

10 February 2009

Jan-Christoph Zoels talk at India’s National Institute of Design

NID
Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels is currently in Ahmedabad, India, for a client project.

But he found time for an informal talk at the highly acclaimed National Institute of Design, scheduled for Wednesday 11 February at 17:15.

“Join us for the Baatein session with Jan-Christoph Zoels on Wednesday at 5: 15 pm sharp in auditorium. Please be there on time to witness how new forms of interactive media can create wonders with strong functional value.

Jumping jack flash – new forms of interactions

This talk presents some key trends and design ideas for our interactions with devices, services or applications. As more and more devices support location-aware, contextual or rich media, how will we interact with them, choose content, navigate or connect multiple sources of information? The presentation explores gestural, haptic and other sensorial interfaces for a variety of applications.

Jan-Christoph Zoels is responsible for user experience design at Experientia, based in Turin, Italy. Until recently he was senior associate professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, where he ran the business innovation workshops called Applied Dreams.

In his work Jan-Christoph focuses specifically on people’s experience of mobile services and applications, and on using information technology to support simplicity.

Previously he was director of information architecture for Sapient (New York), and senior designer at Sony Design Center USA. He holds four patents. He has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht, Samsung’s Innovative Design Laboratory in Seoul, and Domus Academy, Milan.”

27 January 2009

Two Experientia/Vodafone workshops at the upcoming LIFT conference

LIFT 2009
Experientia, in collaboration with the Vodafone User Experience team, is running two workshops on 25 February at the upcoming LIFT conference to present the results of two recent projects and explore their impact.

KashKlash: exchanging the future

Join us for a workshop to explore alternative methods of exchange. The focus is on a possible future ecosystem – in a new world where today’s ageing, less useful and even dangerous financial systems are replaced by (or mixed with) more disruptive innovations and exchanges. Imagine yourself deprived of all of today’s financial resources. Maybe you’re a refugee or stateless. Yet you still have your handset and laptop and Internet and a broadband cellphone connection….

This is one of the provocations posed on KashKlash , an open forum and web project focusing on alternative economies in a post-money future. What will such a world look like? How will the concept of value be measured? What concepts will shape the formal and informal economies? Bright thinkers from around the world came together to discuss, debate and ideate in this innovative and exciting project.

KashKlash is a collaborative project between Heather Moore of Vodafone, Irene Cassarino, Mark Vanderbeeken and Michele Visciola of Experientia and a group of independent visionaries. The project started with four bright and innovative provocateurs, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein, Bruce Sterling, and Régine Debatty, and as the debate gathered steam, contributions, comments, flickr photos and twitter streams rolled in from more than 50 additional participants to shape and envision possible futures.

Intrigued? We are looking forward to exchanging ideas with you. See you at the workshop!

Lifestream – Visualizing my data
Explorations of large quantity information visualization

Current technologies allow people to capture, warehouse and retrieve vast amounts of data; more information than we can comprehend as individuals – more than we will ever need. As we move through our days, generating text messages, phone calls, photos, documents, and their inherent metadata, we are not conscious of the cloud of information that we create and carry with us.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded by more information than we can process, it is tempting to entrust this information to computers to store and organise for us. It is tempting to think that the more we store, the safer our memories and important ideas are. We let paradigms that are logical for computers govern the way our personal data is organised and accessed, at the expense of more human forms of interaction.

This workshop explores new paradigms to overcome the defects of current visualization methods. How can interfaces support traditional ways of coping with large amounts of information? How best can we facilitate such cognitive processes such as forgetting and constructing memories? Can our data be presented to us in such a way that it accrues layers of meaning, enhances nostalgia about our past, keeps us in contact with the present, while aiding us in thinking ahead? How can we design information patterns to make visible the connections, patterns and coincidences in our lives, remind us of favourite memories and moments, and allow all that is no longer relevant to fall away like dust.

The workshop by Willem Boijens, Vodafone, and Jan-Christoph Zoels, Experientia will introduce insights and examples of information visualizations, engage the participants in interactive exercises and team discussions.

I might want to add that the original concepts on both projects stem from Willem Boijens (Vodafone) as well, who was also the driving force in making sure that these projects would be presented at the LIFT conference.

A third workshop might be added still. More soon.

22 October 2008

The Interaction-Ivrea legacy

Interaction Design Institute Ivrea
In a long post on Core77 today, we researched what the Interaction-Ivrea legacy entails.

Quite a lot actually, with former staff and graduates now working throughout the design spectrum.

Former Ivreans founded no less than 26 new companies (and counting…), including Experientia. They also created new schools and study programs, work for famous design consultancies and with the design and innovation departments of major multinational companies, and are involved in teaching and research.

27 September 2008

Experientia’s Jan-Christoph Zoels at Picnic /3

PICNIC
Experientia’s senior partner Jan-Christoph Zoels was this week at the Picnic conference in Amsterdam, and has been providing regular reports. Here is his third one, covering the Thursday afternoon sessions:

Making Love is Eskil Steenberg (Quel Solaar)’s take on a multi-player story adventure. Imagine seeing your favourite game inside a steam sauna. Beautifully rendered images provide an evocative and foggy background to players building and destructing their neighbourhoods. Social actions result in social pressures and player alliances. Do you want to be known for the destruction of a neighbourhood?

What will the networked city feel to its users? Adam Greenfield started his exploration of the Long Here and the Big Now by questioning new modes of place-making where new conditions of choice and actions are no longer physical but reduced to screen-based interactions. Information visualisation add a new digital sense of time extension to our live experiences in providing historical awareness and multiple views — a new parallelism of time. How can information about cities and patterns of use be visualised in ways to enable local awareness, on demand access and collective actions? Adam challenged the audience to design cities responding to the behaviour of its residents and other users in real time in moving form browsing urbanism to act upon it.

Tracking our world – A discussion brought together researchers exploring new ways to measure, visualise and make sense of changing environmental contexts to guide professional and governmental practices.

  • Stan Williams, director of the HP Information and Quantum Sytems Lab, described his labs intention to measure CeNSE – the Central Nervous System for the Earth (Fortune article | Bruce Sterling blog post) – via a variety of nanotechnology sensor systems. Imagine one trillion nanoscale sensors and actuators will need the equivalent of 1000 internets, creating huge demand for computing power but also providing energy efficiency.
  • Professor Euro Beinat showcased the effect of using people, their movement and activities as sensors in the CurrentCity.org project. Their Amsterdam visualisation explored the human agglomeration and activities across the city using aggregated and anonymous mobile phone location data.
  • Eco Map is a Cisco collaboration with three cities worldwide – Seoul, Amsterdam and San Francisco – to demonstrate the impact of real-time individual activities in aggregated views of our cities to foster individual and governmental actions. Explore the UV heat loss of your roof at night to inform insulation requirements or understand the solar capacity of the same roof and get installation advice. Wolfgang Wagner, Cisco, and Jared Blumenfeld, San Francisco, prototype how to use complex public data sets to inform individual desires for greener ways to live, work and play.

Bruno Giussani introduced the four finalists of the Picnic Challenge 08 to make a measurable impact on the reduction of carboemissions. Over 280 participants proposed their ideas competing for an award of 500,000 Euro funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

The four finalists were:

  • RouteRank, who designed a web tool to find best travel routes for time, distance and environmental impact in one single view;
  • Smart Screen consists of a thermo-responsive, shape memory window screen to reflect sun rays and reduce air conditioning costs;
  • VerandaSolar are easy mountable and affordable solar screens for self installation to reduce your energy bills, empowering millions of small scale users to make a larger impact;
  • Greensulate, the Picnic Challenge 08 winner, engineered an organic, structural insulation panel made from local agricultural by-products.

The Design as a Collaborative Process session brought together Bill Moggridge, co-founder of IDEO, and Younghee Jung, senior design manager at Nokia, to document new creative and participatory design processes.

Bill showcased The Rockefeller Foundation and IDEO initiative Design for Social Impact, the Designers Accord and Shinichi Takemura’s Tangible Earth project. Each project guides its users to action – from design processes and methods, to codes of professional conduct, to understanding the global impact of local actions in an empathic information visualisation. To discover anew why globes changed world views over the last five hundred years, check out the Tangible Earth Demo Movie.

Younghee spoke about the choices and burdens of living with intimate technology – showcasing the results of participants in Mumbai, Rio and Acara designing mobile phones. They showed how diverse subjective views of what technology could be, how not to patronise usage patterns and how emotional touchpoints and usage patterns are formed.

What happens when we pay attention?Ethan Zuckermann, a co-founder of Global Voices, described in his talk Surprising Africa a range of social actions resulting in increased media attention. He challenged the audience to stop thinking about Africa in terms of aid, but to understand the changing political climate influenced by bloggers and citizen activists, the current infrastructure developments (community media, mobile banking, malls, etc), and the innovation capabilities of local research institutions.

For more Picnic reporting, check also Bruno Giussani, Hubert Guillaud (writing extensively and excellently in French), Ethan Zuckerman, Ernst-Jan Pfauth and Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten and Smart Mobs.

26 September 2008

Experientia’s Jan-Christoph Zoels at Picnic /2

PICNIC
Experientia’s senior partner Jan-Christoph Zoels is this week at the Picnic conference in Amsterdam and is sending regular updates. Here is his second one, covering the Thursday morning sessions:

Group actions just got easier!Clay Shirky jump-started the second day of PICNIC 08 with stories about the problems and challenges of social media. In each story he showed how social dilemmas or needs facilitate new ways of sharing, collaborating and social action. Sharing of social objects such as images, tools and questions enables the starting of a discussion leading to a gathering of an interested community with a trail of conversation. Group rules on Flickr ‘Black & White Maniacs‘ address the social dilemma of getting attention by asking people to comment on to previous photos in the act of posting their own, therefore spreading the opportunity of getting seen and acknowledged throughout the community of practice.

In a second example Shirky documented the re-emergence of simple tools to facilitate fast uptake, sharing and synchronization with others. Limited features and clear rules of engagement (no shouting – visual text changes) help to divide the attention across the bulletin board members.

His discussion of the Pluto page on Wikipedia showcased the powers of collaboration of reciprocal sharing and syncing in creating exhaustive content with extensive links. 5000 edits by over 2200 users showed the distribution of a long tail curve demonstrating an ecosystem where everybody can participate on the level they desire. The Galileo page on the other side has still the trappings of a five hundred years flame war resulting in the disabling of editing capabilities.

Lastly he demanded an extension of the power of social media to not only show how we think but to also cover how we can act. Harnessing collective actions require a built-in acknowledgement of the assembled insights and opinions and resulting new group structures.

100% of user on online dating sites lieGenevieve Bell, a leading anthropologist at Intel’s Digital Home Group, spoke about the complicated daily constructions of truth and lies in personal life on and off the web. How to resolve our daily Secrets & Lies in new engaging social media where the devices and media keep trails forever. The uncoordinated intentions of individuals and their revealing devices will lead to tensions between cultural practices and ideas about secrets and lies and ICT applications. This poses complicated questions for e-Gov, national security and reputation indices.

Mike Fries, president of Liberty Global, discussed O3B Networks – the other three billion initiative – of Google, HSBC and Liberty Global in bringing high-speed satellite telecommunication access to underserved populations in emerging markets. His Future of Television conversation focussed on the delivery of more tailored and personalised content supported by advertisements, changing viewer behaviours of random access to digital TV and time shifting viewing habits.

Michael Tchao, the manager of Nike Techlab, spoke in his Tools, Things and Toys presentation about how to use information to inspire runners and convert physical activities into digital connect and communities. The Nike+ collaboration with Apple focussed on supporting runner motivation in designing sexy tools, engaging interfaces, synched running cycles and community challenges. The Nike+ HumanRace initiative used web tools to connect individual aspirations with local running communities to organize a series of worldwide races on 31.8.08.

Nabaztag co-inventor Rafi Haladjian (blog) presented his search from connecting rabbits to connecting everything else. What will be the effortless, spontaneous information providers of the future? How will they enable limited attention bandwidth? In extending his hold on emotive objects he showcased the new and very cute Naonoztags. The newest Ztamps and Mirror by Violet is a passive RFID reader and sensors enabling fast connections between tangible object and web-based information. Examples shown were links between drug packages and your personal health site, direct access to news sites or personal photo collections.

For more Picnic reporting, check also Bruno Giussani, Hubert Guillaud (writing proficiently in French), Ethan Zuckerman, and Ernst-Jan Pfauth and Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten.

25 September 2008

Experientia’s Jan-Christoph Zoels at Picnic /1

PICNIC
Experientia’s senior partner Jan-Christoph Zoels is this week at the Picnic conference in Amsterdam and is sending regular updates. Here is his first one:

Create the Future – Collaborative creativity is the guiding theme of Picnic, Amsterdam’s Cross Media Conference, now in its third year with a fascinating rooster of speakers, workshops and artistic events. Putting People First will report on key events over the next three days.

Aaron Koblin, an artist from Los Angeles, showed the use of lasers to generate data clouds in his eerie video with Radiohead’s Home of Cards as a soundtrack. Lounged on Google’s Code section it enabled the remixing of audio and image tracks facilitated by the use of Processing, a visual software for designers and artists by Casey Reas and Ben Fry.

His latest collaboration with MIT’s Sensible City Lab is Currentcity.org, a data visualization of KPN cellphone data of SMS usage in Amsterdam during New Year’s Eve 2007 and Queen’s Day. The time based representation adds a new dimension to understanding people’s communication patterns in select locations during social events.

Dueling with Distance was Stefan Agamanolis‘ metaphorical comparison of fast and slow communication patterns. Drawing on poetic and provocative work done at MIT Dublin and at Distance Lab, he questioned how distraction-free and contextual use of space can support new communication patterns. Mutsugoto enabled poetic and intimate mobile interactions between partners over distance; Isophone suspended callers in sensory deprivation chambers resulting in an increase of stream of consciousness conversations; and Solar Vintage integrated traditional embroidery techniques, LED’s and solar cells in embellished objects. Stefan heads up DistanceLab.org, a research lab in Scotland.

Linda Stone presented a podium discussion on The Emerging Real-Time Social Web deploring the ludicrous notion of ‘friending’, fake friends and the social pressures of being available in social web networks.

  • Jyri Engeström, founder of Jaiku and now at Google, focussed on how social objects draw people together and may enable new ‘social peripheral visions’ in supporting social relevance beyond the documentation of activity streams.
  • Matt Jones, founder of Dopplr, recalled Jane Jacob’s request for a diverse spectrum of social roles to support the health of social cities. Dopplr supports asymmetric and informational relationships in letting other people’s travel plans emerge.
  • Addy Feuerstein presented Allofme.com, a time line-based personal image collection and annotation tool. In this social network recorder friends and family can collaborate in establishing time lines of themselves, compare individual memories and public events.
  • Philip Rosedale of Linden Lab interpreted Second Life’s maker culture as allowing for an increasing diversification of creativity. However, the scarcity of people’s attention and the missing of curatorial intentions resulted in images full of crafted objects devoid of avatar interactions.

The highlight of the evening was Itay Talgam‘s Conducting Creativity, a session dedicated to explore the creative leadership and collaboration style of famous conductors. Videos showing Zubin Mehta’s precise and autocratic conducting style, the stoicism of Richard Strauss, and the passion and emotional subtlety of Leonard Bernstein highlighted different approaches to guiding creative teams.

For more Picnic reporting, check also Bruno Giussani, Hubert Guillaud (writing proficiently in French), Ethan Zuckerman, and Ernst-Jan Pfauth and Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten.

4 September 2008

Book: Mobile Nation

Mobile Nation
Mobile Nation: Creating Methodologies for Mobile Platforms
by Martha Ladly and Philip Beesley, editors
Riverside Architectural Press (August 15, 2008)
Hardcover, 272 pages

Mobile Nation explores the emerging field of mobile experience design. The papers in this anthology include essays on design theories and methods for locative technologies, devices, experiences, and games, featuring international scholars, researchers and industry experts. Discussions are wide-ranging, addressing technological issues, such as GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, Radio Frequency ID tagging, intelligent materials and garments, alongside theoretical and cultural issues including mobile-social interaction, participant observation, iterative and participatory design methods, ambient media applications, and geo-locative experiences. Designers, engineers, and creators write about the potential for mobile platforms in cultural industries, architecture, engineering, industrial design, advertising, entertainment, recreation, and education.

Mobile Nation focuses on five key areas of research with the questions:

  • How can mobile technologies be “reimagined” and repurposed for new user communities?
  • How can mobile technologies be designed and adapted for multiple platforms?
  • How can mobile experiences move beyond text, sound, and image to respond to the diverse and ever-changing needs and desires of mobile users?
  • How are new paradigms in mobile communication challenging the way we experience art, design and performance?
  • How are rapidly emerging hybrid, open-source, and do-it-yourself communities intersecting with social science, engineering, architecture, and other media disciplines?

Includes contributions by: Matt Adams, Julie Andreyev, Philip Beesley, Joanna Berzowska, Jim Budd, Barbara Crow, Steve Daniels, Marc Davis, Janice de Jong, Sara Diamond, Tom Donaldson, Judith Doyle, Anne Galloway, Paula Gardner, Judy Gladstone, Robert Gorbet, Nathon Gunn, Drew Hemment, James E. Katz, Ehren Katzur, Filiz Klassen, Martha Ladly, Angus Leech, Maroussia Levesque, Jason Lewis, Michael Longford, Douglas MacLeod, Krystina Madej, David McIntosh, Shawn Micallef, Laura Mulligan, Tek-Jin Nam, Leena Saarinen, Kim Sawchuk, Thecla Schiphorst, Parmesh Shahani, Leslie Sharpe, Geoffrey Shea, Rob Shields, Suzanne Stein, Jenna Stephens-Wells, Maria Stukoff, Nigel Thrift, David Vogt, Nina Wakeford, Ron Wakkary, Robert Woodbury, Eric Zimmerman, and Jan-Christoph Zoels.

The book includes the full papers and proceedings of the conference with the same name (see also here), which was organised by the Mobile Experience Lab of the Ontario College of Art & Design.

Note the article “Deep Places – mobile 2.0 and spatial experiences” (page 207-210) by Experientia’s senior partner Jan-Christoph Zoels.

Sample pdf

23 July 2008

In three years…

Experientia
Three years ago we founded Experientia. It has been a very exciting ride since.

In three years we worked with some of the best companies in the field and some of the best people too.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Our clients
Alcatel-Lucent (France, Spain), Area Association (Italy), Arits Consulting (Belgium), AVIS (Italy), Barclays (Italy, UK), Blyk (Finland, UK), Cittadellarte (Italy), City of Genk (Belgium), Condé Nast (Italy), Conifer Research (USA), CSI (Italy), CVS-Pharmacy (USA), Design Flanders (Belgium), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Expedia (UK), Facem (Italy), Fidelity International (UK), Finmeccanica (Italy), Flanders in Shape (Belgium), Haier (China), Hewlett Packard (India), IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia), IKS-Core Consulting (Italy), Istud Foundation (Italy), Kodak (USA), LAit (Italy), Last Minute (UK), Max Mara (Italy), Media & Design Academy (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), Motorola (USA), MPG Ferrero (Italy), Nokia (Denmark, France, Finland), Research in Motion (Canada), Samsung (Italy, Korea, UK), Swisscom (Switzerland), Tandem Seven (USA), Torino World Design Capital (Italy), Voce di Romagna (Italy), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, UK), and Whirlpool (UK).

Our collaborators (interns, consultants and staff)
Sven Adolph, Ana Camila Amorim, Andrea Arosio, An Beckers-Vanderbeeken, Josef ‘Yosi’ Bercovitch, Enrico Bergese, Niti Bhan, Elena Bobbola, Janina Boesch, Giovanni Buono, Donatella Capretti, Manlio Cavallaro, Gaurav Chadha, Dave Chiu, Raffaella Citterio, Sarah Conigliaro, Piermaria Cosina, Marco Costacurta, Laura Cunningham, Regine Debatty, Stefano Dominici, Saulo Dourado, Tal Drori, Dina Mohamed El-Sayed, Marion Froehlich, Giuseppe Gavazza, Valeria Gemello, Michele Giannasi, Young-Eun Han, Vanessa Harden, Yasmina Haryono, Bernd Hitzeroth, Juin-Yi ‘Suno’ Huang, Tom Kahrl, Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil, Helena Kraus, Francesca Labrini, Alberto Lagna, Shadi Lahham, Jörg Liebsch, Cristina Lobnik, Maya Lotan, Ofer Luft, Davide Marazita, Claude Martin, Camilla Masala, Myriel Milicevic, Kim Mingo, Emanuela Miretti, Massimo Morelli, Peter Morville, Muzayun Mukhtar, Giorgio Olivero, Pablo Onnias, Hector Ouilhet, Christian Pallino, Giorgio Partesana, Magda Passarella, Romina Pastorelli, Danilo Penna, Andrea Piccolo, Rachelly Plaut, Laura Polazzi, Laura Puppo, Alain Regnier, Enza Reina, Anna Rink, Michal Rinott, Silvana Rosso, Emanuela Sabena, Vera de Sa-Varanda, Craig Schinnerer, Fabio Sergio, Manuela Serra, Sofia Shores, Massimo Sirelli, Natasha Sopieva, Yaniv Steiner, Riccardo Strobbia, Victor Szilagyi, David Tait, Beverly Tang, Akemi Tazaki, Luca Troisi, Raymond Turner, Haraldur Unnarsson, Ilaria Urbinati, Carlo Valbonesi, Marcello Varaldi, Giorgio Venturi, Anna Vilchis, Dvorit Weinheber, Alexander Wiethoff, Junu Joseph Yang, and Mario Zannone.

Our partners
Amberlight, Design for Lucy, Fecit, Finsa, Flow Interactive, Foviance, Italia 150, Launch Institute, Prospect, Savigny Research, Syzygy, Torino World Design Capital, UPA, URN, Usability Partners International, Usercentric, UserFocus, User Interface Design, and UXnet.

Our friends (insofar not covered by the above)
Nik Baerten, Valerie Bauwens, Toon Berckmoes, Ralf Beuker, Marco Bevolo, Daniella Botta, Stefana Broadbent, Francesco Cara, Jan Chipchase, Allan Chochinov, Elizabeth Churchill, Gillian Crampton-Smith, Regine Debatty, Federico De Giuli, Jesse James Garrett, Adam Greenfield, Hubert Guillaud, Wilfried Grommen, Laurent Haug, Bob Jacobson, Marguerite Kahrl, Anna Kirah, Simona Lodi, Peter Merholz, Bill Moggridge, Donald Norman, Nicolas Nova, Bruce Nussbaum, Laura Orestano, Vittorio Pasteris, Gianluigi Perotto, Carlo Ratti, Hans Robertus, Bruce Sterling, John Thackara, Joannes Vandermeulen, Lowie Vermeersch, Judy Wert, and Younghee Yung.

Thanks to you all!

Pierpaolo Perotto, Mark Vanderbeeken, Michele Visciola and Jan-Christoph Zoels
The Experientia partners

PS. We are constantly looking for great talent! We currently have openings for interaction designers, communication designer, information architect, IT staff, usability consultants, etc.

13 May 2008

Changing the Change conference looks very promising

Changing the Change
The three-day Changing the Change conference, which is about the role of design research in sustainable change and scheduled for 10-12 July in Turin, Italy, looks to become very interesting indeed.

The list of invited speakers and discussants features Bill Moggridge (IDEO); Geetha Narayanan (Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, India); Lou Yongqi (Tongji University, China); Mugendi M. Rithaa (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa); Aguinaldo dos Santos (Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil); Fumi Masuda (designer, Japan), Chris Ryan (University of Melbourne, Australia); Luisa Collina (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy); Josephine Green (Philips Design); Roberto Bartholo (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Anna Meroni (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy), Luigi Bistagnino (Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy); Nigel Cross (The Open University, UK); Victor Margolin (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA); and Ken Friedman (Danmarks Designskole, Denmark)

No less than 163 abstracts have been accepted, including our own. Take a look at the titles and the presenters to get an idea of the variety on offer, all within the wider theme of design for sustainability, or read a reflection on the selection by conference chair Ezio Manzini.

The topics sound great and I will enjoy attending, but I have to point out that the large majority of the papers come from academic institutions. In fact, there are only a handful of major companies (Intel and Philips) and design consultancies (such as Experientia) involved.

This is something bound to be different at another major international conference scheduled in Turin, Italy, the UPA Europe 2008 conference, taking place in December. Conference co-chair (and my business partner) Michele Visciola told me that many major international companies have submitted papers for this conference with the theme “usability and design: cultivating diversity”. More is to follow soon.

24 April 2008

U² Understanding Users – a workshop in Brussels

U²
Design Flanders and Flanders In Shape organise a one-day conference and intensive training on user-centred design in the Flemish Parliament in Brussels on 22 May.

Experientia’s Jan-Christoph Zoels and Mark Vanderbeeken (the author of this blog) are in charge of the afternoon workshop on ethnography.

The event web page explains the importance of empathy in the creation of a successful user experience and stresses the relevance of a user-centred design for small and medium size companies.

The day will start off with a series of presentations:

The afternoon will feature four parallel workshops:

  • Workshop 1: Justin Knecht of the Centre for Design Innovation (Ireland) will provide a practical “DIY” manual to understand users (mainly aimed at SME’s).
     
  • Workshop 2: Jan-Christoph Zoels and Mark Vanderbeeken of Experientia (Italy) will demonstrate the ‘ethnographic research’ as a new innovation method.
     
  • Workshop 3: Jurgen Oskamp and Tim Ruytjens of Achilles Associates (Belgium) will demonstrate the use of ‘personas’.
     
  • Workshop 4: Valerie L’heureux of the Human Interface Group (Belgium) will discuss ‘Design Patterns, a perfect technique for user-centred design’.
     

Patricia Ceysens, Flemish Minister of Economy, Enterprise, Science, Innovation and Foreign Trade, will provide the closing speech.

Programme and registration: www.ucd.be