counter

Putting People First

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

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


Posts in category 'Presence'

7 August 2011

Designing for a workforce that acts more sustainably

Gerd Waloszek
In a six part article series Gerd Waloszek of SAP User Experience [who is very inspired by Nathan Shedroff’s latest book ‘Design is the Problem’] approaches the topic of the sustainable behavior of a workforce from a designer’s point of view.

Part 1: Action fields for designers
In its efforts to make the behavior of its workforce more sustainable, SAP addresses the following focus topics (which are action fields for designers): (1) commute and travel, (2) energy, resource, and waste management (including paper management), and (3) organization of distributed teams (including social aspects).

Part 2: Action items for designers
Based on the three fields defined in the first article, Waloszek identifies possible action items for designers – particularly user interface (UI), user experience (UX), and interaction (IxD) designers: (1) the design of information and communications technology (ICT) solutions for remote collaboration, and (2) persuasive design or technology. He then steps back to identify the sustainability aspects, as defined by Nathan Shedroff (2009), in which designers can have an impact. Combining action fields with sustainability aspects, he collects four possible action items.

Part 3: Designing for remote collaboration and communication
Waloszek now discusses the first action item in more detail: ‘designing for remote collaboration and communication’.

Part 4: Using ambient media to support awareness of remote colleagues
In this article, Waloszek looks at the second of the four action items: “using ambient displays for supporting the awareness of remote colleagues” – which he interprets more broadly than just visual information. The article therefore refers to ambient media rather than ambient displays.
> Examples and proposals (in progress)

Part 5: Using persuasive design/technology
In this fifth article in the series, Waloszek looks at the “using persuasive design/technology” action item – which is the third of four action items he identified for designers. We will see that, on the one hand, this item competes with other approaches aiming at improving sustainability, and on the other hand, that it can also complement these approaches.

Part 6: Replacing physical objects with virtual (digital) ones
In preparation – To be published in August 2011.

28 June 2011

Achieving a sense of home for people who travel extensively

Home Awareness prototype
One of the people presenting at the DPPI conference in Milan last week was Aviaja Borup Lynggaard, an industrial Ph.D. scholar at Bang & Olufsen (B&O), attached to the Aarhus School of Architecture and Aarhus University.

Her very interesting Ph.D. project – which aims to inspire new B&O products – is called On the move – creating domesticity through experience design. It is part of the larger research project Mobile Home Center, which receives funding from Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation.

The project explores how to achieve a sense of home for people who travel extensively.

Together with researchers from The Danish School of Education, Aarhus University and the Aarhus School of Architecture, Aviaja Borup Lynggaard sets out to map how people manage a mobile lifestyle and to develop prototypes and concepts for products and services.

The project is guided by home researcher and anthropologist Ida Winther’s definition of the phenomenon home as an activity, ‘homing’, defined as something one does to achieve a sense of being at home, wherever one is currently located.

The goal is to study how interaction design can help promote this sense of home and facilitate homing.

Aviaja Borup Lynggaard’s project is focused on people who have an extremely mobile lifestyle, including B&O customers with heavy travel activity between multiple homes or hotels.

The project applies a user-centred design process that actively involves the customers in the design process from start to finish through ethnographic studies, interviews and trials of concepts and prototypes for new products.

The Ph.D. project will foster a range of products and services for subsequent development at B&O.

Three recent papers provide more background:

Home awareness – connecting people sensuously to places (pdf – 09/2010)
People living a global lifestyle connect remotely to their families while away from home. In this paper we identify a need for connecting with a home as the physical place itself. For this purpose we introduce the concept of Home Awareness that connects people sensuously to remote places through sound, light and feeling of temperature. A working prototype has been successfully tested and we present some results from early user studies.

Tactics for homing in mobile life – a fieldwalk study of extremely mobile people (pdf – 09/2010)
For many people home making is an activity, which extends beyond a single house. We introduce the terminology of Homing as the act of home making, when in a primary home, secondary home or more temporary spaces. By point of departure in existing literature on home making and through ethnographic studies of extremely mobile people we identify general tactics for homing. We present the identified tactics and show how people deploy not only one but several tactics in their intention of making a homely feeling despite not being in their primary home.
Reviewing the mobile technologies currently in use we argue that several of the tactics identified are currently not well supported. We discuss how technology design can learn from this study through pointing to the potential in designing mobile technologies to better support these unsupported tactics.
We consider the tactics as a tool for deeper understanding of mobile practices and thus informing the design of more relevant future technologies for people engaged in a mobile lifestyle.

On the move : creating domesticity through experience design (pdf – 10/2010)
This paper is a summary of the Ph.D. project about home and mobility. The project concerns design for mobile life and through various prototypes it is an investigation of how to support the act of home making away from the primary home.

26 June 2011

Enchanted Objects: The next wave of the web

Enchanted mirror
David Rose (LinkedIn), CEO of Vitality (where he works on healthy behavior change) and lecturer at MIT Media Lab (and former CEO of Ambient Devices), gave a talk recently at TEDxBerkeley on how magic anticipates ubiquitous computing.

“Magic, or enchantment, is the right metaphor for the future of computing. […]

Magic is a convenient metaphor of connected things because the affordances are there. You understand the object… and this motivates the incremental function. […]

We can take a lesson from the history of the future to figure out what enchanted things will succeed or fail. The ones that satisfy primal wishes or fantasies will succeed. These primal wishes are revealed through narratives that we know and can analyze. It’s a psychology problem. Especially for Cinderella’s narcissistic stepmother. I’m not sure what robots wish for, but I can tell you what humans want:

We wish for six things that enchanted objects tend to satisfy:

For Omniscience, for human connection, for protection, for health (immortality is better), for effortless mobility or teleportation, and for expression (or creative manifestation).

These are the killer apps.”

View video of talk
Download talk slides

Check also David’s recent reflection on the topic of “juicy feedback,” a term that comes from game design and describes when a small action produces a surprisingly large reaction. He uses this paradigm to develop six design ideas relevant to products intended to change people’s behavior.

David’s thinking was inspiring for an article in this month’s Wired Magazine, which argues that by providing people with information about their actions in real time, you give them a chance to change those actions, and push them toward better behaviors.

David Rose is a product designer, technology visionary, and serial entrepreneur.

Currently David is Chief Executive at Vitality, a company that is reinventing medication packaging with wireless technology.

Rose founded and was CEO of Ambient Devices where he pioneered glanceable technology: embedding Internet information in everyday objects like light bulbs, mirrors, refrigerator doors, digital post-it notes, and umbrellas to make the physical environment an interface to digital information.

Rose founded Viant’s Innovation Center, an advanced technology group for Fortune 500s including Sony, GM, Schwab, Sprint and Kinkos. He helped build Viant to over 900 people, $140M and a successful IPO.

In 1997 Rose patented online photo-sharing and founded Opholio (acquired by FlashPoint Technology).

Before the Internet he founded and was President of Interactive Factory (acquired by RDW Group) which creates interactive museum exhibits, educational software and smart toys, including the award-winning LEGO Mindstorms Robotic Invention System.

Rose taught information visualization at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and currently teaches a popular course in tangible user interfaces at the MIT Media Lab. He is a frequent speaker to corporations and design and technology conferences.

2 June 2011

Digital You: a NESTA discussion on telepresence

Telepresence
Digital You was an early morning discussion in London, organised by NESTA, that looked at telepresence and the psychology of electronic communications.

NESTA is the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts – an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative.

The event, which was chaired by NESTA’s Rachel Grant, explored how robotics and new collaboration tools can emulate being there in person, and how we can make better use of email and video conferencing without ‘information overload’.

Speakers were:

Watch video and read story

21 July 2010

The web means the end of forgetting

Forgetting
Legal scholars, technologists and cyberthinkers are wrestling with the first great existential crisis of the digital age: the impossibility of erasing your posted past, starving over, moving on. Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, reports in The New York Times Magazine.

“We’ve known for years that the Web allows for unprecedented voyeurism, exhibitionism and inadvertent indiscretion, but we are only beginning to understand the costs of an age in which so much of what we say, and of what others say about us, goes into our permanent — and public — digital files. The fact that the Internet never seems to forget is threatening, at an almost existential level, our ability to control our identities; to preserve the option of reinventing ourselves and starting anew; to overcome our checkered pasts.”

Read article

16 May 2010

Danah Boyd and the Facebook privacy discussion

Monopoly
Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd doesn’t need much introduction as her outspoken and well-developed analysis is frequently quoted on this blog. Two long articles — each with many comments — react to the current Facebook privacy discussion:

Facebook and “radical transparency” (a rant) (14 May)
The battle that is underway is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It’s a battle over choice and informed consent. It’s unfolding because people are being duped, tricked, coerced, and confused into doing things where they don’t understand the consequences. Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely unfair. It gives users the illusion of choice and hides the details away from them “for their own good.”

Facebook is a utility; utilities get regulated (15 May)
What’s next is how this emergent utility gets regulated. Cuz sadly, I doubt that anything else is going to stop them in their tracks. And I think that regulators know that.

28 July 2009

Stanford seminars on people, computers and design

Stanford HCI
CS547. Human-Computer Interaction Seminar (Seminar on People, Computers, and Design)” is a course of the Stanford HCI Group, coordinated by Terry Winograd, on topics related to human-computer interaction design.

Below is a run-down of the 2008-2009 speakers (all videos are available online):

September 26, 2008 – Tristan Harris , Apture
New models for browsing (video)

October 3, 2008 – David Merrill, MIT Media Lab
Natural Interactions with Digital Content (video)

October 10, 2008 – Karrie Karahalios, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
Visualizing Voice (video)

October 17, 2008 – Jesse James Garrett, Adaptive Path
Aurora: Envisioning the Future of the Web (video)

October 24, 2008 – Peter Pirolli, PARC
Information foraging theory (video)

October 31 , 2008 – Justine Cassell, Northwestern University
Building Theories: People’s Interaction with Computers (video)

November 7, 2008 – Merrie Morris, Microsoft Research
SearchTogether and CoSearch: New Tools for Enabling Collaborative Web Search (video)

November 14, 2008 – Gail Wight, Stanford Dept. of Art and Art History
Unreasonable Interactions (video)

November 21, 2008 – Sergi Jordà
Exploring the Synergy between Live Music Performance and Tabletop Tangible Interfaces: the Reactable (video)

December 5, 2008 – Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, Stanford Dept. of Music
Composing with Sounds and Images (video)

January 9, 2009 – Todd Mowry, CMU
Pario: the Next Step Beyond Audio and Video (video)

January 16, 2009 – Hayes Raffle, Nokia Research
Sculpting Behavior – Developing a tangible language for hands-on play and learning (video)

January 23, 2009 – Dan Saffer, Kicker Studio
Tap is the new click (video)

January 30, 2009 – Bobby Fishkin, ReframeIt
Social Annotation, Contextual Collaboration and Online Transparency (video)

February 6, 2009 – Bjoern Hartmann, Stanford HCI Group
Enlightened Trial and Error – Gaining Design Insight Through New Prototyping Tools (video)

February 13, 2009 – Vladlen Koltun, Stanford CS
Computer Graphics as a Telecommunication Medium (video)

February 20, 2009 – Michal Migurski & Tom Carden, Stamen Design
Not Invented Here: Online Mapping Unraveled (video)

February 27, 2009 – Sep Kamvar, Stanford University
We Feel Fine and I Want You To Want Me: Case Studies in Internet Sociology (video)

March 6, 2009 – Jeff Heer, Stanford HCI Group
A Brief History of Data Visualization (video)

March 13, 2009 – Barry Brown, UCSD
Experts at Play (video)

April 3, 2009 – John Lilly and Mike Beltzner, Mozilla Foundation
Firefox, Mozilla & Open Source — Software Design at Scale (video)

April 10, 2009 – Clara Shih, Salesforce.com
Social Enterprise Software Design (video)

April 17, 2009 – Alex Payne, Twitter
The Interaction Design of APIs (video)

April 24, 2009 – Jim Campbell, electronic artist
Far Away Up Close (video)

May 1, 2009 – Gary and Judy Olson, UC Irvine
What Still Matters about Distance? (video)

May 8, 2009 – Dan Siroker, Carrotsticks
How We Used Data to Win the Presidential Election (video)

May 15, 2009 – Scott Snibbe, Snibbe Interactive
Social Immersive Media (video)

May 22, 2009 – Will Wright, Maxis / Electronic Arts
Launching Creative Communities: Lessons from the Spore community experience (video)

May 29, 2009 – Robert Kraut, Carnegie Mellon
Designing Online Communities from Theory (video)

Archived lectures from CS547 can also be downloaded from iTunes.

21 July 2009

Touch me! An article on tactile experience

TouchMe
In this article Jessica Ching, Laura Henneberry and Shally Lee share the findings of a collaborative project between the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) and Canadian network operator TELUS.

“Touch is a vital human need and a deeply emotional form of communication. When we physically interact with people or things we enjoy, we connect with them and react to them. They can make us feel warm, calm, playful or excited. The physical sensation of using a mobile phone, however, is missing these emotional and physical reactions. When we think about other objects, we can clearly imagine the feeling of sensual underwear, luxurious cars or high performance runners. In contrast, using a mobile phone is a bit like pressing your face into a remote control.”

Read full story

15 June 2009

Anthropologist Stefana Broadbent speaker at TEDGlobal

Oxford
Stefana Broadbent, the acclaimed tech anthropologist, will be an invited speaker at the upcoming TEDGlobal conference (21-24 July, Oxford, UK).

Stefana is currently a visiting research fellow in the Department of Anthropology at University College London, and was the head of the Customer Observatory at Swisscom.

Her work was published in Business Week and The Economist, and she was a speaker at many conferences, including LIFT and Picnic.

Check also her UsageWatch blog where she observes the evolution of technology usage.

11 June 2009

The Mobile Difference

Pew Internet
The Mobile Difference, a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life project covers at length the current social implications of mobile internet access in the United States:

“Some 39% of Americans have positive and improving attitudes about their mobile communication devices, which in turn draws them further into engagement with digital resources – on both wireless and wireline platforms.

Mobile connectivity is now a powerful differentiator among technology users. Those who plug into the information and communications world while on-the-go are notably more active in many facets of digital life than those who use wires to jack into the internet and the 14% of Americans who are off the grid entirely.

  • Digital collaborators: 8% of adults use information gadgets to collaborate with others and share their creativity with the world
  • Ambivalent networkers: 7% of adults actively use mobile devices to connect with others and entertain themselves, yet are ambivalent about all the connectivity
  • 8% of Americans find mobility lighting their information pathways, but have comparatively few tech assets at home
  • 16% of adults are active conduits of content and information for either fun or for personal productivity
  • 61% are anchored to stationary media; though many have broadband and cell phones, coping with access is often too much for them”

Report overview
View report online
Download report

A more journalistic reflection on the study can be found on the site of the Christian Science Monitor.

9 June 2009

Efficiency or ambient intimacy?

Intimacy
The latest issue of Vodafone’s Receiver Magazine is all about a new era of human interaction that is marked by perpetual conversations and perpetual info drip-feed, as enabled by the umbilical of the mobile.

Two new contributions explore the time paradox created by this constant communications flow:

Tools for mediated communication were developed to satisfy needs for contact and exchange with others. They expand our range of movement, they can set us free from tiring routines and toilsome processes so we should have more time for the people and activities that mean the most to us. That’s the theory, at least.

Sharon Kleinman asks: Does your everyday experience tick all these boxes? And thinks that if so, then you’re lucky… Because constant contact has become so convenient that we have to stop ourselves from cramming as much as we can into every second.

Leisa Reichelt, on the other hand, is grateful that constant contact enabled us to experience a kind of ‘ambient intimacy’ with people we care for, but in whose lives we’re not able to participate as closely as we’d like. For her, tweeting and facebooking are a particular way of communicating that we’ve used in off-line life since we first evolved language: Phatic communication. It is not about conveying meaning, it’s about being in touch.

26 May 2009

The lamp posts on Brick Lane

lamp posts
Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slow and Under Pressure and a self-proclaimed proponent of the Slow Movement, is the writer of the latest contribution to Vodafone’s Receiver magazine. In his piece, Honoré argues that in a world of limitless information and constant access to other people, we often don’t know when to stop our urge to connect and communicate:

“You cannot be truly ‘in the moment’ when you’re juggling several moments at once. You cannot make the most of now when you turn ‘now’ into a frenzy of multitasking.

Being ‘always on’ transforms communication technology into a weapon of mass distraction. […]

Constant connection makes us chronically impatient. We come to expect everything to happen at the touch of a button – and get angry when it doesn’t. As the actress Carrie Fisher once quipped, these days “even instant gratification takes too long.”

Being ‘always on’ also makes it hard to stop and stare; to smell the proverbial roses. We miss the details, the fine grain of the world around us when our eyes are glued to a screen. We lose the joy of discovering things on our own, or by chance, when we stick to routes prescribed by a GPS download. When travel involves firing off a stream of texts, tweets and audio-video footage to friends and family back home, we never completely immerse ourselves in a new place.”

Read full story

5 May 2009

Taking my community ‘to go’

On call
The latest issue of Vodafone’s Receiver Magazine is entitled “Seizing the Moment”:

“Bending and transcending the constraints of time and space has gotten easy for us. With our mobiles and netbooks, we’re about to create a social setting in which communication and self-expression are possible not only on the go, but also at the speed of thought. We can convert dead time into creative time, are provided with information when we need it, can react to events in an instant and enjoy each precious little moment with our dear ones. Constant contact has become so convenient that we sometimes have to keep ourselves from cramming as much as we can into every second.”

The articles come in weekly instalments, and in her contribution to receiver Mary Chayko, professor and chairperson of sociology at the College of St Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey looks at the connections we make and the social networking that takes place on the internet and mobile phones. She discusses the immediacy and the appeal, the challenges and the complexities, of our spending so many moments interacting in on-line and mobile “portable communities”, and all this in a very human-centred way.

“Portable communities and social networks would not have become such enticing ‘places’ in which to devote so much of our time if the social connections made there were not real and genuine.

It’s clear by now (though it wasn’t when I began studying all this almost twenty years ago) that real social bonds and communities are made with the assistance of technology. These connections can be vivid, authentic, reciprocal, and highly meaningful for people. Of course, sometimes, they are none of these things. But generally, in the emotional, often intimate, immediacy of the moments spent on-line (especially with wireless and mobile devices) social connections are made easily – connections which very much matter to us. They bring about real tears and smiles, create real friendships and partnerships and break up real marriages and careers. In short, they produce genuine feelings and pleasures and problems, with real and definite consequences which, the sociologist »» W.I. Thomas says, is the true test of realness. We do on-line and mobile social connectedness a disservice (and fail to understand it fully) when we treat it as anything less than fully real.”

Read full story

30 April 2009

A selection of CHI2009 papers

CHI2009 proceedings cover
Today I spent some time looking through the CHI 2009 papers. Here is a personal selection (and you need an ACM membership to access them):

A comparative study of speech and dialed input voice interfaces in rural India
Neil Patel, Sheetal Agarwal, Nitendra Rajput, Amit Nanavati, Paresh Dave, Tapan S. Parikh
In this paper we present a study comparing speech and dialed input voice user interfaces for farmers in Gujarat, India. We ran a controlled, between-subjects experiment with 45 participants. We found that the task completion rates were significantly higher with dialed input, particularly for subjects under age 30 and those with less than an eighth grade education. Additionally, participants using dialed input demonstrated a significantly greater performance improvement from the first to final task, and reported less difficulty providing input to the system.

Sacred imagery in techno-spiritual design
Susan P. Wyche, Kelly E. Caine, Benjamin K. Davison, Shwetak N. Patel, Michael Arteaga, Rebecca E. Grinter
Despite increased knowledge about how Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are used to support religious and spiritual practices, designers know little about how to design technologies for faith-related purposes. Our research suggests incorporating sacred imagery into techno-spiritual applications can be useful in guiding development. We illustrate this through the design and evaluation of a mobile phone application developed to support Islamic prayer practices. Our contribution is to show how religious imagery can be used in the design of applications that go beyond the provision of functionality to connect people to the experience of religion.

A comparison of mobile money-transfer UIs for non-literate and semi-literate users
Indrani Medhi, S.N. Nagasena Gautama, Kentaro Toyama
Due to the increasing penetration of mobile phones even into poor communities, mobile payment schemes could bring formal financial services to the “unbanked”. However, because poverty for the most part also correlates with low levels of formal education, there are questions as to whether electronic access to complex financial services is enough to bridge the gap, and if so, what sort of UI is best.
In this paper, we present two studies that provide preliminary answers to these questions. We first investigated the usability of existing mobile payment services, through an ethnographic study involving 90 subjects in India, Kenya, the Philippines and South Africa. This was followed by a usability study with another 58 subjects in India, in which we compared non-literate and semi-literate subjects on three systems: text-based, spoken dialog (without text), and rich multimedia (also without text). Results confirm that non-text designs are strongly preferred over text-based designs and that while task-completion rates are better for the rich multimedia UI, speed is faster and less assistance is required on the spoken-dialog system.

Comparing semiliterate and illiterate users’ ability to transition from audio+text to text-only interaction
Leah Findlater, Ravin Balakrishnan, Kentaro Toyama
Multimodal interfaces with little or no text have been shown to be useful for users with low literacy. However, this research has not differentiated between the needs of the fully illiterate and semiliterate – those who have basic literacy but cannot read and write fluently. Text offers a fast and unambiguous mode of interaction for literate users and the exposure to text may allow for incidental improvement of reading skills. We conducted two studies that explore how semiliterate users with very little education might benefit from a combination of text and audio as compared to illiterate and literate users. Results show that semiliterate users reduced their use of audio support even during the first hour of use and over several hours this reduction was accompanied by a gain in visual word recognition; illiterate users showed no similar improvement. Semiliterate users should thus be treated differently from illiterate users in interface design.

StoryBank: mobile digital storytelling in a development context
David M. Frohlich, Dorothy Rachovides, Kiriaki Riga, Ramnath Bhat, Maxine Frank, Eran Edirisinghe, Dhammike Wickramanayaka, Matt Jones, Will Harwood
Mobile imaging and digital storytelling currently support a growing practice of multimedia communication in the West. In this paper we describe a project which explores their benefit in the East, to support non-textual information sharing in an Indian village. Local audiovisual story creation and sharing activities were carried out in a one month trial, using 10 customized cameraphones and a digital library of stories represented on a village display. The findings show that the system was usable by a cross-section of the community and valued for its ability to express a mixture of development and community information in an accessible form. Lessons for the role of HCI in this context are also discussed.

Designable visual markers
Enrico Costanza, Jeffrey Huang
Visual markers are graphic symbols designed to be easily recognised by machines. They are traditionally used to track goods, but there is increasing interest in their application to mobile HCI. By scanning a visual marker through a camera phone users can retrieve localised information and access mobile services.
One missed opportunity in current visual marker systems is that the markers themselves cannot be visually designed, they are not expressive to humans, and thus fail to convey information before being scanned. This paper provides an overview of d-touch, an open source system that allows users to create their own markers, controlling their aesthetic qualities. The system runs in real-time on mobile phones and desktop computers. To increase computational efficiency d-touch imposes constraints on the design of the markers in terms of the relationship of dark and light regions in the symbols. We report a user study in which pairs of novice users generated between 3 and 27 valid and expressive markers within one hour of being introduced to the system, demonstrating its flexibility and ease of use.

“When I am on Wi-Fi, I am fearless”: privacy concerns & practices in everyday Wi-Fi use
Predrag Klasnja, Sunny Consolvo, Jaeyeon Jung, Benjamin M. Greenstein, Louis LeGrand, Pauline Powledge, David Wetherall
Increasingly, users access online services such as email, e-commerce, and social networking sites via 802.11-based wireless networks. As they do so, they expose a range of personal information such as their names, email addresses, and ZIP codes to anyone within broadcast range of the network. This paper presents results from an exploratory study that examined how users from the general public understand Wi-Fi, what their concerns are related to Wi-Fi use, and which practices they follow to counter perceived threats. Our results reveal that while users understand the practical details of Wi-Fi use reasonably well, they lack understanding of important privacy risks. In addition, users employ incomplete protective practices which results in a false sense of security and lack of concern while on Wi-Fi. Based on our results, we outline opportunities for technology to help address these problems.
Predrag Klasnja, Sunny Consolvo, Jaeyeon Jung, Benjamin M. Greenstein, Louis LeGrand, Pauline Powledge, David Wetherall

Sharing empty moments: design for remote couples
Danielle Lottridge, Nicolas Masson, Wendy Mackay
Many couples are forced to live apart, for work, school or other reasons. This paper describes our study of 13 such couples and what they lack from existing communication technologies. We explored what they wanted to share (presence, mood, environment, daily events and activities), how they wanted to share (simple, lightweight, playful, pleasant interaction), and when they wanted to share (‘empty moments’ such as waiting, walking, taking a break, waking up, eating, and going to sleep). ‘Empty moments’ provide a compelling new opportunity for design, requiring subtlety and flexibility to enable participants to share connection without explicit messages. We designed MissU as a technology probe to study empty moments in situ. Similar to a private radio station, MissU shares music and background sounds. Field studies produced results relevant to social science, technology and design: couples with established routines were comforted; characteristics such as ambiguity and ‘movable’ technology (situated in the home yet portable) provide support. These insights suggest a design space for supporting the sharing of empty moments.

20 March 2009

Tish Shute interviews Mike Kuniavsky on things as services

Bicycle rider data shadows
Tish Shute’s UgoTrade website is quickly becoming one of the prime sites in the field.

In the last months she interviewed Andy Stanford-Clark (IBM Master Inventor), Robert Rice (CEO of Neogence), Usman Haque (architect and director of Haque Design + Research and founder of Pachube), Adam Greenfield (Nokia’s head of design direction for service and user-interface design), and Chris Brogan (president of New Marketing Labs).

Her interviews are as well-researched and in-depth as they come, and each one of them is a highly recommended read.

Her most recent talk with Mike Kuniavsky of ThingM came after his presentation “The dotted-line world, shadows, services, subscriptions” at ETech 2009.

The interview covered “dematerializing the world, shadows, subscriptions and things as services”.

“I presented on essentially the combination of being able to identify individual objects and the idea of providing services as a way of creating things… the servicization of things …turning things into services is greatly accelerated by network technologies and the ability to track things and what leads this to the potential of having fundamentally different relationships to the devices in our lives and to things like ownership.

Like we now have the technology to create objects that are essentially representatives of services – things like City Car Share. What you own is not a thing but a possibility space of a thing. This fundamentally changes the design challenges. I am pretty convinced that this is how we should be using a lot of these technologies is to be shifting objects from ownership models to service models. We can do that but there are significant challenges with it. What is happening is that we have had the technology to do this for a while, but we haven’t be thinking about how to design these services. We haven’t been thinking about how to design what I call the avatars of these services – the physical objects that are the manifestation of them, like an ATM is the avatar of a banking service. It is useless without the banking service it is a representative of, essentially.”

31 January 2009

35 Picnic conference videos

PICNIC
On Vimeo you can find no less than 35 videos of the Picnic conference. They are great.

My personal favourites (quite a few):

Jim Stolze: The virtual happiness project
“Virtual Happiness” is a research project that aims to provide insights on the relationship between internet usage and happiness.
– Jim Stolze specializes in new thinking on digital communication.

Matt Hanson: Celebrating Collaborative Creativity
Matt Hanson, a filmmaker, working on the open-source movie project A Swarm of Angels

Panel Discussion: Celebrating Collaborative Creativity
In this fast paced session, several examples of collaborative creativity are under review- what processes and business models appear? What changes will occur in the movie, music, ppublishing and advertising industry?
Moderator: Laurent Haug, entrepreneur and co-founder Liftlab
– Matt Hanson, a filmaker, working on the open-source movie project A Swarm of Angels
– Ton Roosendaal, founder of Blender, an open-source, cross-platform suite of tools for 3D creation
– Katarina Skoberne is the co-founder and managing director of OpenAd.net, ‘The biggest Creative Department’
– Pim Betist, a music lover and founder of Sellaband, an audience supported business model for bands.
– Eileen Gittens, founder and CEO of Blurb, has built a creative publishing platform that makes it easy for anyone to design, publish, share and sell real bookstore-quality books

Ben Cerveny: Can you see what I know?
Artists, scientists and designers are exploring a new world of software aesthetics and developing new languages for interactive and visual expression. How can we make information intuitively meaningful?
– Ben Cerveny is a strategic and conceptual advisor to Stamen, specialists in creative visualization. He is highly regarded experience designer and conceptual strategist.

Stefan Agamanolis: Dueling with Distance
Based on his work at MIT and Distance Lab, Stefan Agamanolis reports on hot trends in communication and connectedness that are doing battle with distance in unexpected ways, ranging from sports games you play over a distance to telephones crossed with flotation tanks.
– Stefan Agamanolis is the Chief Executive and Research director of Distance Lab

Matt Jones: The Emerging Real-Time Social Web
Matt Jones is a creative director and user experience designer who worked a Sapient and the BBC before founding travel service Dopplr

Jyri Engestrom: The Emerging Real-Time Social Web
Jyri Engestrom is a social scientist as well as the founder of the Finnish mobile presence service Jaiku, which was acquired by Google in 2007; his subsequent move to Silicon Valley resulted in his renewed attention to social processes in new media platforms.

Conversation the Emerging Real-Time Social Web
With ubiquitous internet connections and a surge of connected mobile services, slices of reality can be saved that people could not capture before. Saving and sharing our presence, we can feel those of others as well. We are on the verge of a reality with ‘social peripheral vision’, in which ambient friendships flourish and life stories and life’s details are stored, shared and searchable.
– Matt Jones is a creative director and user experience designer who worked a Sapient and the BBC before founding travel service Dopplr
– Philip Rosedale is founder of the 3D online world Second Life and a pioneer in virtual worlds
– Addy Feuerstein is the co-founder and CEO of AllofMe, a service that allows you to create digital personal timelines form digital assests such as pictures, videos, and blogs.
– Jyri Engestrom is a social scientist as well as the founder of the Finnish mobile presence service Jaiku, which was acquired by Google in 2007

Younghee Jung: Design as a Collaborative process
New interactions develop into new design practices; new processes induce new forms of creativity. How can creators involve the peopele they want to create for in their work?
– Younghee Jung, a senior design manager at Nokia, shows how users are imagining new products.

Bill Moggridge: Design as a Collaborative Process
New interactions develop into new design practices; new processes induce new forms of creativity. How can creators invovle the people they want to create for in their work?
– Bill Moggridge is founder of IDEO, one of the most successful design firms in the world and of the first to integrate the design of software and hardware into the practice of industrial design.

Ethan Zuckerman: Surprising Africa
A presentation on vibrant and fast-moving tecnological and creative developments in cities and rural areas across Africa, from mobile naking to new communication patterns.
– Ethan Zuckerman, the co-founder of Global Voices, a research fellow at the Berkman Center, and a prodigious blogger interested in hte impact of technology on the developing world.

Conversation with Ethan Zuckerman, Helen Omwando and Binyavanga Wainaina: Surprising Africa
An update on vibrant and fast-moving technological and creative developments in cities and rural areas across Africa, from mobile banking to new communication patterns.
– Ethan Zuckerman, the co-founder of Global Voices, a research fellow at the Berkman Center, and a prodigious blogger interested in the impact of technology on the developing world
– Helen Omwando, head of market intelligence for Royal Philips Electronics
– Binyavanga Wainaina, Kenyan author and journalist

Clay Shirky: Here Comes Everybody
A revelatory examination of how the spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exict within them. Our age’s new technologies of social networking are evolving- and causing us to evolve into new groups doing new things in new ways.
– Clay Shirky is a leading Internet thinker, the author of Here Comes Everybody, and a sharp analyst of social media developments.

Wolfgang Wagener and Jared Blumenfeld: Eco Map
What can we do with an open source collaboration platform that enables citizens and business to see collective results of their actions?
– Wolfgang Wagener, Director, Sustainable Cities Connected Urban Development, CISCO and Jared Blumenfeld, Director, Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco

Euro Beinat: The Visible City
What if we could view an entire city from above, as if from an airplane – and see not only the buildings and squares but also all the human beings populating it, oudoors and indoors?
– Euro Beinat, professor of location awareness at Salzburg University, CEO if Geodan Mobile Solutions, and founder of the Senseable Future Foundation

Stan Williams: Tracking our World
CeNSE: The Central Nervous System for the Earth is based on the believe that nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionise human interaction with the Earth as profoundly as the Internet has revolutionised personal and business interaction.
– Stan Williams, HP senior fellow; director, HP Information and Quantum Systems Lab

Adam Greenfield: The Long Here, the Big Now, and other tales of the networked city
Future urban life will thrive on new modes of perception and experience, based on real-time data and feedback. What will the networked city feel like to its users? How will it transform our sense of the metropolitan?
– Adam Greenfield , head of design direction for Nokia and author of Everyware

Charles Leadbeater – We Think: The Power of Mass Creativity
The conflict between the rising surge of mass collaboration and the attempts to retain top-down control will be one of the defining battles of our time. An exploration of what this means for our culture, the way we work, government, science and business.
– Charles Leadbeater, thinker, famed policy advisor to former UK prime Minister Tony Blair, and author of We Think, a groundbreaking analysis of a changing world

Charles Leadbeater in conversation with Clay Shirky
The conflict between the rising surge of mass collaboration and the attempts to retain top-down control will be one of the defining battles of our time. An exploration of what this means for our culture, the way we work, government, science and business.
– Charles Leadbeater, thinker, famed policy advisor to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and author of We Think, a groundbreaking analysis of a changing world,
– Clay Shirky, leading Internet thinker

(via Laurent Haug)

31 January 2009

Dopplr designer Matt Jones on bionic noticing

Matt Jones
Reporting on PSFK’s Good Ideas Salon yesterday in London, Guardian writer Jemima Kiss highlights the presentation by Dopplr designer Matt Jones:

He sees mobile as something of a super power device and described something he calls “bionic noticing” – obsessively recording curious things he sees around him, driven by this multi-capable device in his pocket. […]

He’s frustrated with the disembodied way that we engage with mobile devices: “beautiful shiny plastic things with some gangly bag of mostly water tapping away on them”.

“We should be an embodied person in the world rather than a disembodied finger tickling a screen walking down the street. We need to unfold and unpack the screen into the world.”

Read full story

Photograph: adactio/Flickr/Some rights reserved

15 January 2009

People-centric sensing in the city of the near future

Flickr sensing
More on people-centric sensing, this time by LIFT’s Fabien Girardin, and it’s as if he is taking the Nokia paper I just wrote about one step further:

“In the past, sensors networks in cities has been limited to fixed sensors, embedded in particular locations, under centralised control. Now, there new application that leverage humans as sensors and their volunteer generated information. It becomes necessary to discuss their integration into the city of the “near future”, the city “produced” by the activity of its actors and inhabitants. In the scope of my research work, I particularly consider the implication of this emerging amount of data and their effect on contemporary practices in the city.”

Read article

5 January 2009

Nokia’s IdeasProject

IdeasProject
Nearly by accident I discovered Nokia’s recently launched IdeasProject, an effort “to surface Big Ideas about the future of communications — and to show the many ways that these ideas are connected”. It is definitely a site rich with content.

What big ideas will matter most? What technologies and applications will enable to most disruptive changes? How can our communications and interactions have the most positive impact? Where are the best opportunities for inventors and entrepreneurs? What does it mean? Where are we headed next?

IdeasProject, a project of Nokia, brings together the most visionary and influential ‘big thinkers’ to contemplate exactly these questions, in a new kind of conversation platform aimed at uncovering not only the big ideas that matter most to the future of communications, but also the connections these disruptive ideas. The conversation contemplates what technologies, applications and themes will most change out culture and communications — and shows us the ideas, the people, and how their ideas are connected – sometimes in the most surprising ways.

This site makes the best and most insightful contributions and connections from thinkers across the digital world available. Over time, we plan to add more content and contributors, as well as build in more capabilities to enable a deeper level of participation site visitors.

People featured are Chris Anderson (editor, Wired Magazine), Yochai Benkler (professor, Harvard University), Ron Conway (special partner, Baseline Ventures), Peter Diamandis (chairman & CEO, XPRIZE Foundation), Esther Dyson (chairman, EDventure Holdings), Dewayne Hendricks (CEO, Tetherless), Carl Hewitt (associate professor, MIT), David Hornik (partner, August Capital), Ari Jaaksi (VP of Maemo software, Nokia), Loic Le Meur (CEO, Seesmic), Jerry Michalski (consultant, Sociate), Leonard Shustek (chairman, Computer History Museum), and Vernor Vinge (science fiction author).

You can also browse the site (which contains many links to external content)

The site comes with its own YouTube channel and blog.

(via Nokia Conversations)

9 December 2008

The Situated Technologies project

Too smart city
A year ago I wrote about Adam Greenfield’s pamphlet Urban computing and its discontents.

Adam’s pamphlet was the firsts in a nine-part series that aims to explore the implications of ubiquitous computing for architecture and urbanism: How are our experience of the city and the choices we make in it affected by mobile communications, pervasive media, ambient informatics, and other “situated” technologies? How will the ability to design increasingly responsive environments alter the ways we conceive of space? What do architects need to know about urban computing, and what do technologists need to know about cities? How are these issues themselves situated within larger social, cultural, environmental, and political concerns?

Two other pamphlets have been published meanwhile:

Urban Versioning System 1.0
by Matthew Fuller and Usman Haque
What lessons can architecture learn from software development, and more specifically, from the Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) movement? Written in the form of a quasi-license, Urban Versioning System 1.0 posits seven constraints that, if followed, will contribute to an open source urbanism that radically challenges the conventional ways in which cities are constructed.

Situated Advocacy
A special double issue featuring the essays “Community Wireless Networks as Situated Advocacy” by Laura Forlano and Dharma Dailey, and “Suspicious Images, Latent Interfaces” by Benjamin Bratton and Natalie Jeremijenko.

They are part of Situated Technologies, a project by Omar Khan, Trebor Scholz, and Mark Shepard, is a co-production of the Center for Virtual Architecture, The Institute for Distributed Creativity (iDC), and the Architectural League of New York.

The project also organised a symposium and is planning a major exhibition in September 2009.

Architecture and Situated Technologies was a 3-day symposium in October 2006 that brought together researchers and practitioners from art, architecture, technology and sociology to explore the emerging role of “situated” technologies in the design and inhabitation of the contemporary city.

Participants at the symposium featured Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Richard Coyne, Michael Fox, Karmen Franinovic, Anne Galloway, Charlie Gere, Usman Haque, Peter Hasdell, Natalie Jeremijenko, Sheila Kennedy, Eric Paulos, and Kazys Varnelis. Videos are available online.

Situated Technologies: Toward the Sentient City is a major exhibition, curated by Mark Shepard and organized by the Architectural League of New York, that will imagine alternative trajectories for how various mobile, embedded, networked, and distributed forms of media, information and communication systems might inform the architecture of urban space and/or influence our behavior within it. It will examine the broader social, cultural, environmental and political issues within which the development of urban ubiquitous/pervasive computing is itself situated.

The exhibition will combine a survey of recent work that explores a wide range of context-aware, location-based and otherwise “situated” technologies with a series of commissioned projects by multi-disciplinary teams of architects and artists, including:

  • Too Smart City by Joo Youn Paek (artist and interaction designer, artist in residence, LMCC) and David Jimison (founder Mobile Technologies Group, Georgia Tech and Honorary Fellow, Eyebeam)
  • BREAKOUT! Escape from the Office by Anthony Townsend (research director, Technology Horizons Program, Institute for the Future), Tony Bacigalupo (co-founder, CooperBricolage), Georgia Borden (associate director, DEGW), Dennis Crowley (founder dodgeball.com), Laura Forlano (Kauffman Fellow in Law, Information Society Project, Yale Law School), Sean Savage (co-founder, PariSoMa) and Dana Spiegel (executive director, NYCwireless)
  • Natural Fuse by Haque Design + Research (led by Usman Haque)
  • Trash Track by MIT’s SENSEable City Lab (led by Carlo Ratti)
  • Amphibious Architecture by David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang (architects and co-directors, Living Architecture Lab, Columbia University), and Natalie Jeremijenko (artist, director, xdesign Environmental Health Clinic, New York University)

(via Fabien Girardin)