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Posts in category 'Prototype'

16 April 2010

Tales of Things

Go Fish
Tales of Things is a new tool that allows people to attach memories to their objects in the form of video, text or audio, thus “exploring the implications of The Internet of Things (network of objects that are traceable at anytime) on objects that already exist in the world.”

The people behind it are part of the TOTeM research consortium – a collaboration between Edinburgh College of Art, Brunel University, University College London, University Of Dundee and University of Salford – and here some of their launching statements:

tales of things is an exciting new tool that allows users to attach memories to their objects in the form of video, text or audio. Users can quickly “tag” their objects by using QR codes or RFID with stories and connect to other people who share similar experiences. This will enable future generations to have a greater understanding of the object‟s past and offers a new way of preserving social history. tales of things will depend on real people‟s stories which can be geo-located through an on-line map of the world where participants can track their object even if they have passed it on. The object will also be able to update previous owners on its progress through a live Twitter feed which will be unique to each object entered into the system. The website (www.talesofthings.com) and iPhone application will be available from 16 April 2010.

The project will offer a new way for people to place more value on their own objects in an increasingly disposable economy. As more importance is placed on the objects that are already parts of people‟s lives, it is hoped that family or friends may find new uses for old objects and encourage people to think twice before throwing something away.”

It seems to be still very much a research project not yet thought for actual rollout. I found the repeated use of the word “users” in the press release a bit disturbing and pedantic, and found no answer to the question how this “preserving” will actually take place: how are they going to assure that future generations (i.e. people growing up in the 2030′s and 2060′s) will still have access to all this info? Will Twitter still be around in 2060?

13 March 2010

Guardian supplement on service design

Service design
The Guardian, one of the leading UK newspapers, has publish an eight-page supplement on service design (pdf) – subtitled “Design innovation in the public and private sector – in association with the Service Design Network (that Experientia is a member of).

“Service design is a relatively new discipline that asks some fundamental questions: what should the customer experience be like? What should the employee experience be like? How does a company remain true to its brand, to its core business assets and stay relevant to customers?

Design is a highly pragmatic discipline. That is why it is of such interest to business: it gets results. But if at its heart lies the idea of experience, then, as this supplement shows, the methods and ideas behind service design can equally be applied to the public sector. We reveal how service methods can help design experiences that are more efficient and more effective.

We also take a look at developments in sustainability for transport and water systems, as well as at changes in the voluntary sector, where the question: “Can design help change the world?” is increasingly gaining relevance.”

Articles cover service innovation management in major industries, service reform in the public sector, sustainability in the financial sector, car design as service ecosystem design, environmental design and social innovation. Much attention is devoted to methodology. Also included are interviews with Dan Pink (author), Joe Ferry (Virgin Atlantic) and others.

1 March 2010

New social innovation lab at Darden business school

Darden i.Lab
(From a Darden press release)

On March 19 the Darden School of Business [Charlottesville, VA, USA] and the Batten Institute [an academic research center of the business school] will launch Darden’s new innovation laboratory, or i.Lab, a state-of-the-art learning environment that inspires a new approach to teaching innovation and entrepreneurship. [...]

“In contrast to many traditional business-school offerings, the i.Lab provides experiential, team-based and collaborative learning opportunities, such as a design-based studio where students can transform concepts and ideas into physical prototypes,” said Elizabeth O’Halloran, Managing Director, Batten Institute. [...]

The Innovation Lab, or “i.Lab,” at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, is a unique physical learning environment rooted in multidisciplinary thinking and informed by ethnographic, anthropological, and other methodologies traditionally used in the social sciences.

Read press release

21 January 2010

Urban sensing via mobile phones, an ARUP project

CityRail
Arup Australasia has published a three-part technical overview on its research blog of its ‘urban sensing via mobile phones’ project.

The research project, in collaboration with the UTS Centre for Real-Time Information Networks, explores technical approaches to sensing the presence of mobile phones in transit environments (bus, train, ferry etc.) as well as pedestrians, in order to provide real-time data on such activity, potentially informing urban planning and transport planning decisions. Such approaches might reveal how the city is being used, in real-time.

Disclosure: Experientia is working with Arup on the Low2No project in Helsinki, Finland.

ApproachHardwareSensing

17 December 2009

Mag+, a concept video on the future of digital magazines

Mag+
Bonnier R&D, the research unit of Bonnier, the publisher of Popular Science, invited the designers from BERG London on a corporate collaborative research project into the experience of reading magazines on handheld digital devices.

“The concept aims to capture the essence of magazine reading, which people have been enjoying for decades: an engaging and unique reading experience in which high-quality writing and stunning imagery build up immersive stories.

The concept uses the power of digital media to create a rich and meaningful experience, while maintaining the relaxed and curated features of printed magazines. It has been designed for a world in which interactivity, abundant information and unlimited options could be perceived as intrusive and overwhelming.”

Watch video prototype

18 November 2009

Book: Prototyping, a practitioner’s guide

Prototyping
Prototyping
A Practitioner’s Guide to Prototyping
By Todd Zaki Warfel
Rosenfeld Media, November 2009
Available in paperback and digital package (1-933820-21-7), digital (PDF) editions (ISBN 1-933820-22-5)

Prototyping is a great way to communicate the intent of a design both clearly and effectively. Prototypes help you to flesh out design ideas, test assumptions, and gather real-time feedback from users.

With this book, Todd Zaki Warfel shows how prototypes are more than just a design tool by demonstrating how they can help you market a product, gain internal buy-in, and test feasibility with your development team.

Prototyping is available in two packages: a full color paperback plus a screen-optimized DRM-free PDF, and a digital package (two DRM-free PDFs: one screen-optimized, and one for printing yourself). An EPUB version is on the way as well.

Testimonials | illustrations

13 October 2009

Philips Design and ABN AMRO create emotion mirroring system for online traders

Rationalizer
Philips Design and ABN AMRO’s Dialogues Incubator cooperate to create the ‘Rationalizer’ concept, an emotion sensing system targeted at serious home investors who trade online.

It acts as an ‘emotion mirror’ in which the intensity of the user’s feelings is reflected.

Research shows that home investors do not act purely rationally: their behavior is influenced by emotions, most notably fear and greed, which can compromise their ability to take an objective, factual stance.

This insight led to the Rationalizer concept in which online traders are alerted when it may be wise to take a time-out, wind down and re-consider their actions.

Read full story

4 October 2009

It’s brand new, but make it sound familiar

Horseless carriage
When companies develop innovative products that don’t obviously fit within established categories, managers need to help people understand what they are. However what category you place something in has a huge influence on how you view its basic properties. Mary Tripsas reports in the New York Times.

“Depending upon what cues they are given, people will place the same item in different categories.

In management, these traits imply that companies can benefit by using comparisons to create expectations that best match an innovation’s strengths. [...]

Finding the right label is only one of the many ways organizations can influence the way consumers categorize a product. They can also experiment with the product’s shape, packaging, pricing and retail store placement.”

Read full story

16 September 2009

Mayo Clinic’s Transform symposium on innovations in health care experience

Transform
This week the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation hosted Transform, a collaborative symposium on innovations in health care experience and delivery.

The symposium, which featured over twenty presenters, was structured in six sessions — Redefining Roles, Policy Perspectives, Enabling Technologies, Alternative Models and How We Pay for Them, Content – Community – Commerce – Care and Choices, and Designing for Social Change.

Videos of all talks are already online.

The last session on Designing for Social Change focused on “Design Thinking — an approach that produces innovations from thoughtful, experiential, participatory research. Innovating in response to human need is what designers have done for centuries. Recently, these master innovators are lending their talents to the design of health care; this segment gave a few examples of what has worked, what hasn’t, and what’s on the drawing boards.”

Speakers included Maggie Breslin (SPARC Design Group / Mayo Clinic), Tim Brown (IDEO), Larry Keeley (Doblin, Inc.), Karl Ronn (Procter & Gamble), and Christi Dining Zuber (Kaiser Permanente).

30 August 2009

The good enough revolution: when cheap and simple is just fine

good enough
For years, the experience design community has been using the term ‘good enough prototyping’. Wired UK argues quite convincingly that this approach is now moving into product design:

“Cheap, fast, simple tools are suddenly everywhere. We get our breaking news from blogs, we make spotty long-distance calls on Skype, we watch video on small computer screens rather than TVs, and more and more of us are carrying around dinky, low-power netbook computers that are just good enough to meet our surfing and emailing needs. The low end has never been riding higher.” [...]

“As more sectors connect to the digital world, from medicine to the military, they too are seeing the rise of Good Enough tools like the Flip. Suddenly what seemed perfect is anything but, and products that appear mediocre at first glance are often the perfect fit.”

Read full story

24 August 2009

Predicting what mobile phones will do for us next

Breathe
Cambridge Design Partnership and Instrata, a Cambridge-based user experience specialist, recently teamed up to approach mobile communications innovation from the experience of the consumer.

More in particular, the team developed some ideas into new device and service concepts focussing on three key areas: the tactile experience, personalisation and practical enhancements.

Breathe
Breathe is a phone that comes alive – it is responsive, tactile and highly personal. Mobiles go everywhere with us; they have become accessories; and they have the potential to offer enormous pleasure through their physical expression. Breathe is a concept that responds to the need to produce a more emotional experience. Breathe recognises and responds to friends calling, the music playing, new pictures, and people’s own touch. It is perfectly weighted and shaped to fit in the palm of our hand, with colour changes, ripple effects and vibrations bringing it to life. It responds to who we are and comes alive with everything we do.

Choice
Choice gives people options every time they take a phone out with them. They can take a larger handset, which has all the features packed in and is ready to go for a day at work. Or they can select a smaller handset, which they can pop into their top pocket for a trip to the shops or into a clutch bag on a night out. The Choice Sync Station keeps their handsets synchronized with contacts and data while providing simple services such as automated backup and recharge. All handsets stay charged with up to date phonebooks ready to go when you are.

SeeUs
A video call from a mobile is so difficult to make that many people never bother. Holding a phone out with the camera trained on your face while the caller at the other end does the same, is both tricky and uncomfortable. The SeeUs clamshell phone makes it easier by simply adding more stop positions to its hinge to allow the phone to act as a tripod for its cameras. It gives people the option to set the phone on a surface for shake-free imaging and an effortless call and offers an integrated handsfree kit.

Read full story

21 July 2009

Elsevier announces the “Article of the Future”

Article of the Future
According to an Elsevier press release, the ew article prototype introduces non-linear structure, enhanced graphical navigation, and integrated multimedia.

“Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announces the ‘Article of the Future’ project, an ongoing collaboration with the scientific community to redefine how a scientific article is presented online. The project takes full advantage of online capabilities, allowing readers individualized entry points and routes through content, while exploiting the latest advances in visualization techniques.

The Article of the Future launches its first prototypes this week, revealing a new approach to presenting scientific research online. The key feature of the prototypes is a hierarchical presentation of text and figures so that readers can elect to drill down through the layers based on their current task in the scientific workflow and their level of expertise and interest. This organizational structure is a significant departure from the linear-based organization of a traditional print-based article in incorporating the core text and supplemental material within a single unified structure. [...]

The prototypes have been developed by the editorial, production and IT teams at Cell Press in collaboration with Elsevier’s User Centered Design group using content from two previously published Cell articles. They can be viewed online where Elsevier and Cell Press are inviting feedback from the scientific community on the concepts and implementations. Successful ideas from this project will ultimately be rolled-out across Elsevier’s portfolio of 2,000 journals available on ScienceDirect.”

Read full story

>> Read also this reflection by ReadWriteWeb on the matter

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

18 July 2009

Book: Human-Computer Interaction – Development Process

Human-Computer Interaction
Human-Computer Interaction: Development Process
(Series: Human Factors and Ergonomics)
by Andrew Sears and Julie A. Jacko (Editors)
CRC Press, March 2, 2009
Hardcover, 356 pages
AmazonGoogle Books Preview

Hailed on first publication as a compendium of foundational principles and cutting-edge research, The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook has become the gold standard reference in this field. Derived from select chapters of this groundbreaking resource, Human-Computer Interaction: The Development Practice addresses requirements specification, design and development, and testing and evaluation activities. It also covers task analysis, contextual design, personas, scenario-based design, participatory design, and a variety of evaluation techniques including usability testing, inspection-based and model-based evaluation, and survey design.

The book includes contributions from eminent researchers and professionals from around the world who, under the guidance of editors Andrew Sear and Julie Jacko, explore visionary perspectives and developments that fundamentally transform the discipline and its practice.

Table of contents:
User Experience and HCI, Mike Kuniavsky
Requirements Specifications within the Usability Engineering Lifecycle, Deborah J. Mayhew
Task Analysis, Catherine Courage, Janice (Genny) Redish, and Dennis Wixon
Contextual Design, Karen Holtzblatt
An Ethnographic Approach to Design, Jeanette Blomberg, Mark Burrel
Putting Personas to Work: Using Data-Driven Personas to Focus Product Planning, Design and Development, Tamara Adlin and John Pruitt
Prototyping Tools and Techniques, Michel Beaudouin-Lafon and Wendy E. Mackay
Scenario-based Design, Mary Beth Rosson and John M. Carroll
Participatory Design: The Third Space in HCI, Michael J. Muller
Unified User Interface Development: New Challenges and Opportunities, Anthony Savidis and Constantine Stephanidis
HCI and Software Engineering: Designing for User Interface Plasticity, Jöelle Coutaz and Gäelle Calvary
Usability Testing: Current Practice and Future Directions, Joseph S. Dumas and Jean E. Fox
Survey Design and Implementation in HCI, A. Ant Ozok
Inspection-based Evaluation, Gilbert Cockton, Alan Woolrych, and Darryn Lavery
Model-Based Evaluation, David Kieras

Ethnographers at Microsoft: A Review of Human-Computer Interaction: Development Process
Book review by Ronald J. Chenail

Qualitative researchers and those with qualitative inquiry skills are finding tremendous employment opportunities in the world of technology design and development. Because of their abilities to observe and understand the experiences of end users in human-computer interactions, these researchers are helping companies using Contextual Design to create the next generation of products with the users clearly in mind.

In Human-Computer Interaction: Development Process, the new edited book by Andrew Sears and Julie Jacko, the authors describe an array of models and methods incorporating qualitative research concepts and procedures that are being used in technology today and can have great potential tomorrow for qualitative researchers working in fields and settings outside of business and technology.

14 July 2009

For Uganda’s poor, a cellular connection

Banana query
In a country where people don’t have electricity, much less Internet access, the Grameen Foundation partners with Google to relay information through mobile phones. Dara Kerr reports from on the ground for CNet:

“The research for this project began a year and a half ago at the Application Laboratory, AppLab, which was set up in Kampala, Uganda, by the Grameen Foundation. It has done field research, quantitative needs assessments, prototyping, and focus group testing to figure out how to design and structure mobile applications that could deliver the information.

Since most cell phones in Uganda have only voice and SMS capabilities, the technology was built for SMS. A person texts a question to a specific code, which goes to the database built by AppLab, then using Google’s algorithms, keywords are identified and the most suitable answer is sent back to the cell phone. ” [...]

“For the next few months, there is a promotional period and all texts are free, which helps AppLab continue to build its database of queries. When the promotional period ends, MTN and Google have agreed to charge agriculture and health queries at half the cost of a normal SMS message, while all the other services will have the standard rates. Meanwhile, Google will be supporting an on-the-ground assessment to make sure these services are having a beneficial impact for the people of Uganda.”

Read full story

10 July 2009

Augmenting Venice

Locast
The MIT Mobile Experience Laboratory has just published a recent project about location-based media, focusing on how the future of mobile contents are related to the physical environment. The project, Locast, was made in collaboration with RAI New Media in Italy.

Locast is an innovative platform for sharing and discovering location-based user-generated videos and production quality multimedia content provided by RAI New media. It consists of a combination of Mobile and Wearable Computing elements supported by a distributed Web application.

Locast seeks to shift the innovation from the wide-spread concept of Web 2.0 to the promising framework of Space 2.0 that keeps the physical and social characteristics of the Italian cities and augment them with the potential offered by pervasive computing.

MIT MEL ran a user test in Venice (Italy) during the days between July 2 and July 10, 2009.

18 June 2009

We are all hackers now (ctd.)

Open source hardware
In my ongoing exploration of the theme “we are all hackers now” (also the title of a talk I will give on 29 June in Brussels), I once again found quite a lot of recently published supporting material.

We build the parts, you build the product
The creator of Zoybar, an open-source hardware platform that lets anyone invent their own instrument, talks about “decentralized innovation.”

Neil Gershenfeld (MIT) on the future of invention
By digitizing not just the communication of ideas but also the fabrication of things, the campus can now effectively come to the student.

Future of Open Source: Collaborative Culture and Hardware Hacking
Douglas Wok talks on the new open source culture, in which anyone with an internet connection can make their creations available to the public, unmediated by the old gatekeepers of mass media, whereas Ryan Paul discusses what the open source movement will generate now that it is extending its reach to the hardware industry.

The Repair Manifesto
The Dutch art collective Platform21 introduces The Repair Manifesto, which “opposes throwaway culture and celebrates repair as the new recycling.”
(via Design Observer)

Now think what all this could mean in emerging markets:

UN and HP bring technology training to youth in Africa and Middle East
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the technology company HP announced today the opening of 20 training centres in Africa and the Middle East to expand youth entrepreneurship and information technology education.

And finally there is the truly unbeatable video Arduino the Cat, Breadboard the Mouse and Cutter the Elephant, which I posted about a month ago on Core77.

5 June 2009

Public design projects by Participle

Participle
The site of Participle, a UK social design consultancy, contains some good materials on the design of the next generation of public services.

Only the Lonely: Public Service Reform, the Individual and the State
Article to be published in the forthcoming issue of Soundings.
In 2008, Participle worked with a diverse group of over 200 older people and their families in Westminster and Southwark. We spent time in their homes, going shopping with them, helping with the odd job and introducing them to one another, gaining insight into how individuals and families see themselves, their aspirations, their dreams.
The aim of our work was to ensure a rich third age, one that every citizen, regardless of income level or assets might live: a life less ordinary. Specifically, in Southwark our goal was the design of a new universal service that might be replicated nationally – supporting older people to live in a way of their choosing as they age. In Westminster our work has been more closely focused, we have worked only with those who define themselves as lonely, the majority of whom are over 80 and housebound with the goal of facilitating rich social lives.
This article briefly tells the story of this work, the affordable solutions we have designed and the nascent lessons for how we might re-think a welfare state, its relationship to individuals and most importantly of all to wider social bonds.

Video postcards from a town called Thriving
After an intensive 3 months of discovery and an even more intensive month of idea development Reach out is now entering the prototyping phase. We’ve developed a vision of a ‘youth development service’ based in a fictional town called Thriving. A town where young people and adults take part in loops of doing, sampling and reflective experiences.
(Very nice example of low-fi experience prototyping!)

Employability – the Bev 4.0 Way
It is time for a radical re-think that makes new vertical connections between the British people and a macro vision of our future economy. And new horizontal connections between skills, apprenticeships, learning and work.
Imagine a service that starts from where you are, visualises where you want to be and then supports you to plot a path – bringing modern and personal techniques to bear.

30 May 2009

Inside MAYA Design’s innovation boot camps

Prototype glucose meter
How a little lab called MAYA is giving firms such as Emerson and General Dynamics an innovation boost. Fast Company reports.

“MAYA Design is juicing innovation by teaching techies design basics.

The 50-member team of computer scientists, psychologists, designers, engineers, and anthropologists dedicates 30% of its resources to researching how humans and technology will interact 10 years from now, thanks in part to $20 million in funding from the Department of Defense. The other 70% goes to applying those lessons for MAYA’s corporate clients, helping to craft everything from washing machines to wearable computers for companies including Bayer, GE, and Whirlpool.”

Read full story

29 May 2009

Tinkering to the future

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, researcher director at the Institute for the Future, is working on a book on the end of cyberspace – which he thinks will come as the internet moves off desktops and screens and becomes embedded in things, spaces and minds. So what lies beyond cyberspace, he asks in an essay he wrote for Vodafone’s Receiver magazine. We might find out if we tinker hard enough …

“Tinkering is growing in importance as a social movement, as a way of relating to technology and as a source of innovation. Tinkering is about seizing the moment: it is about ad-hoc learning, getting things done, innovation and novelty, all in a highly social, networked environment.

What is interesting is that at its best, tinkering has an almost Zen-like sense of the present: its ‘now’ is timeless. It is neither heedless of the past or future, nor is it in headlong pursuit of immediate gratification. Tinkering offers a way of engaging with today’s needs while also keeping an eye on the future consequences of our choices. And the same technological and social trends that have made tinkering appealing seem poised to make it even more pervasive and powerful in the future. Today we tinker with things; tomorrow, we will tinker with the world.”

Read full story

(In short, we are all hackers now).