putting people first

by experientia
by experientia
6 July 2013

Cities are being redrawn according to Google’s world view

Be the first to share
putting people first
by experientia

In the second of two columns exploring the impact of digital culture on design, Sam Jacob looks at how Google Maps is reshaping cities while Apple, Facebook and Amazon are reshaping the natural landscape by building their own headquarters as self-contained ecosystems.

“Over the last year or so, many of the key digital behemoths have unveiled plans for new headquarters: the grand edifices that they choose to erect for themselves. These are the physical ecosystems inhabited by our digital ecosystems, and in these habitats we can read technology companies’ own ambitions and their own self images, and perhaps glimpse something of the distortions that digital culture brings to the world around us. […]

In designs for both the Apple and Facebook headquarters, the idea of nature is at once highly present and highly synthetic. It’s a level constructed above vast parking garages, quoted as experience and presented as mission statement. In both, there are echoes of the hippy pastoral techno-utopias of the 1960s, washed together with management theory and marketing. These are ideologies made glass and grass. […]

Proximity and loss of hierarchy are, in this headquarters, core issues. These reflect both the nature of digital work culture and the nature of the digital too. The absence of distance and constant adjacency is at once both the liberation that digital culture brings and the springboard for loss of liberty that Prism suggests. In architectural terms, we might understand this problem in terms of openness: the open plan and the curtain wall are simultaneously things that give us spatial transparency and a condition of panoptic surveillance.”

(If this topic fascinates you, also check out this fascinating piece by George Packer in the New Yorker on how Silicon Valley is transferring its slogans — and its money — to the realm of politics.)

Be the first to share
Related Article
31 January 2015
Privacy and human behavior in the age of information
Privacy and human behavior in the age of information Alessandro Acquisti, Laura Brandimarte and George Loewenstein (of Carnegie Mellon University) Science 30 January 2015: Vol. 347 no. 6221 pp. 509-514 This Review summarizes and draws connections between …
Related Article
27 January 2015
New Wikipedia page on “Design for behaviour change”
The new Wikipedia page on "Design for behaviour change" starts as follows: "Design for behaviour change is a sub-category of design, which is concerned with how design can shape, or be used to influence human behaviour. …
Related Article
18 January 2015
Texting is family glue for the 21st century
Recent research from the University of Kansas looks at the way technological advancements influence interpersonal communication, with a focus on familial relationships. The study tested whether the number of media used by families to interact …
Related Article
16 January 2015
Case study: Service innovation in the public sector
Case study: Service innovation in the public sector Service Design Network site This case study is based on a series of public sector projects commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with local governments in two …
Related Article
16 January 2015
Videos online of Service Design Global Conference 2014
On 7-8 October around 650 global thought leaders and practitioners from sectors such as hospitality, insurance, retail, telecommunications, finance, IT and healthcare gathered in Stockholm for the 7th Service Design Global Conference. Coming from 40+ …
Related Article
15 January 2015
Ezio Manzini’s introduction to design for social innovation
Design, When Everybody Designs - An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation By Ezio Manzini The MIT Press, 264 pages February 2015 In a changing world everyone designs: each individual person and each collective subject, from enterprises to …
Related Article
3 December 2014
The politics of the sharing economy
Trebor Scholz, Associate Professor for Culture and Media at The New School in New York, writes that he "support[s] peer production and sharing practices but [he is] vexed by attempts to subsume them into the …
Related Article
21 November 2014
Everyday rituals and digital tech in the families of mobile workers
Quotidian Ritual and Work-Life Balance: An Ethnography of Not Being There Jo-Anne Richard and Paulina Yurman (Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art) David Kirk and David Chatting (Culture Lab, Newcastle University) Paper presented at the …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

29 October 2014
Experientia at EPIC: UX transforming a financial institution

In September 2014 Experientia gave a presentation on working as UX professionals with financial institutions at the EPIC conference in New York. The paper is now available on the EPIC site in HTML and PDF versions (free registration req’d). Abstract Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition […]

See all articles