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


Search results for '"yaniv steiner"'
28 June 2007

Yaniv Steiner launches Wikipedia in Second Life

Brunel University
Say a term or a word, and the ring will search it in wikipedia, getting the information directly to your second life ear.

Yaniv Steiner, Experientia’s director of R&D, has been working (together with some of our other collaborators) on Feedamass, a new application that can take information from Wikipedia, Google Definitions, and what not, and send it in a clear text format to almost anything. In other words, you ask a question and Feedamass answers it immediately, e.g. as a text message on your mobile phone. Now it has been implemented in Second Life.

Feedamass, the “know-it-all” sidekick that fetches information to nearly any device, is also eligible to function on virtual spaces as well. Second Life, for instance. Its services might be needed not just in the real world, but habitantes of online communities, and their aliases, might also find it useful to have answers “whispered in their ears”.

From word definitions to encyclopedic entries, from “what’s ‘Gesundheit’ in spanish” to “how to change my avatar’s hair-style”, Simulated characters will surely encounter the necessity to know stuff. And just as people employ Feedamass to retrieve content as SMS to their mobile-phones, as an example, web entities might also like to send out for data, without leaving the screen.

Feedamass can manifest itself on different interfaces. It can be part of a toolbar, or a HUD (Head Up Display), just like it is able to take the form of a chatting contact on an IM application, or an E-mail address to where queries are sent.

- Read more
- View video

17 November 2006

Yaniv Steiner speaking on rapid prototyping at World Usability Day Italy

Michele Visciola introducing Yaniv Steiner
Last Tuesday people across the globe attended World Usability Day gatherings and events, an initiative promoted by a professional association called the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA).

Experientia partner Michele Visciola is the president of UPA-Italy, and in that capacity he organised the World Usability Day in Italy at the Bicocca University in Milan.

One of the speakers was Yaniv Steiner, Experientia’s director of R&D and the founder of Nastypixel which is a “prototyping sweatshop”. He has been teaching at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea and currently also lectures at the University of Architecture in Venezia and the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.

The audio of Yaniv’s presentation on rapid prototyping is online (in English, with a short Italian introduction by Michele Visciola in Italian) and so are his slides and a number of links.

Régine Debatty, who was also a speaker at the Milan event, has a nice profile of Yaniv on her blog we-make-money-not-art.

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.

9 December 2007

Cats, kids and experience design

The Marker
Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels was profiled last week in “The Marker“, Israel’s number one business and technology newspaper and part of the Haaretz media group. Below is the English translation by Saar Shai.
 

CATS, KIDS AND EXPERIENCE DESIGN

by Ora Coren

Either a mobile-phone, a computer or just a table – Jan-Christoph Zoels sees displays all around. With Italian company Experientia, he’s designing the future of the palm of your hand: smart and friendly.

He’s dynamic, vibrant, bursting energy and ideas, and no wonder he’s one of global industry’s hottest designers, especially in the technological front. Jan-Christoph Zoels’ resume is filled with leading, multi-national corporations as Hitachi, Sony, Samsung, Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent, Orange, Fiat, Vodafone, Telecom Italia and Ferrero.

Conversing with him leads to the inevitable conclusion that the future is in displays. It could be a computer-screen, a large table monitor or any electronic terminal (kiosk), but it seems that what really gets him excited are handheld displays. Everything becomes interactive, intuitive, anticipating users’ needs and doesn’t warrant an entire weekend of reading and memorising instructions and large manuals. For Zoels, the interface is the essence of design.

A smart and friendly interface, one that not just addresses needs, but also provides for a pleasant experience, would probably be the main motif in future industrial design, in every possible field. Evidently, ideas and products of his are presently assimilated among brand names such as Blackberry, Nokia and even the chocolate manufacturer Ferrero, and they are all high-tech. In the time he has left, he takes the time to invest in traditional crafts, such as pepper shaker designs – that age old instrument for grinding pepper, in a polished and colorful version – for the Italian Tre Spade, which is also a versatile company, with one department making household appliances while another making shift-gears for the international auto industry. There too, Experientia, where Zoels is a senior partner, remains devoted to the principle of experience, by designing also packages, communication pathways with consumers, and the brand’s web entity.

Zoels’ very noticeable German accent rely his origin. He finished his masters degree in Rhode Island School of Design. He has another masters degree in industrial design from the Berlin Art and Design Academy.

After spending some years in the US, head of the design department of Sony’s local branch, among other positions, he decided to go back to Europe with his family, and settle in one of the world’s design superpowers – Italy.

This week he arrived in Israel, along with Experientia’s head of R&D – Professor Yaniv Steiner, also residing in Italy. Steiner is considered the technological mastermind behind many of the company flag products and projects. The two conducted a series of lectures at Bezalel School of Art and Design, in a course named “Food and thoughts” led by Yaron Ronen and Steiner himself. The object of the course was to design interactive artifacts that will support social interactions.
 

Experientia – An attraction for Israelis

The Experientia staff includes 4 Israelis out of a total of 15 employees, destined to increase to 20 by the end of the fiscal year. One might therefore think that Israel is a considerable force of global design, although it is clearly not. Industrial design is not an integral part of Israeli industries, so it’s no wonder that prominent Israeli designers are forced to find their way into international companies.

Zoels offers Israelis, known as highly creative in programming, the possibility to take a substantial leap forward to a future that is just around the corner, and to be able to combine technological developments with focusing on the user’s perspective. That is, to evaluate the needs of the users, and find new approaches for making their lives easier and more efficient.

“Especially in Israel, which is known for its software, but not for its final design of applications,” says Zoels, “it is important to move the focus from the technological aspects of an application, to the people using it. Israelis need to progress to the stages of interface. This is a higher form of design. Academia should teach that in a combined and integrated way.

There are those who work in art and those who work in code. They should work together, side by side with sociologists and designers. An interdisciplinary step is required. Focusing on the service, not the just the product. “To think broadly,” he explains.

“This was the process that molded Experientia. Two years ago we decided to establish a company specialising in many fields, instead of just another design firm,” he adds. “We combine several proficiencies within one integrated proposal to our clients”.

“We spend a lot of time thinking about future trends, about the enjoyment of the user, about his current AND future needs, about the obstacles to usability and how design can eliminate those. Usually, designers focus on their process of creation. We get out inspiration from the issues the end-user faces.”

We produce a prototype relatively quickly, to allow us to test and assess ideas, and to check on potential profitability. We’re very fast and interactive. This is unique in this market.”

Usually, the process of design starts with a thousand ideas drained and ends with the one product on the market. R&D departments or academia narrow down the one thousand ideas into a hundred business opportunities. Traditionally, they also eventually reduce them to five that then get developed and tested before one is put on the market. We believe that if you can prototype these ideas quickly and cheaply and test them with potential consumers, it will be much easier to make a decision on how to best move forward. Our added value is that we offer 60%-80% certainty that the final product will indeed sell, because it is already based on experience with the consumers.”

“Most products we design are related to mobile technology, for companies such as Nokia, Swisscom, and others. The products under development are confidential and a time-span of two years is required for taking them to market.”

“One of the leading direction mobile devices are taking is joining advanced technologies and user-friendly interfaces. The combination of art and design is, in fact, the combination of need and enjoyment.”

“Art is the biggest skill in production, and this coincides with design. What is eventually produced is not only a product, but a pattern of behaviour. A way to allow new interactions between people, and between them and the product, that will fill previously unfulfilled needs.”
 

Seeing presence

“The next generation of mobile-phones will incorporate elements that are already widely available on the personal computer. In the near future we will see the presence of our conversation partners,” Zoels promises.

Exactly like MSN or Skype enable you to notice if someone is online of not, mobile communication would be just the same. Presence will require new interaction procedures. Usability will go from written text to sending mail messages and IMs. We will see who, from our contacts list, is online, and can be contacted. We will be able to see his condition, such as if he’s busy driving, and if he can answer, whether in writing or by voice.”

The design concentrates on the cognitive aspect: how to rely information and other interactions that technology supplies, in the simplest way possibility, and how to do that with the least effort from the user.

On Zoels’ mobile appears a collage of five pictures. “Through our research we found that people usually talk outside of work with no more than five contacts regularly,” he claims. Pressing one of the individual pictures enlarges it. If an X appears besides it, the contact is not available. If a V appears, communication is possible immediately. An additional batch of icons makes it possible to choose the type of communication, such as voice, message, text chat or music sharing.

We will also be able to accept requests on our mobile. For instance, when the picture of Catherine is blinking, it is a sign of an incoming message. An accompanying icon of a phone is a sign of an incoming call. The new mobile will inform us about the general location of the person we called, by cross-referencing three antennas in the vicinity.

The transition from film to digital data led Kodak to change its business model. Experientia is there to help them define their next generation services. Kodak founded kiosks to print pictures directly from the mobile-phone. “They have more than 90 thousand kiosks all over the world, in malls, photo stores and franchises in the US. In Europe they are based in electronics shops, providing the means to print swiftly and in high quality,” says Zoels.

“We conducted a research and discovered that people invest a lot of meaning into photographs. They want to make collages and albums, and add captions and comments. How is that seamlessly possible? This is the art — taking pictures and creatively composing something new,” Zoels continues.

“For example, whoever wants to make a collage from pictures of his cat and children, on his mobile-phone, would be able to access a new Kodak kiosk and personally create it, by moving the pictures from side to side, modifying their size, cropping… and virtually anything he can think of. It will be possible to add text, choose a background, and much more, in a process called Multitouch.” The new product is destined to reach the market in twelve months.

Even the Kinder eggs surprise toy, from Ferrero, will be upgraded and will no longer be just a lifeless plastic. Abiding to confidentiality, Zoels replies in suggestive questions. “Will the toy be just plastic, or embody interactivity? Maybe it will respond to hear or touch?” The product will most likely be connected to a computer or a mobile-phone, where it will be possible to control it.
 

Ecology in fashion

Another trend in design is ecology. The aforementioned pepper shakers, for example, are manufactured in an ecologically friendly manner. “In the United States, it is mandatory to enter the market with a story, a narrative on that. The number of ecologically aware costumers is rising. Those are 30-40 years-olds with money, not looking for plastic from China, but for a nice present for a friend. How do you infuse value with attractiveness? With an ecological fingerprint,” says Zoels.

A new development by Steiner was presented at a European art fair and attracted a lot of attention. Deutsche Telekom already turned to Experientia to further test the application.

The development is based on a large, inner-lit table, which is entirely an interface. The user places and moves his hands above it, and pictures from exhibition catalogues appear on the screen. Kids and adults activated the table without any need for written instructions.

When speaking of future trends, it is impossible to ignore social networks such as Facebook. Zoels is convinced that those too will find their way to mobiles that will gradually become more like laptops and less like phones.

In other words, the small screen and advanced technologies are about to become very dominant in our lives. To those afraid of new technologies, there’s also good news in this prediction. The industrial designers will make sure that even users not accustomed to high-tech will receive a friendly interface, without complicated and unnecessary applications, and might even enjoy it.

4 September 2007

People regularly featured on this blog

In alphabetical order:

A
Marko Ahtisaari
Ken Anderson

B
Nik Baerten
Genevieve Bell
Chris Bernard
Tim Berners-Lee
Ralf Beuker
Nina Boesch
Danah Boyd
Stefana Broadbent
Tyler Brûlé
Bill Buxton

C
Jan Chipchase
Hilary Cottam
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Alistair Curtis

D
Uday Dandavate
Liz Danzico
Regine Debatty
Paul Dourish

E
Jyri Engeström
Richard Eisermann

G
Jesse James Garrett
Fabien Girardin
Anand Giridharadas
Bruno Giussani
Adam Greenfield

H
Laurent Haug

I
Mizuko Ito

J
Bob Jacobson
Matt Jones

K
Jonathan Kestenbaum
Anne Kirah
Dirk Knemeyer
Jon Kolko
Mike Kuniavsky

L
Loïc Lemeur
Dan Lockton
Victor Lombardi

M
Nico Macdonald
John Maeda
Ranjit Makkuni
Ezio Manzini
Roger Martin
Stefano Marzano
Simona Maschi
Bruce Mau
Grant McCracken
Jess McMullin
Peter Merholz
Crysta Metcalf
Bill Moggridge
Peter Morville
Ulla-Maaria Mutanen

N
Jakob Nielsen
Donald Norman
Nicolas Nova
Bruce Nussbaum

P
Steve Portigal

R
Carlo Ratti
Howard Rheingold
Louis Rosenfeld
Stephen Rustow

S
Dan Saffer
Nathan Shedroff
Jared Spool
Yaniv Steiner
Bruce Sterling

T
John Thackara

V
Marco van Hout
Rob van Kranenburg
Mark Vanderbeeken
Joannes Vandermeulen
Jeffrey Veen
Timo Veikkola
Michele Visciola
Eric von Hippel

W
Tricia Wang
Luke Wroblewski

Z
Paola Zini
Jan-Christoph Zoels

8 November 2006

Experientia shows gesture-based interface at international art fair

Artissima
At Artissima, the international fair of contemporary art in Torino, visitors are able to use simple hand and arm gestures to browse a visual catalogue of recent art work exhibited at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, an important museum in the city.

The technology is based on sophisticated gesture recognition, while the end-result for the visitor is a radically simple content navigation system in which the images are projected on a large screen, and interaction is performed via nothing but a flat luminous surface.

The project was developed by Jan-Christoph Zoels, Yaniv Steiner and Ofer Luft of Experientia, the Turin-based international experience design consultancy.

A prototype of the gesture-based interface was previously used to navigate Google Earth and to guide club dancing during a music rave. The various interfaces are all based on the smartRetina™ technology, which provides the designer with a programmable “eye”, allowing him to easily design new experiences and interactions which do not require a tangible interface.

YouTube video

5 October 2006

World Usability Day on 14 November – major event in Milan

World Usability Day
The Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) organises on 14 November 2006 its second global World Usability Day, with events in more than one hundred cities around the world.

The World Usability Day event in Italy, which is also aimed at a non-specialised audience, will take place at the University of Bicocca in Milan on 14 November from 10am to 2pm. The aim is to share a design culture that puts people and usability at the centre of innovation. In particular, the day will focus on two themes:

  • How prototypes can promote usability – with speakers Yaniv Steiner (software prototyping specialist), Daniele Galiffa (3D user experience specialist), Prof. Roberto Polillo (HCI and prototyping specialist) and Roberto Giolito (Advanced Design Manager at the FIAT Group).
     
  • Integrating usability and creativity to achieve ‘pleasure of use’: with speakers Régine Debatty (we-make-money-not-art), Giovanni Padula (founder of CityO and Creativity Group Europe), Jan-Christoph Zoels (user experience designer and Experientia co-founder), Prof. Giorgio De Michelis (computer science) and Prof. Sebastiano Bagnara (cognitive psychology).

The Italian event is sponsored by Experientia and organised by Experientia’s president Michele Visciola, who is also the president of the UPA-Italy chapter, member of the editorial board of UPA’s User Experience Magazine, and author of a recent Italian book on web site usability.

During the event, which will be moderated by Visciola, Matteo Penzo will present the UXNet network.

More information can be found on www.webusabile.it.

27 July 2006

Experientia talk: “Innovation in Museum Design” by Arch. Stephen Rustow

Stephen Rustow
Last week Experientia organised a talk on the current trends in museum design by the architect Stephen Rustow.

From 1983 to 1995, Rustow was lead planner, programmer and senior designer on the expansion and reorganisation of the Louvre Museum in Paris with I. M. Pei & Partners. From 1999 he led the work on the renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, in association with Taniguchi Associates in Tokyo. He is now the founding principal of SRA, a specialised multidisciplinary consulting practice working with museums, private collections and architects to plan, programme and design the presentation of cultural collections.

Stephen Rustow used the MoMA and Louvre examples as illustrations of the main models in contemporary museum design:

“The one model is the idea of ‘bringing the merchants into the temple’, so bringing the retail, the restaurants, the sales, the parties to the museum in order to sustain the art activity. The other version is to take the art out of the temple and to make the temple void and to create a kind of ‘Kunsthalle’, where the museum does not exist as a repository of a collection, but as a space where shows are made and things are constantly renewed.”

“This has brought us in a contradiction. On the one hand you have examples such as the Louvre and the MoMA which are subsidising their art and art collecting activity by bringing in other cultural and non-cultural activities to the museum, and on the other hand buildings which were historically built as museum, but have essentially been emptied of their collections in order to renew themselves each time.”

At the end of Stephen Rustow’s 25 minute talk, Jan-Christoph Zoels and Yaniv Steiner of Experientia briefly presented some examples of playful and tangible interfaces and learning environments in museum and exhibition contexts.

The selected group of invitees were all people involved with museum design, museum management and cultural policy in Torino, who are now facing the challenge of maintaining the cultural and urban momentum the city gained during the recent Winter Olympics also in the years to come, especially in view of its selection as the 2008 World Capital of Design and the planned celebrations for the 150th birthday of the unification of Italy in 2011.

Watch Stephen Rustow presentation: part 1part 2part 3