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Search results for 'maeda'
4 March 2013

John Maeda on our life in 2020

 

In 2020 we might just regain some of the humanity that was lost in 2010, argues John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

“The software industry is poised to embrace its craft heritage. By 2020 software will return to a cottage industry, with bespoke applications made by many, rather than today’s industrialized, Microsoft-esque mass-production and distribution model. It will be part of a larger world movement to make things by hand, infused with emotion and integrity. This phenomenon is already becoming visible in the rise of the “apps” market for mobile phones. With few dominant players and close-to-zero distribution costs, practically anyone can “ship” an app on the iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. These apps are often built with care and attention to the design that big companies’ offerings lack. Look at the exquisite quality made by game companies like Iconfactory; or the many iPhone apps like ToonPaint that focus on letting users make “hand-crafted” creative content on their phones.

Rather than be content to accept corporate anonymity, we will rediscover the value of authorship. In 2020 technology will continue to enable individual makers to operate in the same way that once only large corporations could do.”

Too optimistic?

1 August 2012

Don Norman: John Maeda and I failed to connect

phpThumb_generated_thumbnail

As part of its Power of 10 lecture series, PARC Forum invited John Maeda, President of the Rhode Island School of Design, and Don Norman, Co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, last week for a dialogue on design and innovation.

The video is now online.

Here is what Don Norman had to write about it:

“It was a weird discussion. Although John and I have known each other for some time and started out in similar ways (he is a course 6 graduate of MIT — Electrical Engineering). So am I (my specialty was circuit design.) Both of us now consider ourselves to be designers. Moreover, I am a fan of his work. But it was difficult to engage.

I wanted to talk about complex design: interaction design, design planning, etc. He wanted to talk about the beauty of fonts, of knives, and even of the office chair. I tried to say these were simple products that barely needed any understanding of human behavior and cognition — I want to design the complex. He didn’t understand my point. In fact, when I specifically asked him how to design a networking connection scheme that would work for everyday people his answer was a long ramble that never even started to address the issue. Later, he admitted he had forgotten the question (which to me is evidence he either failed to understand it or didn’t care about it – I think the latter).

I agreed that form was not my focus. I guess he agreed that interaction was not his.

So we failed to connect. But many seemed to find the discussion of interest. Decide for yourself.”

25 May 2009

John Maeda designs technology’s human side

John Maeda
On Fora.TV you can find a video of RISD president John Maeda’s talk at O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 expo, where he discusses people participation processes at RISD.

Watch video

18 July 2007

John Maeda interviewed on NPR’s Talk of the Nation

John Maeda
John Maeda is a world-renowned graphic designer, artist, and computer scientist at the MIT Media Laboratory. He has pioneered the use of the computer for people of all ages and skills to create art, and is [since recently] a strong voice for “simplicity” in the digital age – as e.g. demonstrated by his blog, his book “The Laws of Simplicity“, and his engagement in the Philips Simplicity Advisory Board.

Maeda, who holds the E. Rudge and Nancy Allen Professorship of Media Arts and Sciences and is Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Laboratory, just got interviewed on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. Opening question: “What makes a tool or a gadget a pleasure to use?”

Listen to interview

(via metacool)

13 September 2005

John Maeda’s insight on simplicity [Business Week]

Maeda
John Maeda, professor at MIT Media Lab, argues in this short article that good design gives users just enough, but not too much, information — once knowledge is gleaned, attention moves easily on to a larger task.

Read full story

16 June 2011

Open Source Architecture (OSArc)

Domus
Domus Magazine has published an op-ed advocating a different approach to designing space – to succeed the single-author model – that includes tools from disparate sources to create new paradigms for thinking and building

The contributors included Paola Antonelli (MoMA), Adam Bly (Seed Media Group), Lucas Dietrich, Joseph Grima (Domus Magazine), Dan Hill (Sitra), John Habraken, Alex Haw (Atmos Studio), John Maeda (RISD), Nicholas Negroponte, Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery), Carlo Ratti (MIT), Casey Reas (UCLA), Marco Santambrogio (MIT), Mark Shepard (Sentient City), Chiara Somajni (Il Sole 24 Ore) and Bruce Sterling.

“Open Source Architecture (OSArc) is an emerging paradigm describing new procedures for the design, construction and operation of buildings, infrastructure and spaces. Drawing from references as diverse as open-source culture, avant-garde architectural theory, science fiction, language theory, and others, it describes an inclusive approach to spatial design, a collaborative use of design software and the transparent operation throughout the course of a building and city’s life cycle.”

Read article

11 April 2010

Your life in 2020

2020
Forbes Magazine, in collaboration with Frog Design, has been looking at what the future in 2020 might look like in a range of areas: computer, choice, classroom, commute, home, job, diet, health and reputation.

Some articles are clearly more inspired (and less technology and US-centered) than others. Many scenarios are far too optimistic, and I miss some broader socio-economic and environmental analysis. What could be the real consequences of privacy concerns, crime, cultural differences, war, climate change, overpopulation or poverty in all this?

Here is for instance a quote from one of the scenarios (about social networking in 2020) that, when thinking about it, would open up a huge range of privacy and security problems, none of which are acknowledged or addressed:

“The virtual display could be used to illustrate relationships between a group of people. A husband and wife might be linked by a thin glowing tether. Flowchart arrows could indicate if one person is another’s boss. Even former friends–people who were once connected but severed ties–could be identified with broken chains or angry lightning bolts.”

This lack of broader contextualisation makes the whole exercise somewhat naive and superficial. That said, here are my preferred pieces (with Steve McCallion’s one – addressing some of the issues mentioned above – my personal number one):

Your life in 2020
by John Maeda, president of RISD
In 2020 we might just regain some of the humanity that was lost in 2010.

“So, what will take technology’s place? It begins with art, design and you: Products and culture that are made by many individuals, made by hand, made well, made by people we trust, and made to capture some of the nuances and imperfections that we treasure in the physical world. It may just feel like we’ve regained some of what we’ve lost in 2010.”

Your computer in 2020
by Mark Rolston, chief creative officer at Frog Design
Traditional computers are disappearing; human beings themselves are becoming information augmented

“When computing becomes deeply integrated into our knowing, our thinking, our decision processes, our bodies and even our consciousness, we are forever changed. We are becoming augmented. Our first and second lives will be forever entwined.”

Transportation in 2020
by Steve McCallion, executive creative director at Ziba Design
In 10 years, your commute will be short, cheap and, dare we say, fun.

“In 2020 a new generation will emerge from a period of frugality into one of resourcefulness and resilience. Americans will start searching for transportation solutions that are smarter, healthier, slower and more social.”

The classroom in 2020
by George Kembel, cofounder and executive director of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design
The next decade will bring an end to school as we know it.

“In 2020 we will see an end to the classroom as we know it. The lone professor will be replaced by a team of coaches from vastly different fields. Tidy lectures will be supplanted by messy real-world challenges. Instead of parking themselves in a lecture hall for hours, students will work in collaborative spaces, where future doctors, lawyers, business leaders, engineers, journalists and artists learn to integrate their different approaches to problem solving and innovate together.”

Reputation in 2020
by David Ewait, Fortune Magazine
Social networks change the way we look at the world and introduce new economic incentives.

“Web-based social networks are cutting-edge technology in 2010. By the year 2020 they’ll be so commonplace–and so deeply embedded in our lives–that we’ll navigate them in the real world, in real time, using displays that splash details over our own field of vision. We’ll even use the social capital that results from these networks as a form of currency.”

But if you understand French, it is useful to compare these insights with the five videos broadcast on the France 5 channel: vivre en 2040.

16 January 2010

Good: the Slow Issue

The Slow Issue
Good, the collaborative magazine, has published its “Slow Issue” with perspectives on a smarter, better and slower future:

“At its simplest, slow stands for a focus on quality, authenticity, and longevity rather than a mindless adherence to the faster and cheaper ethos.

This issue is about planning not only for tomorrow, but for the next year, and the next generation. Because if progress isn’t permanent, can it even be called progress at all?”

Here are the longer articles:

Hurry up and wait
We asked some of the world’s most prominent futurists — Julian Bleecker (Nokia/Near Future Laboratory), Esther Dyson, Jamais Cascio (Worldchanging), Bruce Sterling, John Maeda (RISD), and Alexander Rose (Long Now Foundation) — to explain why slowness might be as important to the future as speed.

Slow burn
Money—not the paper stuff in your wallet, but the bits of data that whip around the world in billions of instantaneous transactions each day—moves too fast.

Built to last
Designer/inventor Saul Griffith argues that we need to stop buying things and then throwing them away so quickly. In short, we need more “heirloom design.”

Mass reduction
Welcome to slowLab, a collective of designers applying a cradle-to-cradle philosophy to consumer goods.

Turning the tables
Tracing the slow-food movement back to its feisty Italian roots.

Pushing the limits
In Oregon, radical antisprawl laws aim to save the state’s bucolic paradises. But with land-hungry suburbs on the prowl, can these goats be saved?

30 May 2009

The demise of ‘Form Follows Function’

Epoc headset
Alice Rawsthorn, design critic of the International Herald Tribune, reflects on the fact that the appearance of most digital products bears no relation to what they do, and what that might mean for future design.

“The dislocation of form and function has set a new challenge for designers: how to help us to operate ever more complex digital products.” […]

“The first wave of U.I. designs sought to reassure us by using visual references to familiar objects to help us to operate digital ones.” […]

“The next phase of U.I. design will take this further. John Maeda, the software designer and president of the Rhode Island School of Design, believes that our current “awkward mechanical dance” with computers will be replaced by an intuitive approach.”

Read full story

29 April 2009

Book “The Plenitude” – and extra thoughts on design and ubicomp

The Plenitude
The Plenitude
Creativity, Innovation, and Making Stuff
Rich Gold
Foreword by John Maeda
MIT Press, September 2007

We live with a lot of stuff. The average kitchen, for example, is home to stuff galore, and every appliance, every utensil, every thing, is compound—composed of tens, hundreds, even thousands of other things. Although each piece of stuff satisfies some desire, it also creates the need for even more stuff: cereal demands a spoon; a television demands a remote. Rich Gold calls this dense, knotted ecology of human-made stuff the “Plenitude.” And in this book—at once cartoon treatise, autobiographical reflection, and practical essay in moral philosophy—he tells us how to understand and live with it.

Gold writes about the Plenitude from the seemingly contradictory (but in his view, complementary) perspectives of artist, scientist, designer, and engineer—all professions pursued by him, sometimes simultaneously, in the course of his career. “I have spent my life making more stuff for the Plenitude,” he writes, acknowledging that the Plenitude grows not only because it creates a desire for more of itself but also because it is extraordinary and pleasurable to create.

Gold illustrates these creative expressions with witty cartoons. He describes “seven patterns of innovation”—including “The Big Kahuna,” “Colonization” (which is illustrated by a drawing of “The real history of baseball,” beginning with “Play for free in the backyard” and ending with “Pay to play interactive baseball at home”), and “Stuff Desires to Be Better Stuff” (and its corollary, “Technology Desires to Be Product”). Finally, he meditates on the Plenitude itself and its moral contradictions. How can we in good conscience accept the pleasures of creating stuff that only creates the need for more stuff? He quotes a friend: “We should be careful to make the world we actually want to live in.”

Mike Kuniavsky points out that “The Plenitude Companion“, the parts left out of the MIT Press book, contains Rich Gold’s thoughts on design and ubicomp.

3 January 2009

Why products fail

John Maeda
Computerworld columnist Mike Elgan argues that most gadget and software makers don’t understand what users want most: control.

Both users and product designers alike talk about user interface (UI) consistency, usability and simplicity, and system attributes like performance and stability. What’s missing is that these attributes are means to an end. The real issue is always the user’s physiological feeling of being in control. And control comes in many ways.

Read full story

(via Usability In The News)

3 January 2009

Focus on what we should be doing, not just what we can

John Maeda
John Maeda, the new president of RISD, wrote some smart words in Esquire (where he was profiled as one of 75 most influential people):

“Technological advances have always been driven more by a mind-set of “I can” than “I should,” and never more so than today. Technologists love to cram maximum functionality into their products. That’s “I can” thinking, which is driven by peer competition and market forces. (It’s easier to sell a device with ten features than one.) But this approach ignores the far more important question of how the consumer will actually use the device. […]

When I welcome my first incoming class this fall, I plan to focus on how RISD’s core ideals of art and design can humanize our advancing technologies. Or, put another way, to focus on what we should be doing, not just what we can.”

Read full story

(via Steve Portigal)

31 October 2008

Book: Designing universal knowledge

Designing universal knowledge
The World as Flatland – Report 1
Designing universal knowledge
Gerlinde Schuller
Lars Müller Publishers, 2008
ISBN 978-3-03778-149-4

Knowledge is power. If one possesses a collection of the ‘universal knowledge’ of the world, one has ultimate power. Establishing comprehensive, global collections of knowledge already fascinated mankind thousands of years ago. Today, modern communication and information technologies offer quick and prompt collecting, high memory capacities and wide-ranging access. In addition, globalization and the Internet advance a mentality which moves away from the local and regional towards the international and universal. Collections of knowledge, such as archives, encyclopaedias, databases and libraries, also follow this trend. They are engaged in a race against time in both the technological and creative area. Their clearly formulated aim is to establish for us a complete and up-to-date collection of ‘universal knowledge’.

Who is collecting the world’s knowledge?
How are knowledge archives structured and designed?
Who determines the access to this knowledge?
What knowledge entails power?

These questions formed the starting point of the research, which resulted in a report exploring the meaning of ‘universal knowledge’ as well as the process of collecting, structuring, designing, and publishing it. Designers and researchers from different fields have set standards for the classification and design of complex data collections and thus exerted an enormous influence on how knowledge is communicated.

Along with these aspects, the report also explores the possibilities of ‘universal design’ and presents new approaches to visualize complex information.

The systematic and professional collection of knowledge has always been influenced by economic and political interests and presented as a social and society-changing act. The report critically elucidates these aspects as well as the forms of manipulation and censorship which knowledge storages have never been able to completely evade.

Gerlinde Schuller investigated the subject in interviews with Richard Saul Wurman (USA), John Maeda (USA), Nigel Holmes (USA), Wim Crouwel (NL), Paul Kahn (F), Jean-Noël Jeanneney (F), Rop Gonggrijp (NL), Marion Winkenbach (D), Hannah Hurtzig (D) and Martin Alberts (NL).

The book also includes essays by Alex Wright (USA), Willem van Weelden (NL), Markus Frenzl (D) and Femke Snelting (B).

The book is part of The World as Flatland – Reports, a series of three books on the systematic design of complex information.

(via InfoDesign)

28 January 2008

Four speakers debate the future of design

Activmob
Alice Rawsthorn, the design critic of the International Herald Tribune, chaired a debate last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, about the future of design.

Other participants were Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Hilary Cottam, who develops design solutions to problems in education, health care and other public services as co-founder of the London-based agency Participle; and John Maeda, the digital design star and newly appointed president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), have to say about the future of design.

The brief was simple: identify three themes that, you believe, will define design in the future.

Here is what they came up with:

Alice Rawsthorn

  • designing for the underprivileged majority
  • dematerialisation
  • guiltless consumption

Paola Antonelli

  • 3D printing
  • the yearning for privacy
  • translating the advances in science and technology into things we need or want

Hilary Cottam

  • addressing the big social issues of our time
  • tackling social problems through mass collaboration
  • policy making

John Maeda

  • moral responsibility
  • simplicity
  • appreciating the beauty of the everyday objects and places

Read full story

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

4 April 2007

More and less: Designing for high-stakes decisions

More and less
We all want options, but when does having choices prevent us from finding solutions? Dmitri Siegel looks at how people make important decisions and how design can help.

“Freedom of choice is such an unassailable value in America that it is considered a solution in and of itself to social ills, from failing schools to the insolvency of social security. As a society, we view choice as the manifestation of our most exalted ideal: freedom. The value we place on decisiveness was reflected in President Bush’s assertion, “I’m the decider. I make the decisions. The proliferation of choice can have unexpectedly negative consequences. Expanding the number of options often comes at the cost of finding solutions. Nowhere is this trend more evident than online—and the stakes have never been higher. Increasingly, our most significant decisions—such as whether or not to have a medical procedure or how to best to plan for retirement—are being made using web-based applications. As it turns out, many are poorly suited to helping us sort through the ever-growing range of possibilities. So why do these interfaces so often fail us when we need them most? And what unique challenges are there in designing systems that help us make high-stakes decisions?”

Siegel then goes on to describe that there are two types of decision-makers — maximizers and satisficers — and how one of the two types are generally happier. He also illustrates how human beings are not wired to make rational decisions.

So what does that mean for designers?

“The striking thing about most research being done on how design can help enable meaningful decision-making is that it often requires stepping back from specific design problems in order to focus on the question of what to design rather than how to design. Refocusing the mission of design can bring valuable insights into how to make information more useful, and useful information more accessible.”

The article ends with a discussion of recent books by John Maeda and Peter Morville and current research at Philips Design.

Dmitri Siegel is the Art Director for urbanoutfitters.com. He is also creative director of Ante and Anathema magazines. He teaches at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Read full article

2 December 2006

Interaction-Ivrea legacy is getting lost

Interaction Design Institute Ivrea
Interaction Design Institute Ivrea ceased to exist nearly five months ago. It survived for a while in Milan (hosted by the Domus Academy), but that is now also finished.

I am not going to analyse the politics of the decline here (a blog post is not enough!) nor the financial intricacies of it all (although a full account of it wouldn’t be bad). Suffice it to say that many Interaction-Ivrea graduates are working for major international companies and that also two of the four Experientia founders are former Interaction-Ivrea staff members (Jan-Christoph Zoels and myself).

That said, the website of Interaction-Ivrea used to be an access point to rich content on projects and on people. I worked on it a lot to help assure that. No longer so.

Although all the content is technically still there (including interviews with people like John Maeda, Ranjit Makkuni and Nathan Shedroff), most of it is not accessible anymore from the home page. The same thing applies to the personal student sites (which former students can no longer update or correct) or staff bio pages. The “people” and “news” menu buttons are no longer even active.

It has become a dead site, which is not managed anymore and with most of the content hardly accessible.

This is not the place now to point fingers. The decline of Interaction-Ivrea was in my mind a process of immense value destruction. It is quite disheartening to see that this now seems to continue.

The main comfort is that good people went through the place and are now changing the fields of interaction design, experience design, and people-centred design all over the world, including here in Italy itself.

2 December 2006

External expert team helps Philips focus on simplicity [Business Week]

Andrea Ragnetti, Chief Marketing Officer of Royal Philips Electronics, showing the magic brush
“To drive change following a radical restructuring, Philips reckoned it needed a fresh perspective from creative types with no ties to the company. So it formed the simplicity board, a group of specialists in health care, fashion, design, and architecture,” writes Business Week.

Members are British fashion designer Sara Berman, Dr. Peggy J. Fritzsche, a radiology professor in California, Gary Chang, a leading architect in China and MIT’s John Maeda.

“On a practical level, the board is helping Philips rethink what its customers want. For two years, members met for several days every month or two in cities such as Rome, Paris, or New York. Today they no longer meet as a group, but each is on call to help Philips create intuitive, easy-to-use products that meet specific needs.”

Read full story

10 November 2006

Making the case for ease, elegance and endurance

chop sticks
The Boston Globe has a nice background story on the upcoming Core77 panel discussion on the future of design and technology.

“John Maeda is a professor at MIT’s Media Lab, and a nationally recognized computer scientist. His early computer art experiments, for example, were a precursor to the interactive graphics common on websites today.” […]

“Maeda is now a “repentant” technowhiz and a leading apostle of simplicity. In 2004 he founded the MIT Simplicity Consortium at the Media Lab, which works with major corporations to design technologies for simplicity-driven products. He’s just published a book called “The Laws of Simplicity,” a guide to simplicity in the digital age. He ruminates about simplicity on his Simplicity blog, and next week he’ll discuss strategies for making products simpler at a panel discussion in Boston on the future of design and technology sponsored by Core77, a New York-based design networking organization that publishes an influential design blog.”

“There is huge pressure to make products smarter and more technologically imbued, which ends up almost backfiring,” says Allan Chochinov, a designer and partner of Core77. “End users feel they can’t use them. They make us feel dumb or incompetent.”

Read full story

5 October 2006

Book: Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge

Designing Interactions
Digital technology has changed the way we interact with everything from the games we play to the tools we use at work.

Designers of digital technology products no longer regard their job as designing a physical object—beautiful or utilitarian—but as designing our interactions with it. In Designing Interactions (which is not only a book but also a DVD), Bill Moggridge, designer of the first laptop computer (the GRiD Compass, 1981) and a founder of the design firm IDEO, tells us stories from an industry insider’s viewpoint, tracing the evolution of ideas from inspiration to outcome.

Moggridge and his forty interviewees discuss why personal computers have windows in desktops, what made Palm’s handheld organizers so successful, what turns a game into a hobby, why Google is the search engine of choice, and why 30 million people in Japan choose the i-mode service for their cell phones. And Moggridge tells the story of his own design process and explains the focus on people and prototypes that has been successful at IDEO—how the needs and desires of people can inspire innovative designs and how prototyping methods are evolving for the design of digital technology.

The early chapters are mostly about invention of precedent setting designs, forming a living history. The center section is structured around topics, so that one can find several opinions collected together for comparison, about designing in a particular context. The later chapters move more towards the future, with trends, possibilities and conjectures. The introduction and final chapter combine to describe the approach to designing interactions that has evolved at IDEO. The book is illustrated with more than 700 images, with color throughout.

Says John Thackara in a short review of the book: “Gillian Crampton Smith answers the question, “What is Interaction Design?” The original designers of The Mouse tell us why and how they did it. There are fascinating encounters with Brenda (Computers as Theatere) Laurel and Will (The Sims) Wright. Larry Page and Sergey Brin describe how they made the ultimate less-is-more interface for Google. Service designers Live|Work, Fran Samalionis, and Takeshi Natsuno describe how they derive useful purposes for all this tech. Hiroshi Ishii, Durrell Bishop, Joy Mountford and Bill Gaver describe their ongoing efforts to design multi-sensorial computing. Moggridge concludes by discussing “Alternative Nows” with Dunne and Raby, John Maeda and Jun Rekimoto.”

On the website you can see small video segments of all interviews.