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Search results for 'metcalf'
21 April 2010

The Screen and the Drum

Design and Culture
The latest issue of Design and Culture contains an article by Louise Crewe, Nicky Gregson and Alan Metcalfe on “homemaking”.

Entitled The Screen and the Drum: on Form, Function, Fit and Failure in Contemporary Home Consumption, it describes the complex relationships people have with their domestic appliances.

“This paper explores consumers’ connections to their domestic objects. Focusing on two particular objects (televisions and vacuum cleaners), the paper reflects upon why consumers desire particular domestic objects and how they assemble, arrange and use things in the home. It reveals how functionality is intimately infused with form, how design informs the consumption of everyday domestic objects and how both function and form can fail, deceive and trick. the mundane movements and moments that comprise homemaking encompass a whole suite of entanglements between object, subject, agency and space. In all sorts of ways this opens up exciting – but also difficult and perplexing – possibilities for consumer agency in the production of home. New kinds of temporality, the rapidity of fashion and design shifts, transformative technologies and new modes of fabrication require new forms of consumption knowledge, competence and skill.”

Download article

(via Nicolas Nova’s Pasta&Vinegar)

3 May 2008

CHI 2008: a selection on social applications

CHI 2008 proceedings
Here is my selection on papers related to social applications presented at CHI 2008.

(Papers are linked to their pdf downloads, if available.)

Ambient social tv: drawing people into a shared experience [abstract]
Authors: Gunnar Harboe, Crysta J. Metcalf, Frank Bentley, Joe Tullio, Noel Massey and Guy Romano (Motorola Labs)
Abstract: We examine how ambient displays can augment social television. Social TV 2 is an interactive television solution that incorporates two ambient displays to convey to participants an aggregate view of their friends’ current TV-watching status. Social TV 2 also allows users to see which television shows friends and family are watching and send lightweight messages from within the TV-viewing experience. Through a two-week field study we found the ambient displays to be an integral part of the experience. We present the results of our field study with a discussion of the implications for future social systems in the home.

Results from deploying a participation incentive mechanism within the enterprise [abstract]
Authors: Rosta Farzan (University of Pittsburgh), Joan M. DiMicco (IBM, Cambridge), David R. Millen (IBM, Cambridge), Casey Dugan (IBM, Cambridge), Werner Geyer (IBM, Cambridge) and Elizabeth A. Brownholtz (IBM, Cambridge)
Abstract: Success and sustainability of social networking sites is highly dependent on user participation. To encourage contribution to an opt-in social networking site designed for employees, we have designed and implemented a feature that rewards contribution with points. In our evaluation of the impact of the system, we found that employees are initially motivated to add more content to the site. This paper presents the analysis and design of the point system, the results of our experiment, and our insights regarding future directions derived from our post-experiment user interviews.

Exploring the role of the reader in the activity of blogging [abstract]
Authors: Eric Baumer, Mark Sueyoshi and Bill Tomlinson (UC Irvine)
Abstract: Within the last decade, blogs have become an important element of popular culture, mass media, and the daily lives of countless Internet users. Despite the medium’s interactive nature, most research on blogs focuses on either the blog itself or the blogger, rarely if at all focusing on the reader’s impact. In order to gain a better understanding of the social practice of blogging, we must take into account the role, contributions, and significance of the reader. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative study of blog readers, including common blog reading practices, some of the dimensions along which reading practices vary, relationships between identity presentation and perception, the interpretation of temporality, and the ways in which readers feel that they are a part of the blogs they read. It also describes similarities to, and discrepancies with, previous work, and suggests a number of directions and implications for future work on blogging.

The network in the garden: an empirical analysis of social media in rural life [abstract]
Authors: Eric Gilbert, Karrie Karahalios and Christian Sandvig (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Abstract: History repeatedly demonstrates that rural communities have unique technological needs. Yet, we know little about how rural communities use modern technologies, so we lack knowledge on how to design for them. To address this gap, our empirical paper investigates behavioral differences between more than 3,000 rural and urban social media users. Using a dataset collected from a broadly popular social network site, we analyze users’ profiles, 340,000 online friendships and 200,000 interpersonal messages. Using social capital theory, we predict differences between rural and urban users and find strong evidence supporting our hypotheses. Namely, rural people articulate far fewer friends online, and those friends live much closer to home. Our results also indicate that the groups have substantially different gender distributions and use privacy features differently. We conclude by discussing design implications drawn from our findings; most importantly, designers should reconsider the binary friend-or-not model to allow for incremental trust-building.

Healthcare in everyday life: designing healthcare services for daily life [abstract]
Authors: Stinne Aaløkke Ballegaard, Thomas Riisgaard Hansen and Morten Kyng (University of Aarhus)
Abstract: Today the design of most healthcare technology is driven by the considerations of healthcare professionals and technology companies. This has several benefits, but we argue that there is a need for a supplementary design approach on the basis the citizen and his or her everyday life. An approach where the main focus is to develop healthcare technology that fits the routines of daily life and thus allows the citizens to continue with the activities they like and have grown used to — also with an aging body or when managing a chronic condition. Thus, with this approach it is not just a matter of fixing a health condition, more importantly is the matter of sustaining everyday life as a whole. This argument is a result from our work — using participatory design methods — on the development of supportive healthcare technology for elderly people and for diabetic, pregnant women.

International ethnographic observation of social networking sites [abstract]
Authors: Christopher N. Chapman (Microsoft Corporation) and Michal Lahav (Sakson & Taylor Consulting)
Abstract: Current research on social networking largely covers US providers. To investigate broader trends, we examine cross-cultural differences in the usage patterns of social networking services with observation and ethnographic interviews in multiple cultures. This appears to be the first systematic investigation of social networking behavior across multiple cultures. We report here on the first four locations with observation and interviews of 36 respondents, 8-10 in each of the US, France, China, and South Korea. The results show three dimensions of cultural difference for typical social networking behaviors: the users’ goals, typical pattern of self expression, and common interaction behaviors. These differences exemplify a developmental path of interest in social networking and the gradual integration of social networking behavior into more general communications behaviors. Future work in other cultures and with additional methods will evaluate the hypotheses presented here.

1 May 2008

Clay Shirky’s talk about the cognitive surplus

Clay Shirky
Clay Shirky, author of the book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organising without Organisations (see also these posts), was one of the presenters at the Web 2.0 conference:

Mark Ury, chief experience architect for Blast Radius, was there and wrote about it on his blog “The Restless Mind”:

“His thesis is that in order to grapple with a particularly stressful stretch of time, society engages in some mind-numbing activity that, by consequence, creates a cognitive surplus. Eventually, this surplus overflows and new forms of value are created. He cites post-industrial revolution Londoners blanking out with gin, only to then build many of the modern institutions we cherish today, and post-WWII Americans sitting slack-jawed watching I Love Lucy and Gilligan’s Island, but now using the Internet to produce Wikipedia and, to a lesser order, lolcats.” [...]

“What struck me as intriguing in all this wasn’t our cognitive surplus, though. It’s our surplus of interaction.” [...]

“Interaction surplus, though, is new. From RSS to email, flickr to FunWalls, posts to pingbacks—we’ve never before had to deal with an abundance of two-way interaction. And unlike the subtle effect of compound interest, hooking more people up to the grid creates a personalized form of Metcalfe’s law, a signal to noise ratio that is overwhelming and, over time, numbing. Watching “connected consumers” tweet, IM, tag, upload, download and go viral is not much different than a Saturday night rave: a blur of consciousness, ephemera, and not a little dizziness.”

Watch presentation
Read presentation transcript

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

30 June 2007

Motion presence – a Motorola field study on sharing motion information

Motorola
Crysta Metcalf, principal staff anthropologist at Motorola’s Social Media Research Lab has been active recently. After a paper on sharing practices, her colleague Frank Bentley, a Motorola senior research engineer, now also posted an article and presentation on “Motion Presence” that he co-authored with her.

Abstract
We present the Motion Presence application, an augmented phone book style application that allows close friends and family to view each other’s current motion status (“moving” or “not moving”) on their mobile phones. We performed a two week long field trial with 10 participants to observe usage and investigate any privacy concerns that might arise. We found that our participants used the motion information to infer location and activity as well as to plan communication, to help in coordinating in-person gettogethers, and to stay connected to patterns in each others’ lives. Participants saw the motion data as mostly confirming their existing thoughts about the locations and activities of others and expressed few privacy concerns. In fact, they frequently asked for more information to be shared to make the application more compelling.

In a blog post Bentley reflects on the meaning of simplicity, which to him “centers on an alignment between the user’s mental model of a system and the actual model running inside the system.” He then expands on the concept of calm technology, introduced twelve years ago by Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown of Xerox PARC.

“They saw a need for people to be aware of their environments, but without being distracted from their primary tasks. Relevant data would be ambiently displayed for people to notice through motion, sound, light, color, etc. Besides the ambient nature of these displays, I think one of the most salient points of this work was that the data being displayed was actually the raw data of bits traversing a network, and not some abstraction or inferred value that might not be as easy to understand. There was no confusion…if the wire was moving, bits were flowing. This simple piece of information could be used by the people in the room to infer whatever they needed at the time…whether it was a good time to print, check email, download a large file, etc.

We used this principle when we created the Motion Presence application. We shared fairly raw context data of if a person was moving between places or stationary at a place (we purposefully did not want to disclose actual locations). We observed that users easily understood the system and were able to use this information to infer activity, availability, location, destination, and time to destination given existing complex social knowledge about others in their close social circle. We could have tried to infer availability from location, time, motion, etc. but we believed that doing so would be confusing and frustrating for users since they would not be able to understand the complex model used to determine availability. And the second it was wrong once (which it certainly would be), users would likely lose faith in the system and not trust it in the future. The motion data was seen to be accurate and users trusted it and thus were able to trust the inferences that they made from it.

The learnings from the Motion Presence application demonstrates the power of people in applying complex social knowledge to inference problems. This is something computers are not very good at, even if they could get all of the raw data, but human brains are wired to deal exactly with these types of situations. In building social systems, let’s try to keep the system simple, and take advantage of the power of people to interpret simple, raw data in a social context.”

- Download article (pdf, 140 kb, 10 pages)
View presentation (via Slideshare, 29 slides)

29 June 2007

Motorola ethnographic research on shared experiences to inform ICT innovation

Motorola
Crysta Metcalf, principal staff anthropologist at Motorola’s Social Media Research Lab has just published a presentation entitled “Investigating the Sharing Practices of Family & Friends to Inform Communication Technology Innovations“.

“When we talk about the “user experience” the main emphasis is often on an individual’s experience with a particular technology. Even with a purported social technology, for example a social networking site, we still tend to create for the individual’s interaction with the site (how does someone find their friend, how do they access this site easily from a mobile device).

However, designing for sociability means thinking about how people experience each other through the technological medium, not just thinking about how they experience the technology. The emphasis is on the human-to-human relationship, not the human-to-technology relationship. This is a crucial difference in design focus. It means designing for an experience between people.

Of course designing for an experience between people doesn’t mean ignoring the interaction with the device, but it calls for taking something else into account. That “something else” is often another person or people. How do we, as developers of communication technologies, make the communications more interesting, more exciting and more stimulating for the receiver? How do we help our users meet the needs of the other people in their social network? How do we create a shared experience that is equally compelling for all participating parties? When we begin to think like this, we truly start to think of designing social software, social applications, social media.

We’re currently exploring such questions in our research on social group relationship maintenance. Ethnographic studies of five social groups around the country, from the southwest coast of California to rural Iowa to the New York City area, are revealing behavioral patterns around shared activities, storytelling, and attention exchange that we can use for applications innovation.”

Download presentation (pdf, 1.23 mb, 26 slides)