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Search results for '"bruce sterling"'
4 April 2012

The UK Government’s digital design principles, alpha release

govuk

The UK Government has published an alpha release of its digital design principles with examples of how they have been used so far.

1. Start with needs
2. Do less
3. Design with data
4. Do the hard work to make it simple
5. Iterate. Then iterate again.
6. Build for inclusion
7. Understand context
8. Build digital services, not websites
9. Be consistent, not uniform
10. Make things open: it makes things better

(via Bruce Sterling)

21 March 2012

Futurescapes – imagining what the world will look like in 2025

futurescapes_logo

FutureScapes, an open collaboration project by Sony and Forum for the Future, aims to bring together a range of expert thinkers, designers, futurologists, writers (including those from The Economist’s Intelligence Unit and Wired Magazine) and you – the public – to explore the opportunities and challenges of life in 2025, and to consider the potential contribution that technology and entertainment can make in shaping a better, more sustainable future.

“FutureScapes is all about imagining what the world of 2025 will look like and the role technology could play in our lives.

To inspire you and provide a starting point for your thoughts we’ve come up with four different scenarios of the world we may be confronted with in 2025. These aren’t predictions of the future, but are intended to help us visualise the possibilities for our future and think about how we might plan for those possibilities now.

The written scenarios are a result of an open and collaborative process involving people across Sony and Forum for the Future, as well as leading futurologists and experts from a range of fields.

Watch videos
Download report

(via Bruce Sterling)

17 March 2012

The origins of futurism

DS002993

Bruce Sterling, the celebrated science fiction writer and author of Tomorrow Now, explains why you don’t need to be clairvoyant to predict the future. The article is part of the Futurism series in Smithsonian Magazine.

“The fifth and final method [to forecast the future] is the most effective of all. If individuals have never encountered modernity, then you can tell them about real, genuine things that already are happening now—for them, that is the future.

Put another way, the future is already upon us, but is happening in niches. The inhabitants of that niche may be saint-like pioneers with practical plans for applying technology to eliminate hunger or preserve the environment. Far more commonly, they’re weird people with weird ideas and practices, and are objects of ridicule.”

Read article

25 October 2011

Audio of EPIC 2011 presentations – keynotes by Dubberly and Sterling

EPIC2011
The organisers of the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry (EPIC 2011) conference have posted audio of the keynotes and most of the presentations. The conference took place in Boulder, Colorado on 18-21 September.

Keynotes

Opening keynote: On models
Hugh Dubberly, founder of Dubberly Design Office

Closing keynote: On radical evolution
Bruce Sterling, writer, provocateur, futurist, design thinker, critic, and author of Shaping Things (2005), among many other productions

Paper Session #1: Defining the value proposition
Some ways that ethnographic praxis can move closer to the heart of business

Evolving ethnographic practitioners and their impact on ethnographic praxis
Alexandra Mack, principal workplace anthropologist, Pitney Bowes
Susan Squires, assistant professor, University of N. Texas

The calculus of change: an ethnography of unlearning
Marijke Rijsberman – Design Anthropologist, Cisco Systems

‘For a ruthless criticism of everything existing’: rebellion against the quantitative/qualitative divide
Neal H. Patel, people analytics manager, People & Innovation Lab, Google Inc.; University of Chicago, Department of Sociology

Paper Session #2: An angel at my table
How ethnographers can help organizations to deal with the challenges of evolution and revolution

Ethnography as a catalyst for organizational change: creating a multichannel customer experience
Robin Beers, PhD, Wells Fargo
Tommy Stinson, Cheskin Added Value
Jan Yeager, Cheskin Added Value

Reinvention and revisioning in an Appalachian industry cluster
Christine Z. Miller, professor, Graduate Program in Design Management Savannah College of Art and Design
Stokes Jones, principal, Lodestar

The not-so-blind watchmaker: evolution by design in corporate culture
Kate Barrett, PhD, Olson

Paper Session #3: Looking beyond the individual
New sightings on service and social system

No more circling around the block: evolving a rapid ethnography and podcasting method to guide innovation in parking systems
James Glasnapp, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)
Ellen Isaacs, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)
> pdf paper download

Changing models of ownership
Rich Radka, Claro Partners
Abby Margolis, Claro Partners

Limitations of online medical care: interpersonal resistance and cultural solutions in the face of technological advances
Pensri Ho, assistant professor, Ethnic Studies Department, University of Hawai’i

What happens when you mix bankers, insurers, consultants, anthropologists and designers: the saga of Project FiDJi in France
Alice Peinado, design management chair / anthropologist, Parsons Paris School of Art and Design
Magdalena Jarvin, design management & critical studies sociologist/anthropologist, Parsons Paris School of Art and Design
Juliette Damoisel, design strategist, BETC Design,

Paper Session #4: The new “local”
Evolving use of theory in ethnographic research

The luminosity of the local
Michael Donovan

Shining a light on agency: Examining responses to resource constraints to uncover opportunities for design
Emma J. Rose, Anthro-Tech
Robert Racadio, University of Washington
> pdf paper download

Unclear social etiquette online: how users experiment (and struggle) with interacting across many channels and devices in an ever-evolving and fast-changing landscape of communication tools
Martin Ortlieb, senior user experience researcher, Google

Cracking representations of the emerging markets: it’s not just about affordability
Renee Kuriyan, corporate responsibility, Intel Corporation
Kathi Kitner, cultural anthropologist, Intel Corporation
Scott Mainwaring, senior research scientist, Intel Corporation
Dawn Nafus, anthropologist, Intel Corporation

Evolutionary Matryoshka: Mapping the dimensions of the evolutionary forces impacting survival of ethnographic insights within a large financial enterprise
Ari Nave, SVP
 Group
 planning
 director
, Deutsch

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

8 May 2011

Augmented Reality and transitioning out of the legacy internet

Bruce pulpit
Tish Shute of Ugotrade interviews Bruce Sterling ahead of the Augmented Reality Event, where Bruce is a keynote speaker.

As Bruce Sterling points out, Augmented Reality is “truly a child of the twenty-teens, a genuine digital native,” and one visible indication that …the Internet really could look like a “legacy.”

“The Legacy Internet as an old-fashioned, dusty, desk-based place best left to archivists and librarians, while the action is out on the streets.”

Read interview (alternate link)

4 March 2011

Videos of Interaction 11 keynotes

Interaction11
Videos are now available for all seven Interaction11 keynote presentations.

Interaction is a yearly conference organised by the Interaction Design Association (IxDA). The 2011 conference took place on February 9-12 in Boulder, Colorado.

Bill Verplank (opening keynote) [1:02:38]
Brenda Laurel [47:45]
Bruce Sterling (closing keynote) [45:09]
Eric Hersman, Ushahidi [33:04]
Jason Bruges [55:14]
Lisa Strausfeld, Pentagram [48:09]
Richard Buchanan, Weatherhead School of Management [53:12]

15 February 2011

Documentary highlights how Programma 101 put people first

Programma 101
The upcoming documentary Programma 101 – Memory of the Future by Alessandro Bernard and Paolo Ceretto, celebrates Olivetti’s invention of the first personal desktop computer, back in 1965, and the wide implications it has had since.

Video reflections by Bruce Sterling, Massimo Banzi (of the Arduino), Mario Bellini and others are already online.

When Italian company Olivetti unveiled the Programma 101, it was more than just a technological revolution – it was a new way of thinking about people and computers. The compact, portable device revolutionised the idea of the computer, as well as how and where people really used them.

Instead of booking time on a monolithic machine guarded by experts, needing a whole room to house it, Programma 101 considered convenience, lifestyle and even aesthetics. Use it by the pool, or in the bath, convey the advertising images. It was perhaps the earliest example we have of user experience design in the computing field.

The 52 minute documentary recounting the story of this extraordinary machine and its makers will screen on Fox History Channel, Ur Sweden, SBS Australia, YLE Finland.

It describes the passage from a machine surrounded by men in “white coats”, where using it was as intimidating as being in a hospital, to a device that could be carried around wherever you were. The idea was so unbelievable at the time, that when it was first unveiled, skeptical viewers looked for the underground cable that must connect it to a larger computer.

“The Programma 101 is a real break in the history of computers,” comments American science-fiction author Bruce Sterling in a clip from the documentary. “You went from the mainframe to a thing on the desktop.”

A project that still resonates

For Experientia, the story has extra resonance, because not only is it an early example of thinking about the human side of human-computer interaction (putting people first, in other words!), but Experientia CEO Pierpaolo Perotto, is also the son of the Programma 101’s creator Pier Giorgio Perotto.

Recalling his father, Pierpaolo spoke about the three core elements – vision, planning and design – which helped his father and the small team of experts at Olivetti realise the Programma 101.

“They believed in a vision centred around people, and not around technology. My father was convinced that an electronic calculator could become a personal object. It was an act of courage. It was definitely completely counter-trend in terms of the culture surrounding technology in that moment in history. That vision characterised all the choices that followed.”

This vision was implemented by a grand level of planning, which involved both new and existing technologies. These technologies were aimed not just at creating an experimental prototype, but one that could above all be mass-produced, for an affordable price. In all, about 44,000 units were sold, for about $3,200 each.

The final element of success for the project was the integration between vision, design and technology.

“Having had the courage and the will to insist on a product design that was integrated with the vision and the technological choices made, they refused proposals that, although aesthetically interesting, would have constrained the innovative nature of the machine,” says Pierpaolo. “In that sense, it was my father who gave the job, against the wishes of his superiors, to a young designer at the start of a luminous career: Mario Bellini.”

The integration of these three elements – vision, planning and design – are also part of the way of thinking that eventually came to underpin Pierpaolo’s own work, particularly at Experientia, with its people-centred vision, and multi-disciplinary approach.

“I see these three elements as an instruction for anyone who wants to create a better future.”

A lifestyle machine

The Programma 101’s innovative approach is easily seen in its advertising: a businessman uses the calculating machine by the pool, while a woman in a bathing suit smiles at him after her swim; a woman taps away at the keypad from the comfort of a bubble-filled bath.

In a clip from the documentary, Bruce Sterling laughingly comments:

“In that advertisement you see a businessman sitting at the side of a pool, with a woman in a bathing suit, doing a little calculation. It’s a prophecy of the death of computers as something hidden away behind glass walls.”

While these images were no doubt slightly tongue-in-cheek, and seem charmingly quaint compared to the advertising images that surround us today, they are nevertheless the precursor of today’s computer as a personal assistant, and even a life partner. Pier Giorgio Perotto was able to envision a world where technology could exist in harmony with our lifestyles, which for the time was revolutionary.

Perhaps this vision comes through most clearly in the words of the father of personal computing himself. Commenting on the project later in life, Pier Giorgio Perotto said:

“I dreamed of a friendly machine, to which one could delegate all those operations that cause mental fatigue and errors; a machine that could learn, and calmly perform; that could store simple and intuitive data and instructions; that everyone could use; that cost little and fit with the dimensions of other office products that people were used to. I had to create a new language, which didn’t need interpreters in white coats.”

Perhaps this idea of a new language between people and computers, one that is simple and intuitive, and accessible to everyone, is the real inheritance of Programma 101. Pier Giorgio Perotto created a world in which you didn’t need to be an expert to operate a computer, and nearly fifty years on, his vision has been realised in ways that no one expected. In a world where technology is developing so rapidly, the challenge is to stay true to that vision, and make sure that new devices are designed with the vision of putting people first, and remembering that human-computer interaction should be designed above all for the humans.

13 December 2010

Designing for collaborative consumption

Michelle Thorne
Michelle Thorne, international project manager at Creative Commons, spoke at TEDxKreuzberg on Designing for Collaborative Consumption. She posted her slides and speaking notes online.

Important characteristics of Collaborative Consumption:

Critical Mass
Firstly, you need enough goods or services on offer to make the platform attractive enough for users. Supply draws more demand. Couchsurfing isn’t going to work with two couches on offer.

Idling Capacity
This is about spare cycles. All the unused, material surplus that bolsters collaborative consumption. And it not just about products that sit unused on storage shelves, but also untapped skills, times, spaces. These resources have to be available, like in the drill example, and sharable.

Commons Governance
For these platforms to work, you need appropriate mechanisms for collaboration within legal, social and technical frameworks. There are great tools for this, and definitely the potential to develop more. Conflict resolution has to be cheap and easy, and resource providers need ways to participate in the decision-making process.

Trust
This is one of the most important pillars of collaborative consumption. Without trust, you don’t have continued and meaningful participation and growth. Trust has to be cultivated and facilitated. It’s not just available instantly, but grows organically through the service and positive experiences. Clearly defined boundaries of who’s participating and a way to key at bay trolls, spammers, and frauds, and other elements that harm the community. This requires effective monitoring and reputation management, plus graduated sanctions for people who violate community rules.

Read full story

(via Bruce Sterling)

3 November 2010

Computational objects with information shadows

Smart Things
Mike Kuniavsky, writer, designer, researcher and entrepreneur and co-founder of both ThingM, an electronic hardware design, development and manufacturing company, and Adaptive Path, has written a new book: “Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design (already previously featured on Putting People First).

In a post on Boing Boing, he delves into the topic of designing computational objects.

“Mainstream ubicomp is coming back. The success of Internet services on mobile phones demonstrates that networked products can stretch beyond a laptop browser. The prices for CPUs have fallen below a threshold where incorporating them becomes a competitively viable business decision. Research labs have developed new technologies for embedding information processing in virtually anything. New businesses, such as FitBit, and Green Goose are based on the fact that processing is cheap, and you can include it in anything.

The idea of a single general-purpose “computation” device is fading into the same historical background as having a single steam engine to power a whole factory, or a single electric motor to power every appliance in a house. As it fades, designers and developers have to learn to design smart things that serve the interests, abilities, and needs of people. We must create a practice of ubiquitous computing user experience design.”

Dave Gray, who collaborates with Peter Morville on the Ubicomp Sketchbook, discusses the information shadow concept Kuniavsky introduced, and links it to Bruce Sterling‘s spime concept.

“The information shadow is the information that’s associated with an object such as its name, number, position in space and time, and so on. […] Information shadows allow designers to make objects simpler, to reduce the size of interfaces and reduce the display requirements of an object.”

30 September 2010

What does the Internet of Things mean for UX people?

Design beyond the glowing rectangle
Last week, the Sixth European Information Architecture Summit took place in Paris, and all the presentations are already online. Here are a few that caught my attention:

Design Beyond the Glowing Rectangle: User experience design and research implications of the Internet of Things
Claire Rowland & Chris Browne, Fjord, UK
The key challenges we think UX designers will have to be prepared for, and some suggested ways to do things differently. Or, as Bruce Sterling said said, “It’s a good conceptual exercise to ponder “glowing screens” as a transitional technology. Just like “film” and the “boob tube.” What “film.” What “tube.” Where are they. We no longer have ‘em. We still talk about ‘em, but they don’t exist any more.

Beyond Co-Design: how open collaboration formats can enhance your design process
Johanna Kollmann & Franco Papeschi, Vodafone, UK

15 July 2010

University and Cyberspace conference videos online

Communia
A few weeks ago the Communia conference University and Cyberspace took place here in Torino, Italy, with a focus on “reshaping knowledge institutions for the networked age”. Speakers included Massimo Banzi, Joy Ito, David Orban, Bruce Sterling, and many others.

The international conference, which is the conclusion and culmination of the Communia Thematic Network project (the European Thematic Network on the Digital Public Domain), was organised by the Politecnico of Torino’s NEXA Research Center for Internet and Society (that also coordinated the network) and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and aimed at defining a shared vision of the future of universities as knowledge institutions and identifying the main steps leading from vision to reality.

The event addressed questions such as: How is the role of universities as knowledge creating, sharing, and applying institutions going to change due to the Internet? How should universities use cyberspace to best implement their mission with respect to society? Taking into account the characteristics of the new generations of students, faculty and staff, how should the informational and the spatial (both physical and virtual) infrastructures of universities be shaped to improve learning, discovery, and engagement? What about the new opportunities to enhance the civic role of universities – who prepare people for citizenship and contribute to the public sphere – in our democratic societies?

Videos of all sessions are now online, although in a still somewhat rough format (they are now working at processing the videos further):

Monday 28 June
The first day of the conference covered the relevant history and traditions of universities, moved through the current state of play, and focused on the emerging landscape of universities, articulating both their changing role in society, the significant challenges these institutions are facing for the future and, more specifically, their role vis a vis the increasing commons of knowledge facilitated by the Internet.

Morning session (video link)

  • Kick-off [00:12:56]: Juan Carlos de Martin, NEXA Center for Internet & Society, in conversation with Charles Nesson, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
  • Keynote [00:53:20]: “Universities in the Age of the Internet” by Stefano Rodotà, University of Rome
  • High Order Bit [01:46:00]: “Arduino, Open Source Hardware and Learning by Doing” by Massimo Banzi, tinker.it, arduino.cc
  • Plenary [02:03:45]: “Digital Natives” with John Palfrey, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Marco de Rossi, Oilproject.org, and Urs Gasser, Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Afternoon session (video link)

  • Plenary [00:01:19]: “Information Infrastructure” with Alma Swan, Key Perspectives Ltd., Stuart Shieber, Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Office of Scholarly Communication at Harvard University, and Martin Hall, Salford University, UK
  • High Order Bit [01:27:13]: “African Universities as Knowledge Centers: Challenges and Opportunities” by Boubakar Barry, African Association of Universities
  • Plenary [01:41:45]: Physical/Virtual Spatial Infrastructure” with Antoine Picon, Harvard University and Jef Huang, EPFL

Tuesday 29 June
The second day attempted cross-sectional reorientation, by examining universities’ emerging responsibilities as ‘horizontal’ themes, especially as they intersect with future challenges described in the first day’s ‘vertical’ tracks.

Morning session (video link)

  • High Order Bit [00:01:12]: “Individual and social evolution: through digital gaming, out of the box” by Carlo Fabricatore, Initium Studios & University of Worcester
  • Plenary [00:14:52]: “Universities as Civic Actors or Institutions” with Marco Santambrogio, University of Parma, Italy, Colin Maclay, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Maarten Simons, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Jan Masschelein, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and Juan Carlos De Martin, NEXA Center for Internet & Society

Afternoon session (video link)

  • Plenary [00:01:00]: “Universities as Platforms for Learning” with Catharina Maracke, Keio University, Japan, Marco De Rossi, Oilproject.org, Carlo Fabricatore, Initium Studios & University of Worcester, Delia Browne, Peer-2-Peer University, Stephan Vincent-Lancrin, OECD, and Jean Claude Guedon, University of Montreal
  • High Order Bit [01:15:46] by Joy Ito, Creative Commons
  • Plenary [01:33:11]: “Universities as Knowledge Creators” with Carlo Olmo, Politecnico di Torino, Phillippe Aigrain, Sopinspace, Janneke Adema, Coventry University, Mary Lee Kennedy, Harvard Business School, and Terry Fisher, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
  • Plenary [02:49:56]: “In Search of the Public Domain” with Lucie Guibault, Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam, Patrick Peiffer, Luxcommons, Jonathan Gray, Open Knowledge Foundation, Sirin Tekinay, Ozyegin University, Istanbul, Turkey, Ignasi Labastida, University of Barcelona, Philippe Aigrain, Sopinspace, and Paolo Lanteri, WIPO

Wednesday 30 June
The third day combined the three tracks and the cross-sectional issues with an orientation towards solutions and next steps.

Morning session (video link)

  • High Order Bit [00:01:08]: “Why Academia Needs to Rediscover the Commons” by Jean Claude Guedon, University of Montreal
  • High Level Keynote [00:28:00]: “Digital Culture, Network Culture, and What Comes Afterward” by Bruce Sterling
  • High Order Bit [01:35:44]: “From Elites, To Masses: Drivers of Excellence in Communication, And Participation” by David Orban, Humanity+ & Singularity University
  • Student session [01:49:58]: “Public universities, public education: From the Bologna Process to Cyberspace”, chaired by Chiara Basile, Politecnico di Torino

Afternoon session (video link)

  • Final Session: “Synthesis and Proposals” with Stephan Vincent-Lancrin, OECD, Francesco Profumo, Rector Politecnico di Torino, Mario Calabresi, La Stampa, Herbert Burkert, University of St. Gallen, Jafar Javan, UN Staff College, Charles Nesson, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Chiara Basile, Politecnico di Torino, Sirin Tekinay, Ozyegin University, Istanbul, Turkey, Juan Carlos De Martin, NEXA Center for Internet & Society, and Urs Gasser, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
14 February 2010

Conversations in a weekend village — Interaction10 impressions

Interaction10
Written by Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels.

Interaction10 is over. Four days of presentations, workshops, games, installations stimulated vivid exchanges of ideas and reflections on the changing landscape of interaction design. Hosted in beautiful downtown Savannah by the international Interaction Design Association and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), the conference set the stage for lively face to faces encounters, practice discussions and sensory southern food discoveries. Deep thoughts and constant twittering.

Co-chairs Bill DeRouchey (Ziba Design) and Jennifer Bove (Kicker Studio and a graduate of Interaction Design Institute Ivrea) moderated a salon style conference across several historic venues getting the participants out onto the squares and into the charming nooks of Savannah. SCAD has over the years preserved historic buildings and filled them with live through their educational programs such as those in Interaction Design and Service Design, led by professors such as Dave Malouf, Jon Kolko and Diane Miller. A great experience! The following notes give some impression on select highlights.

Learning from the past – Talk to me

Paolo Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MOMA, laid out her exhibition plans charting the ‘subtle, subliminal ways, things talk to us’. Her talk showcased outstanding examples of how objects and interactions changed our way of seeing, mapping and explaining the world. She traced the impact of networks and systems on our capability to make and mix worlds to the shifting face of things. Examples range from Muriel Cooper‘s Visual Language workshop at MIT to Ben Fry‘s scientific information visualizations, and from the changing nature of prototyping via open source design tools Processing and Arduino, visionary scenarios such as Apple’s 1087 Navigator video to Applied Minds Touch landscapes. Take her title ‘Talk to me’ literally – Paola is looking for visionary artefacts from the history of interaction design.

Our scattered distribution of memories – The 40 year old tweet

Is there a life after the half hour half-life of tweets? How to approach your parents’ Flickr collection or find the heirloom experiences in your grand parents’ SMS exchanges? How does the web of metadata become part of our reminiscences years later? Richard Banks of Microsoft Research Cambridge explored in several prototypes the sentimental value, burden and sense of obligation digital exchanges will pose to future generations. Matt Cottam extends this search to heirloom electronics and our design capabilities to give modern products greater longevity and meaning.

Making it – Designing for the web in the world

Timo Arnall, Kevin Cheng, Ben Fullerton, Gretchen Anderson and Raphael Grignani offered diverse strategies to engage people’s experiences of physical products and digital services.

Timo Arnall explored in the Touch project controversial issues of technology usage such as leaking RFiD fields and the tangible experience of invisible data. Which kind of graceful interactions remain when a connected object goes offline or is without power? In his research and work with Berg, a London based interaction design studio, he proposes that interactive objects need to provide an immediate tangible experience even if not in use, that the purpose of being connected and data sharing should become obvious, and that long-term services and data visualizations provide feedback loops.

Twitter’s Kevin Cheng gave an excellent overview about the challenges and opportunities of Augmented Reality (see also his book in progress). He documented how context based smartphone applications expand our experience spaces such as in Yelp, Nearby, Layar, Arg DJ, Lego selections in retail stores, a USPS shipping box simulation, and ARhrrr games. Challenges are the lack of design patterns, glanceable interfaces and usability issues.

Gretchen Anderson, IxD director at Lunar, showcased our visceral reactions to facial features – ‘those key things your users see first’ – in products. What is the impression which we are giving? What can we understand at a first glance? Imbuing objects with a sophisticated character can enhanced the storytelling potential and interaction magic.

According to Bruce Sterling ‘Sense of wonders have short shelf life’. Our search capabilities have undergone dramatic change. Peter Morville of Semantic Studios spoke about the future of search. He introduced various behavioral and design patterns from his latest book Search Patterns. What we find, changes what we are looking for. How will we search in the future – feels like, tastes like, looks like, sounds like, smells like? Multi-sensory search is an untapped area of exploration – moving search beyond the web.

ITP professor Tom Igoe demanded to extend open source design to products and services to enable public knowledge and participation in the modification and/or reproduction of a product. Consequences might be flexible warranty agreements, impact on recycling and reverse engineering, or community patent reviews. Practical layers of openness need to include the whole value chain from physical construction, bill of materials, code, extendibility and reprogrammability, API’s and communication protocols, interoperability as well as design and interaction guidelines. This also requires to address frequent usability issues of open source projects.

From observing failures to provoking them was Nicholas Nova‘s contribution in addressing product non-usage, real-time accidents, traces and individual blame bias. ‘Failures are often overlooked in design research’. He proposed to actively provoke failures as a design tactic and to observe responding people’s behaviors.

Designing for the next billion

Nokia Design has over the years embraced ethnographic research and design discovery processes to shape mobile experiences and accelerate decision making processes. Raphael Grignani, head of Nokia’s San Francisco design studio, engaged workshop participants in exploring incremental and radical design innovation through community-based ethnographic design approaches. Nokia sends 3-4 times per year design teams to search for extreme behaviors in remote locations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe. Raphael guided us through the design process – discover, define, develop and deliver – with examples from the open studio project – My mobile phone, to Lifeblog to Remade and Homegrown.

See also:
Patterns in UX Research
Deconstructing Analysis Techniques
Mobile Literacy
Homegrown people planit profit

Processes and reflections – Design is the process of evoking meaning

Nathan Shedroff, chair of the MBA program in Design Strategy at California College of Arts in San Francisco, started of the row of thought leaders in situating meaning, behavioral change and sustainability as key challenges for interaction designers. How does a more meaningful world look like? Or a post consumer society?

Easy answers are difficult to come by. Next year’s conference needs a track of fast paced inspirational show & tells and the design thinking behind it. Dan Hill from Arup came closest in establishing a vision of a new soft city, merging multi-sensor interaction design ‘with architecture, planning and urbanism informed by a gentle ambient drizzle of everyday data’ – alive to the touch of its citizen. In his closing talk he exhibited a range of responsive well-tempered environments supporting civic relationships between individuals and communities around them. Examples of his call for civic sustainability feedback loops are projects in Barangaroo, the State Library of Queensland and the Sydney Metro in Australia, Arup’s contribution to the Masdar city centre, and the low2no carbon emissions project for Helsinki Harbor by Arup, Sauerbruch Hutton and Experientia.

A further exploration of the poetics of space were Kendra Shimmell‘s staging of interactive environments sensitive to movement and intent. Trained as a ballet dancer she presented motion capture studies in real time. Every movement unleashed auditory qualities in the space. A blink of an eye turned into sound, a raise of an arm provoked a tonal scale, fast movements elicit under her control musical compositions. Robert Wechsler provided the artistic motion tracking software.

‘You find things that you are nor looking for, when you are not looking’. Dave Gray continued the playful approach to innovation in his presentation of Knowledge Games: The visual thinking playbook. Fuzzy goals can lead to prospecting unexpected sensory, emotional and functional discoveries. Unfortunately he illustrated his engaging talk with a glorification of the AK47 as a ‘powerful tool of change’. His agnostic design philosophy hides an ethical ambivalence and repositions designers as hired hands of industry who do whatever is needed – even weapons of mass destruction. Can’t we find ethical examples which enable people, but don’t kill?

Chris Fahey applied the Uncanny Valley hypothesis of robotics to interface design. As interfaces behave eerily humanlike, people find them repulsive until they become more realistic representations of human behaviors. Human interface need to be ‘responsive to human needs and considerate of human frailties’. Qualities are sentience – the ability to feel subjectively, intimacy and personality. Character and personality may imbue interfaces with meaning and make them memorable. Now just watch your step, the uncanny valley is calling.

Ezio Manzini spoke about our growing desire for de-intermediated relationships between consumer and producers. Examples range from neighborhood markets and festivals, to community supported agriculture, urban farms, collaborative welfare servicesm etc. Digital platforms become catalysts of social resources and can support our vision of sustainable futures. Keywords to describe these futures are small-connected-local-open. Small-local interweaves issues of scale, relationships and identities, generally associated with control of a smaller set of variables and therefore supporting happiness. Open-connected outlines the rise of new organizational forms, whereas small-connected establishes nodes in a network society with the density of these links becoming important. Local-open: in a sustainable society the local is open, the connected local – resulting in an increase of cultural diversity and dialog between cosmopolitan participants. Manzini called on us to design enabling systems and engage in programs such as the US Social Innovation Fund, funded with 50 million USD by the US Government as announced by Michele Obama: “The idea is simple: Find the most effective programs out there and then provide the capital needed to replicate their success in communities around the country, … By focusing on high-impact, results-oriented nonprofits, we will ensure that government dollars are spent in a way that is effective, accountable and worthy of the public trust.”

If it’s not ethical, it is not beautiful. Jon Kolko expanded on Andrew Carnegie‘s “My heart is in the work” to ‘approach our work with philanthropic enthusiasm that would make Carnegie proud. Design for real cultural change starts by understanding how people really behave. He called on designers to emphasize with people, build trust and purposefully change behaviors. His heart is now in the new Austin Center for Design, a place for wicked problem solving.

Interaction11 is coming. See you on February 10-12, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado.

1 February 2010

The Internet of things: Networked objects and smart devices

Networked objects
Constantine Valhouli, principal of the Massachusetts based Hammersmith Group, which consults to developers on the marketing and branding of luxury properties, and to city leaders on reviving historical downtowns, just published an overview of the potential for connected devices entitled “The Internet of things: Networked objects and smart devices.”

It quotes Rob Faludi, Julian Bleecker, Bruce Sterling, Adam Greenfield and covers devices from the WineM to Botanicalls to the Ambient Orb along with the original online coffee pot.

A variety of other research papers by the same author can be found on this site.

Download report

(via Mike Kuniavsky)

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?

26 September 2009

The city is a battlesuit for surviving the future

Future metro
Matt Jones, design director at Berg in London, has published a piece in Future Metro which Bruce Sterling “would like to call ‘the greatest design-fiction writing I’ve ever seen,” but (a) it’s not about design, (b) it’s not fictional and (c) it’s not even writing.”

“This piece,” Sterling says, “is doing the same futuristic thing that Archigram did decades ago, except for us, for now, in our idiom, with our techniques. It’s far-out, it’s edgy, it’s visionary, it’s truly violative of the given norm, and yet there’s nothing merely cheap and sensational here. These are ground-breaking concepts dressed in a Pop Art battlesuit, and beneath that guise lies profundity. Time is going to be kind to this.”

A small excerpt:

“I’d contend cities are not just engines of invention in stories, they themselves are powerful engines of culture and re-invention. […]

Cities are the best battlesuits we have.

It seem to me that as we better learn how to design, use and live in cities – we all have a future.”

Read full story

22 September 2009

Enhancing user interaction with first person user interface

Sensors 1st person
Luke Wroblewski, an internationally recognized Web thought leader and Senior Director of Product Ideation & Design at Yahoo! Inc., provides a comprehensive overview of augmentation as a user interface, complete with real-world examples.

“Though many computer applications and operating systems make use of real-world metaphors like the desktop, most software interface design has little to do with how we actually experience the real world. In lots of cases, there are great reasons not to directly mimic reality. Not doing so allows us to create interfaces that enable people to be more productive, communicate in new ways, or manage an increasing amount of information. In other words, to do things we can’t otherwise do in real life.

But sometimes, it makes sense to think of the real world as an interface. To design user interactions that make use of how people actually see the world -to take advantage of first person user interfaces.

First person user interfaces can be a good fit for applications that allow people to navigate the real world, “augment” their immediate surroundings with relevant information, and interact with objects or people directly around them.”

Read full story

(via Bruce Sterling)

25 August 2009

Ideas for thought from the Symposium for the Future

Symposium for the Future
The New Media Consortium is hosting a Symposium for the Future October 27-29 that will explore actual and potential applications of technology that could impact issues of global importance over the next five years and beyond.

To generate dialog and discussion around the topic, and to help prospective proposal writers to frame their ideas about the conference themes, the organisers invited danah boyd (Microsoft Research and the Berkman Center, Harvard), Gardner Campbell (Baylor University), and Holly Willis (The Institute for Multimedia Literacy, USC), all people who have thought quite a bit about ideas behind this symposium, to craft a series of essays from three distinct perspectives on the topic.

It is easy to fall in love with technology (alternate link)
by danah boyd, researcher at Microsoft Research New England and Fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society

“There are also no such things as “digital natives.” Just because many of today’s youth are growing up in a society dripping with technology does not mean that they inherently know how to use it. They don’t. Most of you have a better sense of how to get information from Google than the average youth. Most of you know how to navigate privacy settings of a social media tool better than the average teen. Understanding technology requires learning.”

The stars our destination (alternate link)
by Gardner Campbell, director of the Academy for Teaching and Learning at Baylor University

“Though I know these marvelous information and communication technologies we live with every day are fraught sixteen ways from Sunday, I believe they are also a kind of poem we have written together, a film we have made together, a medium that has enabled what Clay Shirky identifies as “the largest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race” (Here Comes Everybody). That increase happened because we wanted it to, because we have not yet found the boundaries of our ambitions for connection and expression.”

Tactics and haptics and a future that’s now
by Holly Willis, director of academic programs at the University of Southern California‘s Institute for Multimedia Literacy

“We need to take seriously the significance of a vision of the future, not so much with regard to fantastic scenarios – the stuff of science fiction, which as we know, does play an important role in envisioning the future – but instead in terms of tangible, real-world realities. Why? Because when we talk about “the future” these days, we’re no longer thinking about a long, gently winding road disappearing into a distant horizon, but instead a window (or screen?) pushed up close against our noses. The temporal horizon has shrunk, and the future, as Bruce Sterling said recently at Reboot, is really about a transition happening right now.”

24 August 2009

The augmented reality avalanche

Bruce Sterling on AR
The last few weeks we have witnessed an avalanche of posts about augmented reality.

To begin with there is Bruce – Bruce Sterling that is.

He has been following the trend for months now, all culminating at his excellent keynote speech during the Layar event in Amsterdam.

In his keynote, entitled ““At the Dawn of the Augmented Reality Industry“, Bruce talks about its history, the cool side (“a techno-visionary dream come true”), the dark side (“you are going to get the four horsemen of the apocalypse”) and gives the industry some pointers to be successful (“you’re not going to look like you are looking now”).

Watch it. Seriously.

Other recent contributions on this topic that caught my attention are:

Inside out: interaction design for augmented reality [UX Matters]
by Joe Lamantia
The role of experience design in regard to the inside-out world of augmented reality is critical, because, as [Victor] Vinge also pointed out, “Reality can be whatever the software people choose to make it, and the people operating in the outside, real world choose it to be.” The UX community needs to find ways to participate in and shape this design probe into the experience of everyware. To UX designers of all stripes, this blizzard of AR products offers a collection of prototypes that can help us understand and refine the basic interaction models and experience concepts that will underlay future generations of everyware. UX professionals can offer an essential perspective—as well as substantial history and a critical set of methods and skills—for the creation of delightful, useful, and humane augmented experiences, expanding their relevance and value. This opportunity is upon us now and is ours to grasp—or miss!

Augmented reality? More like awkward hilarity [Wired UK]
by Michael Conroy
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” By overlaying the real (live video) with the virtual (data, images, 3D models), augmented reality (AR) may be the most convincing example of Arthur C. Clarke’s third law of prediction. When it works, that is.

Handsets enhance the real world [BBC News]
by Dan Simmons
Imagine seeing interesting information pop up as you stroll around. It is almost like a sixth sense, and it used to be mainly the stuff of science fiction. But Augmented Reality (AR) – in which live video images like those from mobile phone camera are tagged with relevant data – is starting to be widely available.
Check the Layar video.

Augmented reality: five barriers to a web that’s everywhere[ReadWriteWeb]
by Marshall Kirkpatrick
“The internet smeared all over everything.” An “enchanted window” that turns contextual information hidden all around us inside out. A platform that will be bigger than the Web. Those are the kinds of phrases being used to describe the future of what’s called Augmented Reality (AR), by specialists developing the technology to enable it. Big questions remain unanswered, though, about the viability of what could be a radical next step in humanity’s use of computers.

17 July 2009

Futures 2.0: rethinking the discipline

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang of The Institute for the Future has been working recently on a think-piece on what futures would look like if it started now:

“If instead of starting during the Cold War, in the middle of enthusiasm for social engineering, computer programming, and rationalistic visions of future societies, futures was able to draw on neuroscience and neuroeconomics, behavioral psychology, simulation, and other fields and tools.” […]

“If there was no Global Business Network, no IFTF, no organized or professionalized efforts to forecast the future– what would the field look like? What kinds of problems would it tackle? What kinds of science would it draw on? And how would it try to make its impact felt?”

Read full story
Download essay

Also from Alex, the “The Evil Futurists’ Guide to World Domination: How to be Successful, Famous, and Wrong“. According to Bruce Sterling, Pang’s “evil futurist” is “a morally-certain holy prophet with a scripture“.