The future of design could see the divide between able-bodied and disabled people vanish.
Don Norman , design Professor at Northwestern University in Illinois, and the author of ”The Design of Future Things,” is issuing a challenge to designers and engineers across the world: Create things that work for everyone.
“It is about time we designed things that can be used by ALL people — which is the notion behind accessible design. Designing for people with disabilities almost always leads to products that work better for everyone.”
Once the champion of human-centered design — where wants and needs of individuals are the primary consideration in the design process, Norman now believes accessible activity-centered design is a better approach.
In three years we worked with some of the best companies in the field and some of the best people too.
Here they are in alphabetical order:
Alcatel-Lucent (France, Spain), Area Association (Italy), Arits Consulting (Belgium), AVIS (Italy), Barclays (Italy, UK), Blyk (Finland, UK), Cittadellarte (Italy), City of Genk (Belgium), Condé Nast (Italy), Conifer Research (USA), CSI (Italy), CVS-Pharmacy (USA), Design Flanders (Belgium), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Expedia (UK), Facem (Italy), Fidelity International (UK), Finmeccanica (Italy), Flanders in Shape (Belgium), Haier (China), Hewlett Packard (India), IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia), IKS-Core Consulting (Italy), Istud Foundation (Italy), Kodak (USA), LAit (Italy), Last Minute (UK), Max Mara (Italy), Media & Design Academy (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), Motorola (USA), MPG Ferrero (Italy), Nokia (Denmark, France, Finland), Research in Motion (Canada), Samsung (Italy, Korea, UK), Swisscom (Switzerland), Tandem Seven (USA), Torino World Design Capital (Italy), Voce di Romagna (Italy), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, UK), and Whirlpool (UK).
Our collaborators (interns, consultants and staff)
Sven Adolph, Ana Camila Amorim, Andrea Arosio, An Beckers-Vanderbeeken, Josef ‘Yosi’ Bercovitch, Enrico Bergese, Niti Bhan, Elena Bobbola, Janina Boesch, Giovanni Buono, Donatella Capretti, Manlio Cavallaro, Gaurav Chadha, Dave Chiu, Raffaella Citterio, Sarah Conigliaro, Piermaria Cosina, Marco Costacurta, Laura Cunningham, Regine Debatty, Stefano Dominici, Saulo Dourado, Tal Drori, Dina Mohamed El-Sayed, Marion Froehlich, Giuseppe Gavazza, Valeria Gemello, Michele Giannasi, Young-Eun Han, Vanessa Harden, Yasmina Haryono, Bernd Hitzeroth, Juin-Yi ‘Suno’ Huang, Tom Kahrl, Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil, Helena Kraus, Francesca Labrini, Alberto Lagna, Shadi Lahham, Jörg Liebsch, Cristina Lobnik, Maya Lotan, Ofer Luft, Davide Marazita, Claude Martin, Camilla Masala, Myriel Milicevic, Kim Mingo, Emanuela Miretti, Massimo Morelli, Peter Morville, Muzayun Mukhtar, Giorgio Olivero, Pablo Onnias, Hector Ouilhet, Christian Pallino, Giorgio Partesana, Magda Passarella, Romina Pastorelli, Danilo Penna, Andrea Piccolo, Rachelly Plaut, Laura Polazzi, Laura Puppo, Alain Regnier, Enza Reina, Anna Rink, Michal Rinott, Silvana Rosso, Emanuela Sabena, Vera de Sa-Varanda, Craig Schinnerer, Fabio Sergio, Manuela Serra, Sofia Shores, Massimo Sirelli, Natasha Sopieva, Yaniv Steiner, Riccardo Strobbia, Victor Szilagyi, David Tait, Beverly Tang, Akemi Tazaki, Luca Troisi, Raymond Turner, Haraldur Unnarsson, Ilaria Urbinati, Carlo Valbonesi, Marcello Varaldi, Giorgio Venturi, Anna Vilchis, Dvorit Weinheber, Alexander Wiethoff, Junu Joseph Yang, and Mario Zannone.
Amberlight, Design for Lucy, Fecit, Finsa, Flow Interactive, Foviance, Italia 150, Launch Institute, Prospect, Savigny Research, Syzygy, Torino World Design Capital, UPA, URN, Usability Partners International, Usercentric, UserFocus, User Interface Design, and UXnet.
Our friends (insofar not covered by the above)
Nik Baerten, Valerie Bauwens, Toon Berckmoes, Ralf Beuker, Marco Bevolo, Daniella Botta, Stefana Broadbent, Francesco Cara, Jan Chipchase, Allan Chochinov, Elizabeth Churchill, Gillian Crampton-Smith, Regine Debatty, Federico De Giuli, Jesse James Garrett, Adam Greenfield, Hubert Guillaud, Wilfried Grommen, Laurent Haug, Bob Jacobson, Marguerite Kahrl, Anna Kirah, Simona Lodi, Peter Merholz, Bill Moggridge, Donald Norman, Nicolas Nova, Bruce Nussbaum, Laura Orestano, Vittorio Pasteris, Gianluigi Perotto, Carlo Ratti, Hans Robertus, Bruce Sterling, John Thackara, Joannes Vandermeulen, Lowie Vermeersch, Judy Wert, and Younghee Yung.
Thanks to you all!
Pierpaolo Perotto, Mark Vanderbeeken, Michele Visciola and Jan-Christoph Zoels
The Experientia partners
PS. We are constantly looking for great talent! We currently have openings for interaction designers, communication designer, information architect, IT staff, usability consultants, etc.
The issue is all about “colliding worlds” with “interactions disciplines” becoming “more appropriately integrated into other creative disciplines (e.g. architecture and music), into business, and into the new business models that will shape the 21st and 22nd centuries,” as described by the editors Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko in their editorial.
It also features contributions by Allison Arieff (Sunset), Eli Blevis (Indiana University at Bloomington), Shunying Blevis (Indiana University at Bloomington), Benjamin H. Bratton, Valerie Casey (IDEO), Elizabeth Churchill (Yahoo! Research), Dave Cronin (Cooper), Allison Druin (Human-Computer Interaction Lab), Hugh Dubberly, Shelley Evenson (Carnegie Mellon University), Jonathan Grudin (Microsoft Adaptive Systems and Interaction group), Zhiwei Guo (Adobe Systems Inc.), John Hopson (Microsoft’s Games User Research group), Steve Howard (University of Melbourne), Tuck Leong (University of Melbourne), Zhengjie Liu Dalian Marine University), Bob Moore, Donald Norman, Steve Portigal, Scott Palmer (University of Leeds), Sita Popat (University of Leeds), Kai Qian, Laura Seargeant Richardson (M3 Design Inc.), Richard Seymour (Seymourpowell), Frank Vetere (University of Melbourne), Huiling Wei, and Ning Zhang (Dalian Marine University)
Interactions Magazine is the bimonthly publication of the ACM [Association of Computing Machinery] and is distributed to all members of SIGCHI [Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction].
It recently underwent a complete makeover the inspiring and volunteer (!) leadership of Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko who turned it into a publication full of timely articles, stories and content related to the interactions between experiences, people, and technology — the must have magazine for the user experience community!
By clicking on Power Search, you can easily limit the regular iTunes search to iTunes U.
Of particular interest to the readers of this blog is Stanford University’s Human-Computer Interaction Seminar, consisting of no less than 36 lectures by people such as Bill Moggridge, Bill Buxton, Elizabeth Churchill, Paul Dourish and Donald Norman.
Aside from Bruce Sterling, exhilarating discussants were Massimo Banzi, Julian Bleecker, Donald Norman and Marcos Novak, to name just a few.
Manufacturing: From Digital to Digifab
– Bruce Sterling, Share Festival guest curator, writer
– Stefano Boeri, architect, publishing director of Abitare magazine
Share Festival conferences start – Sterling and Boeri discuss about digital manufacturing. As Bruce Sterling says “on the map there’s more than on the territory”, but it is certainly true that “in materiality i feel confortable as never before”.
Manufacturing Cultural Projects
– Montse Arbelo and Joseba Franco, artists
– Katina Sostmann, researcher
– Kees de Groot and Viola van Alphen, GogBot Festival direction
The development of digital technologies have led to new themes for art and design. Three different European projects present their production processes concerning digital art and design: ArtTechMedia, project to promote digital art, digifab activity of university department of design at Akademie der Kunste Berlin, GogBot Festival, Ducth event focused on creative applications on Robots.
Manufacturing the Streets
– Gianni Corino, researcher at Plymouth University
– Hugo Derijke, artist
– Chiara Boeri, artist
How can artists contribute to design public space and re-define the social sphere? Being part of the shared social network system, art and digital communication are the driving forces behind urban transformation, especially in public areas as museum, galleries, squares and shopping centres.
– Motor, artist
– Mauro Lupone, sound designer
– Andrea Balzola, media theorist and play writer
– Anne Nigten, managing director V2_Lab
Presentation of theatre and research projects concerning the post dramatic patterns of digital storytelling. The theatre is conceived as stage machinery where the actor is the performer and technologies play as characters.
Patching Zone: Manufacturing Interdisciplinary Collaborations
The researcher from V2, Rotterdam, shows us the way electronic art is integrating electronic art studio as a meeting table to enter into new agreements among different subjects.
– Luigi Pagliarini, artist and neuropsychologist
– Franco Torriani, critic
– Pier Luigi Capucci, university professor Università di Bologna
– Gordana Novakovic, artist
– Video by Stelarc, artist
Which is the physical, intellective and emotional relationship between man and machine? A new definition of “mind” that is finally able to be free from the prejudice that intelligence is exclusively belonging to human being, or more generally biological beings, thus assessing that artefacts can take part in this new procedure.
– Stefano Carabelli, university professor Politecnico di Torino
– Pietro Terna, university professor Università di Torino
– Owen Holland, university professor University of Essex
– Giampiero Masera, Turin Chamber of Commerce
The synthesis is in the title of panel, with “manufacturing robots”, looking at robots, from industrial intelligent machines to androids and to mobile applications of artificial intelligence techniques, as expression of industry, creativity, innovation and art. A perspective perfectly represented by the creative idea of the “Marinetti’s Orchestra“, as a key visiting card for the future of our area.
Manufacturing FIAT 500
– Roberto Giolito (Advanced Design Fiat)
Roberto Giolito, designer of the FIAT 500, tells how is borned the design of this vehicle symbol of the italian industrial manifacture.
A Manifesto for Networked Objects
– Julian Bleecker, professor at University of Southern California
Now objects are on-line too – blogjects , blogging objects. Once “things” are connected to the Internet, they immediately become part of the relational system, thus improving and boosting the connections in the social network, and they finally define a new relationship between presence and mobility in the physical world. With a pervading Internet network objects are now “citizens” of our space, with the possibility to communicate and interact with them.
Manufacturing Digital Art
– Massimo Banzi, Arduino co-founder
– Fabio Franchino and Giorgio Olivero, artists
In the 90s digital art was referring to immateriality, now the society has a more natural relationship with technologies, thus letting what is immaterial to become real, and experimenting new interaction processes between man and machine, that has completely become part of everyday life in the meantime. Manufacturing is also referring to digital art, where such equipment as Arduino and the explosive advent of 3D printers and devices for digital manufacturing led to integrate what is digital into what is real.
Manufacturing Future Designs
– Donald Norman, Director of the Institute for Cognitive Science
– Bruce Sterling, writer
– Luca De Biase, publishing director of Nova24- Sole24Ore magazine
– Gino Bistagnino, university professor Politecnico di Torino
Donald Norman presents his latest book, “Design of Future Things”, where objects, agents of an operating macrosystem, are inter-connected within a pervasive network where relation is more important than function. Relation must be focused on sustainability as well, since a harmful element can infect the whole system.
– Janez Jansa, artist
– Paolo Cirio, artist
– Antonio Caronia, theorist
Recent facts in contemporary society, dazzled by consumer offers and information pollution – people can experience forms of collective hypnosis, created by a communication system whose cultural machines are turning alienation and difference into agreement, thanks to “emotional” strategies that can mould people’s consciousness: where does communication finish and propaganda start?
From Land Art to Bioart
– Ivana Mulatero, critic
– Gianluca Cosmacini, architect
– Franco Torriani, critic
Presentation of the book “From Land Art to Bioart”, edited by Hopefulmonster Press, by Ivana Mulatero.
Is Life Manufacturable?
– Franco Torriani, critic
– Luis Bec, artist
– Nicole C. Karafyllis, biologist and philosopher
Life is now part of the manufacturing process that may produce hybrid examples widely including the two different aspects: natural living entities and technical products. Biofacts, Zootechnosemiotics, Nanotechnology: a new “parallel biology” is rising, where artificial organisms can count on some living beings’ peculiarities?
Two Architectures: Atoms and Bits
– Marcos Novak, architect
– Bruce Sterling, writer
The architecture theorist Marcos Novak and Bruce Sterling discuss about Novak’s concepts such as “trans-vergence”, “trans-architecture”, “trans-modernity”, “liquid architecture”, “navigable music”, “habitable cinema”, “archimusic”. Architectonic explorations into expanded, mixed and alternative virtual reality.
Share Prize Ceremony
– Bruce Sterling
– Anne Nigten
– Stefano Mirti
Winner: Delicate Boundaries by Christine Sugrue
His newest delightfully written piece is about the unavoidability of waiting. A short quote:
“To the analyst, such as me, interfaces are where the fun lies. Interfaces between people, people and machines, machines and machines, people and organizations. Anytime one system or set of activities abuts another, there must be an interface. Interfaces are where problems arise, where miscommunications and conflicting assumptions collide. Mismatched anything: schedules, communication protocols, cultures, conventions, impedances, coding schemes, nomenclature, procedures. it is a designer’s heaven and the practitioners hell. And it is where I prefer to be.”
According to the Adaptive Path blog, the interview deals with: “adaptive cruise control, ubiquitous computing, human plus machine, “user experience,” “affordances,” asking the right questions, coupling design with operations, busting down silos, TiVo has never made any money, Palm, many reasons for the Newton’s failure, boss as an absolute dictator, Henry Dreyfuss and John Deere, design evolving from craft to profession, systems thinking, “T-shaped people,” observing the world, and water bottle caps.”
I personally liked their conversation about the importance of clear conceptual definitions, the new and exciting course about management, design and operations that Don is teaching at Northwestern University, and the deep historic roots of user experience research within cognitive science and the design world.
Listen to interview (50 mb, 54 min.)
In his new book, The Design of Future Things (Basic Books), Don Norman isn’t afraid to call himself out on statements he made in his earlier, wildly popular publications such as The Design of Everyday Things. The co-founder of corporate design consultancy Nielsen Norman Group and the former vice-president of Apple now says that he has changed his mind on several design strategies he has advocated over the years.
The focus of his new book, however, is not on how he wishes to update his philosophies of design and innovation. Instead, it centers on so-called “smart,” or automated, gadgets and products. Increasingly being produced and marketed, these range from talking refrigerators that scold you for not keeping to a diet to cars that are comfortable and easy to drive to the point of distracting drivers from the dangers of the road.
The Northwestern University design professor spoke with BusinessWeek Innovation Dept. Editor Reena Jana about the perils of automation and subtle but effective strategies for improving product design, such as offering sounds or visual signals that are more pleasant and instructive than electronic blips and bleeps. Below are edited excerpts from their conversation.
In alphabetical order:
It’s happening already, according to this Design News article:
Greg Morris doesn’t spend much time wondering about the factory of the future. He already runs it.
His company, Morris Technologies, specializes in tough-to-manufacture metal components for aerospace, medical and industrial applications. At first glance, Morris seems to operate a conventional machine shop full of high-end CNC machines. Next to the machine tools, though, Morris quietly runs a bank of EOS direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS) machines, which build up parts from successive layers of fused metal powder.
With six machines, Morris has the world’s highest concentration of DMLS capacity. And he has been using those machines not just to make prototypes but also to turn out production parts. It’s a practice that goes by many names — including rapid manufacturing, direct digital manufacturing, solid freeform fabrication and low-volume-layered manufacturing. All of the names refer to the use of additive fabrication technologies, which were initially intended for prototyping, to make finished goods, instead. Morris believes additive fabrication systems will soon occupy an increasingly prominent space on our shop floors. “We’re on the verge of a revolution in how things are made,” he says.
This is also the right time to add another category to Putting People First: mechatronics (under “Business”). It is a term that was recently re-introduced by Donald Norman, and I add it as a category because I think it is particularly relevant to the city where I live (Turin, Italy) with its great and very high-end mechanical engineering tradition – and therefore also for any other engineering-focused economy.
The excerpt, entitled “How to Talk to People”, is part of an ancient manuscript Norman uncovered, written some time in the 21st century, trying to teach machines patience in their interactions with people.
In short, a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek, deadpan must-read.
Download “How to Talk to People” (pdf, 583 kb, 4 pages)
“To imagine the phone of the future is also to imagine the future of consumer technology, and its personal and social impact. What mobile phones will look like in a year or two is easy to guess: they will be slimmer and probably will let you watch television on the move. But what about ten or 15 years from now?”
“The chances are that phones will not only look very different—they may not even be seen. They may be hidden in jewellery or accessories, or even embedded in the body. They will undoubtedly have a host of additional features and novel uses, and users will probably interact with them in new ways, too. And even if they are still called ‘phones’—a word derived from the Greek word for voice—making voice calls may no longer be their primary function.”
The wide-ranging article, which quotes Donald Norman, Bruce Sterling, and Bruno Giussani among others, acknowledges a crucial foresight problem: “Although extrapolating from today’s phones by following technology trends can provide some clues about their future direction, the danger with this approach is that it risks overlooking discontinuities in their evolution.”
A more behaviour-centred approach to foresight might help: “No doubt other new functions will be incorporated into phones. But which ones? Given their uniquely personal nature—some people feel naked without their handsets—it seems likely that they might subsume the other two items that are generally carried everywhere, namely wallets and keys.”
Another human-centred angle is to focus on the social consequences of future phones. “Social factors play a crucial role in determining which technologies end up being adopted, and how they are used.” Insights by Max Hunter, Pierre de Vries and Donald Norman are cited on this topic.
But where can you study it?
The short answer is that you can’t really study experience design. To my knowledge there is only one small programme of experience design at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
One can also study interaction design, a field that does not always have the same user focus as experience design, and there are programmes now in many countries, including Australia (University of Melbourne, University of Queensland), Canada (Simon Fraser University), Denmark (Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design), Ireland (University of Limerick), Japan (Keio University, University of Tokyo), Sweden (Chalmers, Malmo, Umea), UK (City University London, Middlesex University, RCA, University of Dundee), and the USA (Art Center College of Design, Carnegie Mellon, Indiana University, ITP, Parsons, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Baltimore, University of Maryland).
[This is just a provisional list – see here, here and here for more discussion on interaction design education]
Other related fields are communication design, HCI and information design, or you can join a programme in what in Europe is sometimes called “new media” or “multimedia”.
Amsterdam also host the European Centre for the Experience Economy.
Bob Jacobson, the entrepreneur and visionary thinker behind the Total Experience weblog, just raised the issue in an email he sent to a selected group of people including Bill Moggridge, John Thackara, Donald Norman and some 26 others, where he underlines the need for an Experience Design Institute, as a place of study and research, as a site of serious reflection and discourse. I think his call is most appropriate and timely (if not overdue), and as per usual with Bob, well thought through. Why have I received 625 email newsgroup messages in the last four months mentioning “experience design” and there is only one study programme explicitly dealing with this?
The challenge is out there. Who is taking it on?
UPDATE: 12 September 2006
Apparently, some institutions are taking on the challenge and preparing experience design programmes or labs. Interestingly, they are not in the U.S. The Utrecht School of Arts (The Netherlands) is in the planning phases of a new bachelor course called Ambient Experience Design. Also the Belgian Media & Design Academy is setting up an Experience Design Lab (disclosure: I am working with them helping them in this process). I hear some interesting things coming out of Portugal, but I am still inquiring to find out more. The most developed for now seems to be the “design para a experiência” initiative of the Nomads center at the University of San Paolo, under the leadership of Marcelo Tramontano.
“Many of the design tools used by the Human-Centered Design community lead to well-structured, carefully organized designs, often using powerful card-sorting and hierarchical clustering algorithms to make similar things be located near one another. Call this the “Hardware store” organization. Hammers are in the hammer section where they are all logically arranged. Nails are in the nail section.”
“The hardware store organization is based upon a taxonomy: appropriate for libraries and for stores where the major problem is locating the desired item out of context. But note that some stores have learned to provide activity-centered organization in addition to their normal classification. Thus, smart food stores put potato chips and pretzels next to the beer. And some even put beer next to the diapers, so that when a shopper makes a late night, emergency trip to get more diapers, why there is the beer, temptingly convenient. Sensible, well-organized logical design would not support this real behavior.”
“The best solution is to provide both solutions: taxonomies and taskonomies. Some websites organize all their items logically and sensibly in a taxonomic structure, but once a particular item has been selected, taskonomic information appears. For example, if examining a pair of pants, the website might suggest shoes and shirts that match. Look at a printer and the website might suggest ink, paper, and other related accessories. Buy a book, and the website suggests other books on related topics, or sometimes, books purchased by other people who also bought the book under consideration. Such recommendations based upon past behavior are often superior to recommendations based upon logic.”
Four speakers operating in the field between the human sciences and design – Donald Norman, Josephine Green, Henk Janssen (Indes) and Paul Hekkert (IO) – will provide position statements in engaging presentations. The four positions will form the basis for a lively debate between the speakers and an audience of designers and design researchers.
Entrance to the symposium is free of charge.
(via John Thackara)
‘Consumers now get angry when the interaction design of a product or service is not perfect. People used to think it was they who were stupid; now they say the offering and the company are stupid.
‘But design knowledge is more than just methods of understanding users. Executives are using design in the early stages of their processes and in solving types of problems that traditionally have not involved designers. This is in stark contrast to the conventional model of the past in which design was involved late in the process, making decisions about visual form after engineering and marketing had defined the basic direction,’ says Patrick Whitney, Director, Institute of Design, IIT, in his introduction.
Points of View from the 2005 Institute of Design Strategy Conference.
Institute of Design at IIT
Josephine Green / Philips Design
Larry Keeley / Doblin Inc
Donald Norman / Neilsen Norman Group
GK VanPatter / Humantific / NextDesign Leadership Institute
Patrick Whitney / Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology
Download book preview (pdf, 120 kb, 17 pages)
(Content from NextDesign Leadership Institute: New York, www.nextd.org