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Search results for '"nicolas nova"'
28 October 2008

The intelligent fridge is neither useful nor desirable

Central Park Fridge
Hubert Guillaud has written again a short analysis on why it makes no sense at all for companies to create something like intelligent fridges.

His main argument is that nobody has any need for such a device.

Although the article itself is in French, much of it was written based upon English-language materials, including this overview of intelligent fridges currently on the market by Mike Kuniavsky, a short article by Nicolas Nova, and the study entitled “User acceptance of the intelligent fridge: empirical results from a simulation” by Matthias Rothensee.

21 October 2008

Science fiction and HCI/interaction design

Star Wars
Nicolas Nova has posted some quick pointers about the relationships between science-fiction and HCI/interaction design on his blog:

Human Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies by Michael Schmitz surveys the different kind of interaction design sci-fi movies envisioned during the past decade. It also interestingly describes how the film technicians made prototype possible and legible.

Make It So: What Interaction Designers can Learn from Science Fiction Interfaces by Nathan Shedroff and Chris Noessel is a nice presentation from SxSW08 that looked at sci-fi material as well as industry future films to show design influences sci-fi and vice versa.

The upcoming paper by Paul Dourish and Genevieve Bell entitled ““Resistance is Futile”: Reading Science Fiction Alongside Ubiquitous Computing that investigates how ubiquitous computing is imagined and brought into alignment with science-fiction culture.

Julian Bleecker’s presentation from Design Engaged and SHiFt 2008 also addressed that topic.

Personally I would add Bruce Sterling’s work in general, as a major direct and indirect inspiration for interaction designers all over the world.

1 October 2008

“Resistance is Futile”: reading science fiction alongside ubiquitous computing

Crucible
The Crucible/Microsoft HCI Reading Group at Cambridge University is a journal-reading group dedicated to review and critique of recent theoretical developments in human-computer interaction.

In early August, the group discussed a draft manuscript from Paul Dourish (UC, Irvine) and Genevieve Bell (Intel) that is currently under review, entitled “‘Resistance is Futile': Reading Science Fiction Alongside Ubiquitous Computing”.

Abstract
Design-oriented research is an act of collective imagining – a way in which we work together to bring about a future that lies slightly out of our grasp. In this paper, we examine the collective imagining of ubiquitous computing by bringing it into alignment with a related phenomenon, science fiction, in particular as imagined by a series of shows that form part of the cultural backdrop for many members of the research community. A comparative reading of these fictional narratives highlights a series of themes that are also implicit in the research literature. We argue both that these themes are important considerations in the shaping of technological design, and that an attention to the tropes of popular culture holds methodological value for ubiquitous computing.

Download paper (pdf, temporary available at this url)

(via Nicolas Nova)

5 September 2008

The techno-mobile life in our networked cities

LIFT09
Nicolas Nova and Bruno Giussani have been blogging two of the LIFT Asia conference sessions that took place in Seoul today.

Session: Networked city
The new digital layers provided by ICTs are transforming contemporary urban environments. What does that mean for its inhabitants? What changes can we expect? How will ubiquitous computing influence the way we live? « Everyware » author Adam Greenfield (Nokia Design, Finland), as well as architects Jeffrey Huang (EPFL, Switzerland) and Yang Soo-In (The Living, Korea) provided their vision on this not so distant future.
> Report by Nicolas Nova
> Report by Bruno Giussani

Session: Techno-nomadic life
Mobile technologies have freed us from the tyranny of “place”, but have they introduced new constraints? New behaviors? Is the mobile web going through the same process as the Web in the 90s?
Star design researcher Jan Chipchase (Nokia, Japan) will present some insights nomadic work/life practices enabled by mobile technologies, while i-mode father Takeshi Natsuno (Keio University, Japan) and Christian Lindholm (Fjord, UK) will talk about the future of mobile services.
> Report by Nicolas Nova
> Report by Bruno Giussani

23 July 2008

In three years…

Experientia
Three years ago we founded Experientia. It has been a very exciting ride since.

In three years we worked with some of the best companies in the field and some of the best people too.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Our clients
Alcatel-Lucent (France, Spain), Area Association (Italy), Arits Consulting (Belgium), AVIS (Italy), Barclays (Italy, UK), Blyk (Finland, UK), Cittadellarte (Italy), City of Genk (Belgium), Condé Nast (Italy), Conifer Research (USA), CSI (Italy), CVS-Pharmacy (USA), Design Flanders (Belgium), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Expedia (UK), Facem (Italy), Fidelity International (UK), Finmeccanica (Italy), Flanders in Shape (Belgium), Haier (China), Hewlett Packard (India), IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia), IKS-Core Consulting (Italy), Istud Foundation (Italy), Kodak (USA), LAit (Italy), Last Minute (UK), Max Mara (Italy), Media & Design Academy (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), Motorola (USA), MPG Ferrero (Italy), Nokia (Denmark, France, Finland), Research in Motion (Canada), Samsung (Italy, Korea, UK), Swisscom (Switzerland), Tandem Seven (USA), Torino World Design Capital (Italy), Voce di Romagna (Italy), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, UK), and Whirlpool (UK).

Our collaborators (interns, consultants and staff)
Sven Adolph, Ana Camila Amorim, Andrea Arosio, An Beckers-Vanderbeeken, Josef ‘Yosi’ Bercovitch, Enrico Bergese, Niti Bhan, Elena Bobbola, Janina Boesch, Giovanni Buono, Donatella Capretti, Manlio Cavallaro, Gaurav Chadha, Dave Chiu, Raffaella Citterio, Sarah Conigliaro, Piermaria Cosina, Marco Costacurta, Laura Cunningham, Regine Debatty, Stefano Dominici, Saulo Dourado, Tal Drori, Dina Mohamed El-Sayed, Marion Froehlich, Giuseppe Gavazza, Valeria Gemello, Michele Giannasi, Young-Eun Han, Vanessa Harden, Yasmina Haryono, Bernd Hitzeroth, Juin-Yi ‘Suno’ Huang, Tom Kahrl, Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil, Helena Kraus, Francesca Labrini, Alberto Lagna, Shadi Lahham, Jörg Liebsch, Cristina Lobnik, Maya Lotan, Ofer Luft, Davide Marazita, Claude Martin, Camilla Masala, Myriel Milicevic, Kim Mingo, Emanuela Miretti, Massimo Morelli, Peter Morville, Muzayun Mukhtar, Giorgio Olivero, Pablo Onnias, Hector Ouilhet, Christian Pallino, Giorgio Partesana, Magda Passarella, Romina Pastorelli, Danilo Penna, Andrea Piccolo, Rachelly Plaut, Laura Polazzi, Laura Puppo, Alain Regnier, Enza Reina, Anna Rink, Michal Rinott, Silvana Rosso, Emanuela Sabena, Vera de Sa-Varanda, Craig Schinnerer, Fabio Sergio, Manuela Serra, Sofia Shores, Massimo Sirelli, Natasha Sopieva, Yaniv Steiner, Riccardo Strobbia, Victor Szilagyi, David Tait, Beverly Tang, Akemi Tazaki, Luca Troisi, Raymond Turner, Haraldur Unnarsson, Ilaria Urbinati, Carlo Valbonesi, Marcello Varaldi, Giorgio Venturi, Anna Vilchis, Dvorit Weinheber, Alexander Wiethoff, Junu Joseph Yang, and Mario Zannone.

Our partners
Amberlight, Design for Lucy, Fecit, Finsa, Flow Interactive, Foviance, Italia 150, Launch Institute, Prospect, Savigny Research, Syzygy, Torino World Design Capital, UPA, URN, Usability Partners International, Usercentric, UserFocus, User Interface Design, and UXnet.

Our friends (insofar not covered by the above)
Nik Baerten, Valerie Bauwens, Toon Berckmoes, Ralf Beuker, Marco Bevolo, Daniella Botta, Stefana Broadbent, Francesco Cara, Jan Chipchase, Allan Chochinov, Elizabeth Churchill, Gillian Crampton-Smith, Regine Debatty, Federico De Giuli, Jesse James Garrett, Adam Greenfield, Hubert Guillaud, Wilfried Grommen, Laurent Haug, Bob Jacobson, Marguerite Kahrl, Anna Kirah, Simona Lodi, Peter Merholz, Bill Moggridge, Donald Norman, Nicolas Nova, Bruce Nussbaum, Laura Orestano, Vittorio Pasteris, Gianluigi Perotto, Carlo Ratti, Hans Robertus, Bruce Sterling, John Thackara, Joannes Vandermeulen, Lowie Vermeersch, Judy Wert, and Younghee Yung.

Thanks to you all!

Pierpaolo Perotto, Mark Vanderbeeken, Michele Visciola and Jan-Christoph Zoels
The Experientia partners

PS. We are constantly looking for great talent! We currently have openings for interaction designers, communication designer, information architect, IT staff, usability consultants, etc.

4 July 2008

From ubiquitous technology to human context (videos)

UIA World Congress of Architecture
On Wednesday 2 July Nicolas Nova (LIFT lab) moderated a session at the World Congress of Architecture in Turin, Italy, entitled “From ubiquitous technology to human context – Technology applied to architecture and design: does it solve problems or create needs?”.

Speakers were Adam Greenfield (Head of Design Direction, Nokia), Jeffrey Huang (Director, Media and Design Laboratory, EPFL, Switzerland) and Younghee Jung (senior design manager, Nokia).

Videos: About ten minutes into the session, I realised that no provisions had been made by the organisers to videotape the presentations, so I started recording everything myself, from a small handheld Nokia N95. Obviously image quality is not so great but the sound is quite good. I uploaded everything on Google Video: Adam Greenfield, Jeffrey Huang and Younghee Jung.

Two apologies: first to Nicolas for not having taped his session too – as I said, I realised too late that the organisers were not doing it themselves – but luckily Nicolas has posted a summary and his slides on his own blog. The second apology goes to Younghee, whose presentation is only half recorded, because the N95 battery died.

The session unfortunately ended a bit in chaos. As it had started late, it also ran a bit over time and people from the next session started filling up the seminar room and at one point hackled the last speaker – Younghee Jung – to finish things up. A fragile Younghee – during her talk she shared a personal event with the audience that was very close to her emotionally – suddenly had to summarise 30 slides in 2 minutes and this is luckily not on video. Perhaps she can send us her presentation still.

1 July 2008

Frontiers of Interaction

Frontiers
Today I attended the Frontiers of Interaction IV conference in Turin, Italy, which — with some kind input from Bruce Sterling — has now reached quite an international level.

Speakers today were Jeffrey Schnapp (Stanford Humanities Lab – via video), Ashley Benigno (Global 3G Handset and Application Group at Hutchison Whampoa Limited), Nicolas Nova (LIFT conference), Bruno Giussani (TED – via video), David Orban (OpenSpime), Bruce Sterling (soon also to be known as “Bruno Argento”), Fabrizio Capobianco (Funambol), Adam Greenfield (Nokia), Bruno Mascaro (Sketchin), Elizabeth Churchill (Yahoo!), Stefano Sanna and Roberto Fraboni (beeweeb), Howard Rheingold (UC Berkeley and Stanford University – via video), Roberto Borri and Nico Sica (ITSME).

A full auditorium with among the attendees also Younghee Jung of Nokia, who will speak tomorrow at the World Congress of Architecture, in a session on “ubiquitous computing and the human context”, together with Nicolas Nova, Adam Greenfield and Jeffrey Huang.

Videos of all the presentations are now available online. Enjoy.

The conference was organised by a Leandro Agrò (Idearium.org) and Matteo Penzo.

5 June 2008

One month to go to the World Congress of Architecture

UIA World Congress of Architecture
In a month’s time Turin, Italy will host the XXIII edition of the World Congress of Architecture, promoted by the UIA (International Union of Architects).

More than 4000 participants have registered already. There are over 70 sessions with more than 360 speakers.

The topic chosen for the 2008 congress is “Transmitting Architecture“, or as the organisers say “the strength and ability architecture has of expressing and communicating values, feelings and diverse cultures through time.”

For Leopoldo Freyrie, General Speaker of the Torino 2008 UIA congress, this also indicates the desire and will to bring architecture out of a sort of isolation in which buildings and even gorgeous solutions are designed without any real connection to surrounding reality.

In fact during the press conference today Freyrie was quite adamant about the social and ethical role of the congress, which according to him had a duty to confront the major environmental, social, demographic, economic and migration challenges our planet is facing and that are often so concentrated in its urban environments.

We concur.

The three days dedicated to the congress themes are planned to include the following contents:

  • June 30th 2008, CULTURE, the project’s culture, talent and training, history and the Past, the transmission and protection of the architectural heritage, restoration.
  • July 1st 2008, DEMOCRACY, the construction of an urban democracy in the Present, participation, the decision-making process, the territory’s transformation, communication and mediation.
  • July 2nd 2008, HOPE, environmental sustainability and safeguard as ethical duty of architects, the search for a Future with a still inhabitable world, technological innovation.

One session will be of particular interest to readers of this blog: on 2 July Nicolas Nova (LIFT lab) will be moderator of a session entitled “From ubiquitous technology to human context – Technology applied to architecture and design: does it solve problems or create needs?”. Invited speakers are Adam Greenfield (Nokia), Jeffrey Huang (Media and Design Laboratory, EPFL, Switzerland) and Younghee Jung (Nokia).

A very nice gesture is the low-cost registration: 100 euros for professionals and 50 for students.

- Read today’s press release (Word document)
Consult the programme

31 May 2008

Infonomia TV: videos on innovation

Infonomia TV
The Spanish innovation network Infonomia features a video section (called Infonomia TV) with a series of English language video interviews that the readers of this blog might find interesting:

Nicolas Nova: The future of urban computing [5:25]
Nicolas Nova is researcher at the Media and Design Lab at the Swiss Institute of Technology in Lausanne and one of the editors of the annual LiftConference in Geneva. An expert on user experience and interface design, his research focuses on urban computing, so on how people use technology infrastructure in cities and in urban environments. He says that the future of cities it is not about technology but about human needs, an about what citizens want. In this interview he explains examples of the intelligent use of urban computing, like “Real-time Rome”, an MIT project realized in the Italian capital.

Alberto Alessi: Why real innovation is a question of systematic failure management [12:55]
The Italian design factory ALESSI is a representative example of how Italian design companies, like Artemide, Flos or Kartell, have been able to constantly reinventing themselves without loosing focus: exploring the imaginary of people by ignoring prescriptive marketing research in their product development. For this video interview we travelled to the Alessi headquarters in Crusinallo near Milan where chief design manager Alberto Alessi spoke about his theory of contemporary design management, the ugliness of cars, how Philippe Stark’s lemon squeezer came to life and why the egg is the most singular object ever “designed”.

Tom Kelley (IDEO): What has innovation consulting to do with film-making? [6:37]
Tom Kelley, general manager at IDEO and author of books like “The Art of Innovation” and “The Ten Faces of Innovation” is a globally recognised authority in innovation consulting. In this video interview he describes the fundamental changes in the innovation business, the importance of radical collaboration and design-based thinking, explains what IDEO’s innovation projects have to do with film-making and why shareholder value-obsessed CEOs won’t keep their jobs too long.

Younghee Jung (Nokia): What a Nokia product designer thinks about the iPhone? [4:47]
Nokia, the leading mobile phone producer, uses exploratory design research in an almost anthropological approach to study user behaviour in order to get fresh ideas for new products and applications. We talked to the product and interaction designer Younghee Jung, leader of one of Nokia’s global research teams, about the difficulties of exploring future trends in the mobile communication, the importance of local user behaviour and she finally confessed that the iPhone was actually, a positive thing to happen – both, for Nokia and the entire mobile phone industry.

Emile Aarts (Philips Research): Innovation by creating products that are “easy to experience” [5:14]
Emile Aarts is the vice president and director of the scientific programme at Philips Research. In 1998 he created the Ambient Intelligence Vision and in 2001 he founded the Philips HomeLab, two two initiatives that shaped the way in which the largest electronics company in Europe currently creates its new products.
“We have ensured that the separation between different departments is not as strict as before. We adopt a programmatic vision on innovation processes, which means that we have created truly multidisciplinary groups.”

12 April 2008

Julian Bleecker joins Nokia’s Design Strategic Projects Studio

Julian Bleecker
Julian Bleecker has decided to join Nokia’s Design Strategic Projects Studio.

Julian and (LIFT conference‘s) Nicolas Nova are the co-founders of the Near Future Laboratory where client work focuses on developing emerging and conceptual design-technology for new interactive experiences. Jan Chipchase and Duncan Burns are his colleagues in the studio.

In a long post on his blog, he explains why he made this decision:

“Time for the next chapter. Shortly, I’ll be officially joining a fantastic little studio within Nokia Design called Design Strategic Projects. It’s a studio of very clever, insightful and thoughtful designers and researchers. It’s a playground of big ideas, and plenty of support to work them through. There are some big questions and even bigger opportunities to continue the work I’ve been doing in the gaps between creative practices, technology and critical analytic thinking.”

Julian was recently in Turin, Italy, as a guest of the Bruce Sterling curated Share Festival, and I met him at a small party organised by the Turin-based participatory planning firm Avventura Urbana.

In his post, Julian also gives some background on the Studio:

The studio was formerly called Insight and Innovation. The work they did in that guise is pretty much exactly the sort of work I should be involved in. It combines analysis, visual storytelling, probes about new interaction paradigms, and speculative near future inquiries into new interaction rituals. One project that recently bubbled up to the public spotlight is called Remade, a phone made entirely from upcycled and recycled materials. It’s actually one central theme in a larger network of principled design projects that are incredibly exciting. What’s more, we’re going beyond talking the talk — appearance models and styling are well and good, but this is a design studio that will be making objects that function, turning their design principles and theory and coupling it tightly to everyday practice. There’s been some recent press about the studio and its people if you want some more insight. In the near future, there’ll be more of a public voice to the studio’s work. This was one of my central discussion points when we started late last summer chatting about my joining the studio, and every rung of the ladder up the leadership, across several international borders has indicated that this is indeed part of the mission.”

25 March 2008

Trying to register for the World Congress of Architecture

UIA World Congress logo
In a few months, Turin will host the World Congress of Architecture, the top architecture event in the world.

They have an interesting programme, with some speakers I really like. They are called “Relatori” on their English website, which non-Italians should obviously know means “Speakers”. A small detail, of course, because they got names like Peter Eisenman, Massimiliano Fuksas, Adam Greenfield, Jeffrey Huang, Nicolas Nova, Dominique Perrault, Renzo Piano, and Hani Rashid. To name just a few.

Registration is cheap. 100 euro. So I want to go. But then the trouble starts.

First you go to the website where any button “Registration” is missing. OK, you find out that it’s actually called “Participation”.
Then you have to create a personal account. Of course, I completely forgot that I had done this months ago to receive a newsletter. So I got an Italian language error message – on the English site of an international event – when I entered my normal email address.
Next step: a whole bunch of personal information. To enter your company name however, you have to hit a radio button which I of course missed. So I entered my information as an individual, and clicked “Update data”, which didn’t do much more than refresh the screen with the data I just entered.
Hmmm. What now? The left side menu has 16 clickable menu options. I click the most obvious one: “Registration and Payment”.
Wrong, of course. I arrive at a huge screen with lots of information. None of which I need.
At the bottom of that screen: “Go to subscription”. I click that.
New screen: “Add partecipants” (That’s the spelling!).
But I registered as an individual! Not as a company. I just added all my individual information and don’t want to add another “partecipant”.
This is clearly not a good choice. Next one up: “Your registered members”. Interesting! I am curious what the membership of an individual might mean. But I have no choice. So I click that.
Now the system says that I have no registered members. Strange: I just registered!
Maybe it’s a good thing. I don’t want “members” of myself anyhow. I just want to register. Please let me pay my 100 euros.
So I click on “Proceed to payment”.
Back to the huge screen with lots of information that I don’t need.

This is getting terribly irritating.

I guess the system requires me to be a “registered member” of myself. So now I have to register even more personal data, such as my identity card or passport number. I also need to select a country (not sure which one: country of citizenship or country where I live). I choose Italy. Now I also need to select which “Professional bodies of architect” (sic) I am from. It’s obligatory. But what comes up is a bit baffling: a list of Italian provinces and the word “Nessuno” which I know to mean “None”. Good luck, German or American! Perhaps, I was just stupid enough to list Italy as my country of residence.

Once I have done gone through all of that (remember that I registered as an individual), the system asks me again to “add partecipants”. Yes, I know: the spelling. I don’t want to “add partecipants” anyhow.

By now, I figured out that this stupid system requires me again to click on “Registered members” in the left menu, and discover that I am now a registered member of myself.

But how can I pay? It’s baffling. I managed to figure it out this afternoon — after 20 minutes of deep frustration. Now I tried again in order to write this post, using a different email address, but for the life of me, I can’t find the solution anymore. I CAN’T PAY. I have no clue at all anymore on how to do it.

The procedure I managed to find this afternoon has disappeared. I remembered that I somehow found a check box next to my name, which was the key to get into the actual payment system, but that’s gone now.

Guys, this is hopeless. How can you manage an international congress this way? And an interesting one at that! Your registration process is horrible. HORRIBLE! No wonder you have so few registrations. YOU HAVE TO FIX THIS IMMEDIATELY!!!

In short, I am more than just a little angry.

(And can someone now remove my duplicate pre-registration, so that I don’t get all your emails twice?).

14 February 2008

User experience session at the LIFT conference

LIFT08
Several blogs report on the user experience session of the recent LIFT conference.

Read what Nicolas Nova, Tom Hume, and Bruno Giussani had to say.

12 December 2007

Device art as a resource for interaction design and media art

iMal
Nicolas Nova, user experience and foresight researcher working at the Media and Design Lab (EPFL) and at the near future laboratory, is currently in Brussels where he gave a talk yesterday at iMal, a brand new center for digital cultures and technology.

The presentation entitled “Device art as a resource for interaction design and media art” was about the fading boundaries between interaction design, new media art and academic research. The hybridisation of digital and physical environments (through locative media, urban displays, augmented reality or mobile games) is explored by a large variety of people and institutions, not only engineers and academic researchers but also artists and designers. The talk looked at why the projects from the new media art/interaction design/device art are relevant and what they tell about the design of future technological artifacts.

iMal is the first Center for Digital Cultures and Technology in Brussels, a new place of about 600 square metres for the meeting of artistic, scientific and industrial innovations. The 2007/2008 programme of iMAL, an initiative of the French speaking community of Belgium, will propose basic and advanced workshops (i.e. on locative media, RFID, Ubicomp and the Internet of Things, urban electronic acts thanks to the support of VAF), regular concerts & performances, a series of conferences on Arts/Sciences, a series of meetings between innovating companies and creative peoople, and the first Dorkbot Brussels meetings.

Download presentation (pdf, 20 mb, 38 slides)

7 December 2007

Ethnography as design provocation

EPIC
Nicolas Nova has been going through the EPIC 2007 proceedings (the ethnographic praxis in industry conference), and ran across this interesting paper entitled “Ethnography as Design Provocation” by Jacob Buur and Larisa Sitorus.

The paper starts off by explaining how the use of ethnography in technology development has been limited to data collection, which led to isolate the researchers from design (which is R.J. Anderson’s point) and a limit to the way practice and technology can evolve together (Paul Dourish’s point). The authors advocate for another approach in which ethnography can “provoke new perspectives in a design organisation”.

They describe this stance through case studies of “design encounters” (i.e. workshops) showing how ethnography could be “shared material”, “embodied in design” and a way to frame “user engagement”. The conclusion they draw are also interesting:

“Firstly, to engage the potential of ethnography to provoke organisations to rethink their understandings of problems and solutions, the textual form may not be adequate. Neither are insight bullet points, as they submit to the logics of rational argumentation that hardly provokes questioning and engagement. Instead, we find it paramount to develop ways of engaging the organisation in sense-making through the use of visual and physical ethnographic material.

Secondly, the ethnographic theory building, though crucial to design, cannot progress independently of the prevailing conceptions of (work) practices ‘out there’ in the organisations – and these may not become clear to us until we confront the organisation with our material. Better sooner than later.

Thirdly, to move collaboration beyond requirements talk among the design team, organisation and participants, needs well-crafted ethnographic material to frame the encounters to focus on fundamental issues and perceptions.”

17 October 2007

The LIFT08 conference programme is out

LIFT08
Bruno Giussani reports on the press conference announcing the LIFT08 conference programme (backgrounder):

The conference LIFT08 will take place for the third time in Geneva, Switzerland, on 6-8 February 2008. The main structure of the programme has been presented tonight in a trendy bar downtown Geneva by organizer Laurent Haug and editorial producer Nicolas Nova.

And again, like last year, they seem to have got a knack of seeking out many new voices and speakers that haven’t made the rounds yet – but have interesting things to say. The programme is structured in thematic “tracks”, four per day on Thursday 7 and Friday 8. On Wednesday, a pre-conference will present a series of focused workshops. Thursday evening will feature the now-traditional fondue for 500+ people. Alongside the main conference there will be a “blogcamp”-like space for unplanned discussions and presentations, as well as an “off” space dedicated to design, art and games.

Here a quick rundown of the main tracks:

  • Internet in society — With Jyri Engestrom (he just sold microblogging platform Jaiku to Google), Jonathan Cabiria (on virtual environments and social inclusions) and others
  • User experience — With two tech anthropologists, Younghee Jung (Nokia, Tokyo) and Genevieve Bell (Intel, Seattle) and UC’s Paul Dourish.
  • Stories — With serial entrepreneur Rafi Haladjian and others.
  • A glimpse of Asia — With Marc Laperrouza, a specialist of new tech in China, Heewon Kim, a Korean researcher on teens and social networks, and others.
  • New Frontiers — With “cyborg” Kevin Warwick, Henry Markram who’s trying to simulate the functioning of brain cells, and Holm Friebe talking about new forms of cooperation and collaborative work.
  • Gaming — With Robin Hunicke (who worked on games for the Nintendo Wii) on gaming trends, and others.
  • Web and entreprises — With David Sadigh and David Marcus on how the web is reshuffling work practices.
  • Foresight — With future researchers Scott Smith (Changeist) and William Cockayne (Stanford) and Nokia designer Francesco Cara.

Haug also announced that LIFT is exporting itself to Asia: after a successful small launch event a few weeks ago in Seoul, South Korea, they’re now planning a full LIFTAsia in September 2008, again in Seoul.

I am very pleased to notice that Genevieve Bell, Paul Dourish and Francesco Cara are amongst the speakers.

27 September 2007

Picnic07: Swisscom anthropologist on why everything is moving into the background

Stefana Broadbent
Swisscom anthropologist Stefana Broadbent [see also these previous posts] spoke today at the Picnic07 conference in Amsterdam and Bruno Giussani was there to report on it:

“Anthropologist Stefana Broadbent talks about trends in entertainment and communication. With her team of sociologists and psychologists she observes people closely and collects a whole set of data (diaries, bookmarks, playlists, they ask people to keep logbooks of communication and media usage, etc). She is a great speaker and a much-needed tech myth buster.”

According to Giussani, she showed a set of apparently disconnected data that all point in the same direction: there is no substitution – everything is added. “There is more and more media piling on, more devices, more channels. What’s happening is that everything is moving into the background, everything is becoming wallpaper. [… There is] a constant flow of “open channel interaction”.

“Now, there is a problem: the whole industry is trying to say bye-bye to routine. The whole ICT industry today has to do with putting people in total control and deliberate choice of everything that they will listen to, look at, etc: VOD, HDD recorders, IPTV archives, podcasts, videocasts, personalized radio stations, layout skins, etc.

But users can only multitask if we don’t ask for all their attention. Choosing kills routines and requires attention — the moment you choose you commit to something — it moves the activity to the foreground; being in control means being actively focused.”

- Read full story
Read review on Pasta & Vinegar (by Nicolas Nova)
All Picnic07 videos

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

25 August 2007

Mobility is cultural, not just functional

Walking
UC Irvine professor Paul Dourish and Intel researchers Ken Anderson and Dawn Nafus argue in “Cultural Mobilities: Diversity and Agency in Urban Computing” that urban computing, i.e. mobile computing in the city, needs a much broader definition that takes into account.

“On the application side, many systems design efforts focus on the city as a site of consumption and an inherently problematic environment, one to be tamed by the introduction of technology. On the user side, many systems design efforts focus their attention on young, affluent city residents, with both disposable income and discretionary mobility.

The narrowness of both the site and “the users,” we will argue, has meant that mobile and urban computing have been driven by two primary considerations. The first is how to “mobilize” static applications, allowing people to get access to information and carry out traditional desktop tasks while “on the move,” the anytime/anywhere approach as manifested in PDA applications that attempt to produce mobile versions of desktop applications or connect people wirelessly to remote infrastructures “back home” (e.g. email on the RIM Blackberry.)

The second is how to provide people with access to resources in unfamiliar spaces, the “where am I?” approach, as manifested in context-aware applications that attempt to help people navigate space in terms of resource such as devices (e.g. the nearest printer), services (e.g. recommending stores), or people (e.g. finding friends via Dodgeball).

While these applications clearly meet needs, they fail to take the urban environment on its own terms; they are based on the idea that urban life is inherently problematic, something to be overcome, in comparison to the conventional desktop computing scenario. Further, they fail to acknowledge the lived practice of urban life, and in particular its diversity and the different urban experiences of different groups. In focusing on abstracted rather than concrete behaviors, on individual consumption rather than collective sociality, and on the pairing between discretionary mobility and urban consumption, this approach paints a very partial view of urban living that leaves many people out of the picture.”

Instead, the authors “turn to research in social science that seeks to understand the relationship between meaning, identity, movement, and space, drawing particularly on work in anthropology and cultural geography”. Based on theoretical and empirical work from social science, they are “developing a new approach to the relationship between mobility and technology.”

Download paper (pdf, 248 kb, 14 pages)

(via Nicolas Nova’s Pasta & Vinegar)

12 February 2007

Ubicomp and user experience at LIFT07

Pasta and Vinegar
Nicolas Nova, one of the organisers of last week’s LIFT conference, has posted what he calls his “not very well structured thoughts on the LIFT07 talks about ubiquitous computing” on his blog Pasta and Vinegar.

“There was a dedicated session about it with Julian Bleecker, Ben Cerveny and Adam Greenfield but some other talks can also be considered as part of that topic (Frédéric Kaplan, Fabien Girardin).”

(I am not really sure where he finds the time to write all this after just having organised a conference attended by 550 people.)

Read full story

23 January 2007

Interview with Adam Greenfield on the user experience of ubiquitous computing

Adam Greenfield
Régine Debatty (of we-make-money-not-art) and Nicolas Nova (co-organiser of the upcoming LIFT conference) have together interviewed Adam Greenfield in which he focuses on the user experience of ubiquitous computing.

Greenfield is the principal of design consultancy Studies and Observations, and author of Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing. According to Wikipedia, Greenfield is generally considered to be a thought leader in the information architecture and user experience professions.

Here is Régine Debatty’s introduction:

“His latest book, Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing tells about what we can read in all the tech mags: computing without computers, everywhere, all the time and whithout us noticing it. For the first time however, someone who has observed the “ubicomp’d” life on several continents has put into a social, spatial, design and human context the consequences of this recent technology. I should also add that the book translates the working, meanings and implications of ubicomp into a very accessible language.

I still had a series of questions for Adam though. To be sure that i wouldn’t leave too many stones unturned, i asked Nicolas Nova to come to my rescue. Well… that’s the best excuse i could find to convince the guy who writes the only blog i would bring to a desert island to come and use wmmna space. Nicolas and i have both published the interview yet you’ll have to read the both of them to get the full picture: i posted some of his questions but not all of them and god knows what he’s done with mine ;-)”

I personally liked reading his answer to why designers should be involved with ubiquitous computing:

“If ubiquitous systems, products, and services are developed in the absence of careful, sensitive interaction design they fail. And they fail in a way that poses particular challenges and risks to the user’s sense of calm and equanimity, because by and large the interaction landscape of everyday life is very robust, very well-assimilated. We simply don’t expect the constituents of everyday experience to crash, lock up, or perform perversely or incoherently the way digital information technologies manifestly do. […]

Someone with a commitment to the human being at the focus of these technologies, who’s been trained to weigh that person’s prerogatives heavily in the design of transactions, who has the experience to recognize and account for not merely this single system but the entire context in which it’s operating – that’s the person you want to include on your team if you expect your intervention to succeed. I can’t imagine why anybody serious about satisfying their users and customers would want it any other way.”

- Read interview on Régine’s site
Read interview section on Nicolas’ site