6 August 2006

Socio-Digital Systems, a Microsoft research project

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putting people first
by experientia

Socio-Digital Systems
Socio-Digital Systems (SDS) is one of three groups that make up Computer-Mediated Living, a Microsoft HCI research area that emphasises the primacy of the user in the design, development, deployment and evaluation of technology.

As an interdisciplinary group, SDS brings together psychology, sociology, computer science and hardware engineering to address the problem of designing technology to support people in everyday life.

In supporting everyday life, the researchers, who are based in Cambridge, UK, want to go beyond simple metaphors to daily life (such as bringing the desktop onto your computer screen) and to exploit our familiarity and facility with the everyday world – the physical world and the social world – to inform the design of new hardware and software systems.

The research is grouped under three thematic headings: new communication genres, which are new opportunities for human expression, situating technologies in the home, which requires a qualitative understanding of home life, and the challenges of revealing the invisible, i.e. making some of the invisible properties of virtual landscapes visible.

The website goes on to describe about 17 research projects. Of interest is the strong human-centred and ethnographic design methodology.

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