Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Design Criticism

Just a link to my colleague Jeff Bardzell's blog with a new great post on design criticism and its status in HCI. Jeff is pushing the idea of the need for professional criticism done by people who know what and how to do it, and most importantly why they do it. Interaction studies will not become a respected field unless we develop such "intellectually rigorous approaches to design criticism".

Transforming non-designers and Procter & Gamble

One of the most fascinating changes today (in my mind) is the growing appreciation of design thinking and design action as a valid and useful practical approach to complex issues in our world. Here is a recent example where Procter & Gamble is pushing design thinking as a major "tool" for action in their company. Of course, the challenge becomes an educational one. How do you transform large numbers of non-designers into design thinkers? In a recent paper, my colleague Marty Siegel and I have explored that issue. The paper is titled "Metamorphosis: Transforming Non-designers into Designers" and it was presented a couple of weeks ago at the Design Research Society conference in England. The paper explores the issues arising when you are trying to transform students with a non-design background into designerly thinkers and doers, and the methods and tools we have developed to support the transformation. It is obvious that Procter & Gamble is struggling with the same problem!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Slow Interaction

Among the different "slow" movements (slow food, slow cities, etc) there is the notion of "slow reading". A quite good introduction by John Miedema can be found here. I have always been fascinated by the notion of "slow", which I guess is has to do with my ability and habit to be fast when I do things, so maybe being slow is more a wish than something I do.

Anyhow, there is something fascinating with doing things slowly and with full attention. It creates a completely different experience. So, what would "slow interaction" be? Is it possible to achive some similar experience in our interactions with digital artifacts? A kind of interaction that focuses our attention and our mind -- that leads to reflective interactions?

I truly believe we need to foster ideas like this. It has been discussed before, for instance with notions such as "calm technology" and others. Any ideas?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Too many social networks?

Well, I have to keep my Linkedin, Facebook, ResearchGate, Plaxo, etc, networks updated and fresh. It is not working. I am not taking good care of any of them. They deterioate over time and finally I leave them. The addition of new forms of social networks for general and specific purposes is still growing fast. Where should I put my time and for what? Or is it time to leave them all and just stay in touch with friends and colleagues via email?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Today I stumbled upon Fora.tv. They claim to be the YouTube for the thinking mind. I found some really interesting presentations. What was difficult to find was some kind of vision statement or purpose declaration, who they are and how they pick their material. I also had some problems with the "search", I entered some names but could not understand why I got the links that Fora listed. Anyhow, an interesting place to find high quality talks by thinking people.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vanishing Bloggers and Sunstein's "republic.com"

There is an ongoing debate about the status of the web, especially the status and health of social networks in all its manifestations, but maybe even more particular the health of bloggning. Here is one page that references some of the debate. To me there are many interesting questions in this debate, one in particular is the notion of community size and community streamlining. When people refer to social networks it is often with a view that networks are huge and people communicate and relate in that network. I have not seen any recent studies on what is the number of people that people actually are in a communicative relationship with. To read twitter and blogs in not necessarily communication, it easily becomes consumation. I have recently been thinking more about the book "republic.com" by Cass Sunstein from a few years back. I think his ideas in that book are more relevant and true today than they were when he wrote it. It takes a different view on networks and group communication. It is a short book and great read.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

DRS 08 Conference

I am just back from the Design Research Society Conference 08 in Sheffield, England. I am quite pleased with the conference. Good organization, good location and generally a good quality of papers. It is obvious that the DRS conference is becoming a high quality conference with a focus on general design research. A new addition to the society is the idea of SIGs (special interest groups), already three have been developed. The SIGs will also start arranging workshops and more specialized conferences, which is good for the DRS main conference, which will can focus on being the general design research conference. I like the development! It is also good to see the presence of interaction design and HCI design researchers!

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