Sunday, March 30, 2008
These last days I have experimented with the idea of making myself more or less independent of my own digital artifacts. I have increased my use of Google, Box.net and other online possibilities. This also means that I am increasing the opportunity to use my iPhone to do more of the digital aspects of my life. This "experimentation" is related to a research project I am currently conducting with a colleague and four PhD students, called "Ecologies of Interactive Artifacts". This is a highly interesting project and it is exciting to see how the research closely relates to my everyday life. In my "outsourcing" approach, there is of course a danger in the increasing dependency -- what if Google, Box, and others disappear? Maybe I just have to let go, to trust the "net" as an everlasting entity, as an environment to trust, that will take care of me (sounds familiar...). I don't know, we'll see....
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
We had a seminar around Twitter last week and three of our phd students are doing a great study of Twitter. As usual I learned a lot and has since discussed Twitter with a lot of people, and I think increased the interest and number of people signing up for it. The study developed and run by Kevin, Richie, and Will is interesting and I am excited to see what their findings will be. It is amazing how we all (again!) are surprised by a new form of communication, and we are (again) realizing that our explanatory models from other forms (such as email or chat) no longer is really useful! Fascinating!!
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Here is an interesting article from NY Times. It is about the struggle phone companies are facing today when it comes to the design of new cell phones. The approach that seems to be popular is some kind of a customer centric approach, that is, the companies are developing methods that can tell them in detail what the customer desires and want, now and tomorrow. They believe that good design is all about understanding the customer. It is obvious that the design of this particular type of digital interactive artifact (the cell phone) and others is becoming more and more similar to fashion design. When a design field becomes so closely interrelated with and dependent on the minds of the customer, the whole notion of what it means to be a designer changes. From other high fashion industries we know that there is no possible way in finding out what will be the favored future design by asking potential customers. Instead, in these fields the design frontier is pushed by extremely sensitive and highly skilled professional designers, who have the ability to "sense" the zeitgeist and small but highly significant changes in culture, and transform all this into a design that will be appreciated by future customers. The design frontier is in fashion design driven by a need and desire of constant change and variation, and now it seems as if cell phone design is moving into that area too. At the same time, cell phone design has another distinct character, and that is that the underlying technology (the material used in the design) is constantly changing and developing, which means that what is desired one day can be obsolete the next due to new technology. To be a designer of these artifacts is therefore extremely difficult since it is a combination of high fashion, cultural sensibility, and high tech. This is the complex and fascinating world of design!