Wednesday, April 30, 2014

CHI 2014 and theory

Being at CHI is, as everyone here can testify, overwhelming. Lots of people and ideas. It is exciting, even though difficult to make sense of it all. One observation that I have talked to some people about is the apparent interest in theoretical papers. Again this year we have had some sessions with theoretical papers where the room has been way too small. I take this as a sign that the field is really in need of more theory and that there is a shortage of good theoretical and philosophical papers. Personally, I find this exciting and I hope that it means that more people will take the time and effort to engage in theoretical and philosophical work.

AND hopefully CHI organizers will remember to schedule these papers in bigger rooms in the future :-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

CHI 2014 -- will it be the same or something new, and what does an answer really mean?

There are only a few days before CHI 2014 in Toronto. CHI is the largest and most important HCI conference in the world. It is also the most well organized conference I have ever been to. The value of CHI is, since it covers the whole field of HCI research, that it is the place where you can get a sense of what is going on, what are the new trends and ideas. Individual papers and presentations are to me less interesting than the way the whole conference moves, shifts and transforms. These shifts and changes are not always visible from year to year, but as soon as you take a longer view (I think even three years is long enough) you start to see that the field is constantly evolving. I get convinced that the changes are bigger and faster than most people believe when I talk to colleagues who have not been to CHI for a few years and have some strong opinions about the conference and you realize that their image of it does not correspond to what you experience.

However, there are of course two ways to think about this. I am convinced that the field, and with that CHI, changes every year, but what is the nature of the change? It might be that it is a superficial change that leave the foundational level the same. Is that the case? Is this what some colleagues mean when they are argue that CHI does not change. Is our field staying the same, being conservative? Is the recognition and glorification of the "new" really about something "new" or is it only a form of changes that leave the overall "project" safe, stable and the same? I am not sure. If anyone has some good answers please let me know...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Notes regarding the notion of Device Landscapes

Device Landscapes
 Erik Stolterman

I am working on the idea of device landscapes or ecologies of artifacts since some time back. Here are some notes on the topic. They are short and somewhat abstract, but they work for me. If you want to comment. add or change them, please let me know.

A device landscape can be defined as “the landscape made up by all physical devices with some level of interactivity, made possible by digital technology, that one person owns or has access to and engages with”

Device landscape analysis is about non-designed landscapes, that is, landscapes that are serendipitous, emerging, evolving and dynamic.

A device landscape consists of (1) elements (devices), (2)    relationships, and (3)       qualities of relationships.

-        What constitutes a device, a relationship, a quality of relationship, is a choice.

Why Device Landscape Analysis

There is an increasing need for landscape analysis in our field: digital technology is “wicked”, that is, it is complex, everywhere, connected, and experienced from the perspective of an inhabitant.

Every digital interactive artifact/device is part of one or many device landscapes.

Every person who owns any digital interactive artifacts is the owner and caretaker of a device landscape

People see digital interactive devices primarily as “things” which makes it useful to also analyze them as things/devices.

Landscape factors influence people’s thinking about and behavior toward their devices.

People develop landscape and device strategies

Analyzing/Mapping Device Landscapes

Any analysis/mapping is a response to a question.

A mapping of a device landscape is an activity that leads to a conceptual construct that can serve analytical purposes (knowledge), technical purposes (design), or emancipatory purposes (ideological).

A mapping can be
-       phenomenological (personal, particular, perspective of the “owner”)
-       analytical (composed, universal, perspective of the researcher/designer)

A mapping is always an act guided by intentionality and a result of judgment.

A mapping is a cut in time. A series of cuts may lead to a mapping of a landscape’s evolution.

A landscape analysis and mapping is always based on some kind of device landscape model.

A tentative device landscape model:

This work has been done in collaboration with Heekyoung, Ryan and Marty, and have been published in some papers and in this journal article:

Stolterman, E. , Jung, H., Ryan, W., and Siegel, M. A. (2013) Device Landscapes: A New Challenge to Interaction Design and HCI Research. Archives of Design Research, 26(2), 7-33.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Interesting book proposal: "Practical Wisdom in the Age of Technology: Insights, Issues and Questions for a New Millennium"

I got an email today with a Call for Contributions for an edited book with the title: Practical Wisdom in the Age of Technology: Insights, Issues and Questions for a New Millennium. It seems to be an attempt to bring together the notion of practical wisdom with philosophical understandings of technology. In the Call for Contributions there are several topics interesting topics mentioned. The editors are: Nikunj Dalal, Ali Intezari, Marty Heitz Take and look!

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