Friday, May 29, 2015

Got my Amazon Echo today

Quite some time ago I ordered the Amazon Echo.  Echo is a virtual assistant that is voice controlled. It has a range of questions it can answer and also functions it can perform. It is a bit like Siri on an iPhone.

So far I have only installed it (very simple), added some functions, and tested it. Echo has a good voice recognition system and also understands commands well. I am also quite surprised with the quality of the sound, for instance when Echo plays music.

You give a command by saying "Alexa, play xxxx". Alexa is the wake up word. It is possible to be anywhere in the room and still control Echo. To thus who watched Star Trek is feel very similar to say "Computer, xxxx".

Echo do not really have any interface, except for a thin light "circle" on top of the Echo that can change into different colors and also pulsate and 'circle'. I think this is one of the first new devices that we will more off, of course they will disappear into our houses or furniture and not be visible at all in the future. But, even if Echo works well so far, does this kind of interaction work over time. Is this how we want to interact? I will come back to Echo again when I have used it for some time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New design journal: She Ji. The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation.

It is great to see another ambitious design journal emerge.

This time it is "She Ji. The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation" with Ken Friedman as the Editor-in-Chief.

The journal is published by Elsevier in collaboration with Tongji University and Tongji University Press. The first issue will appear in
September 2015.

It is an open access journal which makes it even better. The journal also has a highly impressive list of Associate Editors.

Personally I am very happy to see the pdf about the new journal where the first page looks like the picture to the right here. A prominent placement of our book "The Design Way". Nice....

If you want to submit to She Ji, please go to the She Ji Web site at URL:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Design Judgment: Decision-Making in the 'Real" World

What is design judgment? What is that ability that designers have to have to be able to make decision when they face overwhelming but incomplete information and conflicting goals and desiderata? How do you as a designer know what to focus on and what to leave out? Designers always engage in making judgements: design judgments.

Yesterday I found an article that Harold Nelson and I wrote in 2003. It was published in the Design Journal, and I have not seen it since then. The article is partially built on a chapter in our book 'The Design Way' where we have a chapter on judgment.

The title of the paper is Design Judgment: Decision-Making in the 'Real' World. The title reveals that design judgment is not about how to make decisions in a perfect or ideal world, instead it is about being in the real world with all its richness, contradictions, dilemmas, insufficient knowledge, etc. It is also about making decisions that has a real impact on the world we all live in.

Even though Harold and I have 'preached' about design judgment for years (together with some other design scholars) it is still not a concept that has  received enough attention. It seems as if most design research, especially research with the purpose to support designers, instead takes the approach to reduce the dependency on judgment by introducing methods, techniques and tools that will let designers do a good job without being required to make judgments. It sometimes even looks as if the ideal solution would be to have a design process with methods and tools that would be indifferent of who is the designer is, that is, a process that is independent of the designers ability to make judgment. However, the road to design success can only be reached when design judgment is seen as an unavoidable and crucial aspect of the being a designer and enough attention is payed to the development of it. In this article we take some steps towards such a position.

You can download the article here.

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