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Showing posts from June, 2008

Interaction Criticism

In a wonderful series of posts, my colleague Jeff Bardzell, discusses the notion of "interaction criticism". Interaction design is a field contributing to the imidiate and concrete reality by the creative design of new digital artifacts--as such, it is a field desperately in need of criticism. There is a need to critically examine all these artifacts that in a never-ending stream are the results of the field's design efforts. Since there is basically no (serious) criticism around, which means that there is no learning. Criticism can help us to learn from mistakes, but without it we do not understand what matters in the complexity and richness that make up interaction artifacts, and maybe most important of all, withiout criticism we are not developing a language suitable for an indepth examination and evaluation of interaction. Well, Jeff has in his posts taken on the challenge to tell us what is required and what makes up "useful" criticism. And not only that, …

(Not) Richard Dawkins and unusual Twitter use..

OK, I was fooled by the name. After I wrote about a twitter text from what appeared to be Richard Dawkins, I learned that it was not the "real" Dawkins :-) Here is a great blog about that. So, I decided to remove my post since it does not make sense any more!

Nicholas Carr "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" and Sven Birkerts

In a recent article in the Atlantic, with the title "Is Google Making Us Stupid?", Nicholas Carr explores the idea that new technology and especially web technology is "destroying" peoples ability to read longer and more dense texts. The exploration starts with his reflection on his own reading ability and how it has changed. This is an idea that has been around over time which is something that Carr also notes, even Plato was worried about the impact that the technology of "writing" would have on peoples ability to think for themselves.

Carr makes a good job bringing together some of the thinkers that has addressed the issue over time. But he does not mention the book that in my mind makes the strongest argument for Carr's observation, and that is Sven Birkerts "The Gutenburg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age". The book was first published in 1997 and was heavily criticized for being too anti-technology and not based on a d…

Interaction, Outcome, and Experience

There is an interesting relationship between interaction and outcome. It is possible to think about interaction as the activity a person is involved in when "using" a digital artifact, that is, 'doing interaction' with an artifact or system. It is also possible to think about the result from the activity of interaction, for instance, when you interact with a word processor, the outcome is the final text (digital or printed on paper) that you use for a purpose.

There are a complex relationship between these two: interaction and outcome. The interaction can consist of simple or compex activities, and the outcome can be simple or complex when it comes to structure and content. Usually we need to perform complex interactions to produce complex results, or simple interactions to produce simple results. But, this is not always true. Sometimes the opposite might be the case.

When we talk about the experience of interaction it does not necessarily have to do with the outcome, …

The Gartner Challenges Again...

Ok, I got a very good comment from Phoebe Sengers on my post about the seven grand challenges for IT research and development. I claimed that the Gartner report was based on some obvious assumptions that was not spelled out. She wrote and asked if I could say what these assumptions are. Good question, but difficult :-) I gave a bad answer, so it has since then been on my mind. So, here are some new ideas.

In the Gartner report I believe there is an underlying assumption about "direction". It seems as it is obvious where we are going, and the challenges are only about how to get there. This means that some other implicit assumptions (that I saw), such as "ease of use" and "development process performance", can be seen as "measure of success" for the whole enterprise. When challenges are stated in this way, they become well defined problems that has to be solved, all within the overall assumption of the given but not discussed "direction&quo…

Gartner: Seven Grand Challenges for IT

Gartner has formulated seven Grand Challenges for the development of IT in the next five to twenty years. These kind of studies are always interesting and gives you a possibility to compare with your own reflections about the always present future. It is intersting the the seven challenges are mostly based on well defined technical problems, such as, recharging batteries, persistent and reliable storage, speech translation. Some of them are based on a hope of better production effeciency, such as incresing programmers productivity.

There is one Challenge that relates to interaction and that is "Non Tactile, Natural Computing Interfaces". The idea is that we really need to get away from any "mechanical interfaces". Interesting since so much in interaction research today is about making the experience with computers more physical and tangible. Personally I think we will enter the age when interaction becomes more physical and embodied in artifacts.

Anyhow, amybe the mo…

Universal Remote

I wrote earlier on this blog about one of the most difficult interaction design challenges -- the design of a simple and useful remote control. Well, here is a new attempt. It looks good, but some comments noticed that why not use the iPhone as a universal remote? With an increasing interactive environment, we do need to find ways to interact with it. There are of course many different appraoches possible. Remote controls is only one way. Another is to use remote sensors and gestures, or maybe speech control, or... Any and every new interactive device becomes a part of a larger interactive enrivonment and we need to find ways for all of us to comfortably live and control these environments.