Design and Innovation Daily

More from Interaction10

Posted in culture, interaction design, philosophy, product design, theory, user experience by Dan on February 26, 2010

Picking up on yesterday’s topic, here are a few more highlights from Interaction10, the recent conference on interaction design. Talks at the conference presented an interesting mix of theoretical and practical insights into design (and not just interaction design).

Yesterday, I pointed to summaries of the talks from the first day of the conference. Johnny Holland Magazine also published summaries from the second and third days (their server was down last time I checked, so here are Google’s cached versions of the articles from day 2 and day 3).

On day 2, Ezio Manzini discussed the role of digital platforms in the economies and communities of the future. Christropher Fahey gave an even more fascinating (and perhaps bold) presentation about the humanization of technology, which implies that technology will become more human-like without replacing or replicating humans; in addition to the overview in the above article, take a look at his slides. From day 3, Dan Hill’s talk is interesting because he brings the subject of urban design into the context of interaction design—similar concepts applied to very different time frames.

Since I wrote yesterday’s post, I also found the slides from Nathan Shedroff’s talk about the forms and roles of meaning in experiences and designed experiences. The slides can be downloaded from Shedroff’s website.

I highly recommend Nicolas Nova’s reflections on the conference. He pieced together many of the theoretical elements of the talks and made an interesting comparison of the design models that appeared throughout the conference.

Sarah Mitchell traced a few of the core themes from the talks and posted photos of her notes.

Finally, Dave Malouf, interaction design professor at SCAD, wrote a compelling (if cryptic) piece about the importance of social responsibility and even activism in interaction design.


Lessons from the Interaction10 conference

Posted in interaction design, philosophy, product design, theory, user experience, web design by Dan on February 25, 2010

Around three weeks ago, the Interaction Design Association held its annual conference, Interaction10. I finally got around to reading some of the attendees’ recaps and notes from the conference. I’ll post a couple highlights today, and more tomorrow.

Johnny Holland Magazine published daily synopses of the conference sessions. Two notable talks were those given by Nicolas Nova and Jon Kolko, both towards the end of the article: “Live at Interaction’10: day 1.”

To go along with that, Nova’s slides can be viewed here; I think the compelling title speaks for itself: “Design and Designed Failures: From Observing Failures to Provoking Them.”

Jon Kolko followed up on the conference in Design Mind: “An Emerging Divide: Some Thoughts from the IxDA 2010 Conference.”

Theatre machine redux

Posted in architecture, philosophy by Dan on February 22, 2010

It’s time for architecture to do things again, not just represent things.

Back in November, I wrote about the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas, a 12-story, reconfigurable building, and I posted a TED talk with its architect, Joshua Prince-Ramus. Prince-Ramus recently gave another talk in which he discussed the same project in more detail. He makes it clear that the theatre, though fancy, was designed purely to meet the functional and artistic needs of the theatre company. The talk addresses the same issue that appears in graphic design and industrial design: the problematic view that the purpose of design is simply to make things pretty.

Joshua Prince-Ramus: Building a theater that remakes itself

Michael Bierut’s wisdom and advice about clients

Posted in philosophy by Dan on February 5, 2010

For your weekend viewing, Michael Bierut from Pentagram (the same Pentagram that did the What Type Are You? quiz and the same Bierut I linked to in the blog’s first week), recently gave a talk at CreativeMornings. Bierut talked about clients: how clients affect your work and your happiness, good clients and bad clients, and lots of advice about choosing and dealing with clients.

Michael Bierut at CreativeMornings

The traffic guru; UIs that lie

Posted in architecture, interaction design, psychology, theory by Dan on February 4, 2010

The Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman had surprising insights into the effects of warning signs, traffic lights, and other elements of traffic safety infrastructure. His most famous idea, which hasn’t made it into American traffic engineering but has been influential in Europe, was that removing most of that infrastructure could make streets safer. By redesigning aspects of a certain town to make it seem more “villagelike,” he was able to change drivers’ perception of the environment and encourage them to drive more slowly and carefully without the influence of signs and other interventions. This article by Tom Vanderbilt explains more about Monderman’s approach and how the traffic insfrastructure affects individuals’ behavior in unexpected ways: “The Traffic Guru.”

This is a remarkable phenomenon. It shows that the framework for the usage of the system, which is, in this case, a traffic system, informs the way people use the system—but not through constraints, not through direct communication, and not through affordances. Users’ perception of the environment changes how they think they ought to drive, even though the surrounding town might have nothing to do with their intention to travel to a destination.

David Lindes writes about a similar pattern in a completely different environment. In the process of redesigning an application for a certain business process, he set out to learn about the clients’ workflow and found out that it was excessively complicated. This reflected a problem with the client’s old application. It wasn’t just that the old program was a bad match for the process, but that the program’s complicated workflow had actually changed the way the client understood the process. Even though the original business process was not to be driven by software, “user interfaces are one of the principal sources from which a person learns about his or her work.” The implication for our own design process is huge. “UIs that lie & the users who believe them.”

Editing as curation; what’s happening with DIDaily

Posted in information, philosophy by Dan on February 3, 2010

Liz Danzico wrote a cool article for Interactions looking at editing as a form of curation. As the amount of information that individuals regularly process has increased, the role of editing has spread increasingly toward individuals and consumers; we edit and curate for ourselves as we deal with large amounts of email and RSS feeds, and for others in the context of blogging and Twitter.

The Art of Editing: The New Old Skills for a Curated Life

Her article resonates with me as a blogger who (currently) focuses on filtering lots of content and sharing articles based on a certain editorial intent: to follow a theme and to provide value that goes both beyond and deeper than the daily buzz that you’d hear about even if you didn’t read my blog. That’s one reason why I intend not even to mention the iPad here. (Oops.) Of course, I’m not an editor in the strictest sense; I do inject my opinion into the blog once in a while.

I’ve discovered that curation is a difficult job: I’ve accumulated a massive collection of RSS subscriptions since I started reading this stuff eight months ago. I filter through one to two hundred posts per weekday—I certainly don’t read all of them—but in order to synthesize something each day, I have to read many of them closely, pick only the right items, and put them together with a fitting context and motive.

Unfortunately, I can’t do this every single day. Especially during school, when homework commands most of my waking hours throughout all seven days of the week, I have to forego this practice on many days (which explains the missed days over the past two weeks). As you know, I’m working on getting a system running at (I missed my deadline, but it’s coming soon.) I’ve decided that, although I plan to keep doing the same sort of thing indefinitely, I’m going to drop the “daily” part of this blog when I move over to the new site, at least for while I’m in school.

Meanwhile, some great stuff will be coming your way over the next couple weeks. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you have something interesting for me to post, send it over!