Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"The Craftsman"

I just got the new book by Richard Sennett called "The Craftsman" today. I have only read a few pages but I am already convinced that this is an essential book for anyone who thinks about the role and place for skilled practices and craftsmanship. I will continue to read and maybe write a review later on.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Criticism and Design (again)

Again my colleague Jeff Bardzell has written a great piece on the relationship between critique and design. There is no way to talk about design without talking about criticism. Design is about the creation of particulars and particulars have to be evaluated (critiqued) for their own sake, in relation to its qualities and how those qualities relate to context, use, and intention. Anyhow, I am sure this interest in criticism in HCI and interaction design (still in its infancy) will not only foster a new understanding of the role of criticism but also strengthen the understanding of design and its fundamental ontological and epistemological status. Looking forward to an exciting development of the field....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Concept designs and real designs

The argument in a recent blog post by Kontra is that real designers don't focus on concept designs (in the meaning of future possible designs, like concept cars). He also discusses why many large companies, such as Microsoft and Motorola, are great at producing amazing concepts designs but less good at producing innovative real designs, while Apple is the opposite -- that is, they do not focus on (public) concept designs but produce many innovative real designs. Without having thought much about this, I am willing to agree with Kontra. He makes a good argument. But, there might be other examples that would make me disagree, anyone?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Leaving FaceBook

OK, since I just stopped using Twitter, I have also deactivated my FaceBook account :-) I will basically only use LinkedIn now. Is this a bad move?

No more Twitter

That's it. I just deleted my Twitter account. No more Twittering. It has been a great experience and I have learned a lot, and I have at several occasions realized new aspects of what this type of application can do and provide. But, for now, it is time to leave, maybe I will rejoin later, who knows.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Software Commodification & Zoho

It seems as if we are entering the time when everyday basic applications (email, wordprocessing, spreadsheet, presentation tools, conference tools, wikis, etc) are rapidly becoming commodities. Not just in the sense that they are ubiquitous and commonly usd, but in the way they are produced and sold. Zoho is company who is apparently doing this. They don't strive for uniqueness or innovativeness necessarily, instead they focus on the production process, the time to market of new features, and all as cheap as possible. Maybe they are the Wal-Mart of everyday applications. Here is an interesting article comparing Zoho with Microsoft and Google. At the same time the open source movement is also producing the same commodities even "cheaper", like OpenOffice. Maybe we will soon not care who made our applications except for the connoisseurs! Regular people will just buy the cheapest application or service out there, since they basically all do the same thing in bascially the same way. My concern is that maybe everyday applications are becoming commodities too early. Maybe this leaves us with no new radical designs when it comes to the applications we use the most and depend on the most..or...?

The Anatomy of Prototypes

Protoyping is something that is nowadays an everyday activity in our field. Interaction designers do it all the time. But even if this is the case, prototypes are not well understood, except for the quite crude low-fidelity versus high-fidelity dimension. Together with two colleagues I have just published a paper with the title "The Anatomy of Prototypes: Prototypes as Filters, Prototypes as Manifestations of Design Ideas" in the ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interation. (You can dowload a pdf-version here.)

In this article we develop a thorough understanding of prototypes, how they can be described and how a designer should/could think about prototypes in rational way. For instance, we present (i) the fundamental prototyping principle, (ii) the economic principle of prototyping, and (iii) an anatomy of prototypes.

Hope you like it!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

More on interaction criticism..

My colleague Jeff Bardzell has a new post where he continues to examine the role of criticism in HCI. Again, this is highly important for our field.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Looking back..and forward..

In the latest issue of the magazine The Atlantic there is a nice article on the "Road to the Information Age". The author discusses some of the accurate predictions made about a world with internet (as we all know there are numerous extremely bad and funny predictions too). It is always useful to read these older texts and to get some perspective on where we are and where we came from. And, of course, if you have not read Vannevar Bush's text from 1945 "As we may think" (pubished in the Atlantic) you should definitely do that.

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