Inspiration Interaction design Learning

A few interesting reads for the weekend (February 20)

We Are Hopelessly Hooked
A review and discussion of four new books, which all tackle the distractions and addictions of digital technologies. Some of the best designers in the world are working on getting us ever more addicted to their particular products:

“Tech companies are engaged in “a race to the bottom of the brain stem,” in which rewards go not to those that help us spend our time wisely, but to those that keep us mindlessly pulling the lever at the casino.“

I see the effects in my students and myself, but in spite of this I often find that I’m dragged into it. One design challenge that I’ve posed to a few students in the past, and which I’ll revive alongside readings from this article will be to design a deliberately slow and reflective social network.

Microsoft’s Radical Bet On A New Type Of Design Thinking
On designing for underserved groups of people (aka inclusive or universal design), and how it could potentially deliver better products for all of us. The title might be a tad off (is it design thinking? if so, it is in a very broad sense of the word), but it is interesting to see how this mindset might affect a huge entity like Microsoft.

There is no such thing as a normal human, our capabilities are always changing. The hope is that in seeking out new people to include in the design process, we can smooth away the gaps that bedevil our digital lives.

Building a Bridge Between Engineering and the Humanities
A proposal for new models of education, research, and practice, in which the lines between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) are deliberately blurred with those of the humanities:

Boosting enrollments in STEM is not enough. An educational system that merges humanities and sciences, creating whole-brain engineers and scientifically inspired humanists, fosters more than just innovation. It yields more-flexible individuals who adapt to unanticipated changes as the world evolves unpredictably.

photo_75344_portrait_325x488While the piece is written in a North American context, this line of thinking is equally relevant in the Scandinavian context in which I work. I see way too many trenches being dug between the disciplines at the moment, rather than bridges built, in the public discourse. As frustrating as this is, I am equally thrilled to see many of the things that actually unfold in practice, both at the university and beyond, to move past these divisions and explore how new blends of mindsets, skillsets, and toolsets can help us better understand and shape the world.

Aesthetics Design processes Inspiration Research Visualisation

Inspiring reads, July 30th through August 6th

Interface Aesthetics – An Introduction from

Ethnography for user experience – three essays by John Payne

What Is Design – Discussion btw Don Norman and John Maeda

The ethnographer’s reading list – User experience practitioners discuss what's on their list

Paper Prototyping – 5 Analog Tools for Web and Mobile Designers

Smartphones and identity – “The first company to fully execute on embedding your identity into your phone wins the next decade”

“I Draw Pictures All Day” – On the benefits of sketching as an embedded part of work

Inspiration Interaction design Learning

Inspiring reads, July 5th through July 14th

The Individual in a Networked World – Two Scenarios that outline potential evolution from current trajectories

Coursera – How an education startup may profit from free courses

AcademiPad – Using iPad, Mac and the web in research, teaching and learning.

Design processes Inspiration Interaction design

Inspiring reads, June 20th

David Barrie on ‘Open source’ place-making – A collective approach to the development of cities

Digital Placemaking – Integrating social media into placemaking practices at the Project for Public Spaces

Creating together – Examples of how participatory design increases the understanding of the design space and main issues as well as the quality of the solution


Can We Please Move Past Apple’s Silly, Faux-Real UIs? – Critique of skeumorphism in interface design

Why "Just Enough Is More" is not Enough – Erik Stolterman weighs in on the interface skeumorph debate:
“To be designerly means to be able to understand what is appropriate for a particular design. It means to be able to make the required judgments about all aspects involved and about how they come together as a whole in an adequate composition….The key to good design is not Metro design language or any other language or principle. The key to good design is to be able to execute good design judgment.”


Inspiring reads, June 8th

Software Development as Artistic Practice – artists working with open source coding to make art

Lessons from teaching design to engineering students – Echoes many of my experiences from teaching design

Income inequality, as seen from space – Urban trees—or the lack thereof—can reveal income inequality


Inspiring reads, June 4th

MaKey MaKey – Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet

Touche for Arduino – Capacitive-sensing technology providing touch and gesture sensitivity

32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow – Not the usual suspects, not all of them big game-changers

Inside StartX 2012 Demo Day – StartX is a the non-profit startup accelerator for Stanford students


Inspiring reads, June 1st

Clouds – Combining Kinects and DSLRs in experimental 3D filmmaking

Data visualisation DIY – Tools for data visualisation from The Guardian

What data can and cannot do – Cultivating a critical literacy towards the subject matter of data journalism

Data journalism: Anyone can do it – An overly optimistic take on democratisation of data and data journalism?


Inspiring reads, May 30th

InArticle – Autogenerates a range of data visualizations of a story from different news sources

CoDesign examines InArticle – In depth look at InArticle and the potentials of the service

Let It Ripple – Collaborative, web-based non-profit film making aka cloudfilmmaking


Inspiring reads, May 29th

Tether – Collaborative 3D augmented reality interface using gloves and iPads (yep, all in one)

The Power of Networks – Animated talk by Manuel Lima on the power of network visualisation

‘Joyful net work’ and Murmurations – Interesting ID concepts using social networks as a model to understand complex networks

The Pitfalls of Intuition and Memory – Nobel Prize-winner D Kahneman on the misleading power of intuition

Thinking That We Know – Talk by D Kahneman on how the mind filters and shapes what we call information