Aesthetics Reloaded – Conference on the aesthetics of digital technologies in Aarhus, December 11-13.
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.”
One of the crucial aspects of conducting interaction design research is the establishment of reliable and structured ways of capturing and documenting the data generated by the research, so that it can be subjected to analysis and reflection. Documentation may serve the double role of supporting reflection, thereby serving as a source of insight, and providing evidence that supports the insight gained. Given the inherent complexities of design, this process of capturing and documenting design projects can be daunting, especially since there are few resources and tools developed for this particular purpose.
During the past couple of years, my colleagues and I have developed and employed a system designed for the specific purpose of documenting design projects and prompting reflection about design events, called the Project Reflection Tool (PRT). Kim Halskov and I have written a paper entitled Reflective Design Documentation about the insights from our use of this system, and I’m currently at the Designing Interactive Systems conference in Newcastle to give a talk about the paper. The paper is available for download here, and I’ve attached the slides from my talk below:
Building on the successful event in Vienna 2010, Media Architecture Biennale 2012 brings together artists, practitioners and researchers from academia and industry in the ongoing exploration of the meeting between architecture and digital media. The 2012 Biennale comprises an academic conference track, exhibitions, and industry sessions, as well as a full day of workshops. Our vision is to provide an excellent forum for debate and knowledge exchange; to offer a unique opportunity that brings together the best minds and organizations; and to highlight state-of-the-art and experimental research in media architecture.
The design of media architecture invites encounters between people, the built environment, and digital media. It opens up rich opportunities for new forms of participation through dialogue and engagement. As an emerging field, diverse perspectives are coming together in media architecture, and the challenges are as abundant as the opportunities. At the conference, we explore “participation” as a core value of media architecture. In this context, participation may occur in the initial design stages of media architecture, e.g. as different practitioners, stakeholders and potential audiences take part in shaping future media architecture; it may occur when media architecture is realized and people experience and interact with it, e.g. when public spaces and urban environments and the practices they shape are influenced by elements of media architecture; it may also occur as new platforms give rise to new opportunities for shaping systems and surroundings.
We consider media architecture as an inclusive term that encompasses encounters and intersections between digital technologies and our physical surroundings. In this respect, we invite papers that present and discuss novel contributions to media architecture both on a practical and theoretical level and that further our understanding of the field through case studies, design approaches, and best practices. We expect contributions to critically explore a wide range of topics including, but not limited to:
– Case Studies of Specific Projects
– Future Trends and Prototypes
– Media Facades and Urban Displays
– Interaction Techniques and Interfaces
– Social and Cultural Aspects of Media Architecture
– Historical Perspectives on the Intersection between Media and the Built Environment
– Design Processes and Methods
– Participatory City Planning and Developing Urban Media Environments
– Participatory Architecture
– Spatial Locative Media
– Development and Design of Content for Specific Contexts
Read more about submission details, important dates etc. in the full call for papers (PDF). There’s more info to be found on the Biennale’s official home on the web, on Twitter (#mab2012) and on Facebook.
Great news: In November, my colleagues and I will host the Media Architecture Biennale 2012 in Aarhus. The Biennale brings together artists, academia and industry in the exploration of the meeting between architecture and digital media. The design of media architecture invites, shapes and creates encounters between people and the built environment, and digital media open up rich opportunities for dialog and engaging experiences.
As an emerging field, many perspectives are still coming together, and the challenges are as abundant as the opportunities. Public space and urban environments are increasingly shaped by elements of media architecture.
The vision of the Media Architecture Biennale is to provide an excellent forum for awareness, discussion and solutions; to bring together the best minds and organizations; and to present to the each other and the world the state-of-the-art of media architecture.
This year, we will extend the existing format with an academic conference track, new exhibition, awards and industry sessions, as well as a full day of workshops. We have a great crew organizing the Biennale; I’ll be heading the academic track as program chair alongside Ava Fatah from The Bartlett and we’re really excited about shaping this part of the Biennale. There’s more info to be found on the Biennale’s official home on the web, on Twitter (#mab2012) and on Facebook.
Hope to see you there!
Brilliant talk by Jake Barton, founder of Local Projects, at the 2011 Eyeo festival. Barton’s projects explore collaborative and participatory storytelling using a variety of digital means – mobile devices, touchscreens, social media etc – and across a range of domains, from museums to exhibits and places of worship. The talk is packed with examples of this work and insights on creating meaningful modes of sharing.
With several of these technologies, we are only just beginning to see how we can employ them to scaffold interesting and worthwhile encounters. I suppose that this is one of the reasons why research in this area is so absorbing; new media emerge, old media transform, and we have so many opportunities to not just study, but actively experiment with and help shape what these technologies mean for us.
At the upcoming Designing Interactive Systems conference, held in Newcastle in June, I’m arranging a workshop in collaboration with professors Kim Halskov and Steve Harrison. The goal of the workshop is to advance the practical and theoretical understanding of documenting and reflecting on design processes. During design processes, tons of information comes into play, including sources of inspiration brought in to the creative process, design concepts created by desigerns, key decisions on how to move forward, user feedback, sketches, prototypes, and lots more. We wish to explore how design processes that extend over longer periods of time, weeks to several months, can be captured and documented, for instance through the use of collaborative web systems, how this data can be analysed, and what types of research insights such work can yield. In addition to discussing these issues during the workshop, it is the goals of the workshop is to establish a community of researchers and designers with a special interest in capturing and mapping design processes.
The workshop will be held on June 12th, if you wish to participate please visit the dedicated workshop website and send us your submission before March 5th.
These days I’m visiting the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon for the Interact conference. In addition to listening to interesting talks, partaking in discussions about designing for the city and the intersections of participatory design and critical design, and of course enjoying the local cuisine, I’m here to give a talk based on the paper Understanding the Dynamics of Engaging Interactions in Public Spaces, co-authored with Christian Dindler and Kim Halskov. You can download a preliminary version of the paper [.pdf] and/or enjoy the slides below.
Fascinating use of 3D scenography in this dance performance, Cinématique, developed by Compagnie Adrien M. 3D projection seems to be taking off (we have worked on a number of such projects in my research group 1, 2, 3), and this is an impressive example of what can be accomplshed with seemingly simple geometrical shapes projected onto an empty stage. What really makes the scenography come to life in this case is the performance of the dancers and the ways in which they respond to and at time influence the visuals.
As ever more displays find their way into urban spaces, it becomes clear that there ought to be better ways of putting urban displays to use than just replicating content and interaction forms from past interfaces. These displays – which go under headings such as urban screens, media façades, media architecture, etc. – can be said to form a new medium, and as such they prompt interaction designers, content providers, and even decision makers to reconsider their practices and preconceptions.
In addition to exploring how individual digital displays function in the city, one of the major challenges is to consider how such displays can be part of a larger assembly of interweaving technologies. A few weeks ago, Nordkapp and Urbanscale presented Urbanflow, a so-called operating system for cities. In brief, Urbanflow envisions how interconnected urban displays may be put to use so that they may be more meaningful and valuable to inhabitants and visitors. The core functions of the system are journey planning and wayfinding, service discovery, ambient data, and citizen feedback.
Urbanscale has an extensive post outlining the underlying principles of the scenario, which to me stands as the most coherent vision of situated urban displays so far. For the past four years, we have been carrying out a number of experiments in the same vein in the Center for Digital Urban Living, e.g. Climate on the Wall, in which we explored public discussions in public spaces, Aarhus by Light, in which we explored the transformation of social behaviour in a transitional space, and the Danish Pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, which explored the entire façade as display. However, these installations can all be seen as stand-alone experiments to the extent that they are installations with individual modes of interaction drawing on more or less prefixed content.
Looking at Urbanflow, I am particularly fascinated with how the scenario considers a) how displays may actually be useful and meaningful in their context (which is sadly not always the case with urban displays), and b) how the displays are integrated into the larger ecology of digital technologies and services in the city. In my experiences this integration is probably also the most complex challenge to address in practice. It remains to be seen if and how the vision can be realized, but the conceptual groundwork is certainly there.