Design Engaged 2004

We are all sat around a table in Amsterdam, at Design Engaged 2004. There are lots of photos going up to Flickr, and here are my notes.

h2. Ben Cerveny
* The growth of the soil
* How do we comprehend complexity
* How do we build structures around complex information
* Accreting meta-data: GPS data, descriptive information

h3. Decomposition
* Break down of material as it hits the soil
* Soup, tags, condensed and distilled meta objects

h3. Self organisation
* sorting mechanisms, affinity browsers, related, filtering, emergent relationships, interrelationships
* How do we conceive a metaphor for building these processes? A structure that is meaningful for the users.
* Application design: movement through states of application: to tending to a flow of processes
* Tending to meta-data is a growth process
* DLA diffusion limited aggregation, natural process model
* The relationships between metadata can be visualised as this * Should model metadata using plant models: plant models have existed for eons, basic structures for material

h3. Rules for expression
* L-systems growth, mimics biological rulesets
* Map rule-sets in metadata onto L-systems, affinity rules
* Branching tree structures could be used to make metadata more useful

h3. Roots and Feeds
* RSS feeds, a root system, aggregator has roots, to the surface of a newsreader

h3. Structural information
* After applying rules of expression (algorithms, l-systems) we could see differences in the way that the plant has evolved
* A “botany” of these different structures: smaller, larger clusters, structures.

h3. Cultivation as culture
* From a user perspective the idea of cultivation: users can actually affect change: can breed your own searches, using searches generationally, using own adapted metaphors for new contexts
* Mix and match mechanisms or instruments (specific rule-sets) move expressions and apply them to different rule-sets
* Don’t have to understand genetics, but we have found use for plants for generations
* User doesn’t need to know mechanisms, just ability to make changes and view outcomes

h3. Tending the garden
* Incredible complexity, incredible diversity
* Not intimidated by the complexity of the garden
* Present similar tools to tend to data

h3. Discussion
* Casey Reas: organic information design
* Thinkmap, physical simulation systems
* Mitchell Resnick: Turtles Termites, Traffic Jams
* Matt J: Does it rely on visual metaphors: how do we get people to cultivate rather than consume?

h2. Thomas Van Der Wal
* Synching feeling

h3. Everything fit in our brain
* then libraries
* then digital bits
* then putting everything in one place
* Our information on our pdas, cellphones, somewhere
* The dream is that we have accurate information at our disposal when we need it
* Personal info-cloud
* Local info-cloud: should it be located?
* External info-cloud: things you don’t know about
* How do users use information?
* Device versus network?
* Our networked space, that exists out in space
* Usable: syncing between two devices: calendar, address book, to do list
* Dodgy: documents, media maps, web-based info, multiple devices
* Personal version control: different devices have different versions
* Personal categorisation:

h3. Standard metadata for personal info-cloud
* content description
* creator
* privacy
* context
* use type (eg)
* instruction: destroy, revise in 6 months
* object type:
* categories: not a structured system, but hackable flat data

h3. Actual solutions
* Spotlight (Apple Tiger)
* MIT Project Oxygen

h3. Possible/partial solutions
* Script aggregation by metadata tag
* Publish to private/public location in RSS
* Rsynk and CVS
* Groove (Windows)
* Quicksilver (Mac)

h2. Adam Greenfield
* All watched over by machines of loving grace
* Some ethical guidelines for user experience in ubiquitous computing environments
* Ubicomp is coming: IPV6 6.5×10 to the 23 addresses for every square metre on the planet
* Moving from describing to prescribing
* Technological artefacts are too dismissive of people
* Someone to watch over me: attractive as well as scary

h3. Default to harmlessness
* must ensure user’s physical psychic and financial safety
* must go well beyond graceful degredation
* faults must result in safety

h3. Be self disclosing
* Contain provisions for immediate, transparent querying of ownership, use, capabilities, etc.
* Seamlessness is optional
* Analogue of broadcast station identification or military IFF
* Web derived model for user-consent: cannot carry over to ubicomp, would be too intrusive to have to approve each and every disclosure of information in four space

h3. Be conservative of face
* ubiquitous systems are always already social systems: they must not unnecessarily embarras, himiliate or shame
* Goes beyond formal information-privacy concerns
* Prospect of being nakedly accountable to an inseen omipresent network

h3. Be conservative of time
* Must not introduce undue complications into ordinary operations
* Adult, competent users understand adequately what they want, shouldn’t introduce barriers
* Potential conflict with principle 1

h3. Be deniable
* Should be able to opt-out, anytime, anywhere, any process
* Critically: the ability to say no, without sacrificing anything but the ability to use whatever usage
* The “safe word” concept may find an application here

h3. Discussion
* Fabio: what about gossip
* Chris: surely there’s human responsibility
* Tom C: Social control includes humiliation and embarrasment
* Molly: systems for shaming: can be institutionalised and applied in problem places: difference between smart and smartass. Haven’t got good enough at modelling situations in order to get this right.

h2. Stefan Smagula
* Teaching and writing about interaction design

h2. Mike Kuniavsky
* Writing about ubicomp, society and social
* Material products areform from social values
* Products affect how we think
* The pattern is “a recognition of the complexity, unpredictability, confusion of the world”
* The framework of thought of the last 600 years is coming to an end
* “by dividing the world into smaller pieces, ways can be found to explain it”: this method is waning
* Communication and transportation has been the key driver of this change
* Shown people (designers?) how complex life is
* Most people don’t know what to do about this complexity
* At the end of the prescriptive rationalist vision of the world
* It is our job as designers to recognise these ideas: “design is a projection of people’s ideals onto product”
* Past the confusion of postmodernism: the complexity hasn’t been branded yet, hasn’t been given a core set of ideas
* Book: Human built world
* The complexity of the world is an uncomfortably bright light, people turn away: designers can make it manageable
* Go to the light of compexity!

h3. Discussion
* Adam: are we up against biological limits: are we wired to deal with things in a linear way? Yes: physiological limits: 7 +-2.
* Ben: we conceive as a subtractive process: a mental scene out of an excess of input: we have a body of linear tools to process. There is a realisation that we are non-linear systems: technology is becoming us, and the other way around.
* Matt: we can learn complexity way more than we realise: tests show that we subconsciously learn complexity beyond language and rational thought
* Magical thinking is not wrong: all our models are wrong
* Tom C: Looking at people as shearing layers of perception and cognition

h2. Remon Tijssen
* Behaviours, tactility and graphics
* Tensionfield between playfulness and functionality

h2. David Erwin
* The funnel
* Serial, parallel and optional interfaces

h2. Peter Boersma
* Transactional interfaces
* ezGov uses IBMs RUP
* RUP is weak in user-experience
* Added StUX, definitions of deliverables for user experience

h2. Dan Hill
* Self centred design
* Not selfish design
* Background: adaptive design, design as social process, inspiration from vernacular architecture, hackability, allowing and encouraging people to make technology what they want to be
* Inspiration from trip to US
* Assumption that UCD is generally a good thing
* The focus on usability has distracted people: it has become an end in itself
* UCD manifests itself in usability, at the expense of usefulness
* Cultural and social products: massive variation of use across the globe
* Products most innovative at BBC/music: audioscrobbler/lastFM: intense meaning in the patterns it generates. More innovative than iTunes music store. Steam: setting reminders for radio stations: hacked third party product, BBC is trying to support this innovation.
* This innovation is coming from non-designers
* Veen: Amateurised design: the most interesting design on the web: Shirky: Situated software
* Always consider a thing in it’s next larger context: Eliel Saarinen: useful piece of design process. Chair, room, house, city.
* A lot of information about the self, coming out of these systems
* Audioscrobbler: looking at ones music, bookmarks, photos, lunches, weblog posts, gps co-ordinates: how does this affect habits?
* Pace of development: what can be done on the web.
* Self-knowledge and enlightenment: how does it affect one’s life
* The practice and focus of design is moving towards behaviour

h3. Limitations
* This is early adopter activity, this is geeky, high barrier to entry, it requires code to make these things. It’s self limiting: only certain kind of people can make these products.
* Scaleability problems: resilience: lack of reliability of iterative development, when will we be at the stage when we can rely on things working?
* BBC, radio broadcasting needs to be resilient: public service
* Database design and scaleability: Flickr doesn’t need to be normalised
* Common appeal of these things is self-limiting: too much systems level thinking.
* Moving into a space where products are social, and can have social meaning, and thus be socially harmful
* People’s assumption and experiences are based on context
* Need to be more rigourous about understanding social patterns
* audioscrobbler is not good at classical music
* Designers and researchers need better understanding of each other
* Designers are at their most useful when they are enabling adaptive design
* Using ethnography within a design process, look at long-term ethnographic process: hooking it into the rapid prototyping of the adaptive design world
* There is the value of sociology here. Ethno-methodology, Heidegger
* Book: Where the action is, Dourish.
* Social systems work well when there is accountability
* Building things where this also builds an account of the building
* Place and space: place being about social structures
* Embodiment: Appropriating products, building social meanings into products
* Accountability: part of the action is a documentation of the action (Dourish). Is ‘view source’ accountability?
* Book: Presentation of self: Irvine Goffman

h2. Matt Webb
* Neuroscience and interaction design
* This is really mostly psychology
* Game: remembering animals
* Light comes from top left
* Easier to react in the direction that things approach you from
* Dialogue boxes, work with natural directions
* We follow human eye direction, not robot eye direction, pulling a lever is faster when eyes point in that direction
* We respond the same to arrows as we do to gaze
* All that neuroscience has done is to confirm what we know from psychology
* 3 types of object, animate, inanimate and tool
* 3 zones: graspable, peripersonal The schema of the body is extended by the held tools
* Our body space is quite mutable: space on a screen becomes the space represented by the body, anything which moves as part of your hand becomes part of your grasp, there’s an amount of time that this takes to understand this, learning process and experience
* Grasping has as much primacy as a cup itself: so “sit down” or “chair” are equivalent in the brain
* If we see or say grasping, or looking at coffee cup shows
* “What to do with too much information is the great riddle of our time” a* Mapping observed phenomena to the science of jetstreams, same thing will happen to neuroscience.

h2. John Poisson
* The stretch time conundrum
* Sony is a huge force: vaunted to villified in three short decades
* Loss of brand value: products are not meeting user expectations
* Sony founders have changed, directions have changed
* One of the problem is in the fact that it’s japanese: basic simple cultural processes
* Hikaru dorodango: process refinement as creative expression: successively sculpting and crafting mud balls into spheres
* 3 interconnected languages are undocumentably mixed
* Languages are connected to neurological development: learning japanese at an early age increases the threshold of tolerance of the pain of complexity: Kanji pain begets user pain.
* At first thought that it was a problem of language, but then realised this increased tolerance of complexity pain.
* Sony “iPod killer” is a user-experience nightmare, but for japanese it’s not too complex
* There’s an overall acceptance of complexity in Japan
* Pattern based learning: origami: 48 steps of process, more complex than interfaces
* Stretch time: at 3o’clock on the Sony campus everyone stops, music plays and everyone is encouraged to stretch.
* Process is good: start with rice cookers and end up with transistors: releasing lots of stuff and then seeing what works. But there are a lot more misses than hits at the moment

h2. Sanjay Khanna
* Kurt Vonnegut in “Cold Turkey”
* Mike: intended effects are insignificant compared with the emergent effects, just noise compared to the overall outcomes

h2. Niels Wolf
* Intro to JXTA
* Works on every network device
* Allows control over your data, sharing, peer to peer backup
* Implemented in many languages: including python
* Assigned a unique number, which works across IP, bluetooth, mobile rendezvous, etc.
* Everybody becomes a server if no other can be found

h2. Molly Wright Steenson
* All hail the vast comforting suburb of the soul
* Lots of research into garden cities
* Worried that the future is going to be boring
* Closing off some avenues for development by focusing on urban environments
* What are the constraints that define a suburb?

h2. Jack Schulze
* Mapping and looking
* Lots of cool stuff: no notes.

h2. Matthew Ward
* Questioning the commodification of space
* We are social, spatial, temporal beings

h3. What were the conditions for the rise of these spatial technologies
* 2001 descrambling of GPS
* FCC policy to make sure 911 callers can be located
* Ubiquity of mobile phones
* If we don’t move away from the “where’s my nearest pizza” we are going to get really bored really soon
* Differential space: socio-spatial differences are emphasised and celebrated
* Iain Borden: Skateboarding
* “social space is a social product.” “Our task now is to construct everyday life, to produce it, consciously to create it, boredom is pregnant with desires, frustrated desires” Lefebvre.

h2. Chris Heathcote
* Nuts and bolts, how to use location
* Location is co-ordinates
* Location is names and titles
* Location is also near Matt Webb, or near my iBook: relative position might be more useful way of thinking
* Physical augmentation: using, abusing, changing where they live
* Visual design: Buddy finder on mobile phones: spatially false, chart junk
* Context awareness is really hard:
* What happens when you get rid of the maps?
* Lots more cool stuff that I didn’t take notes on…

h2. Matt Jones
* Nokia: Insight and foresight
* A hard problem: “Ubicomp is hard, understanding people, context and the world is hard, getting computers to handle everyday situations is hard, and expectations are set way too high.” Gene Becker,
* Next-gen mobile: big screens, more whizzy features, but we still have the same old messy world
* A modest start: being in the world instead of in front of the screen
* 3220: 5140: power up covers with new capabilities
* 3220: LED displays with accelerometers and thus motion capture
* Where the action is: This ignores 99% of our daily lives
* dance dance revolution and eyetoy: new world
* 5140: first RFID reader phone
* New ways of using mobiles with touch based tech
* easy and concrete access to services and repeat functions
* transfer of digital items between devices as simple as a gesture of giving
* in the future also fast and convenient local payment and ticketing: fast, easy way of getting settings and services
* When you count all the steps to make simple actions are about 100 actions: to find settings, set up the human modem thing
* Touch actions are potentially two orders of complexity less: into 1 action
* LAunched active cover with NFC: near field communication: philips, sony, visa, samsung:
* Pairing things up, putting things together (how is this different from BT? passive chips)
* Prototype things!
* NFC is a touch based RFID technology
* Putting the information into the tag: can contain more than an ID
* Close mapping to physical objects: Dourish
* NFC active objects will have mixed spirit world of objects having magic behind them: permitted moves for games, origins of objects, spime like stuff,
* One to one mapping: multiple digital meanings on objects
* it’s not a one-way world: these things are re-writeable: secular isn’t the dominant way of thinking
* Now that we can give objects spirit world, semiotic, actions
* Into fetish objects: auspicious computing, unique wooden balls (minority report)
* Friendster: a game of how many connections. Turning into an info-fetish physical game
* – phones are precious, tags are not
* – throwaway, data detritus, spime spume
* + programmatic product life-cycle
* + audit trails for trash
* + automation of recycling
* Techno-optimism
* WWF: sustainability at the speed of light

h3. Long now, (Stewart Brand)
* Fashion
* Commerce
* Infrastructure
* Governance
* Culture
* Nature
* Sometimes technology can disrupt these layers

h2. Fabio Sergio
* From collision to convergence
* How I learned to stop worrying and watch tv on my mobile phone
* 2001: who the hell would want to watch tv on a mobile?
* 2003: using mobile to watch big brother from the car
* consultants: timeliness, context sensitivity, self-expression, immediacy, relevance
* People rely on their connected devices to fill-in interstitial time slots
* Armed with this notion outlets aquired content and chopped it into 3-5 minute videos
* The end result is too much navigation and not enough content, undermines the concept of “snacking”. The navigation has become the experience
* Navigation is not bad per-se, the web is arguably built on it
* Flow: where the consumer is completely engaged with interaction
* Mobile content experiences happen in contexts that basically negate the ability to focus
* How do you access video: at the moment through a browser
* Big Brother: lessons learnt
* Always on-ness: there is aways something new happening: marshall mcluhan meets orwell
* Something might happen at any time
* Action can be just a video call away
* Easy to get into the flow of what’s happening
* Cut to measure: as little or as long as you want
* Conversation-based: you can keep hearing when you can’t watch: don’t need to look at the screen
* Why should the browser and media player be two different applications? should probably be one.
* People need context medium content, probably in this order
* The handset should be a remote control: as much as possible make navigation resident on teh device
* Content should be snackish: but should be grouped
* The experience should be around the on/off switch

h2. Timo Arnall

* “Presentation and notes”:

h2. Sunday discussion

* Brief: design a ticket machine that also allows city navigation and takes care of tourists and busy commuters equally, that doesn’t have a screen
* Alternative brief: A permanent tag large enough to contain digital info, that could be unobtrusively attached to anything in public space
* Mechanisms for friendly denial

h3. I’m lost: design a physical pathway which
* includes the idea of signs to explain features of teh environment to the unmediated
* which could serve as a compensation or apology for people denied in the ubiquitous sense
* which was distinctively local and amsterdamish
* includes infrastructure
* poetics and emotional enhancements required

Overheard somewhere at the bar: anthropology/ethnography is this year’s library science: another new/old juxtaposition. Not that I agree.

Time that land forgot

There are two versions: a “low-bandwidth”:/timeland/noimages.html no-image version and a “high-bandwidth”:/timeland/ version with images. There is also a “Quicktime movie”: for people that can’t run Flash at a reasonable frame rate.

We have made the “source code”: (.zip file) available for people that want to play with it, under a General Public License (GPL).

h2. Background: Narrative images and GPS tracks

Over the last five years Timo has been photographing daily experience using a digital camera and archiving thousands of images by date and time. Transient, ephemeral and numerous; these images have become a sequential narrative beyond the photographic frame. They sit somewhere between photography and film, with less emphasis on the single image in re-presenting experience.

For the duration of the workshop Timo used a GPS receiver to record tracklogs, capturing geographic co-ordinates for every part of the journey. It is this data that we explore here, using it to provide a history and context to the images.

This project is particularly relevant as mobile phones start to integrate location-aware technology and as cameraphone image-making becomes ubiquitous.

h2. Scenarios

We discussed the context in which we were creating an application: who would use it, and what would they be using it for? In our case, Timo is using the photographs as a personal diary, and this is the first scenario: a personal life-log, where visualisations help to recollect events, time-periods and patterns.

Then there is the close network of friends and family, or participants in the same journey, who are likely to invest time looking at the system and finding their own perspective within it. Beyond that there is a wider audience interested in images and information about places, that might want a richer understanding of places they have never been, or places that they have experienced from a different perspective.

Images are immediately useful and communicative for all sorts of audiences, it was less clear how we should use the geographic information, the GPS tracks might only be interesting to people that actually participated in that particular journey or event.

h2. Research

We looked at existing photo-mapping work, discovering a lot of projects that attempted to give images context by placing them within a map. But these visualisations and interfaces seemed to foreground the map over the images and photos embedded in maps get lost by layering. The problem was most dramatic with topographic or street maps full of superfluous detail, detracting from the immediate experience of the image.

Even the exhaustive and useful research from Microsoft’s “World Wide Media Index (WWMX)”: arrives at a somewhat unsatisfactory visual interface. The paper details five interesting mapping alternatives, and settles on a solution that averages the number of photos in any particular area, giving it a representatively scaled ‘blob’ on a street map (see below). Although this might solve some problems with massive data-sets, it seems a rather clunky interface solution, overlooking something that is potentially beautiful and communicative in itself.


p(caption). See “”: page 8

Other examples (below) show other mapping solutions; Geophotoblog pins images to locations, but staggers them in time to avoid layering, an architectural map from Pariser Platz, Berlin gives an indication of direction, and an aerial photo is used as context for user-submitted photos at Tokyo-picturesque. There are more examples of prior work, papers and technologies “here”:


p(caption). Image from “Pariser Platz Berlin”:


p(caption). Image from “geophotoblog”:


p(caption). Image from “Tokyo Picturesque”:

By shifting the emphasis to location the aspect most clearly lacking in these representations is _time_ and thereby also the context in which the images can most easily form narrative to the viewer. These images are subordinate to the map, thereby removing the instant expressivity of the image.

We feel that these orderings make spatially annotated images a weaker proposition than simple sequential images in terms of telling the story of the photographer. This is very much a problem of the seemingly objective space as contained by the GPS coordinates versus the subjective place of actual experience.

h2. Using GPS Data

We started our technical research by looking at the data that is available to us, discovering data implicit in the GPS tracks that could be useful in terms of context, many of which are seldom exposed:

* location
* heading
* speed in 3 dimensions
* elevation
* time of day
* time of year

With a little processing, and a little extra data we can find:

* acceleration in 3 dimensions
* change in heading
* mode of transportation (roughly)
* nearest landmark or town
* actual (recorded) temperature and weather
* many other possibilities based on local, syndicated data

Would it be interesting to use acceleration as a way of looking at photos? We would be able to select arrivals and departures by choosing images that were taken at moments of greatest acceleration or deceleration. Would these images be the equivalent of ‘establishing’, ‘resolution’ or ‘transition’ shots in film, generating a good narrative frame for a story?

Would looking at photos by a specific time of day give good indication of patterns and habits of daily life? The superimposition of daily unfolding trails of an habitual office dwelling creature might show interesting departures from rote behaviour.

h2. Using photo data

By analysing and visualising image metadata we wanted to look for ways of increasing the expressive qualities of a image library. Almost all digital images are saved with the date and time of capture but we also found unexplored tags in the EXIF data that accompany digital images:

* exposure
* aperture
* focus distance
* focal length
* white balance

We analysed metadata from almost 7000 photographs taken between 18 February – 26 July 2004 to see patterns that we might be able to exploit for new interfaces. We specifically looked for patterns that helped identify changes over the course of the day.


p(caption). Shutter, Aperture, Focal length and File size against time of day (click for larger version)

This shows an increase in shutter speed and aperture during the middle of the day. The images also become sharper during daylight hours, indicated by an increased file-size.


p(caption). Date against time of day (click for larger version)

This shows definite patterns: holidays and travels are clearly visible (three horizontal clusters towards the top) as are late night parties and early morning flights. This gives us huge potential for navigation and interface. Image-based ‘life-log’ applications like “Flickr”: and “Lifeblog”: are appearing, the visualisation of this light-weight metadata will be invaluable for re-presenting and navigating large photographic archives like these.

Matias Arje – also at the Iceland workshop – has done “valuable work”: in this direction.

h2. Technicalities

Getting at the GPS and EXIF data was fairly trivial though it did demand some testing and swearing.

We are both based on Apple OS X systems, and we had to borrow a PC to get the tracklogs reliably out of the Timo’s GPS and into Garmin’s Mapsource. We decided to use GPX as our format for the GPS tracks, GPSBabel happily created this data from the original Garmin files.

The EXIF was parsed out of the images by a few lines of Python using the module and turned into another XML file containing image file name and timestamp.

We chose Flash as the container for the front end, it is ubiquitous and Even’s programming poison of choice for visualisation. Flash reads both the GPX and EXIF XML files and generates the display in real-time.

More on our choices of technologies “here”:

h2. First prototype


“View prototype”:

Mirroring Timo’s photography and documentation effort, Even has invested serious time and thought in “dynamic continous interfaces”: The first prototype is a linear experience of a journey, suitable for a gallery or screening, where images are overlaid into textural clusters of experience. It shows a scaling representation of the travel route based on the distance covered the last 20-30 minutes. Images recede in scale and importance as they move back in time. Each tick represents 1 minute, every red tick represents an hour.

We chose to create a balance of representation in the interface around a set of prerogatives: first image (for expressivity), then time (for narrative), then location (for spatialising, and commenting on, image and time).

In making these interfaces there is the problem of scale. The GPS data itself has a resolution down to a few meters, but the range of speeds a person can travel at varies wildly through different modes of transportation. The interface therefore had to take into account the temporo-spatial scope of the data and scale the resolution of display accordingly.

This was solved by creating a ‘camera’ connected to a spring system that attempts to center the image on the advancing ‘now’ while keeping a recent history of 20 points points in view. The parser for the GPS tracks discards the positional data between the minutes and the animation is driven forward by every new ‘minute’ we find in the track and that is inserted into the view of the camera. This animation system can both be used to generate animations and interactive views of the data set.

There are some issues with this strategy. There will be discontinuities in the tracklogs as the GPS is switched off during standstill and nights. Currently the system smoothes tracklog time to make breaks seem more like quick transitions.

The system should ideally maintain a ‘subjective feeling’ of time adjusted to picture taking and movement; a temporal scaling as well as a spatial scaling. This would be an analog to our own remembering of events: minute memories from double loop roller-coasters, smudged holes of memory from sleepy nights.

Most of the tweaking in the animation system went into refining the extents system around the camera history & zoom, acceleration and friction of spring systems and the ratio between insertion of new points and animation ticks.

In terms of processing speed this interface should ideally have been built in Java or as a stand alone application, though tests have shown that Flash is able to parse a 6000 point tracklog, and draw it on screen along with 400 medium resolution images. Once the images and points have been drawn on the canvas they animate with reasonable speed on mid-spec hardware.

h2. Conclusions

This prototype has proved that many technical challenges are solvable, and given us a working space to develop more visualisations, and interactive environments, using this as a tool for thinking about wider design issues in geo-referenced photography. We are really excited by the sense of ‘groundedness’ the visualisation gives over the images, and the way in which spatial relationships develop between images.

For Timo it has given a new sense of spatiality to image making, the images are no longer locked into a simple sequential narrative, but affected by spatial differences like location and speed. He is now experimenting with more ambient recording: taking a photo exactly every 20 minutes for example, in an effort to affect the presentation.

h2. Extensions

Another strand of ideas we explored was using the metaphor of a 16mm “Steenbeck”: edit deck: scrubbing 16mm film through the playhead and watching the resulting sound and image come together: we could use the scrubbing of an image timeline, to control all of the other metadata, and give real control to the user. It would be exciting to explore a spatial timeline of images, correlated with contextual data like the GPS tracks.

We need to overcome the difficulty obtaining quality data, especially if we expect this to work in an urban environment. GPS is not passive, and “requires a lot of attention to record tracks”: Overall our representation doesn’t require location accuracy, just consistency and ubiquity of data; we hope that something like cell-based tracking on a mobile phone becomes more ubiquitous and usable.

We would like to experiment further with the extracted image metadata. For large-scale overviews, images could be replaced by a simple rectangular proxy, coloured by the average hue of the original picture and taking brightness (EV) from exposure and aperture readings. This would show the actual brightness recorded by the camera’s light meter, instead of the brightness of the image.

Imagine a series of images from bright green vacation days, dark grey winter mornings or blue Icelandic glaciers, combined with the clusters and patterns that time-based visualisation offers.

We would like to extend the data sets to include other people: from teenagers using gps camera phones in Japan to photojournalists. How would visualisations differ, and are there variables that we can pre-set for different uses? And how would the map look with multiple trails to follow, as a collaboration between multiple people and multiple perspectives?

At a technical level it would be good to have more integration with developing standards: we would like to use “Locative packets”:, just need more time and reference material. This would make it useful as a visualisation tool for other projects, “Aware”: for example.

We hope that the system will be used to present work from other workshops, and that an interactive installation of the piece can be set up at “Art+Communication”:

h2. Biographies

Even Westvang works between interaction design, research and artistic practice. Recent work includes a slowly growing digital organism that roams the LAN of a Norwegian secondary school and an interactive installation for the University of Oslo looking at immersion, interaction and narrative. Even lives and works in Oslo. His musings live on “”: and some of his work can be seen at “”:

Timo Arnall is an interaction designer and researcher working in London, Oslo and Helsinki. Recent design projects include a social networking application, an MMS based interactive television show and a large media archiving project. Current research directions explore mapping, photography and marking in public places. Work and research can be seen at “”:

h2. Screenshots









Outside In

Outside In is a forum for involving new voices, media and practices in a discourse about the use and design of public space. It took place from 14 – 15 June 2004.

Roda Sten is amazing, below a suspension bridge, with huge concrete creations. Really windy, but calm inside the lecture space. Here are my notes and a few pictures.


h2. Day 1

h3. Session 2: Hacking the streets (I missed the 1st workshop)

h3. Space Hijackers

* Putting memories in spaces: spaces arent the same after having been disrupted. after ‘reclaim the streets’ or a ‘circle line party’ you can’t see the space in the same way.
* Distinction between public and private. What is it?
* Public space doesn’t exist anymore.
* Ken’s new city hall is half private half public (private investment was involved in the building, so protests cannot happen outside)
* Do we need institutions in order to do events, is that the only way to do it legally?
* What’s stopping people from doing these things is not necessarily capitalism, but the fear of looking like a pillock: self-regulation is a big factor. Can spark things to let down inhibitions or shackles. Uses example of the scooter, became a kids toy and then it wasn’t cool anymore.
* What’s the connection between anarchism and these spontaneous events. Emergent order is interesting, so much control over actions, and the ways people move through the city. How does this relate to anarchy? Is this anarchy?

h3. Zevs

* The city is a workshop: not just walls to tag
* Shadows of urban furniture: really good
* Visual kidknapping: Lavazza woman gets cut out of the frame
* Big poster with bleeding eyes
* Uses a high pressure water jet to clean the city, but also write at the same time.
* Digs at the notion of authorship, a site where people find work on the streets
* The work is anonymous, but there is the projection of authorial control behind it, its individual and definitely authored
* Would be interesting to explore more about Graffiti authorship: how do public artists want to be recognised?
* Managing the mystique around the work and the author.
* Difference between author/instigator
* “Interview”:
* “Visual kidknapping”:

h3. 3D bombing: Akim

* Polystyrene models, matched to fit specific city spaces
* City of names: what if the writers are the ones who build the houses?

h2. Day 2

h3. Session 3: Network experience

h3. “Jonah Brucker Cohen”:

* Wants to deconstruct network context
* Context: physical and social situation in which computation sits
* How does the network affect the output and experience
* Companies are claiming ownership of space because of signal
strength: strengthening signals to drown out free competion
* WiFihog: saps out all wifi bandwidth
* LAN party versus Flash Mob
* Simpletext: collaborative sms image searching on large screens
* re-mapping and changing the context of interfaces: what about
shifting consequences: changing the input/output relationship.
* Simpletext project: assigns an image search to inputted text
messages, and displays via jitter/max on a large screen.
* Steven Levy quote on hackers

h3. “Katherine Moriwaki”:

* Altering space by altering the body
* character of a space
* remnants of things, people, individuals
* put magnets on wrists and fingers and bodies to reveal the proximity of electronic devices: unexpected connections to other people and lampposts. Nice.

h3. Data Climates: Pedro Sepúlveda Sandoval

* Living in a scanscape city
* electronic space, synthetic city
* Congestion charge as walled city, in electronic space
* London: highest density of cctv in the world
* will we decide to travel to areas based on the quality of electronic space
* A new architectural language for electronic space
* Houses without windows, just cameras. Can start to control life inside. Can also choose to use the weather channel as windows
* Pay a fee for personal surveillance: ask them to watch you all the way to the supermarket.
* The city of Yokohama was brought down by the coming of age party for 40,000 teenagers: the networks were overloaded with messages, because the teenagers didn’t want to talk face to face.
* Palm trees as cell towers (seen in south africa)
* Looked at a community in Hackney that were campaigning to not have a cell phone tower.
* Designed a house for them that would shield them from the signals, but they would have to give up cell phone connectivity. Designed it so that windows would open and close based on calls being made, or would give them 10 minute windows in which to make calls every 2 hours.
* Digital shelter: stand inside the line

h3. Round up

* These presentations all use the strategy of showing ‘hypothetical products’ that are really non-products. They are doing this, rather than providing platforms or design methodologies, or distributing resources and infrastructures for people to design their own systems. I understand the need for designers as visionaries, but this could be made more valuable and useful.
* specialists in electronic space could be similar to lighting design specialists in the ’70s. Will grow into a general field of understanding.
* Platforms and inftrastructure for technology is beyond architects, but understanding of the use and consequences is really important.

h3. Session 4

h3. Jocko Weyland

* Skateboarding as adaptive design: difference between skate parks and the street, skate parks become designed over time to mimic certain aspects of streets, but also according to innate, human skaters needs. A combination of factors go into making a good skateboarding space: free, alcohol, quality, location.

h3. Swoon

* New to NY: wanted to work outside gallery space, was inspired by collage of city streets. Not from a graffiti background, being a female, can do certain things outside the norms of graffiti.
* Changes billboards during the day, looks official.
* Open democratic visual space
* a visual direct democracy…
* Cuba used to have street art as a means of free expression, but outlawed by dictatorship
* Makes lightboxes with imagined cities, and mounts on the reverse side of construction site walls, with peepholes ‘peer here’
* Interesting mix of opportunism and ‘designed intervention’
* Sometimes driven purely by visual interest.

h3. “Michael Rakowitz”:

* Mike Davis: Public is phantom
* Bedouin as a model of sustainable nomadic communities
* Homeless use waste air from air conditioning (airvac exhaust ports) to stay warm and dry
* Homeless have receded to the peripheral vision of the public. Want to see and be seen.
* Seeing is important for living nomadically in the city.
* Started to map the heat and the power of the exhaust fans in the city. Found a high one at MIT plasma lab.
* Re-routed smell from from a bakery to an art gallery, to subvert a ‘high art’ re-appropriation of space

h2. Workshop ‘Loop City’

* “Dietmar Offenhuber”: & Sara Hodges
* Showed Rybczynski’s film “New Book”: using 9 frames: a good way of mapping space in the city. Starts off and the viewer is not sure if each frame is occurring synchronously, or in the same space, but a bus passes between all of the frames and the spatial link is made immediately. There is also a point where a plane flies overhead and all the actors look up: showing time synchronicity too.

h3. Looking at the city

* as a set of repeated actions
* as a playground: situationists
* as a balance of social as well as physical architectures

Mobile social software applications

h3. “Jabberwocky / Familiar Strangers”:

This research project explores our often ignored yet real relationships with Familiar Strangers. We describe several experiments and studies that lead to a design for a personal, body-worn, wireless device that extends the Familiar Stranger relationship while respecting the delicate, yet important, constraints of our feelings and relationships with strangers in pubic places.

h3. “Encounter bubbles”:

A visualization tool based on “Mobster”: that enables users to explore their social encounters in new ways. Designed to be an open framework on which locative (meaning location-based) networking applications can be built.

h3. “TraceEncounters”:

A social network tracking and visualization project. The project distributes a set of small stickpins, each of which uses limited-rage infrared data exchange to remember every other pin that it encounters. When pin wearers come to a central location to view the accreting network, they see a thousand circles on a plasma display panel, each representing a pin.

h3. “Fluidtime”:

The first of these services is aimed at public transport users in Turin. While on the move, travellers can find dynamic information on mobile screen-based devices while at home or at the office, people can find the same information on physical display units. The other service is a personalised and flexible scheduling system to help Interaction-Ivrea students organise shared laundry facilities; mobile and stationary tools give them constant updates about the progress of their laundry cycle.

h3. “Mobster”:

Affords the social creation and excavation of proximity history. At its core is a simple question: Who was near who when? Software on users’ mobile devices (laptops, cell phones, PDAs) monitors the presence of nearby devices (Wi-Fi hotspots, cell towers, Bluetooth devices), from which Mobster infers historical proximity models. We call these sociospatial histories.

h3. “WiFi Bedouin”:

Expanding the possible meaning and metaphors about access, proximity, wireless and WiFi. This access point is not the web without wires. Instead, it is its own web, an apparatus that forces one to reconsider and question notions of virtuality, materiality, displacement, proximity and community.

h3. “Tuna”:

A mobile wireless application that allows users to share their music locally through handheld devices.

h3. “Jukola”:

An interactive MP3 Jukebox device designed to allow a group of people in a public space to democratically choose the music being played. A public display is used to nominate songs which are subsequently voted on by people in the bar using networked wireless handheld devices.

h3. “Mamjam”:

One of the first location-based instant messaging platform for mobile phones. Asks the user to input location, and then creates links to others in the same space. (“Case study here”:

h3. “Dodgeball”:

Tell us where you are and we’ll tell you who and what is around you. We’ll ping your friends with your whereabouts, let you know when friends-of-friends are within 10 blocks, allow you to broadcast content to anyone within 10 blocks of you or blast messages to your groups of friends.

h3. “BEDD”:

A Bluetooth-enabled mobile social medium that allows people to meet, interact and communicate.

h3. “BuzZone”:

Using Bluetooth-enabled laptops and PDAs to find new contacts, communicate over small distances, and share information related to their business.

h3. “TxtMob”:

A service that lets you quickly and easily share txt messages with friends, comrades, and total strangers. The format is similar to an email b-board system. You can sign up to send and receive messages from various groups, which are organized around a range of different topics.

h3. “IcyPole”:

Uses Bluetooth to detect the proximity of other devices and determine whether there is a match between users’ entertainment profiles. The application can be used as a platform for personal area network music discovery, file exchange and/or sampling, as well as for social networking based on similar entertainment interests.

h3. “Peepsnation”:

Enables users to connect with others with a similar interest that meet your filter criteria using user-definable groups tied to a specific location.

h3. “Proxidating”:

Using bluetooth technology, ProxiDating allows you to meet people with common interests.

h3. “Plazes”:

Plazes is a web service offering information on people and places based on your location. It enables you to tag your location and announce it to your friends or the world. You can find other Plazes in your vicinity or see where your friends are at the moment. It also allows you to see other people you do not know yet at the same Place.

h3. “Plink mobile”:

A ‘people search engine’ and social networking application. You can search for friends, see who they know and who knows them, find people with shared interests. Can use an SMS interface in the UK.

h3. “Saw you”:

Saw-You allows u 2 chat 2 people who go to the same social venues you do on your mobile phone. U don’t see their number and they don’t see yours.

h3. “Mobule serendipity”:

An application for mobile phones that can instigate interactions between you and people you don’t know. A profile, along with your mobile phone provide a connection a community of people around you.

h3. “Who at”:

Lets you find dates and friends anywhere, anytime. Tell WhoAt where you are and we tell you who’s nearby – all from your mobile phone, PDA, or PC.

h3. “Hocman”:

We have performed an ethnographic study that reveals the importance of social interaction, and especially traffic encounters, for the enjoyment of biking. We summarized these findings into a set of design requirements for a service supporting mobile interaction among motorcyclists.

h3. “ImaHima”:

The Japanese expression for “are you free now?”. A mobile, location-integrated, community and instant messaging service allowing users to share their current personal status (location, activity, mood) publicly and privately with their buddies and send picture and instant messages to them.

h3. “Socialight”:

A location-aware mobile social networking platform that allows people to connect with their friends and friends of friends in new, expressive ways.

h3. “Socializer”:

A distributed, peer-to-peer platform that connects a person to people and services in the same location. An open, extensible platform. New features can be developed and propagated by an open-source community running on wired as well as wireless networks.

h3. “Aware”:

A flexible platform that operates a spatio-temporal moblog (mobile log) allowing collective contribution and distribution of media. Considering scalable systems, comprehensive and inclusive models for participation, the project has focused upon how to communicate context-awareness, mobile experience, and its narrative potential.

h3. “Meetup”:

A technology platform and global network of local venues that helps people self-organize local group gatherings on the same day everywhere.

h3. “Modus”:

Music in a venue should reflect the taste of the people in that space, not the owner of the jukebox or the people working behind the bar. What if a jukebox allowed people to add their own music or could help you remember what was played at a particular time? What if the box was aware of who was in the room and could queue up your favorite songs as you walked through the door?

h3. “Traces of fire”:

Transmitters, embedded in cigarette lighters deliberately lost in carefully chosen pubs, illuminate the social relationships underlying daily habits of travel, entertainment and (nicotine) gifting.

h3. “Ashphalt games”:

An Internet-enhanced street game in which players stage and document small interventions or “stunts” on the street corners of New York in order to claim turf on a virtual map of the city. The game is an experiment in collectively reimagining commonplace views of New York. By providing an online counterpart to the urban environment, it allows players to share their visions of the city with others.

h3. “Crowd surfer”:

Enables a user to surf for other Bluetooth devices and get in contact with them, primarily designed for a campus environment.

h3. “Pocket rendezvous”:

A web server for the Pocket PC that advertises itself to other Pocket PCs in the neighbourhood wirelessly using ad-hoc WiFi networks and Rendezvous.

h3. “Meetingpoint”:

A contact/messaging application using Bluetooth wireless technology. Runs on Smartphones/PDA or PC and helps people to meet in mobile situations.

h3. “Activematch”:

Enables users to find their ‘ideal partner’ on the spot (unity of time and venue). Works in any GPRS network and on all mobile phones with Symbian OS and Nokia’s Series 60 platform.

h3. “Urban Plexus”:

Cell phone software that enables Members to communicate with others, blog, chat in forums, file share, publish events, locate others, buy & sell, geo-tag locations and play games.

h3. “nTag”: (“Research”:

An event communications system using wearable computers that improve networking among event participants while streamlining event management.

h3. “Playtxt”:

A mobile location based friendship and flirting network. Built with a mobile messaging engine, it offers full web integration and dating, flirting and friends networking capabilities, including six degrees of seperation, all mobile enabled.

h3. “Mtone”:

A social networking multi-user game “Cell Phone” is based on the popular Chinese movie of the same name. This comedy movie was directed by one of China’s best known directors, Feng Xiaogang. Customers play this multi-combining romance and SMS and MMS.

h3. “Tagtext”:

Download pictures, wallpapers, screensavers and avatars to use for Bluejacking.

h3. “Bluetooth against Bush”:

Uses bluetooth enabled devices (mobile phones, PDA’s, laptop computers) to create moments of ad-hoc solidarity for people opposed to George W. Bush.

h3. “Wavemarket”:

A suite that can turn a mobile phone user into an on-location broadcaster. You can add information and commentary about restaurant reviews to safety tips. You can find a buddy, or track a truck, inspect a neighborhood for real estate or child safety. It’s good for both social and business and it puts the power of blogging technology into the hands of the masses.

Urban GPS experience

It’s possible to use the “GPS Map 60c”: in an old “Marimekko bag”: in a mobile phone pocket just small enough that the aerial sticks out. In this way it can be placed in windows of buses or cars without it sliding around, and I can walk around without looking like a geek or getting mugged.

!/images/urbangps03.gif(Rendered trail of three months walking in Oslo)!

h3. Problems

In short, GPS doesn’t work well in dense urban environments like most European cities. This is from the perspective of a pedestrian confined to the pavements (sidewalks) and public transport. From a few experiences whilst being driven around, it seems to work well in a car, probably because of the clear sky area available in the middle of the road. Inclement weather and green trees also seem to be problematic.

In these last few months, attempting to record a good quality database of tracks to geo-locate my photographs, I must have looked really odd. Face in device, stopping on street corners, stopping in the middle of street crossings and scrambling to grab the front seat of the bus. Discovering that GPS doesn’t just passively work is a great disappointment and my dataset is clouded with gaps and anomalies.

h3. Some other observations

* Fast turns when using public transport or car result in wild deviations: re-aquiring satellites is the problem
* Need a road that aligns with at least 4 satellites to get an acceptable track, anything else and the errors can accumulate
* Glass buildings can result in ‘reflections’ of position, eg jumping to other locations due to reflected signals
* I sit on the outside or front of buses: to get a wider expanse of sky area: I am constantly aware of sky cover
* The relative position of satellites is beginning to have an effect on the side of the street that I walk on
* Walking in the middle of the street: had a couple of near misses with cars – the moving map is just too engaging
* I would like an explanation of the lost track calculations: this device seems to use the last-known bearing and velocity to guess new tracks when the signal fails. This is very unreliable and problematic as it fills the map with phantom trails
* The track can be more useful over time than the (base) map: it shows my personal space and personal routes, I know where I have been and can use it to retrace routes or places. Popular routes build up in blackness and thickness. Home area becomes an abstract scatter plot of routes, but it’s very familiar
* Stored waypoints are really useful for getting large, general bearings on location: zooming out and seeing a relationship to two known landmarks can be really useful in an unknown area

!/images/urbangps04.gif(Rendered trail of two weeks walking and public transport in London)!

!/images/urbangps01.jpg(GPS receiver resting on the top deck of the number 4 bus, London)!

!/images/urbangps02.jpg(GPS receiver in the window of a train, Oslo)!

Design for television

David’s reference to 18 points as the minimum size equates to 18 pixels if you are coming from a web background.

On some iTV projects I have pushed the type down to 16 pixels, but be very careful about colours and contrast, and enquire about the production path to air: if the work is going to be transferred via DV tape, squeezed through an old composite link, or online-edited with high compression, then you might want to leave type as large as possible.

In some cases – such as using white text on a red background – you can add a very subtle black shadow to the type, which will help stop colour bleed and crawling effects. Even if you dislike drop-shadow effects, it will still look flat and lovely on a broadcast monitor.

Safe areas need to be taken with a pinch of salt. The default safe areas in most editing and compositing software date from years ago before the widespread use of modern, widescreen televisions.

Try extending the safe area for non-essential text in interactive projects, and consult broadcaster guidelines for their widescreen policies: many channels now broadcast in 14:9 to terrestrial boxes, and offer options to satellite and cable viewers.

The largest problem is that widescreen viewers often crop the top and bottom of the image by setting their TV to crop 4:3 to 16:9. Some cable/satellite companies remove the left and right of the image to crop 16:9 to 4:3 for non-widescreen viewers, leaving us only a tiny, safe rectangle in the centre of the image to work with.

Robert Bradbrook (maker of Home Road Movies) has a some technical but excellent information on designing graphics for 16:9 television and film formats, including a sample safe area.

There are also excellent documents on picture standards from the BBC.

But this is one thing I don’t understand: according to the BBC: “Additional [20 or 26 horizontal] pixels are not taken into account when calculating the aspect ratio, but without them images transferred between systems will not be the correct shape.” Can anyone confirm that this is the case for PAL images?

Game design books

Posted on Apr 11, 2003 in Experience design, Interaction design, Play, Reading, Research

Rules of Play : Game Design Fundamentals

Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman. /

Game Design

Bob Bates. /

Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design

Andrew Rollings, Ernest Adams. /

Game Architecture and Design

Andrew Rollings, Dave Morris. /

Game On

Lucien King. /


Liz Faber. /

Electronic Plastic

Jaro Gielens, Robert Klanten. /

Trigger Happy

Steven Poole. /

Experience design books

Posted on Feb 17, 2003 in Adaptive design, Experience design

The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web

Jesse James Garrett. This small book succinctly and professionally explains the entire user-experience field. Every page has some insight to offer; from user-centred strategy to visual branding and graphics. For more information see /

Art as Experience

John Dewey. A classic book written in the 1930s. Read the chapter ‘What is an experience’ for the most astute and intelligent discussion of what makes our world of experience. /

Experience and Nature

John Dewey. /

Experience Design

Nathan Shedroff. Diverse and interesting examples of design being used to shape our experiences. A very poorly designed book. /

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. /

A Natural History of the Senses

Diane Ackerman. /

The Shape of Content

Ben Shahn. /

British Rail Design

James Cousins. Out of print. A fascinating overview of the complete British Rail user-experience, from the fabric for the seat covers, to carriage design, to signage and pedestrian density in stations.
Danish Design Centre / UK booksearch.

Brand and communication books

Posted on Jan 18, 2003 in Experience design, Graphic design, Reading

No Logo

Naomi Klein. /

The Guide to Identity

Wally Olins. /

Principles of Corporate Communication

Cees van Riel, Wally Olins. /

Brand New

Jane Pavitt ed. /

Strategic Brand Management

Jean-Noel Kapferer. /

Brand Manners

Hamish Pringle, William Gordon. /

Business and strategy books

Posted on Jan 12, 2003 in Experience design, Reading, Research

The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo

Tom Kelley. /

The Innovator’s Dilemma

Clayton M. Christensen. /

The Dream Society

Rolf Jensen. /

The Experience Economy

B. Joseph Pine. /

Experiential Marketing

Bernd H. Schmitt. /

The Landscape of Experience

Posted on Nov 14, 2001 in Conferences, Experience design

Speakers were reasonably diverse with no overall design, hci or usability focus, definitely attempting to be inclusive under the term ‘experience design’. I have a clearer overview of the state of the US design landscape, and the kind of work that intelligent agencies and individuals are undertaking. There were a number of very sharp individuals presenting.

Experience design is a widely accepted term, widely understood as a process, and validated by the client and market reaction. There is a vacuum waiting to be filled after years of new media mishap, and recent financial failure. Experience design is less about interface and HCI research, it is a more physical and humane practice, dealing with ideas of pervasive media and multiple channels. Almost everybody talked about users, about scenarios, storyboards, storytelling, play and context. The focus was working at a higher level, integrating channels rather than testing response times or classifying information.

h3. Highs
Mohan Sawhney summed up the overall ideology that emerged, by discussing methods and tools for crossing boundaries. He used great examples, discussing the ‘black and whiteness’ of ‘old and new’ economy thinking, and offered 9 ways to transcend these boundaries and conceive products and services that met more fundamental needs.

Nick Durrant presented a very engaging idea dealing in very real, human terms, that related to technology in subtle and significant ways. He talked about the real human perceptions of technology, and the effect that the network has on those perceptions and on society.

h3. Lows

Tim Parsey of Motorola presented technology and expectation timelines for the future. The research and ‘blue sky thinking’ was interesting (see below) but the disparity between research and practice seems huge: where did these visions become Motorola’s appalling product designs?

Evolving the e-business Landscape – Lessons from Fashion was a confusing and jargon ridden presentation that said nothing that I had not heard before. There is clearly a similarity between Fashion and Technology life-cycle curves, but this didn’t make for a good presentation.

h3. Friday 9th November

h4. Introduction, Shelley Evenson, Scient & Bill Hill, Metadesign

Landscape of Experience has developed from being heavily interface led into being led mostly but not exclusively by multimedia. We are seeing combinations; pervasive media, business, technology, and experience.

h4. Michael Schrage

MIT Media Lab.

We shape our models then our models shape us.

How do people behave around models, prototypes and simulations. We should encourage designers to rethink the creation of value.

We need a new innovation investment infrastructure for design management.

The marginal costs of iterative prototyping are collapsing, we are seeing the ‘spreadsheetification’ of design. The cost per iteration (CPI) is headed for the free…

Iterative modeling (once a model has been designed) will become free, transforming the landscape of modeling, prototyping and simulation. With this power we will have much more choice as to what we want to do, design will be a very powerful force. However the more choice you have the more that your values matter in making the right decisions.

Designers will end up having greater ‘iterative capital’. The constraint is no longer the number of dev cycles or iterations that we can use on a product. We can throw iterative capital at problems. But how do we productively waste it? BMW has developed excellent crash test software, which has resulted in innovative designs such as the C1 motorcycle.

We are developing dynamic prototypes, using parallel development, so we can test out multiple solutions at once. A companies innovation profile goes up when they have high iterative capital.

We must create new ways of simulating things, so we can create radical products. Should we co—invest our iterative capital with key customers and suppliers?

What about generative or evolutionary design algorithms? These will work very well with new iterative friendly models. see John Holland — evolutionary design.

h3. Saturday 10th November

h4. Mohan Sawhney


childhood is when we learn the most, learning is all about setting up boundaries and putting boxes around things. In this way we reduce our daily mental load by recognising groups of objects, and not having to rely on our perception and cognition to interpret everything around us. Boundaries are defining and limiting tools to classify and structure scaffolds on the world, to construct mental models.

The pendulum always swings in binary oppositions:

old economy  new economy
whereas what we should be looking at is enhanced economy

business  ebusiness
we should be looking at improved business

brick and mortar  pure play companies
we should be looking at click and mortar designs

wired network  wireless network
we should be looking at the ubiquitous network

We should look at the grey rather than the black and white. Synthesis as opposed to analysis.

How to break free from established boundaries that hinder our creative thinking:

Always ask why — well we do this already.

Surfacing — uncover and understand the hidden boundaries. Dell; why are pcs sold through resellers? Southwest Airlines; why do all airlines us a hub and spoke system?
Reversing — invert your vantage point, sellers should look from the buyers perspective, creating an activity centric metamarket.
Redrawing — reframe the problem differently. ASPs; changed the service from ‘software as products’ to ‘software as services’

Spanning — see across boundaries, and across constituencies.
Pollinating — create linkages across boundaries, exchange best practices and insights, shared spaces and knowledge sources.
Trespassing — travel to strange knowledge domains.

Emptying — cleanse your mind of pre—conceived notions and baggage, to open your doors of perceptions to fresh ideas.
Broadening — see beyond narrow boundaries that frame existing debates.

Its almost never either/or its and.

Brick and Mortar versus pure play companies is an empty debate, because they are simply different ways to serve customers in a hybrid world.

ASPs — Bollocks —they need to be providing business solutions, not applications, who in the end cares what software they are using as long as they get things done…

Spin offs — Bollocks — why not integrate new technological solutions into your existing model, why did BankOne spin off its ‘ebank’ as a separate service? They subsequently had far more people signing up for e—access to their existing accounts, and scrapped the ‘ebank’.

A little zen poem:

first, there is no mountain
then, there is a mountain
then, there is no mountain

this describes how we use language to define the things around us, but also how things around us don’t necessarily need to be classified.

When you frame the existing customer experience you realise how many stupid boundaries have been set up from different viewpoints.


h3. Evolving the ebusiness Landscape

Lessons from Fashion

The technology lifecycle curve:
tech enthusiasts
the mainstream

There are four forces that shape evolution of products:
Technological determinism, if you can build it, its a good idea: iridium
Cultural transmission, across cultural boundaries products need to evolve: ebay needed to change its business model almost entirely for the Japanese market.
Geopolitical change, political forces can mold a product by regulations and boundaries: the EU trust regulations may effect US policy on privacy and codes of conduct.
Individual innovation, individual entrepreneurs can have a great effect: Steve Jobs has a great individual effect on the computer market.

There are three approaches to filter these forces to make better products:
Command and control. predictability at the expense of flexibility. slow to react to technological change, not typically market sensing, process can stifle individual creativity.
Adaptive. flexibility at the expense of common sense. ignores lessons from the technological past. reacts to the market at a granular level. can mistake the trees for the woods.
Prescriptive. has vision tempered by practical experience. do not let the technology drive the ideas. track the markets. embrace and extend the will of the people. describe the future then build it.

h3. Tim Parsey

what are products?

Industrial design has a tradition of integration, its not one thing that makes a product, its the integration of things. An industrial designer won’t claim to design cars, they will claim to be a part of a process which makes the whole. The door slam on a Mercedes might be the one reason it is a good product to someone.

Over the next few years our experience of products will broaden.

New tangible spaces will emerge, boundaries blur, boundaries broaden.

Intimate conjunction of fashion and technology.

new levels of technological invasiveness on our lives

holistic system challenges

enhanced reality via technologies such as object locators.

Design challenges emerge as time becomes an essential part of the dimension of design.

We have to design a relationship over time, not just a one off experience.

How can we master designing these ever more complex experiences?

Newton  palm. The success of the palm is in simplicity, not features

WAP  i-mode. i-mode has a simple, complete and fun focused experience

BetaMax  VHS. VHS had the porn market, driven by fundamental human desires

humanism and resonance. we must navigate the extended possibilities with humanism and resonance libraries, there is a level of humanism that we are missing right now in digital product design:
aspiration and situation, we wear what we aspire to be
opportunities to be heard as an individual
choice should equal looking after me
simple object magic i.e. a pebble that we pick up on the beach
freedom, a fundamental force that drives everyday decisions.
invisibility and habit, a knife and fork resonate with us so much that we rarely look at them or notice their use. They are unquestionably intuitive for a large part of the population.
design for natural gestures
cultural resonance, old objects get good use, even if they don’t look good or work so well.
memory, we like to use things that are familiar, we like to be in familiar places for a lot of our time.
living on the edge, the highpoints, the peak experiences
mood immersion, daydreaming
holding onto a memory, looking a pictures, photo albums.
mastery, mastering a complex or satisfying process
edgy tech, some people love new technology
values, moral responsibility and environmental values.

We can sort these resonance libraries in clusters that can then form product groups.

The segmentation for future products in Motorola is as follows:

accompli — screaming edge technology
timeport — sophisticated tool, trust, advanced, professional
talkabout — social, family, appliance, helper
v. — fashion, style, chic, haute

the segmentation strategy can be driven by market demographics, but then uses a deeper level of understanding users by looking at the social and cultural resonances, using the humanistic library as a map.

A good brand is the non-arrogant use of design language. Companies usually try to tell you that you need something which can seem a very arrogant standpoint. But products which allow for new experiences don’t have to be sold in traditional ways, and can allow for a new level of brand consistency.

We are starting to see products designed around the total experience, planning the full cycle from marketing, through to buying, through to a long term usage cycle. How do we evolve the overall context as we develop ideas? we use partners and channels to develop the overall infrastructure to meet new experience requirements.

Gluing the clouds to the ground. Motorola uses timelines to map the future and the current development of products in a wider context. Overall there are four timelines;

user experiences — greater and greater resonance

evolution — product ideas

technologies — what technology will these ideas need, and what will be available.

revolution — shows concepts that try to pull the future to the present for marketing needs

User experience timeline — portable, mobile, juggling, mini, flexible, just in time, scaling, intimate, intuitive, freedom, improvisational, discovery, humour, wit, habit, irony.

Evolution timeline — field phone, lanyard phone, bluetooth earphone, in ear prompting,

Technology timeline — mini, noise cancellation, skin induction, electronic ink

Revolution timeline — shoe view, navi feet, hearing hands, pregnancy shawl, mood hood, replay picture

Using models to improve the design process

h3. Hugh Dubberly

concept mapping, the problem with mental models is that they are hidden, what we need to do is to take them and make them visible.

what would you do if:

you were asked to design a complex product.

you know nothing about it

lots of revenue is involved

the team doesn’t want to know about it

there has to be a way of developing a language to bring the ideas out onto the table and creating a place to start. A model is a description of a system, they can be written or drawn. Designers face may problems, we need new tools to model these problems.


analysis synthesis


we have many tools for modeling the lower right hand corner of the chart, but not so many for the top left where we may find very interesting results. We also need tools to map systems of systems and algorithmic systems which may not adhere to static display.

Simple tasks can be modeled like this

people ask questions of a source to get answers
to achieve

for more information on concept mapping ‘how we learn’ by gowan and novak

Quality grows out of the design process.

h3. Roundup

Approach the total user experience, the end to end relationship, from selling to long term use. Marketing and product design should converge. But marketing comes from the discipline of war, i.e. ‘strategy’.

A good design approach is to pull back and look at the bigger picture, and then to look at the problem from another perspective, people, humanistic or user.

A company is reflected directly in its products, or a company is its products, thus design language should be discussed by everybody.

There is a slippery slope from a small company which has domain experts and serves its customers in a personalised way, to a large company which just serves its own bottom line. In the next five years we may see companies going un—public i.e. hiding for a while then reemerging with new values.

You create your own reality, you define your competitors and collaborators, do not blame wall street or other ‘systems’ that you may feel hinders your values, there is always room to push.

At the Kellogg business school they have a game, where there are very simple rules, basically nothing that gets in the way of the players defining how the game progresses. All students come out of the game complaining that it was unfair, and that the other person cheated, or that the boundaries were unrealistic. But they then get shown the equations and realise that they created the adversarial relationship, and that they had defined the whole scenario through their own preconceptions. Mohan says that he instills values into children, not limitations, then let them run free with the temptations of the world.

Whenever you present an idea, present what you might also do next, this is a way of getting larger ideas realised and educating clients or colleagues.

Motorola is partnering with carriers to provide the complete experience.

why does business have to define the ‘total life experience’, will everything in the future be monetized?

Motorola — more marketing driven

Nokia — more user driven

h3. Memory and Imagination

Aura Oslapas, formerly MD at IDEO.

Pina Bausch — choreographing experience.

Studies of people in New York, Paly park? 56th street in NY.

Physical, temporal, sensory, and communal experiences. 360 degree experiences.

Customer journey planning, mapping, where, when, how, why, for how long

Case study with Amtrak shows that there are 10 key points in the traveling experience before you reach the train.

IDEO uses scenarios and illustrations to form the design process. They prototype the experience as far as possible, experimenting with different forms of communication to find a solution that is most likely going to produce the best experience.

The four areas that her new company undertakes are; vision, communication, culture change and experience.

For Hewlett Packard they recommended that the company splits into infrastructure, appliances, services to allow the brand to be experienced in a better way by their different clients.

h3. Information Art

Lisa Strausfeld formerly at Quokkasports and MIT.

Influenced by the huge Nasdaq wall in Times Square she became interested in the idea of the ambient display of information in public or private spaces. There is an increasing amount of ‘always on’ information which is important to us.

At MIT Lisa studied under Muriel cooper at the visible language workshop. Using information objects and putting them in new and unstudied places.

Quokkasports used information as entertainment, looking at the ways that information graphics could become fun in themselves when combined with media, and presented in an engaging way.

For New York’s Penn Station Lisa is designing the ambient media wall. Pentagram is designing the building.

h3. Designing the Multi-Channeled User Experience

Chris Edwards Yale

Single channel interfaces are turning into multi channel interfaces

application  browser — user

application  print, pda, phone, fax, letters, tv, itv, web  user

We see a need for functionality across these channels, with a context sensitive nature so that we can engage with these products in the most effective way.

United Airlines has seven channels, web, email, phone, palm, pager, fax, and letter. The Flight paging service is a pull application in a browser, where you set preferences and input your own details. The flight paging service then reduces the stress of travel by reducing the need for activity, it puts the interface in the background, and allows for interaction only in the case of delays or problems. Usually a user traveler will phone in to check that the flight is not delayed or cancelled, and now they can rely on the fact that it is all fine, unless there is a problem.

The problem with United Airlines is that the whole system is not a cohesive experience, for instance the telephone operators cannot send you a confirmation email — they do not have your details, there is little cross—department knowledge of individual users.

With the flight paging service there are multiple logins for different parts of the site, and passwords of up to 11 characters long, which are different from your main user login and passwords. There is little channel transparency, by the fact that your knowledge is not shared effectively across internal departments, and there are different ticketing agencies which have no access to your details.

How can we conceptualise and imagine new multichannel customer experiences.

Students at Yale came up with ideas in brainstorming sessions.

Dynamic flight planning, changes to flight itinerary while you are traveling.

The flight crew as channel, the flight crew can be equipped with the right information to act as your itinerary manager.

We design intentional experiences around technology objects. Flights are information deficit times, there could be an onboard LAN, for laptops to access information.

Human Centred Design

User Observation — collecting insight and data about peoples lives.

Analysis — looking at what we found

Synthesis — make this into an interface

Bill Mitchell has a section in e—topia about the economy of presence, that users give their time to a system and thus are investors in that system.

User scenarios are key to explaining the multi channel experience. they are ways to tell stories about the new ways we interact. We can then quickly evaluate feature ideas in context.

h3. Roundup — the customer experience

ebay is incredibly dynamic, its more than the sum of its planning

There are perhaps four user paths that can be identified, especially when designing museum exhibits.

Headliners — scan the headlines of all the topics

Scanners — look briefly at information that interests them

Readers — take a linear path, look at things exhibit by exhibit

Nerds — look at everything, including the sidebars of info

Ambient information displays are becoming quite common — the Sony Civa picture frame.

There is a broad continuum between relying on research and using intuitive ‘if it works for me’ approach

There should be investment in long term design, in producing dynamic environments that can respond changes. Identity that destructs itself, logo half-life, expiration dates for signage…

Privacy. Issue that needs to be discussed within the user experience.

There needs to be a general knowledge, and acceptance that ‘this is what you are giving up’, and ‘this is what you are getting’.

Refer to ‘code and other laws of cyberspace’

h3. Saturday

h4. Don Norman.

Unext Learning systems

Memory, perception, cognition

The world is filled with information, our knowledge is in the world.

Web applications can develop themes, plots, and characters, along the lines of theatre. A web application allows us to develop products that really engage people on the long term.

A product needs to be supported equally by all disciplines and teams, design, engineering, marketing and manufacturing.

None of the design schools at present deal with products that approach the complexity of the real world.

Don talked extensively about his digital watch, his PalmV and the digital projector that was in the auditorium. He tried to explain the shortfalls and the affordances that these products have. It was pretty ineffective as a presentation, and did not address the complexity that he had previously referred to.

h3. Idit Harel

MamaMedia —

Mamamedia is creating online play experiences. Experiences that can get young children connected.

What is engaging and motivating kids today? Usability from a kids perspective is very different to usability from a traditional software development perspective.

There are three generations currently using media:

Baby Boomers — consumers

Generation X — consumers, choosers

The Clickerati — consumers, choosers, creators

We are moving towards greater control and participation in the media experience. The medium is not the message, its what you do with it that counts.

We are not dealing with information technology, but construction, design, imagination, communication, reflection, representation, personalisation technology.

Mamamedia aims to create experiences with play objects, non—linear open—ended play spaces, with customisation, personalisation, and self expression.

what do kids do?

13 year olds are naturally non—linear multi—taskers, they only get to focus if they have multiple tasks. They love mixed media. They are technology fluent, they do not care what technology is used, just what they can get done with it. They are looking for ‘hard fun’ with levels and learning curves, with things that get harder as you get better. They are learning all the time. They value diversity, don’t watch the same tv shows as each other, they like to swap individual experiences with each other. They value individuality, they want tools not answers, and they want to customise.

Kids don’t want to organise information, they want to play.

Later teens use the telephone and instant messaging. They integrate mixed media in their communication with each other.

Wonder comes from expression, exploration, and exchange.

Programming for kids to progamme for themselves.

h3. Eric Lunt


Navigating the landscape together, coders and designers. Eric is a coder. We need to integrate design with experience with technology.

How do developers and designers talk?


2 weeks ethnographic research. 2 weeks product design. 2 weeks interaction design. 1 week integration. 1 week Quality assurance.


1 week design. 8 weeks code. 1 week Quality assurance.

There is an obvious discrepancy in expectations.

Designers need to specify all of the branch conditions and states, to specify as many possibilities as possible to the coders. Give the design language to the developers, they will love it.

Trends in technical architecture:
Getting a good design language from the outset.
Object oriented analysis and design
Component based design — thinking about systems as small objects and making them communicate.
Encapsulation — define a clear interface for that object
Polymorphism — it doesn’t matter which object you call, the right one will respond
MVC — the Model View Controller

Separating out all of the different things that get things done:
Model — what it does, the application
View — wml, html, what view are we using
Controller — what are the actions, what can I do with that information.

Separation of interface from implementation, there are many methods for doing this:
servlets — put HTML into the code — not good because designers can’t get in to change things
JavaScript pages — JSP or ASP putting the code into the HTML — not good because the designers can muck up important code.

So what does work?

Moving to component based architecture, component based jsp’s and custom tag libraries. This invents a new role, the jsp bean developer.

application — jsp bean — user interface

This creates the struts application framework, where the coder can say to the UI designer ‘here are all the objects available, use them as you wish’

XHTML and XML are great new languages for coders, but designers need not know about them.

XHTML is a cleaner form of HTML that redefines the baseline from which all UI needs to be developed. It moves on from HTML4 which was an ugly beast.

XSL and XSLT allow the coder to transfer between xml files, but this is a programming translation language and should not have to be used by the UI designer.

h3. Creating Experience Compounds

Julie Pokorny Lante

There is a computing shift from

Pervasive computing sits in the realm of the physical world, and has little to do with the traditional models of desktop computing.

The user experience needs to be consistent, needs to link diverse elements, compound elements

Services must not compete with user energy, they must be sensitive to things like who can reach me at what time of day etc.

Experience with ‘Mall Pilot’

The real world is very synchronous — putting interactions across parties, across people individual linear path, creates tremendous problems.

Users need to complete transactions within the domain they started in. They find it very difficult to transfer to another medium to complete the process.

Desktop — this equals the ‘homebase’ for the user, for control, configuration, and confirmation.

Consider the introduction of experiences.

The desktop is ideal for configured services

The physical world represents challenges beyond interface.

The challenges are:

complete interactions in their context

services can conflict with user energy

interaction interface needs to be highly adoptable

interaction triggers will be most successful in combination

object interactions add complexity

interaction triggers are linked tightly to infrastructure

h3. Roundup

Interaction, being and empathy

designing experiences starts by understanding

the user is most important, its not about you, its about them

people in the future will accept change more readily, flux

sex drives the use of every new medium

distance learning will be very big

social interactions, family and business become important

Italy — 60m people, 40m mobile phones, 20m SMS messages per month

entertainment, the pursuit of excitement, theme parks

peer to peer services

users expect systems to learn about them, to invest as much in them as they invest in you

Napster and ILOVEYOU virus appeal to our basic emotions

Empathy is what design really is about

Art is about statement rather than empathy

h3. Tom Hobbs


Facilitating human—human interaction rather than human—information interaction.

Great piece of work from a hospital, where they were commissioned to produce a piece of information design for a poster around the subject of the hospital pharmacy. They could not find a suitable way to represent it because every pharmacy worker has a different story to tell. So they created an installation in the pharmacy waiting room, which videos the customers as they walk in, which in turn makes the customers ask the counter staff about the installation. This led to conversation which allowed every customer a way into the background information on the pharmacy.

Colors Magazine, good approach to the medium, not trying to recreate the highly photographic nature of the printed magazine., unusable interface to a gallery of multimedia work

Sony VAIOnet, bad representation of community

The web design work didn’t live up to the earlier work.

David Small, Small Design. Lessons from the Visible Language Workshop.

Information landscapes have qualities of scale and location, focus and navigation.

He showed the Human Genome as a landscape of information, very nicely navigated and delineated by space and focus. All in real—time from his presentation computer.

h3. Sunday

h4. Nick Durrant

Icon MediaLab

The hand is a powerful agent of play, we play tag and a ‘magic’ power is transferred.

Kids are saturated by their own media

I dare U — love hearts

Kids are paying more money for pre pay mobiles than they spend on sweets

email — one to one

web — one to millions

what is in—between?

conversation — 3—7

intimacy, close confidants — 12

understanding, where you are coming from — 40

recognition, say hello, remember name — 140 — good size for a company

memory of faces — 2000

neighborhood, share rituals and amenities — 10,000

Place names are incredibly important, boroughs, districts.

You only believe in memes and higher order things through trust at the lower levels.

Network phenomena happens socially, interaction of private and public space accommodates changing rules, regular, new, social.

Personal computer paradigm — one person one box. Groupware has to deal with inter—subjectivity.

information  communication  transaction  ???

Public information architectures will mutate into something completely different when they become private.

Desire is the 4th dimension. We get the user requirements, we don’t get the user desire requirements.

Time types — work, chore, pottering, quality.

People are subjective and very active in interacting with one another. People are creative rather than passive.

‘all I know is how I feel’ empathy is so important.

Think of URLs as a material rather than a structured address space.

bluetooth meets feng shui

wap meets zip codes

beyond this there is stuff we don’t understand

New kind of architectural zones, is my device working here? Rabbit phones?

Telcos are interesting — they sell bandwidth and time.

G. Debord, the naked city

Games mapped onto city space, Nokia Flirt Cat in Helsinki

Poetic mapping of the city

New interfaces become invisible and thus become interesting.

h3. Conference Roundup

Jeff Wert Wert&Co.

Boundaries between the virtual and the real.

Shift of focus from computers to networked media.

Every day activities are rising to the foreground.