All posts from
September 2017

Why information matters

Philosophy doesn’t mean ‘vague’. It means reflective thinking on important questions, issues and beliefs.

“When we use a computer, its performance seems to degrade progressively. This is not a mere impression. Over the years of owning a particular machine, it will get sluggish. Sometimes this slowdown is caused by hardware faults, but more often the culprit is software: programs get more complicated, as more features are added and as old bugs are patched (or not), and greater demands are placed on resources by new programs running in the background. After a while, even rebooting the computer does not restore performance, and the only solution is to upgrade to a new machine. Philosophy can be a bit like a computer getting creakier. It starts well, dealing with significant and serious issues that matter to anyone. Yet, in time, it can get bloated and bogged down and slow. Philosophy begins to care less about philosophical questions than about philosophers’ questions, which then consume increasing amounts of intellectual attention. The problem with philosophers’ questions is not that they are impenetrable to outsiders — although they often are, like any internal game — but that whatever the answers turn out to be, assuming there are any, they do not matter, because nobody besides philosophers could care about the questions in the first place.”

Luciano Floridi a.k.a. /luciano-floridi | @floridi ~ The New Atlantis (special issue Information, Matters, and Life)

On becoming a UX manager: New skills, requirements, and rewards

UX settles in the tactical (managerial) area.

“One of the most exciting career transitions one can go through, regardless of the discipline, is from individual contributor to manager. Becoming manager of a user experience team adds to that already-momentous transition its own unique set of issues, considerations, and requirements. While the learning curve can be steep, the rewards of UX management are many. Watching teammates grow professionally is immensely gratifying, as is seeing a high-functioning team address complex business challenges with ease. Furthermore, it is an exciting time to be a leader in the UX discipline as strategically minded managers have the opportunity to make design and research a vital part of their organization’s strategy.”

Jerrod Larson a.k.a. /jerrod-larson ~ The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association 17.4

Computational design

Thinking, designing and doing with, by and for computers.

“Computational thinking refers to a deliberative process that finds a computational solution for a concern. Computational doing refers to use of computation and computational tools to address concerns. Computational design refers to creating new computational tools and methods that are adopted by the members of a community to address their concerns. Unfortunately, the definitions of both “thinking” and “doing” are fuzzy and have allowed misconceptions about the nature of algorithms. Fortunately, it is possible to eliminate the fuzziness in the definitions by focusing on computational design, which is at the intersection between thinking and doing. Computational design is what we are really after and would be a good substitute for computational thinking and doing. (…) Computational design is where the power of the computing revolution is showing up. Computational design is what we are really after and would be a good substitute for computational thinking and doing.”

Peter J. Denning a.k.a. /peter-denning ~ Ubiquity (August 2017)

Capturing the value of design thinking in different innovation practices

Happy twins? Design thinking and innovation.

“Design thinking has become a popular notion in the field of innovation. What is design thinking really and—even more important—what could be its value in applying it in innovation practices? This paper presents four studies that together capture the value of design thinking in different early-stage innovation practices. Study 1 comprised a literature review on design thinking to form the basis of an agreed domain of discourse for design thinking in innovation. In Study 2, this shared domain of discourse was validated. This shared domain of discourse provided the input for Study 3, which investigated how innovators apply design thinking in early-stage innovation practices. It shows that the application of design thinking is dependent on the innovator’s aim for the project, his or her vision on innovation, and the main challenge s/he is facing. This combination of characteristics is termed an image of design thinking. The images frame the application design activities in the context of the specific innovation project. Study 4 successfully validated the four images and shows that the combination of the images and the agreed domain of discourse can serve as a common language and a tool that allow capturing the value of design thinking in early-stage innovation.”

M. Kleinsmann, R. Valkenburg, and J. Sluijs ~ International Journal of Design (11.2)

Improving UX with the concept of Artificial Intelligence

UX designers have to become computational thinkers as well.

“UX designers have years of experience in creating the best design elements, and most of the time the results of which carries a UX designer to be largely positive in terms of increased interaction and achieving the bottom line. However, there is a gap between the positive change brought by UX designers and what should be the utopian final script interaction. The results may be better, but the UX design in this world cannot guarantee that every user will like everything on the website or application. There will always be some people who adore in other parts of the conversion path with a focus on UX. The main reason for this is not enough customization in the UX design to optimize the interests of each user separately. Each user is different and needs a different treatment. UX design works on a global level but there is still a gap and potential that can be achieved and brands help to invest more in significant UX design.”

Melissa Crooks a.k.a. /msmelissacrooks ~ home toys

Information in the ecosystem: Against the information ecosystem

Deep thinking on the meaning, impact and context of information a.k.a. info.

“The “information ecosystem” metaphor is widely used in academic libraries and has become nearly ubiquitous when speaking of the information systems that support scholarly communication and varied forms of data sharing and publication. The trending use of this language arises from non-academic applications — for example in big data (the Hadoop ecosystem) or software development (the node.js ecosystem) — and there remains little critical examination of the use of this metaphor. Indeed, the definition of ecosystem as the set of relations between living organisms and their surrounding non-living environment is apparently not directly a part of the metaphor. This paper first describes the emergence of ecological thinking and how it was influenced by early information science and then explores how different ‘ecologies’ are used within the academy, including in the emergent field of information ecology. A short critique of the metaphor is then posed and the paper concludes that the information ecosystem metaphor is useful, yet at the same time there are dangerous elements that render aspects of human societies and natural ecosystems invisible.”

Timothy B. Norris and Todd Suomela ~ First Monday (22.9)

Does HCI scale? Scale hacking and the relevance of HCI

If you can scale, you can deliver at any level of abstraction.

“HCI has had a massive impact on the world through streamlining and enabling millions of interfaces on billions of devices. As we face the potential of a tenfold increase in the number of devices and their complexity, it is worth asking about the relationship between HCI and scale. Do the tools and research methods we currently deploy scale to the millions of future interfaces and systems, used by billions of people, across multiple contexts? In this article we outline how we see the challenge of scale. By scale we mean how technology is used in large networks of interconnected systems, with billions of users, across diverse contexts. How can we understand and design for this complex of interconnected uses? Put simply, does HCI scale?”

Barry Brown, Susanne Bødker, and Kristina Höök ~ Interactions XXIV.5