All posts from
July 2019

Writing as a design discipline: The Information Department of the Ulm School of Design and its impact on the school and beyond

Life is full of connections, to be made and to be found.

“At the Ulm School of Design (1953-1968), there was a promising approach to teaching visual as well as verbal communication. Although it took place in separate departments, this pioneering approach attempted to integrate form and content, theory and practice. From the school’s inception, the Information Department was established alongside the Departments of Visual Communication, Product Design and Building: writing was considered a discipline on a par with two- and three-dimensional design. While the Department of Visual Communication flourished, however, the Information Department languished, not least as a result of the school’s policy and staff conflicts. A closer look at the HfG’s history nevertheless reveals the Information Department’s overall importance to the school’s self-conception and attitude. Beyond its relevance for design history, this might also contribute to the discussion of a greater emphasis on verbal and writing competence in present day design education.”

David Oswald and Christiane Wachsmann ~ A/I/S/Design

Rise of the meta-designer

Abstraction going meta.

“Meta-designing in this sense could be the next grand frontier of design practice, imbued with a strategic sense for humanism and intellectualism, which are necessary elements if we are to make design thinking + customer experience + user experience into more than a checklist of ingredients for a successful business. What will you do to advance this approach? It’s admittedly aspirational and fuzzy to tackle, but that doesn’t mean it’s not feasible or valuable.”

Uday Gajendar ~ ACM Interactions Volume XXVI.4 courtesy of @riander

UX writing and content strategy: What is the difference?

Just a matter of abstraction and focus.

“In this article, we explore how UX writing compares to content strategy. Since many are confused a bit about how UX writing fits in with content strategy, we compare the two fields and see how your business can use both of them to build an online presence and improve customer experience with digital products.”

Bridgette Hernandez ~ UXPA Magazine

A unified framework of five principles for AI in society

Always keep your principles.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already having a major impact on society. As a result, many organizations have launched a wide range of initiatives to establish ethical principles for the adoption of socially beneficial AI. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of proposed principles threatens to overwhelm and confuse. How might this problem of ‘principle proliferation’ be solved? In this paper, we report the results of a fine-grained analysis of several of the highest-profile sets of ethical principles for AI. We assess whether these principles converge upon a set of agreed-upon principles, or diverge, with significant disagreement over what constitutes ‘ethical AI.’ Our analysis finds a high degree of overlap among the sets of principles we analyze. We then identify an overarching framework consisting of five core principles for ethical AI. Four of them are core principles commonly used in bioethics: beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice. On the basis of our comparative analysis, we argue that a new principle is needed in addition: explicability, understood as incorporating both the epistemological sense of intelligibility (as an answer to the question ‘how does it work?’) and in the ethical sense of accountability (as an answer to the question: ‘who is responsible for the way it works?’). In the ensuing discussion, we note the limitations and assess the implications of this ethical framework for future efforts to create laws, rules, technical standards, and best practices for ethical AI in a wide range of contexts.”

Luciano Floridi and Josh Cowls ~ Harvard Data Science Review Issue 1