Monday, March 29, 2010

Things take time....the history of Apple tablets

This is a nice little story about one part of the history behind the Apple iPad. It is important to see what has been done, why it did not happen earlier, etc. A lot can be learned....

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Designerly Tools

Last week I was invited to the 6th Student Interaction Design and Research Conference, this year at the Umeå Design Institute. It was a great event and I had the chance to do both a workshop on "Design Judgment -- how to become a good designer" and a keynote presentation on "Designerly Tools". The students, from several design schools in Europe, were great, they asked good questions and participated in the discussion.

I also had the pleasure of listening to Heather Martin from the design company "Smart Design" (the Barcelona office). She gave a great presentation on the nature of design.

My presentation on designerly tools is based on a couple of studies that I have done with some students were we have interviewed professional interaction designers about what tools they use in their design process, and particulaly how they make their choice of tool and why. We define tools quite broad, anything that a designer can use in the process (pen, whiteboard, software, etc. but also any kind of method, technique, theory, approach, etc). It is interesting to see how and why designers do select their tools and it was clear that the students did recognize the results and I think they confirmed our findings, at least if based on their nodding and smiling :-)

It is also clear that how designers select tools is an important aspect of the design approach that has not been enough studied and I think our results are therefore really interesting for both researchers and practitioners in the field.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Web content curation--are journalism coming back?

We all experience the overwhelming flood of information on the net. Social media has not necessarily made the task of being informed easier. Even among experts and the people at the forefront of the new media this problem is recognized. As a potential solution the notion of curation is discussed as a idea that refers to the act of collecting, refining, and presenting information in a way that can be trusted. Sounds like traditional journalism to me.

For instance, at this panel description at the SXSW conference recently: "With all the stuff we weed through online, good filters are crucial. Who's best-suited to determine what's best, curators or the crowd? People have their religion about one or the other, however this panel will focus on the overlap, the grey areas and how curating and crowd-sourcing enrich each other."

I believe we need large broad public well-developed arenas (by professional journalists) where important societal issues are described, reported, and discussed and I still find the book Republic.com by Sunstein to be one of the most important, challenging, and valuable contributions to this debate. Why not go back and read it again....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Upset by Bad Design or Inspired by Good Design

A lot of design writings are based in the "mantra" that the world is filled by bad and terrible designs and we need to change that. I do not like that approach to design. To me it often (not always) implies that good design is both possible and almost easy to do. Good design is possible, I agree with that, but design is far from easy. The world is not filled by bad designs because people do not care or do not try. There are bad designs all around us because good design is difficult. I am much more fascinated by the fact that, despite the difficulty of design, good designs can also be found all round. It is amazing how often good designers are able to come up with designs that defy the complexity and difficulty of the challenge at hand. So, let us be inspired by good designs and let them prove to us that amazing design is possible. Even in the most restricted design situation, the design space is (relatively) infinite. Within this space there are opportunities and risks to come up with a bad or good design. Great designers are those who surprises us all with a wonderful design when we thought the situation did not lend it self to any possible good designs.

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