May 06, 2007

Design & "Remediation" in Technology Review

Just got the new issue of Technology Review, which had some interesting design articles, plus an interesting description of "remediation."

Quotes from the articles I liked:

Q&A with Bill Moggridge, industrial designer for 40 years and author of Designing Interactions, in which he interviews 42 "influential designers."
He talks about what David Liddle, Xerox PARC alumnus and user-interface pioneer, says about customers & technology:

Liddle "... explains that there are there phases of adoption for a piece of technology: enthusiast, professional, and consumer. There comes a point where an industry realizes that the enthusiast phase could be applied for work ... finally, the technology becomes less expensive and more obviously applicable to our daily lives, an then people realize, Well, there could be a consumer product."

I like the sense of progress from enthusiast / geek --> work --> people at home. We can see this when we as librarians learn about new technologies (facebook, I'm looking at you), get our tech-savvy work friends to use them, and then get our non-tech savvy non-geeky friends to use them.

John Maeda, associate director of research at the MIT Media Lab, and author of The Laws of Simplicity writes about the definition of design:

"Some languages have different words for the different ways we think about design. For instance, in Japanese there is the word sekkei, which connotes designing a mechanism, system, or technology with rationalized metrics for quality. Dezain, on the other hand, goes beyond an object's function to how it makes us feel. The former can be thought of as the kind of design taught at places like MIT; the latter as the kind of design taught at art school. ...

"Both sekkei and dezain are prerequisites for creating an object, service ,or experience that is desirable in the marketplace."

Wade Roush writes about "Reintermediation" or human-assisted search. He cites an example using Amazon's mechanical turk, in which people "complet[e] quick tasks -- such as recognizing objects in photographs -- that are difficult for computers but easy for humans."

He also writes about the "people powered" search engine ChaCha, which Stephen Abram introduced me to (see his September post and mine in November).

Plus 2 interesting pieces on Apple (one on their design process -- a speculation at best -- as well as a review of apple tv and leopard), an article on the hot new phone that's not an iPhone, the Helio Ocean, and, in the Apple design article, a sidebar interview with Don Norman talking about emotion, design, and work tools (such as the pee cee).

Finally, Technology Review is using text-to-speech (T2S) technology to create podcasts of stories on their web site. You can hear "Top Stories", "Infotech" stories, "Nanotech" stories, and more. Check it out at this (not-very-well-designed) page; scroll well below the fold to see links to the types of stories. Haven't listened to any yet, but I’ve got "Social Networking for Dogs" cued up for the ride to work tomorrow.

The May / June 2007 issue is not yet online; when it is, the magazine's table of contents & articles will likely be available; currently you can see articles from the March / April 2007 issue.

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