Analysis of Toolbox Characteristics

Today I will analyse a selection of 7 currently used toolboxes, and try to see which elements I would like to keep, and which are missing or need to be improved for my project, the Inclusive Design toolbox.

To analyse how the different toolboxes would compare, I used an associative card sorting technique. Each toolbox is represented by a pink post-it, with its features attached in smaller post-its. On a big sheet, I connected similar features by lines.

rosettes Continue reading


Team Fortune Cookie presents: Sibylla | Designing for the User Experience

Have a look at our concept for the Microsoft Research Design Expo, named Sibylla.

Do you use email, google or social media on your phone? Would you like to know how the enormous stream of personal data you generate, can enrich your daily life?

We would like to introduce Sibylla, a public printer that gives you back your big data, in a small and meaningful way. Like a ritual, an opportunity to reflect, a suprising insight, or food for thought.

Imagine a fortune cookie that feels like it was made especially for you. Or when a friend mentions being a fan of a band that you just discovered. Sibylla gives you the opportunity to experience the power of big data in an intimate and magical way.


CHI2013: Impressions and a Reading List

Bruno Latour CHI2013

The CHI conference, the main Human Computer Interaction conference in the world, was in Paris this year, and I went there! I had a wonderful start of the conference by attending the workshop Methods of Working with Teenagers in Interaction Design, where I presented my paper. It was a great way to meet and get to know people, something I appreciated even more when I realized the vastness of the main conference, with over 3400 attendees.

The whole experience was so overwhelming, full of great lectures, workshops, courses and panel discussions, and with 16 (!) tracks, there was no way I could see it all. I attended a selection, and resolved to read some of the things I missed.

I will put up a separate post for each day with my notes and reading list. Links are below.

In general, my first CHI was inspiring, humbling, and educational. I found some of the presentations very original and captivating, but some of the concepts I already heard or read about, as they were published before. Also, 20 minutes in general is very short to convey all the intricacies of the work, and I am probably not skilled enough (yet) to fully appreciate the complexity. I was really inspired by most of the work I saw however. Especially the keynotes of Paola Antonelli and Bruno Latour will stay with me.

The conference spurred a lot of thought about my Master’s graduation project, and I began to realize my project was set up too broadly, and perhaps also too optimistically. Some of the things I had planned to do were somebody else’s complete PhD research, for example the reviewing and categorization of existing co-design methods. Also, I was aiming to become an expert on co-design, when in reality I am just starting to learn about it. I believe my project will eventually benefit from a more precisely defined scope. So back to the drawing board it is!

CHI2013: Tuesday April 30

Too bad I wasn’t in the Netherlands for the coronation of our new king! But instead, I got to go to the CHI Women’s Breakfast. There were some inspirational stories, chaired discussions and a fluffy Android animal for everyone. I see how HCI can be a man’s world, when you look at the programmer’s side of it, but in general I have the feeling that it is pretty balanced.

Today another load of entertaining, inspirational and educational events. I started the presentations at alt.chi: Experiences. Alt.chi is a part of the program for promising contributions methodologically far afield, or critical of accepted practices, so there were some entertaining performances.

Joe Marshall dutct-taped himself to a table to show how you (don’t) interact with technology when cold-water swimming.

Schmettow et al from Twente University showed the audience we were mostly geeks (there is a checklist in the paper), and en passant gave a great reason why you should do user research: most users want interaction to be smooth, easy and enjoyable. Geeks however, love to solve puzzles, and get a kick if they master really inaccessible interaction.

Marc Hassenzahl reiterated the basics of experience design: you design the opportunities to experience, from anticipation before the actual use, to the possibility for reflection and storytelling after. While I know the work of Hassenzahl quite well, it was good to get a tune-up.

experience design

Panel: UX Management, Current and Future Trends. A discussion between high-rollers from the ranks of Google etc. The necessary term-throwing: UX, Agile, Scrum, A-people.

Papers: Embodied Interaction. A variety of talks about different ways to research the balance between being and ‘being represented’. How does it effect our interaction with artifacts and each other?

Eva Deckers presented her research on perceptual crossing and how to make this happen between human and technology. Perceptual crossing is when I see you, and I know you see me; and you see me seeing you. Some attention points for designing for perception are:

  • Focus on the senses
  • Explorative behaviour
  • Subtleness of movement
  • Reaction to the external
  • Reflection of contextual noise
  • Recognizing explorative behaviour of something/one else
  • Remember and anticipate on perception


When perceptual crossing happens between an artifact and a person, the interaction becomes more meaningful, but I thought also a bit more intrusive. It is nice when you can perceive that someone or something is watching you, so you can adapt your behaviour. But what if you want to escape being seen? It really got me thinking about the future of HCI. Eva Deckers went on to receive a Cum Laude PhD at the TU/e two days later.

Unfortunately I could not attend the  session on Design Research, but here is a list of the most interesting papers from that:

And I would not want to hold back Benevolent Deception in Human Computer Interaction – Adar, Tan, Teevan !

CHI2013: Monday April 29

paola antonelli chi2013 @luiciolfi

Plenary opening by Paola Antonelli of MOMA New York. A great lecture, pity the video is not online yet. Will post a link when it is! She said a few great things that will stay with me.

  • Design is about improving the world, almost like a hippocratic oath to try and make the world better, not worse. You have a responsibility.
  • Want to change the world? Don’t talk so much about it. Start working and we’ll see.
  • Good aesthetics is a form of respect for the user. It is a civil right.

Posters of works in progress. I talked to Mac Hassenzahl, my favourite researcher, who helped me with a few tips for my graduation project:

  • Most IT companies do not care too much about Experience Design, instead use ‘UX’ as a word for aesthetics
  • After involving the user, there has to be someone who takes authority and deciddes what to do with the outcomes. This could be a designer, but could other people also take this role? How?
  • I need to specify my research question and try to solve a smaller problem

My reading list includes:

  • An Interaction Vocabulary. Describing The How Of Interaction – Diefenbach, Lenz, Hassenzahl
  • Letting Go: Working with the Rhythm of Participants – Coles-Kemp, Angus, Stang
  • CONTRAST: Gamification of Arm-Hand Training for Stroke Survivors – Jacobs, Timmermans, Michielsen, Vander Plaetse, Markopoulos
  • A Trip into the Countryside: An Experience Design for Explorative Car Cruises – Knobel, Hassenzahl, Schumann, Lamara, Eckoldt, Butz
  • “My Mobile Health, My Mobile Life”: Methods for Designing Health Interventions with Adolescents – Peyton, Poole
  • Using Design Thinking to Empower Ethnic Minority Immigrant Youth in Their Roles as Information and Technology Mediaries – Fawcett, Fisher, Peterson, Bishop, Magassa

experience vocabulary

Papers: Co-Design with Users. I was inspired by the experiences with co-design on a big library project from Dalsgaard et al, saying how important it is to develop routines and standards when co-designing, and set up a uniform way to document and analyze the material.

Vines et al talked about the mechanics of co-designing, how pre-configuring the participants can also configure the outcomes. We need to think about which co-operation forms are native to the users, not the researchers. We need let users define the materials and setup. And: “Passivity is also a form of participation”. Hmm.

  • Large-Scale Participation: A Case Study of a Participatory Approach to Developing a New Public Library – Dalsgaard, Eriksson
  • Configuring Participation: On How We Involve People in Design – Vines, Clarke, Wright, McCarthy, Olivier

Special Interest Group (SIG): Enhancing the Research Infrastructure for Child-Computer Interaction – Read, Hourcade. A discussion group where everyone participated to discuss research methods and plans for the future.

Other interesting paper: Playing with Leadership and Expertise: Military Tropes and Teamwork in an ARG – Peyton, Young, Lutters

Third User Evaluation

Experiencing the interactive wireframe prototype of the LightScribe App.

Value Laddering

Last week I got this paper from dr. Tilde Bekker about Value Laddering. Value laddering is a technique to interview users about their experience with a product, based on following through on answers by asking ‘why’ several times. This site also has a pretty thorough description of the process.

Hopefully I can finish the GUI and prototype this week, so I’ll have time to evaluate my concept with users. It would be great to use the Value Laddering technique for this. I need to find out how to do it exactly and write a plan!

User Evaluation Serendipity

A nice bit of unofficial user research just thrown into my lap. A few days ago, I created an automatic photo blog to store the pictures from the LightScribe App prototype. I put a few existing pictures on it to test the setup. I was very surprised when it started raining ‘likes’! Hint: go to the bottom of the post and click on the star 🙂

At first it was just nice to feel appreciated, but then I decided to check out which picture had the most likes. And it turned out to be exactly the one I had already chosen to be the basis of my GUI design! So have a look and see if you agree.

Conclusion of Research: What, How, Why

What- I envision a social system where teenagers meet in person and work together to produce unique and beautiful artwork. They share this content with other friends, who in turn can react with their own content or use it as a conversation starter. This way, users can become closer to their friends by way of shared experiences.

Analysis of All Research

In this video, you can see four teenagers talking about their lives and evaluating classic Light Scribing.The most interesting conclusions of these conversations are described next.
On their life in general:
  • these teenagers spend a lot of their free time with friends, outside the house, and communicating with friends, sometimes at the same time
  • they are communicating mostly via social media using text, photos, movies; and real-life talking
  • subjects are: other friends, documenting experiences, seeing something beautiful or funny Continue reading