Table of Contents

VOLUME XVI.1 January + February 2009

  • WELCOME
    • WELCOMEInteractions

      Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko

      This issue marks a quiet milestone for us: the beginning of our second year as editors in chief. Year one brought six quality issues, a new look and feel, a new website, a new team of contributors and advisors, a presence at more than two dozen premier conferences, and greatly…

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  • The potential for technology-enabled connections
    • FEATURESocial network sites and society

      Nicole Ellison, Cliff Lampe, Charles Steinfield

      Social network sites (SNSs) have the potential to fundamentally change the character of our social lives, both on an interpersonal and a community level. Changes in interaction patterns and social connections are already evident among young people, who are the heaviest users of these sites. As adoption spreads to a…

    • FEATURE90 mobiles in 90 days

      Rachel Hinman

      Who hasn’t felt the post-project blues? The emotional journey of any creative assignment is eerily similar: The initial thrill of beginning a new and interesting project, the excitement of digging into the process and subject matter and inevitably becoming consumed by the design problem, and then losing your sanity in…

    • UNDER DEVELOPMENTKids, education, and cellular handsets

      Jakkaphan Tangkuampien

      In South Africa, perhaps not unlike in the rest of the world, most parents find themselves unable to afford school fees for their children. Yet a surprising observation that can readily be made is that most students do have access to a cellular phone and can make proficient use of…

    • FEATUREAutomated journeys—-automated connections

      Lars Holmquist

      I’ve rarely felt more urbane than the last time I arrived in Tokyo. I had the foresight to bring my SUICA (Super Urban Intelligent Card), an RFID-based smartcard already loaded with yen left over from my last trip. Card in hand I swept through the gates of the JR transit…

    • Ps and QsGivin’ you more of what you’re funkin’ for

      Elizabeth Churchill

      What do British neurologist Oliver Sacks and George Clinton, one of the godfathers of funk, have in common? They both believe in the fundamental importance of music to humans. Sacks believes that humans are neurologically wired for sound and tells us that music occupies more areas of our brain than…

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  • The need for companies to change their ways
    • COVER STORYThe washing machine that ate my sari—-mistakes in cross-cultural design

      Apala Chavan, Douglas Gorney, Beena Prabhu, Sarit Arora

      “At purchasing power parity exchange rates, the developing countries as a whole would, in recent years and according to growth projections for 2008 and 2009, account for about one-half of global GDP compared to about 37 percent in the early 1960s. It must be stressed, however, that this increase is…

    • LIFELONG INTERACTIONSDesigning senior-friendly living, or why doesn’t my cable work?

      Jonathan Lazar

      I like new technology, but I hate when it is forced on me. Even more so, I hate when new technology is forced on my grandparents, who are both 89 years old. I do everything that I can to help them out in their one-story home. I added motion detectors…

    • FEATUREThe heterogeneous home

      Ryan Aipperspach, Ben Hooker, Allison Woodruff

      In the course of conducting research on domestic life [1], we have visited and conducted observations in a number of U.S. homes. Within these homes, we have often observed a certain homogeneity, a tendency toward similarity in place and experience. Our sense of a sometimes uniform and undifferentiated domestic environment…

    • THE WAY I SEE ITPeople are from earth, machines are from outer space

      Donald Norman

      The average household has 73 different electronic appliances. Seven of them have never been taken out of the box; 14 are tucked away in kitchen drawers, bathroom cupboards, and closet shelves. As for the rest, they’re scattered about the home, each with three tiny red lights, some with blue or…

    • FEATUREProduct design 2.0 and the genesis of Kicker Studio

      Dan Saffer

      It’s obvious to anyone paying attention that the devices we own and carry around have changed in a significant way over the past several years. Presaged by mobile phones, the iPod, and Tivo, our devices now contain sophisticated embedded digital technology. They’re networked. They are responsive and adaptive to human…

    • (P)REVIEWA kiss is just a kiss; a sigh is just a deselection

      Carla Diana

      For many of us involved in the design of technological products, the idea of creating gestural interfaces has left us feeling like kids in a candy store—staring inside with noses and palms pressed up against the glass, our mouths watering in anticipation for the place to open. Finally, our time…

    • SUSTAINBLY OURSMellow velo

      Eli Blevis

      If you are at all concerned about the environment or even just worried about the rising cost of gasoline, you’ve probably wondered about the realities and promises of electric, hybrid electric, ethanol, biodiesel, propane (LPG), natural gas (CNG), hydrogen, even compressed air, and other alternative vehicle power technologies. There’s another…

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  • Enabling the pursuit of different goals
    • FEATUREDesign versus innovation

      Scott Klinker, Jeremy Alexis

      Twenty years ago a seminal article appeared in ID magazine that contrasted two approaches to design and design education: the methods-driven and scientific approach described by Chuck Owen of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and the experimental and semantic approach advocated by Mike McCoy of Cranbrook Academy of Art.…

    • FEATURECan “wow” be a design goal?

      James Hudson, Kameshwari Viswanadha

      Most product and design professionals have been directed to “wow our customers” at some point in their careers. But what does it really mean to wow customers? The business world throws around this word so often that it’s become a cliché, meaning little more than “let’s copy that other great…

    • TIMELINESSound in computing

      Paul Robare, Jodi Forlizzi

      John Cage is said to have once sat in an anechoic chamber for some time. Upon exiting, Cage remarked to the engineer on duty that after some time he was able to perceive two discrete sounds, one high pitched and one low. The engineer then explained that the high-pitched sound…

    • FEATUREThe value of visual design in software development

      Kimberley Peter

      The question of whether or not visual design has value in software might seem moot. For decades now, graphical user interfaces have been the dominant paradigm [1]. We revere the visual fruits of Apple; we delight in the graphical levity of the pervasive Web 2.0 look; and we get a…

    • ON MODELINGWhat is interaction?

      Hugh Dubberly, Paul Pangaro, Usman Haque

      When we discuss computer-human interaction and design for interaction, do we agree on the meaning of the term “interaction”? Has the subject been fully explored? Is the definition settled? A Design-Theory View Meredith Davis has argued that interaction is not the special province of computers alone. She points out that…

    • TRUE TALESPoets, priests, and politicians

      Steve Portigal

      Poets, priests, and politicians Have words to thank for their positions Words that scream for your submission And no one’s jamming their transmission ... De do do do, de da da da Is all I want to say to you De do do do, de da da da They’re meaningless…

    • INTERACTIONS CAFEOn marketing, words…

      Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko

      Jon: I noticed a subtle theme in the content of this issue, and it points to the larger theme of interconnectedness in all the work we do: language, and the use and misuse of words. Steve riffs on “green-washing”; Elizabeth describes the use of obscurities in subcultures (“crate digging” and…

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