Table of Contents

VOLUME XVII.2 March + April 2010

  • Welcome
    • Interactions

      Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko

      Popular discussion of “design thinking” has reached a point of frenzy. Unfortunately, there is often little depth to the discussion, and for many, the topic remains elusive and vague. While each issue of interactions has included articles about or reflecting the application of design thinking, this issue addresses the topic…

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  • On Design Thinking
    • Evolution of the mind

      Chris Pacione

      In the year 1202, a mathematician named Leonardo of Pisa published a book that changed the world. To many he is known as Fibonacci, and he’s famous because this sequence of numbers—0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 and so on—bears his name. The Fibonacci series,…

    • Design thinking in stereo

      Paula Thornton

      When the topic of “design thinking” had gained enough momentum for BusinessWeek to devote an entire issue to design in 2004, it was a siren song to me. Newly converted, I digested everything I could find. Design thinking seemed to cover most of the experiential clues I’d been collecting as…

    • Designing interactions at work

      Roger Martin, Jennifer Riel

      Great designers want their ideas to make a difference. The Harmut Esslingers, Jonathan Ives, and Milton Glasers of the world create objects that are meant to be used, services that are meant to be engaged, and experiences that are meant to be lived. As Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, has…

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  • Tools and Technologies to Facilitate and Improve Design
    • From Davis to David

      Liz Danzico

      In a converted church on 30th Street in Manhattan, seven musicians gathered on a spring day in 1959. Never before had they come together under these circumstances; in fact, some had never even met. When they arrived, each received sketches that could have fit on a napkin. Yet Miles Davis…

    • Mobilizing attention

      Jeffrey Kim, Arnie Lund, Caroline Dombrowski

      Recently, BMW launched a U.S. campaign for Minis, aimed at vampires. The slogan “Feel the wind in your fangs” ran alongside a photo of the car. Gillette and Harley-Davidson had similar vampire-themed ads, and if a consumer follows up on the ads, eventually a trail of URLs leads to the…

    • PUX

      Alan Blackwell, Sally Fincher

      Christopher Alexander’s pattern language provided a way of raising the level of discourse about buildings from a concrete to a new abstract level of description [1]. Rises in abstraction level happen regularly in all fields, but the key difference in Alexander’s work was that his abstract descriptions were founded in…

    • Interaction criticism

      Jeffrey Bardzell, Jay Bolter, Jonas Löwgren

      Criticism is an integral part of the ongoing knowledge construction that is embraced in the more mature design disciplines—architecture, industrial design—and in the arts. Critics interpret, contextualize, interrelate, abstract, and question the artifacts of design to clarify opportunities for designs to improve everyday life and to explore the ways in…

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  • Challenges to Design Research
    • Technology first, needs last

      Donald Norman

      “Necessity is often not the mother of invention. In many cases, it surely has been just the opposite. When humans possess a tool, they excel at finding new uses for it. The tool often exists before the problem to be solved” [1]. I’ve come to a disconcerting conclusion: Design research…

    • An introduction to casual data, and how it’s changing everything

      Lauren Serota, Dan Rockwell

      People today are empowered by online transparency: They see their actions take shape online. A plethora of outlets for opinions allow us to comment, share, and collaborate in spaces like Amazon or Facebook; we can be heard, and the machine of the Web records everything. These outlets are also excellent…

    • The essence of interaction design research

      Sam Ladner

      It started with an innocent query to the IxDA listserv [1]. Someone was sure they had read an article in interactions magazine once but could not find it again: “Wasn’t there something written sometime by someone about something like sample size in usability research?” asked an expectant interaction designer. Woe…

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  • Gender Issues
    • Sugared puppy-dog tails

      Elizabeth Churchill

      When I was a child, there was a rhyme my mother used to recite to me. Here’s how it goes… What are little boys made of? Frogs and snails And puppy-dog tails. That’s what little boys are made of. What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice And all…

    • The lens of feminist HCI in the context of sustainable interaction design

      Shaowen Bardzell, Eli Blevis

      Recently, I learned that Shaowen Bardzell had proposed a notion of feminist HCI. I wondered if feminist HCI was connected to values-rich interpretations of interaction design, and if there were implications for sustainability in the context of interaction design. Feminism is long associated with environmentalism as a matter of environmental…

    • MyMeal

      Desmond Ballance, Jodie Jenkinson

      Chelsea is a 13-year-old adolescent who was diagnosed one year ago with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. To meet her under any circumstance that did not involve food, you probably wouldn’t guess that she had an eating disorder (ED). But when you ask…

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  • Interactions Cafe
    • On design thinking, business, the arts, STEM …

      Jon Kolko, Richard Anderson

      Jon: In 1996 I took a class called “Introduction to Design Thinking” at Carnegie Mellon, taught by Richard Buchanan; he’d been teaching it for years. I learned a lot, and it’s obviously shaped the way I consider design, culture, and behavior. Why do you think it’s only now, some 14…

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  • On the Role and Design of Social Media and Enhanced Technology
    • From bowling alone to tweeting together

      Harry Hochheiser, Ben Shneiderman

      Many observers suggest that the remarkable growth of social media is reversing the 40-year decline in civic and community-group participation [1]. Mobile phones, email, blogs, wikis, tweets, and social networks are transforming the way families and friends relate, while offering new mechanisms for neighbors and colleagues to collaborate. Even more…

    • Ubuntu in the network

      Nicola Bidwell

      The “social capital” concept continues to motivate policies aiming to bridge the digital divide; for instance, a 2006 European Commission recommended to the European Parliament social capital as a principle to guide e-inclusion strategies. The Internet’s role in enabling us to accrue resources via our relationships with others over time…

    • Only robots on the inside

      Ryan Wistort

      I recently had the chance to see an automated machine shop where robots were being used to precisely manufacture many copies of a single part. Similar machines, designed to perform a precise, accurate, and repeatable task, currently make up a large portion of the robotics market. It is fascinating to…

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  • Timelines Updates
    • What a wonderful critter

      Jonathan Grudin

      There is a happy ending to a time-consuming quest reported in the July–August 2006 Timelines column, “Death of a Sugar Daddy: The Mystery of the AFIPS Orphans.” Let’s start at the very beginning, with a description that may sound familiar to software developers. “We may now state formally the purpose…

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