Aaron Marcus

Aaron Marcus is principal at Aaron Marcus and Associates (AM+A) in Berkeley, California.

Posts By Aaron Marcus

What kinds of users are there? Identity and identity descriptions

Posted: Mon, March 06, 2017 - 11:37:54

User-centered design of user-friendly products and services is based on the assumption that designers are aware of who the users are. Their understanding is embodied in typical user identities or personas. There is much discussion about whether these are typical, stereotypical, and archetypical, and how one can account for, or not lose track of, important outliers that might have a…

Extremes of user experience and design thinking: Beards and mustaches

Posted: Fri, March 25, 2016 - 11:04:27

The characteristics that differentiate us human beings, and at the same time unite people from different regions of the world is a matter that fascinates me. Recently, I had a half-hour journey to a nearby Austin, Texas, hot-rod show to entertain my grandchildren. On the way, to keep the grandchildren interested, I happened to search on my phone through the…

How efficient can one be? Productivity and pleasure in the 21st century

Posted: Wed, February 17, 2016 - 11:40:51

Once, I had to take part in an international conference call at 9 a.m. West Coast time, but I had also scheduled my semi-annual dental appointment at 9 a.m. What to do? Well . . . it seemed straightforward. I would bring my mobile phone to the dentist together with my new Bluetooth earpiece, and listen in to the conference…

Robots: Can’t live with them, can’t live without them

Posted: Mon, May 04, 2015 - 10:05:20

Robots, androids/gynoids (female robots), and AI agents are all the rage these days...or all the dread, depending on your views. (In much of the discussion below, I shall refer to them collectively as robots for simplicity, since any disembodied AI agent with sufficient access to the world’s technology could arrange for human or non-human forms to represent itself.) It seems…

Humanity’s dashboard

Posted: Wed, March 18, 2015 - 11:33:50

The Doomsday Clock. Source: Speaking of the Apple Watch or iWatch, as it is called informally...Time is running out... Many decades ago, people around the world learned of the Doomsday Clock (maintained since 1947 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and referred to indirectly in the movie Dr. Strangelove, which spoke of the Doomsday Machine). The clock, poised at…

Body/brain data/licenses

Posted: Fri, February 27, 2015 - 4:06:38

We all have bodies and brains.Some of us have driver’s licenses, social-security numbers, passports, and email addresses issued by or monitored by one or more governments and their agencies. Our identifiers of ourselves have limited shelf lives. We all arrive on earth stamped with an expiration date or “best used before” date in our genes. Now, with the Internet of…

Lifetime effigies: 3D printing and you

Posted: Tue, January 20, 2015 - 3:54:02

We all have limited shelf lives. During our own lifetimes, or afterwards, some of us might wish to “publish” many hundreds, thousands, millions, or even billions of lifelike effigies, miniature or full-sized replicas of ourselves. 3D printing now offers a relatively practical, medium-cost way to achieve that objective. What was once the prerogative of wealthy pharaohs, kings/queens, and dictators of…

Life after death in the Age of the Internet

Posted: Mon, December 29, 2014 - 12:45:47

We all have limited shelf-lives. We all arrive on earth stamped with an expiration date or a “best used before” date in our genes. It’s just that most of the Internet, most of the Web, most mobile products/services, most wearables, and most of the creation/discussion of the Internet of Things, created by and for younger people, just don’t seem to…

Mobile interaction design in the 2013-2014 academic year

Posted: Wed, December 03, 2014 - 5:32:12

In May 2014, I was blessed with three invitations to be a guest critic at three end-of-the-semester design courses in three different departments of two educational institutions. Here is a quick summary of my experience, much delayed because of professional course/workshop/lecture presentations and book writing. New Product Development Course, Mechanical Engineering and Haas School of Business, University of California at…

I’ve heard the future of interaction

Posted: Tue, February 11, 2014 - 1:55:58

Recently, I watched, or rather, more specifically, heard, the movie Her, which features Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role of Theodore Twombly (now, there is an introvert’s name), a somewhat sensitive, somewhat appealing, caring, but almost terminally asocial techie writing handwritten personal letters for others in a cloyingly clean, modern, antiseptic office in a made-up future Los Angeles that mixes…