Table of Contents

VOLUME XVII.4 July + August 2010

  • Welcome
    • Subtlety and change

      Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko

      There are some strange changes under way in our world. We constantly hear the refrain of the massive chaos around us, yet the allure of such a large, looming flux may distract us from something more important: the countless tiny, nuanced, and fundamental ways in which our culture and…

  • The mystery of product development
    • Everything I know about user experience I learned from Jimmy Buffett

      Greg Hintermeister

      Last weekend I had my first Jimmy Buffett concert experience. I've been a Parrothead for years but never thought about going to a concert. Since I turned 40 this year, I figured I would take the plunge, so my wife and I drove to Chicago to see him. What…

    • The research-practice gap

      Donald Norman

      "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." (Rudyard Kipling, 1892. Barrack-Room Ballads) There is an immense gap between research and practice. I'm tempted to paraphrase Kipling and say "Oh, research is research, and practice is practice, and never the twain shall meet,"…

    • Visible synthesis

      Katie Scott

      In the words of Brenda Laurel, research makes design a "more muscular profession." [1] Design research provides the details that define the problem structure: whom a product is for, what purpose it serves, where it fits in a given context, when it is necessary, and why it is preferable.…

  • Design, HCI, and the planet
    • Climate change

      Julian Sanchez, Marco Sanchez

      Recent data shows that the release of CO2 emissions is having a meaningfully disruptive impact on the climate of our planet. Although the totality of the consequences of climate change is still unknown, there are examples in regional ecosystems that raise serious environmental and economic concerns. Designers have an…

    • Navigating the terrain of sustainable HCI

      Carl DiSalvo, Phoebe Sengers, Hrönn Brynjarsdóttir

      The scholarship of sustainable HCI has recently exploded. We have been struck by two things: first, the tremendous heterogeneity of methods, orientations, and approaches; and second, the remarkable lack of discussion about the relative merits of those different methods, orientations, and approaches—a debate that, we believe, would further the…

  • Collaboration and education
    • co-design lessons with children

      Kirsikka Vaajakallio, Tuuli Mattelmäki, Jung-Joo Lee

      When the children started playing the design game, we soon noticed that a boy was missing from one of the groups; he was crawling under the table while the rest of the group continued the game as if nothing had happened. Our strategy to support equal participation was obviously…

    • Learning to succeed at e-government

      Ulrike Rivett, Melissa Loudon

      Most e-Government projects end either in partial or total failure [1]. When the reasons for this are investigated, we are told that systems have failed because they try to force unwanted or contentious change in organizational processes, or because the technology requirements, such as hardware and connectivity, did not…

    • Time goes by…everything looks the same

      Dennis Littky

      Most of us went to school. The path is similar for the majority of those in the U.S. and abroad: grade school, high school, some university-level course work. Some of us even go on to complete graduate school. If you are reading this article, you probably finished high school…

    • CSCW

      Jonathan Grudin

      Place a frog in a pot and slowly heat the water, it was said, and the frog will not notice what's happening and will thus let itself be cooked. Reportedly—I have not done the experiment—this is not true; the frog will actually jump out. But I'll stick with the…

  • Brave new world
    • Interacting with public policy: Driving transportation policy through technological innovation

      Juan Gilbert, Aqueasha Martin, Wanda Eugene, Hanan Alnizami, Wanda Moses, Deidra Morrison

      Over the past few years, the issue of distracted driving has gained the attention of the public and of policy makers. As a safety concern, distracted driving is an international issue. Tragic accidents attributed to texting while driving have flooded the media, leaving in their wake families and friends…

    • Stepping out of the shallows

      Alex Wright

      Ever since the Internet first heaved into the public consciousness in the mid-1990s, it has prompted occasional broadsides from writers who have argued the network poses a mortal threat to traditional literary values. Early Internet Cassandras like Sven Birkerts and Clifford Stoll paved the way for more recent skeptics…

    • Q&A with Nicholas Carr

      Alex Wright

      Alex Wright: In your book, you argue that the Internet has lured many of us into a state of constant distraction that is degrading our capacity for deep thinking and reflection. Do you see "switching off" as the only practical antidote, or can you envision a role for technology…

    • Adding by leaving out

      Liz Danzico

      We tend to think of the pause as awkward. In speech, pregnant pauses connote uncomfortable silence; we veil silence with fillers. As professional communicators, we're trained to deliver smooth speech, censoring out "um" and "ah." Public-speaking groups, such as the well-known Toastmasters, fine every member who utters an "uh"…

    • evolve, adapt, THRIVE!

      Jon Innes

      Mankind has always been shaped by technology. From the harnessing of fire and the invention of the wheel, to the spread of the steam-powered locomotive, technology and innovation have continually redefined our lives. This rate of change continues exponentially. Think about how many disruptive technologies were introduced in the…

    • Today’s flâneur

      Elizabeth Churchill

      Location, location, location. It's the new thing. Well, at least for the interactive-technology industry; for real estate agents it has never been about anything else. Location-aware devices and applications that filter and deliver content based on physical location are all the rage right now. You can get a map…

    • Adaptive reuse

      Fred Scharmen

      From at least the advent of the homepage, the words used to describe online places have been explicitly architectural and urban. If online organizational structures and real-world architecture have anything in common, this set of similarities has nothing to do with the qualities of form, space, and material that…

  • Interactions Cafe
    • On education

      Jon Kolko

      Recently, an article by Anya Kamenetz, author of DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, in which she paints a picture of how much education has changed, was featured on the cover of Fast Company. First graders use proprietary software and hardware; curricula self-adjust to…