XVI.2 March + April 2009
Page: 5
Digital Citation


Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko

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As the articles in interactions continue to focus on experiences, people, and technology, we are beginning to find these three core concepts appearing in unexpected places and with increased resonance. While the world copes with unprecedented changes and challenges, it's easy to slip into a sense of fear and distrust. We all look to traditional sources of leadership and energy, such as government, faith, and self, yet we encounter new and difficult changes that make us uneasy. The idea of trust is central both to social technologies and to experiences that require or encourage collaboration. And while trust is fragile and difficult to gain, a relationship characterized by respect and trust can forge powerful advances.

This issue of interactions explores the idea of assurance and the feelings of ease or unease in regard to relationships of confidence or skepticism. Contributions from Jennifer Whitson and Hunter Whitney explore the notion of the digital self, as related to privacy and identity—and describe the technical and experiential implications of identity theft on culture and the individual. Dimitris Grammenos proposes a metaphorical ambient mirror that can help us better trust ourselves, while Steve Portigal ponders if we can ever trust advertisers.

Eli Blevis explores the notion of confidence in the future by looking at something as seemingly innocuous as food. As Blevis says, "We in the industrialized world might be better off learning about conservationism and simple living than conceiving of social equity as something attainable only through the industrial-world consumption of digital technologies." Juxtaposed is Gary Marsden, who is embedded in the very same developing world implied by Blevis. Marsden considers the nature of digitization in cultures through artifacts. Blevis and Marsden agree that interaction design in developing worlds is quite different from the developed world, and both implicitly consider the nature of collaborative trust and the ability for empathy.

Trust can be particularly difficult to achieve when different organizations or organizational levels work together in significant ways. However, Ben Fullerton argues that trust is essential when designing services, and an Intel team led by Kraig Finstad argues that trust is essential when designing "off-the-shelf" enterprise software. Alex Wright presents "Doing Business by Design," in which he reviews books by Robert Brunner and Stewart Emery, Peter Merholz and his team, and Marty Neumeier. Wright drives home the point that "all three of these books share a purpose: trying to influence business readers to shift their focus from one-off-product development to a more integrated approach to designing the customer experience." It is these business readers who might be in the most prominent and appropriate position to implement changes related to trust, empathy, and collaboration.

The positioning of interaction design as a strategic embodiment within the enterprise raises it above the pragmatism of interface design; the books Wright has chosen, and the other articles in this issue describe a manner of designing for behavior, with the end goal of bettering the human condition.

From "Food, Dude" to "Trusting Your Socks to Find Each Other," this issue of interactions attempts to find a way to embody and enhance trust, build collaboration, and better the world we live in through the changes and challenges we face on a daily basis. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we do.

—Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko

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DOI: http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1487632.1487633

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©2009 ACM  1072-5220/09/0300  $5.00

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