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E-Mobility Hub July 20, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in making the invisible visible, service design, sustainable interaction design.
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One of our current projects with a major German car manufacturer is the development of a unique experiences when charging an electronic vehicle.

This is in fact a great service touch point, which offers e-car manufacturers the opportunity to distinguish from other brands.

Fraunhofer, one of Germany’s largest research organizations, has been looking into e-mobility since 2009. In this presentation Florian Rothfuss, the leader of this area, discusses various aspects of e-mobiliy. I particulary like his concept “From the car park to e-Mobility Hub (Aus Parkhaus und Auto wird der E-Mobility Hub)”, where he turns the spot for charging an e-car into a rich experience:

(image source)

In this concept I do not only like the idea of extending the e-car-experience into novel services (as e.g. renting a segway), but also that the facility itself turns into an extension of the philosophy of an e-car: with transforming the car park building into a green support for the city, the good deed of driving an e-car gets expanded, which is a nice additional service for the drivers!


The Elements of User Experience July 20, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in prototyping tools, theory, visual design.

We recently are having lots of discussions about how to integrate visual interface design into the entire design process. As we at IxDS follow our own understanding of  co-creation as discussed by Sanders, especially in the field of service design, we are now trying to understand how to apply this process also to visual design.

Jesse James Garrett, founder of Adaptive Path,  suggested in 2000 the following model:

(image source)

Well, I think Garrett did a great job in naming these different elements of user experience, however I am not sure whether these elements should be carried out in such linear order (time) as suggested. I rather think that Visual Design needs to be approached in parallel to the other challenges – and not at the end!

Garrett puts the decisions on User Needs and Site Objectives at the starting point of the process, which I agree on. In my point of view those decisions – developed together with all stake holders – are the base not only for the Interaction Design etc., but also for the Visual Design.

So, when we work on such a challenge, we continuesly develop the visual design, using our own “prototyping” approaches according the needs of each phase. As with the interaction itself, also the visual design needs to be prototyped with increasing detailedness.

Garrett claims in this illustration that Visual Design is rather “concrete”. I am not sure that he is right in this point. Many qualities of Visual Design can be discussed and represented (prototyped) in a very abstract way, as e.g. colors or emotional qualities.



Sidlee Boot Camp July 12, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in innovation process, play, theory.
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Today Christian Holzheid, who is working with IxDS and with me on my research project “Experience the Energy“, talked in today’s pre-work-talk about her experience at the Sid Lee Boot Camp.

Sid Lee  is a very creative advertisement agency with headquarters in Montréal. For their client Fatboy they organized this creative boot camp with 8 participants from all over the world. They basically used a viral campaign in facebook and others to recruit and for the recruitment they did this nice video:

According to Christiane over 500 people applied and Sid Lee carefully selected 4 women and 4 men – all with different specializations within the design disciplin – as architect, graphic designer or media designer.

And then these people worked together for 10 days, really hard! All in one big warehouse, nicely designed for them and the topic, a lot of inspirations from various people, visits at really cool places as the Cirque du Soleil headquarter (with a training unit in high-wire performance), of course parties all the time and very little sleep. If you want to see more about the process and the results, you can find tons of material here.From Christiane I know that the client was also very happy about the outcome of this project and that all people involved had a lot of fun!

I am impressed about this approach, about the love to detail the organizers had and about how happy Christiane was that she could participate.

For me this Boot Camp is a quite extreme form of the method “Co-Design” as Liz Sanders is suggesting it and as we are doing it at IxDS: With Co-Desigh we mean to involve all stakeholders into the creative process – most importantly of course the people who are going to buy and use the outcomes of this process. We usually do one-day-workshops with all these stakeholders, but doing a 10-days-boot camp is of course much more intense and gives deeper results! And to provide all these inspirations – outside of the physical working space – is also a good idea we should do ourselves!

I am also thinking of  the learning curve of such an approach. Actually Christiane mentioned this also in her talk. And being a professor I ofter think that it would be so much more fun and effective if I could take my students to boot camps instead of seeing them once a week for a couple of hours.

Thanks for you talk, Christiane!

The Hero’s Journey in Presentation July 12, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in gamification, presentation, service design.
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Yesterday a student of the design department where I am teaching, Felix Barthel, presented his diploma thesis, which was a theoretical approach to presentation. He really did a nice job introducing various techniques and finally presenting a concept, which I haven’t heard of yet (but is heavily discussed in the internet, as I had to find out…):

Nancy Duarte  made an interesting observation related to presentations: it is not about the speaker, who needs to convey his audience that he is an hero, but about the audience, which the speaker has to take on a Hero’s Journey.

The Hero’s Journey is a well-known concept for story telling first described by Joseph John Campbell. It is used in many films and explains the phases the hero usually has to go through:

(image source, page 33)

In presentations – according to Duarte – it is all about being the mentor and taking your audience by the hand to take on the “call of adventure”.

Duarte also developed her own visualization of such a dramaturgy:

(image source, page 36-37)

In her TEDx talk Duarte explain how Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs use these technique to convince their audience.

I reall like her concept and think it might not only be interesting for presentations, but also for interfaces or services: the jump between what is and what could be must be designed in a convincing and interesting way – so that people “cross the threshold”! In game design the hero’s journey is being discussed, but in normal interface design I am not aware of any discussion – but at the end also an interface tries to convince people to take the call of adventure – and need to communicate it. Facebook is for example having a well-crafted experience if you are not a facebook user to show you what could be there…
Maybe I have to think a little more on that concept 🙂

Mixed Reality with Mobiles July 5, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in gadgets, innovative interfaces, mobile, physical interaction design, play, poetic.
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The Japan-based Mobile Art Lab developed a nice low-tech extension for mobile phones: a book:

(image source)

Here a short video of how the concept works:

I really like the project as it represents a flexibility of mobile devices beyond just the software – extended in the direction of hardware. The current sensor system of the iPhone does not really allow an elegant interaction through this book-extension: so when flipping the pages of the book, the user has also to flip the content on the iPhone.

Unfortunately Apple is really not offering an interesting and open hardware interface. I guess that with more USB-based interfaces between mobile phones and specialized hardware we will see more interesting innovative harware extension for mobile phones.

I gave this sensor problem a thought and then discovered a nice feature with my new Windows phone: when you talk to somebody and hold your phone to your ear the light of the display switches off. So, maybe it would be possible to have a little hole for this sensor in the book and each time the user flips a page the sensor can recognize the pattern of changes in light value and then also switches pages… Wow, what a great idea 🙂

This project reminds me of the project Bird Box by my friends Durell Bishop and Tom Hulbert from Luckybite:

(image source)

My friend Julia Leihener pointed the nice “phonebook” concept out to me. Thanks!

Poetic Interaction Design July 5, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in making the invisible visible, physical interaction design, poetic.
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With my undergrad students I discussed the need of more poetic forms of Human-Computer-Interaction. Of course, light, non-permanent (in German: ‘flüchtig’) forms  for displaying data as through air flow always come to our minds. One example is the project Web Presence – Presence Web” (2009) by Michael Hohl:

“Visitors arriving at the website are indicated by the curtain billowing gently in a momentary breeze, just as a real visitor to the room would.”

This short video shows the prototype (actually, the concept itself is very poetic and beautiful, however the documentation is too nerdy for my taste…)