Archive pour la catégorie ‘Miscellanées

Is Interaction Design a dead-end job?

Jeudi 21 mai 2009

Interesting article by Tim McCoy

IDEO’s Bill Moggridge made a comment last week after a screening of Objectified that hit close to home. To paraphrase, he said interaction design has become pervasive, that anyone and everyone can be an interaction designer, and so the role of professional interaction designer is (or is becoming) unnecessary.

So, is Interaction Design a dead-end job?

Why Interaction Design?

Is Industrial Design the New Interface Design?

What do you think ?

« The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. » And will.

Jeudi 9 avril 2009

In the past years we have seen that every online community that starts as free and open, sooner or later becomes an advertising platform.
Take YouTube. First it was a place to publish the video of your funny cat for the world to see. Now, beside being a collection of everyone’s funny cats, YouTube is an advertising channel for business, celebrities, broadcasting channels and political institutions. That’s fine. I can ignore them, if I want to, or use them to enrich my experience.
Take Facebook. Invented to connect college buddies it recently moved to the next phase, in which a company has the same kind of page as you and your buddies, functioning just as « another friend », starting groups and promoting events. That sort of puts me off a little, but I can ignore them, too. I don’t have to befriend everybody.
Now take Wikipedia. The (French) article Pharmaceutical industry manipulates Wikipedia reveals the pharma industry’s marketing strategy for Wikipedia and shows how a subtle text manipulation can establish good reputation for a drug, discredit its competitors and conceal negative side effects.
Now, the problem with Wikipedia is that wherever you go on the site you, like Forrest Gump, « never know whatcha gonna get. » We all know that Wikipedia is written by everybody and we all know that the information might be incomplete and biased. But we still hope that somehow it will be okay.
Well, it’s not.
The rule that any open community is eventually used by somebody to make money is a reality. But Wikipedia is one of those communities which might not survive this shift because it discredits the whole idea.
Related reading: Eric Goldman « Doomed: why Wikipedia will fail »

Ada Lovelace Day

Mardi 24 mars 2009

In her post on Presse-Citron Stephanie Booth appeals to bloggers to write about great women of science and technology, in honor of Lady Ada Lovelace, known as the first computer programmer. Ada was the daughter of Lord Byron, the Romantic poet. Her mother Anne Isabelle was a mathematician herself who, after separating from her husband right after her daughter’s birth, thought mathematics would be a solid antidote to the poet’s genetic « madness » and made sure the girl was taught science. Ada is famous for having envisioned a computer and written a program. Of course, there are also sources claiming that she did no such thing, that her role was merely secondary, that she was an unfaithful wife, an alcoholic and a « hysterical » woman. I am sure many great men of science were bad-tempered promiscuous alcoholics, but did it ever make anyone doubt THEIR scientific abilities?
You can read more about Lady Ada here, but I would like to write about a Russian 19th century woman mathematician, Sofia Kovalevskaya – or Sophie Kowalevski, as she spent most of her adult life outside Russia. She left Russia when she was only 16 to study in Germany because, you see, Russian universities of that time did not allow women. She could only do so if her husband gave his official permission, so Sofia married Vladimir Kovalevsky: you had to have a husband, of course, to have his permission. She became the first woman to earn a doctorate in science and the first woman in history offered a full professorship in a university in Stockholm when she was 33. She won scientific prizes and made a celebrated discovery known as « Kovalevsky top ».
Unfortunately both brilliant young women died young: Ada at 36 from cancer and Sofia at 41 from pneumonia.

Other experts like you

Lundi 23 mars 2009

A friend who just moved back to France after a long time in US complained about not having a French version of Yelp, a social review service allowing you « to decide on the best place to eat in any part of the country within minutes ». The service exists due to kind souls who sit down after a good meal (or a bad one) and write something about it. You’d be surprised how many kind souls there are if you look at the site. And not so kind ones too. Personally I wonder whether the urge to write a bad review is not slightly stronger than to write a good one (after a good meal you are satisfied, after a bad one you still crave something), which would make this kind of service unbalanced. But this is not the point. The point is that for a large number of things we now more often consult opinions of people « like ourselves » rather than experts on the subject. We « rely on the kindness of strangers » rather than institutions.
We had encyclopedia, written by scholars, now we have Wikipedia, written by… well, everybody. We had travel guides written by journalists, whose job it was to visit those places, now we go a social network to talk to other travelers. We had search engines, now we prefer to Twitter our question or pose it in our Facebook status. Someone would always answer and the answer would probably be exactly what we asked for, because those people happen to know us – and institutions do not.
One could argue that we now let ourselves be misled more often. But one could also argue that all information is always in some way subjective.
Just consider how many institutions are now on their way if not to extinction than at least to a profound transformation. Phone books. Yellow pages. Travel agencies – does anyone still go to those? Travel guides. Folding maps, so impractical when you have GPS on your mobile. Cook books – the last time you bought one was probably to give it to somebody as a present, and this person put it on the shelf and never looked at it again. « How-to » books – we have a YouTube category for that. Dictionaries – long live spell checker. Paper agendas – not flexible enough anymore. And so on.
In Italy I came across a typical British public phone booth, now a curiosity in somebody’s garden. Italians cannot live through a day without their mobile phone, so I thought this illustrates well my point.

Things to do with googlemap when you feel creative

Lundi 16 mars 2009

Here is another post on writers, writing and a googlemap.
The site with the intriguing title « We tell stories« , which I found when browsing through SXSW awards, invites you to read 6 stories by 6 different authors. The site is branded by Penguin, a well-known pocket publisher, and I suppose this is a way of promoting their authors.
One story, called « The 21 steps« , is actually a step-wise journey on a googlemap. At each red pin you get a little bit of the story to read and by clicking « Next » the map takes you to the next pin in the narrative.
(I quit reading the story as soon as I saw that it was a detective, but I thought the idea was worth mentioning.)

The writer’s blog

Mardi 10 mars 2009

Recently I read a book by a contemporary Russian novellist, playwright, actor and music artist Yevgeni Grishkovets entitled, in my plain translation and omitting the Russian play of words, « A year of Livejournal ». The book is a collection of writer’s blog articles of 2007, a period in which he was working on his currently bestselling novel « Asphalt », performing his one-man shows across former Soviet Union and recording his songs. The book born from his blog is an intelligent and entertaining read, but the fact that made me write an article about it myself is this: the writer Yevgeni Grishkovets does not actually know how to type.
All his manuscripts are written by hand and then typed out by a professional typist.

Grishkovets is not an old writer – he is only 42 – he just never learned how to use a keyboard. Computers, as he confesses in the book, are still a foreign country to him. His articles are typed by his wife to whom Grishkovets dictates. In the 19th century the person writing the final manuscript version of a novel was often the writer’s wife. Both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky employed their beloved to do this tedious job. This is actually how Dostoevski met his future wife – he needed somebody to write the « clean » version of his manuscript and Anna was a hardworking young woman who knew stenography.
Dictating to his wife leads to anecdotal situations about how, being on tour, Grishkovets calls her from the hotel and dictates his daily portion of the blog – saying at the end that he should stop now because his wife has « more important things to do ». Or that one time when he arrives in Paris, finds an internet cafe and… gives up on the French keyboard. He continues to refer to the Internet continuum as HERE (with capital letters) and admits to not really understanding how HERE works, which however does not prevent him becoming one of the most read blogs in Russia. After reading his book I, of course, went to see his blog. Once there I somehow got that strange cinema feeling of « liking the book better » which I can’t really explain…

Soyez vous aussi des Beta Testeurs !

Mardi 3 mars 2009

Nouveau service social,

Comme vous avez pu le constater, un nouveau service a fait son apparition sur notre Blog. Grâce à la Toolbar qui s’affiche en bas de l’écran, vous pouvez rejoindre la communauté Use Design.

Ce service encore en version Beta, apporte une dimension sociale à notre site web. Il vous est possible de chater avec les autres visiteurs, de poster des commentaires et d’être notifié des nouvelles activités du site et des membres de la communauté.

N’hésitez pas à tester ce nouveau service et à poster vos commentaires. On sait bien que parmi nos lecteurs se trouvent des amateurs de design d’interfaces et d’ergonomie logicielle. ;-p

Demain, c’est déjà aujourd’hui!!!

Jeudi 29 janvier 2009

Dans la rubrique nostalgie, voici une vidéo datant de 1981 se projetant dans ce que pourrait être le futur… imaginer, lire son journal le matin en allumant son ordinateur… How amazing

via TechCrunch

The tram experience in Amsterdam

Lundi 5 janvier 2009

Going to another country is always an opportunity to stumble upon interesting examples of design in public spaces. Below the monitor on the tram number 10 in Amsterdam, indicating, from left to right, the next stop (« Volgende halte »), the 4 stops to come after that and the destination (« Bestemming »). The tram line number is in the left bottom corner, not very visible on this picture (taken with my mobile).
I am quite a fan of Dutch design, which I usually find clear and efficient, even if this particular example is aesthetically not the most elegant. Add to this display a friendly voice saying ‘The next stop is…’ and you get a very reassuring user experience of public transport, especially for the tourists who, unlike me, do not know the city.
Stop display in Tram 10, Amsterdam

Comment offrir des vêtements sans se tromper de taille

Vendredi 19 décembre 2008

Parce que c’est toujours un peu galère d’offrir (ou se faire offrir) des vêtements comme cadeau à noël, Made in England propose la feuille des « mensurations » pour avoir le cadeau à la taille parfaite. A distribuer…

Existe en version « boys » & « girls »