Interesting, critical reflections about how it should not be taken for granted that the openness typical of the Internet (or most of it) is going to dominate its mobile extension: “I don’t think there is anything wrong with mobile or with some of the great new mobile applications and devices, but we have to be careful to remember that most mobile networks that actually work are built on infrastructure that is operated by a small number of mobile operators who use a lot of regulated and closed technology”. The post includes some references to the Japanese environment, but most of the reasoning applies to a global level. I guess that worries about excess of regulation, risk aversion and insufficient competition are just even more serious for Europe (although we all know that there are huge differences among say highly dynamic, tech-savvy Nordic countries and, say, Italy).
Drawing explicitly from UCG intended as User Generated Content, the idea of UGS-User Generated Services put more emphasis on the role of the user as the one being able to create and manage services; in other words, this is about offering users appropriate (i.e. easy to use, enjoyable etc.) technical means not only to produce, publish and share content, but services as well. Among others, the SPICE project (where we at Neos are partner) supports the workshop on UGS to be held in Madrid next July on the initiative of the OPUCE project.
The full program is already available (see it on Scribd) and attendance is free to registered participants.
Working with Neos on a mobc3 solution developed for a major retailer (details are confidential). As in other cases, manual sketching on a very basic mobile phone interface template proved to be really useful to translate or better shape high level requirements into more concrete anticipations of the application behaviour, to be elaborated then as detailed interface and navigation specifications.
Sketches are seeminlgy quite much appreciated by the developer guys to quickly get an idea of what the work is going to be (perhaps yet another sign of Powerpoint fatigue…)
Set up by the M-Node of Planetary Collegium and NABA Media Design program to discuss the perspectives of new media art educational and research work, with special regard to the forthcoming fine arts academies reform (in Italy).
I have been invited to present the paper on my Design Methodology course accepted at HCIed 2008 and co-chair the sessions with Francesco Monico, event curator.
Right after HCIed 2008 in Roma, I moved to Firenze for CHI 2008. Five days of good, dense stuff, very interesting papers presentations (including a nicely critical set at alt.chi and a panel on “harmful evaluations” with Saul Greenberg and others), design theater performances and the closing plenary with Bill Buxton, plus the course on “Mobile Interaction Principles” from Matt Jones and Gary Marsden (authors of “Mobile Interaction Design”), and the second half of the course on HCI and CHI history from Jonathan Grudin. Among others, nice chats with Finnish friends and former MobiLife project colleagues Esko Kurvinen (now at Elisa, was HIIT) and Petteri Nurmi (HIIT), but also with Luca Chittaro (Università di Udine) and Fabio Paternò (CNR). I was there with Neos colleague Dario Melpignano (and we did take note on research results very much in line with Neos mobc3 design approach).
Presented a short paper at HCIed 2008 about my undergraduate course on Design Methodology and Philosophy of Design, now running for the fourth year at NABA. HCIed is the annual international conference of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) educators.
The paper title is “Unfreezing thoughts. Philosophy, design studies and role playing games in a foundational undergraduate course” (download from publications page). Then, the conference organizers invited me to join a panel called to discuss the paper contributed by Russell Beale (University of Birmingham, BCS), “Architects or builders; scaffholding or duck tape?”, regarding the role of HCI education in University level courses (I proposed to educate “builders with a conscience” — download). Since Russell could not make it to Roma, the panel was chaired by the conference keynote speaker, Harold Timbleby (Swansea University; his fifth book, “Press on”, has received an important award); panelists included Tatjana Leblanc (University of Montreal) and Lars Oestreicher (Uppsala University); both of them presented at the conference interesting contributions on HCI, design, complexity and education implications.
Among others, I had very nice talks with Carlo Giovannella (Università di Roma Tor Vergata-Scuola IaD, event hoster), Tatjana Leblanc, William Wong (organizing committee) and Toni Granollers (Universitat de Lleida).
HCIed 2008 has been held at the central premises of CNR in Roma (the building facade is quite an example of the 30s Italy official architectural taste, to say so… The building has been inaugurated in 1937).
Successfully completed a focus groups study in the Milano area as the Italian partner of Idean (Finland), involving end-users, employees and customers of a global manufacturer with a local site; the study was about a new product key feature at the prototype stage and was part of a bigger international research plan. All the details are strictly confidential.
Performed activities included:
- recruiting of two end-user groups according to specified criteria;
- conduction of four focus groups;
- video-recording of all the sessions;
- raw material analysis and results reporting.
The study has been successfully completed in an extremely short timeframe, taking advantage of recruiting quality and parallel streams of work. Adriano Solidoro of Università Bicocca cooperated with me on the assignment.
As part of the SPICE project, successfully completed an initial socio-economic analysis on the potential impact of the technologies reseearched and developed in that same project (in short, a mobile service creation and execution platform, with a set of context-awareness, service roaming and content delivery distinctive capabilities).
I conducted the study combining the results of a project internal workshop (held in Budapest with participants from Telenor and NTNU) and an external online video and email-based questionnaire addressed to experts in the field.
I managed the workshop as a structured brainstorming, eliciting feedback in discussion rounds based on a review of the key usage scenarios; then I analyzed the results extracting pros, cons and mixed reactions.
The questionnaire consisted in a simple set of open questions related to four short videos made available online; I selected a number of academics and research manager with relevant expertise from various locations (Germany, The Netherlands, Finland, Israel, among others) and got them to provide their comments.
The task was part of the revised business modelling analysis, coordinated by NTNU and conducted in cooperation with VUB (Brussels), Telenor, Telefonica and Telecom Italia; it has been also my last major effort in Spice, in which I have been working right since the kick-off in Paris, in January 2006 (and before that a bit at the proposal stage too).
Started the course on Design Methodology / Philosophy of Design for the undergraduate Media Design program at NABA, fine arts academy in Milano. This is the fourth time; it began back in 2003, when the issue of methodology in design to me was the point where some very practical professional concerns (I was a middle manager in a then 300 people Web design and digital marketing agency) met the discovery of J.C. Jones seminal books.
This is also the year in which I managed to write a short paper about the course and get it through in a scientific conference (HCIed 2008; see the publications page for download).
I copied below some text from an early version of my contribution, dropped out in the revision process. The studies director mentioned at the beginning is Francesco Monico.
“Four years ago the studies director of the undergraduate media design program at NABA-Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, a design school and fine arts academy in Milano, Italy, questioned around the possible shape of a foundational course on design methodology. The need was to propose something different and beyond the specific methodologies already covered by other foundational courses in various design disciplines. As the media have largely overcome their traditional boundaries to spread over a vast range of contexts and industries, with design challenges that cut across the domains of creative production, science and technology, it seemed sensible trying to nurture the ability to think about the possible ways to structure the act and process of designing, in broad and radical terms.
The immediate and slightly provocative reaction of the author was to urge whoever was put in charge to go straight back to the very heart of the word and the concept of method, starting perhaps with some pages of a classic like Descartes Discourse on Method, and ending maybe with the harsh but sophisticate criticism of any methodology in often cited (but lesser known) Paul K. Feyerabend Against Method. To the author initial surprise, the provocation was not turned over; for three years on (and with the fourth coming soon), students have been engaged in a detour from early modern philosophy to contemporary epistemology, to be followed then by a proper investigation of the design process along the lines of a standard book on design methodology, John C. Jones Design Methods. The insisted questioning on the meaning and nature of method is also played out in two practical ways: one is role playing and collaborative dynamics in group games, the other is nonfictional writing”