Archives For Theory

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The design industry’s reigning paradigm is in crisis. It’s time to evolve from human-centered design to humanity-centered design, write Artefact’s Rob Girling and Emilia Palaveeva.

If followed blindly and left unchecked, this cult of designing for the individual can have disastrous long-term consequences. A platform designed to connect becomes an addictive echo chamber with historic consequences (Facebook); an automation system designed to improve safety undermines our ability to seek information and make decisions (the plane autopilot); a way to experience a new destination like a local squeezes lower income residents out of affordable housing (Airbnb). Each of these examples is recognized as a real product or service design feat. Yet by focusing on the individual user alone, we often fail to take into account broader cognitive and social biases. By zeroing in on the short-term impact and benefits of our designs, we spare ourselves asking the really hard question: Are we designing a world we all want to live in today and tomorrow?

 To be agents of positive change, we as designers need to think more broadly about the direct and secondary consequences of our work. We need to be clear-eyed about what we are striving to do and minimize the chances of creating more problems than we are trying to solve. To do that, we need to integrate our discipline with systems thinking, which entails understanding how systems work and evolve over time. This will allow us to anticipate and mitigate the negative longer-term consequences of well-intentioned solutions. As a result, we will be poised to design systems that have minimum negative impact, create and sustain equity, and build on technological advances without disrupting the foundations of society. We have the responsibility to evolve from human-centered design thinkers to humanity-centered designers.

Augmented Narratives

August 7, 2017

I started my new research-project on Augmented Narratives which will involve the platforms of META2 and OCTAGON. For users, good UX-design for Augmented Reality platforms should facilitate physical and psychological immersion in the mediated experience. A holistic, multi-dimensional approach that incorporates qualitative experience and a deep understanding of the psychological aspects of optimum user experience are an imperative for such environments to be successful.

The creation of such a flexible, holistic, and enveloping environment that allows well-tuned variations and personalized adjustments, requires new forms of digital storytelling and the application of new user experience-design paradigms – based on a deep knowledge of the users’ data-scape. How can we can assess and organize these new worlds – in order to create the best experiences?

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Contributed a chapter on “Empathetic Things” to the publication ” Transdiscourse 2- Turbulence and Reconstruction”, De Gruyter.

Turbulence and Reconstruction is an anthology of viewpoints on society from the arts and the sciences. The authors believe that the arts and the sciences are effective spaces to encourage us to think differently about our outdated concepts of representation and categorization and reconstruct new potentials about how the designs of the future might benefit our environment and the survival of our bodies. Essential to all writers is the need to drop our old disciplinary boundaries to question our interdependent relationship to technology and to reality. Turbulence and reconstruction are processes that not only affect our representation and categorization, urban nature and energy consumption but also our relation to media and technology – the digital ideologies of interaction and substitution.

Models of Diversity

March 11, 2016

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Gave a talk on New Narratives at the conference Models of Diversity at the ETH and ZHDK Zurich.

The main aim of this conference was to create 3-way discourses to search for correlations and models that can foster deeper creative levels of discourses across the disciplines of art, science, sociology and philosophy. A round table conference with paired presentations of art researcher, scientists and theorists in diverse fields of inquiry-alongside dynamic moderators who tried to stimulate discourse.

Saschka Unseld  Creative Director, Oculus Story Studio

In virtual reality, you are at the center of every story. Saschka Unseld, head of Oculus Story Studio, wants to keep you there, experiencing virtual worlds directly, with characters who interact with you in real time. You read a book and you watch a film, but in virtual reality, you experience a story. It’s told through your senses, and Unseld and his team are now discovering what that means—how characters should react to you, how to make your experience interactive and responsive. It’s a learning curve that’s just beginning—built on a heritage of storytelling but breaking down the fourth wall in a new way. Unseld shared some of what his studio is learning at this year’s Future of Storytelling Conference.

The studio has already released two short form experiences, Lost and Henry. The latter was intended to be a comedy, but as Unseld explained, it was difficult to keep if from being a tragedy:

With Henry, for example what we did, we thought, “Okay, let’s try to tell a comedy — typical slapstick kind of animated character comedy.”

The final film turned out to be more sad than funny. If you would cut it as a film, exactly the same thing, you would have a lot of laughs. But in VR, you don’t. If someone falls on their face right next to you, it’s not funny.

In cinema. you have something like the fourth wall, which means there is this wall between the story and the world and the audience. In VR, there is no such thing as a fourth wall, because in VR you are right there with the characters in the world.

Understanding Perception

October 10, 2015

Lazy Chief, a Studio in London, translated the studies of neuroscientist Beau Lotto into motion design.

The 4-minute short film explains the way that evolution has shaped the way we perceive the world.

One important statement for visual designers, is that our brains don’t differentiate between imagined stimuli and real stimuli. Professor Lotto explains:

[W]hat’s remarkable is that when we imagine something, it activates the same part of our brain as if we’re actually seeing it. So imagined perception is the same as a real perception.

This has tremendous impact for thinking about the narratives that a culture tells itself.

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by Dieter Schmalstieg (Author), Tobias Hollerer (Author)

Augmented Reality (AR) is one of today’s most fascinating and future-oriented areas of computer science and technology. By overlaying computer-generated information on views of the real world, AR amplifies human perception and cognition in remarkable new ways. Do you like the virtual first-down line in football games on TV? That’s AR — and AR apps are rapidly coming to billions of smartphones, too. Working in AR requires knowledge from diverse disciplines, including computer vision, computer graphics, and human-computer interaction (HCI).

 

Augmented Reality: Principles and Practice integrates all this knowledge into one single-source reference, presenting the most significant AR work with scrupulous accuracy. Dieter Schmalstieg, a pioneer of both AR foundation and application, is drawing from his two decades of AR experience to clearly present the field. Together with mobile AR pioneer and research colleague Tobias Höllerer he addresses all aspects of the field, illuminating AR from both technical and HCI perspectives. The authors review AR’s technical foundations, including display and tracking technologies, show how AR emerges from the symbiosis of computer vision and computer graphics, introduce AR-specific visualization and 3D interaction techniques, and showcase applications from diverse industries. They conclude with an outlook on trends and emerging technologies, including practical pointers for beginning practitioners.