Connecting: A short film that explores trends in UI, Interaction, & Experience Design — from connectingthefilm.com with thanks to siobhan-o-flynn for scooping this!

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ConnectingShortFilmApril2013

 

Description:

The 18 minute “Connecting” documentary is an exploration of the future of Interaction Design and User Experience from some of the industry’s thought leaders. As the role of software is catapulting forward, Interaction Design is seen to be not only increasing in importance dramatically, but also expected to play a leading role in shaping the coming “Internet of things.” Ultimately, when the digital and physical worlds become one, humans along with technology are potentially on the path to becoming a “super organism” capable of influencing and enabling a broad spectrum of new behaviors in the world. Available with Chinese, French, Spanish,German, Korean, Portuguese, and Japanese subtitles at on YouTube.

My reflections on “MOOCs of Hazard” – a well-thought out, balanced article by Andrew Delbanco


From DSC: Below are my reflections on MOOCs of Hazard — from newrepublic.com by Andrew Delbanco — who asks:  Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well…


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While I’m not sure that I agree with the idea that online education will dampen the college experience — and while I could point to some amazing capabilities that online education brings to the table in terms of true global exchanges — I’ll instead focus my comments on the following items:

 

1) Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are recent experiments — ones that will continue to change/morph into something else.
They are half-baked at best, but they should not be taken lightly. Christensen, Horn, Johnson are spot on with their theories of disruption here, especially as they relate to innovations occurring within the virtual/digital realm.  For example, the technologies behind IBM’s Watson could be mixed into the list of ingredients that will be used to develop MOOCs in the future.  It would be a very powerful, effective MOOC indeed if you could get the following parties/functionalities to the table:

  • IBM — to provide Watson like auto-curation/filtering capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, as well as data mining/learning analytics expertise, joined by
  • Several highly-creative firms from the film/media/novel/storytelling industry, who would be further joined by
  • Experts from Human Computer Interaction (HCI)/user interface/user experience design teams, who would be further joined by
  • Programmers and interaction specialists from educational gaming endeavors (and from those who can design simulations), joined by
  • Instructional designers, joined by
  • The appropriate Subject Matter Experts who can be reached by the students as necessary, joined by
  • Those skilled in research and library services, joined by
  • Legal experts to assist with copyright issues, joined by
  • Other specialists in mobile learning,  3D, web development, database administration, animation, graphic design, musicians, etc.

It won’t be long before this type of powerful team gets pulled together — from some organizations(s) with deep pockets — and the content is interacted with and presented to us within our living rooms via connected/Smart TVs and via second screen devices/applications.

2) The benefits of MOOCs
  • For colleges/universities:
    • MOOCs offer some serious marketing horsepower (rather than sound pedagogical tools, at this point in time at least)
    • They are forcing higher ed to become much more innovative
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They move us closer to team-based content creation and delivery
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  • For students:
    • They offer a much less expensive option to go exploring disciplines for themselves…to see if they enjoy (and/or are gifted in) topic A, B or C
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They provide a chance to see what it’s like to learn about something in a digital/virtual manner

3)  The drawbacks of MOOCs:
  • MOOCs are not nearly the same thing as what has come to be known as “online learning” — at least in the higher ed industry. MOOCs do not yet offer what more “traditional” (can I say that?) online learning provides: Far more support and pedagogical/instructional design, instructor presence and dialog, student academic support services, advising, more student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction, etc.
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  • MOOCs are like drinking from a firehose — there are too many blogs/RSS feeds, twitter feeds, websites, and other resources to review.

4) It would be wise for all of us to be involved with such experiments and have at least a subset of one’s college or university become much more nimble/responsive.

 

Also see:

From DSC:
After briefly reviewing the Infographic: The intricate anatomy of UX design (from fastcodesign.com by Mark Wilson) which “attempts to tackle the relationship between UX and all other aspects of design,” two thoughts immediately came to my mind:

  1. To me, this is why intuition and a sense of keeping things simple (less is more) are so important.
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  2. It’s a miracle that things lined up so that someone like Steve Jobs not only had so many of these design-related skills, but also the business skills — and opportunities — to persuade others to bring those ideas to fruition. Had he not grown up where he did…and had he not been mentored by whom he was mentored…and had he not met those he met…I wonder…how many of his ideas would have ever come to fruition?
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Also see:

 

 

In Silicon Valley, designers emerge as rock stars — from Reuters.com by Gerry Shih

Excerpt:

The new breed of “user experience” designers – part sketch artist, part programmer, with a dash of behavioral scientist thrown in – are some of the most sought-after employees in technology. Entry-level interactive designers at startups are commanding salaries easily topping $80,000, almost twice the median pay for primarily print designers of about $45,000, according to a recent survey by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

From DSC:
From my experience with Internet-related work and careers, most people are either gifted in the front end of things (interface design, graphic design, web design, etc.) or in the back end of things (programming, databases, scripting, e-commerce, security, etc.). I have seen individuals who can do both…but it’s rare that someone is deeply versed in both sides of the coin.

What are we doing in higher ed to foster more cross-disciplinary skills/assignments/projects/teams like this?

 

From DSC: Expectations, today, are getting hard to beat

Since Apple’s event yesterday, I’ve heard some conversations on the radio and reviewed several blog postings and articles about Apple’s announcements…many with a sense of let down (and some with the usual critical viewpoints by the backseat drivers out there who have never tried to invent anything, but who sure like to find fault with everyone else’s inventions and innovations).

It made me reflect on how high our expectations are becoming these days!  It wasn’t enough that iCloud is coming on 10/12 (and who knows the directions that will take society in). It wasn’t enough to introduce some serious software-based innovations such as Siri (which bring some significant advancements in the world of artificial intelligence) or AirPlay for the iPhone.  It wasn’t enough to enter into the multi-billion dollar card industry with their new Cards app for the iPhone.  Wow…tough crowd.

What might these announcements — and expectations — mean for education? 
Well…I can see intelligent tutoring, intelligent agents, machine-to-machine communications, the continued growth of mobile learning, learning from the living room, the initiation of programs/events caused by changes in one’s location, continued convergence of the television/computer/telephone, continued use of videoconferencing on handheld devices, cloud-based textbooks/apps, and more.


 

Siri on the iPhone 4S -- October 4, 2011

 

 

 

Be aware of the light source hitting your screen — from Digital Photography Schoolby Peter West Carey

 

Which also points to:

Mike Matas: A next-generation digital book (filmed March 2011)


TED: Mike Matas -- Next Generation Digital Book - filmed March 2011

 

About this talk
Software developer Mike Matas demos the first full-length interactive book for the iPad — with clever, swipeable video and graphics and some very cool data visualizations to play with. The book is “Our Choice,” Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth.”

About Mike Matas
While at Apple, Mike Matas helped write the user interface for the iPhone and iPad. Now with Push Pop Press, he’s helping to rewrite the electronic book.

 

Why Angry Birds is so successful and popular: A cognitive teardown of the user experience — from Pulse > UX by Charles L. Mauro

Excerpt:

Simple yet engaging interaction concept: This seems an obvious point, but few realize that a simple interaction model need not be, and rarely is, procedurally simple. Simplification means once users have a relatively brief period of experience with the software, their mental model of how the interface behaves is well formed and fully embedded. This is known technically as schema formation. In truly great user interfaces, this critical bit of skill acquisition takes place during a specific use cycle known as the First User Experience or FUE. When users are able to construct a robust schema quickly, they routinely rate the user interface as “simple”. However, simple does not equal engaging. It is possible to create a user interface solution that is initially perceived by users as simple. However, the challenge is to create a desire by users to continue interaction with a system over time, what we call user “engagement”.

What makes a user interface engaging is adding more detail to the user’s mental model at just the right time. Angry Birds’ simple interaction model is easy to learn because it allows the user to quickly develop a mental model of the game’s interaction methodology, core strategy and scoring processes. It is engaging, in fact addictive, due to the carefully scripted expansion of the user’s mental model of the strategy component and incremental increases in problem/solution methodology. These little birds are packed with clever behaviors that expand the user’s mental model at just the point when game-level complexity is increased. The process of creating simple, engaging interaction models turns out to be exceedingly complex. Most groups developing software today think expansion of the user’s mental model is for the birds. Not necessarily so.

Other key items discussed:

  • Simple yet engaging interaction concept
  • Cleverly managed response time
  • Short-term memory management
  • Mystery
  • How things sound
  • How things look
  • Measuring that which some say cannot be measured

 

From DSC:
What Apple is able to do with many of their hardware and software products, what Charles describes here with Angry Birds, what Steelcase did with their Media:Scape product’s puck — and other examples — point out that creating something that is “easy” is actually quite hard.

 

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