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There's nothing 'calm' about neoliberal UbiComp

So much of how we imagine ubiquitous computing (UbiComp) deals with visions of the future – far-off, idyllic utopias where using computer systems is effortless (as in Mark Weiser’s vision of calm computing [17]) or vague, abstract ideas about an oncoming revolution ‘in a few years’.

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How video game design embraces the ambiguous

From a young age, uncertainty is a state of being the human mind wants to avoid.

In 1972, Jerome Kagan proposed that one of the leading factors in human nature was the need to resolve these uncertainties. When we couldn’t immediately satisfy this desire for understanding, we became motivated to reach a solution.

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UbiComp and the Case of the Disappearing Computers

Should we allow computers to disappear? Or do we allow them to come to the foreground so that users can be actively engaged. In her paper, “Moving on from Weiser’s Vision of Calm Computing” , Rogers argues for pervasive technologies that allow everyone to adapt their environment in order to “Creatively,

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Fridges can’t talk, right? – The Internet of Things

Computing has gone through two distinct phases in the past 60 years: the mainframe era and the personal computing era. Now the ‘internet of things’ is here and it’s here to stay whether you like it or not. In this blog, I’ll be breaking down Bell and Dourish’s views [1] of ubiquitous computing by doing a comparison between the positives and negatives while ending on how the media is continues to present a negative light on ubiquitous computing.

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Human-Activity Tracker Interaction

For the session on data, I read two papers with different perspectives on the generation and use of data in everyday life. Mortimer et al. focus on the challenges of human-data interaction (HDI), specifically regarding legibility, agency and negotiability. Rooksby et al. conduct a small-scale qualitative study on the use of personal trackers.

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From Yesterday's Ubiquitous Computing to the ethics and security of Internet Of Things

This week, I read “Yesterday’s tomorrows: Notes on ubiquitous computing’s dominant vision”[2]. The author exploited the contemporary practice of ubiquitous computing in three different countries with the help of cross-cultural investigations. The research proposed three main arguments related to ubiquitous computing “in the wild”.

 

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Coffee and the Future of Ubicomp

Ubiquitous computing, or the idea of computing technologies pervading our everyday lives, was only a dream in 1988 when Mark Weiser coined the term in his paper ‘Computing for the 21st Century’. Within the paper he painted a picture of a scene that could only come from science fiction,

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Design and the user in HCI

Manzini (2015) argues that we are all designers in the same way that we are all runners. We can all run, but some people train and develop into marathon runners. I have not studied “Design” as a discipline. If design is a skill and an approach to problem solving that I can learn,

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Taking Care in Participatory Design

Taking Care in Participatory Design

Do PD researchers and designers enact their duty of care in the formal design phase when the outcome or product being designed may yet not exist? The authors of Structuring Future Social Relations: The Politics of Care in Participatory Practice (Light and Akama 2014) explore whether adopting a PD approach by definition enhances the design in question and thereby creates a better outcome.

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Twitter as a tool for public health research

Social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, have a constant stream of incoming information and data that users want to share with the world. For us as researchers, these platforms offer important insights into people’s thoughts and feelings. Furthermore, these platforms also provide longitudinal life narratives through the stories that people post on social media.

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Ubiquitous but Unique

This week I read Ubicomp’s Colonial Impulse [2], in which Dourish and Mainwaring compare ubicomp with the colonial era, the parallel being the dissemination of knowledge from central hubs to the wider world. I found the notion of ubiquitous computing as emanating from external disassociated knowledge bases, hierarchically homogenising diverse communities,

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Innovating Innovation

In Participatory Design and “Democratizing Innovation” [1], Björgvinsson et al. (2010) describe their experience of Malmö Living Labs, a group of research labs in the Swedish city of Malmö in which they practice an alternative vision of ‘democratic innovation’ through participatory design.

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The Relevance of Ambiguity in HCI

The Relevance of Ambiguity in HCI

“Ambiguity as a Resource for Design”, Gaver, Beaver and Benford (2003) champions ambiguity as a potent resource in HCI, outlining its role in the interpretative space existing between a person and the design itself. Taking account of what happens when a person interacts with a design – whether object,

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We are constantly designed by our own designing

The concept of Participatory Design (PD) originated from Scandinavian work. The purpose of the PD was to empower workers by entrusting them with political power in their work to determine the scope and shape of the new technology that had been introduced in the workplace. However, as workers in the labour union do not have an in-depth knowledge of computer technologies,

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Psychology and the Designers' role in participatory design

Structuring Future Social Relations: The Politics of Care in Participatory Practice

The topics of social isolation and loneliness are some of my main research interests and have inspired many of my projects. Participatory design techniques are linked closely to the topic of social connectedness as they require certain group dynamics.

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Evaluating participatory design

Bossen, Dindler and Iversen discuss evaluation practices in the field of participatory design (PD) by conducting a survey on the literature on the topic. They conducted a keyword search across all papers from the Participatory Design Conference between 1990-2014 and added papers from special issues in scientific journals on the topic of participatory design.

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Let’s go fly a KITE: Participatory Design Methods for People with Dementia

 Developing technologies for people with dementia has often placed the caregiver as the main source of information within the design process. Though they can give valuable input, consulting caregivers should never be a substitute for involving people with dementia in design. In Empathy, Participatory Design and People with Dementia Lindsay et al,

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Structuring Future Social Relations: The Politics of Care in Participatory Practice

The paper explores the political shifts that take place in Participatory Design (PD) and the importance of the practice influencing social relations through design. The author claims that this change in focus therefore implies the use of feminist concepts of ‘care’ to explore ethical commitments. The author states “we have the obligation to provide people with the opportunity to influence their own lives”.

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Empathetic Participatory Design - the future?

In Lindsay et al.’s “Empathy, Participatory Design and People with Dementia”, specific concepts are advanced for an empathetic participatory design (PD) method that is sensitive to people’s individual experiences, and which might lead to better design outcomes. Through describing a long-term engagement in designing technologies for people with dementia, they explore specific principles attempting to ‘bridge… the gulf of experience’ [2].

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Ubiquitous Computing Has A Grand Vision

The paper (Ubicomp’s Colonial Impulse) [2] posits that colonialism is a pervasive aspect of ubiquitous computing.

 

They describe the concept of colonialism as ‘a knowledge enterprise’ and point to ‘institutions of knowledge’ such as Kew Gardens or The British Museum that are more than just knowledge repositories but rather where the classification of things happens. 

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HCI has a problem...

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) as a field is going through somewhat of an identity crisis.  Conflicting views of its future from both within and outside of the field mean it is difficult to define precisely what HCI is and what it is aiming to accomplish.  Efforts to define HCI are seen as necessary to ensure both the legitimacy and sustainability of the field [2,5].

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“Don’t Talk to him. He’s the wild type” – The turn to Practice in HCI

Kari Kuutti’s paper The Turn to Practice in HCI: Towards a Research Agenda highlights a new paradigm for HCI research that could essentially be covered in one famous quote – “practice (doesn’t always) make(s) perfect”. In this blog, we’ll take a look into the defining comparisons between the (old) interaction paradigm and (new) practice paradigm and delve into the author’s views put across in the paper.

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A critical review of “Evaluation in Participatory Design : A Literature Survey”

Bossen, Dindler & Iversen (2016) consider how Participatory Design (PD) projects are evaluated. The authors introduce Evaluation Theory and highlight the central aims of PD as being mutual learning, empowerment, democracy and workplace quality. From a survey of core PD publications, the authors select papers that deal with “grand questions” in PD and that actively engaged with evaluation of PD.

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Science or No Science

One of the most frustrating things about the HCI community is being under-recognised as a science by the other disciplines. The main argument consists of two parts; the first is the lack of motor themes (central themes) in mainstream research, and the second is the absence of frameworks or models.

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HCI Research as Problem-Solving

This blog post is a critical review of an article by Oulasvirta & Hornbæk (2016) in which the authors argue for conceptually re-defining human-computer interaction (HCI) as a problem-solving subject. They argue that assessment criteria should evaluate how HCI research output “advances our ability to solve important problems relevant to human use of computers” and what relevant stakeholders can achieve following this output that they could not achieve previously.

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Staying Open to Interpretation: Engaging Multiple Meanings in Design and Evaluation

In this paper, Sengers and Gaver challenge the ‘classic model’ of HCI, not only promoting co-existing interpretations of systems, but advocating the notion that systems should be explicitly designed to be open to interpretation (one example being to design systems “like a blank canvas”). In general, I found the paper overly theoretical in its attempt to uncover the benefits of altering systems oriented around practicality.

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Is Practice Perfect?: Moving HCI Research towards a Practice Paradigm

HCI has been gradually turning its focus from one based in the lab to one that is situated in the real world. In “The Turn to Practice in HCI”, Kuuti & Bannon describe and argue for a move from an Interaction paradigm of research – one that is lab based,

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Interpreting Interpretations?

As a psychologist by background, I was particularly interested in the topic of this paper – “Interpretation”. Indeed, the broad possibilities of interpreting are omnipresent in Psychology. Therapists interpreting dreams, researchers interpreting psychological “results” and the entire scientific field interpreting its own goals (Yáñez Cortés, 1975). Thus, how can interpretations be applied to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)?

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Why 'Practice' doesn't always make perfect

In the paper “The turn to Practice in HCI” Kuuti et al. describe the need to create an organised foundation within the field of HCI which would ensure academic cohesion amongst its varied disciplines. The two models proposed are the ‘Interaction Paradigm’ with a focus on short-term, direct human to computer interactions and the ‘Practice Paradigm’ which assesses the influence of long-term factors and contexts within which the interaction takes place.

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Towards the constructive: HCI Research as Problem Solving

Torn between the ‘hard sciences’, design, engineering and social sciences, elements of the HCI community are profoundly uncomfortable with its multidisciplinarity. Whether or not there is a ‘big hole’ at the heart of HCI that requires the formation of ‘strong concepts’, a more robust turn towards the natural sciences, or the adherence to ‘motor themes’ [2,

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HCI as science

In his paper, Stuart Reeves discusses how human-computer interaction relates to different understandings of ‘science’. He discusses the influence of cognitive psychology on early interface design, before relating it to the notion the scientific design space as the central way of defining and researching human-computer interactions.

Reeves begins by mapping the current issues of HCI as a scientific discipline.

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