Thursday May 24, 2012

Interaction Design with Wireframes

Slides from my lecture about Interaction Design with Wireframes, yesterday at U of Hamburg:

Monday Feb 27, 2012

Typing. Clicking. Dancing.

This is my invited talk at SirValUse Academy last week. I’ve presented my idea of a historical framework for HCI paradigms from CLIs, to GUIs, to TUIs and NUIs by comparing them with the development of children according to Jerome Bruner’s Mentalities theory. Enjoy_

References at

Monday Feb 13, 2012

Interaction 12 in Dublin - Highlights of Day 2

Friday, the second day of Interaction 12 in Dublin. US folks were suffering under jet lags – I had a little hang-over. Did I mention that the conference took place in Dublin? Between 750 and 800 people attended the fifth interaction conference, the first one in Europe. IxDA itself started in 2003 as a mailing list after Tog has pointed out the enemy: Us. Since then IxDA grew as a nonprofit organization to several thousands of people; 28,000 on IxDA discuss, 35,000 on LinkedIn. But now back to Friday_

Sketching sometimes involves coding

Exploring, Sketching and Other Designerly Ways of Working was the keynote by Jonas Löwgren. If you know Bill Buxton and his book Sketching User Experiences - Getting The Design Right and The Right Design you are already familiar with the idea that sketches are not necessarily limited to pencil on paper. Jonas presented several examples that involve – drum roll – coding! Sometimes story boarding, wireframing, and mockups are not sufficient to explore the user experience of a new product, site, or service. Pinpoint is a design study of an interactive visualization to find people with related interests in large organizations (ACM 2010). Jonas and his team developed several iterations until the crowd moves in a natural way. You can also call this approach prototyping, and then consider prototyping one way of sketching. Voilà.

Pinpoint demonstrator video

I just wonder how many people can be visualized before the screen gets too crowded.

Another example. Mediated Body is an acoustic device that senses the aura (vicinity) of human bodies and translates it into sound – same principle as the Theremin. Now, show me how this experience can be predicted without building and using the thing.

Mediated Body /video

webcast of Jonas Löwgren's presentation

Understanding Us

...reminds me of Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan. Big shoes to fill. Dirk Knemeyer chose this title for his passionate talk about unsolved issues between people.

/more photos

Dirk argued for more human and psychological properties in technology (instead of abandoning technical tools at all, and going to the park to play with your kids. Well the truth and future should be somewhere in between.) Starting from C.G. Jung, he presented several psychological models, and built the path to a social web that takes individual mental strength and weaknesses into account. I hope a webcast will be available soon to re-listen to his considerations. Until then, the slides must do.


I love listening to talks that open a new point of view. Rachel Bolton-Nasir used her passion for skulpture as a design lens, to better understand design. And she discussed the dimensions of form / multiple viewpoints / physical parts / bodily empathy / multi-sensory and context for zipcar.

Usability Testing does not test for Social

Dana Chisnell made the point that the artificial situation of usability testing often neglects the social context. In her example a usability test should evaluate the design of a site to calculate your rent, and to choose between several options. The participant started to cry because she never does such decisions without asking her dad, but her dad recently passed away. Very often the context is larger than the space between the user and the screen.
Dana gave another example, the failure of Google buzz. Despite the fact that Google has used and tested buzz internally for quite some time, the product was a failure. Testing does not help, if your test group does not represent the user base.

And the winner is…

For the first time IxDA run the Interaction Awards. This Friday night was the impressive ceremony to announce the winners. Several of the finalists and, of course, the winning projects are presented at Interaction Awards Winners 2012.

Thursday Feb 09, 2012

Interaction 12 in Dublin - Highlights of Day 1

Exactly a week ago, Interaction 12 was kicked off by the mayor of Dublin. I mean the real mayor rather than the one in 4square. He talked about (sub)urban planning and the public bicycle system in Dublin. He was proud to say that a minor change in the interaction design prevented the theft of many bikes. Other than Paris (they lost hundreds), the pole to get a bike is not prominently highlighted in a way that everybody can take the bike as soon as it unlocks. Just two bikes were stolen and both were returned. Clever briefing, or clever mayor – you decide.


After a while I decided to like the opening keynote by Luke Williams. He tackled the general problem of large companies (hey, this should apply to Oracle as well) that they are obviously unable to create new disruptive markets. If they have a business, a successful business, they focus to exploit it as long as possible. But they neglect to go for niche markets, because the dollars are earned in the main stream. Blockbuster Video ignored Netflix. Kodak ignored digital photography. Nokia ignored Apple and Google in the mobile phone market...

Luke offered the idea to do exactly the opposite of the (current) cliché. Why –the heck– are socks sold in pairs? – My mind kicked in and said, "yeah, if I have a hole if a friend has a hole in his sock he can buy just one sock to complete the pair. Makes sense!" But Luke continued to explain that a company built a business on selling socks in sets of three. And none of them has the same pattern! Kids and girls in specific love the brand.

a few more images

Interview with Luke Williams, core77

webcast of Luke Williams’ presentation

Videos shown by Luke_

National Leprechaun Museum

The disruptive highlight of the day was Tom O’Rehilly’s talk on Imagination and Identity. Tom started his career with selling luxury furniture, until he recognized that he was in fact selling experiences. Welcome Tom, to the field of user experience and interaction design. I do not remember why he told the story of Brasil, an island on the shores of Ireland that only appeared every 7 years. But I do remember his stories about the Leprechaun, a little Irish wizard or dwarf that is very hard to track. Tom runs the National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin, which is called a museum for the lack of a better word. It is an experience that turns the visitors into little Leprechauns themselves. You enter through a wooden tunnel that changes its diameter while you walk though. It must be a spectacular effect like Alice through the rabbit's hole.

/photo cc by The National Leprechaun Museum

What If...

The second keynote of the day should be mentioned: What If... crafting design speculations by Anthony Dunne

 /more photos

I am happy that the webcast of Anthony Dunne’s presentation is available.

In addition to the summary at core77, I will try to add more video links for the projects_


Tuesday Nov 15, 2011

Frank Ludolph's Last Working Day

Frank Ludolph on Apple Lisa

Hi Frank,

today is your last day at Oracle. I cannot belief that retirement is an alternative to designing software and improving products for decades. I might figure it out myself in a couple of years.

Our ways have crossed several times. And I am extremely thankful for that. I still remember my first session on an Apple Lisa. It must have been around 1985. I was still in school, and we were visiting the University of Hamburg to get some orientation on the departments. When I started I chose Informatics. And I suppose the Apple Lisa played a significant role in my decision. Is it fate that I later wrote about Apple Lisa?

I’ve attended your presentation and public demo of the Lisa System at CHI ’98 in Los Angeles. Maybe a video still exists. I should look it up and publish it somewhere.* You had also booth duty for Sun Microsystems – presenting HotJava Views, a user interface for a network computer. And you were handing out VHS tapes (!) of Starfire. I still have mine – but no player anymore.

Then I joined Sun in 2002, and I guess I popped up in your office each time when I came to Santa Clara. The SEED mentoring program finally made it possible that we exchanged and discussed many ideas on the past and future of HCI. Dueling Interaction Models of Personal-Computing and Web-Computing at MEDICI 2007 is one of the results. But do you remember for instance also our jam session with Phil Clevenger on Hello World? Marvelous!

I will miss you at Oracle. Enjoy your life and let’s stay in touch.


* Even better, transcript and video of CHI 98 are already online:

The Lisa User Interface as presented by Frank Ludolph and Rod Perkins at CHI '98, April 1998 – or click here to see a larger view in Google Video)



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