Dec 13, 2012

Connecting: Exploration of the Future of Interaction Design and User Experience - Good for promoting CSEd!

I've been looking for a relatively short video about human-computer interaction and related fields to include in a presentation I'm planning for high school students. The presentation is my small part to promote Computer Science in Education Week (CSEd)

One of the goals of CSEd Week is to spread the word that computer science education is much more than learning how to program one. Technical and computational thinking skills are important to develop, but young people also need to know what sort of things they can do with these skills as they become adults in our technological society. As stated on the CSEd website"Computing professionals work on creative teams to develop cutting-edge products and solutions that save lives, solve health problems, improve the environment, and keep us connected."  

Coincidentally, I was pleasantly surprised by a tweet I received today that linked to Connecting, a well-produced 18-minute video about interaction and user experience design. This video would be great to share with high school students.

Connecting (Full Film) from Bassett & Partners on Vimeo.

The video features a number of well-spoken, creative professionals who are passionate about their work, people, and the future.  Although the video is a bit techno-centric, it depicts people who live and breathe technology in a favorable light.  It also inspires some degree of thought and reflection on the part of the viewer.

Although much of what is discussed in Connecting is futuristic, the seeds were planted years ago.  If you are new to the HCI/UX/ID/UCD world, it might help to read
Mark Weiser's 1991 article, The Computer for the 21st Century, published in Scientific American in 1991, before viewing the video.  

After viewing the video, I encourage you to take the time to read some of the comments on the Vimeo website.  Also read  Marc Rettig's comments, posted on the IxDA website:  "A film about interaction design: what it says about us".  

Near the end of the video, there is a discussion about where we might be headed, as interconnected, technically enhanced, augmented humans.  Hopefully we will not create, and then be assimilated into a Borg-like collective, or live out our days in a Matrix-like disembodied state.

In the wrong hands, what might happen?

Is resistance futile?!

FYI: Connecting was produced by Microsoft, Windows Phone Design Studio: Mike Kruzeniski (now at Twitter), Kat Holmes, and Albert Shum, and featured interviews with the following people:

Matt Jones, BERG London
Raphael Grignani, Method
Liz Danzico, School of Visual Arts, New York
Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Architect of Bing Mobile and Bing Maps
Helen Walters,  Writer, Editor, Researcher at Doblin/Monitor
Younghee Jung, Research Leader, Nokia
Massimo Banzi, Co-Founder, Arduino
Jennifer Bove, Co-Founder, Managing Director, Kicker Studio
Robert Murdock, Principal, Method (Artefact)
Jonas Lowgren, Professor of IxD, Malmo University, Sweden
Eric Rodenbeck, CEO, Founder, Creative Director, Stamen Design
Robert Fabricant, VP of Creative, Frog Design
Andrei Herasimchuck, Twitter 

The video was first screened in Seattle, Washington, last April, with a panel discussion that included Rob Girling and Gavin Kelly, of Artefact, Bill Buxton, of Microsoft, and Scott Nazarian, of Frog Design.

Description of the "Connecting" video, from Bassett & Partners' Vimeo site:

"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." -Bassett & Partners

Selected Quotes:

Liz Danzico:
"It's understanding that ecosystem, where the human in the center, and understanding that network of things, and how they all work together, rather than of your device or thing being in the center."

Younghee Jung:
"... you can not necessarily foresee the consequences when people adopt what you see something completely different from what you created. .it is like throwing a stone in the water, and you don't know what it will cause."

Blaise Aguera y Arcas:
"....these are all augmentations of abilities as humans. And when the augmentation really works, then that extension of yourself feels natural, and beautiful and does what you want, and doesn't get in the way....The use of voice, and the use of natural gestures... you are removing the extraneous, you are removing the artificial."

Massimo Banzi:
"...Something that can do it's own thing, disappearing in the background, is correct"  (nod to Weiser)

Jennifer Bove:
" is really important to look at what the consequences are of putting these products into the world when we think about things like the phone...the way it has changed our behavior, it can be enabling, and also disrupting...for these things to change our lives for the better, or enable for them to let us do things we couldn't do before.. they have to feel natural, and feels like a conversation." 

Robert Murdock:
"How you actually design and enact a living system in UX is something that is quite have to think about patterns of desired outcomes and behaviors you want to achieve, instead of moving a user through one flow in an experience."

Jonas Lowgren: 
"...back in the day.. it was one user, one task, one computer,  its all gone now, its is much more like you are setting the stage, really,  for other people to perform, but you can never tell them what to do."

Eric Rodenbeck:
"....the map is like a living thing, that is being made up of everything we got. The idea that it is different in the morning than what it was in the evening, is a really good idea to stay connected to the idea that the world is changing."

Helen Walters:
"What we need is for designers to be embedded in the topics that are really, really important right now, so there can be a better synergy between design, and business design, and social change design, and entrepreneurship."

Andrei Herasimchuck
"That is where the future lies with us. There will be software in everything..You can take all of those (digital) pieces, and you can design all kind of things around it. People are now actually entering their lives and what is going around them, into a digital format, and so we will start do things with that in the future, and I think it will be exciting."

Robert Fabricant:
"The network is sampling the world, and knowing what is cropping up where, being able to match and find patterns...and anticipate outbreaks of diseases. ..  We are trying  now to collect from the periphery a much richer set of what is going on the world so we can learn as a society and optimize and evolve the right systems and services".

Experientia: Putting People First 
What's the Difference- IXD, IA, UXD, HCI, UCD, UX (Jon Karpoff)

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