Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Reading List: Interactions, March & April 2009

It has been a long time since I've posted anything regarding my readings lists (or my Interaction Design exercises for that matter). Today l'll focus on addressing the first of these deficiencies by sharing my reading list from Interactions March/April issue (I've already read the May/June issue but don't want to get ahead of myself).

Article 1: Problems before patterns: a different look at Christopher Alexander and Pattern Languages
In this piece Molly Wright Steenson examines Christopher Alexander's notion of pattern languages, and the importance of the  problem definition element of a pattern. So what the hell are pattern languages? Pattern languages are developed to help non-experts participate in the design process. Patterns are self-contained entities that describes a problem that reoccurs within a given environment. The pattern also contains the core solution that enables the people to use this same solution "a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice." If anyone knows of other good resources on this topic please leave a comment.

Article 2: Embodied Child Computer Interaction: Why Embodiment Matters
The next interesting piece from this issue comes from Alissa Antle. In this article she explores the importance of embodiment in child computer interaction, and the cognitive role the embodiment plays in general. Alissa also investigates briefly opportunities that are afforded via embodied interactions and cognition (check out more about The concept of embodiment from my previous posts regarding Dourish' book).

Article 3 and 4: Identity theft and the challenges of caring for your virtual self and The Ambient Mirror: creating a digital self-image through pervasive technologies
These two piece are part of this issue's focus on privacy and security in our digitally connected society.

The first piece, by , adresses the security of the digital representations we create to communicate our identities in the virtual world of bits and bites. These representations encompass our profiles on ecommerce and media sites, as well as our data from social networks. One interesting area that is explored by Jennifer is how individuals are often positioned as the source of identity theft, despite the systematic prioritization of profits and self-interest on the part of organizations who hold the data.

Dimitris Grammenos's piece offers an interesting exploration regarding how pervasive computing may impact our lives, as it continues its invasion of our physical and social worlds. The world he paints is a stark contrast to the notions of Big Brother. He examines how pervasive technologies, embodied by the idea of an "ambient mirror", could augment and enhance our lives - from extending our memory to self-knowledge and improvement. He also briefly addresses social considerations of such a technology.

Article 5: Taking a broader view of the human experience
Mark Vanderbeeken provides a valuable counter-perspective to most designer's narrow focus on usability (and aesthetics) at the expense of broader human considerations such as technology, ethics, economics, culture, belief systems and sustainability. The broadening of our perspective is crucial for designers to be able to play a positive and constructive role in shaping our fast paced

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