TOTAL EXPERIENCE explores designing for experience: its theory, its practice, and how designing for experiences affects us socially and in our personal lives.Bob Jacobson
is fascinated by the experience of experience. A planner and technologist, Bob has a Ph.D. in Urban Planning & Design from UCLA. He's been a policy researcher, technology CEO, science writer, and consultant. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied cellular telephony's impacts on transborder communities in the Nordic Arctic Circle. Bob edited Information Design
(MIT Press 2000) and is now writing a book on the theory and practice of creating edifying, transformative experiences.
| Contact Bob
says, "Understanding human behavior (economics), optimizing interactions (design) and facilitating conversations (markets), are the means to achieve strategic differentiation. This is the focus of our discipline. It is not a 'nice to have'‚ and is not, like documentation once was, an afterthought. It is the means by which to start a strategic discussion and the means by which to drive a tactical initiative. All design should be evidence-based."
| Contact Paula
CALENDAR OF EXPERIENCE DESIGN EVENTS
(Courtesy of Mark Vanderbeeken
, Experientia SpA, Torino)
Experience Design Websites
Core 77 Website & Forum
InfoD: Understsanding by Design
The Wayfinding Place
L-ARCH (Landscape Architecture Mailing List)
DUX 2007 Conference
Enmeshed, Digital Arts & New Media
Ludology (Game Playing Theory)
Captology, Persuasive Computing
Space and Culture
Raskin Center for Humane Interfaces
timet (acoustical design)
Steve Portigal, Ethnographer
Jane McGonigal's Avant Game
Ted Wells' living : simple
Experience Design Blogs
Adam Greenfield's Speedbird
Experience Designer Network (Brian Alger)
SmartSpace: Annotated Environments (Scott Smith)
Doors of Perception (John Thackara)
Karl Long's Experience Curve
Work•Play•Experience (Adam Lawrence)
The David Report (David Carlson)
Design & Emotion (Marco van Hout)
Museum 2.0 (Nina Simon)
B J Fogg
Lorenzo Brusci (acoustics)
Cool Town Studios
MIT Culture Convergence Consortium
Luke Wroblewski, Functioning Form|Interface Design
Putting People First (Paul Vanderbeeken/Experientia
Laws of Simplicity (John Maeda)
Challis Hodge's UX Blog
Anne Galloways's Purse Lips Square Jaw
Bruno Giussani's Lunch over IP
Jane McGonigal's Avant-Game
The Future of Work
Experience Design Podcasts
Ted Wells' living : simple Podcast
Design Matters Podcast, Debbie Millman
Icon-o-Cast Podcast, Lunar Design
Experience Design Firms and ED-Oriented Manufacturers
Barry Howard Limited
LRA Worldwide, Inc.
BRC Imagination Arts
Cooper Interactive Design
Strategic Horizons LLC (Joe Pine & Jim Gilmore)
Cheskin Fresh Perspectives
Education and Advocacy
Centre for Design Research, Northumbria University (UK)
Center for Design Research, Stanford University
International Institute of Information Design (IIID)
Design Management Institute
Interaction Institute IVREA
Design Research Institute (UK)
UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Design Research
History of Consciousness, UCSC
Design News Magazine
Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD)
Design Museum London
Center for Sustainable Design
Horizon Zero, Digital Arts+Culture in Canada
Design Council UK
Total Experience on Technorati
This Is Broken |
Websites, Blogs, and Podcasts
May 28, 2007
I can't say enough good things about Archinect, the online magazine of architecture, landscape architecture, and design.
Founded and published by Paul Petrunia (in L.A.) and edited by John Jourdan (in Chicago), Archinect has incredible breadth and offers wonderful analysis of all things in the built environment. The current issue features an article on Cooper-Hewitt's exhibition honoring designers who serve “the other 90%,” the world's poor; and dozens of Features describing current works in progress. There are book reviews, job listings, and the whole nine yards.
I try to read Archinect religiously, but it's a push: each issue is so jam-packed with information. So don't wait on me to synthesize and report. Read it yourself!
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May 23, 2007
If you can't get enough juice about jet planes, then Design News special edition on Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner is right for you! Its a masterful collection of articles, interviews, photo albums, and videos -- enough to keep even the most rabid aerophile enthralled late into the night.
When I was a kid, my Mom, then an executive secretary to Air Force generals, used to bring home photos and illustrations, paeans to flight -- F86s, F101s (the Scorpion!), the F-15, Redstone rockets, Nike missiles, the first satellites, and artist conceptions of Missions to Mars -- with which I papered my bedroom. I've been hooked on aviation ever since. The appearances of the Dreamliner and, eventually one hopes, Airbus' mega-liner, the A380, bring chills to my spine.
But I have an abiding question made more acute by revelations that we've reached Peak Oil: that petroleum production is now all downhill from here. And that question is, where are we going to get fuel for all these big planes? Even assuming that their engines become super-efficient (which they aren't yet), these new benzine-guzzlers are only creating additional demand for which there is no supply.
Anyone who's visited the airplane boneyard at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, in Arizona, knows what I'm talking about: acre upon acre of old, rusting aircraft, acquired at the cost of many hundreds of billions of dollars, going nowhere and serving no purpose. Is this the future of aviation as we know it? I fear so. So even though I'm thrilled by the announcement of new and better-designed airplanes, there always lingers in the back of my mind a worry that we're all living in a fairy-tale world of cheap and plentiful oil, a world that ended decades ago. Now we're just mopping up what's left of our earth's petroleum heritage with these bigger and better metal birds.
Maybe we'll learn to take solar-powered trains and get around in other sustainable vehicles, but how are our kids going to feel when they're grounded, literally, never to fly as we once did? Like the characters in Ursula LeGuin's novel, Always Coming Home, set 50,000 years in the future, I wonder if only a generation from now our generations will be known as “the people with their heads on backwards,” always living falsely in the past....
(Images: Design News and Archaeography Photo Collective)
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May 4, 2007
I received the following email today from Jane McGonigal, the reigning Queen of In-the-World Game-Based Experiences, now Game Designer at the Institute for the Future. It describes “World Without Oil,” a new alternative-reality game that responds to a very real crisis in our world: Peak Oil, the eventual running out of petroleum in our lifetimes. Get ready for the crisis: follow Jane's instructions. You're in for an entertaining and educational, but excruciatingly real experience -- and one that unfortunately, in the future, will not be a game to play but the reality in which we live...
I have some exciting news: Earlier this week, World Without Oil launched. It’s the first alternate reality game to address a real-world problem: U.S. oil dependency. The official motto: “Play it – before you live it.” And you can play right now!
It takes literally less than 30 seconds to sign up as a game hero. I hope you’ll go sign up right now! Here’s the link.
(Signing up just gives you a unique identity in the alternate reality. It means the game will know who you are if you come back and play. Unlike other ARGs, the game won’t start emailing you or burying things in your backyard.)
Once you’re signed up, there’s lots of fun stuff to check out. The game launched on Monday, and already there are hundreds of player created documents to browse—-not to mention the official “backstory” created by the game’s puppet masters. The latest game updates include video footage of an underground car vandalism effort, instructions for how to throw fuel-free parties, and an eyebrow-raising transcript of the new Secretary of State’s address to the nation.
But most importantly – please take 1 minute today to sign up to play and help make this experimental game project a success!
More information about the project below; email me if you want to hear more.
Resident Game Designer, Institute for the Future
This press release explains the game:
First Alternate Reality Game To Confront A Major Social Issue: A Worldwide Oil Shock
All Web Users Invited to Witness the Oil Shock, Document Their Experiences, Apply Collective Imagination to Solve a Real World Problem
“Play it – before you live it!”
(San Francisco, CA)—Everyone knows that “someday” the world may face an oil shortage. What if that day was sooner than you thought? How would your life change? On Monday, April 30, ITVS Interactive and Independent Lens will launch WORLD WITHOUT OIL, a live interactive month-long alternate reality event to explore this very real possibility.
Produced by the design team at Writerguy, WORLD WITHOUT OIL is the first alternate reality game to enlist the Internet’s vast collective intelligence and imagination to confront and attempt to solve a real-world problem: what happens when a great economy built entirely on cheap oil begins to run short? This grassroots experience looks at the impact on people's lives—work, social, family and personal—and explores what happens when our thirst for oil begins to exceed supply.
“Alternate reality gaming is emerging as the way for the world to imagine and engineer a best-case-scenario future,” says WORLD WITHOUT OIL’s participation architect, noted futurist Jane McGonigal. “It’s been summed up this way: ‘If you want to change the future, play with it first.’”
Beginning April 30, the nerve center for the realistic oil crisis is at WorldWithoutOil.org, with links to citizen stories in blogs, videos, photos, audio and phone messages posted all over the Internet. At the grassroots website, people will learn the broad brushstrokes of the crisis, such as the current price of a gallon of gas or how widespread shortages are. Players will fill in the details, by creating Web documents that express their own perspectives from within the crisis.
“The ‘alternate reality’ of WORLD WITHOUT OIL is not fantasy, it’s a very real possibility,” says Writerguy Creative Director Ken Eklund. “And the game challenge is one of imagination. No one person or small group can hope to figure out the complex rippling effects of an oil shock, but the collective imagination can. And understanding it is a serious, positive step toward preventing it.”
People of any age or Web ability can participate in the game. Player communities are already forming to prepare for game launch, and pre-game play has started. Use these links:
WORLD WITHOUT OIL is produced by the Writerguy team, presented by ITVS Interactive (Independent Television Service), and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. An Independent Lens Web-exclusive presentation (PBS), WORLD WITHOUT OIL is an ELECTRIC SHADOWS project (ITVS).
About the Game Creators
The Writerguy team includes some of alternate reality gaming's most experienced “puppetmasters” in addition to a Web producer, designer and outreach manager. Ken Eklund, Writerguy and creative director, has been working as a game writer and designer for 20 years. He is credited on over two dozen games as well as many Internet-based educational projects. Jane McGonigal, participation architect, is currently the resident game designer at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA. Previously she was a lead designer at 42 Entertainment, most notably for I Love Bees, an award-winning alternate reality game. In Fall 2006 MIT Technology Review named McGonigal one of the top 35 innovators changing the world through technology.
Electric Shadows and Independent Lens Web-Exclusives
Independent Lens presents interactive features throughout the series website and is proud to be a portal to Electric Shadows projects which feature the unflinching visions of independent media makers via the Web. These award-winning Web-originals invite visitors to interact through non-linear storytelling and social issue games created by independent media makers. Presented by Independent Lens and ITVS Interactive and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Electric Shadows sites explore the arts, culture and society through innovative forms including nonlinear storytelling and interactive gameplay and meet the ITVS mission of giving voice to underserved communities. Since its inception in 2002, the initiative has funded six online projects. Electric Shadows projects have garnered a People’s Choice Webby Award, two SXSW Web Awards, highlighted as one of Time.com’s “50 Coolest Websites”, Yahoo! Picks, Cool Site of the Day and numerous other accolades. Explore the projects and learn more about Electric Shadows.
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April 22, 2007
An April 20 press release announcing the transformation of former web portal CRMGuru.com to CustomerThink.com is one more signal that customer centricity (i.e., design for experience) is fast becoming the defining factor in state-of-the-art marketing.
According to portal founder and CEO Bob Thompson,
The time was ripe for change. Although the term “CRM” has been a popular buzzword for more than a decade, and theoretically means a business strategy, it has taken on a technology slant in the market that appears unlikely to ever change. We wanted people to know that we address the complete realm of customer management thinking, not just IT. While technology is an important enabling tool, and essential for managing customer information, it's only a portion of our mission.
In Thompson's viewpoint (quoting from the release), CRM includes customer strategy; goals and metrics; people and organization; process and experience design; and technology. Yet, much of the market doesn't agree with that view in practice. He cites technology-laden CRM definitions on the Internet, and his own research which found many people consider Customer Experience Management to be different from CRM.
Adds Colin Shaw, a member of CT.com's “Guru” advisory panel, and founder and CEO of customer experience consultancy Beyond Philosophy,
What do you mean by CRM?' It's a question I often hear. The reality is the world is moving on, and I am pleased to see that Bob and the team are leading the way. The whole spectrum of customer management is much wider than the commonly held view that CRM equals technology. CustomerThink encapsulates what customers do!
The difficulty is valorizing CEM. It's easy to devise an ROI for investments in technology, even if the calculation is flawed or only partially explanatory. The proliferation of CRM vendors and the remarkable success of Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce testify to the persuasive power of numbers. But as metrics for measuring customer-centricity's power become available, it rather than the accessibility of surface-level customer data will become a dominant paradigm, supporting new approaches like customer co-creation of products and communications.
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February 28, 2007
Nathan Shedroff, a good friend and author of the first (and so far, only) book on holistic experience design -- aptly entitled, Experience Design 1-- is interviewed by Bay Area ethnographer Steve Portigal on the ever informative design portal, Core 77 (link here for the MP3, 47MB). From the Core 77 introduction:
Nathan Shedroff, experience design guru, author of the seminal Experience Design 1 and co-author of Making Meaning: How Successful Businesses Deliver Meaningful Customer Experiences, sits down with Steve Portigal in San Francisco to talk about the experience and design of experience design. Seriously.
Shedroff's definition gets things started: “Experience design is an approach to design, and you can use that approach in pretty much any discipline—graphic design or industrial design or interaction design, or retail design. It says the dimensions of experience are wider than what those disciplines normally take into account. And if you think wider—through time, multiple senses and other dimensions—then you can create a more meaningful experience.”
And he follows it up with the 5 levels of significance:
1. Function (“Does this do what I want it to do?”)
2. Price (“There are lots of cars out there to get me from point A to point B”)
3. Emotion (“That's where lifestyle is engaged. How does this make me feel?”)
4. Identity or Value (“This is subconscious: ”Would I be caught dead with this?; am I a Nike fan, or an Adidas fan?“)
5. Meaning (Not ”Is this me?“, but ”Does this fit my reality?“ ”Does this even fit inside the world as I perceive it?“)
Nathan addresses his talk mainly to commercial designers, but it has universal application to all design disciplines and practices. I understand from Nathan that he's contemplating republishing his book online, in an easier to read format. Nathan: please do!
+ TrackBacks (0) | Category: Commentary | Experience Design & Technology | The Practice of Experience Design | Websites, Blogs, and Podcasts
February 19, 2007
Leveraging the common model to combine a book with a discussion, Wikinomics claims to focus on how mass collaboration changes everything.
The thoughts framed by this concept were central to the discussions that went on at the recent FASTforward 07 event (which I'm already planning to attend next year). Conversations around the event and the thinking that went on, continue with high energy. Aside from the uniqueness of the event in the pre/post use of the blog which was seeded with some high-energy thinkers in the intranet / Enterprise 2.0 space, the event was unique in that although hosted by a vendor (and sponsored by several others), it was clearly an event to bring together bright minds and allow for deep conversations to go on around the topics and possibilities for this space -- such that the vendor(s) themselves can learn from the discussions as equal participants.
What was refreshing is that principles of Experience Design were front and center in the conversations. It was clearly a 'design thinking' sort of event.
One concept that came out of the discussions, which is reinforced by the Wikinomics artifacts, is that we need to embrace the power of the 'individual as a channel'. Major companies are thinking through new business models to both embrace and capitalize on this reality. Related discussions were quite heady.
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November 8, 2006
Planetizen (plan-NET'-a-zen) is the leading online, public-interest portal and information exchange for the urban planning, design, and development community. It's a one-stop source for urban-planning news, commentary, announcements, book reviews, jobs, events, and more. Community operated, Planetizen was created as a public service for the planning community by Los Angeles-based Urban Insight, a pioneering provider of Web sites and net services for public agencies and non-profits (as well as commercial clients).
Planetizen has now partnered with Smart City Radio to produce a monthly audio segment airing on public radio stations around the country.
Hosted by Carol Coletta, President and CEO of “CEOs for Cities,” Smart City Radio is a weekly, hour-long public radio talk show that takes an in-depth look at urban life. The new audio segments, which provide a summary and analysis of the most interesting and intriguing planning-related stories featured on Planetizen, are also available online as a Planetizen podcast. You can listen to the latest episode on the Smart City Radio website or download the latest Planetizen podcast.
“The built environment and place making are such an integral part of any city's DNA, and Planetizen is the premier source for the latest news on planning, design and development,” said Coletta. “It makes sense for our organizations to work together to bring Smart City Radio listeners the best information on what so clearly affects the future of our cities.”
For more information on Planetizen, contact Christian Peralta, Managing Editor.
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November 1, 2006
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October 24, 2006
Digital Hollywood LA on its Preview Day has already proven a very interesting conference. Beyond it's “Hollywood” theme and flavor -- lots of beautiful, politely aggressive people pushing product -- unique among the Internet conferences, DH features a striking subtext. Here more than ever, the Internet Dichotomy separating those who see the Internet as a service from those who see it as a product, has become a yawning chasm. Having worked on both sides of the gap, and intending to again, I make no value judgments. I merely observe: two Internets coexist on the same global network, and which (if either) will be dominant remains to be seen.
This was revealed most starkly on Preview Day, when I attended two panels that couldn't be more different.
The first panel, “Citizen Media -- Blogs, PODs, Activist Media & Personalized News,” was one of four dealing with user-generated media. It was a contentious free-for-all on social and personal media, during which eight very sincere people (like AOL Weblogs Jason McCabe Calacanis, Reuters SVP Dean Wright, social media theorist and critic JD Lasica, and moderator and venture capitalist Shelly Palmer -- who did a great job adding fuel to the fire) debated such weighty topics as the pros and cons of the “wisdom of crowds,” collaborative journalism; the role of the professional editor in filtering scurrilous reporting; and those Siamese Twins, truth and opinion. It was taken for granted by most of the panelists that Google's AdSense advertising model is the most efficient way to fund citizen media, and perhaps the best indicator of media quality. As Palmer put it, there are three ways to fund anything: “with your money, with my money, or with someone else's money.” Advertising seems the best bet to conserve the first two.
Calacanis repeatedly had the most trenchant comments, including two that will remain with me. First, he said, studies have repeatedly shown that bloggers practicing their often lonely craft are motivated by three things: “recognition, affiliation, and a distant third, compensation.” He also noted that “the key ingredient to successful expression on the Web is authenticity.”
Perhaps, but authenticity had nothing to do with success for the panelists of the second event I attended, a lengthier show-and-tell, “Mobile Video & TV -- The Who's Who of Content.” The secret for these panelists was monetization, turning packaged media, sometimes user-authored, more often professionally produced, into revenue streams. The speakers were representatives at the top of the current mobile-media production and distribution pyramid: Sling Media, HELIO, Sony Pictures TV, Sprint, MobiTV, and a half-dozen others. One by one they promo'ed their fare, short videos intended to be seen on the tiny screens of a cellphone, iPod, or portable computer, presumably while wearing a headset. Some were lyrical, a couple poignant, but most were blaring, edgy, and trivial: try-to-hard humor, sports, rap, and all the other genres that appeal to pre-teens. The future of this panel's Internet will be very different from the first panels, in scale and direction.
The most memorable comment was an observation by moderator Frank Chindamo of Fun Little Movies, an accomplished teller of five-years-too-soon, arrow-in-the-back pioneer stories, of which he has a admirable collection. (Thank goodness FLM has become successful in his lifetime!) He reported that studies have shown that the length of time a viewer spends with a production is directly proportional to the size of the screen on which its presented. This means, until Bluetooth and its descendants make it possible to point your cellphone at a big wallscreen and gain dimension, we are blessed that most future mobile productions will be short. Hallelujah.
Pretty much for the entirety of the rest of DH, it's the monetization crowd that will rule the roost, in keeping with the conference's Hollywood half of its moniker. “Monitor, syndicate, and monetize” is a mantra I heard reported frequently.
After the first panel, a senior participant with years of experience in media, online and offline, turned to me and asked, “So what's it all about?” I could almost hear him add, “Alfie?” “No one really knows,” I replied. “If you took 100 people from the four conferences on the Internet and communications that are taking place simulatenously right now, maybe we could assemble a mosaic. But this is Digital Hollywood, and this is what it's about, now.”
* * *
Regrettably, a personal project kept me away from the official Day One, but I'll be back for Days Two and Three. These promise actual insights as to what it may be all about in our multiple futures, online and off.
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October 9, 2006
Erik Sass, in Online Media Post, summarizes a new Blackfriars report that claims companies are “slashing” their Web marketing budgets by a third this year. In the same article, it's revealed that offline marketing budgets have increased by more than 100 percent.
This change may be a recognition that only so much can be accomplished online: most people still live most of their lives offline, and that's where the action is. It may also signal a shift to advertising directed more to niche-market websites and social networks based on real-world interests, away from large horizontal portals and social networks. The “niches” generally offer access to their more active members (more active commercially as well as socially) at lower prices -- an irresistible bargain.
Was it a coincidence that I saw a decline in my member network on MySpace today, maybe by a million fewer members?
Naw, I must be mistaken, MySpace's member network never declines. (Why not?)
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October 6, 2006
In The Graying Of MySpace, Online Media Daily today reports that more than half of MySpace'smembership is now over 35, up 40 percent from last year, while 18-24 year-old membership has declined 50 percent, from 44 to 30 percent. Writer Mark Walsh, summarizing a recent comScore press release, observes:
While MySpace and Friendster skew older--with people 25 and older accounting for roughly 70 percent of their user bases--more than one-third of Facebook visitors are 18 to 24, as expected for a college-oriented site. Xanga was the most popular with teens, drawing 20 percent of its audience from that age group. The comScore figures encompass all visitors to the sites, not just registered members.
“While the top social networking sites are typically viewed as directly competing with one another, our analysis demonstrates that each site occupies a slightly different niche,” said Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix, in a prepared statement.
The initial obvious implication:
For marketers, the research suggests that MySpace is increasingly becoming a mainstream Internet portal. “The type of advertising it has today is for the youth market,” said Sarah Fay, president of Aegis' interactive ad agency network, Isobar, U.S. “But as we move forward, I'm sure that brands are going to start to speak to other types of audiences on MySpace.”
For now, however, the middle-aged MySpace users I've spoken with -- those who'll admit to using MySpace -- tell me they turn off the MP3 intros and hold their noses when they log-in. Most use MySpace only for the free profile, which doubles as a website (albeit one that's ruggedly misdesigned), email, and file-sharing. They'd like to use it for other purposes, too, but can't. Amid the promotions from aggressive bands, amateur video producers, and aspiring pornstars, there's not much about MySpace that respects their lifestyles or serves their needs.
The obvious follow-on implication:
MySpace (and MySpace wannabees), and the advertisers and the ad agencies who use them, need to integrate their teams with people who share demographics with the majority of MySpace's users: people who are middle-aged or older, with jobs and families, interests more diverse than pop music and social bling, and loads of disposable income. Until they do, they'll fail to create an environment that produces trust and transactions among this mature (but please, not "old") majority. MySpace gets killed by Google and Yahoo in terms of people buying and selling things; and of course, in terms of ecommerce. Now we know why.
What would a better-aligned MySpace look like, and how would it work? Not like today's MySpace.
Rupert, perhaps it's time to bring in some gray hairs and incorporate in your team who are more seasoned and experienced, with relevant cultural perspectives. You can then create a product that the majority of your users enjoy: one that respects who they are, provides what they need, and gets them to do more for your pocketbook than click on links.
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October 1, 2006
After taking a dig at the huge, undifferentiated, and messy “social networks” like MySpace and Facebook, which are the press' and investors current darlings, I was gratified to read two recent articles about smaller, “niche” social networks and their new appeal to advertisers targeting specific audiences. These social networks complement their members' real world activities, things they feel passionately about; many of these networks came together organically, out of need to share knowledge and experiences. You read it here first.
“Can Social Networks Sway Shoppers?”in Internet Retailer's most recent issue, describes several strategies for creating and advertising to niche social networks. The research isn't all in yet, but on first blush, the answer is: yes. And more efficiently than by running links indiscriminately on their giant counterparts. IR describes the experience of Abebooks, a seller of new, used, rare, and out-of-print books, which became a part-owner in LibraryThing, an organically grown website that helps book collectors to catalog and share their collections. According to Abebooks COO Boris Weitz,
We did not first sit down and make a strategic decision to invest in social networking. Like many others we simply were watching this whole new space. But then LibraryThing came to our attention. We asked the network’s president to make a presentation to our senior management team, and that led to our investment.
Red Herring, the popular investor-oriented technology magazine, in its October 2 print edition, features an article, “Niche Marketing,” which describes the growing profitability of sites such as Dogster and Catster (dog and cat owners), Boompa (car enthusiasts), Famster (family-oriented fare), Traineo (fitness and weight loss), Tot Jot (parenting), and YouthNoise (teen activists). Each has advertisers (direct and affiliate) or is in talks with advertisers. The article focuses on Dogster, with 250,000 members, which is gathering a portfolio of large, influential advertisers like Disney Entertainment. Says John Squire, analytical software firm Coremetrics' vice president of product strategy:
Advertisers are beginning to see they can spend very little and still get a big return using niche networks. Last year, people wondered, 'Is [targeted advertising] a wave that is really going to come in? And now they see that it is, and the wave is getting bigger and bigger.
(An online version of the article isn't available, but you can buy the entire archived edition of Red Herring, in digital format, for $3.99 from Zinio.)
The niche social networks' individual advertising revenues are small, and they generally require advertisers to carefully integrate their ads with the niche networks' content, lest the ads drive off ardent members who don't see value in them. In the long term, however, the niche social networks probably will exceed the horizontal networks in their lasting appeal, member activity (including recommending and purchasing relevant goods and services), and their revenues.
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September 18, 2006
On Taulli.com, Ash Kumra, a member of the METal professional group to which I belong, recently blogged “Social Networking Ties the Knot?”, a brief, fascinating interview with Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO of the family of Indian websites, BharatMatrimony.com. I usually don't write about the Web per se, but in cases like this one, where the real and virtual worlds conjoin to produce concrete results, the Web becomes a lively environmental element. Janakiraman describes BharatMatrimony.com as a “matrimonial,” not a dating website:
The entire concept and origin of a matrimony site is entirely different from that of a dating or relationship site. Our model has been strongly triggered by cultural connotations of specific regions where factors like compatibility, horoscopes, and family backgrounds play a key role. Our target audiences are very serious about marriage as an institution and hence it would be inappropriate to compare ourselves with such relationship portals.
One glance at the BM.com website and you begin to understand the complexity of the challenge. BM.com has 7.5 million registered members and 15 sibling websites each catering to a different Indian region or religion. Since 30 percent of its users are NRIs -- “non-residential Indians” -- its reach is actually truly global. (BM.com now includes job listings and product links, including real estate: the complete domestic package.) The company maintains an offline presence through its Bharat Matrimony centers, which it plans to expand in India from 38 to over 300 locations in the next few years, with investments from Yahoo! and Canaan Partners. (Three hundred may seem not enough for India's middle class of 150 million, but the websites support the network of connections.)
Vertically focused relationship social networks are nothing new. Hundreds are organized around personal persuasions, occupations, and hobbies. There's been a long-standing debate in the social networking industry regarding the efficacy and financial viability of vertical social networks vis-a-vis horizontal, “mass” social networks like Match.com, Yahoo! Personals, or the behemoth MySpace, on which everyone's a member; but on which also, no member can be easily found. In America, social networks reflect well the fact that we are a society of individuals, constantly reinventing our identities and affiliations. In Indian society, cultural norms require verticalization: despite the invasion of India over the last 500 years by some Western values, the value of self-identity and communal membership, shared with a partner, remains a central life experience.
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July 25, 2006
Want a job in design, and specifically, experience design? Check out the new Coroflot, launched by Core77's Allan Chochinov and his colleagues. (That's Allan at the podium in this pic from Design 2.0.)
Post a profile (with your portfolio, if you have graphic or audio samples of your work), enjoy the great features -- as befits a class design website -- and see who's looking for someone with your talents. This jobsite rocks!
+ TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Practice of Experience Design | Websites, Blogs, and Podcasts
July 21, 2006
Brian Alger's blog, “EDN: Experience Designer Network”
While I'm on a roll, having just digested Matt Sinclair's delicious interview with Nokia's Liisa Puolakka (below), permit me to point you to Brian Alger's blog, Experience Designer Network. Alger, author of the well-received, The Experience Designer: Learning, Networks, and the Cybersphere, is an Ontario-based designer who offers many observations on many topics, sometimes with a metaphysical tinge, always from a designer's perspective. For what he has to say about experience design per se, do a search on his blog for “experience design.” The results are impressive. I've added EDN to our blogroll and also to my NetNews Reader's subscriptions.
posted by Bob Jacobson |
June 18, 2006
Business Week Online's new “Innovation & Strategy” section: bookmark it now!
Business Week Online's new “Innovation & Strategy” webpage is terrific. BW has always been a strong proponent of design in business, although in the past, too often by “design” it meant styling. That's over. BWO's focus is on the actual doing of design and its implications for business, which provides a sound foundation for its editors' and writers' investigations. These span the spectrum of design modalities and issues. The diversity of topics covered, and the BWO team's ability to distill complex ideas into coherent short essays, is wonderful. Down with wordiness, up with insight. Check it out!
There's an accompanying BWO Innovation Podcast Archive: I downloaded every podcast. They're that good. I'm now a subscriber.
Lastly, there's “IN,” a new blog that personalizes and further enriches the Innovation & Strategy section. (I can't figure out the BW hierarchy from the web pages, which is which: I just explore.) Here's IN's “Manifesto”:
With this inaugural issue of IN: Inside Innovation -- we dedicate ourselves to the proposition that making innovation work is the single most important business challenge of our era. Our goal is to make a meaningful difference in the difficult journey toward building innovative business cultures. IN hopes to inspire, to provoke, to teach, and to be a trusted advisor and guide. Every quarter, we'll provide you with a how-to tool kit of lessons and case studies that address specific problems managers face in changing their organizations. In this premier issue, we show exactly how five key “C-Suite” drivers of innovation inside big corporations do it. In future issues, we will offer the best innovation metrics, show how to build open-source idea machines, manage global networks of engineers and trend-spotters, find truly creative talent, and instill design thinking to satisfy unmet consumer needs. IN is also a community. It links you to our online Innovation & Design site, with its blogs, columnists, metrics, and stories. Join us.
posted by Bob Jacobson |
June 14, 2006
.......... Experience design is experiencing an upbeat!
TE co-author Paula Thornton's Experience Design newsgroup currently features a really interesting thread on the increasing acceptance of experience design within the corporate community. The list's users, who include many self-identified practitioners of the emerging discipline, report more projects and job offers than at any time in the past. Of course, “more” can mean anything from 10 to a thousand projects and job -- and the exact definition of “experience design,” in this context, remains indistinct. But the general upbeat tenor of the online experience-design community, as expressed in the thread, is a welcome relief from he feeling of being the resource-of-last-resort formerly emblematic of the field.
posted by Bob Jacobson |
Posted by TE co-author Paula Thornton to her excellent Experience Design newsgroup:
MYSTERIOUS WORLD OF MATERIALS OPENS UP TO DESIGN COMMUNITY
Mtrl seeks to bridge design and engineering with wealth of materials information
MATERIALS PARK, Ohio, June 13, 2006 - The fast-growing community of creative people who design products, objects, processes, services and systems has a new source of inspiration with the launch of Mtrl - an industry initiative aimed at providing designers with “material about materials.” Ranging from industrial and consumer product designers to architects and interior designers, Mtrl's wealth of materials information will be provided in the manner and format needed by designers - through first-hand experience, interactive workshops, a comprehensive website, sample books, and more.
According to the ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design), designing requires consideration of aesthetic, functional, and many other aspects of an object, which involves extensive research, thought, modeling, iterative adjustment, and re-design to find the right colors, texture, sounds, and other sensual aspects concerning a product and its ergonomics.
Mtrl is the brainchild of ASM International, the Materials Information Society, which has been the leading resource for the advancement of materials knowledge for nearly 100 years. And while ASM traditionally serves an audience of engineers and scientists, the launch of Mtrl marks an explicit expansion of ASM's scope to include those who use and specify materials in the funkier world of design.
“Through extensive research, we found that designers explore a very interesting world tucked between the constructs of art and manufacturing,” said Laura Marshall, ASM's Director of Business Initiatives. “Mtrl will capitalize on this by providing tangible experiences with materials, promoting experimentation, and inspiring design through exposure to materials from the everyday to the extraordinary.”
Mtrl will debut with designer workshops in Boston and Chicago this month that will allow designers to explore materials through the intersection of art, science, industry and product design. Mtrl's series of workshops will expose designers to materials in innovative ways, such as tours through manufacturing facilities, hands-on field exercises, and lectures by leading industry professionals, scientists and artists.
A new website, Materials About Materials (Mtrl, www.materialaboutmaterials.com [not yet operating]), will be a central location for materials information for the design community. Details of the upcoming Mtrl workshops can be found on the site, and in the coming months, the site will include searchable materials databases and other resources for designers.
“From the latest in automotive design to popular consumer products, there is a new appreciation for the tactile and aesthetic value of materials in the products we buy and use,” added Marshall. “As designers look for new sources of inspiration and information, Mtrl will provide a fresh perspective and a concrete connection between the worlds of design and engineering.”
Director of Business Initiatives
+ TrackBacks (0) | Category: ED Projects of Note | Websites, Blogs, and Podcasts
April 22, 2006
+ TrackBacks (0) | Category: ED Projects of Note | Theories of Experience | Websites, Blogs, and Podcasts
March 11, 2006
FIRST MONDAY: Good reading on "Urban Screens," "Virtual Architecture"
First Monday, the excellent, international online journal about media and society, is featuring collections of articles on topics of interest to readers of TOTAL EXPERIENCE:
These issues contain evocative, scholarly, and passionate articles describing and critiquing the crossovers taking place today between the material and virtual, and objective and symbolic, worlds.
posted by Bob Jacobson |
February 18, 2006
Mark Hurst, author of the Good Experience website/blog and host of the Good Experience Live (GEL) conference, in November 2005 blogged two important entries, “The Over Determined Experience” and “Three Strands of Experience.” They're important elements of a theory of experience of design: what makes a good experience.
Mark's empiricism is in keeping with his personal focus on the real-world and day-to-day -- but his ideas are broad enough to be of interest to anyone wondering what really goes on when an experience is designed. The comments on Mark's blog that his readers have posted are rich in good ideas.
+ TrackBacks (0) | Category: Commentary | Integrative + Interdisciplinary Design | Theories of Experience | Websites, Blogs, and Podcasts
Experience Design Calendar on Eventful.com
Mark Vanderbeeken has moved the ever-useful Experience Design Calendar to Eventful. We've created a link to the Calendar on TE (just above the blogroll). Share your knowledge of forthcoming events with our expanding community by posting them to the calendar. Thanks, Mark!
posted by Bob Jacobson |
February 5, 2006
Lift '06 Conference multimedia archives are now online
Thanks to Mark Vanderbeeken of Experientia (Turin) for calling attention to the Lift Conference '06 archive site. Lift (Life, Ideas, Future, Technology), held in Geneva last week, discussed the evolution of eletronic media and global virtual environments. This European conference may be less well-known to experience designers elsewhere in the world. On the website, there are archived downloadable videos, presentations, and displays, so you can virtually attend post facto. Very appropriate.
I especially enjoyed keynoter Bruno Giussani's presentation on the collective experience of MMOGs (massively multiplayer online games). Excellent description of the virtual overlay on the physical world, and how it affects worldviews around the globe and across cultures.
posted by Bob Jacobson |
February 4, 2006
Ted Wells' "living : simple" website and podcast
TED WELLS' "living : simple," a website and podcast, takes architecture as its starting point and then ventures widely into related areas of design including interior space, objects that define the experience of space (like chairs), and the built environment.
One of Wells' consistent themes is the overreliance by many architects and designers -- perhaps most, these days -- on computer-generated imagery (CGI) to spice up otherwise dim and dreary structure and products. When experienced in person, the actual buildings and objects do not live up to the clients' or users' expectations that are formed when computer effects obscure the essence of the structures they depict. This is often intentional, as it's apparently easier to become a master of CGI than a master of space, as a truly gifted architect must be.
Wells' 10-15 minute podcasts are informative, thought-provoking, well-narrated, and framed by comfortable music that sets the stage but never intrudes on it. He's now in our links.
posted by Bob Jacobson |
January 22, 2006
Design Podcasts: Design Matters and Icon-o-Cast
Two design podcasts I find constantly informative are Design Matters, by Debbie Millman; and Icon-o-Cast, by Lunar Design. Both have more than a little to say about experience design, though their ambits are quite a bit broader.
The podcasts display distinctly different temperaments, probably geographic in origin: Millman's attitude is alternately reflective and in your face, as befits a New Yorker; the Lunar Design team is San Francisco Bay laidback, "Wazzup?" all the way.
Millman takes a critical approach to design: in a quiet place, she interviews designers, brand managers, etc., inquisitively. She also voices her own opinions. She's a writer/critic/design aficionado whose first-person style conforms easily to the podcast's conversational format. The Lunar approach is more sitting-around-the-bar style, or in the field. It's more often breathless, although the Lunar designer/reporters are not afraid to call it as they see it.
Lunar Design's John Downing, Dan Senatore, Max Yoshimoto and others are more technology/product oriented: they favor first-person reports from within Lunar and interviewing with other companies' representatives.
The knowing crone and the young hunters: the latter are hip to changes on the design landscape, the former divines deeper meanings. Try 'em both. Design Matters is available as a stream via Sterling Brands or you can do a search for it on Apple's iTunes. You can subscribe to Icon-o-Cast from the Icon-o-Cast Podcast website and also via iTunes. They're now among our links.
posted by Bob Jacobson |
Mark Vanderbeeken's new blog, Putting people first
Mark Vanderbeeken, a communications strategist and co-founder of the new experience-design consulting group, Experientia s.r.l., is now publishing an excellent new blog, Putting people first, about experience design in our social milieu. Mark, who is Belgian and an alumnus of Interaction Design Institute IVREA, is located in Turin, Italy (host of next month's 2006 Winter Olympics, if you haven't heard by now). He and his colleagues put a uniquely Continental twist on the meaning and practice of experience design. I've added Vanderbeeken's blog and company to our links.
posted by Bob Jacobson |