Interface Design based on the philosophy of Japanese Hospitality

Interface Design based on the philosophy of Japanese Hospitality

The Japanese culture is known for its excellent service and hospitality which is based onthe philosophy of Motenashi. This paper shows how aspects of Japanese hospitality can be applied to Interaction Design to enrich the sensual value of product interfaces. The analysis of Motenashi was undergone with literature on Japanese culture, guided interviews with Japanese and a documented visit of a traditional Japanese guest house. The three characteristic elements of the Japanese hospitality philosophy: 1. Shitsurai – the preparations for the guest, 2. Furumai – the behavior/attitude of host and guest and 3. Yosooi – the dressing code, are described in the paper. Examples on how to apply these to User Interface Design are given. E.g. Shitsurai, with its idea of a seasonally adjusted decoration, becomes a user interface that changes with season or daytime. Furumai reveals the importance of appropriate interactive behavior. This involves the flow of tasksand the voice/speech style as well as the evolution of the user’s relationship with his device. In the final part a conceptual approach for the design of Motenashi interfaces is outlined.

Read the full paper on Academia.edu.

Kerstin Bongard-Blanchy, “Interface Design based on the philosophy of Japanese Hospitality” in Proceedings of Design & Emotion, Chicago, Oct. 2010

Seen on FastCo.Design.

Digital Games as a Source of Enjoyment in Later Life

Digital Games as a Source of Enjoyment in Later Life

As playing digital games has become a popular pastime among older adults, the study of the older audience of digital games would do well to exchange exploratory research for more specialist and focused areas. This article follows this reasoning and focuses on game enjoyment in later life. This topic is explored through two qualitative studies with actively playing older adults. The first study (n = 35, aged between 49 and 73) took place in Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium), while the second study (n = 40, aged between 44 and 77) was held in the U.S.A. (Virginia and Kentucky). Using the principles of Grounded Theory, three interpretations of game enjoyment in later life were identified, namely, telic, hedonic, and eudaimonic enjoyment. The article offers a number of design recommendations based on its findings and discusses how the interpretations are influenced by context and player gender, and are subject to change throughout the life span of an aging player.

Read the full paper.

Bob De Schutter, Julie A. Brown, “Digital Games as a Source of Enjoyment in Later Life” in Games and Culture, July 12 2015.

Coffeepot for Masochists: A Study in User-Centered System Design

Coffeepot for Masochists: A Study in User-Centered System Design

In this dissertation, Azad Ismail-Abas focus on evaluating different methods of creating a reliable user interface application to assist users of SeMiFOT.

The abstract

This master thesis is carried out in the field of “Human-Computer interaction”, more specifically the area “User-centered system design”. The focus has been on “usability” and useful graphical user interfaces. Current theories and definitions in the field have been considered. Literature studies contain well known authors and organisations in domains mentioned above; Jakob Nielsen, Donald A Norman and International Organization for Standardization ISO to mention some.

Another source for this work from which the theories and way of working have been used is the book “User-Centered System Design” written by Jan Gulliksen and Bengt Göransson. The work started with a literature study followed by looking at methods to use. The next step was to do task and user analysis which followed by the development phase. The user has been given a central role in this project and, just as recommended, also been involved through the whole cycle.

A useful method to get feedback from users, in addition to interviews and workshops, has been the “Heuristic Evaluation”. The final result and conclusion shows that the user-centered system design is a powerful tool to adapt when designing and developing interactive user interface.

Download the full dissertation.

HoloLens for Research: Academic Research Request for Proposals

HoloLens for Research: Academic Research Request for Proposals

 Microsoft has published a call for research proposal – HoloLens for Research – with the goal “to better understand the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society […] and encourage applications of holograms for novel purposes”. Deadline: September 5, 2015 (Midnight, Pacific Time).

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Gamification and human-machine interaction: a synthesis

Gamification and human-machine interaction: a synthesis

Cathie Marache-Francisco, Éric Brangier, “ Gamification and human-machine interaction: a synthesis ”, Le travail humain 2/2015 (Vol. 78) , p. 165-189. From the abstract:

Gamification deals with new human-machine interaction design practices. It consists of elements which are inspired from videogames, with the hope that this relationship which is designed to be more hedonic, engaging and motivating, will lead to positive changes within human-machine interactions, especially when applied to work practices and productivity matters. In this article, we present a synthesis of that notion, paralleled with ergonomics, concerning its definition and its design.

We first draw a definition from the gamification literature. It can be considered as the use of game elements in generally digital non-gaming systems which are adapted to the users’ profiles in order to generate motivation and engagement, with a focus on pleasurable experiences, even fun ones. We also mention the context of emergence of gamification. We then define and illustrate gamification design.

Afterwards, this paper highlights critical factors which could help the ergonomist to participate in the design of efficient and satisfactory gamified systems. We then broaden this discussion to analyze the core meaning of gamification at work: the promise of flourishing and engagement through innovative interactions, as well as the production of competitive knowledge.

Download the full paper (in French).


Social signifiers – train station (empty track)

Don Norman: from affordance to social signifiers

Published in ACM Interactions, volume 15, issue 6 (and later in Living with Complexity), this article is an interesting take on affordance – one of the founding topic of HCI.

Moving from (ecological) psychology to (social and cognitive) semiotics, Don Norman reflects upon the idea of “social signifiers” – the trails, clues, or other people behaviours.

At the core of his proposal there is a new scenario where our interaction with systems is shaped by situations, experience, and people rather than simple objects.

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Using game mechanics for field evaluation of prototype social applications: a novel methodology

In this paper, Amon Rapp, Federica Cena, Cristina Gena, Alessandro Marcengo and Luca Console present “a novel methodology to evaluate a social media application in its formative phase of design. Taking advantage of the experiences developed in the Alternate Reality Games, we propose to insert game mechanics in the test setting of a formative evaluation of a prototypical social system. As a use case, we present the evaluation of WantEat, a prototypical social mobile application in the gastronomical domain. The evaluation highlighted how the gamification of a field trial can yield good results when evaluating social applications in prototypical status. From a methodological point of view, gamifying a field trial overcomes the cold start problem, caused by the absence of active communities, which can prevent the participation of users and therefore the collection of reliable data. Our experience showed that the gamification of a field evaluation is feasible and can likely increase the quantity of both browsing actions and social actions performed by users. Based on these results, we then are able to provide a set of guidelines to gamify the evaluation session of an interactive system”.

Download the research.

Learning from Mixed-Reality Games: Is Shaking a Tablet as Effective as Physical Observation?

Researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University have published a study on the power of educational games with a “tangible” side.

Using the Microsoft’s Kinect  to enhance an educational game about elementary physics, they have found that the introduction of physical objects “along with Kinect improved the effectiveness of learning by nearly five times compared to an equivalent screen-only experience”.

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An Image is Worth More than a Thousand Favorites: Surfacing the Hidden Beauty of Flickr Pictures

An Image is Worth More than a Thousand Favorites: Surfacing the Hidden Beauty of Flickr Pictures

Rossano Schifanella (University of Turin, Italy) and Miriam Redi and Luca Maria Aiello (Yahoo Labs in Barcelona, Spain) have taught a machine vision algorithm to recognise beauty. In order to test it, they have used a set of Flickr images looking for those pictures nobody noticed. In doing so, they sheds a light on the relationship between quality and popularity of images on social media.

From the abstract:

The dynamics of attention in social media tend to obey power laws. Attention concentrates on a relatively small number of popular items and neglecting the vast majority of content produced by the crowd. Although popularity can be an indication of the perceived value of an item within its community, previous research has hinted to the fact that popularity is distinct from intrinsic quality. As a result, content with low visibility but high quality lurks in the tail of the popularity distribution. This phenomenon can be particularly evident in the case of photo-sharing communities, where valuable photographers who are not highly engaged in online social interactions contribute with high-quality pictures that remain unseen. We propose to use a computer vision method to surface beautiful pictures from the immense pool of near-zero-popularity items, and we test it on a large dataset of creative-commons photos on Flickr. By gathering a large crowdsourced ground truth of aesthetics scores for Flickr images, we show that our method retrieves photos whose median perceived beauty score is equal to the most popular ones, and whose average is lower by only 1.5%.

Download the full article (pdf).