Björn Hartmann: Enlightened Trial and Error

Björn Hartmann (Stanford HCI Group) talks about the different prototyping tools he and his collaborators have built to address two research questions:

1) How can tools enable designers to create prototypes of ubiquitous computing interfaces?

2) How can design tools support the larger process of learning from these prototypes?

(Duration: 1 hour, 13 minutes; this is from Stanford’s HCI Seminar lecture series, February 2009; This is a more in-depth version of the talk Bjorn gave at Interaction 09)

The Patchwork Portal

Ton Zijlstra suggests a portal concept for work groups to cllaborate and exchange. His idea utilizes two weblgs, a wiki with an internal area and a discussion board. Ton patches together several tools for this (a Wikka Wiki, two WordPress blogs and a Simple Machines forum). That’s a way to go with almost no server administration involved: just using tools available on the net today. And it could be started right away by anyone.

I think that Plone just is the almost perfect tool for this. It allows to insert several blog and wiki instances within a Plone instance. Also, read/write access permissions are extremely fine grained, so every imaginable constellation of access rights could be implemented.

The problem with Plone: ZWiki is not as powerful as some other Wiki engines out there yet (well, it is, but you’d need to dig deep into it), CMFboard is just not as bugfree as other examples around and finaly Quills is a blog tool that misses some features and the funtionality of tools like WordPress. Last but not least: the skinning system of Plone is ultra-flexible but then very hard to control.

Mapping scientific literature

Students often ask for reading recommendations. The question of where to start is a question of what one already knows and what one is up to. There is no single path to take on. So most of the time I first try to give an overview about different types of literature.

Now I found this mapping of sociology literature (via Sebastién Paquets links) that seems to me a very useful classification in general – a very useful addition to the topical classification you see everywhere.

Creativity Techniques

Here is a site that contains descriptions about creativity techniques:

Below are listed a number of creativity techniques to help with creative thinking. Like most tools these creativity techniques all have their good and bad points. I like to think of these creativity techniques as tools in a toolbox in much the same way as my toolbox at home for DIY. It has a saw, spanner, hammer, knife and all sorts of other things in it, they are all very useful, but you have to pick the right tool (creativity technique) for each job. We will try and provide a little guidance along with each tool to let you know whether it’s best used for cutting paper or putting in nails.

Card sorting: a definitive guide

Donna Maurer and Todd Wafel get a hold on card sorting in the design process:

“Card sorting is a simple, reliable, and inexpensive method for gathering user input for an overall structure. It is most effective in the early stages of a (re)design. And while it’s not intended to be a silver bullet, when done correctly, it is instrumental in capturing helpful information to answer questions during the information design phase — ultimately making the product easier to use.”