The Surface Dial and the Physical/Digital Divide in Interactions

Microsoft announced their new Surface Studio this week. It acts as an all-in-one computer, but with a modular screen that can be re-positioned to act as a drawing tablet. The idea of a computer screen that works as a drawing tablet is nothing new. Wacom and other companies have been producing devices like this for years. What’s new about this is the fact that Microsoft has made the screen an integral part of the computing device, rather than a peripheral that can be added later if needed.

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The Surface Studio. (Image Credit: https://news.microsoft.com/surface-studio-2/)

By doing this, Microsoft is bringing a novel interactive technique to a wider audience. Starting at $3,000, a fairly wealthy audience, but still, comparable in price to a high-end Wacom tablets + a professional graphic artist computer.

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A Place for Students to Shine at the ACM UIST Conference 2016 in Tokyo

The UIST student innovation contest (aka the “SIC”) is one of those rare moments in a student’s life: a chance to present work at the heart of one of the top venues in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). In fact, UIST (i.e., ACM’s conference for User Interface Software and Technology) is often acclaimed as the top conference for those driven by hardware / software novelty, mad inventors of the HCI kind, and the likes.

So if you are a student interested in HCI and never had a chance to visit one of the main conferences, here’s your chance; because the UIST SIC is not only a place to meet some of your favorite researchers while they try out your demo, it is also a remarkable conference to learn about the bleeding edge of the field, a financially supported opportunity for those teams that have less support by applying the UIST SIC travel grants,` a chance to get some fabulous prizes — there’s 3K USD for the winning teams but also participation awards — last but not least, it is your chance to get in touch with some novel hardware: electrical muscle stimulation:

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Thoughts on Usability studies

In the last months, I conducted a few usability studies and upon reflecting on these I decided to share my experience as it might be helpful to anyone starting on usability. This article attemps at summarizing my experience and thoughts on usability experiments.

When trying to start a usability study or experiment, the practitioner or researcher must answer some initial questions about their future work.

Regarding your research, in general, the most important question to answer  is “What is my motivation or why I am doing it?”. In a few words, as a  researcher, you must not only formulate your research question but also, its answer.

Research methods are here to help you create and solve a new question on usability, user experience and also, on human-computer interaction.

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The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intensions

A former colleague, a talented and accomplished user experience professional, recently wrote excitedly of her intension to attend an upcoming UX conference. It was a bit of a throwaway line, likely written in haste, but made in a public forum for consumption by contemporaries and customers alike. Her meaning was clear; the cringe from at least some in her audience equally so. Continue reading

Khandu Cards: Design for Kids… and grown-ups!

I recently received a set of Khandu cards after backing a Kickstarter. These cards are designed by a company called Seven Thinkers, their aim is to get kids thinking like designers early in life. I was interested immediately on reading about them, since part of my research focus is on the idea of design decks. I’ll have a paper published at CHI ’16 on the topic, and I’m working on another paper that will hopefully be accepted soon.

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The fictional characters of Khandu

Design decks are decks of cards that help us work through a design process. These cards work well, because they mix up the lessons that a novice designer needs to learn in order to be a successful designer. In this post, I’ll discuss the format of the Khandu cards, and what I see as the value for novice designers.

The Khandu cards are based on a fictional world where the Khandus live. The Khandus are visible on cards, and some of their problems are described in the challenges. The cards are broken up into several decks. Each comes in a bag with names printed on them for storage. The decks are themed: challenges, people, tools, and actions. The Tool cards are further subdivided into 4 decks: prototyping – materials, prototyping, ideation, and inspiration.

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