Posted by: clare on: November 12, 2011
Two months ago, Panos Markopoulous gave his inaugural lecture on socio-digital experiences. I’ve written about that already, but have yet to describe the preceding symposium. This was a really cool few hours in which six people — hand-picked by Panos — came up to speak about their work and how it related to the theme of socio-digital experience.
It was a real variety of speakers, all coming in from different perspectives. Here’s a summary in list form:
Alan looked at experiences as ongoing and formed by our own perspectives
More detail on each follows.
Alan Dix spoke first: he was dressed up for the occasion (a button-up shirt!). His talk was entitled Extended Episodic Experience. He spoke on how in computing we can focus on single events (e.g. in hardware or modelling), which can impact how we design things for people, and may mean we perceive experiences as single events. He argued against this perspective, describing experience as extended (over protracted periods) and episodic (composed of linear, discrete events).
So, events may be interlinked: we rarely live in the present, but tend to look slightly into the future, based on the past (or into the past, as I am doing now!). We may be reflective or reflexive (pondering how others felt at the time, or how our reflections may seem to others). Experiences may also be intertwined: we forget isolated experiences, for example, remembering the things we reflect upon or that link directly with later events. Alan’s point (I believe!) is that experiences are ongoing, yet we shape experiences by our perceptions and descriptions thereof.
Next up was Boris de Ruyter from Philips. his talk entitled: ‘from technology development to social innovation’. He talked on how we have moved from technology to applications to user experience. He discussed a few examples of systems, before calling for ‘social innovation’, where social needs and business opportunities are combined.
Janet Read was next, from the Child Computer Interaction group at the University of Central Lancaster, with a talk entitled: “what I talk about when I talk about learning”. She’s an amazing speaker: immersive, using lots of stories as a way to make her point. She talked about her experiences as a child, then as a child observing adults, then as an adult/parent. Topics were playful learning, shared misunderstandings, learning from the teachers we like, perseverance, transferable skills, how children may not learn what you teach, and the impact of adults/teachers.
Wijnand IJsselsteijn spoke next, on Affective Social Computing. He talked about:
Albrecht Schmidt from Stuttgart University was fifth, and spoke on ‘designing and engineering computer systems that change the way we live’. He opened with a lovely point: HCI addresses problems which are very easily explained to the layman, while the solutions can look very obvious once they have been found (but not before!). True, that!
Albrecht spoke of how we’re realised Weiser’s vision of ubiquitous computing — people carry multiple devices on their persons, machines are everywhere. He thinks our understanding of privacy and what we consider private will radically change (hasn’t it already?), and that our tendency to share information like “Here is my lunch” or “I am making tea” may come from the fact that maybe we don’t share living spaces so much: if we did, such information would be implicit. He concluded with a life-logging vision where everything you see is streamed to the internet. Blimey.
The final speaker was Emile Aarts, also from Philips, who spoke about Ambient Intelligence. He talked about integrating user experience and data from society, the lab, and real life, calling for “a new science” which he referred to as “social innovation science”.
I especially enjoyed the material on the nature of experience and how children learn. We saw some brilliant examples of intriguing computer systems (affective and otherwise), and various ubicomp visions. It was a great precursor to Panos’ talk.