Examples of Advancements in Design

22 Jun 2008 - 7:57am
6 years ago
3 replies
734 reads
ambroselittle
2008

Hi folks,

Following up on the recent thread about higher degrees in design and such, I
find myself very curious to know about how current or past research/higher
degrees have already advanced interaction design. Do you all have any
examples of, e.g., dissertations, theses, acadmic projects, or professional
work from folks with higher degrees that have concretely advanced the field
of design?

I think of Norman's POET (or DOET :)) as maybe such an example of research
having a notable influence (not sure if it was innovative, though--maybe
someone with more experience/knowledge of the field could chime in on that
point). Also, Designing Interactions has some interesting stories along
these lines; interestingly, seems like most of those were spurred more by
private (not academic) interests/investment. Have there been more
recent innovations that came out of research programs that either have or
you think will have notable impact?

--Ambrose

Comments

22 Jun 2008 - 12:39pm
Christine Boese
2006

I'm a bit out of the loop for "recent," but just to rail off a few from the
top of my head:

Moodle, the open source e-learning courseware support platform, has arisen
largely from academic research into pedagogical interface design.

Most of the best research into advanced VR interfaces and evolving interface
conventions have come out of academic research labs. Carnegie Melon is
starting to really kick ass in this area too, aren't they? Beyond CAVE and
the other usual suspects.

The most rigorous HCI and usability testing methods can be found in
academia, which is not bound by many of the expediencies that can bias
results, such as you find in industry usability practices, which are often
very sloppy and possibly invalid most of the time.

Then, when you add in the innovations in wearable computing interfaces,
ubiquitous computing/ambient interface effects, and interactive cinema
interfaces that have come out of places like the MIT Media Lab and GA Tech,
I'd say the scale tips way over into academic research as being quite a bit
more innovative.

You could also count Google coming out of Stanford, right? At a time when
everyone thought that search interfaces were cluttered portals, and that no
new innovation could come into that area. Take Stanford out of the picture,
and would you even have Google? (going back into the day... we could also
link Lycos to CMU, and didn't WebCrawler come out of a university as well?)

Again, I hearken back to history, but a lot more has come out of NCSA at
Champaign Urbana than just Marc Andreessen.

Perhaps most significantly, we might notice one interface in particular that
DIDN'T come out of academia, or really what anyone would call "industry" for
that matter either: blogs. After the development of the graphical browser at
NCSA in 1993, I'd say the innovation brought about by blogs (and not just
Dave Winer and RSS) has had the largest effect on the landscape of the
Internet. Hum, maybe no. I might have to put Google ahead of blogs and RSS,
and social media after that.

Think of how we can now divide our universe. For a while, it was pre-web,
and post-web. Now, I like to refer to our world as BG and AG, meaning Before
Google, and After Google. I think also we are reaching the point where we
might also make a division of the world into BB and AB, meaning Before
Blogosphere, and After Blogosphere.

Chris

On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 9:57 AM, J. Ambrose Little <ambrose at aspalliance.com>
wrote:

> Hi folks,
>
> Following up on the recent thread about higher degrees in design and such,
> I
> find myself very curious to know about how current or past research/higher
> degrees have already advanced interaction design. Do you all have any
> examples of, e.g., dissertations, theses, acadmic projects, or professional
> work from folks with higher degrees that have concretely advanced the field
> of design?
>
> I think of Norman's POET (or DOET :)) as maybe such an example of research
> having a notable influence (not sure if it was innovative, though--maybe
> someone with more experience/knowledge of the field could chime in on that
> point). Also, Designing Interactions has some interesting stories along
> these lines; interestingly, seems like most of those were spurred more by
> private (not academic) interests/investment. Have there been more
> recent innovations that came out of research programs that either have or
> you think will have notable impact?
>
> --Ambrose
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

22 Jun 2008 - 1:38pm
Donna Fritzsche
2005

Hi Cristine and all,

Interesting discussion and points,

Actually fairly equivalent precursors to Google were invented pre-1990 by the
folks at Thinking Machines (notably, Danny Hillis, Brewster Kahle, Craig
Stanfill and David Waltz). The program ran on massively parallel computers on
about 5 years worth of the Wall Street Journal.
The interface and functionality were pretty similar to Google (and it probably
offered some secondary functionality that Google doesn't offer - I don't know
enough about the Google algorithm to directly speak to it.)

Another point to consider - is - that it is the technology underlying Google
that allows its interface to be so simple.

(as a note, most people who played a role in TMC's text retrieval project were
phd's from MIT, although though it should be mentioned - in light of this set
of discussions - that Brewster has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical
Engineering from MIT).

two references:
http://battellemedia.com/archives/000712.php
http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=7907&dl=ACM&coll=portal&CFID=33592154&CFTOKEN=39196368

Thanks,

Donna Fritzsche
Information Architect/Ontologist

On Sun, 22 Jun 2008 14:39:53 -0400, Christine Boese wrote
> I'm a bit out of the loop for "recent," but just to rail off a few
> from the top of my head:
>
> Moodle, the open source e-learning courseware support platform, has arisen
> largely from academic research into pedagogical interface design.
>
> Most of the best research into advanced VR interfaces and evolving interface
> conventions have come out of academic research labs. Carnegie Melon
> is starting to really kick ass in this area too, aren't they? Beyond
> CAVE and the other usual suspects.
>
> The most rigorous HCI and usability testing methods can be found in
> academia, which is not bound by many of the expediencies that can
> bias results, such as you find in industry usability practices,
> which are often very sloppy and possibly invalid most of the time.
>
> Then, when you add in the innovations in wearable computing
> interfaces, ubiquitous computing/ambient interface effects, and
> interactive cinema interfaces that have come out of places like the
> MIT Media Lab and GA Tech, I'd say the scale tips way over into
> academic research as being quite a bit more innovative.
>
> You could also count Google coming out of Stanford, right? At a time
> when everyone thought that search interfaces were cluttered portals,
> and that no new innovation could come into that area. Take Stanford
> out of the picture, and would you even have Google? (going back
> into the day... we could also link Lycos to CMU, and didn't
> WebCrawler come out of a university as well?)
>
> Again, I hearken back to history, but a lot more has come out of
> NCSA at Champaign Urbana than just Marc Andreessen.
>
> Perhaps most significantly, we might notice one interface in
> particular that DIDN'T come out of academia, or really what anyone
> would call "industry" for that matter either: blogs. After the
> development of the graphical browser at NCSA in 1993, I'd say the
> innovation brought about by blogs (and not just Dave Winer and RSS)
> has had the largest effect on the landscape of the Internet. Hum,
> maybe no. I might have to put Google ahead of blogs and RSS, and
> social media after that.
>
> Think of how we can now divide our universe. For a while, it was pre-
> web, and post-web. Now, I like to refer to our world as BG and AG,
> meaning Before Google, and After Google. I think also we are
> reaching the point where we might also make a division of the world
> into BB and AB, meaning Before Blogosphere, and After Blogosphere.
>
> Chris
>

22 Jun 2008 - 2:19pm
Christine Boese
2006

Thanks Donna! Interesting info and historical perspective.

Dunno which part of Google is limited to interaction design, but would we
love the basic interaction of a single uncluttered text entry field for
searching if it didn't have the screaming fast Google back-end and
algorithms behind it?

Yet the innovation, over other search predecessors, from a user's
standpoint, was the simplified interface, and the willingness to devote all
attention to search, rather than the distractions created by portal links
and advertisers.

However, the history of search is very interesting, and into this mix, I'd
also throw U of Minnesota's gopher system, with Archie and Veronica.

Funny, isn't it, for those of us who roamed around online in command line,
pre-web days, that when you reflect upon them, the absence of search gave
life more of an "exploring an unknown woods" feeling, but now, looking back,
I'd say it really was more like exploring an unknown woods while wearing a
blindfold. Even with Archie and Veronica.

Chris

On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 3:38 PM, Donna M. Fritzsche <donnamarie at amichi.info>
wrote:

> Hi Cristine and all,
>
> Interesting discussion and points,
>
> Actually fairly equivalent precursors to Google were invented pre-1990 by
> the
> folks at Thinking Machines (notably, Danny Hillis, Brewster Kahle, Craig
> Stanfill and David Waltz). The program ran on massively parallel computers
> on
> about 5 years worth of the Wall Street Journal.
> The interface and functionality were pretty similar to Google (and it
> probably
> offered some secondary functionality that Google doesn't offer - I don't
> know
> enough about the Google algorithm to directly speak to it.)
>
> Another point to consider - is - that it is the technology underlying
> Google
> that allows its interface to be so simple.
>
> (as a note, most people who played a role in TMC's text retrieval project
> were
> phd's from MIT, although though it should be mentioned - in light of this
> set
> of discussions - that Brewster has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical
> Engineering from MIT).
>
> two references:
> http://battellemedia.com/archives/000712.php
>
> http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=7907&dl=ACM&coll=portal&CFID=33592154&CFTOKEN=39196368
>
> Thanks,
>
> Donna Fritzsche
> Information Architect/Ontologist
>
>
>
>
> On Sun, 22 Jun 2008 14:39:53 -0400, Christine Boese wrote
> > I'm a bit out of the loop for "recent," but just to rail off a few
> > from the top of my head:
> >
> > Moodle, the open source e-learning courseware support platform, has
> arisen
> > largely from academic research into pedagogical interface design.
> >
> > Most of the best research into advanced VR interfaces and evolving
> interface
> > conventions have come out of academic research labs. Carnegie Melon
> > is starting to really kick ass in this area too, aren't they? Beyond
> > CAVE and the other usual suspects.
> >
> > The most rigorous HCI and usability testing methods can be found in
> > academia, which is not bound by many of the expediencies that can
> > bias results, such as you find in industry usability practices,
> > which are often very sloppy and possibly invalid most of the time.
> >
> > Then, when you add in the innovations in wearable computing
> > interfaces, ubiquitous computing/ambient interface effects, and
> > interactive cinema interfaces that have come out of places like the
> > MIT Media Lab and GA Tech, I'd say the scale tips way over into
> > academic research as being quite a bit more innovative.
> >
> > You could also count Google coming out of Stanford, right? At a time
> > when everyone thought that search interfaces were cluttered portals,
> > and that no new innovation could come into that area. Take Stanford
> > out of the picture, and would you even have Google? (going back
> > into the day... we could also link Lycos to CMU, and didn't
> > WebCrawler come out of a university as well?)
> >
> > Again, I hearken back to history, but a lot more has come out of
> > NCSA at Champaign Urbana than just Marc Andreessen.
> >
> > Perhaps most significantly, we might notice one interface in
> > particular that DIDN'T come out of academia, or really what anyone
> > would call "industry" for that matter either: blogs. After the
> > development of the graphical browser at NCSA in 1993, I'd say the
> > innovation brought about by blogs (and not just Dave Winer and RSS)
> > has had the largest effect on the landscape of the Internet. Hum,
> > maybe no. I might have to put Google ahead of blogs and RSS, and
> > social media after that.
> >
> > Think of how we can now divide our universe. For a while, it was pre-
> > web, and post-web. Now, I like to refer to our world as BG and AG,
> > meaning Before Google, and After Google. I think also we are
> > reaching the point where we might also make a division of the world
> > into BB and AB, meaning Before Blogosphere, and After Blogosphere.
> >
> > Chris
> >
>
>

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