“No one’s laughing at the lenses”, or the service-dominant logic of my new pair of specs

I'm typing this on the sofa. Across the living room, the laptop display is mirrored to the television. I can comfortably read them both. Unremarkable to you, maybe. To me it seems like magic because just before Christmas I picked up my first pair of varifocals. While people have been complimenting me on the frames … Continue reading “No one’s laughing at the lenses”, or the service-dominant logic of my new pair of specs

In shared light: why making thing visible makes things better

“In Elizabethan amphitheatres, like the 1599 Globe Theatre, performances took place in ‘shared light’. Under such conditions, actors and audiences would be able to see each other... This attention to a key original playing condition of Shakespeare's theatre enables the actors to play 'with' rather than 'to' or 'at' audiences. Actors therefore develop their ability … Continue reading In shared light: why making thing visible makes things better

And yet it moves! Digital and self-organising teams with a little help from Galileo

This summer, after a lovely 2 week holiday in Tuscany, I returned to Leeds and straight into a classroom full of government senior leaders discussing agile and user-centred design. Their challenges set me thinking once more about the relationship between technology and social relations in the world of work. One well-known story from the Italy … Continue reading And yet it moves! Digital and self-organising teams with a little help from Galileo

At dConstruct, the real world is calling. It wants its designers back

Kelly Goto stands on the stage at Brighton's Dome, head down, staring at her palm, a perfect mimic of the modern smartphone user, and issues a simple challenge to the dConstruct audience: "Help people to stay upright." This is the pivotal moment at which digital design finds itself. After decades training people to gaze into … Continue reading At dConstruct, the real world is calling. It wants its designers back

Mobile experience in use and ornament

Thanks to @MrAlanCooper for highlighting Rahul Sen's beautifully-written piece on the relevance of the Bauhaus movement to modern-day interaction design. The world would be a better place if more designers could cultivate such a deep appreciation of the history. I tried to  comment on the Johnny Holland blog but was foiled by the pernicious Recaptcha, … Continue reading Mobile experience in use and ornament

The Best Thing in the Helsinki Design Museum

A day in Helsinki with my wife and three lively sons included a visit to the Design Museum. We enjoyed the permanent exhibition on the ground floor. It raised questions about what is designed and how. Also, what belongs in a design museum: Aalvar Aalto, kitchenware, ceramics, chairs, lots more chairs, and - being in … Continue reading The Best Thing in the Helsinki Design Museum

When too much perspective can be a bad thing

An article by my former colleague and TEDx Leeds speaker Norman Lewis reminds me of an ingenious device imagined by Douglas Adams in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Yes, I know you all like a good Douglas Adams quote. First, though, listen to Norman, writing about ‘Millennials’ and Enterprise2.0 on his Futures … Continue reading When too much perspective can be a bad thing

Enter your 16-digit card number folllowed by Arghhh

So I got home late last night and opened a letter containing a replacement bank card. To activate it I had to call one of those automated phone lines. It taught me something interesting. Though standing in the living room just a few feet from a landline phone, I reached for the phone that is … Continue reading Enter your 16-digit card number folllowed by Arghhh

On newsprint: the potency of cheap paper

This post was going to be all about newspapers, but the more I thought about it the more I realised that before writing about the news I have to explain the paper, specifically the cheap, low quality paper we call newsprint. It's a fascinating story which, I think, explains why short-run, nichepaper projects such as Newspaper Club … Continue reading On newsprint: the potency of cheap paper

Mobile Gothic: a flight of fancy

I've always found it strange that Eric S. Raymond chose the cathedral as his metaphor for closed development in free software, because the construction of our great medieval cathedrals must have been a very open process. Passing peasants were doubtless discouraged from picking up a chisel to hack at the nearest stone, but Gothic buildings … Continue reading Mobile Gothic: a flight of fancy

Temple Works 3.0 Alpha

In December I blogged about the perilous state of Leeds' Temple Works. Neglected for several years, this Grade I-listed building had suffered a partial collapse, blocking the road outside with shattered masonry and opening up a gaping hole in the roof where sheep once grazed on a covering of grass. Six months on, I'm pleased to report … Continue reading Temple Works 3.0 Alpha

Duck, dive, scribble, spray – now gestural interfaces are within everyone’s reach

Lower down this post, you'll probably find some high-flown stuff about gestural user interfaces going mainstream, but in all honesty the thread that joins together the following two-and-a-half things is that they've all left me grinning like a fool. A hand-waving grinning fool. And a bobbing my head up and down like Churchill the nodding … Continue reading Duck, dive, scribble, spray – now gestural interfaces are within everyone’s reach

Play Small: why mobile challenges designers to make a better web

In a single Noisy Decent Graphics post, Ben Terrett effortlessly segues between my two preoccupations of the moment - agonised middle-class parenting, and the superiority of mobile web over fixed. How could I resist? "City kids are not like country kids", he notes, "... the space available to play is smaller... so they learn to play smaller." … Continue reading Play Small: why mobile challenges designers to make a better web

Brushed chrome – the story of Google’s browser in comic book form

What a stroke of genius to commission Scott McCloud to tell the story of Google's new web browser, Chrome, in comic form. McCloud's own books have communicated his enthusiasm for the past, present and future of comics themselves. Now his fluid, conversational style perfectly captures the diverse passions of project team members - passions that … Continue reading Brushed chrome – the story of Google’s browser in comic book form