16 March 2006

Gadgets and the consequences of their design

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The July-August 2006 issue of Interactions, the human-computer interaction magazine published by ACM, will  focus on gadgets in all their glory, and the challenges and consequences faced by HCI professionals in making ever-smaller and ever-more-powerful devices both usable and desirable.

In an announcing article in the current issue of the magazine, Fred Sampson asks a number of interesting questions, and attempts some answers:

"Is gadget design driven by user requirements, or by novelty?"
"Are researchers and designers focused on usability and user-driven functionality?"
"Does any of the Mobile HCI research make it into real products that real users need or want?"
"Do designers of gadgets try to anticipate or control the uses to which users will put their devices?"
"Do they design for unintended consequences, positive or negative? Should they?"
"Can they encourage innovation after the device has left the manufacturer?"
"What’s the best design for any gadget when you don’t know the range of eventual creative uses?"
"What does HCI have to say about designing for unintended consequences, and about encouraging modifications and novel uses?"

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