24 June 2009

Intel’s Genevieve Bell on humanising technology

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Genevieve Bell
Malaysian newspaper The Star devotes plenty of space to user-centred design in three stories that feature the work of Genevieve Bell, Intel’s user experience director.

“Marrying” anthropology and science

“I still write and publish my work in academic journals. To me, what we do in companies like Intel is the cutting edge of anthropological study.

“We form a relationship with the consumer and represent their needs. It’s a moral obligation to tell their stories.

“We find out what makes people tick, not just so that we can sell them things, but to make life better for them by ensuring that people in small towns and emerging markets can afford it. We want to help create technology for more people.”

Annoying things device-users do

“The top responses for strange mobile etiquette behaviour ranged from making a cashier wait until a cellphone call was completed and texting while driving.

Other responses included using a laptop in a public toilet, as well as hearing typing and conversations at church, during a funeral, and in a doctor’s office.”

Better television

“My engineering colleagues were desperately convinced that everything was a PC waiting to happen.

“What is needed is to meaningfully blend television and the Internet. My research conclusion was clear – consumers love television and only put up with their PCs because they want to connect to the Internet.

“It’s clear that people care about social networking and its technologies so how to we bring that into TV sets?

“Imagine accessing Flicker or Twitter on your television without turning it into a PC ? We desire for television to do more but it must not be too complicated. The challenge is to create technology that can accommodate local content,” she says, noting that there is a huge space for advancement in consumer electronics, especially to “make television better”.

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