user experience

Mapping the Loss of Reflexivity in the Age of Narcissism

BRIDGET WALSH REGAN and AJAY REVELS PART I: AN EXPLOSION OF VOICES, BUT LITTLE SENSE-MAKING With the rise of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, as well as YouTube, and the popularity of blogs, there has been no other time where so many voices are being heard on so many topics. Personal blogs, many of which contain writing and photos and video are kept by 12 million Americans and are read by 57 million Americans. (Brown 2007) YouTube is a beacon site on the Web, a much-touted success story since it’s $1.6B acquisition by Google in November 2006. At the time of its acquisition 100 million videos were being watched on the Web every day. A BBC report in June of 2007 stated that “every minute of every day, six hours of fresh video are uploaded.” These numbers point to an explosion of personal stories, in text, pictures and video, available for any and all to digest. The ability to wander from one person’s story to another linked story to another and so on is infinite. It is easier than ever before to join in the...

The Cackle of Communities and the Managed Muteness of Market

JOHN W. SHERRY Researchers at EPIC face something of a trap. Situated in an ethos of twenty first century consumer capitalism, our professional duties overemphasize individual consumers, and the products of our research always diverge towards our respective corporations’ interests. As a result we have little basis for collective enterprise as a discipline. However, if we remember that human beings are always part of naturally occurring social systems (communities, work organizations, etc.) we might find we have more to say, both to our corporations and among ourselves. When we shift our perspective this way we find our work is as much about catalyzing human social systems as it is about understanding “the consumer.” This paper uses three examples from my own experience at Intel to explain, and highlights some implications of this shift: we must adopt multiple levels of analysis, attend to the fact that structures emerge from human interaction, and account for divergent interests, needs and abilities as these networks form....

Who We Talk about When We Talk about Users

KRIS R. COHEN I begin with some questions: how have the theories and methods which subtend design research been changed by their migration from academy to industry? How have they adapted to their new commercial culture? What languages and customs have they had to acquire to fit in? To address these questions, I consider a facet of design research which I think most problematically bears the marks of this passage: how we choose who we will study. I go on to think about both the causes and implications of exclusions so often resident in this choice. The ideal that drives my analysis forward is that design researchers are in the business of designing not products for “users,” but landscapes of possibility for public life. A final suggestion, inspired by my recent work on Internet-based personal photography and here briefly sketched, is that design researchers take the publicness of our work more seriously—that we design for it....