Interactions Magazine

Reframing health to embrace design of our own well-being

Written for Interactions magazine by Hugh Dubberly, Rajiv Mehta, Shelley Evenson, Paul Pangaro.

*Editor’s Note: *

Improving healthcare is a wicked problem [1]. Healthcare’s many stakeholders can’t agree on a solution, because they don’t agree on the problem. They come to the discussion from different points of view, with different frames. Wicked problems can be “solved” only by reframing, by providing a new way of understanding the problem that stakeholders can share [1]. This article describes a growing trend: framing health in terms of well-being and broadening healthcare to include self-management. Self-management reframes patients as designers, an example of a shift also occurring in design practice—reframing users as designers. The article concludes with thoughts on what these changes may mean when designing for health.

—Hugh Dubberly

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The Language/Action Model of Conversation: Can conversation perform acts of design?

Written for Interactions magazine by Peter H. Jones.

Editor’s Note: * *In last year’s January + February issue Usman Haque, Paul Pangaro, and I described several types of interaction—reacting, regulating, learning, balancing, managing, and conversing. In the July + August 2009 issue, Paul Pangaro and I described several types of conversing—agreeing, learning, coordinating, and collaborating—and we proposed using models based on Gordon Pask’s Conversation Theory as a guide for improving human-computer interaction. Peter Jones responded, noting that there are other models of conversation and prior work in bringing conversation to human-computer interaction in particular Winograd and Flores 1986 work with The Coordinator. We agree on the importance of The Coordinator and invited Peter to outline the history of models of conversation and their relationship to HCI. His response follows.

—Hugh Dubberly

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A Model of Mobile Community: Designing User Interfaces to Support Group Interaction

Written for Interactions magazine by Youngho Rhee and Juyoun Lee.

Editor’s Note: * *This article proposes several models of community, including a model of “mobile community”—an extension of physical community merged with online community. The authors also provide examples of how these models have contributed to the development of community applications in their work at Samsung.

—Hugh Dubberly

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Building Support for Use-Based Design into Hardware Products

Written for Interactions magazine by Tim Misner.

Editor’s Note: * *Use-based design is a new model of product development. It is a process of measuring user behavior and applying the resulting data to improve the next version of a product—creating a feedback loop between user and designer. (We might refer to the process as data-driven design, but that term has another meaning among software developers.)

Basing design decisions on customer behavior has roots in mail-order catalogs of the late 19th century, such as Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck. Use-based design grew along with direct mail in the mid-20th century. More recently, the Web created opportunities for collecting data on user behavior. Google is famous for driving decisions with use data. But few designers have experience in basing decisions on data, and many are still uncomfortable with the practice.

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What is conversation? How can we design for effective conversation?

Written for Interactions magazine by Hugh Dubberly and Paul Pangaro.

Interaction describes a range of processes. A previous “On Modeling” article presented models of interaction based on the internal capacity of the systems doing the interacting [1]. At one extreme, there are simple reactive systems, such as a door that opens when you step on a mat or a search engine that returns results when you submit a query At the other extreme is conversation. Conversation is a progression of exchanges among participants. Each participant is a “learning system,” that is, a system that changes internally as a consequence of experience. This highly complex type of interaction is also quite powerful, for conversation is the means by which existing knowledge is conveyed and new knowledge is generated.

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Models of Models

Written for Interactions magazine by Hugh Dubberly.

Models are ideas about the world—how it might be organized and how it might work. Models describe relationships: parts that make up wholes; structures that bind them; and how parts behave in relation to one another.

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What is Interaction? Are There Different Types?

Written for Interactions magazine by Hugh Dubberly, Usman Haque, and Paul Pangaro.

When we discuss computer-human interaction and design for interaction, do we agree on the meaning of the term “interaction”? Has the subject been fully explored? Is the definition settled?

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An Evolving Map of Design Practice and Design Research

Written for Interactions magazine by Liz Sanders. Edited by Hugh Dubberly.

Design research is in a state of flux. The design research landscape has been the focus of a tremendous amount of exploration and growth over the past five to 10 years. It is currently a jumble of approaches that, while competing as well as complementary, nonetheless share a common goal: to drive, inspire, and inform the design development process.

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Design in The Age of Biology: Shifting From a Mechanical-Object Ethos to an Organic-Systems Ethos

Written for Interactions magazine by Hugh Dubberly.

In the early twentieth century, our understanding of physics changed rapidly; now, our understanding of biology is undergoing a similar rapid change.

Freeman Dyson wrote, “It is likely that biotechnology will dominate our lives and our economic activities during the second half of the twenty-first century, just as computer technology dominated our lives and our economy during the second half of the twentieth [1].”

Recent breakthroughs in biology are largely about information—understanding how organisms encode it, store, reproduce, transmit, and express it—mapping genomes, editing DNA sequences, mapping cell-signaling pathways.

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Learning Curves for Design

Written for Interactions magazine by Hugh Dubberly.

When businesspeople discuss growth, they often refer to S-curves or “hockey sticks”—diagrams depicting quantity changing over time, typically units sold per month or quarter. Growth begins slowly and gradually increases to an inflection point; from there it accelerates. Eventually, growth begins to slow and tapers off, for instance, as a market saturates or a system stabilizes at a new level.

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