"At the beginning of 2011 we started a wide-ranging conversation with Google Creative Lab, discussing near-future experiences of Google and its products. They had already in mind another brief before approaching us, to create a physical product encapsulating Google voice/video chat services. This brief became known as 'Connection Box' or 'Connbox' for short…
There were interaction & product design challenges in making a simpler, self-contained video chat appliance, amplified by the problem of taking the things we take for granted on the desktop or touchscreen: things like the standard UI, windowing, inputs and outputs, that all had to be re-imagined as physical controls.
This is not a simple translation between a software and hardware behaviour, it’s more than just turning software controls into physical switches or levers.
It involves choosing what to discard, what to keep and what to emphasise.
Should the product allow ‘ringing’ or ‘knocking’ to kickstart a conversation, or should it rely on other audio or visual cues? How do we encourage always-on, ambient, background presence with the possibility of spontaneous conversations and ad-hoc, playful exchanges? Existing ‘video calling’ UI is not set up to encourage this, so what is the new model of the interaction?
To do this we explored in abstract some of the product behaviours around communicating through video and audio. "
(Matt Jones, 26 February 2013, Berg Ltd)
"Universal design is a term that was first used in the United States by Ron Mace (1985) although forms of it were quite prevalent in Europe long before. For the purpose of this chapter Universal Design is defined as 'the design of all products and environments to be usable by people of all ages and abilities to the greatest extent possible (Story, 2001, p.10.3). Universal design in recent years has assumed growing importance as a new paradigm that aims at a holistic approach ranging in scale from product design (Balaram, 2001) to architecture (Mace, 1985), and urban design (Steinfield, 2001) on one hand and systems of media (Goldberg, 2001) and information technology (Brewer, 2001) on the other.
Given the popularity, Universal design still remains largely atheoretical i..e. the researchers of Universal design do not explicitly affiliate themselves to any form of theoretical paradigm. One of the reason is perhaps because Universal design is a melting point between cross paradigms. By paradigms I mean basic orientations to theory and research (Newman, 1997, p.62). In this sense Universal design can come under functionalist paradigm (because it caters to utility), pragmatic (because it is instrumental in nature), positivistic (because it strives for universal principles), normative (because it prescribes certain rules) and critical theorist paradigms (because it gives voice to the oppressed).
Conventionally the word universal is synonymous to general and refers to a set of principles that are stable, timeless and value free. In this sense universal design could be interpreted as deriving from a positivist paradigm. However, given its history and perspective, and with the universal design examples I provide, I will demonstrate several instances where the universals do change, are time bound and value laden. In this sense I argue that Universal design follows a critical theory paradigm in its conception and knowledge generation. By conception I mean how universal design came into being as a body of concepts and by knowledge generation I mean how the concepts pervade and are shared by the community of researchers."
(Newton D'Souza, 2004)
D’souza, N.: 2004, Chapter 1: "Is Universal Design a Critical Theory?" Keates, S., Clarkson, J., Langdon, P., Robinson, P. (eds.) Designing a more Inclusive World. Springer - Verlog, pp: 3-10, 5th University of Cambridge, UK.
"Joep Frens, Designer/Researcher and Assistant Professor in the 'Designing Quality in Interaction' group at Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. Joep's work explores how to design for (growing) systems and the power of 'making' as a physical way of thinking. He takes a 'hands-on' approach to design based in the research-through-design method and regularly gives workshops on cardboard modeling.
Joep is a designer/researcher from the Netherlands. He holds a master degree in Industrial Design Engineering from Delft University of Technology and a doctoral degree from Eindhoven University of Technology on a thesis called: 'Designing for Rich Interaction: Integrating Form, Interaction, and Function' (2006). Currently he is assistant professor in the 'Designing Quality in Interaction' group at the same university. He teaches several courses at bachelor and master level and supervises several PhD students.
In his teaching and research Joep tries to bring together two of his fascinations: the question of how to design for (growing) systems and the power of making as a physical way of thinking. He takes a hands-on approach and is well versed in the research-through-design method. He regularly gives workshops on cardboard modeling and runs a website around the technique.
Before his doctoral research he spent a year at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH), and after he has been invited to teach and lecture in the USA (CMU), Germany (HFGSG, FHD), South-Korea (KAIST), China (Tsinghua University, Jiangnan university), Belgium (UA) and at several universities in the Netherlands.
Joep's lecture occurred Wednesday, October 1st at 5:00pm in MMCH A14."