Andy Polaine

Andy Polaine

866 Posts
How To Use An Experience Portfolio To Plan Your Career

How To Use An Experience Portfolio To Plan Your Career

Roles and titles are abstractions from the actual day-to-day work activities you do, but it’s easy to get caught in the trap of climbing a title ladder …

How rules set you free to give great feedback

How rules set you free to give great feedback

Rather than being constraints how can rules set you and your teams free? How can this help you give great feedback and raise the quality of design work from …

Understanding Your Thinking & Communication Style

Understanding Your Thinking & Communication Style

A classic human bias is to assume everybody else thinks the way we do, but of course they do not. Understanding your thinking style and how you manage that when …

Presenting your portfolio and yourself for interviews

Presenting your portfolio and yourself for interviews

When people will present their portfolios of work, they often forget the most important thing, which is the storytelling about themselves. Every week I spend my …

Why does quitting your job make it more enjoyable?

Why does quitting your job make it more enjoyable?

Why do people have the best days of their jobs when they’ve just quit? And what can it tell us about how we relate to work? Every week I spend my days …

Management & Leadership as Slow-Motion facilitation

Management & Leadership as Slow-Motion facilitation

Instead of thinking you have to become a business suit as a design leader, what if you think about management and leadership as slow-motion facilitation, using …

Starting at the End + Avoiding Pointless Meetings

Starting at the End + Avoiding Pointless Meetings

Every week I spend my days coaching design leaders. In these videos, I reflect upon common themes and questions that came up. This week, getting started by …

Scaling Yourself + Two Tricks for Clarity & Stakeholder Management

Scaling Yourself + Two Tricks for Clarity & Stakeholder Management

Every week I spend my days coaching design leaders. And in these short videos, I reflect on common themes and questions that come up. Last week. I talked a bit …

Indi Young — Mental Models and Thinking Styles

Indi Young — Mental Models and Thinking Styles

My guest in this episode is Indi Young, a solution strategist who uses purpose-focused qualitative data science. She created her method over a 30-year span, and …

Managing Up and Meta-Communication

Managing Up and Meta-Communication

I spend my days coaching design leaders, helping them improve themselves and their organisations. Since so many common themes and interesting questions come up, …

Are you my 100th coachee?

Are you my 100th coachee?

Although I have been mentoring designers of all levels for years as part of my work, I am formally in the fifth year of my design leadership coaching practice. …

Oliver Reichenstein - Keeping it real when writing with AI

Oliver Reichenstein - Keeping it real when writing with AI

While every app rushes to add an AI assistant, iA Writer’s Oliver Reichenstein asks, “Why should I bother reading what you haven’t …

Jaimes Nel - Do design frameworks lead to boring products and services?

Jaimes Nel - Do design frameworks lead to boring products and services?

Has the product and design obsession with frameworks and process led to everyone working on autopilot, churning out a bland monoculture of design? When are they …

Mediocrity and the current state of design

Mediocrity and the current state of design

I wrote a long essay in my newsletter about mediocrity and the current state of design. It was largely in response to Robert Fabricant’s The big design …

Peter Merholz - State of the Design Nation

Peter Merholz - State of the Design Nation

My guest in this episode is Peter Merholz. We talked about the state of the design nation, the burst bubble of the Cambrian explosion of design from the last …

Defensive Calendaring Tips

Defensive Calendaring Tips

As part of my book writing process, I have been putting out videos on my YouTube channel about the topics and sections I’m writing. Many people will tell …

Linn Vizard — Service Design for Real World Outcomes

Linn Vizard — Service Design for Real World Outcomes

My guest in this episode is Linn Vizard, one of Canada’s leading advocates of service design who co-founded Service Design Toronto in 2013. She’s the …

Leaving Substack

Leaving Substack

Just a quick note to say that I will be moving Doctor’s Note from Substack to Buttondown1. You don’t need to do anything to remain subscribed and the archive …

Leading versus Enabling

Leading versus Enabling

Although I coach design leaders for a living the obsession and even the word “leadership” has always made me uncomfortable. The kinds of articles you find in …

Busywork is junk food

Busywork is junk food

Back to back meetings, clearing through email and Slack messages, admin might feel like work, but isn’t really purposeful. It’s just busywork and …

YouTube Channel for Design Leadership Coaching Tips

YouTube Channel for Design Leadership Coaching Tips

I recently launched my YouTube channel with a new series of videos of advice, tips and thoughts about the journey into creative leadership, based on 30 years of …

Aparna Rae – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Requires Deep Structural Change

Aparna Rae – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Requires Deep Structural Change

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the workplace requires data, but also deep structural change and the most powerful lever is transparency, argues my guest, …

Sara Wachter-Boettcher – Breaking the Gaslighting Cycle of People Pleasing & Overwork

Sara Wachter-Boettcher – Breaking the Gaslighting Cycle of People Pleasing & Overwork

In this episode I’m joined by Sara Wachter-Boettcher, an author, speaker, coach and strategist dedicated to changing design and tech for good. If you are …

Alison Coward - Workshop Culture

Alison Coward - Workshop Culture

This episode’s guest is Alison Coward, a strategist, workshop facilitator, coach, and an author with 20 years’ experience in leading creative teams. …

Kate Tarling - The Service Organization

Kate Tarling - The Service Organization

My guest in this episode is Kate Tarling, a service leader and specialist who helps large organisations create successful services, by changing their working …

Pierce Otlhogile-Gordon – The Space Between Transformation and Liberation

Pierce Otlhogile-Gordon – The Space Between Transformation and Liberation

My guest in this episode is Dr Pierce Otlhogile-Gordon, known as Doctor OG, an innovation catalyst, researcher, facilitator, and evaluator, based in Botswana. …

Talking Design Leadership on The Wicked Podcast

Talking Design Leadership on The Wicked Podcast

I tend to be an extroverted thinker, which means I need to talk (or write) about half-formed ideas in my head in order to reflect upon them and make sense of …

The Demise of Wise

The Demise of Wise

I recently had a terrible experience with Wise (formerly Transferwise) arbitrarily suspending my account that turned me from an evangelist to a detractor in the …

Navigating the Leadership Dip Book

Navigating the Leadership Dip Book

I’m planning a new book on the psychological experience of transitioning into creative leadership. From my coaching practice, I know the shift from IC to …

Sheryl Cababa – Systems Thinking for Designers

Sheryl Cababa – Systems Thinking for Designers

My guest in this episode is Sheryl Cababa, author of Closing the Loop: Systems Thinking for Designers. Sheryl is a design researcher and strategist, and is the …

Alex Schmidt – Deliberate Intervention

Alex Schmidt – Deliberate Intervention

My guest in this episode is Alex Schmidt, author of Deliberate Intervention: Using Policy and Design to Blunt the Harms of New Technology published by Rosenfeld …

Fear & Anxiety in Stakeholderland

Fear & Anxiety in Stakeholderland

A common topic that comes up in my design leadership coaching is a difficult relationship with a senior stakeholder. For design folks, used to opining about …

Abby Covert - Stuck? Diagrams Help

Abby Covert - Stuck? Diagrams Help

My guest in this episode is the wonderful Abby Covert, an author, teacher and community leader in the field of information architecture who aims to make …

A New Look

A New Look

I felt it was about time for an update of my website. It’s a bit more smooth on the transition front, has much better typography and also has a dark mode …

Natalie Dunbar - from solo to scaled

Natalie Dunbar - from solo to scaled

My guest in this episode is Natalie Dunbar, UX-focused content strategist with a unique blend of skills as a journalist, content writer, and user experience …

Meta and the Paradox of VR

Meta and the Paradox of VR

I sat through Mark Zuckerberg’s painfully stilted Meta Connect Keynote about The Metaverse pondering two questions. The first was why the team that puppet …

The Greed for Speed

The Greed for Speed

I often see the same symptoms in the first sessions with my coaching clients. They’re highly stressed, feeling overwhelmed, sometimes close to burnout, …

Shut Up and Do Something

Shut Up and Do Something

I wrote a little rant on LinkedIn the other day having heard same story from several of my female coachees within the space of a couple of months: Dear male …

Powers of Ten Updated

Powers of Ten Updated

The BBC and Open University have created an updated version of the famous Eames’ Powers of Ten film from which my podcast gets its name. It’s …

Your product is probably a service and why that matters

Your product is probably a service and why that matters

Product design has had a meteoric rise in the last decade, but most digital “products” are actually services and that slippage of meaning has …

Announcing my online courses

Announcing my online courses

I’ve taught offline and online courses in design & innovation for many years, but when the pandemic hit and everyone suddenly went online I decided to …

Output is Input

Output is Input

There may be people out there who conceive of ideas in crisp, clean sentences and can deliver them as if they are reading off a mental autocue. I am not one of …

Smalltalk

Smalltalk gets a bad name. As an Englishman living in Germany, I often experience a lack of smalltalk – it really seems to be perceived as something redundant. …

Design Leadership Masterclass

Design Leadership Masterclass

I’ll be giving a masterclass at the Design Leadership program from Echos Innovation Lab starting on July 12th. My session is all about design leadership …

Your time is a non-renewable resource

Your time is a non-renewable resource

I wrote a short thought over on LinkedIn based on a conversation with a coachee, who was worried she wasn’t doing enough at work (she was doing more than …

Escaping your personal escape room

Escaping your personal escape room

This post was originally part of my newsletter Doctor’s Note. It is traditional at this time of the year to either write an end of year round-up or …

Futurice Show and Tell – Design Leadership

Futurice Show and Tell – Design Leadership

I was recently invited by Futurice Berlin to give a short talk on design leadership, along with Melanie Dreser. The video is now available and embedded below if …

Finding meaning and purpose in work and life

Finding meaning and purpose in work and life

This post was originally part of my newsletter Doctor’s Note. My most recent Power of Ten podcast episode is with Jungian Psychoanalyst and author Dr …

Understanding services as games with janky controls

Understanding services as games with janky controls

This post was originally part of my newsletter Doctor’s Note. I recently tweeted a Games Studies article by M. D. Schmalzer called Janky Controls and …

Antirom reunited apart

Antirom reunited apart

Much of my thinking about the relationship between playfulness and interactivity was formed during my time as a member of Antirom. Nikola Tosic managed to …

Finding the Shape of You

Finding the Shape of You

My leaving This is Doing and This is HCD wasn’t a pleasant experience, despite my desire for conscious uncoupling instead of painful divorce. Asking …

Boiling the Ocean: Complexity, Service Design, & Systems Thinking

Boiling the Ocean: Complexity, Service Design, & Systems Thinking

I recently gave a talk for Dan Levy’s Future of Now series called Boiling the Ocean: Complexity, Service Design, & Systems Thinking. The session was …

A new home for Power of Ten

A new home for Power of Ten

After a couple of years of being on the This is HCD network, Power of Ten is going solo with the episodes at their [new home here on polaine.com](/podcasts/), …

Design Leadership as Slow-Motion Facilitation

Design Leadership as Slow-Motion Facilitation

A lot of traditional models of leadership, especially in the corporate and political worlds, take on military language. There has been a lot of it recently. …

Design Politics Online, On Sale

Design Politics Online, On Sale

After a lot of behind the scenes work switching from the live event and working out how we make the virtual one engaging, we are delighted to announce Design …

The Design Leadership Dip

The Design Leadership Dip

Since I’ve just started offering Design Leadership Coaching, I thought I’d share my experience of moving into that role. But first, some background. A journey …

Taking bookings for Design Leadership coaching

Taking bookings for Design Leadership coaching

No more flying by the seat of your pants. I’m now offering one-to-one or small group Design Leadership coaching. Moving into a design leadership role can …

Workplaces need to change, not women

Workplaces need to change, not women

I wrote this piece on International Women’s Day for my newsletter and forgot to post it here. I had cause to go looking for it, so here it is. One of the best …

Teams learning from families learning from teams

Teams learning from families learning from teams

A small group of people sharing a space for several weeks, all with different needs and preferences. Sound familiar right now? While it’s true of families and …

Seeing Change Creates Change

Seeing Change Creates Change

Gerry McGovern has just written a new book called World Wide Waste: How digital is killing our planet—and what we can do about it. It’s an extremely important …

Systems Thinking Failure

Systems Thinking Failure

I committed a cardinal sin of systems thinking in the last issue of Doctor’s Note. Well, a little bit, at least. I mentioned the fact that the annual influenza …

Online Teaching Tips

Online Teaching Tips

I’ve been teaching online since the late 90s when I first started working on the Omnium Virtual Design Studio project. Back then 50 participants from all …

Suddenly remote? Tell me your stories

Suddenly remote? Tell me your stories

Suddenly working from home remotely? Tell me your stories for a new podcast. We’re in the middle of an unprecedented social experiment with so many people …

Workplaces need to change, not women

Workplaces need to change, not women

One of the best pieces I’ve read all week about the structural gender inequality of workplaces was the transcript of HBR’s IdeaCast podcast with Michelle King, …

Remote Work in the Age of Corona

Remote Work in the Age of Corona

In wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19), many organisations are telling their workers to switch to remote working, including 7,000 GPs (MDs) in the UK. An …

Organisational Amnesia

Organisational Amnesia

I’ve noticed a pattern recently. In the last 18 months or so, I have had three client organisations ask me to come and teach and coach their CX, UX or Service …

Revisiting The Californian Ideology

Revisiting The Californian Ideology

I finally had a chance to read Derek Thompson’s piece in the Atlantic, The Real Trouble With Silicon Valley in which he laments the fact that “too much American …

Leaving Fjord

Now that the Fjord 2020 Trends are live—of which I’m very proud—I have some news to announce. After four-and-a-half years in various roles at Fjord I have …

A second life for avatars?

Avatars have been part of the Internet for a very long time. I once had a book called Avatars! by Bruce Damer that documented many of the early attempts at …

Moved to Hugo

As previously mentioned, I’ve finally moved off of Wordpress and am running my blog as a static site using Hugo hosted on Netlify. What does this mean for …

Next Conference and eDay

I’ve given a couple of shorter versions of my Creativity in the Age of Synthetic Realities talk recently at Next in Hamburg and Emerce eDay. It’s a …

Design for the long term

During my move from Australia to Germany I somehow missed posting the talk I gave at Web Directions Design 18 called Design for the Long Term (another version …

Design in the Age of Synthetic Realities

Design in the Age of Synthetic Realities

An AI generated face

AI-generated and mixed realities are blurring the boundaries of “truth” and challenging how we value it. Synthetic Realities have reached new heights of …

Learning from Ed Sheeran

Learning from Ed Sheeran

I went to see Ed Sheeran live the other day. I can assure that’s not a sentence I thought I would be writing. At the start of his meteoritic rise, I couldn’t …

Storytelling, Pitching and Synthetic Realities at UX Australia 2019

I’m heading back to Australia in August forUX Australia 2019 where I’ll be running a workshop on Storytelling & Pitching for Designers and …

Innovation = Conversation + Doing

“What should we be doing to be increase innovation?” It is a very common question from clients. It’s not unreasonable, since the chatter around innovation is …

The complex is not complicated

I wrote a piece for my Doctor’s Note newsletter about the difference between the complex and the complicated. The central point is that if we don’t …

Introducing the Power of Ten podcast

I’ve podcasted on and off for a while and always enjoyed it, first with Core77 in the mid-2000s, last year as a regular host of a Fjord Fika (new season …

Value versus Values

That extra ’s’ makes all the difference. Whilst we are talking about the dysfunctional desire to reduce the world to bottom-line numbers, there was …

Design Maturity

Leah Buley, Director Design Education at InVision, and a wider team from InVision just published the Design Maturity Model. I very much preferred this to …

History Repeating

This week’s Doctor’s Note is all about value versus values. That extra ’s’ makes all the difference. Here’s the first part of it. …

The Box Is All There Is

AI getting sneaky Recently, I wrote about the games that AI’s play, gaming training environments as logical responses to the reward and assessment stimuli they …

Reading Habits

The original of this article was published on Medium. I have a distinct childhood memory, queuing up at the railway crossing that was always a feature of my …

Corporate Culture and the Games AIs Play

The original version of this article was published on Medium. One of the fascinating features of artificial intelligence is how much it tells us about …

Doctor's Note

I plan to keep blogging here, though the slowdown of content has been mostly due to me procrastinating about platforms (Wordpress, Hugo, Medium, newsletter). …

Service Experience Conference 2017 Closing Keynote

I had the pleasure of giving the closing keynote at the Adaptive Path Service Experience Conference 2017. There was a fantastic line-up of speakers and now all …

Speaking on Living Design at UX Australia 2017

I’m very excited to be speaking at UX Australia 2017 again, but have been terribly slow at telling anyone about it on my blog. That’s right, all six …

Fjord Fika with Dave Gray

Fjord Fika with Dave Gray

Fjord have recently started a podcast series called Fjord Fika, the Swedish word for slowing down and catching up with colleagues and friends over coffee and …

Service Design Now in Korean

Our book on service design was recently translated into Korean by Dr. Grace Bae from CMU HCII and Dr. Younkyung Lim from KAIST Design, Korea. It’s great …

The Service Design Show

I had the pleasure of chatting with 31Volts’ Marc Fonteijn on the Service Design Show the other day. We talked about the possible boundaries of service …

Design to the Power of Ten UX Australia 2016

Thanks to everyone who came to my workshop at presentation at UX Australia. Below is the deck for my Design to the Power of Ten presentation: UPDATE: The audio …

Services need to manage reverse ID better

Having finally relocated to a permanent address in Sydney and re-docking with government and utilities, I’ve been experiencing the whole gamut of customer …

Hello UX Australia 2016

Just a quick note to say I’m heading to Melbourne for UX Australia 2016 where I’ll be running my Design a Service in Six Hours workshop and also …

The Circular Economy Officer

There’s an interesting short piece over at Sustainable Brands asking whether we need a new kind of CEO - a Circular Economy Officer. They interviewed my …

You drive me crazy — considering the brand and human experiences of autonomous cars

You drive me crazy — considering the brand and human experiences of autonomous cars

Photo: Steve Jurvetson When Google’s self-driving Lexus cut off Delphi Automotive’s self-driving Audi, forcing it to take “appropriate …

Service Design masterclass links and goodies

I recently taught a Service Design in Helsinki for Ratekoulutus and put together a set of links for the participants. They have their own special, private page …

Switching hemispheres

Switching hemispheres

I have some big news to announce. After six years teaching and researching service design at the Hochschule Luzern I will be leaving my post there at the end of …

The Apple Watch, skeuomorphism and metaphors

I had a Twitter exchange with John Gruber yesterday in response to his point about the Apple Watch and skeuomorphism: I don’t think iOS or OS X needed to eschew …

Stop researching and start doing

Austin Kleon with some sage advice for anyone considering writing a book. It’s all good, but this is especially true: Stop researching, start writing. …

Safety in games, from Shakespeare to Plato to Play Theory

Interesting piece from Jesper Juul on play with this note about Brian Sutton-Smith: On two occasions I heard Brian Sutton-Smith claim that play provides a …

Antirom 20th Anniversary Event

REWIND to 1995 - A collective of young Londoners launches Antirom, a CD-ROM of experimental interactive software, at Cameraworks gallery in Bethnal Green. The …

Comcast Customer Receives Bill Addressed to ‘Super Bitch‘

In our book on service design and elsewhere, we often talk about how much people are at the heart of services. Although branding folk like to speak of products …

Fixing photo and video file metadata with ExifTool

This post is really a note-to-self for when I next have to remember how to deal with missing photo and QuickTime movie metadata. Nevertheless, since it took me …

Getting from here to there – from hunch to research direction to design concept

Getting from here to there – from hunch to research direction to design concept

The most common issue my students face is project paralysis in the face of infinite possibilities and the synthesis of a mass of research material. Services are …

Be My Eyes ~ Lend Your Eyes to the Blind

Be My Eyes is an app that actually benefits people. Imagine that. It crowdsources help for visually impaired people by simply using a video link to someone else …

IFTTT vs ifttt

You may have noticed some very short posts recently. Today actually. Except they are from a while ago. I have a recipe on If This Then That that posts the …

The Cheapest Generation

The Cheapest Generation is an interesting piece over at The Atlantic about “why millennials (Gen Yers) aren’t buying cars or houses, and what that means …

Winterhouse Institute

The Winterhouse Institute focusess on non-profit, self-initiated projects that support design education, as well as social and political initiatives. What the …

The Daily Monster

Stefan Bucher’s inky fellas.

phofa - John Warwicker

A blog from the Waracle.

UPPERCASE

UPPERCASE. Making, creating and curating visual culture.

UXpod podcast interview

Gerry Gaffney interviewed me about service design and UX for the UXpod podcast a few weeks ago and it’s now online. You can play it on the UXpod website …

Protection Racket

On Thursday, Google launches a new service called Contributor that Gigaom bills as “a crowdfunding platform for publishers.” According to Gigaom, …

Presentation Notes to my Design to the Powers of Ten UX Futures Talk

Here are the links to sources and resources, people and videos that I drew upon for my UX Futures Design to the Power of Ten talk. In no particular order: …

Join me for Interaction 14 South America

Update: The workshops are now open for registrations and there are early bird discounts available. I’m super looking forward to taking part in Interaction …

Help Launchlabs crowdfund their creative co-working space

“At home you feel lonely and at the office you get nothing done.” True words from my friend and frequent collaborator, Andreas Erbe, from Launchlabs …

Service design combined with smart resource usage

My older brother Matt works as Lead Researcher, The Circular Economy at British Telecommunications (yes, he is older than me, although I get the bald head and …

Capital One's acquisition of Adaptive Path shouldn't be news

Last week’s announcement by Adaptive Path that they have been acquired by Capital One sent, if not shockwaves, certainly large ripples through the tech …

Learning from Raiders of the Lost Ark

I’m in the research phase for a book project that looks at how and what designers and organisations—particularly those involved in service design or …

UX Week 2014 Talk Video

The video of my UX Week 2014 talk, Designing Multichannel Services for Lives Beyond the Screen is now online (and embedded below). There were some great …

UX Week 2014 Blueprinting Workshop

Hint: The future of air travel is not this If you’re here, you were probably at my workshop on Developing Services with Service Blueprinting for UX Week …

Customer service experienced in bits

Dr Drang tells two stories of failed customer service. The first one involves him trying to assist his mother getting to the gate at the airport. I use flying a …

Talk & Workshops at UX Week 2014

It has been a long time since I have been in San Francisco, so I am thrilled to have been invited to give a presentation and two workshops at Adaptive …

Interview at the 2014 Science-to-Business Marketing Conference

I gave a keynote a couple of weeks ago at the 2014 Science-to-Business Marketing Conference in Winterthur and Todd Davey interviewed me afterwards about service …

Apple, Beats and wearable tech

All the speculation about Apple designing and iWatch and the noise about their acquisition of Beats got me wondering why we do not pay more attention to the …

Service Design in Japanese

I’m happy to announce that our book, Service Design: from insight to implementation has just been translated and published in Japanese by Maruzen …

Chris Risdon on Orchestrating Touchpoints

Whilst I’m at it, here’s a great talk by Chris Risdon from the same conference talking about orchestrating touchpoints. His anecdote at the …

Dave Malouf on Storytelling and Interaction Design

I talk a lot about the importance of thinking about the story of your product or service. I have always assumed this has to do with my background of studying …

Collaborative long form writing – the story behind the book

A few people have asked me about the process of writing our book on service design given that the three of us are in different countries and all have different …

Smart companies trust people

I just backed David Hieatt’s upcoming book, Do Purpose on the crowd-funded publishing site, Unbound. David is a smart guy and a kind of serial …

Mentalism for service delivery?

I hope I have left enough time between the broadcast of Series 3 of Sherlock, but just in case you are waiting to binge view, the following contains mild …

Swiss Design Network coordinator job

The Swiss Design Network (I am the HSLU Board Member) is looking for a coordinator to support the head office located at Bern University of the Arts BUA. You …

Services that fix services and the inverse experience umbrella

I often use air travel as the archetypal example of a multi-channel service that unfolds over time. Modern air travel consists of lots of minor annoyances that …

Lists and numbers versus stories

Eugene Wei posted a piece about why our brains love lists over on his Remains of the Day blog. It explains why all those “20 ways to…” blog …

Lamy's attention to detail in customer service

Several years ago my wife bought me a Lamy 2000 fountain pen as a birthday present. It is a design classic created by Gerd Alfred Müller, released in 1966. If …

Design Research Techniques

Design Research Techniques is an “online repository is a necessarily unfinished and evolving resource for Participatory Design Techniques. These …

Square Cash

I’m fascinated by Square’s new service, Square Cash, that allows you to send someone cash simply by sending them an e-mail and cc’ing …

May the force be with you – service design for invisible connections

The video of the talk I gave at DESIS Lab Melbourne at RMIT is online at Service Design Melbourne’s website. The audio is a bit hard to hear because the …

Interaction 14 Student Design Challenge

Now in its fifth year, the IxDA Student Design Challenge will run during the Interaction14 conference in Amsterdam, February 4-8, 2014. I’m happy to be on …

Service Design, The Force and Yoda

While I am down under in Melbourne later in August for UX Australia I’m going to be giving a different talk and hosting a discussion at RMIT’s DESIS …

Mural.ly - super duper collaborative walls

Anyone who has worked with me in the last few years will know my propensity to use a lot of Post-It notes. It’s a design cliché, I know, but true. I just …

Tile and Internet of Things Services

I have a re-occurring conversation with my MA Design students, especially those specialising in products. It goes something like this: Student: “I’m …

Backing the Kickstarter campaign for What Doesn't Kill You

My lovely friend Rachel Meyrick has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to make a feature documentary called, What Doesn’t Kill You. It’s …

ALA Article on Service Design Beyond the Screen

As usual I’m behind the curve, but this time I’m behind myself, which is weird. I don’t think I’ll psychoanalyse that too much more. I …

Storytelling for Designers

As a design educator I watch and read a lot of project presentations. I worked out the other day that I must have seen at least 2,000-3,000 student projects in …

Infographic Movies

The Inforgraphic Movie blog is a rolling resource of, well, infographic movies from Swiss designer, “Hitch”, who is an ex-student of ours here at …

UX and Service Design in Lisbon

From UX to Service Design at UX-LX I’m heading off to Lisbon tomorrow to run a workshop at UX-LX in Lisbon called From UX to Service Design. It’s …

Hopscotch - programming on the iPad for kids

Hopscotch is a new programming language/environment iPad for kids. I don’t have my iPad here right now, but I’m looking forward to having a go on …

Create a one-click expiring link

DeadC.net is a link shortening service with a difference. You can create a URL that can only be clicked upon once. Of course, it’s only a re-direct, so …

Presenting a nested set of meta-principles for service design

A rather last minute post to mention that I’m on my way to the EAD Crafting the Future Conference at the HDK, School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg, …

Draft. Write Better.

Draft is a way for writers to collaborate online writing in Markdown with version control. It’s very straightforward so far, which is probably a good way …

Moving Playpen's RSS Away From Feedburner

Since Google is shutting down Google Reader, it seems pretty likely that Feedburner is going to get axed at some point too. So, I have decided to move …

No-rage CSS layout

Learn Layout is a great little site. I can code HTML and CSS, but not brilliantly and I don’t have to do it that often. When I do, I always have to re-cap …

Service Design: From Insight to Implementation is here!

I’m extremely happy to announce that our book, Service Design: From Insight to Implementation, was officially published today. I wrote a welcome post …

A Golden Rule for Interactions and Life

Most of us have experienced a relationship in which the other person constantly assails you with their problems, yet when the tables are turned, their response …

O'Reilly Webcast: Designing cross-channel service experiences

A quick cross-post from our Rosenfeld Media book blog. Ben, Lavrans and I are going to be doing (giving? What does one say…?) an O’Reilly Webcast titled …

Director 12 Publishes to iOS and Adobe's Wallet

The new release of Director 12 publishes to iOS, which is big news to old Director hands like me. I believed that Adobe had let Director starve to death in the …

Guide to Camera Types for Interactive Installations

Guide to Camera Types for Interactive Installations is an absolutely brilliant, detailed round-up by Blair Neal (@laserpilot). I recently had to do some …

Self-Ethnography and the Quantified Life

(Image: Nick Felton’s public data on Daytum) Marius Watz has put together a great compilation of “possible resources of interest in connection with …

Students, Ideas & Prototyping

While perusing Nicolas Nova’s post on Prototyping session with post-its and cardboard at EPFL I followed his link to Stickers on Boxes, a …

Marco on The Surface

Marco on The Surface is a great subjective account of visiting a Microsoft store and trying to have a go on a Surface Tablet. This bit sums it all up: The …

Kickstarting the Light Fantastic

I just backed a new Kickstarter project, Light by Moore’sCloud. What is it? Here: The light that turns you on Beautiful, intelligent, connected light. …

Mapping The Entertainment Ecosystems

Mapping The Entertainment Ecosystems has already been blogged by John Gruber so you have already read it, so this is more for my own reference as anyone …

Dropbox's Mental Models Are Broken

As Dropbox develops and expands, decisions they have made early on are tying them, and their users, in knots. The biggest problem they have is that they keep …

On Users, Customers, Interactors, Participants and Roles

Jack Dorsey’s post about reconsidering the word users and preferring the word customers has been doing the rounds of various popular tech blogs. John …

infogr.am

infogr.am is a pretty swish new online service to easily make infographics. You can enter or upload data and use or edit the templates to create some quite …

Journeys

Journeys is a useful collection of customer/user journey maps on Pinterest from Jamie Thomson. (Via Simon Clatworthy).

LeapMotion

LeapMotion is a USB device now available for pre-order that “creates a 3D interaction space of 8 cubic feet to precisely interact with and control …

Webdagene 2012 Notes and Slides

From UX to Service Design workshop Thanks to everyone who took part in our From UX to Service Design workshop at Webdagene 2012 today. As promised here are the …

Touchpoint Observatory: Touch Elevator Buttons

I think I could write a whole series on lift buttons - I regularly see people struggle with this most rudimentary of interfaces. These buttons are from a smart …

formd

formd >formd is a tool for (for)matting (M)ark(d)own that allows rapid conversion between the two styles of Markdown links and images—inline and referenced. …

Dead Drops

Dead Drops is an interesting physical digital crossover from Aram Bartholl: ‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public …

Bill Moggridge

It’s been a sad and bad year for interaction design losing some of its pioneers. Hillman Curtis, Andy Cameron and now Bill Moggridge, arguably the father …

Designers are not researchers: the difference between design and social research

Designers are not researchers: the difference between design and social research from Sam Ladner is worth a read by all designers engaging in this kind of work. …

PromptDown

PromptDown is a super simple, browser-based teleprompter for mobile devices (ideally Safari on iOS) that uses markdown for its markup. Paste some markdown text …

The Naked Sheep

I probably don’t blog about my students’ work enough, but this piece I particularly like because it was a collaboration between students who are …

Airbnb 10 Million Guest Nights Booked

Airbnb 10 Million Guest Nights Booked is a nice infographic showing just how much the service has grown over the past four years (up 720% here in Germany). I …

Little Digits - Finger Counting with the iPad

Little Digits (iTunes link) is a new iPad app from Chris O’Shea’s company Cowly Owl described as a “fun educational app that teaches children …

Unamed Soundsculpture

What with all the talk of service design, I’ve been ignoring my interactive roots, but for a research project about buildings as hybrid communication hubs …

Service Design Workshop at Webdagene, Oslo

If you’re involved in Web work and UX and interested in Service Design, live|work’s Lavrans Løvlie and I will be running a workshop on service …

Andy Cameron

This morning I received the shocking and very saddening news that my ex-lecturer and colleague, friend and mentor, Andy Cameron died yesterday (May 28th) of a …

Why the big type?

Zeldman started it.

Without Design Methods, I Feel Like I Am Cheating

Without Design Methods, I Feel Like I Am Cheating - another cracking post from Jon Kolko. This one is close to my heart because I teach design methods on …

Research and Experience Prototyping Tools, Tips and Apps

I have been giving lists of experience prototyping tools and tips for doing research to quite a lot of students recently, so I thought I would start compiling …

Life is a prototype - fail early and often.

We live in a culture that encourages envy. Envy for products we don’t own, lifestyles we don’t have, happiness we believe others have. Growing up …

Touchpoint Observatory: One company’s junk service is another company’s gold

In Germany and Switzlerand1 there is an accepted culture that contracts for most services can be renewed for a year – sometimes even two – automatically if you …

Touchpoint Observatory: ICE restaurant car

Breakfast on the German ICE train While there are a few things not to like about German trains - officious staff, annoyingly slow ticket machines - it’s …

Kickstarter, Pitchforks and Torches

Kickstarter, Pitchforks and Torches – the latest update from Casey Hopkins’s Elevation Dock Kickstarter project has a priceless paragraph about the …

Bye, Hillman. Knowing you has been a privilege.

Photo: Gabriel de Urioste What a sad thing to hear. The very brilliant and lovely Hillman Curtis died on the 17th April at the too-young age of 51. I watched …

All companies are going to become software companies.

All companies are going to become software companies. Jon Kolko trying out some provocative thoughts. Obviously the idea that all products are services appeals …

Photo check deposits fail from Chase Mobile App

Photo check deposits fail from Chase Mobile App – Marco Arment details why Chase’s idea of a mobile app with which you can photograph your cheques and …

Entrepreneur designers in final form

Entrepreneur designers in final form - Liz Danzico has posted a thorough set of links to SVA’s IxD MA (@svaixd) brilliant course (in Europe we would say …

Does Your Research Exist?

Does Your Research Exist? Another great list of tips from John Thackara about how to get your research out there in a useful way. These three are particularly …

Design research: sorting your shoe walking from your talk talking «

Design research: sorting your shoe walking from your talk talking « is a good piece on being realistic about design research and choosing the appropriate method …

On The Value of Tinkering

On The Value of Tinkering is a thoughtful piece by Jeff Howard on the issues of teaching service design: An entire generation of web designers have bootstrapped …

Germany Is a Nation of Grumblers

Germany Is a Nation of Grumblers says SAP Co-Founder Hasso Plattner. Maybe they wouldn’t be if SAP’s software wasn’t so awful. There’s a …

How to tell managers they're wrong about UX research and still get hired

How to tell managers they’re wrong about UX research and still get hired from Dave Travis over at Userfocus. Heard these before? ‘Market research uses …

Design for a two speed world

Design for a two speed world is a painful example of how a number of small touchpoint gaps lead to a service experience crevasse from made by many’s …

Falling Light by Troika

Falling Light by Troika is an installation that will be available to view at the V&A;’s British Design exhibition opening on 31st March. 50 ceiling …

Rigor and relevance in interaction design research

Rigor and relevance in interaction design research is a good find by @nicolasnova from the Near Future Laboratory. As Nicolas describes: It addresses the …

Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving

Serendipitously, given my previous post, I’ve just seen that Jon Kolko has put out a new book called, Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving that focuses …

Design Research: What Is It and Why Do It?

Design Research: What Is It and Why Do It? is a good piece from Panthea Lee arguing the case for design research in the public and international development …

Sir Jonathan Ive: The iMan cometh

Sir Jonathan Ive: The iMan cometh is an appalling headline for an unusual interview with Jonny Ive in celebration of his knighthood. Some great quotes: Most of …

Digital to Analogue with Paper.li and Newspaper Club

Newspapers are tomorrow’s chip paper anyway right? (Photo: Sameold2010 CC licensed on Flickr) I’m working on a research project at the moment that …

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi, if you haven’t already heard, is an ARM GNU/Linux box for $25. It is a roughly credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a …

The Psychologist’s View of UX Design

The Psychologist’s View of UX Designis a useful article from Dr. Susan Weinschenk, author of Neuro Web Design: What makes them click?. It really applies to all …

Coursekit

Coursekit is a free online learning management system. I’ve used a lot of the heavy duty, clunky systems over the years, such as Blackboard, WebCT and …

Speaking at Webdagene, Oslo, 26-28 September 2012

I am very pleased to announce that I will be giving a keynote talk on Service Design at Webdagene, billed as “Norway’s premier conference for web …

Snake the Planet!

Snake the Planet! by MPU is a new project in Sydney that takes the classic mobile phone game ‘Snake’ and “adopts it for the urban canvas”. When …

Spun Gold

Spun Gold is a lovely post from Meena Kadri on upcycled rope making in Ahmedabad. As always, Meena’s article is accompanied by her wonderful photography: …

To Crowdfund or Not to Crowdfund?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the new Swiss crowd-funding platform, wemakeit.ch. In the post I suggested that this is a big opportunity for …

Social Edge

Social Edge is Social Edge is a program of the Skoll Foundation that was inspired by Jeff Skoll’s commitment to connecting people with shared passions. …

Social Innovator

Social Innovator aims to “bring together the people, experience and issues involved in designing, developing and growing new ideas that meet pressing …

Ninja Blocks

Ninja Blocks are a great Kickstarter project for anyone wanting to connect together their hardware world with Web services. From the Ninja Blocks blog: How it …

If… Behavioural Heuristics and Design

If… Behavioural Heuristics and Design is a excellent, long, but well-explained post by Dan Lockton on behavioural heuristics. Important for designers, because, …

Makego

Makego is a new iPhone app from interaction artist and designer, Chris O’Shea that turns your iPhone / iPod Touch into a toy vehicle. The app is basically …

Touchpoint Observatory: Badly Hand-Drawn Signs = Ruined Branding

You have spent thousands on your corporate branding, you keep a tight reign over the usage of your logo, you ship out expensively produced marketing materials …

kooaba Shortcut

kooaba Shortcut is “a shortcut between real life and the Internet: take a picture of what you are reading in a newspaper or magazine and instantly get …

Touchpoint Observatory: Service Sold in a Box

When companies struggle to get their heads around service, they often end up marketing services as if they were products. The above image is for television …

Andrew Hinton describing Path's failure as a UX failure

Andrew Hinton describing Path’s failure as a UX failure: This is in part what some of us in the community are calling the failure of “user experience …

Touchpoint Observatory: UK Lift Engineer Bodge Job

This lovely piece of work is in a multistory car park in Ipswich in the UK. There are two lifts next to each other and something must have broken or been …

The Three Rs of Modern Creativity

The Three Rs of Modern Creativity Iain Tait’s wisdom on what we all need these days. Resilience, Restraint and Respect. Pretty good combination if you ask …

Burn Note

Burn Note is either completely brilliant or rather sinister. It is an e-mail service that destroys all traces of the message once sent, a la Mission Impossible: …

What matters in life

What matters in life . Marco comments on Jeff Atwood leaving stack exchange. His own thoughts are worth pasting up on the wall: Whatever startup you’re working …

Touchpoint Observatory: SIM Card Vending Machine

In Germany, mobile phone contracts are 24 months by default, not just for an iPhone. Additionally, there is a culture here whereby contracts are automatically …

Pirating 3D objects

Interesting piece in The New Scientist about pirate file-sharing moving into the realm of 3D objects thanks to the growth of cheap 3D printers. Of course the …

Service Design in Tourism 2012 announced

Switzerland, like Austria (where Service Design in Tourism is being held), has a big tourism industry. Mainly in the mountains, of course, but also the lakes …

15 fantastic data visualisations

15 fantastic data visualisations is a collection of “some of the best and most beautiful visualisations on the web that are based on time, geography, …

wemakeit.ch - a new Swiss crowd-funding platform

wemakeit.ch is a new Swiss crowd-funding platform in the style of Kickstarter. It is the “Schweizer Crowdfunding-Plattform für Kunst-, Musik-, Film-, …

Touchpoint Observatory: Velobox

My home town of Offenburg has a whole load of Veloboxes at the station (at both entrances on both sides of the tracks). On one side they even have a Velobox and …

The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying is the result of an Australian palliative care nurse who interviewed her patients over the years. Number two from men? “I …

Interaction Awards 2012 Winners

Sadly I couldn’t be at Interaction ‘12 in Dublin this week, so I’ve been vicariously soaking up the vibe (but not the alcohol) on Twitter and …

Derek & Clive's Labels sketch

Derek & Clive’s Labels sketch is Peter Cook and Dudley Moore tackling service design in a discussion about the use of labels. (Note:This is very much …

Touchpoint Observatory: Send your post from the restaurant

This restaurant in Freiburg, Germany, called Omas Küche (Grandma’s Kitchen) was super family-friendly, but what caught my eye was the first page of the …

Touchpoint Observatory: Armed Ticket Collectors

These people - five in total - were ticket inspectors on an early afternoon bus in Luzern, Switzerland, very much a tourist destination. So why are they dressed …

Accepting Less

Accepting Less is a plea from designer James Victore about getting back on the right path in life - downshifting, essentially. “Emails, chats, texts, …

Designer Founders

Designer Founders is a “non-profit book of 35+ rare personal interviews with the founders of tech-startups who have various design backgrounds.” …

The Myth of the Brand New Innovation Myth

The Myth of the Brand New Innovation Myth I hear a lot of talk about innovation in my travels as an academic and consultant in service design. Innovation is not …

Master level program in Social and Collaborative Housing: Designing, planning and managing the contemporary housing

A new Master level program in Social and Collaborative Housing: Designing, planning and managing the contemporary housing has been organized by the POLI.design …

Ten rules for writing fiction – Part Two

Ten rules for writing fiction (part two) The second of The Guardian’s series on rules for writing from a survey of established authors. (Part one is here, …

The Irony of Neuroscience & Behaviour Change

I have been enjoying the Brain Culture: Neuroscience & Society series via BBC Radio 4’s podcasts recently. In the series Matthew Taylor looks at how …

Pre-digital versus digital services

Seth Godin has written an interesting observation about a common experience of hospitals in a piece titled Pre-Digital: A brief visit to the emergency room last …

End User Development and more from Interaction-Design.org

Mads Soegaard and his wife Rikke Friis Dam have been hard at work over at their Interaction-Design.org site, a free and well put together resource of …

On Insurance Lying

(Photo: Steve Rhodes) I have a friend whose father used to be an insurance underwriter and he used to always complain about people lying about their insurance …

Nest – Why Product Designers Don't Design Products Anymore

By now most of you will have already seen the learning thermostat, Nest, designed by Tony Fadell, who led the team that created the first 18 generations of the …

Onlab's Animated Infographic for the Audi Urban Future Summit

onlab produced a lovely animation for the Audi Urban Future Summit at the Frankfurt international motor show. It’s often hard to get across abstract …

Antirom Tops the Digital Archeology Leaderboard

I’m totally late blogging about this, but I was very happy and proud to see antirom top the votes of the Digital Archeology project leaderboard while the …

Matt Polaine & the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Project Re-Design interns

Good to see my brother Matt, Sustainable Development Researcher at BT, making an appearance in this video for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Project Re-Design …

Design Research - A Failure of Imagination?

Have design education and design research failed to fire up the imagination in public discourse? I believe so and I believe the STEM (Science, Technology, …

Louis Poulsen PH5 Lamps For Sale

[Update 18th Nov 2012: I’m pretty much sold out of these now. I have a couple still with dents and dings and may be able to create one decent lamp or …

Talking Service Design at Parsons NYC

On my way back from the (very good) Interaction ‘11 conference in Boulder I’m stopping by in NYC and giving a talk on service design at …

Understanding Interactivity Through Play

Some months ago I officially became Dr. Polaine (Andy Polaine, PhD. for you Americans) and have been planning to write a series of posts about the main themes …

Simon Rattle on Education

“We have been educating people for many years to be a certain type of person. We have been educating for a society that maybe is gone. We need more and …

Desktop columns online - onlab

Desktop magazine are republishing some of my previous Foreign Policy columns for their website. It’s good to see these get a new lease of life. The first …

Learning to Teach Online - a great new resource

COFA Online has just launched an excellent new resource for lecturers getting into online teaching and learning. I have taught in several other institutions in …

Hello Dave. I'd like to interview you.

Hi folks – can you help me find some interviewees? I’m working on some initial research into Ambient Assisted Living with the iHome Lab here in Luzern. …

COTEN Project Presentation at SDNC 2010

Thanks to everyone who attended my presentation on the COTEN Project at the Service Design Network Conference in Berlin. Here is the direct link to my COTEN …

Writing a new book on Service Design

I’m thrilled to be able to announce that myself and live|work’s Ben Reason and Lavrans Løvlie have signed with Rosenfeld Media to write our book on …

DeSForM 2010 - 6th International Workshop on Design Semantics of Form and Movement

It seems it’s conference season. My colleague, Dagmar Steffen, is organising the DeSForM 2010, the 6th International Workshop on Design Semantics of Form …

Interaction 11 Student Competition

All you interaction design students out there get ready to show us your goods. This year I’m co-chairing the Interaction 11 Student Competition with Liz …

The Virtues of Imperfection

I have enjoyed all of Jonathan Franzen’s books, in particular The Corrections, his novel about the complexities of family relationships, careers and, for …

Crowd-sourced insights into the Victorian workhouse

The UK National Archives have just released the 19th Century Poor Law Union and Workhouse Records. The history of workhouses in the UK is a typically Victorian …

You Don't Know Jack lives again

A long, long time ago in the early days of ‘multimedia’ most games available were stilted click-throughs of badly rendered 3D images. The exception …

Core77 Columnista

I’m very pleased to have been asked to be a columnist for the Core77 blog. It’s been in the works for a few weeks, but my recent trip to Ethiopia …

Mentoring Creative Minds

The current issue of COFA’s Incubate magazine has a piece by me in it called Mentoring Creative Minds, which is a reflection on 15 years of teaching (that …

Interdisciplinarity vs Cross-Disciplinarity

(Picture from Aquent’s E-Fail service) Interdisciplinarity vs Cross-Disciplinarity Interdisciplinarity and cross-disciplinarity have been buzzwords for …

Teaching, Learning and Mazes

The COTEN project is gaining momentum and there are some excellent discussions going on. A lot of the conversation is about different teaching and institutional …

Archetypes and Metaphors

There is an interesting piece over at Johnny Holland by Rahul Sen titled Archetypes and Their Use in Mobile UX. It’s probably worth reading it and coming …

Higher Education is about to crash and burn, says Seth

I couldn’t help but agree with Seth Godin’s summary of the coming melt-down in higher education – it’s an almost perfect echo of the themes I …

In the Event of My Death

For my mother’s 70th birthday celebrations, my sister-in-law, Naisha, put together a book of family photos ranging from my mother and father’s …

Come and Study in Luzern, Switzerland!

If you are interested in studying service design or product design, textiles or animage and living amongst some of the freshest air around, we’re …

Not More Products - Uncovering Local Networks

I spent a day last week with Lavrans and Ben from Live|Work putting our brains together for a project we hope will help spread lots of ideas about service …

Creative Waves - COTEN - Call for Participants

When it comes to thinking about higher education designers – or perhaps just design academics – seem to suddenly forget everything they know. We teach the value …

CRT Suicides

There has been a rise in CRT monitor suicides due to the ever growing popularity of LCD screens.

Dial4Light

There was an interesting report on 3Sat here in Germany the other day about street lighting. Many cities save on energy costs by cutting the amount of time …

PaperC - Replacing the Library Photocopier

A recently launched service in Germany called PaperC (Twitter: @Paper_c) looks like it might become a pretty handy resource for students and researchers. It is …

Interviews with Jona Piehl and Tom Roope

The latest set in the series of interviews I did for COFA Online have now gone online. Jona Piehl from Land Design Studio talks about the challenges and role of …

Does Graphic Design Have Superpowers?

(Photo: ndinneen) Rich Smith, a graphic design student in the UK wrote to me about the presentation I gave at AGDA’s Design A Better World event. He asked …

Is Design Research Useless for Innovation?

Don Norman has just posted a very provocative and thoughtful piece about the value of design research, or not. “I’ve come to a disconcerting …

Time-shifting payments with Sprize and Swiss Rail

Gap’s new pilot service, Sprize, deals with an age-old irritation. You buy something at full-price only to find it reduced in a sale a few days later. It …

Printing Your Toast

Congratulations to one of my MA students at Luzern, Othmar Mühlebach, who has just won the second prize at the Berner Design Awards for his toaster re-design. …

Interviews with Nik Roope, Troika & Mark Hauenstein

Most of the interviews we shot for COFA Online have now gone online. A few others with Jona Piehl from Land Design Studio and Nik’s brother, Tom Roope …

Interviews with Brendan Dawes and Simon Waterfall

A few months ago I trekked around London with my filmaker and editor friend Rachel to shoot a whole load of interviews with designers and artists for …

Your Failure of Service Is Another's Opportunity

Some of you have no doubt read Dustin Curtis’s post about the incompetence of American Airlines & The Fate of Mr. X. American Airlines fired Mr. X for …

Photosketch

Photosketch: Internet Image Montage provides a simple way to make image composites by doodling a picture, adding labels and then letting the engine scour the …

How much is good service worth? £25m for Amazon UK.

(Photo credit: xrrr on Flickr) Amazon’s entire offering really boils down to two things. The first is to facilitate a person in a warehouse somewhere …

Teaching Service Design at Lucerne School of Art and Design

Regular readers of Playpen may have notice things have been somewhat quiet around here recently. There are two reasons for this. One is that Twitter has made an …

How Can Graphic Design Help Save The Planet?

I’m very pleased to have been asked by AGDA to speak at the first Design A Better World conference in Sydney with the tricky topic, “How Can Graphic …

Sparks - Playful Innovation

Philips Design has created a boardgame called Spark to help generate insights. It looks like it is a pretty simple premise – there are a set of characters …

Confusing Information with the Form

Lovely video from design and research consultancy MAYA on the difference between information and the form we give it. I came across this on David …

The Little Man in the Box

All of us anthropomorphise our machines, perhaps no more so than the car and the computer. Hi, A Real Human Interface from Multitouch Barcelona (an interaction …

Schematic and Public Multitouch Social Interaction

Joel Johnson’s exclusive (on Vimeo?) video and interview with the folks at Schematic about their new touchwall shows them dealing with some interesting …

Social Play

I’ve just finished up a chapter in my PhD about social play. Most of it is about online interaction, but quite a bit is about how to bring strangers …

Don Tapscott on the Demise of the University

Don Tapscott has a piece in Edge today called The Impending Demise of the University. In it he takes the same line that I have been for some time in Designing …

Time Bomb - Interactive Graffiti

Graffiti and technology are all the rage these days. Holler’s Lukasz Karluk and Sydney sculptor/painter Maddi Boyd (KissKiss) have created a work for …

Interaction Forum '09

I’m going to be giving a talk over at Interaction Forum ‘09 at the Design School in Hildesheim next week (Tuesday 26th). If anyone is in that neck …

The Art of Isolated Thousands

Information used to be scarce, held by the rich and powerful and carefully guarded. Now we have and overwhelming amount of the stuff and each leave huge trails …

Pole La.

Geddit? (Thanks to Ben for the snap).

New magneticNorth web site

Great to see magneticNorth’s new website live. Brendan gave me a sneak peek of it yesterday and I love it. The navigation is very playful and intuitive. …

Chrome Experiments

Josh Nimoy has made a version of his (unpleasantly named) Ball Droppings piece for Google’s Chrome Experiments site. Simple and addictive, you basically …

The Carbon Footprint of Spam

(Photo credit: net_efekt) My brother, Matt, just mailed me this report on the Carbon Footprint of Spam. It makes pretty shocking reading and made me re-think …

Tonematrix

Inspired by the Tenori-On, Andre Michelle put together Tonematrix. Each square creates a wave force that spreads across the grid (I don’t think that …

IDEO Play with VR

Regular readers will know I’m pretty cynical about VR and I’ve never been much of a fan of the CAVE system. The last time I used one at iCinema I …

WiiSpray

WiiSpray is Wiimote hack and piece of work by Martin Lihs – a student of my ex-colleagues over at the media faculty at the Bauhaus. I like the addition of …

Baker Tweet. Another hot pun from Poke.

The good chaps and chapettes at Poke love a pun, but they love a hot bun even more. So they have created Baker Tweet, a simple way for bakers to tell the world …

How To Get...

It all started with someone just Twittering “Type ‘How to get…’ into Google”. Google has a pre-search auto suggestion system …

Little Red Riding Hood, Infographics Style

You have to admire the Swedish ability to indoctrinate their students with brilliant design skills. The above Little Red Riding Hood piece by Toma Nilsson was …

Open Frameworks on the iPhone

OpenFrameworks, the “C++ library for creative coding”, is starting to get a lot more use in interactive installations. I haven’t had the time …

Sixth Sense. Only Slightly Lamer than VR.

Pattie Maes is a smart woman. She’s behind some research projects that I wish I had been part of. But the above presentation at TED of Pranav …

Flash on the Beach 2009

I am thrilled to have been asked to present again at Flash on The Beach again this year. The info about my talk isn’t up yet (and fortunately that highly …

YouTube remixed by Kutiman

There have been a whole load of YouTube musical mash-ups, including the YouTube Orchestra, but this is one of the better ones I’ve seen that’s a bit …

Mouth Off

Audio interaction. It’s one of the first things I show my students when teaching them about input beyond the keyboard and mouth mouse because it’s …

Kinetic Design

Alongside the surge of interest in gestural interaction, there appears to be a rising fascination with kinetic works too. Some of this comes out of the …

Feel the rabbit's brain

My mate and illustration and animation supremo Steve Scott just finished the last third of this Boing Boing Legends of Exos animation. You can’t miss his …

A Fax is too complicated GoDaddy

I’m just in the process of moving all my domain hosting from GoDaddy because, frankly, it’s like being ambushed in a shopping mall by salespeople …

Holographic Worlds and Gestural Interfaces

The Holodeck remains a fantasy for Trekkies and we’re still not yet jacked into The Matrix (or are we? Oooh.). Guys going to enormous lengths to build …

Beyond the Fold, Print Lives On.

Although newspapers are struggling to work out what to do about the decline of the printed sheet, the death of print doesn’t seem to be anywhere near …

Apple UI Counting Fail

I was just updating my Airport Express settings and noticed this rare Apple UI fail. Bad number sorting.

Writing is Design

“Verbalizing design is another act of design. I realised this while writing this book,” writes Kenya Hara in the preface to his book, Designing …

Service Means Survival

(Photo credit: dos2kx) Lauren posted a linke to BusinessWeek’s report, When Service Means Survival. The basic thrust is that in a tight economic …

Playful

Lovely work by Pablo Alfieri whose portfolio site is dubbed Playful – a name I can thoroughly relate to (and was thinking of using myself - bah!). Many of his …

Digital Analog Clock

I like this digital analog clock from Alvin Aronson. Each segment slowly pushes forward or recedes back as the minute changes, which creates a analog in-between …

John Cleese on Creativity

I hate being interrupted when I’m in the midst of writing a… sorry… hang on… Okay, I’m back. Now, what was I saying? Whatever, …

Windows UI is so broken

Windows UI is so broken. Look at the hoops developers have to jump through to get people to just install a plug-in.

Amazon Ass

Unfortunate but amusing combination of the subject line and Mail.app shortening the sender name from Amazon Associates.

The future, like the past only more expensive

One of the aspects of the job of interaction design and strategy research is being asked the impossible task of predicting the future. It is a fool’s …

One free (playful) interaction

Great collection of “free interactions” and insightful commentary from Chris Noessel on the Cooper blog. Basically these are little interactive …

Sir Ken Robinson talk at the RSA

The RSA have now added a link to download Sir Ken Robinson’s talk that he gave there last week called ‘The Element’ – “the point at …

Your computer will restart several times during installation

Why? Surely once is enough, if at all?

Swearing on Twitter

Most people who know me in real life know that I have a tendency to swear too easily and too much. They are, of course, twats. Actually that last outburst is a …

New Clothes

If you are a regular reader (yes, you’re the one), you’ll notice that Playpen has had a spruce up with a new theme. If you’re thinking it …

Interview and profile of Dan Saffer

Core77 have just posted an interview and profile I wrote on Dan Saffer and hhis new book, Designing Gestural Interfaces. Dan talks about his vision for future …

Amazon Reviews

Oh the irony. Unfortunately you can’t post links on Amazon.com’s reviews, which is probably a good thing so that it doesn’t become overwhelmed …

ADC Awards Deadline 23rd Jan

I feel very honoured to have been asked to be on the interactive jury for the ADC awards this year. My thanks to Brendan Dawes for the invite. The deadline for …

Code, Form, Space Symposium

This Code, Form, Space symposium looks like it will be great. Is anyone going who will be blogging/twittering it?

Homeland Security - Worst Alert Box Ever

I’m on the interactive jury for the Art Directors Club Awards this year, which I am very chuffed about. Not least because I get the chance to go to New …

Jonathan Harris on the Creative Review Blog

I seem to have been writing about Jonathan Harris rather a lot recently. Following the piece on Flash on the Beach I wrote in Creative Review in November, an …

Amusing Fenec Preferences

Thought I had posted this weeks ago and found it loitering in my scheduled posts. Entertaining set of preferences descriptions for Fenec, Mozilla’s new …

Interaction Design for Behavioural Change

Interaction design is all about changing people’s behaviour. Without the action > reaction part, there is no interaction. Whether you click one button …

Interactive Video Object Manipulation

I have noticed I have been posting a lot of videos recently – I’m not sure if that’s me being lazy or that some things are simply a lot easier to …

Line-Drawings, Cameras and New Videogames

Karl reminded me of two new games for the Playstation that depart from the normal 3D extravaganza. The first is another EyeToy game called EyePet. Basically you …

Amazon Christmas Checkout

Just spotted Amazon’s Christmas-themed shopping cart. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference.

Children Playing Video Games

The NY Times web site has a great video of children playing videogames from photographer and video artist, Robbie Cooper (you can watch a higher quality …

Humans Aren't So Bad After All

I twittered about this the other day and I know it’s been doing the rounds of the interweb, but wanted to post about it properly. The film has nothing to …

Robots Ain't Got No Body

Interaction with robots is the out-there end of interaction design’s spectrum. Far beyond just designing an interface on a screen, you need to design a …

Playing Word Games in Blog Comments

I just noticed a whole series of word-association and other games going on in the comments of Fail Blog posts. I have no idea if this is a new phenomenon, but I …

Google SearchWiki

Google have just launched an additional service called SearchWiki for those with a Google account. Basically you get to add notes to search results or move …

The Designer's Review of Books Launches

If you haven’t already heard from me about it, I launched The Designer’s Review of Books at the end of last week. I’ve been so busy reviewing …

G-Speak - Back to VR Gloves Again?

It’s the gloves again. Part of me wants to believe G-Speak is really is a fantastic “spatial operating environment”. The mouse and keyboard …

I Don't Know What This Is, But I Like It

If anyone knows what this is all about, please leave a comment and let me know. In the meantime, enjoy the surreal interface. [UPDATE: Apparently it’s the …

Sprint's Now Machine Data Overload

In keeping with the seemingly American obsession that more data one has the better (especially on TV), Sprint have launched a viral campaign called the Now …

Code Beneath the Surface

This developer from Infusion is showing off some of his modifications to Microsoft’s Surface at I Live To Code. The table has several cameras underneath …

Troika - Digital by Design & Interview

Troika have a new book out called Digital by Design: Crafting Technology for Products and Environments . It is a wide-ranging survey of works that use new and …

The Rules of Currency

Image: J0nB0n Stephen Sniderman’s excellent 1999 essay, Unwritten Rules, in The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology talks about the tacit …

Random is Good - Biscuit Tin

The good folks over over at magneticNorth have just made another typically mN piece called Biscuit Tin (that’s ‘Cookie Tin’ to you American …

Tim Brown on Serious Play

I would have loved to have gone to the Serious Play conference, but seem to remember it cost serious money too. This talk from Tim Brown of IDEO sums up a great …

The Network Generation is in The White House

Photo: barackobamadotcom on Flickr It is hard to overstate just how different these US elections were and what a shift in thinking Obama and his campaign …

AC/DC ASCII

AC/DC’s Rock ’n’ Roll Train created as ASCII art in an Excel spreadsheet “smashing through the corporate firewall”. I’m …

Night of the Living Maps

Apart from last night’s making of history it was a night of interactive maps gone wild. The BBC’s virtual studio 3D environment was replete with …

BMW Motorbikes GPS drawing

Great Google Maps created by friends of mine at Ubilabs for BMW Motorbikes GPS Drawing. Take a look at the intro video - the guys are riding through buildings …

Gruber on iPhone-Likeness

Good piece from John Gruber on iPhone-Likeness and why many developers don’t get it when it comes to creating apps that feel iPhone-like: I’ll put forth …

Voting Machines - The Ultimate Interface?

Photo: binkley27 Dan Saffer just wrote an alarming piece about electronic voting over at Kicker Studio and it reminded me of a great article I read recently in …

Taxi Driver With Storyboards

There’s a discussion going on over at IxDA about whether an interaction design can create great interaction without great visual design skills. My answer …

Peter Polaine

Just a quick note to say if you are here because you are looking for the work of my father, Peter Polaine, the newspaper covering his portrait exhibition with …

The Unfinished Swan

The Unfinished Swan is a still in-development game set in an entirely white world. Instead of splattering the blood of monsters around the walls, the player …

Generative Art

Nothing changes much. Re-dub courtesy of Phillip Kerman.

Your Graphics Cast a Dark Shadow Across All of Your Work

(Via the IxDA list)

Twittering Mad Men

What a weird meta media world we live in. I tweeted that I was off to watch Mad Men only to find this morning that I am being followed on Twitter by Peggy Olson …

Energy Shoes

NTT’s energy-generating shoes (above) are amongst the many similar ideas I had and never did anything about. Sigh. Here’s the proof from 9 years …

Bandai Pedometer Games

Get off your ass. Assuming that is a donkey there, you’ll need to walk to move through the levels in these new handheld pedometer games by Bandai …

Take on Me. Literal interpretation.

I could resist this. This song seems to be stuck on loop on every single German radio station.

Palin Bingo

A variant of bullshit bingo, Jesper Juul played Palin Bingo during the vice presidential debate (did she really never mention her family?). I like “Air …

The New Macbook Blow

Looks like a great machine, but the new Macbook Pro starts at US$1999 in the USA but is € 1799 here in Germany, which is $2,444. Imagine that loaded up with …

Exploring Near Field Communication with Touch

A selection of RFID tags from Timo’s Flickr set. Touch is a research project examining Near Field Communication that enables connections between mobile …

Nodebox

Nodebox is a programming and visualisation tool using Python. Like Processing it allows you to product animations, still, interactives as well as exporting to …

God Fearing Spam

Weirdest spam message I’ve had in a while:

Lost in Text

I managed to catch a few people lost in texting whilst I was in Brighton, so I made a Lost in Text Flickr group. I find the look on people’s faces, both …

An Audience of Mirrors

Audience is a new installation from rAndom International, with software by Chris O’Shea, for the Deloitte Ignite Festival at the Royal Opera House. 64 …

Enhancing Videos with Spacetime Fusion

This technology from Pravin Bhat over at the University of Washington is pretty impressive. It uses high resolution still images to enhance video footage. It …

Jonathan Harris at Flash on the Beach 08

Jonathan Harris’s talk at Flash on the Beach caused quite a stir this year. Originally titled The Art of Surveillance and Self-Exposure, he altered the …

Last one in the water buys the drinks

Nothing like a bit of animated GIFola. I’ll be at Flash on the Beach this week if anyone fancies catching up to say Hi. I’ll be writing a round-up …

Hector Serrano's Waterdrop

Hector Serrano has finally presented his Waterdrop installation for Roca at 100% Design London. I wish I was there to see it myself. It looks like a stunning …

Cutest Tech Book Cover Ever?

Art is the tonsils of education

I interviewed the renown fantasy illustrator, John Howe, for Desktop last week. I had a great chat with him and he talked about design and art education, some …

Why is so much New Media Art so shit?

I’ve been pondering this question a lot recently whilst writing my PhD stuff recently (it covers this area a lot). Fortunately the Near Future Laboratory …

Designing Education's Future

I gave a presentation yesterday at Northumbria University’s School of Design’s staff conference called Designing Education’s Future: online, …

Sponsor my brother for cancer awareness

Matt (insanely) cycling up Mont Ventoux, Bedoin in 2hrs 13mins My brother, Matt, beat cancer back in 1996 and is, thankfully, still with us. On the 26th July …

Paleo Future

Image: Paleo Future The future isn’t what it used to be. Whilst looking around for an image of a flying car for a presentation, I stumbled across the …

Do you shutdown or sleep?

(Photo: Paul Watson) What’s the emotional difference between shutting your computer down and putting to sleep? Or turning your phone onto silent mode …

The MultiTouch Cell

MultiTouch have just launched the “world’s first modular multi-touch LCD screen that can be used to create large tables and wall screens.” …

Physical interface design gone wrong

Instructions Originally uploaded by Paul Hagon. It’s a tap. It can’t be that hard, but it is. And the instructions make it even more of an …

Flap to Freedom

Flap to Freedom from Chris O’Shea on Vimeo. Battery hens flap to help battery hens in the Flap to Freedom installation that Chris O’Shea and …

Coffee Infographics

It’s pretty hard to find a decent cup of coffee sometimes here in Germany. It’s one of the things I miss from Australia. And forget any of your …

New Tracker for OpenFrameworks on its way

Seth Sandler, one of the students that snagged a Google Summer of Code place at the Natural User Interface Group, is developing a port of NUI’s …

A List Apart Survey

You might not believe it from the state of Playpen, but I do make websites from time to time. If you do, go take the ALA survey.

Omnium. The Conversation on Notes on Design

Notes On Design invited Rick Bennett and I to talk about our experiences of long-distance and global online creative collaboration within the Omnium Research …

Time Smear Download

Photo by Greg Turner Whilst writing up my Time Sketches work I realised I never put it up for download anywhere. Now I have and you can download an OS X version …

Rubik's Cube. Magic.

During some research into the history of Rubik’s Cube for my PhD, I stumbled across this video of freaky mind control an amazing trick by Keith Barry …

Kunz

Spotted this ad on my supermarket trolley at the weekend. In my English head I immediately read the ü without the umlaut. I don’t think ‘Künz’ …

LastGraph

LastGraph has been updated. If you’ve not seen it before, it’s a data visualisation tool for your LastFM profile. I stopped scrobbling for a while …

Interactive Dangerous Australians

Let’s face it, all Australians are dangerous on the sports field, but the the Australian Museum has a new interactive installation called Dangerous …

For Education The Future Isn't What it used to Be

A few weeks ago I gave a talk called The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be to the Associate Deans over at Northumbria University. I thought I’d …

Podcasting is Broadcasting

There’s an interesting paper called The Politics of Podcasting by Jonathan Sterne, Jeremy Morris, Michael Brendan Baker and Ariana Moscote Freire over at …

Lucha Libre London - from Ray Lewis

Lucha Libre London Originally uploaded by fleabilly. Just had to post a link to this great set of photos from Lucha Libre in London from my mate Ray Lewis.

The Joys of Cross-Browser Testing

Actually there are a couple more versions of IE hidden in that set of icons thanks to the multiple IE installer.

LinkedIn's Weird UI Shadows

Is it just me or does anyone else find LinkedIn’s new design tweaks weird on the perspective front? This rounded-corner box has a couple of random shadows …

Flash On the Beach 2008

Flash on the Beach 2008 is coming soon: September 28th - October 1st in Brighton. I’m not speaking this year, but plan to be there to write about it for …

Rolando for iPhone

This trailer for Rolando looks like it might be a great iPhone game and it’s interesting to see the interfaces constraints/possibilities shape the kinds …

Smart German Supermarket

The BBC has a video report about a German supermarket Future Store from German supermarket chain, Real. Rather than use RFID tags to do the scanning of all the …

Peter Polaine at The Pin Mill Studio

Christmas Dinner by Peter Polaine Quick plug for my dad, Peter Polaine, who has an exhibition of his woodcut prints on at The Pin Mill Studio in Suffolk at the …

Little Bits of Electronics

littleBits is an open source library of small electronic components that are already pre-assembled. The very clever and cool thing about them is that they snap …

Cat and Mouse

Cats lack a knowledge of willing suspension of disbelief. When cat’s interact is that a cataract?

Is Twitter just a giant MOO/MUD?

Lambda MOO The development of technology is more like a spiral than the upwards arrow we often think of. The same ideas come around again and again with slight …

The Future of Broadcasting and the BBC

Although I still agree with much of Mark Pesce’s take on the Future of Television, Stephen Fry neatly sums up the worth of the BBC in an interesting …

The Paper Web - Sketches of Web Services

Vimeo sketches by Sockyung ‘Sox’ Hong If you read my post about wireframing and prototyping with paper you’ll love Sean Flannagan’s collection of …

Pinger - Voice-based Twitter?

Pinger is doing the rounds of Twitterland at the moment. It’s a service that allows you to send voice messages to one or a group of people anywhere from a …

Give my balloon a boost

I’m taking part in Orange’s Balloonacy internet balloon race. I’m not doing too badly at the moment, but you can give me a boost by clicking …

Google isn't making us dumb, but 'smart' is changing

It started with Asi’s comments on Nicholas Carr’s Is Google Making Us Stupid? article. Forty-five minutes later I had Googled through …

Play as you go - hijacking public spaces

A quick reblog of Pixelsumo’s post about Bruno Taylor’s work hijacking public places to make playful spaces, which explores the notion that play is …

SVA to offer Interaction Design MFA

New York’s School of Visual Arts has just announced that they’re offering a Masters of Fine Arts in Interaction Design as of Fall (or Autumn as we …

Design is Money - ATM Design

ATMs in Germany are lame, I have to say. They’re slow and clunky and appear to be designed by software engineers rather than UI designers. So I wish …

Prototyping and Wireframing on paper

There are a couple of great shots of prototyping on paper over at at Cultured Code’s blog for Things, their task manager app that they’re bringing …

Why Good Looking Error Messages Matter

Almost anything involving computers falls over once in a while, but it’s how you handle it that makes all the difference. I spotted this in Newcastle …

Keep Thelonius Monk Off Your PowerBook

(C) Bibliothèque et Archives Canada Since we’ve got a couple of MacBooks now I noticed my old 2GHz iMac G5 gathering dust, which seemed to be a shame with …

Hypercard lives again

Hot on the heels of my post about Director 11 there’s now a web-based version of Hypercard called TileStack. It’s still in beta (aren’t they …

Information Design for NGOs

The Tactical Technology Collective have released a great little PDF booklet online called Visualizing Information for Advocacy: An introduction to information …

Director 11 Released - R.I.P. Director

ed. Director 11 was released a couple of months ago apparently, though I hadn’t seen the press release. If this was a new version of Flash, the web would …

Iron Man's HUD and interaction design

The current issue of Desktop has a snippet from my interview with Dav Mrozek Rauch from The Orphanage talking about their work on the HUD for Iron Man. If you …

IMAP folder subscriptions with GMail and Apple Mail

If you’ve read 5ThirtyOne’s post about setting up Apple Mail with GMail’s IMAP you may be enjoying iPhone goodness and be all happy. But you …

Multitouch with a cardboard box

Whilst we’re on the multitouch subject (is it multi-touch or multitouch yet?), here’s a short vid from Seth Sandler showing you how to make your …

3M Interface - Reverse Multitouch

My brother, Matt, just e-mailed a link to this interface on the 3M website. Given the multitouch hype at the moment, it’s quite a clever little riff on …

About 5180 hours remaining

215 days to index my hard drive? Sigh.

From the Archives: Interview with Daniel Brown

Daniel Brown – Flower Power (In an earlier unpublished draft of this I so wanted to title it “Dan Brown - The Da Vinci Coder”, but good taste …

The Designers Review of Books (Nearly)

Playpen has been a little quiet recently because I’ve had my folks over from the UK and a heap of work on, one of which is The Designers Review of Books, …

Core77 Broadcast interview with Troika

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Sebastien and Eva from Troika, the studio behind the Cloud and All The Time In The World installations at new …

Photojojo's Time Capsule

I like these e-mail-yourself-from-the-future things, and Photojojo’s Time Capsule is a brilliant one that takes a selection of your Flickr photos from the …

Playful Revolutions Presentation

After my Flash on the Beach talk last year I promised to put the recordings online of my talk and the others that I had listened to. I completely didn’t …

Sweet English Suburbia in Hamburg

I quite often teach COFA Online’s course, Graphics and Contemporary Society, which I find more interesting now that I’m here in Germany. A lot of …

Collabor8 - Creative Waves 2008

The Omnium Project will be running another global online creative collaboration project under the Creative Waves banner from 28th April - 20 June, this time …

MacUpdate Promo Bundle includes Parallels

After the disaster I had with MacHeist I decided to go for the new MacUpdate Promo Bundle, mainly because of Sound Studio and Parallels. The last MacUpdate …

I Want You To Want Me by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar

Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, who created one of my all time favourite interactive pieces, We Feel Fine, have a new piece called I Want You To Want Me …

Podcast interview with Jason Bruges

My latest Core77 Broadcast interview with Jason Bruges from Jason Bruges Studio is now online. In a slightly echoing room in Jason’s studio, accompanied …

Playpen Broke. Now Fixed. Sorry.

Apparently Playpen has been broken since yesterday and I didn’t notice (I was on a train from Hamburg most of yesterday). The robot running it got all …

Programming for children

Following on from my post and Nigel’s comments about Clicktoy, I just found Scratch, which is a simple multimedia authoring environment for children. It …

Public Bench Camera Play

Jay tied a disposable camera to a public bench with a note asking people to play. Amazingly it didn’t get nicked and the whole roll was shot by the end of …

Maze Frenzy

Some little games, like Line Rider are simple and instantly addictive. Quite a few of my students have tried to build something like Maze Frenzy in the past, …

ClickToy - A game for two year-olds

Image: ClickToy Interactive Inc. Old skool interaction designers will remember Grandma and Me and the rest of Broderbund’s Living Books series. Those …

Jackson Pollock Interactive

Once again proving that the simple interactives are often the most engaging and playful, this Jackson Pollockpiece by Miltos Manetas and Stamen has apparently …

Game Controller Family Tree

From the old, beloved Atari 2600 joystick to the Wiimote, how did we get from there to here? The “Sock Master’s” family tree of controllers …

Website Navigation Via Camera Tracking

The website of Publicis & Hal Riney uses camera-tracking in Flash for the navigation - the first website to use it as far as I know. Although described by a …

No Agencies Please, You're Not Nice

Wandering off from a post by John Hicks about staff photos I ended up on the jobs page of my mates at Poke. They have a good tip for recruitment agencies …

Parents to be educated about the Interweb

There’s a well-balanced piece from Patrick Wintourin the Guardian today about parents being shown how to protect their children online. It reports of a …

Playful Measuring Jug

Metric is so passé. Just how much is a hill of beans? I’m not sure, but I know the problems of three little people don’t amount to one. On the other …

Every (Nintendo) Video Game Online, Free

Everyvideogame.com is an archive of “all the Nintendo games you grew up with - online and free”. I was more of a Atari, ZX Specturm and Sega man …

Photographer's Rights

I’ve long been uncomfortable and unclear about the law when it comes to taking photos in public places and have read of several situations when …

R.I.P. Leo - 8.30AM, 22.3.2008

Our cat, Leo, who travelled with us all the way from Australia, died this morning having struggled with FIV (the feline version of HIV) for the last year. For …

Creative Play helps children's self-control

There’s an interesting piece about Creative Play on NPR at the moment that looks at a school running the Tools of the Mind programme. One of the findings …

iSmoke - How wrong? Very.

I walked past this ‘iSmoke’ ad for Lucky Strike cigarettes the other day. How wrong? Let me count the ways… It’s lazy creative. This is …

37signals versus Don Norman

If there was ever a clear example of the generation gap between those who have been steeped in digital culture from the start and those who have had to adopt it …

Film Friends Forever Oscar & Bafta Screening

I don’t normally do straight plugs for things that aren’t interactive and that I’ve never heard of, but this screening at Film Friends Forever …

Mac Virus with Gravitas

Troika, the folks behind the cloud sculpture at Heathrow, have created a virus on a USB stick, called the Newton Virus (for manual infection) that makes your …

Social Profile - I'm interesting and boring

Disraeli’s quip, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” could do with “and Facebook” tagged onto it, …

Philosophical 404

I know there are plenty of 404 pages out there, but I stumbled across this one today and quite liked its minimal, haiku style. That’s all. (This one is …

OLPC - I take it all back

Some will argue that I’m weak-willed, but I have made a 180-degree change of opinion on the merits of the One Laptop Per Child project thanks to Tom …

iPlay - interactivity without the flab

Chris just posted an interesting find called the iPlay. It’s basically an interactive playground frame game, which means that children have to run around …

LED Toilet Door Mix-Up Signs, Denmark

Those crazy Danes. (Image stolen from djaphrael) Amusing project over at Halfmachine which involved making toilet door signs from LEDs in a club. Of course, …

Share The Mouse on a Web Page

That’s My Mouse allows you to see share a web browsing experience with other people. You see their tag moving around as they move their mouse and any …

Podcast Interview with Hector Serrano

My interview with Hector Serrano is now available on the Core77 Broadcasts page. My thanks to Hector for an entertaining chat about his playful and insightful …

The Seven Stages of Falling in Love with Web Applications

Photo: eek the cat The other day I was trying to explain the emotional relationships people have social utilities and other read/write web applications …

IKEA Complete Bedroom

I seem to be having a bit of an IKEA theme going on at the moment. Following on from the Dream Kitchen site there’s a nice new piece called The Complete …

Outside of the Internet there is no Glory

I liked this and the sentiment. It’s a poster for the Biennial in Greece from Manetas. (Via Thomas).

From the archives: Dialogue with IKEA's Monika Mulder

Continuing the From The Archives series, here is an interview I did a while ago with one of the IKEA designers, Monika Mulder. Monika was really interesting to …

BlinkM - RGB LED Projects made easy

If you read Russell’s great post, Reskilling For An Age of Things and sympathised with his woeful soldering skills, these BlinkM programmable RGB LEDs …

Got ripped off in a MacHeist? It's a UI failure.

No, not a hold-up in McDonalds, but the MacHeist Mac software bundle sale/game. Like many, I got charged ten times and received nothing and also heard nothing …

Troika is on Cloud, er, Five

If you haven’t already explored the background behind Troika’s cloud for BA’s Terminal 5 - “a five meter long digital sculpture whose …

PayPal, A Customer Service Nightmare

Companies like PayPal are basically all service and no product, so it makes sense that they should spend a lot of their time on it as do First Direct. Sadly, …

Is your cellphone company evil?

Mine certainly is. No Evil is a great viral microsite for Net 10 that plays on the idea that cellphone companies are a bunch of money-grabbing evil madmen. …

re/act 4th International Student Festival for Media Art

Monika tells me this is a great festival for student media-arts work. It looks good to me and I think I saw some work from it last year. It’s a good …

Track Yourself and Friends with SportsDo

Ever wanted to track your training route and activity or just remember where you skied? My brother, Matthew, was given a SportsDo account and kit for Christmas …

BeatBearings and the Wisdom of the Tube

This BeatBearing project on YouTube by Peter Bennett is one of those physical interaction ideas that sounded great on paper, but is a bit useless in the flesh. …

Jiggling Icons on the iPhone

There are plenty of big announcements and coverage of Steve Jobs’s Macworld keynote. I’m happy to see the new AppleTV, movie downloads and rentals, …

From the Archives: Jonathan Harris - Man of the Hour

I have been promising that I would like to upload all of the articles I have written over the years so that they might be of use for people rather than them …

Hulger Sale

My mate Nik, the man behind Hulger, just mailed to say that they’re having a sale and phasing out some of the older colours. So if you want the super cool …

Moving Between Consulting and Academia

Jon Kolko’s article, Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire: Life lessons from consulting to academia, and back again over at Core77, was a particularly …

OLPC versus Nintendo DS

Alexander Stojanovic makes an interesting comparison between the Nintendo DS and the OLPC. Having bought both for his five year-old daughter at Christmas he has …

Wii remote for a head tracking display

Here’s an interesting video of inverting the Wiimote and infrared sensors to create a surprisingly realistic optical illusion for a single user. A lot of …

20,000 Processing Particles

I’ve played with Processing a fair bit over the years, but never really got stuck into anything solid - most of my time has been spent fixing up my …

NetX Digital Cardboard Christmas

It’s nice to see digital agencies do non-digital (sort of). My German pal, Tim Buesing, who now lives and works in Sydney at NetX just sent me the NetXmas …

Social Learning Masterclass

A few of weeks ago I presented at a Social Learning Masterclass at Northumbria University to an invite from Stephen Farrier from the e-Learning Innovations …

Manamana

Here’s something nothing to do with interactivity, quite a bit to do with play. It’s Christmas after all. I still find this funny for some …

The Whale Hunt by Jonathan Harris

Whatever your opinion on commercial whaling, substance whaling is a totally different affair. It’s been part of aboriginal Eskimo life for thousands of …

Benettonplay's Video Grid

Proving that the oldies are indeed the goldies, the Fabrica have re-made their video grid idea in Flash for your online interactive enjoyment. Amazing how …

Dear Rockers and Get a First Life

Iain posted posted a link to Dear Rockers, a website that encourages you to repent your music-stealing sins and send $5 direct to the musicians who have made an …

Greyworld's Monument to the Unknown Artist

Greyworld have unveiled their project, Monument to the Unknown Artist. Andrew Shoben showed me the maquette of it in Geryworld’s studio early last year …

Fireside chat with Brendan Dawes

I promised to put online the chat I had with magneticNorth’s Creative Director, Brendan Dawes, from when we were at Flash On the Beach 07. I’ve been …

Plumen - low energy, high style

My mate Nik Roope has been busily working up another smart idea to brighten up the lack of imagination in the marketplace again. This time it’s the Plumen …

Poke's Never-Ending Web Page for Orange

I meant to post this last week but was travelling and forgot. Take a look at the never-ending web page that Poke designed for the Orange Unlimited campaign …

Flash On the Beach Coda

I just returned from a fantastic time speaking at Flash on the Beach ‘07. I’ve been to quite a few conferences over the years and this was by far …

Purchasing Pleasure

I recently bought the very useful MarsEdit external blog editor from Red Sweater. I’d tried an earlier version and wasn’t so enamoured, but my …

Games, Play and Web Applications

[Dan Saffer’s](http://www.odannyboy.com/blog/new_archives/2007/10/presentation_ga.html] latest presentation called Gaming The Web: Using the structures of …

New magneticNorth website

Check out magneticNorth’s new website. As Brendan (mN’s Creative Director) says “Look beyond the site you see and you may discover …

Speaking at Icograda World Design Congress

I’ll be in Cuba this weekend (20th and 21st October) to give a presentation at the Icograda World Design Congress with my Omnium colleague, Rick Bennett. …

Use Designers Better

For several years I’ve been trying to express how design thinking can be used across a whole range of disciplines from sustainability to education to, …

Omnium need a Sys Admin

Just a quickie to say that the Omnium Research Group with whom I work in Australia are looking to hire a sys-admin. So if you’re a Linux, Apache, PHP, …

IKEA Dream Kitchen

The multi-camera technique that freezes a moment in time, but allows you to pan around in space (popularised as bullet time in The Matrix, but it has quite a …

Interactive Gestures Wiki

Multitouch screens of all shapes and forms are really all the rage, but with them come whole new paradigms of interaction. Do you wave like a Wii or do the …

Fix for Modifier Keys not working in Adobe CS2 Applications

It’s not really on-topic for Playpen, but I’m hoping this might help others out there who have had the same problem with modifier keys suddenly not …

Steve Scott - animator and illustrator to the stars

My mate and erstwhile work compadre, Steve Scott, has finally updated his website with lots of new goodies. If you’re a fan of illustration and animation, …

Podcast with Matt Clark from United Visual Artists

Following on from my last post about Hereafter, my podcast interview with Matt Clark from United Visual Artists is now online at Core77. We chat about a range …

Hereafter by United Visual Artists

United Visual Artists have a lovely new piece called Hereafter, which is very similar to elements of my Time Sketches in that it layers frames from a video …

This Happened, Once Again

As Knotty pointed out in the comments, Chris O’ Shea will be hosting This Happened in conversation with Crispin Jones, Rory Hamilton, The Science Of, …

Out of Bounds interview with Chris O' Shea

Chris O’ Shea recently completed Out of Bounds during his residency at the Design Museum. Chris also writes the very good Pixelsumo from which I …

Interactive Wall of 'Water'

Camera-tracking along with multi-touch seem to be unstoppable at the moment. This is an interactive wall of ‘water’ for Lenovo’s HQ in North …

Dan Saffer on Design Research Lies

Brilliant clip of Dan Saffer doing the start of his How To Lie With Design Research talk at the 2007 Design Research conference. If you’ve ever been to …

Light on Pixelsumo

Nice set of posts on playful, interactive household lights from Chris over at Pixelsumo. I’m particularly partial to Hector Srrano’s Superpatata …

Respect for Akismet

Akismet does an amazing job, it has to be said. Comment spammers do a terrible job.

Google Moon faked in a holodeck

I’m not actually a believer that NASA faked the moon landings but had an amusing moment looking through Google’s wonderful new Google Moon where …

The Changing Culture of Mobile Phones

In France at least (which is good, because we usually only get a very Anglo-Saxon view of these things). Experientia have translated the summary of a report by …

Evolution of Dance vs. Titanic

I’ve just been chatting with my online students in Australia about emerging media and it led me to do some quick sums on the merits of Titanic, the …

Podcast of Creative Collaboration and The Future of Education

If you have been missing the sound of my voice (or have no idea what my faltering, mumbling sounds like) the podcast of my seminar at Urban Learning Space about …

Search people in video

Interesting video search beta over at Reuters Labs that allows you to search for people in videos by just entering their name as a text query (obvious that part …

What is education worth?

Interesting piece in the Guardian about a new (but already out of date) British Council report (PDF link) on what education is worth to the UK. I’ve …

Sorry Goodby, Silverstein & Partners!

Thanks to Jim Coudal (I love the giant ‘Finally’ on Coudal.com at the moment too) and Sidney Bosley from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for …

Interactive Banner Ad from Adobe

I interacted with a banner ad today, and actually enjoyed it. Adobe’s Creative License campaign is currently on display at Coudal Partners’ Layer …

Touchscreen implications for mobile gaming

Interesting piece by Stuart Dredge on the implications that touchscreens (read: iPhone) interfaces have for mobile gaming over at Pocketgamer. Of course there …

Tom Coates on Andrew Keen

If you don’t know who Andrew Keen is, Google him, I’m not linking because I find him and his views on the internet and the changing face of the …

More playful goodies from Jamie Wieck

I have just been taking a deeper look at the work of Jamie Wieck, who did the Don’t Play With Your Food plates in the previous post. Not only is his body …

Playful Plates

Witty, playful everyday things seem to be all over the place at the moment. Chris at Pixelsumo just posted about these embossed plates, called Don’t Play …

Speaking at Flash on the Beach

I’m very pleased to have been invited to speak at Flash on the Beach in Brighton. FOTB runs from 4th- - 7th November and my session is on the last day. I …

Dynamic resizing of image content

This technology developed by Ariel Shamir from the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science resizes the content of images in the same way that web pages are …

Playful Signage

Whilst at Urban Learning Space I noticed the lovely, playful signage all around the building at The Lighthouse (originally a Charles Rennie Mackintosh …

Creative Collaboration & The Future of Education

I presented my seminar on Creative Collaboration and The Future of Education at Urban Learning Space yesterday and very much enjoyed the Glaswegian hospitality …

Break-time at Playpen

I’m going to take a few days off for a break, so I probably won’t be blogging for a couple of weeks. But stay tuned, there is much more to come as …

Two-Way Tangible Interface: PICO

[](hysical Intervention in Computational Optimization) PICO (Physical Intervention in Computational Optimization) by James Patten is a tangible interface that …

Postful ripped off

[UPDATE: There are several updates to this post, which has made it a bit confusing to read. I don’t like deleting posts, so it’s mostly persevered …