Everyday Adaptive Design
Tom Moran
IBM Almaden Research Center
Designing Interactive Systems 2002
The British Museum, London, 25-28 June 2002
DIS 2002
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History of DIS
Computing Systems:
• Batch
• Interactive
• Personal
• Networked
• Enterprise
• Web
• Mobile
• Ubiquitous
• Embedded
Design Perspectives:
• Cognitive
• Usability
• GUI
• Socio-technical
• Participatory
• Graphic
• Information
• Interaction
• Experience
DIS 2002
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“Serious reflections on DIS”
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What is “user-oriented” design?
What is it trying to accomplish?
What is its role in system development?
Why is there no “usefulness design”?
Who are the designers, anyway?
DIS 2002
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Past, Present, Future
The point of this talk:
• Design lives everywhere, in all of us.
• Specifically, in the “users”.
• People commit everyday little acts of
design by adapting systems to their needs.
This talk is more about:
… seeing adaptation as good than as bad.
… continuity than change.
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<meta>
Managing Expectations</meta>
Style
School
Method
Philosophy
Paradigm
Theory
Framework
Perspective
Attitude
Muddle
Concern
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DESIGN
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Design v. tr.
1. Conceive or fashion in the mind; invent.
design a good excuse for not attending the conference
2. Formulate a plan for; devise.
design a marketing strategy for the new product
3. Plan out in systematic, usually graphic form.
design a building; design a computer program
4. Create or contrive for a specific purpose or effect.
design a game designed to appeal to all ages
5. Create a basic scheme or pattern that affects and
controls function or development.
the overall design of an epic poem
6. Create in an artistic or highly skilled manner.
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Perspectives on What Design Is
Everyday
What does the dictionary say?
Political
Who is called a “Designer”?
Social
What is “Designer talk”?
What is the Designer’s role?
Cognitive
What is the behavior, activity,
and practice of designing?
“Design”
What do we want it to be?
We can design design!
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Goal of Design (personal)
• Design artifacts that become suitably and
intimately enmeshed in people’s lives.
• Not an object of admiration.
• Deeper notion of “interaction design”.
• Criteria: 1. Usefulness. 2. Reliability
3. Usability. 4. Delight.
• More evolutionary than revolutionary.
• More service than product.
DIS 2002
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Design and Time
Life cycle of development:
Design
Build
10
Adapt
Use
100
1000
Design is a set of distributed activities
of different kinds
by different people
Time is the best designer!
at different times.
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Three Notions of Design
Professional Design
By Designers at design time
Generic Design
By many other professionals throughout
development
Adaptive Design
By adapters (users) throughout the life cycle
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PROFESSIONAL DESIGN
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Professional Design: Assets
• Representation of the end user
• Generic process skills:
• Breadth (look at multiple alternatives)
• Iteration (feedback and refinement)
• Integration (of multiple views)
• Specific skills (eg, aesthetic expression)
• Specialized domain knowledge
DIS 2002
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Professional Design: Difficulties
“… to ascribe to architects … exceptional insight into problems
of living when, in truth, most of them are concerned with
problems of business or prestige.” – Rudolfsky
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Predicting usefulness
Representing the user
Talk to other designers
Pull of over-design
Can’t
Adbusters manifesto
Awards; AIGA cases
Design problems everywhere
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GENERIC DESIGN
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Generic Design
“ Everyone designs who devises courses of
action aimed at changing existing situations
into preferred ones ” – Simon
Designing is a type of cognitive activity
(vs, say, diagnosis or decision making)
with characteristic properties …
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Design Activity
• Design problems are ill-defined.
• The problem is defined as you go.
• What’s taken to be a solution depends on the
individual / discipline.
• Design problems are ill-structured.
(a complex of interdependent components)
• Managed systematically and opportunistically.
• Decomposed into better-structured subproblems.
• Coordinated and integrated.
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Design Activity
• Designing is specifying.
• Work with multiple representations.
• Representations give structure and focus.
• Representations provide for reflection on the state
of the design (Schon).
• Designing is stealing.
• Domain knowledge is reused.
• Creativity is based on analogical reasoning.
Integration is the hardest part of design.
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Design of a Service (Palen & Salzman)
User experience of a cellphone:
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Hardware
dial shuttle
Software
call routing feature
Netware
service quality & type, roaming, long distance
Bizware
• Calling plans
cost & use patterns
• Marketing promotions call routing + free weekend
• Handset manual
nonspecific
• Phone bill
format
• Customer service
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Design is a Social Process
• Collaboration
• Negotiation (NB: Rittel’s IBIS)
• User Participation
Design is not a profession, but a community
(such as, say, DIS)
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EVERYDAY DESIGN
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Everyday Design
“ Everybody is a designer in everyday life.
Yet we share no common vocabulary for describing
everyday design practice ….
design is not limited to the province of specialists
who have formal training... .
Rather, design behavior is a fundamental
element of our species’ adaptation.” – Strickland
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Portable Effects Exhibit (Strickland)
“… glimpses into human
mobile nature … prompts
each of us to consider the
design motives and
methods that underlie our
daily transactions with
ordinary objects.”
Esther
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Esther’s Purse
“ I feel very well equipped to go out. The purse looks like a mess …
but it's got everything. It's got all the recent goings on. So it's got all
my credit cards, money a little bit here and there, a notepad. ...
I tend to take a long time to file things … So this works as a
clearance center. It's little pieces of paper that can't be thrown away,
but I don't have time to attend to yet. … If I've just finished a
transaction I like to just dump it into my purse and go. Then once in
a month … or so I'll sit there and organize and weed it out. ...
Once in a while it takes me a longer time to find something, but
that's actually rare. I have an organization, and I can't even
articulate it. But if I need money I dive in there and I can find some.
I guess my system arises from an aversion to organizing all the
time. I like most of my life to be free flowing. In little patches there's
some heavy duty organizing to do.”
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Back Bag
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Everyday Adaptive Design
Everyday design is authentic:
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continuous process of adaptation
attention is specific and detailed
develops a tight fit to the situation
unique character results:
“ informal, pragmatic,
alive with offhand ingenuity ”
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ADAPTIVE DESIGN IN
VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE
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Design without Designers
Architecture without Architects – Rudolfsky
“non-pedigreed architecture”
Notes on the Synthesis of Form – Alexander
“unselfconscious design”
The Death and Life of Great American Cities – Jacobs
vitality of the street from its diversity and density
How Buildings Learn – Brand
“the low road”
Learning from Las Vegas – Venturi et al
“theory of the ordinary and ugly”
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Vernacular Architecture (Rudolfsky)
“ There is much to learn from architecture before it became an
expert’s art. The untutored builders in space and time …
demonstrate an admirable talent for fitting their buildings into the
natural surroundings. Instead of trying to ‘conquer’ nature, as we
do, they welcome the vagaries of climate and the challenge of
topography.”
“ The beauty of this architecture has long been dismissed as
accidental, but today we should be able to recognize it as the
result of rare good sense in the handling of practical problems.”
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Native Vernacular:
Pakistani Wind Scoops (Rudolfsky)
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Romantic Vernacular:
Victorian Houses (Moudon)
1887
1991
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Victorian House Plans
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Vulgar Vernacular:
The Low Road (Brand)
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ADAPTIVE DESIGN
IN INTERACTIVE SYSTEMS
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Customization Techniques
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Scripting languages
Macros (programming by example)
Formulas
Rules
Features
Parameters
Skins
Rearrangement
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User vs Adapter
Use: put system into action for a purpose
• Assumes the system is ready for the purpose
• Thus, usability is the designer’s problem
Adapt: make system suitable for a purpose
• Thus, usefulness is the adapter’s problem
Adopt: make the system one’s own
• As a result of adaptive activity
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Systems for Adaptive Design
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Web
Spreadsheets
Email
Messaging
Cellphone
Desktop
Paper
Wikis, Blogs
Local developers
“Habitat”
Teens
Rendezvousing
Freeform space
Post-its
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Adaptive Design – Mobile Work
(Perry, O’Hara, Sellen, Brown, Harper)
• Plan what to carry for later access and use
(“planful opportunism”)
• Redundancy for coping with uncertainty
• Laptop, disk, pre-email, paper, cellphone
• Short dead times in various contexts
• Multi-tasking (eg: in a car)
• Cellphone for delegation
• Lightweightness and flexibility
• “Micromobility” and instant-on
• Connectivity to local resources
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Adaptive Design – Email (Bellotti et al)
Email is a “serial killer app” –
• people “progressively appropriate [email] as a habitat in
which they spend most of their workday”
• Basic function used in variety of ways
• eg negotiation
• Manipulate folders to keep visible
• Used for other functions:
• To-do’s; contact management; repository
• Attachments for document exchange
• But filters only slightly used
DIS 2002
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Professional vs Adaptive Design
Formal
Anticipated
Ill-defined
Reflect
Specify
Program
Adventurous
Make it right
Informal
Situated
Concrete
Act
Build
Arrange
Conservative
Make do
DIS 2002
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DESIGNING FOR
ADAPTIVE DESIGN
DIS 2002
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Architecture of Layers (Brand)
daily
3-30 yrs
7-15 yrs
20 yrs
30-300+
eternal
DIS 2002
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Behavior of Layers
• Need “slippage” between layers.
• Fast layers explores changes (originality).
• Slow layers constrain the fast layers.
• Slow layers provide continuity.
• Slow layers eventually integrate changes.
(“Infrastructuralization”)
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Platforms, Not Solutions
Overbuild infrastructure, underbuild features:
• Provide reliable basic services.
• Under-design:
• Don’t over-respond to immediate issues.
• Defer decisions, provide opportunities.
(Rationale for simplicity: adaptability, not ease.)
Platforms support cheap experiments
over extended time periods.
DIS 2002
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Space to Evolve
Make room for adaptive design:
• Leave some spaces rough.
• “low definition spaces”
• basement, garage, porch, storage
• Make spaces non-minimal.
• Generous room sizes
DIS 2002
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Managing the At-Hand
Allow people to arrange what’s “at hand”:
• Arranging stuff in spaces.
• Fitting in storage/display structures.
• What is an adaptable quality (look and feel)?
• Conveying opportunity and potential.
• Aesthetic of ongoing process.
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Modularity
Allow recombining and repurposing:
• Cellular spaces (hierarchic)
• Joinable and splitable
• Closed modular systems (kits)
• Expensive
• Limited style, choices, and availability
• Open standards
• Accomodate heterogeneity
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Process
Assuming people have local control:
• Provide documentation, service, and support.
• Do-it-yourself industry
• Make adaptations sharable.
• Document experiences and solutions.
• Use for generalization and “infrastructuralization”
DIS 2002
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What about Systems?
Some trends supporting adaptive design:
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Open standards
Web architecture
Portalization
Freeform technologies
But interaction design is needed:
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Lightweight
Flexible
Looser, less crammed
Interchangeable, interconnectable
DIS 2002
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Adaptive Design Behavior Issues
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Time course of adaptation
Maintaining vs changing habits
Amenity and function vs style
Reflection vs on-the-fly action
Experimentation (trial and error)
Inhibitions to local control
DIS 2002
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Research for Adaptive Design
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Systems Theory
Empirical Investigations
Design Methods
Adaptation Techniques
Pliant Technology
Task-Specific Languages
Design Languages
Alexander, Furnas, …
Nardi, Mackay, …
Fischer, …
???
Henderson
spreadsheets
Alexander, Reinfrank, …
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Conclusion
Adaptive design runs rampant.
• It is vital, creative, and messy.
The design community can:
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Dismiss it as vulgar.
Try to clean it up.
Embrace it.
Design to support it and improve it.
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Thanks to …
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Michel Beaudouin-Lafon
Victoria Bellotti
Gerhard Fischer
George Furnas
Bill Gaver
Beverly Harrison
Steve Harrison
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Austin Henderson
Wendy Mackay
Bill Moggridge
Bonnie Nardi
John Reinfrank
Dan Russell
Rachel Strickland
Bill Verplank
Send comments to
[email protected]
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Everyday Adaptive Design