Tuesday, January 23, 2007

An interview with Adam Greenfield

An interview with the author of Everyware ...

"Regine and I interviewed Adam Greenfield on WMMNA. The interview was about Mr. Greenfield’s book “Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing”, how it has been received, why such a name, what were the implications and how designers should have a voice in the discourse about everyware/ubiquitous computing…
Some questions were more specifically addressing issues that I tackle in this blog, about space/place and their relationships with technology design. If you want to read the whole interview, I encourage you to go to WMMNA.

It’s been one year that I regularly exchange with Adam through IM and meetings at like Nepublics or CINUM. So these bits might reflects some of the discussion we have (we did not address his love for the Citroen DS). Besides, if you’re interested in knowing more about the personnage and listening to his thoughts, he’d be at LIFT07 in a panel about ubiquitous computing.

NN: It’s been a while that the book has been released. After those few months, when you look back and think about the reactions and the debate it had fostered, what are the main issues that emerged? Where there unexpected discussions? If you had to add new parts in that book, what would it be about?

AG: Oh, god. I’d probably write a completely different book now. It’s not so much a question of new material, although there’s inevitably a wealth of more up-to-date information that we could profitably discuss, as what I’d want to leave out. The thesis on mash-ups, for example, which is the surviving third of a much longer argument about the decentralization of technological development, and doesn’t make all that much sense in its shorter version.

At that, I guess the thing that’s surprised me most in terms of the response is how consistently readers have said, essentially, “OK, you’ve convinced me that this stuff is going to happen, is happening. You don’t need all this material in here laying out this argument in detail. I buy the premise.” So what I’m hearing is that I probably could have trimmed out long stretches of Section 6, parts of which are the most technical in the book, the most rapidly obsolescing and the weakest in terms of their contribution to the overall argument.

As to that argument, it’s gotten a warm response from people in the field; in particular, the reception I got when I presented on the Everyware material at PARC itself was extremely gratifying. There have been exceptions, of course. Anne Galloway has expressed very clearly her distrust of all a priori design guidelines, or of anything that tends to universalize or genericize, and to some degree I think that’s fair comment; Victoria Bellotti at PARC, if I understood her correctly, seemed to feel that the sorts of graphic identifiers for information gathering activities called for in the book would likely be dangerously reductive or misleadingly incomplete, worse than no notification at all.

And as to the reactions of those not in the field? I still can’t tell. Even after ten months in the wild, I don’t think it’s found its audience."    (Continued via )    [Usability Resources]


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