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  • 1.
    Croon Fors, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
    The Beauty of the beast: the matter of meaning in digitalization2010In: AI & Society: The Journal of Human-Centred Systems and Machine Intelligence, ISSN 0951-5666, E-ISSN 1435-5655, Vol. 25, no 1, p. 27-33Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Digitalization reveals the world in new varieties and forms. This power to unveil not only transforms human outreach and actions, but also changes our conceptions; about whom we are, about our uses and about human horizons for sense-making. In this paper, I explore experience design and the aesthetic turn in contemporary research in human–computer interaction and interaction design. This rather recent interest in aesthetic experience is in my view a move away from a view of digitalization as instances of objects aligned in networks, with certain features, qualities and properties, towards an understanding of digitalization as a relation to the world, to itself, and to what it means to be human (e.g. Technology and the character of contemporary life. A philosophical inquiry. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1984, Holding on to reality. The nature of information at the turn of the millennium. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1999; Questioning technology. Routledge, New York, 1999; The question concerning technology and other essays. Harper and Row, New York, 1977; Technology and the lifeworld, from garden to earth. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1990). As such my attempt in this text is to outline a conceptual account concerning what it might mean to designate digitalization as experienced rather than as what we traditionally think of it—as a cause of what we perceive. The paper is based on some previous work suggesting that a focus on the beauty of digitalization (i.e. the beast) entails the possibility to investigate ambiguous meanings of digitalization, meanings that are intrinsic to digitalization but have so far received little or no attention. My suggestion is that there are aesthetic and/or sublime dimensions inherent in digitalization that involves the realization of meaning that are becoming increasingly important in both use and design of digital materials. Hence, the particular focus on aesthetics as implied by the title of this text refers to a pervasive quality harbouring meaning that through a phenomenological lens could be regarded as the material basis of digitalization. The paper concludes that it is crucial to conduct more thorough studies of the relationship between aesthetics and digitalization if we are truly interested in exploring the potential of digitalization in our lives.

  • 2.
    Fällman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
    A different way of seeing: Albert Borgmann's philosophy of technology and human-computer interaction2009In: AI & Society: The Journal of Human-Centred Systems and Machine Intelligence, ISSN 0951-5666, E-ISSN 1435-5655, Vol. 25, no 1, p. 53-60Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Traditional human–computer interaction (HCI) allowed researchers and practitioners to share and rely on the ‘five E’s’ of usability, the principle that interactive systems should be designed to be effective, efficient, engaging, error tolerant, and easy to learn. A recent trend in HCI, however, is that academic researchers as well as practitioners are becoming increasingly interested in user experiences, i.e., understanding and designing for relationships between users and artifacts that are for instance affective, engaging, fun, playable, sociable, creative, involving, meaningful, exciting, ambiguous, and curious. In this paper, it is argued that built into this shift in perspective there is a concurrent shift in accountability that is drawing attention to a number of ethical, moral, social, cultural, and political issues that have been traditionally de-emphasized in a field of research guided by usability concerns. Not surprisingly, this shift in accountability has also received scarce attention in HCI. To be able to find any answers to the question of what makes a good user experience, the field of HCI needs to develop a philosophy of technology. One building block for such a philosophy of technology in HCI is presented. Albert Borgmann argues that we need to be cautious and rethink the relationship as well as the often-assumed correspondence between what we consider useful and what we think of as good in technology. This junction—that some technologies may be both useful and good, while some technologies that are useful for some purposes might also be harmful, less good, in a broader context—is at the heart of Borgmann’s understanding of technology. Borgmann’s notion of the device paradigm is a valuable contribution to HCI as it points out that we are increasingly experiencing the world with, through, and by information technologies and that most of these technologies tend to be designed to provide commodities that effortlessly grant our wishes without demanding anything in return, such as patience, skills, or effort. This paper argues that Borgmann’s work is relevant and makes a valuable contribution to HCI in at least two ways: first, as a different way of seeing that raises important social, cultural, ethical, and moral issues from which contemporary HCI cannot escape; and second, as providing guidance as to how specific values might be incorporated into the design of interactive systems that foster engagement with reality.

  • 3.
    Fällman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
    Mobility as involvement: On the role of involvement in the design of mobile support systems for industrial application2009In: AI & Society: The Journal of Human-Centred Systems and Machine Intelligence, ISSN 0951-5666, E-ISSN 1435-5655, Vol. 25, no 1, p. 43-52Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article, the concept of mobility is examined theoretically, from a phenomenological perspective, as well as empirically, through two design case studies. First, a background to how the notion of mobility is generally conceptualized and used in academia as well as within industry is provided. From a phenomenological analysis, it becomes necessary to question the currently dominating understanding of mobility as first and foremost a provider of freedom from a number of constraints. Rather, it is argued, mobility needs to be understood primarily as quite the opposite; as being about getting involved in different contexts. Based on this analysis, it is described how such an altered way of understanding mobility has come to challenge our design team’s preconceptions of mobile interaction design and influence the design of two mobile support system for service and maintenance in industrial settings.

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