Category Archives: Computer Systems

Seating Area at the Edge offices

The Most Intelligent Building in the World

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We have covered the idea of a smart workplace a few times on EID (for example here and here, but it seems there is always a new innovation around the corner that is far enough advanced to be worth revisiting the topic. The next example in this series is The Edge, Deloitte’s Amsterdam headquarters.

It knows where you live. It knows what car you drive. It knows who you’re meeting with today and how much sugar you take in your coffee. (At least it will, after the next software update.) This is the Edge, and it’s quite possibly the smartest office space ever constructed.

Xbox Avatar

Battle of the Bias: Avatar Bling in Multiplayer Games

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The latest Psychology of Video Games podcast has a very interesting interview with Niels van de Ven, who does research on human behavior in video games at Tilburg University. The podcast focused on his recent work on in-game purchases and envy.

Are you jealous? Ever been jealous? Ever been jealous because some other player in a video game had something cool or useful? Or, even better, have you ever made someone else jealous for the same reason?

women texting and walking

Texting While Walking

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Results suggest that (a) texting is as unsafe as phone conversations for street-crossing performance and (b) when subjects completed most of the texting task before initiating crossing, they were more likely to make it safely across the street.

We shouldn’t be surprised that texting while crossing the street is dangerous. Do we need a study to show us? Since so many people do it, perhaps we do.

cyber security

Cyber Human Supervisory Control

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Vince Mancuso and his colleagues from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base presented a paper on Cyber human supervisory control at User Experience Day last week at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society annual conference. This paper won the best paper award and received a $1,000 prize, sponsored by State Farm.

The paper investigated the performance of a human supervisor in cyber security applications and how this performance varies with an increasing number of autonomous cyber assets to monitor. They used the BotNET Operator Agent Ratio Determination (BOARD) system as the environment for the test and gave participants a series of missions to accomplish.

Accessibility Word Cloud

Connecting Accessibility and UX in the Mobile Age

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When Sanjay Batra told me about his plans for this panel, I was thrilled to participate. User Experience pros from Google, IBM, Motorola, and my mélange of affiliations shared our experiences and ideas about accessibility and mobile technology. The dynamic interaction among the panelists and with the audience brought out lots of very interesting issues, challenges, and concerns.

User Experience Day Design Challenge

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We are continuing this week with our highlights from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. There were so many great sessions it is hard to decide which ones to write about. My Take I decided to be selfish and start with my personal favorite session, the User Experience Day Design Challenge. This was a real time competition squeezed into a single 90-minute session. The audience was divided into six teams of 8-10 people. There were four judges and two facilitators. Other attendees were…

Virtual Environments Go To The Movies

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This topic showed up twice in my Wired inbox. First in the May issue of the print magazine and then recently in the October issue online. In both cases, the authors shared recent advances in virtual reality technology that is being applied to the development of movies.

For all its decades of hey-it’s-coming-any-day potential, VR is still an entirely new medium for cinema, and while directors and studios are curious about the possibilities, they’re relying on people like Unseld to show them what this brave new world looks like.

many snow white dolls

The Uncanny Valley in User Experience

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We have discussed the phenomenon of the uncanny valley here before. It is the phenomenon in which a robot or animation looks enough like a human to trigger our neural human recognition system but unhuman enough to trigger our neural mismatch/somethings wrong system (I can go into the neuroanatomy if someone asks in the comments).

Recent experiments suggest that I’m not alone in my discomfort. Colin Strong, a marketing consultant in the UK, storyboared several high tech customization scenarios, ranging from the simple (targeted direct mail) to the sophisticated, like health insurance companies crawling info on your food purchase habits to adjust your premiums. When he showed the scenarios to subjects, he found that the more personalized the services got, the more people liked them – until they got too personalized.

Lady with megaphone

Designing Call to Action Buttons

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The Content Marketing Institute is one of my go-to sources for practical tips on content strategy and content marketing. One of their core messages is that the long term objective of marketing should be to build an opt-in audience that values your communication. They therefore give you permission, often explicitly, to send them information and offers. This has become increasingly necessary because interruption marketing, such as pop-up ads and 30-second TV spots, are too easy for consumers to skip, block, or ignore by watching a different screen. Just look at what Apple is doing in iOS 9.

Email is a whopping 40 times more powerful at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. On top of that, the average email-based order’s dollar value is 17% higher than social media channels.

Tiny Screen

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If you are just getting used to the small screens on wearables such as smart watches, get ready for the next innovation. A new idea from Tiny Circuits called the TinyScreen could significantly expand where these mini screens make practical sense.

TinyCircuits is an Open Source Hardware company specializing in designing and manufacturing very small (Tiny) electronics. Based out of Akron, OH, TinyCircuits was originally started in 2011 by Ken Burns as AkroSense LLC, with the intent to develop cheap, smart (very easy to use) and tiny sensors.