Designing for Life
eBook - ePub

Designing for Life

A Human Perspective on Technology Development

Pertti Saariluoma,José J. Cañas,Jaana Leikas,Pertti Saariluoma

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eBook - ePub

Designing for Life

A Human Perspective on Technology Development

Pertti Saariluoma,José J. Cañas,Jaana Leikas,Pertti Saariluoma

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À propos de ce livre

Throughout the chapters, the authors take readers through the various uses of technology. They discuss archifact analysis, usability and cognitive engineering, as well as motivation and emotion in user interface design. The book also crucially introduces a new, holistic approach to designing human-technology interaction.

The book is suitable for researchers, postgraduate and undergraduate students of cognitive and social psychology as well as all those who are interested in technological design and its societal impact.

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© The Author(s) 2016
Pertti Saariluoma, José J. Cañas and Jaana LeikasDesigning for Life10.1057/978-1-137-53047-9_1
Begin Abstract

1. Technology in Life

Pertti Saariluoma1 , José J. Cañas2 and Jaana Leikas3
Cognitive Science, University of JyvÀskylÀ, JyvÀskylÀ, Finland
Faculty of Psychology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Tampere, Finland
End Abstract
Technological advancements have changed human life throughout history as technical inventions have emancipated people from many mundane, necessary tasks. The development of technical artefacts has long relied on the natural sciences and engineering. However, recent technical advancements—such as ubiquitous and massively multifunctional technologies as well as the emergence of social media—have made it necessary to approach design from a multidisciplinary perspective and to ground design thinking more on the understanding of human mind and human life. As the natural sciences and human research are in many respects different practices, it is time to discuss their mutually inclusive roles in design and to rethink the foundations of (and relationship between) scientific and design thinking.
Information and communication technology (ICT) services have become an increasingly central form of social activity, which is radically changing the foundations of technology design thinking. Human–technology interaction (HTI) design no longer involves merely developing new technical devices or artefacts for people to use. It is shifting from creating tools to shaping what they can achieve. For example, hundreds of thousands of apps and an unlimited number of web pages have been developed in recent years without making any essential changes to the technical artefacts on which the apps are used. Moreover, technical solutions are becoming more complex, and automatic processes have replaced many operators. Though creating new artefacts never ceases, it is evident that the ever-evolving human relationship with technology is becoming more and more important.
The term ‘technical artefact’ or ‘artefact’ refers to any human-made object, natural process, or even a modified natural phenomenon that is used to improve human performance, satisfy some human need, or improve the quality of life (Simon 1969). An artefact can also be a technical machine or device that has a human function (Houkes et al. 2011). It can be a computer program, machine, device, instrument, chemical product, or tool. It can also be something that gives subjective enjoyment to people—a film, a TV programme, or a cigarette. It can even be a natural phenomenon used by people, like fire or a stone tool. The main requirement is it helps people pursue their action goals. The term ‘technology’ typically refers to a combination of technical artefacts and their human uses—that is, what people do with artefacts and how they are organized around them (Davis et al. 2014; Houkes et al. 2011; Karwowski 2006; Meier-Oeser 1998; Orlikowski 1991, 2000).
People, and the various roles they play when interacting with technology—such as users, consumers, and operators—constitute the human dimension of technology. HTI in its broadest sense covers all forms and aspects of interaction between people and technical artefacts; it includes the roles of designer, business manager, object of action, constructor, and builder.
Although issues related to computational devices dominate today’s discussion on HTI, traditional mechanical artefacts and their uses are also relevant for this discussion, since most technical artefacts today have both computational and mechanical dimensions. The nature of scientific knowledge in design thinking is changing, and designers and developers of modern technologies are required to acquire new types of skills. For centuries, natural science and mathematics have provided the basic concepts and theories for technology design thinking and innovation, but they are no longer sufficient in HTI design. The interaction between humans and new types of technologies must be holistically understood in all its complexity.
The human dimension is an inevitable part of technology design thinking, since technological solutions have direct or indirect links to everyday life. For example, modern paper machines can dry paper incredibly quickly, thanks to the invention of the so-called extended nip, a flexible mantle that sped up the process considerably and improved the quality of paper (Saariluoma et al. 2006). Therefore, this invention increased the productivity of papermaking factories by tens of percentages, which improved the quality of life for the users of the paper (e.g., newspaper readers) and increased investors’ return of investment (ROI).
In engineering, design thinking is conceived as organizing the laws of nature in a meaningful manner (Pahl et al. 2007). Also, understanding the human mind and human life is necessary for people working with technology design. However, the traditional (largely common sense and user-need based) conceptualization of the human mind and actions is no longer sufficient. The conceptual structure of design thinking has to be expanded to also consider other concepts of human research (Davis et al. 2014; Houkes et al. 2011; Karwowski 2006; Meier-Oeser 1998; Orlikowski 1991, 2000).
The most important design solutions are based on scientific knowledge developed in the natural sciences such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and materials science. Since they are able to apply the laws of nature and to use simulations to study different alternatives, engineers can confidently predict that their design solutions will work in practice. Human research, by contrast, is not applied as effectively as the laws of natural science in technology design. Thus, while a design might perform well technically, users may not be able to (or may not want to) use the artefact, or simply have no practical use for it.
As the human dimension of technology is becoming more important in practical design, development, and innovation, it is necessary to turn one’s attention to human research, that is, the relevant areas of biology, psychology, and socio-cultural research. Yet natural scientific and human perspectives on thinking are conceptually different in many respects. While human research is dominated by causal explanation, the natural sciences rely on such philosophical and metascientific notions as intention or understanding (Radnitsky 1968; von Wright 1971).
There has been relatively little communication between the academic human–computer interaction (HCI) community and industry in the area of HTI design (Carroll 1997), and researchers in both fields have approached interaction issues very differently. Consequently, the degree of applying human research is not as high as it could be in modern technology design.
Engineering designers and programmers are experts in the natural sciences and mathematics, while human researchers are qualified in human biology, psychology, and socio-cultural research. Human researchers have used different concepts and seen different problems than technical designers, and industry professionals have felt that human researchers do not comprehend the real goal of design thinking, which is working with a product rather than coming up with a good theory.
Indeed, people are goal oriented rather than abstractly theoretical when it comes to using technology (Card et al. 1983). People, moreover, are different. Though designers have expected them to behave like machine parts with specific functions, from registering odd things in the environment to typing in texts, they have dimensions that should also be factored in. People err, they change their moods and goals, they feel good or bad, and they have their life histories, social networks, and personality. But most of all, they have their own individual lives. Since all technologies are designed to be used in life and are justified (or not) by their significance in human life, technology designers cannot ignore people and their lives.
Incorporating human knowledge into technology design thinking thus uncovers underlying conceptual structures and tacitly or explicitly guides design thinking. Numerous paradigms have been developed to incorporate the human dimension of technology. Common examples include usability testing, user experience evaluation, and usability goal setting (Dumas and Redish 1999; Hassenzahl and Tractinsky 2006; Helander and Khalid 2006; Nagamashi 2011; Nielsen 1993; Wixon and Wilson 1997). Designers have also constructed sketches, mock-ups, simulation models, and prototypes, which they more or less systematically test with users to find out whether they make errors or take more time than necessary to perform certain tasks. However, the kind of approach that does not fully take human research into account when creating design goals and requirements can be seen as tacitly conservative, because it prioritizes technical advancement over the human mind and people’s lives.
A number of different kinds of tools have been developed to support design practices, such as graphical user interface components, style guides, standards, practices, and databanks (Cooper et al. 2007; Collison et al. 2009; Goodwin 2011; ISO 1998a, b; Kim et al. 2011). These tools can be effective when they are used to solve specific and restricted de...

Table des matiĂšres

  1. Cover
  2. Frontmatter
  3. 1. Technology in Life
  4. 2. Design Discourses
  5. 3. The Logic of User Interface Design
  6. 4. The Psychology of Fluent Use
  7. 5. Emotions, Motives, Individuals, and Cultures in Interaction
  8. 6. Life-Based Design
  9. 7. Research and Innovation
  10. 8. Epilogue: Designing for Life
  11. Backmatter