Category Archives: Studies

How to control a society?

How to control a society?

– Put basic human needs at threat.
– Tire them out as they try to fulfill these needs.
– Make them stupid.

1. USER EXPERIENCE CONTROL VIA CAPITALISM
The user experience of an average citizen living in a capitalist society is broken. Most working class folks are tried, deprived of sleep and sex.

If you’re not well rested, healthy or deprived of your basic human needs because of spending all your time to earn money to pay rent – your experience of human life is broken.

Promote drugs like sugar/coffee/alcohol to escape or keep up with reality.

2. KNOWLEDGE CONTROL VIA INFORMATION
If we are outputs of the information we consume and the experiences we have; I sometimes feel that we live in the age of stupid.

The information we consume junk. Distractification created by information warfare between countries and corporates – run by those who can buy the most amount of media.

7 things to do

12 things you don’t know about…

You won’t believe what this girl did in this video

Russia/ISIS/N.Korea is preparing…

Dumb f*cking content created for the sake of pageviews to sell some shitty product or propaganda.

The real information is censored or not accessible. Knowledge seekers are punished – death/prison to political bloggers and activists.

Information without credibility or quality makes us all stupid.

CONCLUSION:
The tired, the deprived and the stupid will NEVER revolt and will do as told

Introduction to Information Divide

From a philosophical point of view Data can be defined as things known or assumed as facts, making the basis of reasoning or calculation. From a computer science perspective Information by itself is nothing but data (1s and 0s) that is processed, organised, stored, or transmitted.

In communication studies, forms of information can be classified as graphical or textual information – written or verbal. Different forms of information can be transferred or communicated via mediums including (but not restricted to) television, radio, newspapers, books and the Internet.

Information communicated can be quantitatively assessed by measuring attributes such as rate of information dissemination and amount of information accessed.

Information communicated can also be qualitatively assessed when data sets contain attributes such as bias or no bias, accuracy or no inaccuracy, credibility or no credibility, complete or incomplete and censored or uncensored.

For instance, the attributes to measure quality and quantity of information disseminated or accessed via the Internet include number of cell phone towers, speed of internet, download/upload limit, number of literate users, legal restrictions on bloggers, amount of government censorship on content or blocked links and so on.

Knowledge can be created by an individual or society with quality information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

The knowledge gap theory suggests that knowledge, like other forms of wealth, is often deferentially distributed throughout a social system (REF?). Thus the quality of information consumed by a individuals/sections in a society can also partially determine how knowledge is distributed in amidst the society.

For the purposes of this thesis; Information divide (or information poverty) can be defined as groups and individuals having inadequate and/or unequal access to the same quantity and of quality information as others.

In this research I hypothesise that an information divide can be artificially created within society when:
• information dissemination via a medium is controlled,
• medium of information access is restricted and/or
• information seeking behaviour is punished.

An in-depth historical analysis from an ‘information divide’ perspective; on how sections of societies have been divided or manipulated by controlled information systems for thousands of years of known and recorded human history across multiple different cultures – will help us gather a comprehensive understanding of how quality and quantity of information communicated affects society.

In depth research on the subject of information divide will help us understand how to break power structures, reduce wars and bridge the socio-economic gaps which are created in between sections of people where information divide exists.

Responsible design of information systems can help our society transcend towards to a knowledge-era for all instead of an information-era for a few.

Muft Internet: Case Study for Human Centred Computing and Sociotechnical Systems

Relationship between Human Centred Computing and Sociotechnical Systems

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Why would the system be used?

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Click on the image to view it in full size

Why does s/he engage in the activity?

Muft Internet: Case Study for Human Centred Computing and Sociotechnical Systems

What is Human Centred Computing?

Human-centered computing (HCC) is emerged from the convergence of multiple disciplines that are concerned both with understanding human beings and with the design of computational systems or artifacts. Human-centered computing is closely related to human-computer interaction and information science. Human-centered computing is usually concerned with systems and practices of technology use while human-computer interaction is more focused on ergonomics and the usability of computing artifacts and information science is focused on practices surrounding the collection, manipulation, and use of information.

Human-centered computing researchers and practitioners usually come from one or more of disciplines such as computer science, human factors, sociology, psychology, cognitive science, anthropology, communication studies, graphic design and industrial design. Some researchers focus on understanding humans, both as individuals and in social groups, by focusing on the ways that human beings adopt and organize their lives around computational technologies. Others focus on designing and developing new computational artifacts.

What are Sociotechnical Systems?

Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational work design that recognizes the interaction between people and technology in workplaces. The term also refers to the interaction between society’s complex infrastructures and human behaviour. In this sense, society itself, and most of its substructures, are complex sociotechnical systems. Sociotechnical systems pertains to theory regarding the social aspects of people and society and technical aspects of organizational structure and processes. Here, technical does not necessarily imply material technology.

HELP ME FIX IT: Prototype & Evaluation

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CLICK ON THIS IMAGE TO VIEW IT IN FULL SIZE

A few weeks ago, we started our course on sustainability in HCI. Eduardo, Katya and I have been working on this project with a thorough lens of sustainability. We wanted to create a simple and useful way in which people to get their stuff fixed. Sadly, we live in the world where its easier and cheaper to buy a new washing machine than fix a part of it. We wanted people to throw lesser stuff and fix more stuff. We did this by understanding their behaviour.
The moment the user looks at broken item in his house all he has to think about is this app. Here’s our first successful[1] version of the prototype. NOTE: ONLY SOME OF THE ELEMENTS BELOW CAN BE CLICKED. NOT ALL.

[1] Evaluation done through “Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design (UID) by Jakob Nelisen” method

UID USABILITY EVALUATION RESULTS:

Visibility of system status
The system keeps the user informed about what’s going on a at point of time. From booking to fixing with appropriate feedback.

Match between system and the real world
The system uses interaction design methods. The term “HELP ME FIX IT” makes it easy to remember the service. As a general example, there is no “submit” button; we used the “HELP ME FIX IT” button. Many such tiny interactions from the real world have been adopted into the system. The process and flows are very simple and natural for the user.

User control and freedom
It’s easy to ‘undo’ and correct yourself. Of course, the above prototype won’t display all these qualities but we have accounted for undos, repeat actions, etc.

Consistency and standards
As mentioned before, sound principles of Interaction Design are used here. Same words, design language, icons etc through out the platform

Error prevention
The right amount of affordances were created to reduce error.

Recognition rather than recall
The entire app and service works on the concept of visual recognition. From the first time you see the broken stuff in the house to the time you use the service.

Flexibility and efficiency of use
The UID has efficient and effective. Inspired by our competitors, we created an interface that would be faster, more learnable and simple.

Aesthetic and minimalist design
Google’s Material Design Principles were used here. We have used an X, Y and Z axis for the design.

Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
Error messages are expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution.

Help and documentation
Sufficient tooltips will be provided in the future. At present, there are none.

Abstract of My Research Thesis Proposal: This is why I am going to India!

As of 2014, over half of the human beings living on this planet are deprived of Internet access. Most of these people live in developing or poor countries. This reflects a deep gap between technology creators/designers and their understanding/involvement of the end users. The problems lie beyond our conventional understanding like hardware availability and network coverage.

The traditional methods of design and research are just not working in understanding the real problems that lies deeply embedded within socio-technical design of small communities in these countries. The numerous problems associated with enabling internet access include social & cultural perception of technology; outdated/unfair public policies shaped by corporate oligopoly and political bureaucracy that affects affordability; learn-ability and usability from an HCI perspective; and contextualization of applications, services and content. It’s impossible for an individual, a company, or an organization to foresee and solve all these intertwined problems that hinder enabling internet access.

The first part of the purpose of this research is to gain a deep understanding in the current socio-technical issues involved in enabling Internet access in developing countries using a (distributed) Participatory Design approach. By understanding and compiling a list of all the major problems involved, I would like to create a design solution with the help of the local community (and other stakeholders) to enable internet access in one small local community in a developing country.

Assignment 3.2 – Sustainability in HCI

THE PROBLEM WITH BROKEN STUFF

Challenges of sustainable household appliances and furniture.

It’s safe to say that the repairing and fixing things is a thing of the past. We live in a world where to buy a new washing machine is cheaper than fixing it. The key problem here is that people cannot even fix stuff.

Even in so called developed countries, repairing home furniture and appliances is still a very popular problem. Broken stuff and repairing brings about significant inconveniences (including financial, mental and physical) for millions of people every day.

The problem lies with many unfair business practices such as limited warranty, planned obsolescence, oligopoly of manufacturers and repair agencies.

Of course, there are many insurance companies that counter the problem of a prematurely broken electectronic but that still doesn’t enable us to fix stuff.  We can talk today about such things as warranty repair and various type of insurance for our home appliances. Undoubtedly, they exist and they can be a solution here, but…

Warranty. The Cons:

  1. The period is limited.
  2. The cause of the damage should not be your fault.
  3. Repair process is time consuming.

Insurance. The Cons:

  1. Separate for every appliance.
  2. Popular  only in high-developed countries.
  3. Not  every family can afford to have it.

Having the fact that major part of people don’t know how to fix  stuff by their own and even don’t know where to find a good specialist who can do this for them it can be a deadlock and a real nightmare for them.

Unfortunately, now we have the following situation :

  • Most good products with precious mineral resources are trashed or recycled simply because a small part was broken.
  • It’s cheaper for people to buy a new washing machine than to fix it.
  • People use expensive agencies for searching a right person to repair their stuff.

 Definitely, this situation is critical and require immediate change.

Continuation of this post and the solution to this problem; follow this link:  https://imajination.co/blog/assignment-3-3/

Assignment 3 (Step 3 & 4) – Sustainability in HCI

by Katya Ostamatiy, Jinesh Parekh, Eduardo Mercer

As European society has grown wealthier it has created more and more rubbish. Each year in the European Union alone about 3 billion tonnes of waste is thrown away – some 90 million tonnes of it hazardous. This amounts to about 6 tonnes of solid waste for every person!(1) Per capita waste generation in OECD countries has increased by 14% since 1990, and 35% since 1980. As trends show we are doubling our waste almost every couple of decades. It’s utopia to think that this lifestyle of “Use and Throw” will be sustainable for the planet. We simply don’t have the resources to sustain this idea.

We often buy stuff that we don’t need or only need once and then throw it away. It’s absurd when we throw away perfectly functional thrown away for reasons like ‘changing apartments’ or ‘lack of space’ or ‘Out of style”. It’s evident that we live in a consumerist society. But what happens to these products after they have been bought? What happens to them after they are done with? The life cycle of a product isn’t just from manufacturing to supermarkets and then to home. Almost all products end up in landfill somewhere where the product spends far more time in comparison to other phases of the product life cycle.

Reuse before Recycle
Waste Management Pyramid. Image Source: (4) Wikipedia

Of course a lot of products are recycled but it’s not easy to recycle products. It costs a lot of resources like transport fuel, water, energy to bring a product from it’s disposing facility to the recycling plant. There is NO pride in recycling. Recycling is a result of bad design. Before we recycle, we must learn to reuse by fixing them.

Unfortunately, there is NO money in reusing. There is just no profit in it. Have you ever seen a billboard or a watched a TV ad or seen a handout that encouraged you to reuse by fixing something instead of buying it? Our media shapes the culture of a our society. Almost all media products are backed/sponsored by corporations that want you to consume something.

Existing research and surveys tell us that:

  1. Most people living in urban city areas do not know how to fix their plumbing, home electronics furniture etc.
  2. Local skill sharing to fix items is needed. Promote the “If I fix your car, help me fix my computer” community culture.

It makes perfect business sense for almost all manufacturing companies to encourage users to recycle but not reuse by fixing. Reusing something drops sales! So how do we promote people to repair items instead of throwing them away?

Here’s our proposed HCI based solution (click here) 

Sources:
(1) http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/
(2) http://www.economist.com/node/8023307
(3) WorldBank 
(4) Wikipedia 

Game Design – Self Evaluation of the Team & Course Critique

Team Members

  • Irina V. (ideator) – Artist,  Writer – MSc. (student) Human Computer Interactions
  • Sofio G. – Graphics (Still and motion Photography) – MSc. (student) Human Computer Interactions
  • Jinesh P. – Technology-Entrepreneur (Project Management and Marketing) – MSc. (student) Human Computer Interactions

Self Evaluation

We cannot split the contributions of the individuals working towards this idea. The idea didn’t just happen – as our game design class at university progressed, our ideas matured to equal and fair contributions by all.

We have worked in group projects before but this particular group had very good sense of harmony in the way we worked primarily because of 2 reasons:

  1. 1. The Course Content – The challenges presented to us on every subsequent class made our project complex over time. Unlike otherS team, we didn’t have a fixed idea till the very last week. We build upon ideas over the course period.
  2. 2. Past Experience – The members of the team have worked in similar projects before. This is the reason we could divide the work rationally, take up responsibilities easily and co-discover together.

Even though we are largely satisfied with quality of our output and our smooth coordination, we do have a few things we WOULD NOT do all of over again.

  1. We spent most of our time on the core mechanics of the game. When we changed the core mechanics, parts of our story changed. This back and forth cost us a lot of time as a team. We should have stuck to the course scrip and no deviated from it!
  2. We needed to do a bit more research on the content we were offering. Having not watched all of Morgan Freeman movies, put in breaks into our story.

Course Feedback

While we enjoyed all of the course, there are two things we would have loved to learn more about. Here’s our little feedback on the overall course:

  1. Gaming as Billion Dollar Industry – We understand that this was a design course, however as designer students, we would love to know ‘where is the money at’ and what are our further options – businesswise.
  2. Social and Ethical side of Gaming – Whilst most students wouldn’t be interested in learning ethics involved in gaming, as human computer interaction students we can’t help but notice the significance of ethics within the gaming industry. With games that simulate murders and rapes, it’s time we make students aware of “what needs to be created” and not just “how to create”.
  3. Better grades for Gamejam? – When we opted for the course of Game Design we had no idea that our grades (indirectly through XPs) would be dependant on us participating in Game Jam. Neither was it mentioned on OIS nor the course script when we opted for this course. Two of three of our team members could not make it as they had prior commitments. It’s a bit crazy to think NOT participating the event gives us a distinct disadvantage on our grades.
  4. Learning made fun – Whilst we have had plenty of time to provide our critiques, here’s something we unanimously agree with – this course was designed in a way that we didn’t feel the studies were taxing. In fact we enjoyed every session inside and outside class (while we working in groups). Thank you for that!

 

Essay Review: The Principles of Sociotechnical Design

The is short review of an essay titled “The Principles of Sociotechnical Systems” by Albert Cherns. The article has been reviewed with a perspective of Human Centred Computing.

INTRODUCTION

Most organization are a result of chaotic growth. Organization design can be tricky because this phenomenon. There is huge divide between engineers and designers for the very same reason. Piece by piece an organization is put together with almost no possibility to think of Organization Design. It’s difficult to predict human behaviour. This is the reason we need to account for all contextual possibilities while designing a system. To Err, is human.

Any social system, if it must survive, must perform the function of Parson’s (1951) four subsystems:  Adaptation to environment; integration of activities of the people with the organization, including the resolution of conflict whether task based, organization based or interpersonally based; and providing for the continued occupation of the essential roles through recruitment and socialization.

There are many parties involved in the design of an effective sociotechnical system – engineers, designers, managers, social scientists, financial controllers and so on. Here is are a list of guidelines proposed by the author.

COMPATIBILITY

The process of design should be compatible with it objectives. The system should be self evolving and should be easily compatible with change. The structure and function of an organization can always take different paths and self-modification is a must to harness creativity from the individuals part of this system.

MINIMAL CRITICAL SPECIFICATION

The behaviour of the people need not be controlled by meticulously definitions of what needs to be done or not. A broad guidelines should be arranged within which people can work creatively using the best of their skills with varied methods and techniques. Every person is different and a well drafted minimal critical specification could benefit the entire organization as a whole. The design should be silent and intuitive, not over explanatory!

THE SOCIOTECHNICAL CRITERION

Any system is bound to have variances from its desired state. The sociotechnical criterion of these principles states that the variances needs to be controlled as much as possible. This can be done not only by investigating the source of the variance but also redesigning in the system in a way that accounts for these variances.

THE MULTIFUNCTIONAL PRINCIPLE – ORGANISM V/S MECHANISM

There needs to be a clear distinction between a unit and the whole. The unit and the whole behave differently from each other. Every unit is treated as if it is replaceable. This could arise problems in certain situations like environmental demands.

THE BOUNDARY LOCATION

In any organization there ought to be departmental boundaries somewhere. The crucial part is how to identify the boundary location that does not interfere with sharing of knowledge and experience.

INFORMATION FLOW

It’s important to have a clear information flow in the system. The principle of Information Flow states that target systems should be designed in a way that the objective of the system designed needs to account for different hierarchies and mitigate variances.

SUPPORT CONGRUENCE

This principle states that the systems of social support should be designed in such a way that it reinforces the behaviour the system is supposed to bring out.

DESIGN AND HUMAN VALUES

Te core members of any sociotechnical systems are the members in it. The design should consider all different human aspects that harness high quality work and sustain the system. Quality can be a subjective term however it can be considered as an over all good experience of interaction with and within the system.

INCOMPLETION

From the moment a system design is complete, it is time for a redesign. Usage gives us an understanding of how the designed system can be further improved over and over again in a cycle in order to reduce constraints and variances and keep up with changing times and external environments