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Mark Vanderbeeken

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Posted by Mark Vanderbeeken  |  10 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)


Interaction design students were juried by Interaction Design Assocation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Yesterday evening IxDA (the global Interaction Design Association) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced the winner of the IxDA Student Design Challenge at Interaction14, IxDA's yearly conference, which is currently taking place in Amsterdam.

Kevin Gaunt (rightmost on photo) of the Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden has been chosen as the winner of the student challenge. The challenge focuses on the design of the experience of the child health record, which is a critical component of current health information systems worldwide. This is also a key focus of the work done by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Over six million children under the age of five died last year; more than half of these deaths could have been prevented with existing interventions. The global public health community could save millions of lives in the coming years by gaining the trust of families and informing them about how to access effective information about healthcare and hygiene. But, health organizations remain challenged by how to reach remote populations with life-saving health information when these children or their parents do not speak their country's national language or cannot read.

Rethinking and designing that experience was at the heart of this year's challenge.


Posted by Mark Vanderbeeken  |  22 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)

westergasfabriek_1903.jpgWestergasfabriek - The administration of the Western Gas Factory in front of the newly constructed main gas container building, 1903

Interaction14, the next highly acclaimed interaction design conference, is 100 days away. Moreover, the event, which is organized by the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), will take place in the lovely city of Amsterdam.

We asked the two conference chairs, Alok Nandi and Yohan Creemers, to tell us more about what has been planned.

Core77: Interaction14 will be in Amsterdam in a few months. What will be different from the previous editions?

Alok Nandi & Yohan Creemers: This will be the 7th edition of the annual conference and the second time it takes place outside North America (in 2012 the conference was held in Dublin). The upcoming edition will definitely be the most international yet, as it is the first time the conference will be held in a non-English speaking city.

Our vision is to make sure that there are dimensions specific to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Europe. Otherwise, why travel and come here?

So the first answer to your question is the city, the location. It will be different, but we are hard at work to make the attendees feel they are at home, in a creative city, and that they have the space to experience Amsterdam for its own sake.

The second answer is that there will be more non-Americans, both in terms of speakers, and most probably also in terms of attendees. The upcoming Interaction14 conference showcases in other words how global IxDA has become.

In terms of content and experience, our team wants to make sure to cater to different types of attendees, from the ones looking for inspiration to those wishing to connect and be part of the community, and from the newcomers to the regulars. Very early on, we actually created five personas to bring the typical attendees to life, and they have guided all our planning.

Finally, this year we also want to find ways to better engage the 50,000+ members of IxDA members worldwide. The 4-day experience of the 850 conference attendees and the knowledge that is generated should ripple back to this community.

You have recently announced all six keynote speakers: Peter Greenaway, Irene Au, Daniel Rosenberg, Saskia Sassen, Scott McCloud and Gillian Crampton Smith. What was your logic in selecting them?

The guiding 'theme' we gave to the conference is "Languages of Interaction Design." We want to see the theme in a very large, inspirational sense. Clearly, it is not about linguistics, but about exploring the diversity and hybridity of our practice(s) and craft(s) while getting inspired by other disciplines. So, if we think of terms like conceiving, connecting, engaging, empowering, optimizing, disrupting and expressing—which, by the way, are the six IxDA Awards categories—how can the attendees benefit from two types of content: those provided by keynote speakers and those by our community based on a call for speakers?

In the end, we wanted to shortlist different types of topics and points of view. Initially our list of potential speakers was very long, but the conference theme and the overall motto of IxDA—"Interaction Designers create compelling relationships between people and the interactive systems they use, from computers to mobile devices to appliances; Interaction Designers lay the groundwork for intangible experiences"—allowed us to narrow it down.

Storytelling, urban design, education and enterprise were some keywords we had included explicitly in our roadmap, and these topics were brought to life through the five personas that I mentioned earlier.

We think these six speakers offer a balance between different points of view, inspiration sources, expertise and experience in various fields connected to interaction design. The keynote speeches will of course be taking place in a context of talks provided by 50+ speakers.


Posted by Mark Vanderbeeken  |   3 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)

Interaction_Ivrea_arduino.jpgClick to view full image [PDF]

Intel's Arduino-compatible open-source Galileo development board was launched today in Italy at Rome's Maker Faire. Rightfully so, as the initiative has such deep Italian roots.

In 2004, a group of programmers, students and teachers at the highly regarded Interaction Design Institute Ivrea (Italy) developed the Arduino platform in order to create a small and inexpensive tool that would help students "prototype interactions." The Arduino project, which was led by Massimo Banzi, was actually based on an earlier board, called the Programma 2003 (named after the world's first desktop computer the Programma 101, designed by Piergiorgio Perotto and launched by Olivetti in 1964).

Interaction-Ivrea strongly supported the project and backed Massimo in keeping Arduino open source at the end of Interaction-Ivrea in 2005. This enabled Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi and his team to expand the initiative, grow the Arduino community internationally, and in the end allowed Intel to create the Galileo, as a fully Arduino-compatible board.

One of the people involved at Interaction-Ivrea then, Jan-Christoph Zoels (who is now my business partner), dug up a visual—designed by Giorgio Olivero—that was the very first presentation of Arduino. (Click on the image above for the full pdf). It shows the history of the project, and lists the group of people involved at Interaction-Ivrea.

Congratulations, Massimo.

Posted by Mark Vanderbeeken  |  27 Sep 2013  |  Comments (1)


In order to fully exploit the design's potential to boost innovation, growth and job creation, the European Commission presented this week an action plan to promote the use of design in innovation.

Design is of particular importance to the Commission and is recognized as a key discipline and activity to bring ideas to market, transforming them into user-friendly and appealing products. Although some European countries are world leaders in design, others lack a robust design infrastructure and design capability. The action plan aims to tackle this systematic gap and to promote design driven innovation in industries and the public sector across Europe.

Posted by Mark Vanderbeeken  |  19 Apr 2013  |  Comments (0)


The EU-funded SPREAD project on sustainable lifestyles in Europe in 2050 has come to an end, and all deliverables are now available.

Check out the videos: short movies present what sustainable living can look like in 2050 through the lens of promising sustainable living practices that already exist today, while video scenarios envision future societies that support more sustainable living.

If you like to read, you can indulge yourself in the project's publications section, where you can find the closing conference report [PDF], the future scenarios report [PDF], an EU Sustainable Lifestyles Roadmap and Action Plan 2012-2050 [PDF], the Final Policy Brief [PDF] presenting the Roadmap for Sustainable Lifestyles in 2050, the iFuture report with the outcomes of the people's forums that took place in Finland, Spain, Hungary, Germany and online with participants from all over Europe, The Future Issue [PDF] magazine, and much more.

The project partners are listed here and include some of the best sustainable design thinkers and researchers in Europe.