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Making places

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WIAD 2015 Zurich opening keynote.
Notes still incomplete. Will add missing ones later on. (You might need to go fullscreen to see the notes)

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Making places

  1. 1. MAKING PLACESINFORMATION ARCHITECTURE IN A POST-DIGITAL WORLD ANDREA @RESMINIANDREA @RESMINI ZURICH, FEB 21ZURICH, FEB 21
  2. 2. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrosimoes7/124758243 Let me tell you the story of what happened last summer  when my daughter decided to brush up her French and  attend a language school abroad.
  3. 3. INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU (THE SCHOOL) As the story might get a little complicated to follow  here and there, I’ll be providing visual clues.  Namely, the school will be represented by Peter  Sellers’ own Inspector Clouseau from the original Pink  Panther movies.
  4. 4. SPECTRAL TARSIER (ME) For reasons that will become clear as we proceed with  the story, a spectral tarsier will play me.
  5. 5. AIRLINE FLIGHT NUMBER THE SCHOOL’S WEBSITE Now, finding real information about language schools  online is nigh to impossible. No forum discussions, no  Tripadvisor reviews, nothing. Just their websites. I’m  pretty sure they pay good money to get anything they  do not like off the Web. Or plain kill people.  Anyway, we made up our mind, went for a school in  Paris, and started filling in their enrollment form.  Mid­way, probably after giving them information about  what her grandparents thought about the Winter War and  the Finnish Interim Peace, this screen popped up.
  6. 6. So I fired up my mail and asked them.
  7. 7. ... A few days went by. Nothing happened.
  8. 8. So I picked up the phone and called France.
  9. 9. SPECTRAL TARSIER (ME) We exchanged pleasantries we didn’t really mean, and  then I asked them “I can’t complete your online form  to enroll my daughter in one of your classes unless I  provide a flight. Now, am I really supposed to book a  rather expensive flight when I do not know if she will  be accepted, since you have yet to confirm you have  places available in that period?”
  10. 10. INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU (THE SCHOOL) “Yes”
  11. 11. SPECTRAL TARSIER (ME) “Swear to me you will have a place for her”
  12. 12. INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU (THE SCHOOL) “Yes”
  13. 13. (legally speaking, *no* binding value whatsoever) It goes without saying that, legally speaking, they  could say whatever they wanted and plead  misunderstanding any time.
  14. 14. THE AIRLINE’S WEBSITE But time is ticking away, so airline website it is.
  15. 15. THE AIRLINE’S WEBSITE PERSON PICKING UP THE MINOR PASSPORT NO. Only we have a very unsurprising request from them.  After all, we are talking about sending a 15­year­old  somewhere on a plane, right? 
  16. 16. At this point we have started two processes which are  caught in a Catch 22 deadlock. So I call the school  again.
  17. 17. SPECTRAL TARSIER (ME) “I need the name of the chauffeur who will pick my  daughter up at the airport in Paris”
  18. 18. INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU (THE SCHOOL) “Impossible. We raffle them up 2­3 days before  students arrive. Just give them any name”.
  19. 19. Moar international phone calls.
  20. 20. SPECTRAL TARSIER (ME) “Hello, airline? I’d like to have my 15­year­old  daughter fly with you to her language camp in France,  but you ask for the name of the person picking her up  at destination, the school says they will not have a  chauffeur until close to the departure date, and I  can’t get her ticket which I also need to sign her up.  Listen, it’s complicated. What do I do?” (this was of course mixed up with a lot of ranting,  moaning and complaining)
  21. 21. EDDIE KESSLER (THE AIRLINE) (A note: the airline will be represented by Eddie  Kessler from Boardwalk Empire. No particular reason, I  just like the idea. It’s my presentation after all.) “Sir, just write your name for the destination as  well, then call us as soon as you have the correct  name and we’ll do the necessary changes”
  22. 22. SPECTRAL TARSIER (ME) “Oh, that’s nice, but what do you mean call us? If  names can be changed, can’t I simply access my booking  and make the necessary changes there?”
  23. 23. EDDIE KESSLER (THE AIRLINE) “No. Call us” 
  24. 24. THE AIRLINE’S WEBSITE (TOTALLY FAKE NAME HERE) (NOW ENTER THE REAL ONE) This would be too easy, right? It would probably rob  you of all of your self­esteem. I mean, if you don’t  sweat it, it’s not worth it, right? Anyway, I  temporarily entrusted my daughter to the care of  Pennywise the clown and we secured a seat on the right  flight to Paris. Armed with date, time and flight code  I went back to the school ... 
  25. 25. THE SCHOOL’S WEBSITE PROPOSAL COMPLETED YOUR TOTAL IS AN INSANE AMOUNT OF MONEY WILL MAIL TO CONFIRM ENROLLMENT WILL MAIL FOR PAYMENT ... where I found out that the reward for completing  the form was more waiting, as they had to confirm  enrollment and send me further instructions for  payment. Using a carrier pigeon, if I had to guess.  Status: flight booked and paid, but we still have no  100% guarantee we’re on.
  26. 26. ... And of course a couple of days go by with no mail, no  confirmation, nothing.
  27. 27. Then this comes in.  
  28. 28. + This is how I read it, actually. Bottom line: while  the form asked you if you wanted chauffeur service or  taxi service (I chose chauffeur), both are necessary  for minors. Because reasons. And of course, that means  you have to pay more.
  29. 29. You remember we booked the flight, right?
  30. 30. THE SCHOOL’S WEBSITE VOILÀ ENROLLED! IT WAS EASY, RIGHT? So I pay. 
  31. 31. That brings in good news (enrolled) and more  ridiculousness. Passport scan?
  32. 32. SPECTRAL TARSIER (ME) What the ..?
  33. 33. Moar writing. Where I try to keep it polite but do not  really succeed.
  34. 34. ... A few days pass without no mail back.
  35. 35. Then this finally comes in. Apparently not a big  problem. (Worth stating: my daughter spent a wonderful week in  Paris, studied and practiced her French, and came back  home a happy girl) 
  36. 36. so many things are broken here
  37. 37. flow
  38. 38. trust
  39. 39. ownership
  40. 40. ethics
  41. 41. these have nothing to do with
  42. 42. forms
  43. 43. interactions
  44. 44. gestures
  45. 45. these have everything to do with
  46. 46. information architecture
  47. 47. Here some of you might say: wait, isn’t information  architecture that set of methods you use to create the  structure for a website? Like labels, menus, and so  on?
  48. 48. Sort of. But what we structure today is larger,  pervasive systems where the website is just one piece  in a much more complex clockwork. Mail, the Web, phone  calls, a banking system, the airline, online forums,  these were some of the pieces we stitched together to  enroll my daughter to French camp. 
  49. 49. http://is.gd/h4me67 To explain this change, I have to take you back to the  mid­90s.
  50. 50. computing was precisely bounded in space and time
  51. 51. R. S. WURMAN
  52. 52. When this book came out in 1998, Lou and Peter were  working in a world that was strikingly different from  the world of today. 
  53. 53. BLOG.SEVANVATOSSIAN.COM
  54. 54. “smeared across multiple sites and moments in complex and often indeterminate ways” – W. J. MITCHELL, ME++ (2003)  
  55. 55.  
  56. 56. JSJOUST.COM  
  57. 57.  
  58. 58. CASHIER?  
  59. 59. https://www.flickr.com/photos/33689131@N07/15900592780  If you took pictures in the 70s, this is the closest  to the conceptualization of a selfie you could get  back then. You would definitely say what you have here  is “photography”, right? There’s a camera, you guess  there’d be film, a dark room along the way, and a  printout that was at a later point in time turned into  the file I’m using here.
  60. 60. https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewfysh/14437303498  Taking a picture today probably happens most of the  times this way. Remember that photography after all  means drawing or writing with light, implying that  light gets transferred to some support and made  visible. There’s no printing, no chemicals reactions, no  lenses, no “photography”. Most of what we capture is  not even meant to last. Still, this is photography,  right? Granted, it might be bad photography, but  that’s an entirely different issue. This is because we understand that photography is not  really bound by the technical limitations imposed by  of 19th century technology. It’s about composition,  framing, and constantly transposing the principles of  capturing what made one moment a special moment into  and through whatever tools we have at hand. Dark  rooms, photoshop. Still photography.
  61. 61. https://www.flickr.com/photos/27485954@N07/4940794289 Unsurprisingly, you can apply this also to other  phenomena. I was around when this was cool, and we  used to call this music. It implied clunky players,  batteries, cassette tapes, some record player and  vinyl you could duplicate songs from, and terrible  earphones.
  62. 62. Now this is music. Not only it generally does not  involve half the gearwork you needed to enjoy your  Sony Walkman, you do not need the Walkman cassette  player itself. You only need a way to access the  source. Thanks to technological convergence, we can  haz music on our smartphones, tablets, laptops, a  number of home appliances. Soon it will be wearables.  And we call it music.
  63. 63. what happens when we all are co-creators?
  64. 64. STANLEY KUBRICK
  65. 65. Let's not even mention the phenomenon of Russian car  cameras, right? Still, can we just close our eyes and  make these go away? Or dismiss them as “bad”? This  video, online since 2012: 17 million views. Mission  Impossible – Ghost Protocol, also out in 2012, sold  24.3 million tickets.  The Ice Bucket challenge videos have globally been  seen more than a billion times.
  66. 66. when products become services?
  67. 67. when we access and remediate information on the move 24/7?
  68. 68. a cultural and social shift
  69. 69. SHREK
  70. 70. CHARLES MOORE, PIAZZA D’ITALIA IN NEW ORLEANS
  71. 71. PULP FICTION
  72. 72. “a spectacle in front of which the individual sits powerless” – A. KIRBY, THE DEATH OF POSTMODERNISM AND BEYOND (2006)
  73. 73. O.J.SIMPSONCAR CHASELIVEFEED O.J. Simpson’s slow escape, broadcast live in 1994.
  74. 74. STEVEN SEAGAL: LAWMAN
  75. 75. This is not necessarily a good thing, and while some  of us might find “Steven Seagal: Lawman” mildly  entertaining, “Extreme couponing” has substantially  fewer redeeming qualities in my book.
  76. 76. what we have is a post-digital world
  77. 77. – S. JENKINS, WELCOME TO THE POST-DIGITAL WORLD “the web is not a destination in itself but a route map to somewhere real”
  78. 78. cyberspace is not a place we go to but a layer tightly integrated into the world around us – INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE, 2010
  79. 79. ASSASSIN’S CREED UNITY
  80. 80. N. NEGROPONTE In 1998, a momentous year it seems, Nicholas  Negroponte of MIT wrote an essay for Wired titled  “Beyond Digital”.
  81. 81. “is digital destined for banality? certainly” – N. NEGROPONTE, BEYOND DIGITAL (1998)
  82. 82. “it will become tomorrow’s commercial and cultural compost for new ideas” – N. NEGROPONTE, BEYOND DIGITAL (1998) At a certain point, digital will be so intertwined  with the fabric of day­to­day reality that we will  only notice when it’s not there. Just like here,  when the conference wi­fi goes down and you can here  the “awwww” from miles away. At that point, it will simply be a catalyst for  creating something new.
  83. 83. A society that understands precision and punctuality  is a society that has perfected the measurement of  time and that has turned it into a widespread  commodity through clocks, watches, and timetables.
  84. 84. FORD ASSEMBLY LINE – WIKIPEDIA Precision and punctuality and linear order allow the  conceptualization of the assembly line.
  85. 85. What do services like Uber tell us about our own  society? 
  86. 86. mobile is not the revolution
  87. 87. mobile is what makes the revolution possible
  88. 88. activities and artifacts merge into complex experiences
  89. 89. suppose you want to go see a movie
  90. 90. you talk to friend(s) and/or significant other
  91. 91. you resist the temptation to binge watch obscure series on Netflix
  92. 92. you maybe arrange for some late dinner
  93. 93. you choose your means of transport
  94. 94. SKATING, PABLO FERNANDEZ – HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/HADOCK/8365191212
  95. 95. you buy popcorn, wear glasses, enjoy movie
  96. 96. ECOSYSTEMS BUS BIKE CAR CAFE HOME NETFLIX CINEMA TV PHONE IM BIKE SKATES MOVIE DINNER CINEMA FRIENDS IM Services sit at the intersection of many different,  self­centered ecosystems. As such, this being  digital has very little to do with competencies, or  with being geeks, or with technical skills. It is  just the way we do things.
  97. 97. ECOSYSTEMS BIKE SKATES MOVIE DINNER CINEMA FRIENDS IM Cross­channel ecosystems are individual constructs.
  98. 98. information architectures weave cross-channel ecosystems
  99. 99. new places in a blended space merging digital and physical
  100. 100. is facebook virtual? No. Can we please retire this word now?
  101. 101. And while Facebook is arguably a place where  pictures of lolcatz are shared in great quantities,  it is still commanding enough attention that  arguably one of the most powerful offices in the  world, that of US President Barack Obama, needs to  have a presence there.
  102. 102. if it is not, what kind of place is facebook?
  103. 103. What it really is is the bad pub in your  neighborhood. Bad beer, uncomfy chairs, the owner  stopped caring in 1965. But all your friends are  there, so you just go there. For the stories, for  the narratives.
  104. 104. but blended spaces can be devious
  105. 105. They are much more than a simple overlay of funky  digital information over the fabric of reality where  you can still separate the two original spaces. They  are a new brand of reality that mixes these into new  uneasy blends.
  106. 106. they silently create their own new rules, logic and affordances ... and these are mostly invisible, or more  difficult to spot.
  107. 107. IMAGEPHONEBOOK.COM
  108. 108. The Panopticon.
  109. 109. The Ferguson riots. Intervening in physical space  has immediate visibility and consequences. 
  110. 110. with information providing a steady back beat to everything we do
  111. 111. this is not just about architecting happiness
  112. 112. this is about making places
  113. 113. good places
  114. 114. how we are going to do that?
  115. 115. telling the story is part of solving this mess
  116. 116. understanding is part of solving this mess
  117. 117. VILLE SAVOYE, POISSY
  118. 118. HIGHCLERE CASTLE
  119. 119. we make the tools then the tools make us
  120. 120. acting on the architectures makes the processes visible and actionable
  121. 121. SAMPLE IMAGERY http://www.elektropastete.de/origami-tessellation/ http://www.elektropastete.de/origami-tessellation/ ORIGAMI TESSELLATIONS https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7185/6881397761_470d81ae60_z.jp g http://www.123rf.com/photo_25126315_couple-of-buildings-in-high-contrast-black-and- white.html STRIKING CITYSCAPES
  122. 122. how we are going to do that?
  123. 123. we already started
  124. 124. THANK YOU ANDREA @RESMINI MAKING PLACES INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE IN A POST-DIGITAL WORLD WIAD 2015 ZURICH

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