In a recent post titled Ubuquitous Service Design, Peter Morville raised some interesting questions about how we might design for a world where everything is, or potentially can be -- smart. A world where your refrigerator knows what you had for lunch and when the lettuce will be out of date. A world where your car gives you suggestions for getting better gas mileage or tells you a better way to get where you're going.
In a ubicomp (ubiquitous computing) world, what kinds of methods, and what kinds of tools, will designers use to think through a whole new set of design problems? The environment and the context of use become much more important. Devices and services become stakeholders in the process, communicating not only with users but with other products and processes over a complex and deeply intertwingled network.
How will this change our approaches to design and change? How will it change our lives, our cities, and our social relationships?
Peter and I are embarking on a new project we're calling Ubicomp Sketchbook to explore exactly these kinds of things. We hope you will enjoy the ride and also share your thoughts, sketches and ideas. We'll be using the hashtag #ubicompsketchbook for our explorations.
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I think there's a place for smart sketchbooks. The local coffee house here in Middletown participated in the 1000 Journals project back in the 1990s, where anyone could write in a journal and then send it back in to the originator of the project. It was supposed to be rather like PostSecret today.
The difficulty was the mail-it-in part. Apparently the journal produced in and around Middletown was the only one of 1000 returned. But a SmartJournal or smart sketchbook would return itself, in a sense.
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