Me, Myself and AI

Me Myself and AI

An interesting discussion if I do say so myself…



Automotive Habitat Laboratory Dashboard

AHL Dashboard

The development of the in-car real-time system of the Automotive Habitat Laboratory is now nearly complete. The screen shot above, from one of the control room computers, illustrates the minimum capability configuration of the current dashboard. The emotions being monitored during the specific test run were fear, disgust, surprise and joy.

Work is now under way to optimise the interaction between the control room staff and the people in the car on the road to achieve wide ranging, creative, design insights from the people in the car.

What Is Design For Meaning ?

The first of my publications treating “design for meaning” has just gone to print. The paper establishes the basic framework of the approach, while the upcoming publications are describing the practical tools which can be used.

Giacomin, J. 2017, What is design for meaning ?, Journal of Design, Business & Society, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp 167-190.


The Nutshell Technique

nutshell technique

Developing engaging design scenarios can be a challenging task for many projects. At its heart, a design scenario is a situation in which an artefact and a human interact in some important and meaningful way. Designers thus may find it beneficial to search for inspiration and borrow techniques from screenwriting, so as to adopt best practice from the production of plays and movies.

Veteran script consultant Jill Chamberlain’s  book The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting explains her technique for scripting a film and provides easy-to-follow diagrams which can be deployed by designers.

The readers are taken step-by-step through thirty movies, showing how dissimilar screenplays such as Casablanca, Chinatown, Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects, Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Silver Linings Playbook, and Argo all actually follow the same general principles.

The Dangers Of Clever Artefacts

Two news stories this week highlight issues associated with the use of increasingly complex technologies.

In one news story Amazon Alexa decided to throw a party in the middle of the night when nobody was home, and the complaints from upset neighbours lead to a police break-in with resulting substantial costs to Alexa’s owner.

In another news story a vibrator sex toy was found to be automatically recording sound during its use without the knowledge or approval of its owner.

I suspect that the optimistic visions of the future involving our automated assistants and partners had never anticipated these issues…




Pro-Social And Anti-Social Behaviour


Designers always need to consider the possible effects of their artefacts on the people who use them. Often, the effects extend well beyond the practical task-based considerations.

David Clarke’s enjoyable text provide a gold mine of information regarding human behaviour, which will prove useful to any designer. The neatly summarised psychological and sociological findings provide insights which can help towards both designing and evaluating a range of products, systems and services.

Interview Questions

constructing interview questions the psychology of survey response

Two textbooks which are invaluable when developing interviews and questionnaires for use in design are the text by Foddy and that of Tourangeau, Rips and Rasinski. Between them, the texts cover a wide range of essential issues which are critical to any ethongrpahic enquiry, including matters of question type, questioning framework, effect of context and the limitations of human recall.