Yearly archives of “2005

Reactions from the technical community

Reactions from the technical community

An awareness of architectures of control in products, especially digital technology, has been growing significantly over the past few years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the strongest reactions have propagated in and been disseminated through internet communities, especially those at the intersection of technology and policy […]

The democracy of innovation

The democracy of innovation

Eric von Hippel of MIT has charted the phenomenon of user-led innovation, and how this has benefited both companies and users, in The Sources of Innovation [57], published in 1988, and, most recently, Democratizing Innovation* [58]. As discussed in the ‘Reactions’ section of this site, […]

Everyday things & persuasive technology

Everyday things & persuasive technology

Two precedents from the interface between design, business and psychology are especially relevant here. First, Donald Norman’s influential The Psychology of Everyday Things, later republished as The Design of Everyday Things [32], formalised and analysed much of the accumulated wisdom surrounding user behaviour and interaction […]

Control & networks

Control & networks

To some extent, the desire of companies to control what consumers do with their products has parallels with attempts at price discrimination in industries such as freight transportation, and, especially, telecommunications. Andrew Odlyzko of the University of Minnesota’s Digital Technology Center points out that telecommunications […]

What things regulate?

What things regulate?

Lawrence Lessig, currently of Stanford Law School, has been at the forefront of much recent and current debate on intellectual property and how the internet is constructed and regulated. His books, Code, and Other Laws of Cyberspace [29], The Future of Ideas [51] and more […]

Artefacts & politics

Artefacts & politics

Many academic fields touch on areas relevant to this subject, from architecture to computer science. Perhaps the closest single exposition of many of the pertinent concepts is Langdon Winner’s 1986 “Do artifacts* have politics?” in which he discusses the idea that: “The machines, structures, and […]

Case study: Printer Cartridges

Case study: Printer Cartridges

Printer cartridges are a consumer product category with a variety of architectures of control exhibiting characteristics discussed on this site. Refills for printer cartridges, both DIY and factory-refilled, can be rendered useless by some built-in architectures of control Aside from the obvious economic lock-in (the […]

A diagrammatic representation

A diagrammatic representation

This diagram is a simplistic attempt to place some of the architectures of control detailed on this site into a plane representing the strategic intentions behind them: the dimensions are intended commercial benefit, and intended social benefit. Please click to open in a new window […]

Strategic intentions

Strategic intentions

Reviewing the examples across different sectors, a noticeable tension emerges between architectures of control with primarily commercial benefit intentions, and primarily social benefit intentions. For example, it is hard to argue that there was any intended social benefit in DVD region coding [46], but there […]

Simple control in products

Simple control in products

Whilst architectures of control in digital systems can be complex, there are many very simple control architectures in products which are either self-evident, or become so once the design intention is explained. Restriction of access Some of the most obvious involve attempts to restrict access […]

Architectures of Control in the Digital Environment

Architectures of Control in the Digital Environment

The design field where architectures of control have become most firmly established is software; to a large extent any application which affords the user a limited range of behaviours is, by definition, an architecture of control. This may seem obvious, but it is not a […]

Architectures of Control in the Built Environment

Architectures of Control in the Built Environment

First, it is worth looking at the broad range of architectures of control both inside and outside of product design. The use of the term ‘architecture’ is no coincidence, since it is in the planned systems which people inhabit–buildings and environments–that the idea of shaping […]

What are architectures of control in design?

What are architectures of control in design?

Architectures of control are features, structures or methods of operation designed into physical products, software, buildings, city layouts–or indeed any planned system with which a user interacts–which are intended to enforce, reinforce, or restrict certain modes of user behaviour. While the use of architectures of […]

Welcome : About this site

Welcome : About this site

Increasingly, many products are being designed with features that intentionally restrict the way the user can behave, or enforce certain modes of behaviour. The same intentions are also evident in the design of many systems and environments. This site aims–with readers’ input–to examine and analyse […]

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