All posts filed under “Do artifacts have politics?

Code as control

Code as control

In the earlier days of this blog, many of the posts were about code, in the Lawrence Lessig sense: the idea that the structure of software and the internet and the rules designed into these systems don’t just parallel the law (in a legal sense) […]

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Thoughts on the ‘fun theory’

Thoughts on the ‘fun theory’

The ‘Piano Staircase’ from Volkswagen’s thefuntheory.com The Fun Theory (Rolighetsteorin), a competition / campaign / initiative from Volkswagen Sweden – created by DDB Stockholm – has been getting a lot of attention in the last couple of weeks from both design-related people and other commentators […]

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Two events next week

Two events next week

Next Wednesday evening, 27th May, I’ll be giving a presentation about Design with Intent at SkillSwap Brighton’s ‘Skillswap Goes Behavioural’ alongside Ben Maxwell from Onzo (pioneers of some of the most interesting home energy behaviour change design work going on at present). I hope I’ll […]

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What is demand, really?

What is demand, really?

In a lot of the debate and discussion about energy, future electricity generation and metering, improved efficiency and influencing consumer behaviour – at least from an engineering perspective – the term “demand” is used, in conjunction with “supply”, to represent the energy required to be […]

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Anti-teenager “pink lights to show up acne”

Anti-teenager “pink lights to show up acne”

In a similar vein to the Mosquito, intentionally shallow steps (and, superficially at least–though not really–blue lighting in toilets, which Raph d’Amico dissects well here), we now have residents’ associations installing pink lighting to highlight teenagers’ acne and so drive them away from an area: […]

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Eight design patterns for errorproofing

Eight design patterns for errorproofing

Go straight to the patterns One view of influencing user behaviour – what I’ve called the ‘errorproofing lens’ – treats a user’s interaction with a system as a set of defined target behaviour routes which the designer wants the user to follow, with deviations from […]

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The Hacker’s Amendment

The Hacker’s Amendment

Congress shall pass no law limiting the rights of persons to manipulate, operate, or otherwise utilize as they see fit any of their possessions or effects, nor the sale or trade of tools to be used for such purposes. From Artraze commenting on this Slashdot […]

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Designed environments as learning systems

Designed environments as learning systems

How much of designing an environment is consciously about influencing how people use it? And how much of that influence is down to users learning what the environment affords them, and acting accordingly? The first question’s central what this blog’s been about over the last […]

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What’s the deal with angled steps?

What’s the deal with angled steps?

It’s a simple question, really, to any readers with experience in urban planning and specifying architectural features: what is the reasoning behind positioning steps at an angle such as this set (left and below) leading down to the Queen’s Walk near London Bridge station? Obviously […]

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Stuff that matters: Unpicking the pyramid

Stuff that matters: Unpicking the pyramid

Most things are unnecessary. Most products, most consumption, most politics, most writing, most research, most jobs, most beliefs even, just aren’t useful, for some scope of ‘useful’. I’m sure I’m not the first person to point this out, but most of our civilisation seems to […]

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Staggering insight

Staggering insight

I’ve mentioned a few times, perhaps more often in presentations than on the blog, the fact that guidelines for the design of pedestrian crossings in the UK [PDF] recommend that where a crossing is staggered, pedestrians should be routed so that they have to face […]

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Anti-homeless ‘stools’

Anti-homeless ‘stools’

Stuart Candy of the brilliant Sceptical Futuryst let me know about authorities in Honolulu replacing benches with round ‘stools’ to prevent homeless people sleeping at bus stops (above image from Honolulu Advertiser story): So far, the city has spent about $11,000 on the seating initiative, […]

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{In|Ex}clusive Design

{In|Ex}clusive Design

Giving with one hand, and taking away with the other. The juxtaposition of hand rails and anti-sit spikes outside this church in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire suggests a particular configuration of design priorities: helping people climb the steps, but forbidding anyone sitting on the wall. Are the […]

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