Sep 29, 2009

"fill this in and bring it back"

Did you ever count, how many times a year you have to fill in your name, address, various identification numbers, payment details, etc.? Many online, many on paper.

immigration paperwork for East African countries

Photo: border crossing paperwork in East Africa.

Arriving to Kenya, one form. Leaving Kenya for Tanzania, one form. Arriving to Tanzania 2 minutes later, one form. Leaving mainland Tanzania to arrive to Zanzibar, one form. Leaving Zanzibar for the mainland, one form. Leaving Tanzania, one form.

Some processes, services are below suboptimal. Loudly inefficient or dysfunctional even, and sometimes completely in lack of purpose.

2009. Within 2 weeks, touching only 2 countries, 6 forms altogether, nice colorful hard paper cards. All asking the same exact questions. Add all the check-ins to hotels, hostels, add all the ticket purchased in advance and on spot. Add the visas.

Self identification, information provision of the future? A method/technology/other that is lightweight and comfortable, quick and safe, globally standardized?

Or is this even the right vision?

Update: A related question is the safe and convenient storing of all the login/password data, pin codes, policy numbers, all the other data today.. and how it will look like in 10-20 years.

Sep 25, 2009

today's office

dublin photo safari 2009 may

Man doing craftwork on a bench at Sandymount beach. Sunshine, fresh air, sea panorama.. a relaxing, yet inspiring setting.. just perfect for some artistic activity.

dublin photo safari 2009 may

Sep 23, 2009

nature-disabling urban design

nature disabling design

Nature is unstoppable. On the photos (shot around Dublin and Copenhagen) are areas, surfaces what humans intended 'plant-free', but nature seem to find soil and nutrition everywhere, even where we see nothing.

Some urban designs, architecture actively encourage nature to penetrate urban spaces. Some try the opposite.

What are the cultural, demographic motives behind the varied levels of nature-friendliness in urban spaces, architecture? What are the related costs to them not only in fiscal, but also in mental and physical health terms.

How would Dublin end up looking like, if every Dubliner took a 15 year holiday at the same time, leaving the city empty and unmaintained?

nature disabling design

nature disabling design

nature disabling design

Sep 20, 2009

visual anchors

view from Copenhagen tower

photo: view from the top of the Rundetårn (rounded tower observatory) in Copenhagen.

Here, a traditional map would be useless, or hard to use. You don't want to get anywhere, just want to know (if you do) what you see ahead and below yourself. The illustration (right on the photo) shows the significant landmarks in this direction, an outline of what lays ahead, exactly as you see it from here.

Almost like a layer in an augmented reality browser. Except that this is just a piece of framed paper.

For every purpose and environment the suitable and most efficient map type.

Sep 12, 2009

cigarettes by the piece

cigarettes in tamchi, kyrgyzstan

Photo: Small universal kiosk in Tamchi, Kyrgyzstan selling cigarettes by the piece.

The price for a full box of these common cigarette types in Kyrgyzstan is around 30-40 cent (Euro). Still people often by them by the piece, 1-2-3 in most cases.

Thoughts that come to mind:
The wide spectrum of motivations for buying only a few.
The inability / unwillingness of even the local cigarette brands to cater for these special demand patterns.
In general the situations where products are retailed in ways other the ones intended by the producer / brand.

Sep 9, 2009

is twitter good for you?

flying zanair over to zanzibar

For some rebel loud thinking, read on.

Twitter is getting big, millions of active users, mountains of tweets every day. People follow others, and are being followed themselves. The creativity of people in coming up with new and interesting usage ways seems to be endless. In some cases it offers new solutions to old problems, but in many cases it opens new horizons. And this is all pretty exciting.

I wonder though... where from do we get the time to tweet? On the scale of whole humanity (well, those who twitter actually), of what do we do less, so that we can make time for twitter?

In the rapid evolution of online social communication, 'posts' are getting shorter and shorter, blogs are so 'nineties', a lot more content gets created nowadays in the 160 character range.

According to my Google Reader, I read through an average of 55 posts a day (and those are blogs, not tweets). As we create/consume more and more, the 'short enough to read through' gets shorter and shorter.

The exciting, but somewhat terrifying prospect, when creating a new medium (mostly online these days), is that they rarely function ONLY in the ways the creator initially imagined them to. From a design perspective, lowering the boundaries for user creativity makes responsible creation a la 'cradle to cradle' a fuzzy, near impossible concept.

When launching Twitter, the creators surely dreamed about their product eventually becoming popular, with a massive user base, with a lot of time spent on the service. But did they ponder over the question of where that time will actually come from? What will fall as a consequence of the rise of Twitter? And the good and not so good effects of that on human societal evolution?