Design and the Elastic Mind

Design and the Elastic Mind is a new exhibition at the MOMA that explores the reciprocal relationship between science and design. The exhibition highlights designers™ ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and history”changes that demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior”and translate them into objects that people can actually understand and use. The exhibition™s Web site presents over three hundred of these works, including fifty projects that are not featured in the gallery exhibition. Links:

Together alone

When I used to Surf, I always went with few friends to the beach. It was usually early in the morning, when the best waves came, and we had them all to ourselves. It was kind of a ritual for us. We got of the car, left it still running, and went to peek from the highest of the boardwalk to the ocean to see where the best waves are. Then, it if was worth anything, we parked the car and ran down the sandy beach, placed our cloths near the lifeguard post, and stormed in to the cold water. And then we were alone. I was sitting in my living room with my son, watching TV. He was watching one of the children shows. I on the other hand was watching NBC TV show on my laptop. I hugged him and told him I loved him, and covered him in a warm blanket, as I was listening to the show with an earpiece with one ear. Surfing is a cool, fun and one of the most accelerating things I have ever done. From my experience, it beats sky diving and basketball, yoga and long distance running. But it is not a team sport. Like many things that we do, it is does not contain any highly coupled tasks, does not requires others to watch, cheer, or participate. Sharing space does not necessarily means sharing tasks. Sometimes it means giving space to others to have the same fun that you have, while you are there, just there.


Brand enhancement through physical interaction

Key words : Brand enhancement, installation design, mobile devices

Skills used: Physical prototyping, interaction design

Team members: Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil

“In an electronically nomadicized world I have become a two legged terminal, an ambulatory IP address, maybe even a wireless router in an ad-hoc mobile network. I am inscribed not within a single Vitruvian circle, but within radiating electromagnetic wavefronts”

William Mitchell, Me++
Modern lives are increasingly becoming more flexible, connected and mobile. We were asked to create an installation for the Fjord’s office space that will communicate the themes of mobility and its influence on people’s lives. Fjord is a leading developer of digital products and services for people on the move.

PEOPLE+ installation exposes flows of communication, and stresses the fact that mobile communication expands the boundaries of a person and augments the distances one can reach.

A company = people + communication

Visual elements

The installation uses the human figure symbol and the Plus {+} sign as a vehicle to tell a story. And the story is simple: connect one human being to another, and you have a network, and mobile communication is all about networks. It is some kind of emotional math if you will.


A cloud made of the human figures and plus sign is hanging from the ceiling, and reacting to mobile phone activities (like a phone call, SMS etc) in its vicinity. When this happens, the cloud comes alive with streams of light flowing between the objects. The objects glow and dim; a human figure, a plus sign, another human figure, another plus sign and so on. An imaginary line is created, portraying a trajectory of a phone call.

PEOPLE+ XO figurine design was inspired by square calligraphy.

“Technological change is not additive; it is ecological. A new technology does not merely add something; it changes everything”

Neil Postmen, “Ten Principles of Technology”


Mobile communication has introduced new concepts to our lives and altered previous ways of thinking and operating. It has caused a change in social behaviors and values: multiple presence and multi-tasking, definition of personal boundaries, privacy issues, “always-on” society and the list goes on.

In our view the shift in the perceptions of time and space has relevance to the business environment.

In the past, when having an appointment with someone, being late was considered rude. It still is, but the notion of “late” has changed. You don’t actually have to be in a certain place on a specific time. It is good enough if you call from the road saying when you will be there, and if that changes, you can just call (or message) again, and it will be acceptable.

What is considered a rude behavior is not answering a call, or not replying to a text message in time. The importance of “where” has shifted to “when”.

Time became elastic, a material to play with.

The perception of the work space and its boundaries has changed as well. Offices stretch well beyond the confined space which was specified in the lease contract. The office exists wherever a company representative is, and is present everywhere where communication is, which means any place with phone connectivity or an internet access. The physical space has lost its dominant role in the business structure.

A company = people + communication.

How do the physical space, the augmented virtual space and the absence of space interrelate with each other and create a new type of space, which is different than the one we knew before.

Another interesting issue is that communication in itself has become a status symbol and an indication for one’s worth. People fake talking on the phone in order to look more important in front of their colleagues; others swap their phones to brag about their social relationships, text messages are considered to be digital valuables. Exposing communication and communication types is becoming a very interesting thing to look at.

In the business environment social = capital.

As mobile culture changes our perception of time and space it drives us to adapt new social patterns we asked ourselves how can this inspire us in the creation of this installation? What would this new time look like? How can it be represented? How can this new space be reflected as an installation? How can we express this transformation in their meaning which affects our everyday life?


Clients: When clients come to the office they should be intrigued and impressed by the installation. It could be a conversation piece, a way by which broader topics of mobility can arise naturally when a dialog is happening between a Fjord employee and a client.

Office workers: For those who work in the office, the installation is part of the space. It should have a long life span, and should be an item they can live with and maybe even surprised by occasionally.

Done with Wiring

Perceptions and intentions

John E. Flaherty explored the mind set of Peter Drucker, one of the biggest influences on modern management. In his book, Peter Drucker: Shaping the Managerial Mind, Flaherty shares many of Drucker’s thoughts, including the importance of evaluating the impact of perception on communication process:

 Perception is limited to what the recipient is capable of receiving.

 A person needs a mental vision of the individual he or she is trying to influence.

 Figures are often more compelling than the power of reasoning.

 The more information is increased, the greater the need to grasp perceptual reality by constantly redefining incomplete messages.

 The quest for certainty is wrong; start off with what should be conveyed in order to make sense.

 Communication and information are different and indeed largely opposite- yet interdependent. Whereas communication is perception, information is logic.

 The most dangerous illusion of all is to think that the recipient has only one role and one reality.

 The focus should not be on what you consider important but on what the recipient consider important.

 Don’t try to find out why a person is wrong, but attempt to find out what he is trying to say; he might be right, who knows?

 Perception is multidimensional, but people still see only one of these dimensions at a time.

 Perception is limited by physiological factors: for example, the eye and the ear have different capabilities.

 You can’t cram a great deal of material in to a voice channel. In a good speech one gets one good idea across.

 Accepts the fact that other people say things differently.

 Hearing is natural: listening must be learned by making sense of what we hear.

 People have to receive communication and it™s up to them; the sender has no control over it.

 Information presupposes communication.

 The assumption that what is obvious to you is also obvious to every else is a mistake.

 Perception is experience. This means that one always perceive configuration. One cannot perceive singular specifics. They always became part of total picture.

 Difficulty in communicating can often be overcome by changing not what we say but how we say it.

 The fewer the data needed, the better the information.

Shift Happens

An official update to the original “Shift Happens” video from Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod, this June 2007 update includes new and updated statistics, thought-provoking questions and a fresh design. For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit — Content by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod, design and development by XPLANE.

●江戸の和時計● (The Edo harmony clock)

The EDO clock, shown in the picture on the right, is an ancient Japanese clock in Edo era (back in 17 to 19 century), which is based upon the lunar calendar. The moving speed of the hand of the right clock is different in day and night, and is varied by the seasons. In every seasons, the hand points right at sunrise and left at sunset.

Click here to see how it works (work done by Rey.Hori(れい・ほり).

The UX Radar “ measuring the user experience

the-user-experience-honeyco.gifMore then two years ago Peter Morville published The User Experience Honeycomb which gives a holistic view of the users experience by segmenting it to seven core facets.

  • Useful “ the product/service usefulness to the stakeholders.
  • Usable “ the product/service ease of use.
  • Desirable “ the emotional aspects that the use of the product/service carries.
  • Findable “ the product/service information structure efficiency.
  • Accessible “ the product/service adaptability to people with disabilities.
  • Credible- the trustworthiness of the product/service.
  • Valuable- the importance of the monetary or other qualities of the product/service to the sponsors.

The UX design process is an adaptive and a social process, as Tom Moran noted in Everyday Adaptive Design. It is a collaborative effort that involves many stakeholders such as the user, the designer, the cultural, business and technological context. Each one of them influences the design process and consequently the product/service. Time is also an important factor as product development is usually done by cycles or steps. While the UX Honeycomb is useful to explain what the user experience is and what the assets it is composed from, it is not intended to be used to describe individual product/service. In order to illustrate the specific UX properties of a product/service and to be able to visualize then a new tool is necessary. Based on the UX Honeycomb, I have designed a UX evaluation tool “ the UX Radar. This tool allows evaluating products/services and clearly seeing their similarities and differences from a UX perspective. It also allows seeing changes in the product/service design process and monitoring the UX evolution.
The following example shows how the UX Radar looks like. The UX values are positioned on each corner. The numbers states the UX values from 0 (lowest) to 10 highest. A high level UX value will reach to the border of the hexagon. The values can be measured using a heuristic evaluation or with user research and with other product stakeholders.
The UX Radar can also be used to measure different products. Seeing the differences between competitive offerings can clearly indicate which product stands out and in which aspect. Note that based on user or the stakeholders™ needs, some values are more important than others. You can download the UX Radar tool from here > the-ux-radar_measuring-the-user-experience.xls


Intel web site
Designing for the on line community
Key words : web design , multimedia, content creation, information architecture
Skills used: graphic design, Flash web interfaces, Illustration, Game design
Intel Israel’s web site is a vibrant, content rich and constantly changing place.

The site reflects Intel’s view that the company is a part of the community and should show its commitment to it.

The site provides information about computers and computing in ways that help its readers to understand the technology better and to be able to decide on the best solution for their needs.

It presents various issues, for various target readers: latest products and technologies, home computing, future plans, career opportunities, education and more.
A team was set up to build the site and to make sure it will remain exciting, interesting and updated for its visitors.
During the five years I was the site’s creative director, active member of the concept team and head of interactive programs, we tried to come up with innovative and exciting methods and means that would help people and technology to get closer.

The Education Center

Intel Israel’s web activities had a unique agenda: Promoting technology education.
Ever since the personal computer was invented in the late 1970s, there have been concerns about inequities in access to this new technology, while increasingly; technological fluency has become a prerequisite for getting jobs and participating meaningfully in our society. This is a problem that Israel, as an immigration country, which is socially, culturally, economically and technologically diverse, has to face.
Trying to contribute their share to solving the digital divide problem, Intel has set up and funded three “Computer Club-houses”, an afternoon activity for inner city children, which its goal was to enable participants to learn to express themselves fluently with new technology.
Another way to approach this problem was to establish the Education and Technology center as part of Intel’s web site

The users
We defined two groups of users to this site

  • Children aged 10-16
  • The educators of those children

Each group was approached separately and has a dedicated section in the site.

The Children’s site: Intel Yeda
Our aim with the children’s site was to educate them (Yeda means Knowledge) about technology and its uses and benefits, by turning it into a source for fun and interest – A notion we wanted the children to preserve when growing up, and hopefully become active participants in the technology arena (And not intimidated consumers).
We designed the activities to fit both work in the classroom and in their homes.

The solution: Gaming zone
The way to approach children was by creating a stimulating and fun environment, when the educational content is interwoven with games and activities that make the experience enjoyable and worth repeating.
We looked at the site as a new and improved sand box, where children develop their skills, while busy playing.We filled the site with versified content: Contests, Trivia games, technological oriented mini sites and more.
We were competing on the children’s attention against TV, friends and other computer games.
We knew we had to come up with really good ideas if we want to win.

The Educators’ site: Innovation in education
The activities on the children’s site were backed up by an education portal dedicated for educators’ needs.
We knew that not all educators are proficient technologists, and that some of them may even be intimidated by it.
We had to find the way to reach the educators in order to get to the children.
We set goals for the development of the educators’ site:

  1. We wanted the educators to understand the importance of technological education
  2. We wanted to enrich the educators in technology related issues, and to supply them with project ideas and methods for working on those projects with the children, in the classroom.
  3. We wanted the educators to have tools to expand their understanding of technology and the possibilities it holds for education.
  4. Many educators connect from home, with low bandwidth modems, so the site has to be as quick to download as possible.

The solution: Virtual newspaper
The site was built as a newspaper and contained articles that explained technological terms in plain language, essays that dealt with education and technology issues, Class curriculums for different projects and activities, teaching aids and more.
Simplicity, friendliness and familiarity were the key concepts for the site.
To make the site accessible to wide range of users it had to be easy to use and navigate, the information had to be displayed in a clear, appealing manner and visual queues were widely used.
We gave the site a professional, clean look which implied that:

  1. We are serious in our concern about education
  2. We take you, educators, seriously
  3. We are focused on the content
The entrance screen was divided to three areas:

  1. The global header that contains links to other parts of Intel’s site
  2. The “Innovation in education”site content navigator that contains links to the site’s different sections and enables direct access to their content
  3. The main information area, which is a dynamically changing content area-the newspaper’s front page. It contains Intel’s “innovation in education” vision statement, links to recent projects and articles and highlighted topics of interest.

The articles

All articles in the site had to answer to the following criteria:

  1. Use simple, non-buzz wordy language. Explain everything.
  2. Make each page as light as possible, use Imagery only when necessary: bandwidth is low and time is short

The articles presented here demonstrate the intentional simplicity of the design.

Other topics discussed in articles: computer usage in class, how to build a web site (from goals definitions to hosting and promotion) and more.

Sample projects:
Here are some examples for projects displayed in Intel Israel’s web site:

Century of computing
This interactive product contains a comprehensive guide to a century of computing – “From the slide rule to Pentium 4”.
This product presents computing related artifacts which influenced the field for the past century. Objects like slide rule, diskettes or the Galena Crystal Detector- semiconductor first application.

The exhibits are divided to five main topics: calculation, processing, memory, storage and silicon, and displayed in chronological order.
Each topic starts with an introduction and then enables further exploration by browsing through the last century’s great inventions and innovations, and presents visual and textual information about each exhibit.
We enabled downloads of this product for use as a teaching aid in the classroom or as an exciting fact book for curious souls.
The Product was translated to English and displayed in’s main web site.

“The time tunnel” – Technological developments
This is an interactive module we developed as a supplement to the “Century of computing”. It enabled a comparison between global and Israeli technological developments, in the past 30 years.
As a local web site, and because Israel is the only R&D center Intel has outside the US, it was important for us to show that many of the significant developments were done here (and by this imply to the kids that they have the power to invent and innovate if they want to).
We designed separate arenas in which the user can compare developments in a specified time range.
To make the comparison, the user first chooses a date and then can view the technological developments in the world on the screen’s left side, and the developments which occurred in Israel on the right side.
The user can navigate between the different inventions in a certain era by clicking on the exhibit buttons.

Virtual tour at the clean room
The clean room is the place where computer processors are being manufactured.
Almost no one is allowed to enter and watch this process, which is Intel’s core activity.
This sterile environment with its futuristic Sci-Fi look (white illumination, robots on the ceiling and on the manufacturing floor, people wearing special “bunny suits”, constant hum of the air filtering system) was about to be exposed to the public eye.
Being a success, has chosen to display this project in its main web site.
We wanted to show people what this place looks like, unveil some of the mystery which surrounds it, make them curious about it, and connect it to their world.
We went to Intel’s “Kiryat-Gat” Factory and prepared a virtual tour in the “Clean room” (using Quick Time VR technology).
We presented hi definition panoramic view of the insides of the production zone. The user could zoom in and out and turn the image 360 degrees, explore the clean room and obtain some understanding as to how things work. This was never done before.
To create an entertaining gaming experience we used strong colors, cartoon like styling, motion and humor.
We kept interaction method simple – to adjust to children’s abilities.
Our users faced “Teli”, the brainy humoristic talk show host for three rounds on the ring of knowledge.
Questions regarding the evolution of technology and computers were presented and our users had to come up with the right answerer’s or to face “Teli’s” witty tongue.
We collected all the quiz results and held a raffle amongst the smartest users.
Special project: Odyssey
The Odessey project is a huge repository of examples for ways to use technology in the classroom.
Project samples were collected from all over the world and brought together in an indexed form, in order to serve as a source of inspiration for educators worldwide, as how to use technology in their classroom in creative ways.
The Odyssey’s mini site included an Indexed archive and educators’ stories and testimonials regarding the success of these kind of projects. Educators were also encouraged to contribute new projects and ideas to the Odyssey archive.
Intel’s "looking differently at education" presentation
As a promotional activity for the “Innovation in education” site we created this presentation which was displayed in educational conferences and sent to key individuals.

It presented the site’s highlights and served as a teaser for educators to visit the site.

Viewing the presentation demanded the viewers to wear special glasses, which gave a stunning 3D effect that emphasized the concept that Intel has a different and advanced view regarding educational issues.
The viewers could link directly to the site from the presentation.