Roundtable Statement


Session Title:

  • Lovely Veneer: The underbelly of good design

Presentation Title:

  • Roundtable Statement




  • Roundtable: Lovely Veneer: The underbelly of good design

    The ‘lovely veneer’ of technology can be interpreted on many levels. One of them is that design is simply a glossy overlay to beautify and potentially obfuscate underlying system concepts and data gathering. ‘Usability’ and ‘interface design’ have given way to the term ‘User Experience’ (UX) and this shift is heartening in some ways as it suggests a more holistic approach, yet we should still question the terminology of ‘user’. User implies a simple, one way, consumer relationship, rather than the increasingly blurred interactions between consumer and producer, both in terms of content (e.g. YouTube, Path) and development (e.g. Git, SourceForge). Active ‘users’ involved in any part of a development process should be valued more than ‘users’, ‘participants’, or the even worse ‘informants’. Mobile devices are now used more than ever, consequently the design of these always on, ever present smartphones and their software must be considered with respect to their environment and aesthetics, as well as usability and functionality. This reframing of HCI and mobile design is part of the growing movement of Slow Technology created to support and develop longitudinal user experiences and relationships with technology. These reflective technologies are not “time consuming but time productive” (Hallnäs & Redström 2001). Allied with this movement, it is now time for a new ethical approach towards design and development cycles, embedding design and embracing openness at the heart of the process, engaging with stakeholders in a mutually beneficial process, whether in an academic, research context or otherwise.