Adobe’s CTO on UX Design

Peter Jones

Knowledge@Wharton recently interviewed Kevin Lynch, Adobe’s AIR apparent CTO, elevated to CTO earlier this year to make Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) the next disruptive tech platform. What’s in the secret sauce? Lots of UX, since that’s the first thing Lynch mentions at kickoff time: Knowledge@Wharton: You were recently given the title of Chief Technology Officer at Adobe. How is that different from your previous role as Chief Software Architect? Lynch: I’ll be involved more with Adobe overall in terms of our technology direction and the problems we are trying to solve; working across the different business units at Adobe. To some degree, I was already doing this in my previous role with the platform technology [unit at Adobe] because it touches so many of the other things that we do. This is formalizing that more. In terms of my day-to-day activities, I’m continuing to work with the platform [group] and …

Powerset – Toward semantic search in a closed ecosystem

Peter Jones Information Ecology

Powerset provides advanced natural language browsing of searched terms and topics in Wikipedia. It’s designed to handle conversational language entries, and the tool is a good start. Try it on a few simple searches (e.g., a name) which is simple, then throw something abstract at it. Like “sensemaking” or “design theory” and the gaps in Wikipedia show up quickly. Wikipedia does not search across all articles for close matching terms (their search is an article finder, not a browse view). So Powerset fills a real need for knowledge awareness as Wikipedia becomes a popular starting point for Q&A, student-level research, and scanning the current cultural repertoire for memes and conventional wisdom. The Powerset model makes sense – semantic relevance is achievable in a closed ecosystem where you have some level of editorial control of the content. They also index Freebase, which is much less mature than Wikipedia, so Powerset’s indexing …

Multisensory Medical Informatics

Peter Jones

Wow – The Wii earns my respect as a serious haptic interface. A University of Arizona team has shown improvements in fine hand motor skill developed from exercises in continuous practice of the Wii for simulated laproscopy. I’ve interacted with the virtual gall bladder removal and cauterization simulation at Riverside Methodist hospital’s Virtual Care Unit. It tallied a game score just like a Wii game – but the Wii interface may have leveled the playing field by making it possible to learn and tune fine-grained motor skills in the context of purposeful (and cheap) simulations. The virtual OR lab at the National Center for Collaboration in Medical Modeling and Simulation has been developing alternatives to learning hands-on procedures, primarily based on practice of motor routines in roughly simulated situations. Mark Scerbo, human factors psychologist (and a Cincinnati grad), explains: “It’s like doing very sophisticated surgery with chopsticks in your hands,” …

The persistent persona

Peter Jones Wu Wei

I have to admit not getting the fuss about personas. With a raft of new UX books out in recent years, including 2 books on personas in 2006 alone, I am always amused at the extent to which we (in UX, but also in design generally) believe we must re-invent everything. As if its better than some previous generation. Personas are tools for describing the users attending to the products and services we are designing for. They are basically user profiles, succinct depictions of the salient characteristics of a given user type. Personas capture a set of meaningful properties around a given user categoru, with a name and fictitious background that personalizes it as a representation of a customer. They have somehow become a big deal. Forrester conducted an international consultant’s study on the best practices in personas in 2007, and now they even offer a persona design course. There …