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Technology as Experience (MIT Press)

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262633550
ISBN-10: 0262633558
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book makes us aware that there is more to using technology, particularly software, than analyzing keystroke protocols or watching people at workand of the creativity and openness with which people use and experience technology.

(Gerd Waloszek, SAP Design Guild, SAP.com)

Technology as Experience expertly explores the emotional and aesthetic dimensions of technological encounters, from the visceral aspects of subjective experience to the cultural embeddedness and meaning surrounding artifacts and our experience of them.

(Paul Dourish, School of Information and Computer Science, University of California, Irvine)

From the Inside Flap

"*Technology as Experience* expertly explores the emotional and aesthetic dimensions of technological encounters, from the visceral aspects of subjective experience to the cultural embeddedness and meaning surrounding artifacts and our experience of them."
--Paul Dourish, School of Information and Computer Science, University of California, Irvine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (August 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262633558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262633550
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,773,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
John McCarthy's and Peter Wright's book is fascinating because they grapple with some of today's major social, economic and interpersonal questions, such as what does technology mean and how can you determine its meaning? The authors move through several philosophical approaches that they find useful in framing these questions, review major thinkers in the field, and discuss case studies and personal experiences before reaching conclusions. The book is difficult, because of their academic bent. They are willing to break with existing practices enough to embrace emotional and subjective reactions to technology, but their writing can be thick and their conceptual apparatus is complex. As a result, the content is useful for futurists, those interested in social trends and change, and anyone working in information technology or marketing. However, getAbstract recommends their prose primarily to the more patient members of those categories.
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Format: Paperback
The book looks slim before you open it, but seems too long once you start reading it.

As an interaction designer I was looking for ideas about how I could improve upon the experience of technology products. I was utterly disappointed. Not only does the book not offer any concrete suggestions on how to improve the user experience, between the lines, the book scoffs at others who try. E.g. "Our concern with... user experience in HCI is that business momentum may take a potentially rich idea and reduce it to design implications, methods, or features."

The main proposition of the book is fair enough: "We ought to think of people's experience with technology in terms of `felt life'. Users actively construct their experiences, that each person's experience is rich, sensual, unique and difficult to communicate and we can't design someone's experience in its entirety."

With expert verbosity they split this into six propositions and stretch it across 10 difficult to read pages in the first chapeter and elaborate upon it in four more chapters. After reading which, I felt that as a sensitive designer (if you pardon the boast) I already knew this. It would have been bearable had the authors gone ahead then and said what one ought to do in spite of this proposition, but sadly they don't.

The three case studies towards the end of the book are perhaps the most interesting part, but there too I found myself wishing that they had toned down the commentary that got repetitive, verbose and obvious.

Don't get me wrong. If you are theoretically inclined or if you enjoy reading verbose text, go ahead and order a copy. I didn't find anything mis-represented. On the other hand if you are looking for any practical suggestions for design, skip this one.
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