Telecom Web has a major role to play: online
presence, information, and commerce for everyone. For better impact, the two webs will have to
leverage each other. It should become possible for
the websites to be accessible from the Telecom
Web, and the Voicesites to be accessible from the
World Wide Web. Excuse me, I hear my Voicesite
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS Sheetal Agarwal is a
technical staff member at IBM India Research Lab.
She did her master’s in computer science at the
University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her
research interests include pervasive and ubiquitous
computing, mobile applications, and, more recently, information and communication technologies for emerging economies.
Arun Kumar is a research staff member at IBM
Research, India. He obtained a master’s degree in
computer science engineering in 1999 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from IIT Madras, India. He
served on the program committee for ACM SAC
2008 and 2007 and has been published in reputed
international conferences and journals. His research interests
include IC T for developing regions, service oriented computing,
object oriented programming, semantic Web services, and distributed systems.
Sougata Mukherjea is a research staff member and
manager of the Telecom Research Innovation
Center at the IBM India Research Lab. He received
his bachelor’s from Jadavpur University, Calcutta, a
master’s from Northeastern University, and a Ph.D.
from Georgia Institute of Technology (all in computer science). Before IBM, he held research and software architect
positions at NEC USA, Inktomi, and BEA Systems. His research
interests include middleware technologies and its applications to
telecom, data analysis, information retrieval, and visualization.
Amit Anil Nanavati is a research staff member at
IBM India Research Lab. He has a Ph.D. in computer science from Louisiana State University. Prior to
IBM Research, he worked for Netscape
Communications. His recent research focus has
been on telecom solutions, especially for emerging
economies. He is also interested in applications of graph theory in
various domains. Before completing his Ph.D., he spent a summer
at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, NASA.
Nitendra Rajput has been working as a researcher
at the IBM India Research Lab, New Delhi since
March 1998. His areas of interest include speech
processing, image processing, and dialog management. He has done projects on audio-visual
speech recognition, Hindi speech recognition, and
conversational systems for pervasive devices. His current work
involves application of speech technology interfaces for developing
countries. Prior to joining IBM Research, he completed master’s
from IIT Bombay in communications.
it becomes thoughtful only when it stops being
I’ve recently had a number of conversations
with professional designers who are all, generally, coming to the same set of conclusions: User
research is much, much less important than
“worldly research,” or “human research.” Instead
of researching for a specific project, they find
more value in forcing themselves to constantly
observe, consider, and question the everyday
world around them.
Richard: In this issue Hugh Dubberly and colleagues argue for creating explicit models so as
to not gloss over the synthesis you reference. And
I agree that such synthesis too often gets short
However, I don’t reject the value of applying
some form of the concept of “correctness” to
such synthesis, in consideration of its goals and
the context in which it is performed. And while I
agree that ongoing “worldly research” is of great
value, I urge designers not to mistake the inadequacy of such synthesis for the unimportance of
the focused research that feeds or should feed it.
Design itself isn’t magic. It can be taught; it can
be learned. It might resist understanding and,
hence, prompt fear and marginalization among
many. But it comprises, in part, the development
and consideration of rationale.
I don’t think the work of Tom Moran years ago
on design rationale was so completely divorced
from the nature of design and abductive thinking.
And as Bill Buxton describes in his 2007 book,
Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right
and the Right Design, being explicit about design
rationale helps guide the design process away
from decision by bullying or seniority and makes
it easier and safer to determine whether a design
decision should be changed after something new
happens or is learned.
In short, what I’m saying is that—borrowing
terminology from Jan Borchers—designers need
to seek out “the sweet spot” between emotion and
logic in order to reach “the sweet spot” in design
and in influence within a business.
—Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko
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March + April 2008