Archive for ‘Thesis Prep’

March 9, 2012

Notes on Designing Interfaces

Notes from the O’Reilly book Designing Social Interfaces: Principles Patterns and Practices

Crumlish, Christian. 2009. Designing social interfaces : [principles, patterns, and practices for improving the user experience]. Beijing ;Cambridge: O’Reilly Media.

SOCIAL MEDIA (8, 9, 11)
social media is “media that is created, filtered, engaged with, and remixed socially” (8)

“Social media collectively refers to content… that is generated by the community of users for consumption within the same community” (9, Harjeet Gulati)

The idea of patterns for designing interface is describes this way “The notion of having a suite of reusable building blocks to inform and help designers develop their sites and applications has gained traction within the interaction design community as the demands for web and mobile interfaces have become more complex.” (11)

The idea of leaving elements or the social site structure incomplete is described this way “One of the key differences between designing a social environment online and designing a traditional media-style, broadcast-oriented content site is that the design of a social community online cannot be entirely predetermined.”
“This principle finds form in a number of familiar concepts: customization, skinning, user contributed tags, and the emergent folksonomies they can give rise to.”
“we create open space rather than filled-in labyrinths.”(17)

Understand that in order to interact with your system users must have an understanding or mental model of what they are interacting with (19)

“Strict Versus Fluid Taxonomies: Part of leaving the design unfinished involves determining which elements to nail down and which to leave more free-form.”

“Literally, a palimpsest is a manuscript… that has been overwritten at least once, with the earlier text only partially erased and obscured… The word has also been used as a metaphor to describe any place that reveals its own history.”

“Talk Like A Person: Bear in mind as well that the writing on your site or in your application is a key part of the user interface. Call it web copy, nomenclature, and labels if you like, but it’s as much a part of the UI as the buttons, windows, and sliders.”

Use a conversational tone that fits the attitude and personality of your users but do not take it too far. Also consider using questions as a way to suggest or call to action. Also the use of third or first person “my” for example should be used with intentionality expressing either possession or attention to the larger community/activity. Consistency is important with that naming of “my stuff”, “your stuff”, or “Bill’s stuff”. (26-34)

If you are using email give people a way to respond in email. You can also reengage users through a reoccurring e-mail. “The email should contain a very clear call to action.”

GAMES (37)
Good quote for games:
“Games are among the oldest “social interfaces.” The rules and tokens of a game provide a set of affordances and an environment in which people interact.”

Sign-up or Registration (45-49)
“Collect other information only as necessary for a compelling experience.”
“Require registration at the last possible moment in the users’ process of exploring”
“Allow use of a non unique nickname (email) to reflect back to the user and for communication between the system and user.” “Consider skipping the entire registration form and allow users to sign up with… Facebook Connect”

Sign In – Sign Out(53, 56)
“Provide a clear way to retrieve the username if it is forgotten.” “Provide a clear way to retrieve the password if it is forgotten.”
“Consider providing a landing page that clearly indicates that the user is no longer signed in.”

Invitations (58)
“A user receives an invitation from a friend or connection to join a site”
“A user sends an invitation to a friend or group of friends asking them to join in a site experience”

Onboarding (70-72)
“That process of helping people get started is called onboarding
“…a large bubble tells her exactly what to do next: ‘Create your firstpost!’. In actuality, there are a dozen things she could do from here, but the guide is making a decision for her. By limiting the user’s focus–”
Also consider the idea of a “Welcome Area”

PHATIC COMMUNICATION (122, 124)*****************
“Describing a continuum of phatic messages: “These messages are: 1. I exist. 2. I’m ok. 3. You exist. 4. You’re ok. 5. The channel is open. 6. The network exists. 7. The network is active. 8. The network is flowing.”

“phatic communication, the sounds and grunts of acknowledgment we make to remind one another that we exist.”

ONLINE PRESENCE (123, 128, 134)
“A Brief History of Online Presence: …1. a persistent “place” online where a business or project can be found…
2. a blog, for instance, can create an ongoing sense of a person…the blogger is actively “present” in that space and can be found there.
3. …one is currently online and available for communication; this is present not in a physical sense but in an availability sense. This is synchronous, real-time presence, to be distinguished from the asynchronous sense of #1 and #2.” (123)

“online, available, and open to contact.”
“four typical use cases for online presence indicators: • A person wants to determine whether his friend is online. • A person wants to see who is available for contact. • A person wants to see whether his friend is available for communication. • A person wants to show his contacts that he is busy.” (128)

The concept of a Buddy List is a “list of people a user wants to keep track of” (134)

“Thinking about time as part of designing conversation systems is a critical consideration when deciding what type of communication tool to add to your social framework.”
“participating in the conversation when it is convenient.”
tools which are synchronous “rely on all participants being present and engaged at the same time”

“The primary principle to bear in mind when designing presence interfaces is to maximize opportunities for your users to declare themselves present to one another (similar to leaving footprints or other human traces)”
“a few actions that the user or system can take: • Publishing presence information • Displaying current presence status • Displaying a timeline of recent presence items • Maintaining a history (partial or complete) of past presence declarations • Providing users with a way to subscribe to presence updates • Providing users with a way to filter presence updates”

“User Gallery: Another technique for signaling the transient presence of other visitors” (149)

“Activity Streams: the idea of at least maintaining a stream of recent history and then possibly mixing status reports with other snapshots of online activity has taken hold as a way of displaying presence.”

“An activity stream (or feed) may therefore consist of an aggregation of updates and activities that together can create a much richer sense of what the user has been doing, thinking about, and saying in the recent past”

“Statuscasting: Statuscasting is the custom of broadcasting an ongoing stream of status updates to the public or to a set of contacts or followers.”

“Microblogging allows users to create short posts. These are often aggregated into a stream and can consist of text, pictures, or video.
“post onto other services”
“Provide a method for viewing once posted. Both an author view and a community view should be available.” (138)
“Allow users to filter items by date, Allow users to search or browse by date or tags, Freshness: Show items by newest item first as a default” (250)

UPDATES (139, 342)
“Updates: Updates provide people with mini stories about what their connections and others are doing on the Net”
“Users want to see what their friends have been doing presented in a convenient format.”
Users should be able to “Opt-in” or have “Disclosure” when broadcasting updates
“These updates can serve as reminders to other users about what is possible within the system.”(139)
“Recommendations push objects toward people rather than relying on them to be passively discovered.” (342)

AMBIENT INTIMACY (146-147)*****************
“Ambient intimacy is about being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible.

“Ambient describes the lightness, the atmospheric, non directional, and distributed nature of the communication. These are communications that are one to many: they’re not quite broadcast and yet not exactly conversational. They flood over a somewhat defined space.”

“maintaining ongoing background awareness of others”

SOCIAL OBJECTS (185-186)*****************
“you should begin by defining the type of activity that you want to encourage in your space. Do you want people to collect or share?”

“Once you have a handle on the type of activity you want to foster and its associated subactivities, it is important to define the type of social object around which this activity will revolve.”

“Social networks consist of people who are connected by a shared object.”

“Social objects are natural, not artificial. A successful social object is one that has layer upon layer of conversation created around it; as the number of participants increases, social objects enjoy network effects. Social objects are about participation and participants.”

Competitiveness Spectrum (156)
Levels (157)
Labels: not qualitative ranks but qualitative titles (163)
Bookmarklet (210)
Relationships Terminology (354)
Groups (376)
Face-to-Face Meeting (401)

December 6, 2011

Semester Final Review: Thesis Preparation Presentation


Click here to download the PDF of my proposal.

Presentation Slides:

Presentation Video:

This video does not document the whole presentation, but most of it. Thank you to ID Master’s student Mike Falk who recorded it…

Transcript for Presentation:

Hello,{Slide 1}
My name is Alexandria. My committee consists of Denise, Scott, and Martha.

I am interested in how generations and cultures have sought to represent time. I am wondering how this representation informs a person’s concept of time and the relationship that has to someone’s values and commitments. I am particularly interested in this idea with regards to how this affects someones’ ability to manage their work and non-work commitments.

{Slide 2} So to put that in thesis language I have crafted this introductory question for myself…. How can an instrument of time incorporate the metaphor “time as a container for meaning” in order to reduce work-nonwork conflict?

When I say instrument of time, I am referring to any tool which might help someone mark manage or measure time. {Slide 3} This encompasses a broad range of artifacts… including anything from a church bell, to an i-cal, the watch on your wrist or something larger and more experiential such as stonehenge, which some historians assume was constructed for astrological observations.

{Slide 4} The metaphor time as a container for meaning is discussed in the article “Work-Nonwork Conflict and the Phenomenology of Time” by Thompson and Bunderson, two researchers in organizational behavior and ethics. In this article they are challenging a metaphor which is commonly mentioned: the idea of balancing time, or time as a balancing act. They explain that while this emphasizes the quantitative aspect of time, it overlooks our subjective experience of time. {Slide 5} They pose the metaphor time as a container of meaning as a way to recognize the finite nature of time while emphasizing the qualitative aspect of time. This provides a different framework for us to be aware of the nature of how we spend our time, and what significance that might have to our identity and values.

{Slide 6} Lastly, the concept of work-non work conflict has been studied at length within many fields including human resources, psychology, sociology, organizational and behavioral science. Some other terms which researchers have used which relate to this concept include work non work dichotomy, work- life integration or flexibility, and work-life boundary management. {Slide 7} I chose the term Work-nonwork conflict to following suit with the Thomson & Bunderson article as well as this model developed by Joseph E. Champoux. So Work-Nonwork conflict can be thought of the tension that comes about when someone has problems attending to the roles and commitments within these 2 domains. Work, and everything else thats not work.

{Slide 8} There are three subquestions guiding my study.
1. I am interested in how an instrument might help someone negotiate identity affirming activities and identity discrepant activities and how this could be done through multiple modes.
{Slide 9} This idea of identity affirming and discrepant activities is outlined in your handout and following the meaning based model for work non work conflict as defined by Thompson and Bunderson
{Slide 10} 2. I want to understand how the formal qualities or structure of an instrument of time might reflect the time as a container of meaning metaphor or in other words replace or compliment the time as a balancing act metaphor?
{Slide 11} 3. Lastly, I am wondering how people might share this instrument or parts of this instrument in order to connect with others.
{Slide 12} My next steps are simple. Talking to you. I want feedback. Continuing to read from my chosen sources in particular the selected bibliography in the handout. And also conducting an audit. This audit will consider the qualitative and quantitative characteristics in existing instruments of time.
{Slide 13} So with all that said. Lets talk. I would like to hear your thoughts today. But am always interested in longer conversation or feedback. and You can contact me or follow my progress on my blog at


November 26, 2011

Researchable Question, Thesis Reframe (# 6) and Personal Confession

How an instrument of time incorporate the metaphor of TIME AS A CONTAINER FOR MEANING in order to reduce work-nonwork conflict?

 How can an instrument allow for multi-modal interactions, which aid the negotiation of identity affirming activities and identity discrepant activities?

How can the qualities and structure of an instrument compliment or replace the metaphor of TIME AS A BALANCING ACT ?

How can an instrument, or aspects of an instrument, be shared in work and nonwork domains in order to express a symbolic connection or commitment with others?


I finally produced a researchable question! On a more personal note or maybe a confession… Completing the first official draft of this new proposal has fulfilled something in me that made me interested in this subject in the first place: The idea that maybe I am someone who does a better job at paying attention to the nature of time commitments as opposed to the quantity of time commitment. Did you notice?


November 26, 2011

Progress: Time as containers of meaning // Influencing Work-Nonwork Conflict

How can the qualities of an instrument of time encourage the negotiation of the meaning attached to time in order to influence the relationship between time allocation and work-nonwork conflict?

In order to influence how people use their time the article Work-Nonwork Conflict and the Phenomenology of Time: Beyond the Balance Metaphor by Thompson and Bunderson say there must be a shift from a quantitative understanding and analysis of time commitment to a qualitative understanding of time commitment. If we think of time as “a container of meaning” versus something we can “balance” then we can address the meaning we assign to time, and thus influence the relationship between work-nonwork commitments.


Quantitative approach to time and work-nonwork conflict:

Question: How much time do you spend working? not working?
Solution: Balance that time out…

Qualitative approach to time and work-nonwork conflict:
Question: What is the nature of the activities which occupy your time and what is their significance to you?
Solution: Consider the meaning of those activities you are committing yourself to, Does that meaning align with your self-concept

November 25, 2011

Progress: The Sociology of Time // The Calendar as a Symbolic Link

How can qualities of an instrument, which measures time, create a symbolic link with others while responding to the flexibility of the future worker?

How can qualities of an instrument, which measures time, create a symbolic link with loved ones while responding to the flexibility of the future worker?

How can qualities of an instrument, which measures time, create a symbolic link with loved ones by allowing the future worker negotiate times of work and non-work?

How can qualities of an instrument, which measures time, manifest a symbolic link with friends and family by encouraging the future worker to establish times for work and non-work?

How can the qualities of an instrument of time maintain a symbolic link with friends and family despite the flexible schedule and cause the flexible worker to cherish times of work and non-work?

How can the qualities of an instrument of time manifest a symbolic link with friends and family and encourage a flexible worker to cherish periods of work and non-work?


Still having difficulty recognizing a worthwhile and valid subject of study. Looking forward to feedback.

I have been reading some amazing books. I have been learning the differentiation between schedules and calendars. I have recognized that my interest is not in the personal information management realm. The concept of a calendar, which seems to provide a meta-view of one’s time, is more appealing to me than the idea of a personal schedule. Interestingly enough, the personal schedule takes its roots in medieval Benedictine horarium, or book of hours, which strictly dictated the daily activities within the monastery. My interest in the calendar versus the schedule has to do with it’s potential for sharing- something Denise and Scott both mentioned to me when speaking about the calendar. The potential for reinforcing relationship or reinforcing shared meaning between two or more people is exciting to me.

In the book “Hidden Rhythms” by sociologist Eviatar Zerubavel explains his perspective, which he calls sociology of time. His perspective differs from a biotemporal or physiotemporal perspective. A biotemporal perspective of time studies the regulation, rhythms, and functions of organisms. Understanding physiotemporal patterns of time would be the interest of a physicist or astronomer. Another way to understand time is through sociotemporal patterns, which regulate the structure and dynamics of social life.  I would like to base my study from this sociotemporal perspective.

Reading about this concept of the sociotemporal hit home with a poignant statement I read in another book: The Calendar: History, Lore and Legend. In this historical audit of time keeping, the calendar is described as a symbolic link between members of a community. Calendars not only mark time, they also mandate periods of rest, celebration, moments to reflect on the past, and moments to usher in the future. Historically, calendars have also represented the identity of a group of people.  As time progressed more methods and instruments for measuring time were created, discovered, and shared. As people groups developed, institutions sought and fought to standardize time. This was a difficult task, seeing as calendars are “homemade improvisations, compromises with complex astronomical cycles”.

We still use the calendar to instate times of rest, celebration, and tradition. However our lives are dictated by a mechanical time regiment, which has lost ties to both a natural rhythm and often a communal one. As our time has become standardized and our world globalized, our calendar has become homogenized. The 19th century offered a list-like and grid-like arrangement of time with the advent of the personal datebook. Also, people have increasingly converted to digital personal organizers because they value efficiency, convenience, and synchronicity. Ultimately the purpose of the calendar is still there, but how do the formal qualities of the calendar and interaction behaviors of the 21st century digital calendar shape our understanding of time? How have the current mechanisms of time measurement and time management influenced our conception of the calendar as a symbolic link to others?

In what ways might a calendar reinforce a person’s mindfulness to cultivate and celebrate within their own communities- a sense of tradition, honor, excitement, rest, expectancy, ushering in, looking back, etcetera? How can a calendar act as a beacon for new traditions and rhythms in the midst of the 21st century?

November 24, 2011

Updated Bibliography: Work-NonWork & Time

Bibliography 11-23-2011
* Most important references in bold
Categories of References: Time, Work-NonWork, Design: New Media, Visualization, Interface etc., Embodiment



Aveni, Anthony F. 2002. Empires of time: calendars, clocks, and cultures. Rev. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.

Borst, Arno. 1993. The ordering of time: from the ancient computus to the modern computer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

de Bourgoing, Jacqueline. 2001. The calendar : history, lore, and legend. New York: Harry N. Abrams.

Clink, S, and J Newman. 2000. Recording the future: Some diagrammatic aspects of time management. In THEORY AND APPLICATION OF DIAGRAMS, PROCEEDINGS, ed. Anderson, M and Cheng, P and Haarslev, V, 1889:207-220. HEIDELBERGER PLATZ 3, D-14197 BERLIN, GERMANY: SPRINGER-VERLAG BERLIN.

Flaherty, Michael G. 1999. A watched pot: how we experience time. New York: New York University.

Freeman, Walter J. 2008. “Perception of time and causation through the kinesthesia of intentional action.” INTEGRATIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE 42 (2) (June): 137-143. doi:10.1007/s12124-007-9049-0.

Ornstein, Robert E. 1975. On the experience of time. Oxford, England: Penguin.

Pastor, María A, and Julio Artieda. 1996. Time, internal clocks, and movement. Vol. 115. Amsterdam ; New York: Elsevier.

Richards, E G. 1998. Mapping time: the calendar and its history. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

Rosenberg, Daniel, and Anthony Grafton. 2010. Cartographies of time. 1st ed. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Sanna, Lawrence J, and Edward C Chang. 2006. Judgments over time: the interplay of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

Vohs, Kathleen D, and Brandon J Schmeichel. 2003. “Self-regulation and extended now: Controlling the self alters the subjective experience of time.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85 (2): 217-230. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.85.2.217.


Westrheim, Margo. 1993. Calendars of the world: a look at calendars & the ways we celebrate. Oxford, England: Oneworld.

Zerubavel, Eviatar. 1981. Hidden rhythms: schedules and calendars in social life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

———. 1985. The seven day circle: the history and meaning of the week. New York; London: Free Press; Collier Macmillan.



Bergman, Ann, and Jan Ch. Karlsson. 2011. “Three observations on work in the future.” WORK EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIETY 25 (3) (September): 561-568. doi:10.1177/0950017011407974.

Boswell, Wendy R. 2007. “The use of communication technologies after hours: The role of work attitudes and work-life conflict.” JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT 33 (4) (August): 592-610. doi:10.1177/0149206307302552.

Brook, J A, and R J Brook. 1989. “Exploring the meaning of work and nonwork.” Journal of Organizational Behavior 10 (2): 169-178.

Clink, S, and J Newman. 2000. Recording the future: Some diagrammatic aspects of time management. In THEORY AND APPLICATION OF DIAGRAMS, PROCEEDINGS, ed. Anderson, M and Cheng, P and Haarslev, V, 1889:207-220. HEIDELBERGER PLATZ 3, D-14197 BERLIN, GERMANY: SPRINGER-VERLAG BERLIN.

Csikszentmihalyi, M, and J LeFevre. 1989. “Optimal experience in work and leisure.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 56 (5): 815-822.

Van Dyne, L, E Kossek, and S Lobel. 2007. “Less need to be there: Cross-level effects of work practices that support work-life flexibility and enhance group processes and group-level OCB.” Human Relations 60 (8): 1123-1154. doi:10.1177/0018726707081657.

D’Abate, C P. 2005. “Working hard or hardly working: A study of individuals engaging in personal business on the job.” Human Relations 58 (8): 1009-1032. doi:10.1177/0018726705058501.

Elsbach, Kimberly D, and Andrew B Hargadon. 2006. “Enhancing Creativity Through ‘Mindless’ Work: A Framework of Workday Design.” Organization Science 17 (4): 470-483. doi:10.1287/orsc.1060.0193.

Fenner, G H, and R W Renn. 2009. “Technology-assisted supplemental work and work-to-family conflict: The role of instrumentality beliefs, organizational expectations and time management.” Human Relations 63 (1): 63-82. doi:10.1177/0018726709351064.

Golden, A G, and C Geisler. 2007. “Work-life boundary management and the personal digital assistant.” Human Relations 60 (3): 519-551. doi:10.1177/0018726707076698.

Greenhaus, Jeffrey H, and Gary N Powell. 2006. “WHEN WORK AND FAMILY ARE ALLIES : A THEORY OF WORK-FAMILY ENRICHMENT.” Academy of Management Review 31 (1): 72-92. doi:10.2307/20159186.

Jett, Q R, and J M George. 2003. “Work interrupted: A closer look at the role of interruptions in organizational life.” ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT REVIEW 28 (3) (July): 494-507.

Kirchmeyer, Catherine. 1995. “MANAGING THE WORK NONWORK BOUNDARY – AN ASSESSMENT OF ORGANIZATIONAL RESPONSES.” Human Relations 48 (5): 515-536.

Kreiner, G E, E C Hollensbe, and M L Sheep. 2009. “Balancing borders and bridges: Negotiating the work-home interface via boundary work tactics.” Academy of Management Journal 52 (4): 704-730.

Mirchandani, K. 1999. “Legitimizing work: Telework and the gendered reification of the work-nonwork dichotomy.” Canadian Review of Sociology and AnthropologyRevue Canadienne De Sociologie Et D Anthropologie 36 (1): 87-107.

Morris, Michael Lane, and Susan R Madsen. 2007. “Advancing Work-Life Integration in Individuals, Organizations, and Communities.” Advances in Developing Human Resources 9 (4): 439-454.

Raghuram, S, and B Wiesenfeld. 2004. “Work-nonwork conflict and job stress among virtual workers.” HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 43 (2-3): 259-277. doi:10.1002/hrm.20019.

Rice, Robert W, Michael R Frone, and Dean B McFarlin. 1992. “Work-nonwork conflict and their perceived quality of life.” Journal of Organizational Behavior 13: 155-168.

Rousseau, D M. 1997. “Organizational behavior in the new organizational era.” Annual Review of Psychology 48 (1): 515-546.

Steers, Richard M, and Richard T Mowday. 2004. “THE FUTURE OF WORK MOTIVATION THEORY.” Academy of Management Review 29 (3): 379-387. doi:10.5465/amr.2004.13670978.

Thompson, J A, and J S Bunderson. 2001. “Work-Nonwork Conflict and the Phenomenology of Time: Beyond the Balance Metaphor.” Work and Occupations 28 (1): 17-39. doi:10.1177/0730888401028001003.

Youngblood, S A. 1984. “Work, nonwork, and withdrawal.” Journal of Applied Psychology 69: 106-117.



1942-Edward R Tufte. 1997. Visual explanations : images and quantities, evidence and narrative. Cheshire, Conn.: Graphics Press.

———. 2006. Envisioning information. Cheshire, Conn.: Graphics Press, 1990.

Bakker, Saskia, Alissa N. Antle, and Elise van den Hoven. 2011. “Embodied metaphors in tangible interaction design.” Personal and Ubiquitous Computing (June 12): 1-17-17. doi:10.1007/s00779-011-0410-4.

Dourish, Paul. 2001. Where the action is : the foundations of embodied interaction. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Hallnäs, Lars, and Johan Redström. 2001. “Slow Technology – Designing for Reflection.” Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 5 (3): 201-212. doi:10.1007/PL00000019.

Hansen, Mark B N. 2004. New Philosophy for New Media. Film Quarterly. Vol. 58. MIT Press. doi:10.1525/fq.2005.58.4.66.

Munster, Anna. 2006. Materializing new media : embodiment in information aesthetics. Dartmouth, N.H.: Dartmouth College Press : Published by University Press of New England.

O’Neill, Shaleph. 2008. Interactive media : the semiotics of embodied interaction. London: Springer.

Rosenberg, Daniel, and Anthony Grafton. 2010. Cartographies of time. 1st ed. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Townsend, Scott. 1998. “Unfolding the surface of information.” Design Issues 14 (3) (September): 5.


REFERENCES ABOUT EMBODIMENT (* Not a category which is as relevant now but could be later when I am exploring qualities of interaction)

Crawford, L E. 2009. “Conceptual Metaphors of Affect.” Emotion Review 1 (2): 129-139. doi:10.1177/1754073908100438.

Freeman, Walter J. 2008. “Perception of time and causation through the kinesthesia of intentional action.” INTEGRATIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE 42 (2) (June): 137-143. doi:10.1007/s12124-007-9049-0.

Lucassen, Marcel P, Theo Gevers, and Arjan Gijsenij. 2010. “Texture affects color emotion.” Color Research Application 00 (0): n/a-n/a. doi:10.1002/col.20647.

Ping, Raedy M, Sonica Dhillon, and Sian L Beilock. 2009. “Reach For What You Like: The Body’s Role in Shaping Preferences.” Emotion Review 1 (2): 140-150. doi:10.1177/1754073908100439.



November 22, 2011

Progress: Instruments of Time as Artifacts of a Society’s Conception of Time

How can the design of an instrument which represents time address the needs of the future worker?

An Interesting Book…

I think I finally found a book called The ordering of time : from the ancient computus to the modern computer by Arno Borst which is pushing me in the right direction. The argument in the book, which is written by a famous German historian, is that throughout time we have sought to measure and represent time one way or another. He lays out a history of time and describes not only different generations’ conception of time- but also the instruments they use to measure them. He notes that from the sundial to the mechanical clock, to a data processing computer, people have tried to employ instruments to measure time. He says that the purpose, of course, is always the same: to make the most of ones time.

Instruments of time as artifacts of a generation’s conception of time…

Though I was thinking about the affordances of old and new methods of managing time this perspective provides me a fresh way to approach my thesis work. Each instrument of measurement and representation of time has different affordances. I am interested in evaluating those qualities, and understanding the link between that and the societal/conceptual understanding of time. The qualities of those instruments- as artifacts of a society or a time period– as well as literature on different time periods and societal conceptions of time will act as an interesting backdrop from which I can begin my research. From there I have the opportunity to consider what the current and future instruments of managing and representing time might be, and the conceptual frameworks which will both influence those instruments and and be influenced by those instruments. Conducting an audit/analysis of different instruments would allow me to consider how a design could re-introduce/re-integrate or re-imagine  the way it represents time in order to address the needs of the future worker. What are the needs of the future worker, and how can an instrument which orders, represents, and managed time, respond to that? Is efficiency the primary concern of an interaction between a human and an instrument which represents time? With some widely used time management instruments it seems efficiency is a goal as well as connectedness to other online platforms (think about iCal, google calendar, etc).

Stop fixating on the calendar…

It is obvious to me now, that my fixation on the  calendar as a means to represent time was too narrow. It is one instrument among many. (This reminds me of how I felt when hearing David Thorburn compare the development of the film industry to our current technological development at the New Contexts New Practices conference.)
With this new perspective, it seems whatever instrument I make, re-interpret, or add to will be asking the same question people have been asking for ages: how do we represent time, and how can we make the most of the time that we have. It is humbling and poetic to think about designing an instrument which might act as a physical, visual, or informational structure which serves to act as a representation of another person’s life.

Designing for someone or something…

It is now more clear to me that whatever instrument I make, re-interpret, or add to must either respond to a specific set of needs or reoccurring experience. Since the start of this thesis prep I have vaguely thought about the future worker. I can honestly say, I am not completely sure why I have this in my mind- except that it seems there is no doubt that the future worker will be engrossed in interacting with computational devices, and I thought it interesting to introduce new ways of interacting. However, for whatever reason it seems like the needs of the future worker can provide a wide variety of   I already have an idea of some of the characteristics of the future of work, such as increased flexibility (resulting in: work-life integration, taking work home/constantly connected, non-traditional hours/schedule, flexibility in location- working in the wormhole), increase in jobs which deal with intangible information production/manipulation, etc.

A new set of to-do’s…

I am not exactly sure what to do next. I had a list of to-do’s hoping that by doing some different things might point me in the right direction. However with a renewed faith in this idea- brought about by the book- I think I should just attempt to rewrite my proposal before it is too late.

I think I need to clarify what “the future worker” is, and I am wondering if I need to choose a more specific circumstance or experience to which I should respond. Fortunately, I have been gathering lots of articles on problems with work/life balance (listed at bottom of post.)


My previous to-do’s included: (1) to create a ven diagram of the affordances of old and new ways of managing time, (2) to map out behaviors associated with using a calendar (planning on future, reflecting on past etc), (3) reading a book Martha recommended: Cartographies of Time, (4) creating drawings with corresponding facts and sources of main themes about the future of work (5) formalizing the current online version of my proposal (6) create an audit of different methods of charting and managing time

Future of work article titles:  Work-Nonwork Conflict and the Phenomenology of Time : Beyond the Balance Metaphor // Recording the Future: Some Diagrammatic Aspects of Time Management // Advancing Work–Life Integration in Individuals, Organizations, and Communities  //  Less need to be there: Cross-level effects of work practices that support work-life flexibility and enhance group processes and group-level OCB  // Technology-assisted supplemental work and work-to-family conflict: The role of instrumentality beliefs, organizational expectations and time // THE FUTURE OF WORK MOTIVATION THEORY  //  Work, Employment, and Society: Three observations on work in the future

November 16, 2011

Update: The beginning of Thesis Reframe # 6

How can tangible manifestations of commitment in a chronological measurement of time aid in the reflection and negotiation of values in order to encourage work-life balance?

* words I am unsure about are underlined, and yes that is a lot of words


I have been excited to be working, among other things, to develop the remote experience of this years symposium. However, I underestimated my workload in relation to Proposium. My personal deadline for Tuesday was to produce a formal proposal. This was in actuality a two part task. The first was to integrate Scott’s feedback and alter my researchable question. Unfortunately, I have only completed the alterations to the researchable question. Good news is, things are getting more specific.


Scott and I spoke about how focusing on the calendar was like focusing on an object, and would lead me to asking more dead end questions. I needed to integrate the other aspects of my idea into the researchable question. In our list of new things to consider and integrate included:

  • ideas about the meaning behind the form: the representation of time (as opposed to the form itself: a calendar)
  • the behaviors which come about while using a calendar such as: juggling values, expectation of events, self-reflection, and other similar personal experiences


I began by conducting a search for highly cited journal articles and books about a wide array of ideas including: work-life balance, work-life integration, time, the experience of time, time management, calendars, personal calendars, history of calendars, time management-values, temporal experience, representations of time, representation of time in calendar, calendar-time-perception, work-life policy, work-life boundary, personal knowledge management, rational emotive behavior therapy, managing priorities, task lists, action items, Eisenhower box, theory of planned behavior, behavioral change, behavioral modification, self-efficacy, biological cycles, biological perception of time, cognitive models of time, visualizations of time, space-time, time use research, life course theory
Below are some titles of books and articles I gathered as a result:

  • Time, internal clocks, and movement  by Pastor, María A.
  • Judgments over time : the interplay of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors by Sanna, Lawrence J.
  • Rhythms of life : the biological clocks that control the daily lives of every living thing  by Foster, Russell G.
  • Empires of time : calendars, clocks, and cultures by Aveni, Anthony F.
  • On the experience of time  by Ornstein, Robert E. (Robert Evan)
  • Recording the Future-  Some Diagrammatic Aspects of Time Management
  • Advancing Work–Life Integration in Individuals, Organizations, and Communities
  • Texture-based feature tracking for effective time-varying data visualizations
  • Work-Nonwork Conflict and the Phenomenology of Time : Beyond the Balance Metaphor


After gathering both journal articles as well as a stack of books with snippets about these various ideas, I realized I was still confused about what I am trying to produce as a result of someone interacting with whatever I might prototype. I am wondering if I could better refine the scope by limiting the goal of my project to an emotional experience, this was Amber suggestion last week. Some possible goals of the project could be:

  1. behavior change, modifying behaviors, behavior shifts
  2. value shifts, value assessment
  3. organizing priorities, assessing priorities, negotiating commitments, managing commitments 
  4. satisfaction from accomplishments, increasing self-efficacy, getting motivated, staying on task, adhering to commitments
  5. connecting intention to action, aligning values and behavior,  
  6. reflecting on the past, expecting the future
  7.  feeling a sense of gratitude, feeling a sense of awareness of a bigger picture

I am having a problem with the idea of what we currently use our calendar for and how I could build off of that practice, address a specific need, choose a specific emotional experience, or situate it with a specific user. I am still at a loss. I need a cause. Right now the general idea is work-life balance… but what does that mean, and how is that achieved? As a side note, I am interested in suggesting a method for self-reflection on values rather than trying to produce behavior change. I feel this still might be too broad but I am not sure. Should I reintegrate the idea of interruption during the workday? Should I situate it within a specific problematic or wanting scenario or workplace?

Any of your thoughts in response to this progress would be helpful. Thanks for reading and thanks for your time.

November 7, 2011

Thesis Reframe # 5

The slideshow below charts the progression of changes in my researchable question. The text below is “version 5” within this progression.

Each element in the proposal below, including the question, is not a refined presentation of ideas- but a first stab at this new question. I will be developing this question will post a more formal proposal early next week.

Researchable Question

How can the changed in a physical state of a tangible calendar aid management and reflection on “work-life” balance? 

  • How can tangible interface aid in the perception of time and time commitments?
  • What role can physical changes play in encouraging time for leisure or work?
  • How can a tangible environment account for calendar management behaviors (planning, rewards, xing out, to-do’s, looking forward, etc) in order to encourage reflection on the past- focus on the present- and expectation of the future?


  • Tangible interface: concrete physical expression of abstract or non-physical information which can be directly manipulated by a human
  • Physical states: what will this include (not sure) smell, volume, vision, haptic, touch, texture, brightness, size, shape
  • “Work-life” balance: healthy attention to leisure/social life/family and work/productivity (sub: managing expectations-internal/external)

Justification: why it is important to design, theories that support, why it is important to society, how you came to this idea, what and why and who can benefit

  • Argument for calendar: The calendar is another flat interface? No because we really need to reflect on how we are using out time. Or the calendar as a disconnected piece of paper on your refrigerator- a nostalgic time keeper
  • Argument for making physical: prolonged interaction with immaterial information, even the work we produce is immaterial (I find myself loving house chores or envying the pot hole filler on the side of the road)
  • For endowing physical characteristics to information: when we pair other modalities to understanding certain information it is easier to comprehend and manipulate. Also the perception/impact is stronger.
  • Audience: people who need work-life balance: for personal use but also good for the worker who is having blurrier lines between work + play + home; people who have flexibility in their job schedule- not the 9-5 job.

Limitations: narrowed setting, experience etc

  • Focus on the representation of one month: enough time to have a feel of the future past and present; enough time to develop a habit; enough time to provide a variety of activity
  • Focus on the personal experience of a calendar: focus centered around singular person viewing/experiencing/manipulating- not designing for many
  • Elements of state change: small scale/large scale? aka- a room or an envelope?
  • Modes of state change- smell sight, touch, size, texture etc.
  • Technological limitations: within 10 year reach, now? What would be practical?

Assumption theoretical and technological, futurecasting, not proving theory but starting with it, technology in future

  • Designers role: the designers role is to provide the experience of the information and make it accessible for people to make the complex able to be understood. The designers role extends past dealing with the palate of the visual- incorporating our entire phenomenology. Design is opening in this way.
  • Physical embodied + complex information = easier to comprehend
  • Responding to future of computing which is increasingly tangible, ambient, out of that computer box
  • Responding to the information society in which we live, the jobs which rely on the manipulation of immaterial information

Bibliography themes

  • Use of calendar: circles, physical models, boxes, paper/digital, behaviors, ad hoc calendars
  • Work-life balance: future of work, health, managing commitments, social/family life, taking time to rest, looking back, self reflection, flexible schedules
  • Tangible computing: current and future trends, possible and far out, home and work use
  • Embodiment: perception of physical and digital information, perception of time, philosophy, looking forward, past present future, metaphor
October 27, 2011

Possible Sources: The Future of Work

I have been reading about the work of Lynda Gratton and her investigations about the future of work. Below are some excerpts from a business magazine article. I will also be looking through her blog:

To better understand the future of work, from October 2009 to May 2010 I led a research consortium of 21 companies and over 200 executives from around the world.

My research and conversations about the future of work have led me to understand that the future will be less about general skills and more about in-depth mastery; less about working as a competitive, isolated individual and more about working collaboratively in a joined world; and less about focusing solely on a standard of living and more on the quality of experiences.