On May 31, in my keynote to the COOP 12 Conference in Marseille, France, I challenged the CSCW (Computer Supported Collaborative Work) community to consider how Social Networks may bring a fresher perspective on collaboration. In my speech “Guerrilla Collaboration” I considered how post-PC devices, cloud technologies, and the social networks revolution already changed the context for individual and ‘consumer’ collaboration. New generations grow in a ‘tribal’ social environment where collaboration is by definition informal, unstructured, episodic, real-time, and ad-hoc. It’s the opposite of the structured, hierarchical traditional work environment in an enterprise or large organization. The idea of lean, unobtrusive, flexible systems to support informal collaborative work and tacit knowledge, a vision that many researchers in CSCW anticipated long time ago, is now real, but in a very different domain, the one of teenagers sharing their private lives and friendship.
Parallel to this, I introduced the fundamental difference between HCI/HMI and Experience Design, a move from designing to support performing a task to designing to enable an experience.
The definition of Experience Design is quite common in the design community, but is not well-known in the Computer Science community. Plus, XP design blends digital and physical interaction, which is fundamental when dealing with an ecosystem of devices (appliances, phones, tablets, large screens) rather than a conventional PC. Also in this case the consumer space has anticipated the work environment, but we can expect the topic of multiple device interaction becoming mainstream in the enterprise, so it’s worth anticipating the challenge it’ll pose to designers and technologies.