Today, I wanted to point out two articles I've come across during my usual, pre-work Monday morning read.
First, and most relevant to our Google+ discussions in class, here's a piece by Frank Spillers, who, like Mike, emphasizes that perhaps the greatest innovation of Google+ is the introduction of social circles. Frank concludes that this extraction of a "real-world social phenomenon" and its application to Google's "user experience strategy" is a sign of "intelligent life" in social networking and design. This particularly rang a bell with me as I thought in a similar vein for my Craigslist re-design project in this course; breaking away from the "social media" stereotype of social design was a main, personal goal during that individual project and to effectively do so, I had to think of "real-world social phenomena," as Frank describes them, inherent in real-world activities that parallel Craigslist's functionality. Out of this perspective, I was able to derive social functionality that did, in the end, prove useful to the users I was testing: bookmarking/saving of listings (much like physical ads -- both for later reference and for sharing with others), more personal, direct sharing of ads (via a bunch of mediums including of course social media channels and e-mail), and friends' activity on the "market"/Craigslist (bordering on this idea of "social circles," we're definitely more prone to trust those within our circles during transactions, as opposed to strangers).. and so on.
Another relevant piece I came across is a cool booklet about service design and its implications for local authorities. Most interesting about this literature, of course, is the extension of service design's usefulness from more profit-oriented entities that we've examined to public services that directly concern local authorities and governments. As "public services are currently confronted with a number of complex social challenges" (higher demand, aging population, etc.) and simultaneous "squeeze[s] on government resources," service design emerges as a "new discipline" that can cost-effectively help "reach solutions relatively quickly and in a manner that is highly visual and comprehensivle for all." Ever since Mike introduced us to the topic in class, I've been highly interested with keeping service design in mind as a career direction, perhaps after these studies. Articles like this one only re-inforce his take that the discipline is gaining more and more importance and is a great market for HCI practitioners, current and future, to think about entering.