Posts tagged “gestures”

The art of the interview

Here are two insightful takes on the art of interviewing, from two different sources.

First, Ira Glass is interviewed by Jacob Weisberg (the short video is embedded below). Glass explains how he helps people feel comfortable sharing with him by bringing himself into the conversation (a technique I’m not so keen on for user research, although I’ve seen some people be successful with it). He also reveals that what is edited out of the broadcast interviews are tons of clarification questions, where he’s following up to understand the sequence of events, or the different people involved in the story, etc.

Second, How to Listen makes a good case for the authentic personal elements that we ourselves bring to our interactions with interviewees.

Dr. Mason had a simple method of getting me to begin. He would lean slightly forward, all the while maintaining eye contact and then when he got my attention, he would nod. I will never forget that nod; it was a signal that he was with me and I could safely express myself about whatever was on my mind, but I realize now that he was controlling the conversation. A cursory nod encouraged. Elongated ups and downs, (and the raising of eyebrows!) symbolized agreement.

This is the first lesson for writers – or anyone – who conducts interviews: If you want someone to talk, you’ve got to know how to listen. And good listening is a surprisingly active process. The interviewee is your focus of attention; you are there to hear what he says and thinks, exclusively. When I say, “interviewing,” I am talking from the perspective of a narrative or creative nonfiction writer. Interviewing for news is somewhat different; reporters usually know, more or less, the information they need to unearth. The writer of narrative, by contrast, is often seeking the unknown – the story behind the facts. You won’t always know the story until you hear it; your job as an interviewer, often, is to keep your subject talking.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Top 40 Hand Gestures Of Silvio Berlusconi [BuzzFeed] – [A thorough taxonomy; includes "The Mr. Burns" and "The Hey Gurrrrl." Yesterday Wyatt shared a great observation here at the office about how hand gestures, and the ways in which people handle objects can communicate so much about their emotional state and personality. It's something specific to notice in research as a "tell." This collection of Berlusconi's gestural expressions provides ample opportunity to practice your interpretation!] Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a man of many gesticulations.
  • [from steve_portigal] The Inflatable Crowd Company – [Wonderful niche service with a crystal-clear positioning statement. Another business out there doing something cool, crazy, and curious] We have 30,000 realistic, inflatable torsos that are used to economically expand the scope of any crowd scene at any venue worldwide. We create custom crowds that are dressed and accessorized to match the look of your real extras. It is this texture – real clothes, wigs, etc. – and attention to detail that can make the illusion seamless. We provide all materials from the stock at our warehouse. We are able to create crowds for any type of scene – from a formal theater crowd to fans at large sporting events.

Microsoft gets bookish

In our recent Reading Ahead research, we heard a lot from people about the physicality of books: how significant their tactile qualities and the kinesthetic experiences they afford are to the reading experience. So it’s interesting to see Microsoft going in a book-like direction with their Courier tablet device, here at Gizmodo.

While not explicitly geared towards reading, the Courier experience shown in the video below leverages some of the kinesthetics of book use, such as page turning (at least a digital approximation) and annotation.

What seems particularly promising here is development towards a synthesis of digital and analog gestural languages.

One Hour Design Challenge – Enter our Reading Ahead-based design competition in partnership with Core77 (the submission period ends Oct. 14)

The Trapper-Kindle – a response to the One Hour Design Challenge


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