Posts tagged “currency”

The Color of Money

money
A report from a University of Guelph study explains that

People are more likely to spend dirty, crumpled currency and hold on to new bills. [But] in social situations, people reach for new bills even when they have older higher-denomination currency on hand.

Researcher Theodore Noseworthy explains

We tend to regard currency as a means to consumption and not a product itself. It should not matter if it’s dirty or worn because it has the same value regardless. But money is a vehicle for social utility, and it’s subject to the same inferences and biases as the products it can buy.

This suggests some design opportunities for digital money. I recently tried Square’s new service that lets you email cash to anyone (US only). The user experience was so minimalist and utterly delightful – and such a change from the dirge of PayPal (even without the frequent frustrations). If I’m sending someone an experience as part of sending them money, the quality of that experience may be something to consider (also, it’s free; also it’s a good experience for me as the sender).

ChittahChattah Quickies

Dissident Creates by Remote Control [NYT.com] – Of course this is a political act as much as an artistic or commercial one (and some art theorist can probably explain why it must always be all three, yes?) but this seemed a novel application of remote collaboration software, at least in the way they’ve framed it.

In an unusual collaboration with W magazine, Ai Weiwi created a story line for a series of photos that were shot on location in New York by the photographer Max Vadukul as Mr. Ai looked on, art directing via Skype on a laptop computer. Mr. Vadukul would set up a shot and look to Mr. Ai for approval. “We could see him on the screen, scrolling through the images,” Ms. Solway said. “What was so interesting was his attention to every detail. There was this big shower in Rikers – we thought it looked very dingy, but he said the grout was way too clean and graphic.”

Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence [NYT.com] – While the whole article primarily deals with the decisions that financial professionals make (scary scary stuff), the principles on judgement and decision-decision making feel sound, if challenging.

You are probably an expert in guessing your spouse’s mood from one word on the telephone; chess players find a strong move in a single glance at a complex position; and true legends of instant diagnoses are common among physicians. To know whether you can trust a particular intuitive judgment, there are two questions you should ask: Is the environment in which the judgment is made sufficiently regular to enable predictions from the available evidence? The answer is yes for diagnosticians, no for stock pickers. Do the professionals have an adequate opportunity to learn the cues and the regularities? The answer here depends on the professionals’ experience and on the quality and speed with which they discover their mistakes. Anesthesiologists have a better chance to develop intuitions than radiologists do.

Personal Eco-Concierges Ease Transition to Green [NYT.com] – Last year we did a research project that looked at “going green” as a journey. We met people at various stages along that transition and what their decisions were like at each of those stages. No surprise to see businesses appear explicitly aimed at facilitating the steps along that journey; indeed we identified other products and services that were or could speak to that goal – beyond usage to growth.

“The problem with going green is that people think it takes so much work, so much effort, so much conscious decision-making,” said Letitia Burrell, president of Eco-Concierge NYC, a year-old business in Manhattan that tries to make it easy for people to rid their homes of toxins, hire sustainable-cuisine chefs and find organic dry cleaners. It is a niche business, but a clever one. At least a half-dozen services of this type have sprung up around the country in recent years, both to help time-starved consumers manage their lives and to assuage the guilt of those who worry that they are letting the planet down. “There are people who come to us gung-ho and they want to make a sweeping lifestyle change,” said P. Richelle White, who left a corporate advertising job four years ago to start Herb’n Maid, a green cleaning and concierge service in St. Louis. “These are busy professionals who don’t have the time to do the research themselves about different products and services.”

Sexy, religious images spotted on new money [CBC News] – Getting feedback to designs before going to press is proven once again to be a good idea. Seems like a great application of a focus group, since the feedback needed is shallow and not very nuanced, although interesting to note that the social dynamics of a focus group limit the naturalness of that feedback – so much so that it made it into the report!

The Bank of Canada fretted that Canadians would find all kinds of unintended images on the new bills. So the bank used focus groups to spot “potential controversies.” “The overall purpose of the research was to disaster check the $50 and $100 notes among the general public and cash handlers,” says a January report to the central bank. Almost every group thought the see-through window looked like a woman’s body, but participants were often shy about pointing it out “However, once noted, it often led to acknowledgment and laughter among many of the participants in a group.” On the other side of the bill, there’s an image of a researcher at a microscope and a depiction of the double-helix structure of DNA. But the DNA strand evoked something else. A Vancouver focus group thought it was “a sex toy (i.e., sex beads).” Others thought it was the Big Dipper. There was no mistaking the microscope, but when focus groups flipped over the bill they noticed the edge of the instrument showed through like a weird birthmark on Borden’s cheek. Respondents also thought the former prime minister was either cross-eyed or that each eye was looking off in a different direction, the report says “Others felt that the PM’s moustache is unkempt.” Every focus group thought they saw religious iconography on the face of the Peace Tower clock. “It was often described as ‘The Star of David.’ Others referred to it as a ‘pagan’ or ‘religious’ symbol,'” the document says-Bank of Canada spokeswoman Julie Girard said the bills got tweaked after the focus groups. “Before and after those focus groups, there were design changes for multiple reasons,” she said.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] An iPhone App Helps the Blind Identify Currency [NYTimes.com] – [Feature Evolution: Clever use of built-in iPhone camera and speaker to provide a critical service to the blind.] For the millions of blind people living in the United States, paying for something in cash can pose major challenges because there is no difference between the size and shape of a $1 or $100 bill. To tackle this problem, many blind people set up systems to identify a bill’s value by folding the notes into different sizes and shapes, which then make them easily identifiable later. A new application, the LookTel Money Reader, available for $2 on the Apple iOS platform, hopes to help solve this problem by taking advantage of the devices camera to “read money” and speak the value of the currency out loud.
  • [from julienorvaisas] How Designer Marc Ecko Is Using Foursquare to Spank School Spankers | Fast Company – [App Evolution: Foursquare is being employed as an tool of activism – a check-in at a school gets you user-generated reports of the school's record of corporal punishment. An interesting evolution of the application, potentially turning regular users/consumers/players into citizen-heroes, broadcasting more than just location.] Beyond the Foursquare integration, there's a larger game element at play. "Think of Unlimited Justice as a game, where you're the hero. But, instead of saving some far away, imaginary land, you're doing good, right here, in America," Ecko says in his promotional YouTube video. Users of the service not only find out about school that practice spanking, they rack up points on a leader board as they watch videos, connect over social networks, and voice their discontent over the practice to leaders. "Go viral, spread the word, and build your credibility as the ultimate activist."
  • [from steve_portigal] Core77 Design Awards – [Bring distributed collaboration to the awards game, Core enters the game just as the game is changing. Well done!] Instead of bringing everyone to one location, we took a new approach to assembling the jury, distributing the field globally. No plane fuel, more legroom. Our Jury Captains are based in 13 cities spread around eight countries. Each will recruit four people from their area to form a locally-based multidisciplinary Jury Team. They get to do the judging in their own location, and we’ll provide the snacks. Once their results are finalized and validated, the teams will reconvene for a live web broadcast revealing their Winners, Runners-up and Notables, and the reasoning behind their choices. And they’ll do it all without jet lag.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Honey buns sweeten life for Florida prisoners [St. Petersburg Times] – [Hollywood had convinced us that cigarettes – dangerous, tough, addictive – were the currency in prison. This article suggests a cultural shift with doughy sweet comfort food taking the place of jalihouse smokes] Inmates in the Florida prison system buy 270,000 honey buns a month. Across the state, they sell more than tobacco, envelopes and cans of Coke. And they're just as popular among Tampa Bay's county jails. In Pasco's Land O'Lakes Detention Center, they're outsold only by freeze-dried coffee and ramen noodles. Not only that, these honey buns — so puffy! — have taken on lives of their own among the criminal class: as currency for trades, as bribes for favors, as relievers for stress and substitutes for addiction. They've become birthday cakes, hooch wines, last meals — even ingredients in a massive tax fraud.

Series

About Steve