I would love to participate in the workshop Virtual Environments and the World Wide Web on the 6th of May in Paris. My name is Rob van der Haar and I'm a conceptual interaction designer (or interface philosopher :-) currently working for Philips Research Laboratories in England. Last year I finished a 4 year course on Interaction Design at the faculty for Art, Media and Technology of the Utrecht School of Arts in the Netherlands. During the final year of the course I specialized in Social Creative Virtual Environments related design.
As a business placement I was involved with the New Topia project of Philips Research in the Netherlands. New Topia is a virtual environment based on a standard telephone and a teletext television. In New Topia users are able to navigate their character through a city where they can chat to other people (using voice), play games together, find information and buy products. The project has almost reached its phase of finalization and will soon be introduced in the Netherlands, Belgium and probably in the UK as well. My role was concept development and the design and implementation of services.
At the beginning of 1995 I did a project for the Digital City of Amsterdam during which I was responsible for the redesign of their Web interface. The Digital City of Amsterdam is a Free-Net like environment and uses a city metaphor. It was initiated on the 15th of January 1994 by cultural centre 'De Balie' and hackers organisation 'Hack-Tic'. At the moment there are approximately 30.000 registered inhabitants and 4000 visitors a day. With the project we tried to make the transition from a text interface to a dynamic graphical interface. We focused on concepts like identity, awareness, enhanced communication, spatial information structuring and navigation.
Since August last year, I have been working on the Electronic Communities project of Philips Research based in Redhill. In cooperation with the Human Behaviour Research Group I'm doing research on how communities emerge and how this process can be facilitated using networked multimedia products. Focus points of the project are representation and revelation of identity, awareness and perception of other users, rich social interaction, expression of user creativity, evolution of the environment and interaction with time. Currently we are working on a prototype that makes some of the findings of our research work tangible.
My main reason for participating in the workshop on Virtual Environments and the World Wide Web is to share experiences, ideas, worries and visions on Social Creative Virtual Environments with other people working in the field. I am especially interested in the role and effect of design issues concerning these environments.
Due to company policy it is not possible to access my personal homepages from outside the Philips domain. This is a shame because they are very interesting :-(
Philips Research Laboratories
Interactive Systems Group
Cross Oak Lane
Surrey RH1 5HA