Design and Innovation Daily

More from Interaction10

Posted in culture, interaction design, philosophy, product design, theory, user experience by Dan on February 26, 2010

Picking up on yesterday’s topic, here are a few more highlights from Interaction10, the recent conference on interaction design. Talks at the conference presented an interesting mix of theoretical and practical insights into design (and not just interaction design).

Yesterday, I pointed to summaries of the talks from the first day of the conference. Johnny Holland Magazine also published summaries from the second and third days (their server was down last time I checked, so here are Google’s cached versions of the articles from day 2 and day 3).

On day 2, Ezio Manzini discussed the role of digital platforms in the economies and communities of the future. Christropher Fahey gave an even more fascinating (and perhaps bold) presentation about the humanization of technology, which implies that technology will become more human-like without replacing or replicating humans; in addition to the overview in the above article, take a look at his slides. From day 3, Dan Hill’s talk is interesting because he brings the subject of urban design into the context of interaction design—similar concepts applied to very different time frames.

Since I wrote yesterday’s post, I also found the slides from Nathan Shedroff’s talk about the forms and roles of meaning in experiences and designed experiences. The slides can be downloaded from Shedroff’s website.

I highly recommend Nicolas Nova’s reflections on the conference. He pieced together many of the theoretical elements of the talks and made an interesting comparison of the design models that appeared throughout the conference.

Sarah Mitchell traced a few of the core themes from the talks and posted photos of her notes.

Finally, Dave Malouf, interaction design professor at SCAD, wrote a compelling (if cryptic) piece about the importance of social responsibility and even activism in interaction design.

Lessons from the Interaction10 conference

Posted in interaction design, philosophy, product design, theory, user experience, web design by Dan on February 25, 2010

Around three weeks ago, the Interaction Design Association held its annual conference, Interaction10. I finally got around to reading some of the attendees’ recaps and notes from the conference. I’ll post a couple highlights today, and more tomorrow.

Johnny Holland Magazine published daily synopses of the conference sessions. Two notable talks were those given by Nicolas Nova and Jon Kolko, both towards the end of the article: “Live at Interaction’10: day 1.”

To go along with that, Nova’s slides can be viewed here; I think the compelling title speaks for itself: “Design and Designed Failures: From Observing Failures to Provoking Them.”

Jon Kolko followed up on the conference in Design Mind: “An Emerging Divide: Some Thoughts from the IxDA 2010 Conference.”

TED talks for the weekend

Posted in creativity, methodology, product design, theory, user experience by Dan on January 15, 2010

Recommended blogs: Pasta&Vinegar and 52 Weeks of UX

Posted in interaction design, theory, user experience, user research by Dan on January 13, 2010

I was going to post another link from Nicolas Nova’s blog, but then I realized that I’d like to share just about everything he writes, so instead I’m going to recommend that you read his blog in general. From the description of his blog: “I study people’s practices as well as usage of technologies and turn them into insights, ideas, prototypes or recommendations to inform design and foresight. This blog is a selection of the material that I collect, especially in fields such as mobility, urban environments, digital entertainment and new interfaces.” Pasta&Vinegar: mind/tech bazar from outer space.

Another promising blog, which just began last week, will present weekly entries on user experience: 52 Weeks of UX: A discourse on the process of designing for real people.

Ritual in innovation; the story of the ribbon

Posted in culture, methodology, user experience, user interface by Dan on January 8, 2010

Bruce Nussbaum wrote some interesting thoughts on the role of ritual in technology and innovation. “I was once nearly thrown out of a brainstorming session at IDEO and it marked me for life.” His brief post: “The Ritualization of Creation—The Role of Ritual In Innovation.”

For your weekend viewing, here’s an interesting presentation from 2008: Jensen Harris, a user interface designer at Microsoft, talks about the process of developing the ribbon in Microsoft Office 2007. Back when Microsoft began developing the next version of Office in 2003, their team found that, while Office was fairly complete in its range of features, the user interface was insufficient for the software’s complexity: “The user interface was failing our users.” Harris and his team set out to reimagine, redesign, and evaluate the interface.

In the presentation, from the MIX conference in 2008, Harris describes the design process for the ribbon, including some of the team’s iterations, prototypes, and mistakes. Video, audio, and slides from the presentation are available on his blog. Although the video is a bit long, and even though “Microsoft” connotes “boring” for some, watch at least the first 4 minutes to get a taste; it contains valuable insights and design lessons.

Here’s the blog post: The Story of the Ribbon

Marriott rapid-prototypes a hotel lobby

Posted in methodology, user experience, user research by Dan on January 7, 2010

In the process of redesigning Courtyard by Marriot, a project which addressed the hotel chain’s lobbies along with the overall brand and customer experience, the company prototyped an entire hotel lobby with foam core, allowing them to quickly test and iterate on the lobby design. In Mark Hurst’s interview with Brain King, VP and Global Brand Manager for Courtyard, King discusses the user research strategies employed during the project. (Found via Jared Spool.)

Yesterday’s article on Johnny Holland—incidentally, also by Jared Spool—was a bit ironic because I’ve been writing website reviews and recommendations over the past couple weeks. Spool warns of the risks of making recommendations as a designer, suggesting that experimentation is a better way to arrive at decisions about a design. The lesson is also important when we, as designers, give each other feedback; a particular suggestion could be right or wrong, but our feedback is more valuable if we first aim for a better understanding of the problem. “My Recommendation: Stop Making Design Recommendations.”

The “of course” factor

Posted in entrepreneurship, user experience by Dan on January 6, 2010

Om Malik quotes the designer Christian Lindholm:

Most companies (including web startups), he said, are looking to “wow” with their products, when in reality what they should be looking for is an “‘of course’ reaction from their users.”

The concept of user-centered design is now commonplace, but it is not so commonly understood that the ideal user experience is not made up of flashy features that capture one’s attention but of functions that seamlessly fall into the context of the user’s natural behavior. Malik, drawing from the documentary Objectified, discusses the importance of the “of course” factor: “User Experience Matters: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From ‘Objectified.'”

Colin Raney extends this idea to customer experience and business design: “Of Course…”

Personality, perspective, and funny pencils

Posted in theory, user experience by Dan on December 17, 2009

“Shifting perspective,” as mentioned on the Adaptive Path blog, is an important strategy when designing something that will be used by other people. This video shows a series of experiences, each from an object’s point of view; whether the object is a skateboard, a railroad gate, a robot, or a door handle, each perspective you consider reveals new problems, concerns, and contexts. (Maybe the next step is to consider the pen from the paper’s point of view and the robot from the ball’s point of view.) Anyway, here’s the post/video: “Shifting Perspectives” / “From the Object’s Point of View”

Obviously, these objects aren’t alive. But on the other hand, personality can be a useful device for communication and usability. Cennydd Bowles writes about the forms of personality that appear in technology and their relevance to a product’s usability and effectiveness. “Does technology need personality?”

On a side note, here’s a funny idea: a pencil with a pencil on the other end, so you can celebrate your mistakes instead of erasing them—mistakes are, of course, an essential part of the process.

Insights on designing for the web

Posted in graphic design, interviews, theory, usability, user experience, web design by Dan on December 1, 2009

Paul Boag writes about the current trend of poster-like web pages. As always, one must design for the medium, and a designer cannot treat a web page like a poster. Nevertheless, poster design has a few lessons for web design: “Stop designing websites, start designing posters.”

Mark Riggan takes the same approach, but from a different direction: “6 Things Video Games Can Teach Us About Web Usability.”

In this interview, Matthew Curry talks about running the website for Wiltshire Farm Foods, which sells food mostly to consumers over 80 years old, online. Targeting this audience means addressing the most extreme instances of users’ needs and disabilities. Yes, it’s possible—it’s all about usability: “Q&A: Matthew Curry on selling to older folks online.”

Three videos: UX, sound, and “designer slash model”

Posted in interviews, psychology, user experience by Dan on November 9, 2009

If you’re at all interested in user-centered design or user experience (UX) design, watch this interview with Don Norman, a pioneer in the field of usability and UX, from the UX Week 2008 conference. Mentioned during the interview is his book The Design of Everyday Things, a book highly recommended for just about anyone: Don Norman at UX Week 2008

A fascinating and somewhat comical 6-minute TED video on “The 4 ways sound affects us.”

“Desgn can change the wolrd.”