Even today, Design is too often perceived as a tactic to simply “make things user-friendly.” To combat that oversimplification, designers often shroud their work in a mysterious cloud of specialized tools and jargon. This mystery gives designers (of every sort – visual, UX, interaction, et al) a false perception of value, uniqueness and control over their process and work. In actuality, this self-imposed mystery drives divisions between designers and their teams. Designers need to stop looking at their work in terms of “trade secrets” and start opening up about their process.
When you think about the design of your product or service, what comes to mind? Is it the color scheme, the layout of the navigation, or the smoothness of the animation? What about… how it sounds?
As humans, our ability to perceive and identify sound is powerful, but typically underutilized by the products we use. Mediums like film and video games have long harnessed the emotional and psychological powers of the aural channel, while many products and services today seem to miss the mark.
Continuing his award-winning and highly-acclaimed “How to Lie With…” series, Dr. Saffer* will illuminate the world of Design Thinking: namely what you need to know to fake your way through conversations about design thinking. Topics to be covered include: IDEO, Bruce Nussbaum, Fast Company, service design, post-it notes, “proof-of-concept” videos, 37signals, James Joyce, and whatever happens to be in the news that week. Each and every audience member will be certified as a Design Thinker by Dr. Saffer* (diploma not included).
Will the promise of Critical Design deliver after the disappointment of ethnography? Interaction Designers expected ethnography to reveal rich insights that would inform the creation of better products, services and experiences. However the pressure of solution-focused design practice turned out to be a poor fit with ethnography’s concern with meaning and cultures. In response, Critical Design is emerging as a new strategy for exploring the space that lies tantalisingly beyond the current and the now.
Sculpture is often concerned with mapping the human body and locating it in relation to the world. Sculptors create objects that are meant to be seen, felt, walked around and directly experienced. Interaction designers, too, are concerned with creating and defining experiences for their audience to directly engage in. Why not see what the one can contribute to the other? Are there things to be learned from sculpture that can be applied to interaction design?
Gamification is the process of applying game design elements to non-game contexts in order to drive user engagement, influence behavior and improve the user experience associated with digital products and services. Over the past year, the practice of gamification has exploded, fueled by marketing hype, media curiosity and spirited debate. While much of the discussion has revolved around extrinsic reward mechanisms as a panacea for customer loyalty and engagement, the most important and effective motivational dynamics of games have been left on the table.
While the Web has evolved from flat documents to being fluidly ambient, we’re using the same user research and usability testing methods and techniques we were using in 1994. We know that conducting usability tests can tell us where people get frustrated. What will testing reveal about frustrations with interactions people have with other people online? When interaction is protean, how do you derive a task scenario? What are the success criteria?
While we have put men on the moon, mapped the human genome and found cures for various diseases that previously decimated humanity, the scientific, organized understanding of human motivation and behaviour largely remains the undiscovered country. It shouldn't and, if we have anything to say, it won't.