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Putting People First

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19 October 2014

Hospitable Hospice, Redesigning Care for Tomorrow

hospitablehospice

Design for good death
Hospitable Hospice, Redesigning Care for Tomorrow
An IDEA 2014 Award winner research project
Free download: issuu, pdf

Existing healthcare systems can make the end-of-life experience more frustrating and undignified. The Lien Foundation and ACM Foundation (Singapore) in collaboration with fuelfor design consultants have published an experience design handbook, pdf). Its aim is to raise the universal standard of hospices, the service providers of end-of-life care.

Hospices suffer a poor image. They deserve to be better understood by society, to become a welcomed part of lifelong care services. An ageing population affects not only Singapore but is a worldwide phenomenon, so designing better palliative (non-curative) care services is of great relevance globally.

The team is proposing seven universal experience design concepts. They envisage a new service that is community-integrated, personalised in care and that helps all stakeholders navigate the end-of-life journey with greater confidence. The ideas range across diverse levels of opportunity; ideas like a Goodbye Garden can add dignity to the way that the deceased leaves the hospice. While others like the toolset for baking Thank you Cookies encourages patients to express their feelings in memorable ways. Besides many thought-provoking ideas, the handbook offers a set of 24 Experience Design Principles for designers involved in future hospice projects.

The researchers believe that the Hospitable Hospice handbook can create more conversations about death and dying – in the same way we can speak about marriage and birth – free from stigma, fear and taboo.

19 October 2014

Event: Why the world needs anthropologists

anthropologists

An upcoming event is encouraging anthropologists to “come out of their ivory towers” and work more closely with their colleagues in the field, in order to bridge the gap between “pure” and “applied” anthropology.

The international symposium “Why the world needs anthropologists” (Facebook page) will be held on 5 December 2014 in Padua, Italy.

Experientia president Michele Visciola will be one of three speakers at the free symposium. He will reflect on the conference aim of erasing the boundaries between “pure” and “applied” anthropology, and presenting opportunities for establishing long-lasting cooperation between academics and practitioners.

According to the organizers, “contemporary demands give us no time to get stuck by internal tensions and divisions within the discipline – anthropologists need to come out of their ‘ivory towers’ and come to terms with the increasingly prominent economic, political and ecological challenges of our world.”

Other speakers are Antonio Luigi Palmisano, Professor of Social and Economic Anthropology at the University of Salento, and Rikke Ulk, CEO, Chief Anthropologist and founder of Antropologerne.

19 October 2014

Update on EU research on energy efficient built environments

CityOpt-logo

The European Commission funds research on a lot of important thematic areas, and in recent years the themes of sustainability and participatory approaches have received a lot of attention. This has made way for companies like Experientia to participate in research projects, as part of project consortiums with research and industry bodies from around Europe.

CITYOPT is just such a project. The consortium, in addition to Experientia, comprises research centres, cities, and energy utilities from Finland, Austria and France. The project aim is to develop applications and foster new partnerships between city leaders and stakeholders to optimize energy use in delicate urban environments.

Experientia has been leading the Demonstration work package, in charge of user research activities and user and stakeholder involvement. The project is currently underway, with research completed in Nice, Côte d’Azur Métropole (France), Helsinki, Finland, and Vienna, Austria.

Helsinki, Finland. One of the contextual interviews with the Kalasatama district's stakeholders.

Helsinki, Finland. One of the contextual interviews with the Kalasatama district’s stakeholders.

The CITYOPT project (Holistic simulation and optimization of energy systems in Smart Cities), started in February 2014 and will end in January 2017.

The project team consists of a consortium of 7 companies, aimed at improving sustainability by enabling more energy-efficient built environments. The CITYOPT consortium gathers project partners from 4 European countries, including research institutes, cities, energy utilities and a design studio:

Helsinki, Finland. Business models workshop with Östersundom stakeholders.

Helsinki, Finland. Business models workshop with Östersundom stakeholders.

The specific project targets are to engage users with the new CITYOPT applications, create new partnerships connecting city leaders and stakeholders and create new business models for decision support systems for energy efficient neighbourhoods.
The project will create a set of applications and related guidelines to support planning, detailed design and operation of energy systems in urban districts. The project addresses energy system optimisation in different life cycle phases, focusing on specific potential for optimisation and user & stakeholder involvement characteristics. 3 case studies in different climate zones demonstrate solutions: Helsinki, Finland; Vienna, Austria; Nice Côte d’Azur, France.

Nice, France. Contextual interviews at a dweller's flat.

Nice, France. Contextual interviews at a dweller’s flat.

Experientia, leader of the Demonstration work package, organises and conducts the user research activities and the user and stakeholder involvement. To date, Experientia has conducted a series of user research studies in the three pilot cities aimed at understanding the local contexts, end-users’ mental models and common behaviours, and involving the stakeholders in the business model definition. These activities included 15 contextual interviews, 3 participatory workshops, 3 business model workshops, 1 design ideation workshop, a session of contextual observations and an online survey. These activities involved city planners, utility companies, energy distributors, product and automation technology suppliers, facility managers, office workers, dwellers, and domain experts from the project consortium.

Vienna, Austria. The moderator describes how to execute an exercise during a participatory workshop.

Vienna, Austria. The moderator describes how to execute an exercise during a participatory workshop.

The results of the user research were analysed by Experientia’s research team and constitutes the starting point for defining the information and system requirements of a set of applications focused on real people’s expectations.

In the upcoming project months, Experientia will support the design of the CITYOPT application user interfaces. Experientia’s efforts will focus on the design and front-end development of a community-based application for the Nice Côte d’Azur residents, France, to support energy demand response scenarios. The application will be tested by 50 families, and their valuable feedback will play an essential role in improving the application UI and features, and to validate the project results.

16 October 2014

What human-centered design means for financial inclusion

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What Human-Centered Design Means for Financial Inclusion
Yanina Seltzer, Claudia McKay
16 October 2014, 126 pages
Interactive publication
Download pdf

CGAP has released today a 126 report entitled “Insights into Action – What Human-Centered Design Means for Financial Inclusion“.

The acronym CGAP stands for Consultative Group to Assist the Poor. It is a global partnership of 34 leading organizations – hosted within the World Bank – that seek to advance financial inclusion.

Publication abstract

Well-established in other industries but relatively new to financial inclusion, human-centered design (HCD) is a process built on learning directly from customers in their own environments. The process challenges financial providers to understand, create, evolve, and test possible solutions and repeat the cycle for as many times as it takes.

CGAP has experimented with seven HCD projects in eight countries. We brought leading design firms to work with banks, telecos, and insurance intermediary. As a result, we developed 175 financial product concepts and 30 prototypes. One lesson learned during these projects is that mobile money as a solution to financial inclusion for the poor is not without challenges. Using human-centered design as a method for examining how financial services work for the poor gave us many ideas about how to combine the best of informal financial services with what we know to be the strengths of mobile money.

Maybe the biggest lesson from these seven projects is that it’s going to be a challenge to integrate mobile money into the lives of the poor. Mobile money is not a magic bullet and neither is HCD. Even the most customer-centric and innovative concepts can fail without an ecosystem designed around the needs of customers. The flip side of this is that by working with HCD techniques, we have gleaned insights from hundreds of people that make us incredibly hopeful. Together, the results of these projects are helping to point the way forward.

16 October 2014

Push, pull or nudge

europcom

Push, pull or nudge” is the title of a 2.5 hour workshop (video here) at the 5th European Conference on Public Communication held today in Brussels.

The workshop explored the potential of concepts such as design thinking, choice architecture and nudging in public affairs communication, and featured:

  • Sean Larkins, Deputy Director and Head of Government Communication Policy, Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office Communications, UK
  • Runa Sabroe, Project Manager, Mind-Lab, Denmark
  • Katja Rosenbohm, Head of Communications, European Environment Agency
  • Fran Bambust, Choice Architect, CIBE Communications, Belgium
  • Bert Pol, consultant and researcher on government communication, Tabula Rasa, The Netherlands (moderator)

More information on page 16 of this pdf.

16 October 2014

Position Open – Experientia Communications Officer: writer, proofreader & editor

 

Experientia, the Turin-based User Experience Consultancy, is looking for a native English speaking Communications Officer to work in their Turin, Italy office. The company is specialised in interaction design, ethnographic research and usability testing for an impressive roster of international clients. We often describe this role as our in-house storyteller, and it is a critical part of Experientia’s commitment to high quality English-language deliverables.

The Communications Officer will work with the senior partners and the design and research teams, both as a proofreader and editor of other people’s work and as a copywriter and content creator. An important part of the role is contributing to strategic communications such as writing outgoing proposals for new work, website content strategy, and B2B communications.

Check here for more details.

15 October 2014

With Electronic Medical Records, doctors read when they should talk

ebola-tmagArticle

And this can have tragic consequences. Like Ebola death tragic. Abigail Zuger, M.D., shares her own experience:

“We do not really know whether dysfunctional software contributed to last month’s debacle in a Dallas emergency room, when some medical mind failed to connect the dots between an African man and a viral syndrome and sent a patient with deadly Ebola back into the community. Even scarier than that mistake, though, is the certainty that similar ones lie in wait for all of us who cope with medical information stored in digital piles grown so gigantic, unwieldy and unreadable that sometimes we wind up working with no information at all.

We are in the middle of a simmering crisis in medical data management. Like computer servers everywhere, hospital servers store great masses of trivia mixed with valuable information and gross misinformation, all cut and pasted and endlessly reiterated. Even the best software is no match for the accumulation. When we need facts, we swoop over the surface like sea gulls over landfill, peck out what we can, and flap on. There is no time to dig and, even worse, no time to do what we were trained to do — slow down, go to the source, and start from the beginning.”

Her conclusion: “Like good police work, good medicine depends on deliberate, inefficient, plodding, expensive repetition. No system of data management will ever replace it.”

11 October 2014

Reflections on Capital One’s acquisition of Adaptive Path

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This week Toronto-based UX strategist Rami Tabbah and I discussed Capital One’s acquisition of Adaptive Path. We were both a bit surprised by the lack of real reflection on the pros and cons of this development (with a few exceptions), so Rami, who has worked a lot with banks, wrote one himself.

His post is excellent and I encourage you all to read it in full, as he is not afraid to point out the potential pitfalls for Adaptive Path:

I am sure that the good intentions exist at Capital One. However, my experience with big enterprises tells me that Adaptive Path designers are up for a rough ride. Working from within will limit Adaptive Path designers’ influence on the bank. Being thought leaders and running conferences gave them not only visibility but influence that made it easier for clients to follow their recommendations. Inside the organization, they report to a senior person and everyone has to respect the hierarchy, not exceed limits and play by the rules. In this environment strategy and priorities change. Even AP’s management style will change and adapt and there is no guarantee the ideal conditions will last, even with a VP of design from Google. Adaptive Path designers risk loosing their mojo and may slowly become followers instead of leaders.”

and also the huge challenges for Capital One:

“For this “integration” to succeed, Capital One needs to absorb Adaptive Path’s philosophy. They need to put users first even as they design for new technology. Here I am referring to Garrett’s definition of users. It takes an organizational design strategy that also focuses on call centers, internal applications and every touch point with internal and external users. This cultural shift needs to change development frameworks. Capital One will also need to hire a savvy VP of Information Technology possibly from Google as well to build an entrepreneurial spirit that can allow great design ideas to be transformed into new products. They will need advanced project management skills able to develop and launch projects fast without compromising quality. They will need strong product managers to manage lines of products from a technical perspective and not just from a banking perspective as we see in many banks. They will need to have highly skilled architects to select appropriate infrastructures that adapt to future changes and have skilled developers and analysts able to understand and integrate new technologies. Ultimately, to make this transformation a success, Capital One needs to become a software company and excel at the game Google and Apple are playing.”

Rami Tabbah is a user experience strategist and with a focus on efficiency at Ergonaute Consulting in Toronto – Canada. He uses quantitative and qualitative research techniques and conceptual design to help companies better understand their users and how to shape their websites, applications, products and services to better match users’ expectations. He also focuses on innovation and inclusive design.

10 October 2014

The future of UX leadership: radical transformation

 

Jim Nieters and Pabini Gabriel-Petit have started a series of columns that offers insights on how to help companies progress from delivering mediocre user experiences, as is all too common, to producing truly great experiences that differentiate their products and services in the marketplace. Doing so, they say, requires a radical transformation in the way business executives and UX teams engage in creating user experiences.

“This series is not about making incremental improvements to the way UX teams work. It is about taking a different approach and driving radical transformation within organizations. No major changes in history have ever come about by playing it safe. Having said this, all of the ideas that we’ll share in this series have proven effective in one business context or another.

In this first installment of our series, we’ll focus on three main points:
– the problem that UX teams currently confront
– the role that design-driven differentiation plays in business success
– positioning User Experience for success within your organization

Jim Nieters is Senior Director of User Experience for Travel Products at HP, Scotts Valley CA USA

Pabini Gabriel-Petit is Founder and Principal Consultant at Strategic UX Silicon Valley CA USA, and Founder, Publisher, and Editor in Chief at UXmatters

10 October 2014

Peter Morville on creating a cultural fit

threelevelsofculture

Interesting reflection by acclaimed information architect Peter Morville:

“As a consultant for two decades, I’ve been a tourist in all sorts of cultures. I’ve worked with startups, Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, Ivy League colleges, and Federal Government agencies in multiple countries. My clients have included folks from marketing, support, human resources, engineering, and design. Being exposed to diverse ways of knowing and doing is one of the best parts of my work. But my interest runs deeper than cultural tourism. Over the years, I’ve realized that understanding culture is central to what I do.

He then explains how as an information architect, he must understand the culture of users, and as an outside consultant, he must understand the culture of the organizations for which he works, to end with a short elaboration on the three levels of culture.

10 October 2014

The false promise of actionable insight

margolis

Abby Margolis, Director of Research at Claro Partners, has become worried that consultants risk becoming a ring of human insight traffickers, rather than the researchers, designers and business problem solvers they strive to be.

“They often treat insight like a possession to be bought and sold. They trade in insight, exploit it, promise to deliver it, and ask it to do labour beyond what it can actually do. Take the latest insight specialty: Actionable Insights. This particular high-grade variety seems to suggest that insight alone can act. Here’s the thing: it can’t.

Many years of innovation work have shown me that insights are not enough. In fact, they are fairly worthless on their own. Insights have little intrinsic value without being transformed into frameworks and narratives that can drive strategic action.”

9 October 2014

Psych-savvy product management for truly human technology

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What is the role of psychology, neuroscience or social behavioral study in real product management? How can it be harnessed to build better products?

In this article Janna Bastow of ProdPad and Mind the Product takes a look at three key principles of a more psych-savvy approach to designing and building products:
– Understanding customers is about understanding people
– Building sticky products is about habit forming
– Good products treat customers as humans at every step

9 October 2014

New ebook details Seoul’s Sharing City project

SharingCitySeoul

With its official, city-wide commitment to the sharing economy, Seoul’s metropolitan government has emerged as a leader in the global sharing movement. Recently, Creative Commons Korea released an ebook detailing many of the Sharing City, Seoul projects, at both the community- and municipal-level, that form this new sharing mega-city.

As the Sharing City, Seoul ebook introduction notes, while Seoul is spearheading a sharing revolution, sharing is not new to its residents. Seoul is a city with a rich cultural heritage of sharing, including labor exchanges called “poomasi” and farmers’ coops called “dure.” Today, with 10 million residents—the majority of them possessing smartphones—and a government committed to creating a sharing culture, Seoul is well-positioned to bring mass sharing to one of the densest cities in the world.

Cat Johnson summarizes on Shareable some of the initiatives highlighted in the ebook:

5 October 2014

The drive towards user-centred engineering in automotive design

 

Bryant, Scott & Wrigley, Cara (2014)
The drive towards user-centred engineering in automotive design.
In Bohemia, Erik, Rieple, Alison, Liedtka, Jeanne, & Cooper, Rachael (Eds.) Proceedings of 19th DMI : Academic Design Management Conference, London, UK, pp. 741-758.

Abstract:

Falling sales in Europe and increasing global competition is forcing automotive manufacturers to develop a customer-based approach to differentiate themselves from the similarly technologically-optimised crowd. In spite of this new approach, automotive firms are still firmly entrenched in their reliance upon technology-driven innovation, to design, develop and manufacture their products, placing customer focus on a downstream sales role. However the time-honoured technology-driven approach to vehicle design and manufacture is coming into question, with the increasing importance of accounting for consumer needs pushing automotive engineers to include the user in their designs. The following paper examines the challenges and opportunities for a single global automotive manufacturer that arise in seeking to adopt a user-centred approach to vehicle design amongst technical employees. As part of an embedded case study, engineers from this manufacturer were interviewed in order to gauge the challenges, barriers and opportunities for the adoption of user-centred design tools within the engineering design process. The analysis of these interviews led to the proposal of the need for a new role within automotive manufacturers, the “designeer”, to bridge the divide between designers and engineers and allow the engineering process to transition from a technology-driven to a user-centred approach.

The research, conducted as an embedded case study with a global automotive manufacturer in Germany, sought to test the following hypothesis developed upon reflection of the current state of the industry:

“The acceptance and implementation of design tools such as personas within the context of automotive engineering departments is dependent upon the benefits of the tools perceived by engineering staff in terms of effort vs. reward, in addition to its ability to be adapted to the inertia-bound, heavily regimented and hierarchical structure of large, global firms such as that assessed in the research.”

5 October 2014

Why government websites are terrible and how to fix them

26GOVWEB-tmagArticle

By exposing how confusing food stamp applications and other government online services can be, Citizen Onboard hopes to make them better. Anna North reports in the New York Times Op-Talk blog.

“One simple way to make government websites better, [Alan] Williams [of the nonprofit Code for America that started Citizen Onboard] told Op-Talk, is clearer copywriting: “People are used to being spoken to in plain language, and if we can speak that language, then we can make pretty complex tasks like applying for food stamps a lot simpler.”

The Op-Ed piece cites a 2013 New York Times Op-Ed, in which Clay Johnson and Harper Reed argue that shoddy websites are a result of “the way the government buys things.”

“The government has to follow a code called the Federal Acquisition Regulation, which is more than 1,800 pages of legalese that all but ensure that the companies that win government contracts, like the ones put out to build HealthCare.gov, are those that can navigate the regulations best, but not necessarily do the best job.”

Mr. Williams agrees, writes North:

“The way the government has been legally able to buy technology in this country has forced them to scope out the entire technical and feature requirements of a service at the outset and then buy those services for a very large sum of money. A better approach is one that eschews declaring that you know everything that’s needed out front, and instead focuses on user-centered design and user research and iterative development, and building something that works over time by observing how people interact with the software.[My emphasis]

2 October 2014

Five tips for experience designers working on healthcare innovation

five-tips-improve-healthcare-banner

Earlier this year Tracy Brown, a London-based UX designer, had the opportunity to work within an innovation lab called The Digital Innovation group (DIG), created as a collaboration between DigitasLBi and Astrazeneca to allow small, multi-disciplined teams the freedom to rapidly prototype and test new ideas for solving a variety of healthcare issues.

She got to focus on two big problems: how to help doctors around the world cope with their continual medical education (CME) needs and also how to solve the unique problems doctors and patients faced in the Chinese healthcare system.

Here are five things she learned that will help us rise to the challenge of designing effective solutions in the healthcare sector:
1. Start by understanding the difference between a problem and a symptom
2. Sometimes there isn’t an app for that
3. Don’t resign yourself to what you have permission to solve
4. Sometimes not being a medical professional is useful
5. Challenges will come in every size and shape

30 September 2014

Domestic abuse and the law

 

OCAD‘s Super Ordinary Lab in Toronto, Canada also just started an unusual social design project that is worth sharing.

Domestic Abuse and the Law: Confronting Systemic Impacts is a an ongoing participatory action research project to create positive change, and end tolerance of domestic abuse in all its forms.

Although much focus within this domain has been on physical abuse, non-violent forms are not well addressed. The criminal code within Canada does little to cover emotional or psychological harassment – which may persist for years.

There is growing awareness about the seriousness of harassment and bullying in society. Our workplaces and schools are increasingly instituting anti-harassment / bullying policies. We need to extend this to afford protection to those who are harassed and threatened in their personal lives, generally.

Domestic abuse includes physical and sexual violence. It also includes other forms of abuses of power and control emotional, psychological and financial.

The multi-year project includes systems mapping, experience modelling and stakeholder workshops.

Through examination of a process timeline of involved stakeholders, an investigation into the legal precedents that have been set for trying domestic abuse cases, and the laws governing domestic abuse and harassment both provincially and federally, this project will highlight the leverage points whereby change may be facilitated to produce outcomes that will protect and support survivors of domestic abuse as they navigate the legal system. A thorough literature review with expert interviews, combined with ethnographic field research, will explore four thematic domains central to the research:

  • Legislation – History of Federal Legislation Addressing Family Violence in Canada
  • The impact on “survivors”
  • Personality disorders that are related to abuse incidents
  • The impact of culture – Cultural lens through which abuse is understood, propagated or dismissed.
30 September 2014

Great resource on design research methods

drt

Last week I was at Toronto’s OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design – University), where Suzanne Stein showed me around in her Super Ordinary lab. One hidden gem was hanging on the wall, but it is luckily also available online: an online tool for design research techniques for every stage of the process.

The framework is divided into six key phases of research process. Clicking each phase shows all the techniques that are used within that phase and clicking each technique shows its synopsis, full description, case study and useful references.

It should be beneficial to researchers who is particularly planning a study, designing a methodology or writing up a thesis.

It was produced by CFC Medialab as part of the IdeaBoost Accelerator in conjunction with Professor Suzanne Stein of OCAD University.

30 September 2014

High tech psyche

FRANCE. PACA region. Marseille. Cours Julien. 2006.

If you want to be free in a digital age, must you switch off your computer, ask two new books, The End of Absence and The Glass Cage.

The End of Absence: Reclaiming what we’ve lost in a world of constant connection
by Michael Harris
Published by: HarperCollins

The Glass Cage: Automation and us
by Nicholas Carr
Published by: W. W. Norton

Joanna Kavenna of the New Scientist reviews two books that explore how to be genuinely yourself when always online.

“What is it like to be alive at the moment? How is our sense of self changed by what we experience? Can we even say there is such a thing as an indelible self of the kind envisioned by psychoanalyst Carl Jung? And, if so, what impact does technology have on it?

The End of Absence by Michael Harris and The Glass Cage by Nicholas Carr grapple with these fundamental, intriguing questions. Harris discusses “what we’ve lost in a world of constant connection”, while Carr muses on how automation influences us. Both authors are concerned with the cyber revolution and how it has affected society and the self.”

30 September 2014

Using HCD to make mobile money relevant

 

Earlier in 2014, two consecutive Mondato Insights examined the role of Human Centered Design (HCD) in enhancing the user experience and closing the gap between registered and active users of Mobile Money.

In the six months since then, reports Mondato, the value of the HCD approach in creating MFS (Mobile Financial Services) products that meet the needs of, and are attractive to, low-income customers has further been highlighted by a number of research projects in Southeast Asia. Once again, many of the assumptions made by MFS providers about the market segments they hope to target have been challenged, showing that significant knowledge gaps persist between providers and potential customers, and these must be addressed by anyone hoping to create attractive value propositions for Base of the Pyramid (BoP) consumers.

“Central to the HCD approach are deep dive interviews that seek to understand BoP customers not merely as individuals, but as the totality of their relationships as members of families, communities and business networks. Interviews take place in a very unstructured fashion, allowing free-flowing discussion that gives subjects the confidence and space to express themselves in their own terms, without the potential for design bias that formal questionnaires carry with them. The goal of the research is to form a number of “personas”, which are representative of market segments, and to identify what are their needs.”