The interview by GK VanPatter, founding partner of NextD, Humantific and UnderstandingLab, covers such issues as user experience design, anthropology, ethnography, condescension towards users, design as a community of knowledge, the “Dark Side of Design”, complexities, contradictions, paradoxes, the “Everyone is a Designer” movement, opportunity space and the challenges of voice advocacy.
Opting for old age on their own terms, they were starting a new chapter in their lives as residents of Glacier Circle, the country’s first self-planned housing development for the elderly — a community they had conceived and designed themselves, right down to its purple gutters.
Over the past five years, the residents of Glacier Circle have found and bought land together, hired an architect together, ironed out insurance together, lobbied for a zoning change together and existentially probed togetherness together.
“Unless you have never done anything else than analyse, structure and group large volumes of content only to hand-off that work to others, you have probably been acting as an interaction designer, information designer, computer scientist, business analyst, or usability engineer before, [...] you are in fact a user experience professional; gaining insight into what skills you have, what skills others with related backgrounds have, and how to best combine them to create user experiences.”
Download illustrated version of paper (pdf, 250 kb)
… in order to understand all factors contributing to how a product (or service) is perceived
While plenty of practitioners invoke the word ‘experiences’, how often are we talking about the same thing?
From ‘user experiences’ to the ‘experience economy’, from ‘designing for experiences’ to ‘brand experiences’, from ‘customer experience management’ to ‘experience marketing’, experiences are definitely the topic du jour.
But is an experience defined solely by how easily one accomplishes a task (as with Google or Craig’s List) or is an experience something less definably (as with Starbucks or Harley Davidson)?
This framework poster by Stephen P. Anderson (to be presented at the 2006 IA Summit in Vancouver, Canada) structures all the elements that make for a great experience, and gives a context to the various activities (both internal and external to an organisation) that play a role in defining a person’s perception of a product or service.
Download poster (pdf, 2.8 mb)
Publicis Groupe, the international advertising and media conglomerate, has announced the launch of Denuo, a major new strategic initiative designed to anticipate and exploit the rapidly changing digital, interactive and mobile communication environment. Denuo is a stand-alone business, not based on any pre-existing industry model. Denuo’s model rests on three pillars, functioning simultaneously as a strategic consultant, an inventor of solutions, and as an investor in partnerships.
The unprecedented new venture [“denuo” = ‘afresh’, ‘anew’ in Latin] will be led by Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Innovation Officer of Publicis Groupe Media (PGM).
In a commentary, marketing strategist Steve Rubel writes “By talking more about “exploiting” new communications channels rather than using them to co-create marketing with consumers, the ad agencies demonstrate that, at least for now, that they still don’t get what this revolution is all about. Publicis appears to be operating in a mode where they still are marketing to consumers, rather than with them.”.
He worked at Xerox PARC and Apple, created and managed the usability group at Amazon, and is now vice president of user experience and design at Yahoo!, managing the company’s interaction designers, visual designers and design researchers, and sharing responsibility for the company’s user experience, brand experience and product strategy.
While at Xerox PARC, he helped develop some of the language of interaction design including pop-up menus and cut-and-paste.
This interview by Dan Saffer starts with the question if there are any unbreakable laws for interaction designers, to which Tesler answers: “Just one. Design for the users.”
[In the early 1990's it was thought] that the [city's] population would double as corporate giants flocked to the city to serve the virgin markets of eastern Europe. In June 1991, parliament decided with a six-vote majority to move the federal government from its leafy exile in Bonn back to the capital, taking the first step towards restoring the old Prussian garrison city to its role as the political, cultural and economic lighthouse of the German-speaking world.
Fifteen years on, the civil servants and politicians are over their Rhineland homesickness, but with 3.39 million people, Berlin is not any bigger. Its unemployment rate, at 18 per cent, is the highest of large German cities. Since 1995, employment has contracted by 5 per cent and its economy has shrunk by a tenth. Berlin was the birthplace of German industry and in 1925 had 1.7m manufacturing jobs. This number was down to 350,000 in 1991 and is fewer than 100,000 today. With less than half of its e20bn budget covered by tax, and debts of e60bn rising by more than e3bn a year, it is practically bankrupt.
Scanning the pockmarked face of Alexanderplatz, you might find it hard not to conclude that the Berlin experiment – the most daring political and economic engineering venture “since the opening up of Japan in the 19th century”, in the words of a local politician – has failed. But has it?
Since 1998, according to the DIW economic institute, Berlin’s software industry has doubled in size; the advertising sector has grown 66 per cent; and high-tech, media and tourism are booming. In 2004, the capital’s creative industry overtook Hamburg and Munich in size.
Such dynamism has not nearly made up for the violent shrinkage of industrial capacity that continues today. What these figures suggest, though, is that Berlin is in the midst of accelerated change. While not without pain, the city is building a post-industrial economy that could become a plausible prototype for the Germany of tomorrow. If the Berlin experiment has failed, it has failed in a very interesting way.
The launch issue contains a huge amount of material (no less than 30 articles) organised in such categories as customer-centered design, the DUX 2005 conference, design as strategy, design process, and communicating design thinking.
Those that caught my eye include:
(Form + Content + Context) / Time = Experience Design
design” is a discipline created by the reality of communication today,
when no point of contact has a simple beginning and end and all points
of contact must have meaning embedded in them.
Diamond search: improving the user experience of buying loose diamonds online
case study, presented at DUX 2005, examines the development and
deployment of a dynamic, visual, usable, conﬁdence-building, diamond
search tool, and a user-centric, end-to-end online shopping experience
for loose diamonds.
Go to the customers of your customer
When trying to break into an industry, do you start at the heart or at the fringes? Caleb Luwick rolls out how Tricycle used design savvy to transform an industry’s established sales cycle.
Culture and commerce meet in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s digital museum without walls, writes Stephen Nowlin.
On brandology and futures research: an interview with Andrew Zolli
Branding strategist Andrew Zolli discusses the future of brands and futures research in an interview with Gong Szeto.
Project Platypus: reinventing product development at Mattel, An interview with Ivy Ross
Ivy Ross, Senior Vice President at Mattel, discusses her innovative approach to building new brands with David Womack.
The artless website: schwab.com
Glen Helfand claims that the design of schwab.com proves that smart, in the age of new media, is more substance than style.
Why is it so hard to make products that people love?
Why do so many good designs get trampled during the product development process? Adlin and Pruitt hash out why the development process so rife with disagreements and compromises even though everyone is interested the same good thing.
Readers are invited to join the discussion through a new mailing list.
I recently visited Boston’s new Ikea store with my two young children. A few days later, I flew to Italy on my usual carrier, Alitalia. The two experiences offered quite a lesson in the design of a customer
Ikea, the Swedish chain of retail stores for the home, is a worldwide success in customer loyalty and profits. Alitalia, the Italian national airline, seems perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy, with a shrinking base of often-dissatisfied customers.
All the while, Ikea provides a taste of Sweden to a receptive global audience, and here the contrast with Alitalia is dramatic. Far more tourists travel to Italy than to Sweden — 40 million last year alone. Yet Alitalia does little to leverage Italy’s positive “brand,” ignoring opportunities to offer a unique experience for its customers and to actually design itself out of its financial predicament.
Imagine if Alitalia thought about the customer’s total travel experience the way Ikea thinks about the customer’s total shopping experience? Here are some touch points that would be part of the total designed “Ikeatalia” experience.
"Many views on the experience economy start with the behavior of actors in society at large and try to understand and explain their dynamics. In other words, the focus is on the external, objective, physical world of experience."
"But since experiences are inherently personal and only exist in our own internal, subjective, mental
universe it is interesting to start from the inside and see what cognitive science that studies human perception and cognition can tell us about the central role of experience and story."
"This article is therefore quite literally an inside story about the experience economy and the pervasiveness of story and text."
Download article (pdf, 200 kb, 11 pages)
Sir Ken Robinson, now a senior advisor to the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles, was knighted in 2003 for his commitment to creativity and education. for four years from 1985 the British citizen was director of The Arts in Schools Project, a major initiative to improve teaching of the arts in his native land, and in 1998 he was appointed by the government to chair the National Advisory Committee on Creative & Cultural Education, the largest-ever inquiry into the importance of creativity in education and the economy.
Since then, nearly $1 billion has been put into initiatives based on the so-called Robinson Report. In the meantime, Robinson has become a frequent speaker on creativity as a broader concept, arguing that the ability to think creatively is essential for students as they seek jobs, companies as they go up against competitors, and nations competing in the global economy.
Prior to his presentation at the TED conference in Monterey, Calif., this week, Robinson spoke with BusinessWeek Online editor Jessie Scanlon.
Chronic disease and conditions related to an unhealthy lifestyle have reached epidemic proportions and are rising still. This presents a momentous challenge for the current healthcare system.
Looking at the problem from a design perspective shows that there are many gaps in the way that current approaches relate to people’s daily lives and motivations. Designing from the individual’s point of view could provide the key to solutions that work.
Working with partners in Bolton and Kent over the six months from December 2004, the Design Council explored ways to create new healthcare systems. The design team prototyped innovative services for self-managing chronic conditions and maintaining healthier lifestyles.
These point towards a radical new model of healthcare organisation: Open Health.
Kent: Activmobs (download design notes, pdf, 4.9 mb, 41 pages)
With Kent County Council the Design Council worked with some of the most inactive people, in one of the most deprived wards. They prototyped “activmobs” – a platform that supports people to get active and stay active in a way that fits with their lifestyle, interests and abilities.
Bolton: The Diabetes Agenda (download design notes, pdf, 3.6 mb, 41 pages)
In Bolton, the Design Council worked with the local NHS to improve their nationally acclaimed diabetes service. Here they developed “Agenda cards” – a simple set of cards that reframe the interaction between patients and professionals. They also prototyped a Me2 coach service – a new and powerful support role, like a life coach but for people with diabetes. These ideas represent a shift in thinking in the way designers approach the management of chronic conditions and demonstrate how design can be used to put patient centred thinking into practice.
Co-design – the name of the design process used – works because people are the experts in their own lives. Co-design addresses health problems from the point of view of the individual, not the system. The Design Council works with people in real world contexts to develop practical solutions to their everyday health problems.
Co-created systems are intended to improve over time and with increased
participation from users and professionals. The Design Council believes they have the potential to provide higher quality and more durable health solutions and answer many of the problems faced by the NHS today.
It could be key to solving many of society’s most complex problems. But the community of practice is small, and its emergence has already caused controversy among those who argue that it’s not design – because here’s the rub: it doesn’t look or feel much like design in the familiar sense of the word. The outputs aren’t always tangible and beautiful, and may be adapted and altered by people as they use them. It is far from the paradigm of the master-designer.
The UK Design Council has just published a paper on transformation design (pdf, 193 kb, 33 pages).
The paper begins to set out the characteristics of the emergent discipline of Transformation Design. It identifies a nascent but growing community of practice. It highlights an under-supply of designers equipped to work in this way. And it explores the market for, and the challenges facing, designers who are starting to work in this new discipline.
What’s the effect of an advertising campaign, in a world where every consumer has instant access to all hard data about any given product? How can we even reach these consumers in a media landscape that consists of millions of personal blogs, podcasts and time shifted television? What is the role of marketing when consumers are directly connected to almost anybody within the companies they buy from?
In this paper advertising specialist Paul Beelen (Chile) attempts to provide some answers (or at least clues), but for now, he says, the best way to be prepared is to simply be aware of the fact that things are changing. Something has been set off, that is impossible to stopped. And it will force advertising to reinvent itself in quite a few ways.
Download white paper (pdf, 128 kb, 21 pages)
(via Future Now, the blog of the Institute for the Future)
The ambient experience design concept aims to improve the workflow of physicians considerably and reduce anxiety of heart patients undergoing catheterisation. Initial tests show that the ambient experience design concept is leading to faster diagnoses, lower radiation doses and calmer patients.
In a hospital CathLab, doctors insert a thin, flexible tube or catheter in a heart patient’s blood vessel to allow access to the heart or blood vessels without major surgery. With the help of X-ray imaging, doctors can then examine and diagnose the patients’ blood vessels and/or heart.
The ambient experience CathLab has been designed around the catheterisation procedure to support medical staff and soothe patients during preparation, examination and post procedure.
After from having become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the former mining grounds of Zollverein are now making their mark as a leading international location for design. Current and future activities and projects include:
- the new Zollverein School of Management and Design
- the renowned Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen and its red dot design museum (designed by Sir Norman Foster)
- ENTRY2006, the first international forum for design and architecture which features a three-month exhibition, conferences and events (26 August – 3 December 2006) – (download brochure, 2.1 mb, 40 pages)
- the RuhrMuseum, a spectacular museum on the history of the region
- DesignStadt, a design city for creative businesses
Zollverein currently attracts around 500,000 visitors each year within its numerous buildings, through an impressive programme of cultural events and projects.
Gapminder wants to be more than just graphics. Between the clean lines and clarity of its presentations lies an argument about the need for information — particularly about the state of human development — to be free and accessible. Gapminder marries an open-source philosophy with interactive graphic design, trumpeting the notion that making global statistical information more easily understood will make it accessible to a greater number of people, and thereby increase the demand for it.
Seeking to make its visual tools available to the broadest possible constituency, Gapminder has worked from the beginning to create software that allows others to create their own visual presentations of the data. Accordingly, Gapminder has been developing a program called Trendalyzer that works from the data itself, rather than a fixed graphical presentation. Developed in Macromedia’s Flash, the current beta version of Trendalyzer is preloaded with a built-in data set, but can also accept imported Microsoft Excel files, allowing users to create animations derived from hundreds of different variables.
Intel has already released several products shaped by anthropological research. According to Pat Gelsinger, a senior vice president at Intel, the company will have a number of other offerings during 2006 and 2007 that came out of work by anthropologists, and he thinks the company will see significant revenue streams from these new products by the end of 2007.
Furthermore, Gelsinger emphasizes that the impact of these new scientists has been more than just in tactical product development: they’ve also played a key role in long-term strategic planning.
Barroso has said the EIT will “act as a pole of attraction for the very best minds, ideas and companies from around the world.”
Based in an old chapel just outside Watford in Hertfordshire, Demand (short for Design and Manufacture for Disability) was set up by Lady Renton in 1980 after she was unable to find a chair in which her disabled daughter could sit comfortably.
Read full story [BBC News]
Laptop computers that combine features from popular toys with innovative technology have rapidly accelerated the learning and communication ability of disabled children, Penn State researchers say. The technology could in the future be adapted to victims of major accidents and the elderly as well.
Read full story [Science Daily]
Kids’ favorite purple dinosaur, Barney, or that cute, fuzzy red ‘monster’ from Sesame Street, Elmo, want all kids to be able to play with them. Some kids, however, may not be able to play with them because of physical limitations or other disabilities. But now, because of RePlay for Kids, a nonprofit organization in which engineering students and staff from Case Western Reserve University donate their time and expertise to repair and modify toys for children with disabilities, every child can play with their favorite toy.
Read full story [Science Daily]