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October 2006
20 October 2006

David Polinchock on creating a retail brand experience

Ralph Lauren window shopping
In an article in the premiere issue of Marketing at Retail, David Polinchock of the Brand Experience Lab looks at the key developments today in creating a compelling, authentic and relevant retail brand experience.

Polinchock discusses the growing trend of socialisation in the retail space and claims that retail innovators like Starbucks and the Apple stores have boomed because they have created a social space rather than a retail space.

He also writes about the impact of mobile technologies (including cell phone shopping, Bluetooth technologies in billboards, Nokia’s CoolZone and podcasting), and about new display experiences, e.g. with directional sound, interactive user interfaces or holographic projection systems. At the end of the four page article, Polinchock explores some upcoming technologies such as multi-touch sensing, combining the real world with the virtual world, online role-playing games

Download Marketing at Retail (pdf, 3.59 mb, 60 pages – Polinchock’s article is on pages 29-33)

(Note that pages 34 to 38 contain an article on experiential marketing by Jeff Sheets, advertising professor at Brigham Young University)

20 October 2006

Interview with Jan Chipchase of Nokia Research

Jan Chipchase
Starting this month Convivio, the European Network for Human-Centred Design of Interactive Technologies, will publish interviews with leading voices in the field of Human-Centred Design, focusing each time on one of the various areas of expertise that contribute to HCD’s multi-disciplinary milieu. Interviews will feature people from all over the world, but with an emphasis on European voices.

The discipline under the spotlight this month is Research, and the first guest is Jan Chipchase, Principal Researcher in the Mobile HCI Group at Nokia Research, whose personal insights can be found on Future Perfect, Jan’s wonderful photo-intensive weblog. As he says: “… if I do my job right you’ll be using it 3 to 15 years from now.”

Read interview

20 October 2006

Designing a zero impact trade fair

Salone Internazionale del Gusto
Slow Food does not just organise conferences on new approaches to design (as I reported a few days ago), they are actually using design to achieve a zero environmental impact of one of their main events: the international “Salone del Gusto” fair (which by the way starts next week).

This is what Luigi Bistagnino, professor at the Master in Systems Design at the Politechnic University of Torino, told me last night at a gallery opening here.

As reported in an article on the Italian version of Sloweb, Slow Food’s online news magazine, Slow Food, the industrial design department of the Polytechnic University of Torino and the Zeri Foundation (run by fellow Belgian Gunter Pauli) are collaborating on a project that analyses all the waste the trade fair generates, with the aim to achieve zero impact and emissions, and to use the Salone del Gusto 2008 as an example of how systems design can reduce trade fair impact globally.

Here is a quick translation of the Italian article:

A fair with zero impact

Every two years the Torino conference centre of Lingotto hosts the international “Salone del Gusto” fair, which means (based on 2004 figures): 140,000 visitors in a 50,000 square metre space, 125 stands, 600 exhibitors, 270 tables and other restaurant and catering facilities, tasting areas, training classes, taste labs, etc.

Such a show of food products in a conference venue with that many visitors creates of course a substantial amount of biological and non-biological waste, which has a substantial environmental impact.

The desire to turn the Salone del Gusto into a sustainable trade fair grew out of the Slow Food philosophy itself: one of the main challenges of our century is the need to construct and maintain sustainable systems on a social, cultural and environmental level, in order to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This therefore also needs to be the aim of the events that Slow Food organises.

Slow Food has therefore joined forces with the industrial design department of the Polytechnic University of Torino and the Zeri Foundation (Zero Emission Research & Initiatives) to promote the project entitled “A systemic vision applied to trade fairs: the case of the international Salone del Gusto 2008″. The project will analyse all the various types of waste that the event generates, with the aim to achieve zero impact and emissions.

The project will already kick off during the 2006 edition of the Salone del Gusto, with a first analysis of the various waste types: water, biological material, plastics, glass, paper and organic matter. The team will also look at the organisation in general and at the disposal of the fair stands. Next year they will repeat this exercise during the Slow Fish and Slow Cheese fairs.

The main aim of the project is to reuse all waste products of the Salone del Gusto 2008 as resources in new production, therefore achieving added value. Undoubtedly, an optimal re-use of waste through the use of current or future technologies will also result in gains and benefits for the region, not in the least because zero impact has been achieved.

18 October 2006

Closed systems leave song buyers out in the cold [USA Today]

Music sharing
USA Today has done a big piece on the dysfunctional online music business and on the negative consequences this has for the user experience.

According the Guardian’s technology blog, which reports on the piece, “The problem is the popularity of Apple’s closed, proprietary monopoly of the paid-for download business, but the article reckons that Microsoft launching a rival closed, proprietary service — Zune — just adds to the chaos rather than solving it. This gives RealNetworks, San Disk and Best Buy the chance to claim to be the only “open system” with their new Sansa Rhapsody portable player (which is also compatible with other devices and music stores using Microsoft’s Plays For Sure system).”

But the article finally gets on to the real problem:

“The obstacle is copy-protection, or Digital Rights Management (DRM) in industry lingo. Apple, Real, Microsoft and Sony all have competing DRM systems. That’s why a song purchased on Sony’s Connect service won’t transfer to an iPod.”

“DRM was a proposed solution to making sure songs wouldn’t be traded illegally online. The reality is that “DRM has done nothing to stop piracy,” says Yahoo music chief Dave Goldberg.”

“Consumers should be able to do whatever they want with their digital song purchase, just like they can with a CD,” says Goldberg. “We think DRM is bad for consumers and artists.”

Read full story

18 October 2006

EU project to make the smart home more user-friendly

Teaha
“Smart homes have been talked about for decades, but beyond a few concept houses and a few gadget-happy homeowners, little has been achieved in making them a bricks-and-mortar reality,” reports the EU’s IST Results website. “The TEAHA project team plans to enable all of us to call our house and tell it to start the laundry, fill the bath or crank up the heating.”

“Until now the business model has not been clear, there have been too many different standards, and too many technologies that are not interoperable. And, most importantly, people did not see these systems as being user friendly – they were generally viewed as too complex to use and maintain for the benefits they offered,” explains project coordinator Enrique Menduiña of Telefónica I+D in Spain.

“Numerous obstacles have hindered wider uptake of smart home systems. In part, this is a result of the multitude of different business actors involved when trying to interconnect home appliances with each other and to the wider world. To date, appliance manufacturers, telecommunications firms, utility companies, software designers and system installers have often taken very different paths toward deploying new technologies in the home.”

“The IST-funded project TEAHA brought companies from all those sectors together. The outcome, according to Menduiña, will be the first open smart-home platform to allow any home-device – using any technology and made by any manufacturer – to interoperate seamlessly with the Teaha system.”

Despite the nice talk about user-friendliness, the solution to achieve this ‘seamless interoperability’ seems entirely technology based, and no mention is made of any type of research exploring what users actually want and need. John Thackara formulated a critique last year about the tech first approach in EU research and innovation. This tech driven EU research project claiming to make our lives easier seems to be confirming that analysis.

Read full story

17 October 2006

More on IDEO: now redesigning a law school

Florida Coastal
“Like many businesses, law schools need a competitive edge,” writes Alison Trinidad in the Florida Times-Union.

“For the Florida Coastal School of Law, now 10 years old, part of that edge is found in its newly renovated, multimillion-dollar building on the Southside.”

“To guide the transition from cramped campus to state-of-the-art law school, Florida Coastal hired IDEO, a California company that designs products, services and environments for big-name clients like Apple Computer and Polaroid. IDEO is widely known to take an innovative approach to design, employing anthropologists and psychologists to work with architects and engineers. Its philosophy, which some call experience design, takes a holistic view of a problem and uses a multidisciplinary attack to resolve it.”

“IDEO couldn’t have been a better fit for Florida Coastal, which as the country’s first fully accredited for-profit law school, is pioneering in its own right. The driving idea was to look at the campus as an experience, rather than a building, and make sure the focus stayed on the students, said Peter Goplerud, dean of the law school.”

- Read full story
- View design gallery

15 October 2006

Redesigning a labour union with the help of IDEO

SEIU
Andy Stern, the leader of Service Employees International Union, a 1.8 million member labour union in the United States, says in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that the union “hired a design firm, IDEO, to help us think more thoughtfully about how we engage our members”.

The article is not very specific about what IDEO was actually asked to do and how they are approaching it. Just that the people leading the union “are looking for new ideas”, that they have “seen with the Internet an incredible explosion of new ways for people to be connected and form communities”, and that they are “going to begin some experiments here in Chicago”.

Has anyone heard or read more about this?

Read full story

14 October 2006

Experiencing experience

Experiencing experience
“It’s impossible to read any publication even remotely concerned with commerce and not find some reference to “user” or “customer” experience, writes Tom Guarriello in UX Magazine, a nicely designed online publication (not connected to the UPA’s UX Magazine, which is unfortunately solely available in print).

Tom Guarriello (blog), chief idea officer and principal in TrueTalk, Inc., a management consulting firm, is a psychologist who’s spent over 30 years focusing on human experience. In the article he provides his psychologist point of view on this new trend.

In short, Guarriello argues that the discipline of psychology, in its quest to be “objective” and “scientific”, focused on “measurable responses” of “subjects” to “controlled stimuli”. Psychology, he says, had altered its focus from seeking to understand stories about everyday human experience, to measuring smaller and smaller quantifiable elements. Experience, which can only be described, not measured, was just too squishy and unreliable to study scientifically, a quaint throwback to “pre-scientific” times.

But the study of “human experience as it is experienced” never completely died out. “Phenomenological psychology” continued to focus on “lived-reality,” the common sense ways in which people describe their lives. Guarriello argues that phenomenological psychology’s insights can be very useful in helping businesses gain a sharper focus on their users and customers.

His core claim is that “designing experiences” can’t be done. Designers design occasions for experiences by understanding context and playing close attention to patterns; experiences themselves however are personal, he says.

Read full story

13 October 2006

Slow+Design: experience design, the Slow Food way

Slow Food logo
I have to admit: I am a fan of Slow Food. I am also one of its 80,000 members. It is an international ethical movement about good, clean and fair food. They “believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible.” They organise lots of events, give quality labels to restaurants, have their own publishing house and university, and are branching out into new fields such as urban planning (“Slow City“).

Slow Food is the most clever conceptual innovation that I have seen coming out of Italy in the last decade. Through its emphasis on local produce and local production, Slow Food pulled it off to globalise the local, not an easy task in a world where the opposite prevails. In a few weeks they will organise the sixth edition of Salone del Gusto, their international fair, this year concurrently with Terra Madre, Slow Food’s colourful international food communities meeting. Slow Food also has by far the best looking members magazine of ANY movement I know of, printed of course on recycled paper, with a photo selection that is just stunning. Slow Food is seriously cool, Nussbaum might say.

Now Slow Food is getting into design.

On 6 October Slow Food Italy and three Italian educational institutions organised a one-day Slow+Design seminar on the “slow approach to distributed economy and sustainable sensoriality” in Milan (Italian press release).

The event sought an answer to two clear, concrete and complementary questions: what can design learn from the Slow Model? How can design contribute to the success of the Slow Model (both inside and outside the field of food)?

The Slow Food head office, located in a town just south of Torino, just sent me several English-language documents that provide some background on this new initiative, which is still in an embryonic phase. However, if you read them carefully, you realise that it is all about experience design, the Slow Food way. They even talk about co-creation, which they call “de-intermediation”. I quote:

“Our departure point is the Slow Food experience. Slow Food has met with great and growing international success which, contrary to dominant trends, has demonstrated the real possibility of linking food quality research to the safeguarding of typical local products and to the sustainable valorisation of the skills, expertise and organisational models from which such products originate. In so doing it has played an important role on two complementary fronts: firstly, in regenerating such a precious collective good as the biological and cultural diversity of local food production and secondly, in proposing and initially setting up new food networks.”

“However, though the specific scope of Slow Food lies in these new food networks, its experience is of more general value and is significant for those working in other fields and addressing other problems. Its experience is encapsulated in the new meanings that, thanks to its activities, have been attributed to the adjective “slow” and that we can refer to as the “slow approach”.”

“Above all, the slow approach means the simple, but in current times revolutionary, affirmation that it is not possible to produce and appreciate quality if we do not allow ourselves the time to do so, in other words, if we do not activate some kind of slowdown. However, slow does not only mean this. It also means a concrete way of actually putting this idea into practice. It means cultivating quality: linking products and their producers to their places of production and to their end-users who, by taking part in the production chain in different ways, become themselves co-producers.”

Download Slow+Design backgrounder (pdf, 2 mb, 27 pages)

13 October 2006

Book: ‘We-Think’ on collective creativity

We-Think
From YouTube to Wikipedia, collective creativity and collaboration are replacing top-down management as a business model. In a Times2 article today, Charles Leadbeater writes how he believes the We-Think phenomenon will affect every area of our lives.

Leadbeater, who is also a Demos associate, wrote the book We-Think which is about “developing new ways to innovate and be creative en masse”, being “organised without an organisation” and “combining ideas and skills without a hierarchy”. Leadbeater thinks this could “change not just the ways in which the media, software and entertainment work but how we organise education, healthcare, cities and, indeed, the political system.”

Here some quotes from the long and thoughtful Times2 article:

“The guiding ethos of this new culture is participation. The point of the industrial-era economy was mass production for mass consumption — the formula created by Henry Ford. We were workers by day and consumers in the evenings or at weekends. In the world of We-Think the point is to be a player in the action, a voice in the conversation — not to consume but to participate.”

“In the We-Think economy people don’t just want services and goods delivered to them. They also want tools so that they can take part and places in which to play, share, debate with others.”

“Participants will not be led and organised in this way: the dominant ethos of the We-Think economy is democratic and egalitarian. These vast communities of participation are led by antiheroic, slight leaders — the likes of Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and Linus Torvalds of Linux. Such people are the antithesis of the charismatic, harddriving chief executive in the Jack Welch mould.”

“These collaboratives change the way in which people come up with new ideas. Innovation and creativity were once elite activities undertaken by special people — writers, designers, architects, inventors — in special places — garrets, studies, laboratories. The ideas they dreamt up would flow down pipelines to passive consumers. Now innovation and creativity are becoming mass activities, dispersed across society. Largely self-organising collaborations can unravel the human genome, create a vast encyclopaedia and a complex computer operating system. This is innovation by the masses, not just for the masses.”

“My book We-Think is an effort to understand this new culture; where these new ways of organising ourselves have come from and where they might lead. They started in the geeky swampland — in open-source software, blogging and computer gaming. But they are so powerful that increasingly they will become the mainstream by challenging traditional organisations to open up. They could change not just the ways in which the media, software and entertainment work but how we organise education, healthcare, cities and, indeed, the political system.”

Leadbeater is releasing the book in draft form before its physical publication, which is planned for summer 2007. Most of the first draft was made available online this week, with the final three or four chapters following over the next few weeks.

Read full story

(via Demos)

13 October 2006

IDEO’s urban pre-planning [Metropolis Magazine]

Revitalization 18th & Vine
“Eighteenth and Vine—Kansas City’s historic but down-and-out jazz district—had a vision problem,” reports Andrew Blum in Metropolis Magazine. Then the Kansas City−based Kauffman Foundation came in and made it possible for the neighbourhood’s Jazz District Redevelopment Corporation to hire IDEO’s Smart Space practice to help develop a vision for the neighborhood.

“In 2000 IDEO had begun supplementing its industrial-design work with a growing interest in designing spaces, including hospitals, schools, and hotels. A couple of years ago that scale shifted again, to the point that the work of IDEO’s Smart Space practice, led by architect Fred Dust, now looks a lot like urban planning—but not in any conventional sense. Instead of doing massing studies or land-use plans, laying out infrastructure, writing zoning codes, or proposing blockbuster museums, IDEO’s Smart Space group articulates the spirit of a place but leaves its realization to the clients: developers, park conservancies, or hospitality companies.”

[The IDEO team applied] “the multidisciplinary method they bring to nearly all their projects. [...] Part anthropology (with IDEO’s trained anthropologists), part site exploration (with IDEO’s trained architects), part documentary filmmaking (with IDEO’s trained media artists), their approach is to seek the qualitative essence of the community from the perspective of the community.”

Blum juxtaposes the traditional urban planning approach with the idea-based approach taken by IDEO, which he sees as related to branding, marketing and “honed in the corporate world”.

“The firm deliberately dodges all the “technical” parts of urban planning: arranging infrastructure, determining financing, and navigating the public process. Instead it practices urban planning as branding: define the spirit of a place and then let others articulate that spirit—whether in bricks, mortar, tax breaks, or billboards. IDEO claims accountability only for its ideas.”

“It’s not clear that works, mostly because it’s too early to tell—but also because the team at IDEO is messing with the DNA of the planning process. They’re changing it from a concrete process of infrastructure and building to an imagined one of narrative and identity; they’re exchanging the idea of a place for place itself. In an urban realm already threatened by privatization—not just by developers but by a broader trend toward place-making as marketing—IDEO’s approach could be seen to further erode the idea of city-building as a democratic process (if it ever was) because of the way it applies the shiny language of marketing to the gritty mixed-up world of the city. As IDEO emphasizes, its communication skills have been honed in the corporate world, and its “user centered” approach is often cast as a particularly empathetic version of market research.”

Despite this initial criticism, Blum goes on to laud the allure, freshness and independence of the IDEO approach and praises their skill in interpreting the voice of the people.

Read full story

12 October 2006

Samsung’s DigitAll brand magazine on greatness in the digital era

Samsung's DigitAll magazine
The fall edition of Samsung’s DigitAll magazine explores greatness in the digital era.

To understand the topic better, Greg Lindsay portrays five business leaders of companies like Ingenio, Zopa, Honest Tea, Cleantech and Firefox.

Business writer Nicholas G. Carr (blog) meanwhile explores the topic conceptually, and investigates the claim that in the Age of the Internet, greatness in business is no longer “an expression of the aptitudes of individual persons or organisations, but a consequence of the connections between them”. Carr claims there is a “fundamental flaw in the thinking of those who believe greatness emerges naturally from the interconnections of the crowd or network”, the so-called “wisdom of the crowd”.

Also nice is a story by Observer architecture critic Deyan Sudjic on how designer Ross Lovegrove “turns technology into the experience of sense”.

12 October 2006

Joined-up experiences [The Guardian]

iPod
In a marketplace that offers a bewildering array of hardware, software and services, the company that prioritises ease of use stands a chance of winning, says Jack Schofield in The Guardian.

In the article, he compares Apple’s vertical model of integrate to providing digital experiences, as exemplified in the iPod system, which integrates online store, player and computer software, with Microsoft’s horizontal one, seen in its Plays For Sure music system. In the latter users have a wide choice of MP3 players from different manufacturers and a wide choice of online music stores, with Microsoft’s PC-based Windows Media Player and Microsoft’s digital rights management (DRM) in between.

The trend towards vertical integration is growing, even though it limits consumer choice. So “is it worth trading some choice for simplicity and a better end-to-end experience?” asks Schofield.

Although vertical integration “can give suppliers so much control that they can manipulate prices”, it is now making a comeback “because consumers are facing the problems businesses faced before [in the eighties]: integrating a wide array of products that they barely understand.” At the moment, better consumer experiences – not price/performance advances – are becoming the determining factor in buying decisions.

Schofield argues that “as these markets grow and mature”, the horizontal model will eventually prevail: “If we’re going have 10,000 manufacturers, we can’t have 10,000 different processors or operating systems, and we don’t want 10,000 different DRMs. Common standards have to emerge.”

Read full story

12 October 2006

What is user experience design?

Paradyme Solutions graph
An article on the Paradyme Solutions blog examines the term user experience design and analyses its relation to other fields, such as experience design, interaction design, information architecture, human-computer interaction, human factors engineering, usability and user interface design.

After pointing out and dissecting the overlap between these fields, the author concludes “the field of user experience design takes a broad approach to the enhancement of products, combining elements from various fields to create an optimal and well-rounded experience. This holistic methodology is often more adept at helping to reach a set of goals that encompass passive and active user interactions–goals determined both by users and the business or organisation.”

Read full story

(via Logic+Emotion)

11 October 2006

Philips Design magazine on foresighting techniques, health and ‘sensitive’ interactions

New Value by One Design
Philips today released the October issue of new value by One Design, its online quarterly design magazine.

As described in Stefano Marzano’s foreword, the issue is devoted to foresighting techniques, design concepts for a healthy lifestyle, and interactions that are responsive to subtle triggers like sensuality, affection and sensation.

In ‘Making sense of the future‘, the magazine explores how innovative foresighting research, and particularly Philips’ Compass Program, helps to provide the company with clues to the future to leverage new opportunities. Josephine Green, Senior Director, Trends & Strategy, New Solutions Development explains how they use a strategy of ‘putting people first’ (!): “People are very much at the center of the foresighting process [and this] offers us a much richer set of insights to drive innovation”.

The next step in simplicity is the title of an article on this year’s Simplicity Event in London (see also this post). The event addressed the issue of ‘A healthy lifestyle’ with the introduction of the Philips Design simplicity-led design concepts to help people become more aware of their own well-being. The article gives an overview of the thinking behind the concepts and the processes used to generate them.

A feature story addresses some of the subtlest, most sophisticated interactions: those that are ‘sensitive’ rather than intelligent and take place through a simple gesture, touch or glance. ‘You are what you wear‘ examines how Philips Design is exploring this issue in the SKIN Probe project. “We are experimenting with devices that are responsive to subtle triggers like sensuality, affection and sensation,” says Lucy McRae, Body Architect at Philips Design in Eindhoven, who is also interviewed in this issue.

Finally the magazine contains an interview with Harry Rich, Deputy Chief Executive of the UK Design Council on the value of design for business.

11 October 2006

Ziba Design on the importance of informed intuition [Fast Company]

Steve McCallion of Ziba Design
In an interview with Fast Company, Steve McCallion, creative director of Ziba Design, talks emphatically about the importance of informed design intuition.

“When you don’t do the research and rely solely on the designer’s intuition, you’re assuming that the designer is the design target. You design for yourself, and people like yourself buy the end result. Of course, designers have been successful doing that. But sometimes, we’ll have a team of 15 people working on a project. We’ve got to ensure that they’re all starting from the same place. We have to inform our design teams so they feel they can make the right calls. We still make intuitive decisions, but they’re based on an exhaustive amount of research. If the research is off, the whole project is off, because we won’t be intuiting the right things.”

“Informed intuition is a systematic way of filling up your decision-making process with a deep understanding of whom you’re designing for, so you make smart decisions as opposed to guesses. We combine primary and secondary research to create user profiles and scenarios — that’s what we design to.”

I could not agree more. As I wrote only yesterday in a reaction to a George Olson article in UX Matters, it is crucial to always have qualitative data to feed the design work.

- Read full interview
- Read portrait of Steve McCallion

10 October 2006

User-centred design not so good when designing breakthrough products

Vocera
“User-centred design (UCD) techniques [...] don’t seem to work particularly well when designing breakthrough products,” claims George Olson, who is the principal of Interaction by Design, in a long article on UX Matters.

He claims that UCD techniques offer little assistance “to matters of aesthetics and fashion” and “can’t tell you how people will respond to products they’ve never seen before, products people have difficulty imagining, or products whose success is simply a matter of taste.” Instead Olson argues that in these cases “vision-driven design is sometimes the right approach. In such cases, the role of UCD is to help better the odds that a particular idea will resonate with a product’s target market and screen out those ideas that won’t.”

I wouldn’t put it so strongly. UCD techniques help provide qualitative insight in people’s living or working context and often reveal many unaddressed needs. These insights can then be creativily developed into design ideas for entirely new products and services, which can be tested in e.g. look-and-feel or functional prototypes. So even with breakthrough products, one can first follow an approach of undertaking a user-driven foresight study and/or contextual inquiry, before moving to the design phase. The trick is too creatively transform these insights into design opportunities, i.e. to make these insights ingredients of the design vision. At Experientia we deliberately chose to put a very strong usability expert and a very strong designer at the very top level of the company, and generally don’t design unless we have some qualitative data to feed the design work.

However, Olson then goes on to provide some clever insights and best methodological practices that can enrich many current practices in UCD research:

  • Look for real problems people don’t realise they need to solve;
  • Help solutions find problems; (I am ambivalent on this one)
  • Help users visualise solutions through mock-ups and prototypes;
  • Recognise that users may not get a product concept immediately;
  • Ask how users might use a product;
  • Give users something familiar to hang their hats on;
  • Plan for flexibility in the ultimate use of your product.

In short, an article definitely worth reading!

Read full story

10 October 2006

Andy Budd on user experience design and user-centred design for the web

Clear Left
In a short interview on the online web design trends journal Fadtastic, Andy Budd argues that “user experience design relates to a whole series of disciplines, of which user-centered design is just one.

With user-centered design you typically focus on the functional needs of the user to make a product or service that fits in with their life. User experience design pushes this concept slightly further, by not only creating something that is easy to use, but creating something that is actually a pleasure to use.”

Andy Budd is design and user experience lead at Clearleft and author of the Blogography weblog.

Read full interview

10 October 2006

Bob Jacobson on advertising and experience design

Denuo
Bob Jacobson is one of the more thoughtful thinkers on experience design and the commentary he provides on his Total Experience blog is therefore frequently cited on Putting People First.

Yesterday he analysed how the advertising profession has opened a more systematic approach to experience design.

More in particular he looks at three initiatives: the Consumer Experience Practice of the Interpublic Group (IPG), Denuo of the Publicis Groupe, and the independent Brand Experience Lab.

(I might want to add Arc Worldwide, also of the Publicis Group.)

Bob provides a lot of insight in who is actually working for these initiatives, what their agenda is, and what that might mean for the field. He also goes into some depth on the Brand Experience Lab, which he thinks is “the most appealing for its holism”.

But more is needed, he concludes, to get the advertising industry to really address experience design issues, beyond the online world.

“Whatever happened to the industry’s paradigm-shifters? The advertising world is in the throes of the biggest upheaval since the advent of TV, and the revolutionaries are nowhere to be found. Instead, there are predictable arguments from predictable sources: The old-media mavens espouse the importance of integrated solutions with new media, and new-media moguls chatter politely about spreading the wealth with network TV.”

Read full post

10 October 2006

Jakob Nielsen on getting more users to contribute

90-9-1 rule
A few months ago I wrote about a Guardian article indicating that “if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will ‘interact’ with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.”

Now Jakob Nielsen is looking at this phenomenon which he calls the “90-9-1 rule” and adds some interesting data (from Technorati, Wikipedia and Amazon). Reflecting on how the unrepresentativeness of contributions can cause problems, he suggests five ways to make participation a little less unequal:

  • Make it easier to contribute;
  • Make participation a side effect of something else they’re doing (e.g. buying);
  • Have users modify something, rather than create it from scratch;
  • Reward — but don’t over-reward — participants;
  • Promote quality contributors and contributions.

Read full story