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Posts in category 'Americas'

12 February 2014

Data and design in innovative citizen experiences

 

The past decade has brought enormous and growing benefits to ordinary citizens through applications built on public data.

Any release of data offers advantages to experts, such as developers and journalists, but there is a crucial common factor in the most successful open data applications for non-experts: excellent design, writes Cyd Harrell, UX Evangelist at Code for America.

In fact, open data and citizen-centered design are natural partners, especially as the government 2.0 movement turns to improving service delivery and government interaction in tandem with transparency.

It’s nearly impossible to design innovative citizen experiences without data, but that data will not reach its full potential without careful choices about how to aggregate, present, and enable interaction with it.

“Design is a critical practice for enabling open data to reach its full transformative potential. Without citizens being able to interact with government data directly, we are unlikely to trigger a revolution in how services are provided. We all know how much we need that revolution, for reasons of cost, fairness, and human dignity.

Methods drawn from the user experience field are the easiest way to translate open data into a format that’s usable and accessible for the average (or non-average) citizen. The most successful and broadly used open data projects have always relied on design, whether or not people formally trained in design were part of the teams. Our task now is to bring our best design ideas into our shared movement and take advantage of everything the discipline has to offer. With design, we can give the public back its data in real use, as well as in name.”

31 May 2013

How Obama used ‘Ethnography Project’ to defeat Mitt Romney in 2012

FE_DA_130430ObamaConference620x413

Ken Walsh reports on how Team Obama made an unprecedented effort to understand the voters and speak their language, slicing and dicing the electorate with a sophistication and savvy that the Republicans couldn’t match and are still scrambling to replicate.

“The Obama team’s opinion research was led by Joel Benenson, a tough-minded pollster from New York. [...]

In 2012, he succeeded, largely because the depth of his research was so extraordinary. Benenson says his goal as a pollster is “to understand the hidden architecture of opinion” and to “probe deeply into the underlying values and attitudes that shape how people are viewing the issues of the day and the content of their lives.”

One way that Benenson set the Obama campaign apart was through the ethnography project. It was designed as a deep dive into the world of everyday Americans not only to clarify their views on politics but to find insights into their “daily lives,” Benenson told me.

After the responses [to an online questionnaire] were analyzed, nine voters were chosen from among the participants in each of the three states, and they were further divided into groups of three, or “triads.” At that point, detailed interviews were conducted to learn even more about them as individuals.

They were questioned, for example, about their routines, their families, their concerns about the present and their hopes and fears about the future. Each of these sessions lasted about 2 1/2 hours. They were also asked whether Obama deserved to be re-elected, and why.

Benenson says this information, compiled into what he calls “ethno-journals,” was combined with the results of many regular opinion polls and focus groups. The ethnography project produced 1,400 pages of transcripts and data.”

6 April 2013

Videos of breakout sessions at the recent Interaction13 conference in Toronto

ixd13_logo

The IxDA gathered in Toronto, Canada’s largest center for design, for its 6th annual conference. Here are the video records of the breakout talks that took place (grouped thematically).
 

AGILE / LEAN

Josh Seiden: A designer’s introduction to lean startup [15:04]
Josh Seiden introduces you to the key ideas of Lean Startup, talks about the amazing opportunities for designers this movement presents, and shares case studies of how he and his partners have used the techniques of Lean Startup as the foundation of their design studio.
 

BUSINESS

Johanna Kollmann & Martina Schell: Lean startup in design consulting: lessons learned [35:01]
As fast, user-centered development gains acceptance, many startups have successfully adopted a Lean Startup philosophy. But, why is it that many agencies and their clients still struggle to apply this methodology to larger-scale projects?

Matthew Connors: Print, snap, tap, track: using interactive print analytics to empower your design [25:32]
This session discusses the convergence of ink on paper and mobile through interactive apps that transfers the rapidly improving camera functionality and capabilities of iOS and Android devices to allow print readers to engage in various types of interactivity.

Nir Eyal: Stop designing apps and start designing habits [33:01]
Companies need to know how to harness the power of the desire engine to improve peoples’ lives, while consumers need to understand the mechanics of behavior engineering to protect themselves from manipulation. More and more developers realize that their success hinges on understanding user behavior.
 

CONCEPT DESIGN

Adam Little: Realism in design – communicating authentic experiences for the real world [10:02]
Drawing on examples from outside of the design world, we will see how artists and film makers have used the spirit of realism to create lasting works that are authentic and truthful.
 

CONTEXT

Jason Brush: The dream of the 90s is alive [43:35]
This personal talk excavates key ideas and media from the 1990s, which we may have forgotten, that, twenty years ago, inspired a generation to embrace digital technology and invent the world we live in today, and investigates how the many of the dreams that drove the 1990s — whether we realize it or not — may be alive today still.

Julia Barrett: Social networks suck – social computing frees you [33:12]
Most browser and mobile applications are designed to suck you in and away from the people that are right near you. We’re often busy updating our statuses instead of talking to the people we’re ‘statusing’ about.

Trip O’Dell: If UX can kill it probably will: designing for the 70 mph interface [36:36]
How do you create a great experience when you have to balance a user’s desire for a “killer app” with one that will not get them killed?
 

EDUCATION / COMMUNITY

Gretchen Anderson: Driving impact not serving shareholders – lessons from the non-profit world [11:24]
This session shares the tools we use to orient our organization, GreatSchools, toward the impact we seek to achieve and how those in the for-profit space can benefit from their use too.

Michael Wolf: Interaction design for learning [35:38]
The talk introduces the audience to the background and theory of interactive learning environments, whilst presenting exciting examples of interaction design projects in the field.

Sami Nerenberg: Design for America – students creating local and social impact – No video available as yet
Design for America (DFA) is an award-winning nationwide network of interdisciplinary student teams and community members using design to create local and social impact.

Rob McMahon, Ken Reddick & Dave Holland: Intuitive Interfacing – No video available as yet
The use of interactive media in the Royal Ontario Museum’s Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana exhibit.
 

GAMING

Kunal Patel: Badges are the backup quarterbacks of game design [33:21]
While badges, points, and leaderboards can be used to create compelling digital products outside of games, how can we be sure they were the cause of success? Plenty of terrible games employ points and encourage competition, but what separates the good from the bad?

Ryan Coulter & Greg Martin: Navigating the media minefield [36:07]
So you’re designing a media UI — the one, multi-platform content solution that finally solves the living room, forever. It’ll be thoughtful, coherent, social and beautful to behold.

Timothy Garrand: Tell Me a Story But Make It Interactive! [28:02]
What interactive game narrative can teach us about UX process design.
 

HEALTHCARE / WELLNESS

Andy Goodman & Marco Righetto: Hack you – the human body is the next interface [33:15]
Today’s breakthroughs in “Bodytech” include a host of incredible innovations that will to transform our bodies, communication, society – even the human psyche. This provocative presentation will address emerging “smart medicines,” medical technologies, synthetic biology, robotics and organic body part replacements.

Audrey Richard-Laurent: Compliance – design to facilitate a healthcare service [11:49]
How to connect patients to their illness and the medical staff, while complying to the constraints of patient management in the care system?

James Senior: Designing a compassionate healthcare experience [33:26]
This session aims to inspire designers working in healthcare & wellness to keep compassion at the heart of our UX practice.

Juhan Sonin: Hacking Health – Designing for and understanding my health – No video available as yet
This presentation traces the evolution of the author’s health design experience covering open source solutions to interoperability and policy to the design of health stations and corporate clinic experiences.

Sweta Mohapatra: Health on the go – designing electronic health records for mobile [11:20]
This talk covers some of the lessons learnt from building mobile EHR applications, the types of design problems that need solving when designing an application based on desktop software, and the complexities of designing applications where patients’ lives are at stake.
 

METHOD

Derek Vaz: Bury the wireframe – a primer in interaction prototypes [14:16]
This talk discusses why interaction designers should abandon printouts for interaction prototypes, how to introduce them into your process and showcase real world examples and success stories.
 

MOBILE

Behzad Aghaei: Towards buttonless touch interaction [25:31]
Presentation of an interaction concept that attempts to replace traditional buttons or tap interactions with gestures for list navigation and contextual actions.

Calvin Tennant: Moving past the navbar – No video available as yet
This presentation addresses the shortcomings of the navbar and introduce alternate navigation methods.

Michael Costantino: Toucha toucha toucha touch me [16:42]
Comparing standard touch-based input in iOS with musical gesture and how MIDI might provide a framework for us to think about touch.

Nate Archer: Beyond responsive [10:33]
If we have learned anything from the recent push to mobile, we need to anticipate the future sooner rather than later; not only the next wave of formats, but everything after that.
 

PROCESS

Carla Diana: Making meaning in an Internet of Things [38:22]
The Internet of Things presents a juicy opportunity for designers to pioneer new territory in rich interaction, but it also can backfire, filling people’s lives with more frustrations over technology than ever before.

Chris Pennell & Jessica Bailey: Designing for Complexity – What Did I Get Myself Into? [08:44]
In an ideal world, UX designers get to learn all about the people who use these types of systems – what they do, and why they do it – in order to design and redesign experiences that meet users’ needs. But what do we do when the information available is less than ideal?

Dan Saffer: Microinteractions – Designing with details – No video available as yet
The difference between a good product and a great one are its details: the microinteractions that make up the small moments inside and around features.

Dane Petersen: On aircraft and craft [11:00]
This talk discusses self-imposed principles, and how they can inform the way we think about our own design experience.

Davide Casali: Social experience design – shifting the focus where really matters [36:55]
Too much focus on external metrics will harm in the long term the effectiveness of your social strategy as well as your company as a whole.

Jason Alderman: Learning visual design to become a better unicorn [18:25]
Designer and author Cennydd Bowles refers to hybrid designers as “unicorns”–those mythical creatures who not only can do user research, information architecture, and interaction design, but ALSO can make gorgeous interfaces.

Jason Ulaszek & Brian Winters: Setting course – design research to experience roadmap [38:19]
In this session you’ll learn how to turn design research activities into a mental model, identify potential new business opportunities and derive business and experience direction from your newly found consumer insight.

Josh Cothran: Personas made personal [14:38]
This talk provides an overview of the Meyers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI), highlights research and thought leadership relating personality types to technology usage, examines controversies and limitations of the MBTI and shares ways to use personality types to support and communicate design, including a brief case study.

Judith Siegel: CNN and the UX challenge of presenting long-form stories [10:01]
How is design and user experience considered when constructing pages and templates for these stories? How does the editorial process differ and adapt to web-based journalism?

Ron Goldin: Design and the mobile startup – Toronto edition [33:54]
Design and the Mobile Startup: Toronto Edition is the third in a series of discussions about how great mobile products emerge from the chaos and uncertainty that is startup culture.

Sander Viegers: Designer as connector [11:55]
The story of adding 722 emoticons to Windows 8 and designing the invisible parts of the UX by connecting people.

Silvia Calvet: Switch on and design for good everyday [22:22]
This presentation is about how to adopt a new awareness to add human and ethical strand into our everyday work.

Susan Dybbs: Beautiful failures [11:45]
In this talk Susan Dybbs shares failures from three categories: relationships, results and process. Each story has its own foreboding indicator that provides opportunity for reflection but also an opportunity to reframe the failure as something to be celebrated.
 

ROBOTICS

Matthew Powers: Smart and beautiful – designing robots and intelligent machines [33:50]
Think about the design implications of robots and intelligent machines working in our world, does not only include considering the physical and interaction design, but also the robot’s impact on our social ecosystem.
 

SERVICE DESIGN

Franco Papeschi: Innovation, investment, influence and impact: design that fosters change [38:04]
In this session, Papeschi presents an approach that goes beyond user-centred design and activity-centred design: impact-driven design.

Sara Cantor Aye: Designing everything but the food [34:59]
This year, in partnership with the SAIC, Greater Good Studio designed and built a new public school cafeteria. While that sounds like an architecture project, it really means designing interactions between kids and food, staff, space and other kids!
 

STRATEGY

Azmina Karimi: Grandma likes my Facebook status – how older adults are influencing the digital enterprise
This talk helps us understand the digital practices of older adults, and new opportunities it can create for the social and business models of our clients and brands.

Carina Ngai: Failed futures [15:01]
To design meaningful futures, designers will need to embrace a different perspective: It’s no longer about out of the box thinking, but finding the right box to frame the opportunity space.

Cindy Chastain: New frontiers – the UX professional as business consultant [47:17]
This talk is meant to be both a thought starter as well as a lively group discussion around how UX can begin to play a substantive role in a company’s digital strategy.

Iram Mirza & Jannie Lai: You’ve been asked to re-design the wheel [15:08]
…and while you are at it “make it like Apple”!

Jan Moorman: Measuring user delight using the Kano methodology [39:44]
Learn why and how this methodology can be harnessed in design strategy decisions.

Jonathan Rez: Tomorrow’s news [15:54]
In this session Rez highlights some of the issues with current news websites and apps and presents a number of proposals for the delivery of tomorrow’s digital news.

Juan Cartagena: Getting what you want
This talk covers the mistakes we made, what we have learnt from them, and how we now lead users to do what we expect with our “dietary” approach to UX.

Matt Walsh: Tense up – creating positive tensions in experiences [47:32]
A few months ago we asked designers to finish this sentence: “One of the best ways I’ve seen positive tension created in an experience is…”

Peter Stahl: Rhythm, flow and style [32:37]
Your choice of rhythmic style, and how it’s expressed, can set up predictable behavior patterns and foster intuitions and extrapolations that will result in an engaging, rewarding experience.

Stephen Gay & Rich Redka: Ignite potential – value exchange networks [34:23]
Services are shifting from an era in which companies created and delivered monolithic offerings to passive consumers, to an era in which services exist as networks of value co-creation.

6 April 2013

Videos of keynotes and panel discussions at the recent Interaction13 conference in Toronto

ixd13_logo

The IxDA gathered in Toronto, Canada’s largest center for design, for its 6th annual conference. Here are the video records of the keynotes and panel discussions that took place.

KEYNOTES

Albert Shum: Connecting – emerging themes for interactions [36:59]
This session will share some of the design thinking behind emerging interactions themes and provide ways for design making that will help us create holistic human experiences to enrich people’s lives.

Jer Thorpe: Data & human experience [41:57]
By framing data in a human context, we can use it more effectively, and ultimately foster better practices for data-focused design.

John Bielenberg: Rubber ducks and hockey gloves (or, how to jump the ingenuity gap) [38:22]
How do you unlock the ingenuity that exists within people and organizations? Welcome to Future Blitz, the process of using rapid ingenuity to address your greatest challenges.

Kate Hartman: Social prosthetics – technology and the human form [43:54]
What gizmo can we use to read our minds, expose our hearts, or settle disputes? What gadget can improve our communication with house plants or buildings or glaciers?

Paul Adams: How to design social experiences [46:52]
Paul talks about the social design process, how it differs from classic user-centred design methods, and will explain why he thinks UX professionals will need to change how they work to be successful in the future.

Ravi Sawhney: Our power to empower – the satisfaction of designing for social impact [27:04]
Creating social impact is one piece of a very large world that flows through our fingertips as we conceive and create not only new user experiences but in fact new, highly empowered users… everywhere.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS

Data depth and ingenuity [46:19]
Panel with Jer Thorp, Todd Silverstein, Andrew Crow & Ben Fullerton
Big Data…so what? Have you heard it isn’t the size of the data, but what you do with it that matters? Cutting across industry and domain, we’ve invited some of the top creative minds to discuss and debate the value of information, in an information age. What to look for, how to determine what is important in the loads of data captured, and why making meaning out these mountains of digits can be so valuable.

Design led startups [40:21]
Panel with Ben Fullerton, Todd Silverstein, Raphael Grignani, Josh Seiden & Suzanne El-Moursi
This panel brings together a group of designers and entrepreneurs to discuss the real value of design in the startup world, how designers can think about entering the entrepreneurship world and what it takes to “jump ship” and start your own company.

Interaction design education workshop report back [1:13:10]
Panel with Dave Malouf, Haig Armen, Kendra Shimmell, Kristian Simsarian & Dianna Miller
The workshop co-organizers and the topic session facilitators present their session topics as well as communicate the next steps this group of people have planned in relation to interaction design education.

IxDA 10th anniversary panel [59:02]
Join members of the IxDA leadership – past and present – for a look at how our community has evolved between 2003 and 2013. Learn how IxDA started. Discover some of IxDA’s secrets: key moments, inflection points, lessons learned, and how it’s impacted peoples’ lives and work. Hear about where IxDA is today and where it’s going – what are our ideas & goals for the future and how we might get there through working together.

Open Brands: The future of brands is OPEN [52:14]
Panel with Matt Walsh, Donald Chestnut, Steve Baty & Suzanne El-Moursi
The role of interaction design in building an open brand.

ReDux Live: IxD13 [40:29]
Panel with Cliff Kuang, Jeroen van Geel & Lin Yee Yuan
With their fresh eyes and ears they shared from their perspectives the big ideas, trends and predictions from IxD13 and reflected on them while we were still together as a community in Toronto.

The great UX debate [1:02:32]
Panel with Robb Stevenson, Lou Lenzi, Angel Anderson, Donald Chestnut & Mikkel Michelsen
Following the outstanding success of the ‘Great IxDA Debate’ at Interaction12, Dublin, SapientNitro & IxDA have joined forces once again to organize another ‘Great UX Debate’ at Interaction13, Toronto.

20 December 2012

How technology has restored the soul of politics

Joe Trippi

Longtime political operative Joe Trippi advocates a bottom-up, people-centered politics, and cheers the innovations of Obama 2012, saying they restored the primacy of the individual voter.

“New technologies can manipulate, empower, or do both. There will be plenty of actors in both politics and business who will use the innovations of the Obama 2012 campaign as tools to manipulate people. But for me, right now, it feels as if technology has empowered people and given politics back its soul.”

13 December 2012

The man looking to turn Samsung into a Silicon Valley trendsetter

samsung.qax299

Samsung is doubling down on technology investments in Apple’s backyard, including two new R&D buildings in Silicon Valley that will house 2,000 staff and a recently announced startup accelerator.

Leading this effort is Young Sohn, who started at Samsung in August as president and chief strategy officer. He has spent a long career leading several successful Silicon Valley semiconductor and storage companies after founding Intel’s PC chipset business and running its joint venture with Samsung in the 1980s.

MIT Technology Review business editor Jessica Leber sat down with Sohn in his office in Menlo Park, California, to talk about his new mandate, why he still uses Apple devices at home, and what his company needs to do to stay ahead.

“I think we have probably the largest platform in the world between the devices and displays and televisions we sell. We actually provide more devices that are interacting with consumers than anyone in the world. But if you think about our experiences, it’s device-centric. It’s experienced by itself. It’s not experienced in a connected way. So we think we can provide a lot more things than what we are doing today with an open ecosystem with our partners.”

26 November 2012

Research on Android tablet use in 5th grade classrooms

Learning-is-Personal

The series of research projects on tablet use in schools (see here, here and here) now also has an Android study.

A small research project by Marie Bjerede and Tzaddi Bondi, equipped a 5th grade class of 27 students in Portland, Oregon (USA) with 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab devices with mobile broadband data to use for learning as well as for their own purposes. Though there were a number of technical issues the results were overwhelmingly positive with greater student engagement.

Below are some of the conclusions, observations, and opinions:

Surprisingly, the quality of student writing on 7-inch tablets and on netbooks was essentially equivalent. Student preferences, however, regarding which device to use for creating content varied. In general, though, students prefer to use laptops for large projects (e.g. content that requires substantial editing) and mobile devices for quick notes (e.g. content that requires essentially no editing at the time it is created).

For the purposes of writing, mobile devices share many of the limitations of writing with pencil and paper – it is linear and cumbersome to edit, though fairly straightforward to create. Although mobile devices are great for capturing pictures, video, voice and even draft writing, laptops with their bigger screens and keyboards and mature software are at an advantage for editing and polishing large projects as well as at combining multiple media.

Although Android devices have a number of desirable qualities, including a lower cost and an open ecosystem for apps, the relative immaturity of the Android ecosystem prevents us from being able to recommend Android devices for school implementations at this time. There is no guarantee of backward compatibility – that new apps will work on older devices. Though this is also beginning to be true in the iOS ecosystem, the problem there is much smaller as there are far fewer operational devices not running the most current version of iOS. Also, since the Android operating system, the hardware, the vendors, and the communications providers are separate organizations, there is no single organization responsible for the whole system as sold, making it cumbersome for educational institutions to manage successfully on their own.

Some of the concerns discussed regarding the use of mobile devices for students strike us as red herrings. In practice, we found no need for device management software as students took ownership of their devices, their learning, and the management of their device images. We found students became savvy and safe Internet users when exposed to authentic Internet user experiences (though social networking happened only within a secure, teacher-managed platform). We found students quickly established a culture of responsible use of their devices, which seemed to enhance their learning rather than distracting them from it. We noticed students becoming confident of hardware and software obstacles, turning first to each other for support and generally finding answers within their classroom community or online.

We observed an organic shift in educators’ approach to teaching, transitioning from primarily preparing and delivering content to the class to an environment where students independently seek out content and contribute it to ongoing classroom discussion. The outcome was a culture where the educator and students learned together, and from each other. We believe that two conditions were essential for this shift: first, that each student had his or her own, connected device that was used for personal purposes as well as for classroom learning; second, the classroom learning culture supported the students’ individual freedom (and responsibility) to explore and experiment, permitting them to decide how to best use the devices to support their learning in the 5th grade.

We found that students independently chose to use their devices in “snippets of time” for math, spelling, word games, reading, and other educational uses that matched their interest, level, and pace. In effect, the students essentially eliminated down time from their day while self-differentiating their learning.

Over the course of the year, the students developed skills and habits in using the tools and resources available through their mobile devices. In their culminating project, a presentation of a colonial trade, the implications of those skills became apparent in project work that was significantly richer, more complex, and more sophisticated than that of students in prior years.

6 November 2012

How teens do research in the digital world

 

According to Pew Internet research, the teachers who instruct the most advanced American secondary school students render mixed verdicts about students’ research habits and the impact of technology on their studies. More in particular, they say that students’ digital literacy skills are weak and that courses or content focusing on digital literacy must be incorporated into every school’s curriculum.

Some 77% of advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers surveyed say that the internet and digital search tools have had a “mostly positive” impact on their students’ research work. But 87% say these technologies are creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans” and 64% say today’s digital technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically.”

According to this survey of teachers, conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in collaboration with the College Board and the National Writing Project, the internet has opened up a vast world of information for today’s students, yet students’ digital literacy skills have yet to catch up:

  • Virtually all (99%) AP and NWP teachers in this study agree with the notion that “the internet enables students to access a wider range of resources than would otherwise be available,” and 65% agree that “the internet makes today’s students more self-sufficient researchers.”
  • At the same time, 76% of teachers surveyed “strongly agree” with the assertion that internet search engines have conditioned students to expect to be able to find information quickly and easily.
  • Large majorities also agree with the notion that the amount of information available online today is overwhelming to most students (83%) and that today’s digital technologies discourage students from using a wide range of sources when conducting research (71%).
  • Fewer teachers, but still a majority of this sample (60%), agree with the assertion that today’s technologies make it harder for students to find credible sources of information.
  • Given these concerns, it is not surprising that 47% of these teachers strongly agree and another 44% somewhat believe that courses and content focusing on digital literacy should be incorporated into every school’s curriculum.
25 October 2012

Want proof that market fit is everything? Test your app in the slums of Sao Paulo

emprego

For the Stanford-educated founders of Emprego Ligado, creating a successful app in Brazil required dismantling every assumption about the target audience.

Emprego Ligado, which translates to “connected job,” launched in Sao Paulo this summer with the aim of connecting unskilled laborers to jobs close to home via SMS: Workers text the system when they need a job, and they system texts back with jobs in the area that match their preferences. It sounds simple enough, but arriving at a working model required dismantling every assumption the founders had about their target market.

He and his two cofounders, Rosenbloom and Nathan Dee, decided to tackle the problem with good old-fashioned sociological research, which they used as a basis for a simple working prototype.

Read article

5 August 2012

What marketing executives should know about user experience

bio_nick_myers

What marketing executives should know about user experience” is the title of a short and introductory piece, mainly aimed at marketing people, by Nick Myers, managing director of visual design & branding at Cooper (a design and strategy firm in San Francisco that I had the pleasure of visiting two weeks ago).

His central question is how marketers can connect customers and brands in the digital era, and direct their organizations to guide products that inspire lasting engagement.

The language and approach in this short article can provide guidance to all of us in the UX community on the kind of arguments we can use with the marketing executives whom we often face as (prospective) clients.

7 June 2012

Forget B-School, D-School is hot

dschool

The Wall Street Journal published the umpteenth article on design thinking education.

What I keep on missing in these pieces is some reflection on what understanding people actually means: ethnographic and anthropological observation and fast prototyping, combined with some creativity, will not by themselves create sufficiently sustainable solutions, I believe.

When you deal with people, you will always need a model of behaviour, and this requires a serious understanding of cognitive and behavioural science, as well as some behavioural economics.

However, what is definitely commendable about these initiatives, is the integration of design with business. Designers are not always good at that, and business people too have often difficulties working out strategic design challenges.

Read article

2 June 2012

US Veterans Administration launches iPad patient study on tablet use

VA-logo-300x300

The US Veterans Administration has announced it has created an initiative aimed at studying the benefits associated with the use of mhealth apps and tablet devices to improve and coordinate care between physicians, veterans and their families/caregivers.

To that end, the VA is handing out 1,000 iPads to veteran’s families in the “Clinic-in-Hand” pilot program. These are not just stock iPads either, they will come pre-loaded with apps that are designed to facilitate communication with the veteran’s physician.

Read article

19 May 2012

After ethnography, and other papers by Iota Partners

iota

Iota Partners is a new Chicago-based venture of Rick Robinson and John Cain (with whom Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels once worked at Sapient) that deals with user experience research, sensor-based data, and smart modelling.

The papers section on their website is worth exploring in some depth. Here are some of them:

After ethnography
This paper is based on the transcript of Rick E. Robinson’s talk “After Ethnography,” which he presented at a Telefonica-sponsored conference on user-centered design in Madrid, in December 2010. Bringing together a series of points Rick calls his “tiny arguments” it forms a larger assessment of the state and future of user research.

Nice work
This sample chapter comes from a book in progress by Rick E. Robinson that will bring together many of Rick’s talks and writings on the theory and practice of user research. Based on a talk Rick gave at an internal research colloquium for senior staff members at a major technology company—an audience already familiar with Rick’s previous work at E-Lab—the talk focused on creating an effective research practice and on working with the idea of models.

Valuable to Values: How “User Research” Ought to Change
“Valuable to Values: How ‘User Research’ Ought to Change,” written by Maria Bezaitis and Iota Partner Rick E. Robinson, originally appeared in Design Anthropology: Object Culture in the 21st Century (Springer Vienna Architecture, 2010) edited by Alison J. Clarke, a professor at University of Applied Arts Vienna, and a student of anthropologist Daniel Miller when she did her graduate work at University College, London. It covers a lot of ground. Some history. Some reflection. A healthy dose of unsolicited advice to several different fields of research. Enjoy.

13 April 2012

Digital differences in the USA

 

When the Pew Internet Project first began writing about the role of the internet in American life in 2000, there were stark differences between those who were using the internet and those who were not.1 Today, differences in internet access still exist among different demographic groups, especially when it comes to access to high-speed broadband at home. Among the main findings about the state of digital access:

  • One in five American adults does not use the internet.
  • The main reason they don’t go online is because they don’t think the internet is relevant to them.
  • The 27% of adults living with disability in the U.S. today are significantly less likely than adults without a disability to go online (54% vs. 81%).
  • Though overall internet adoption rates have leveled off, adults who are already online are doing more.
  • Currently, 88% of American adults have a cell phone, 57% have a laptop, 19% own an e-book reader, and 19% have a tablet computer; about six in ten adults (63%) go online wirelessly with one of those devices.
  • The rise of mobile is changing the story.
  • Both African Americans and English-speaking Latinos are as likely as whites to own any sort of mobile phone.

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12 April 2012

Boston Citizens Connect

bcc

With its Citizens Connect app, Boston is showing how to use technology to empower citizens and involve them in the inner workings of the city. Hana Schank reports on FastCo.Exist.

“Some cities seem to take an approach to digital that either involves throwing a bunch of stuff against a wall to see what sticks, or focusing on back-end upgrades that are largely invisible to citizens. Boston, however, has a unique approach which has not only earned it recognition as a top digital city, but which also allows the city to develop truly user-centered digital applications.

Co-chaired by Nigel Jacob and Chris Osgood, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics acts more like an open-door digital consultancy than just another city agency in that it spends time talking to city agencies and citizens alike in order to find out what people need and then developing accordingly. In other words, the office gets users involved throughout the process in a meaningful way, and the result is apps that work.”

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17 March 2012

On the relationship between socio-economic factors and cell phone usage

ictd2012

The ubiquitous presence of cell phones in emerging economies has brought about a wide range of cell phone-based services for low-income groups. Often times, the success of such technologies highly depends on its adaptation to the needs and habits of each social group.

In an attempt to understand how cell phones are being used by citizens in an emerging economy, the authors, Vanessa Frias-Martinez and Jesus Virseda of Telefonica Research, present a large-scale study to analyze the relationship between specific socio-economic factors and the way people use cell phones in an emerging economy in Latin America. They propose a novel analytical approach that combines large-scale datasets of cell phone records with countrywide census data to reveal findings at a national level.

The main results show correlations between socio-economic levels and social network or mobility patterns among others. The authors also provide analytical models to accurately approximate census variables from cell phone records with R2≈0.82.

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3 February 2012

Ethnography of mobile phone use in remote Mexican village

mobilehci2011

Tricia Wang of UCSD’s Department of Sociology and Barry Brown of the Mobile Life VINN Excellence Center Stockholm presented the paper “Ethnography of the telephone: Changing uses of communication technology in village life” at MobileHCI 2011.

Abstract

While mobile HCI has encompassed a range of devices and systems, telephone calls on cellphones remain the most prevalent contemporary form of mobile technology use. In this paper we document ethnographic work studying a remote Mexican village’s use of cellphones alongside conventional phones, shared phones and the Internet. While few homes in the village we studied have running water, many children have iPods and the Internet cafe in the closest town is heavily used to access YouTube, Wikipedia, and MSN messenger. Alongside cost, the Internet fits into the communication patterns and daily routines in a way that cellphones do not. We document the variety of communication strategies that balance cost, availability and complexity. Instead of finding that new technologies replace old, we find that different technologies co-exist, with fixed telephones co-existing with instant message, cellphones and shared community phones. The paper concludes by discussing how we can study mobile technology and design for settings defined by cost and infrastructure availability.

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(via MobileActive)

15 December 2011

Highway to health

Carseat

Incorporating wireless technology into its newest cars, Ford prepared to roll out vehicles capable of monitoring everything from pollen counts to glucose levels.

“[Ford] started concentrating on the aging population in 1999, and a focus on health and wellness within the car is at the center of their new approach. Unobtrusive ergonomic changes like lowered door frames—much kinder on stiff joints—have already been making a quiet appearance throughout the fleet. Within the next five years Ford will be rolling out more-dramatic medical apps for its voice-controlled Sync platform, a communications and entertainment system developed with Microsoft, which was first introduced in 2007.

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20 September 2011

Transform Conference at Mayo Clinic (videos)

Transform 2011
A week ago Mayo Clinic — the world’s largest and first integrated nonprofit medical practice — hosted the Transform symposium in Rochester, Minn., USA.

The event focused on innovations and designing solutions to transform the experience and delivery of health care.

Videos of most of presentations are now online. Speakers are listed here in the order of the presentation schedule.

 
SESSION: DESIGNING SOLUTIONS

Opening [18:26] by John Hockenberry
Journalist and Commentator
Four-time Peabody Award winner and four-time Emmy Award winner John Hockenberry has broad experience as a journalist and commentator for more than three decades. Currently, Hockenberry is host of the live public radio morning news program “The Takeaway,” produced by Public Radio International and WNYC New York. He is a former anchor for MSNBC and correspondent for NBC News, ABC News, and National Public Radio. He has been a regular commentator for “The Infinite Mind” radio program on mental health issues and host of the four-part Public Broadcasting Service documentary “Remaking American Medicine.”

Design for social impact [11:26] by William Drenttel
Director, Winterhouse Institute, and Publisher, Design Observer
William Drenttel is a partner at Winterhouse, a design practice in northwest Connecticut that focuses on online publishing, health care and education, and design programs of social impact. He is the publisher and editorial director of Design Observer, the leading international website about design, urbanism, social innovation and visual culture.

“Prove it” kills innovation [19:57] by Roger Martin
Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Martin writes extensively for newspapers and magazines, including Financial Times, BusinessWeek, Washington Post, Fast Company and The Globe & Mail. For Harvard Business Review, he has written 11 articles and authors a regular blog. His books include The Responsibility Virus (2002), The Opposable Mind (2007), The Design of Business (2009), and the forthcoming Fixing the Game (May 2011), plus two books co-authored with Mihnea Moldoveanu, The Future of the MBA (2008) and Diaminds (2009). In 2010, he was named by BusinessWeek as one of the 27 most influential designers in the world. The previous year, The Times (of London) and Forbes.com included him as one of the 50 top management thinkers in the world (#32).

Small x Many [18.10] by David Webster
Partner at IDEO, Global Health & Wellness Practice Lead
David Webster knows from experience that design thinking can massively improve the health care ecosystem for patients, professionals and organizations. He is inspired by the rapid escalation of technologies and a new generation of colleagues who are looking to create meaningful impact in the field. He sees a broad range of opportunities for innovation, from advancing surgical tools to developing consumer brands that make healthful eating irresistible.

Designing Solutions: Through the Patient’s Eyes [22:53] by Chris Hacker
Chief Design Officer, Global Strategic Design Office, Johnson & Johnson Group of Consumer Companies
Hacker’s passion is bringing awareness to designers of their power in the business world to make sustainable design a key paradigm of design process and, therefore, make the products and materials produced more ecologically friendly to the planet.

Hanky Pancreas [07:06] by Jessica Floeh
Designer
Jessica Floeh, a human-centered designer and 2010 graduate of Parsons The New School For Design, began Hanky Pancreas™ during her master’s thesis, addressing a theme of design, technology, and the human condition. For her research, she focused on the socio-psychological impact of wearable diabetes technologies and worked with a group of women with diabetes in New York. Through them, she was inspired to create designs that would ignite conversation and support in everyday environments.

 
SESSION: CORPORATE CREATIVITY

Changing The Way People Eat [17:29] by Dondeena Bradley, Ph.D.
Vice President, Global Design and Development, Nutrition Ventures PepsiCo
Designing and developing holistic solutions that target the special nutritional needs of consumers who have diverse health issues, such as obesity and diabetes.

Mastering Work [18:53] by James Hackett
President and Chief Executive Officer, Steelcase Inc.
James Hackett is president and chief executive officer and director of Steelcase Inc., the global leader in the office furniture industry. Steelcase delivers a better work experience to its customers by providing products, services and insights into the ways people work. Its portfolio includes architecture, furniture and technology products.

Who was the Shooter’s Doctor? Away from Episodes of Care [21:11] by Paul Grundy, M.D., M.P.H., FACOEM, FACPM
Director, IBM Healthcare Transformation
An active social entrepreneur and speaker on global health care transformation, Dr. Grundy is focused on comprehensive, linked, and integrated health care and the concept of the Patient Centered Medical Home.

Discussion about the role of design in a tech-driven healthcare company [32:25] with Beth Comstock and Bob Schwartz
Respectively Senior Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer and General Manager of Global Design, GE
Beth Comstock leads the company’s organic growth and commercial innovation initiatives, and the sales, marketing and communications functions. She is responsible for the GE-wide business platforms ecomagination, devoted to reducing environmental impact with new technology, and healthymagination, focused on achieving sustainable health through innovation by lowering costs, improving quality and reaching more people.
Bob Schwartz is responsible for overseeing the Global Design function encompassing human factors, industrial design, ergonomics, and user interface and design research. As a strategic driver of business growth, his team focuses on the look, feel, usability and end-to-end experience of GE Healthcare (GEHC) products and services.

 
SESSION: RABBLE ROUSERS

Connective Tissue: What’s a designer to do? [33:24] by Allan Chochinov
Partner and Editor in Chief, Core77; Chair, MFA Products of Design, SVA
Allan Chochinov is a partner of Core77, a New York-based design network serving a global community of designers and design enthusiasts, and Chair of the new MFA in Products of Design graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Integrative Innovation [15:21] by Halle Tecco
Founder and Managing Director, RockHealth
RockHealth is the first seed-accelerator devoted exclusively to health apps. Tecco recognized the need and potential for startups in the interactive health space while working at Apple’s App Store covering the health and medical vertical.

Hello Health [28:47] by Jay Parkinson
Physician and Co-founder of Hello Health
Instead of pills and scalpels, Jay Parkinson, M.D., M.P.H., uses creative design to improve health. He is a pediatrician and preventive medicine specialist with a master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins. Dr. Parkinson appreciates aesthetics, our rapidly changing culture, and our health. And he straddles lines: Both pop culture and traditional health care have embraced his ideas. He is a partner in The Future Well, which creates engaging experiences that inspire health and happiness.

Health Leads [21:51] by Rebecca Onie
Co-founder of Health Leads
Last year, Health Leads trained and mobilized a corps of 660 college volunteers serving nearly 6,000 low-income patients and their families in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence, R.I. and Washington, D.C.

Design at the Mayo Center for Innovation [23:43] by Lorna Ross
Creative Lead and Manager, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation Design Team
Lorna Ross has 16 years’ experience working in design and design research, with the past nine years focused on health and health care. She is a graduate of The Royal College of Art, London.

 
SESSION: COMMUNITY INTERVENTIONS

Cultural Co-Morbidities [23:12] by John Thackara
Writer, educator and design producer
At Transform 2011, John will share with us the story of two projects he commissioned in the UK: Alzheimer 100 which is about the collaborative design of services to support caregivers; and DaSH [Design and Sexual Health] whose focus is on distributed Peer-to-Peer health information exchange. He will describe what happened as these two live prototypes impacted on the larger health and policy ecology.

The ECHO Project [17:07] by Sanjeev Arora, M.D., FACP, FACG
Director of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes)
Dr. Arora developed the Project ECHO model as a platform for service delivery, education and evaluation. Using video-conferencing technology and case-based learning, primary care providers from rural and underserved areas and prisons are trained and mentored by ECHO’s medical specialists to deliver best-practice management of complex health conditions in their communities or correctional institutions. A key component of the ECHO model is an innovation known as Knowledge Networks, in which the expertise of a single specialist is shared with numerous primary providers through telehealth clinics, thereby increasing access to care in rural areas without having to recruit, retain and fund additional providers.

Overshooting the moon [32:06] by Joseph Kolars, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives University of Michigan Medical School
Joseph Kolars obtained his M.D. degree in 1982 from the University of Minnesota Medical School, pursued internal medicine training in Minneapolis, and completed postgraduate training in gastroenterology at the University of Michigan in 1989. At the University of Michigan he oversees the associate deans responsible for the education programs, as well as global health initiatives for the medical school. Over the past four years, much of his work has focused on innovations that strengthen education systems to improve care in Africa and China.

Empowering Architecture [24:34] by Michael Murphy
Executive Director, MASS Design Group
Michael Murphy co-founded the MASS Design Group in 2008. Murphy’s firm led the design and construction of the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, which opened in January 2011.

Food Oasis [05:17] by John Crowley
Director, Engineering Group, MAYA
Crowley led the MAYA team that created FoodOasis, an end-to-end platform for closing the gap on healthy, affordable food. The FoodOasis solution focused on a critical consumer need and developed a complete solution to benefit consumers, providers and communities. MAYA believes that the challenges in health care today can only be addressed with a similar, systems-level approach that focuses on the deep, real-world challenges of consumers to drive toward business and public-sector innovation.

 
SESSION: INSPIRING HEALTH

Creating Consumers in Healthcare [19:13] by Dawn M. Owens
Chief Executive Officer, OptumHealth
Dawn Owens is chief executive officer of OptumHealth, a UnitedHealth Group business and one of the nation’s largest health and wellness companies. She leads nearly 11,000 employees in delivering information, tools and solutions that people use to navigate the health care system, finance health care needs and achieve their wellness goals.

Meet the Patient [19:34] by Gianna Marzilli Ericson and Augusta Meill
Respectively Senior Strategist Service Design and Vice President, Continuum
Gianna Marzilli Ericson combines expertise in research and design to understand people’s needs, desires and behaviors and to create compelling experiences based on that understanding. She is passionate about improving health sector services and believes wholeheartedly in the power of social science and design to inform each other.
Augusta Meill believes in the power of design to change lives. As a vice president at Continuum, a global design and innovation consultancy, she works with clients to drive business impact by creating experiences that make a real difference for people.

Paths to Resilience [25:49] by Andrew Zolli
Futures Researcher
Andrew Zolli is a futures researcher who studies the complex forces at the intersection of technology, sustainability and global society that are shaping our future. He is the Curator of PopTech, the thought leadership and social innovation network, which has pioneered new programs to train social innovators and scientists; and spurred significant advances in mobile healthcare, education, sustainability, and a number of related fields.

Anatomy of a Tweet [14:25] by Maggie Breslin
Senior Designer/Researcher, Center for Innovation, Mayo Clinic
Maggie Breslin believes strongly that good conversation is a critically important, but largely ignored, component of our health care system and champions this idea whenever she can.

I Like Doctors” [27:11] by Dave deBronkart
Patient Advocate, e-Patient Dave
Dave deBronkart, better known on the Internet as “e-Patient Dave,” may be the leading spokesperson for the e-Patient movement. e-Patients are described as empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled.

29 July 2011

Art that interacts if you interface

Talk to Me
The New York Times reviews Paola Antonelli’s “Talk to Me” show at the Museum of Modern Art.

“At its best “Talk to Me” makes you aware of how our relationship to design has become more emotional and intuitive. Ms. Antonelli points out that “we now expect objects to communicate, a cultural shift made evident when we see children searching for buttons or sensors on a new object, even when the object has no batteries or plug.”

And the show is certainly a brave undertaking for a design department that’s still strongly associated with 20th-century modernism. It’s a big step from a Corbusier chair to an iPhone, or as Ms. Antonelli puts it, “from the centrality of function to that of meaning.”

But from a viewer’s perspective MoMA’s messianic embrace of smartphones in galleries is enervating. Call me a reactionary, but I’m convinced that looking, not scanning or tweeting, is still the primary purpose of a museum visit.”

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