counter

Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
Audience Business Culture Design Locations Media Methods Services Social Issues

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


Posts in category 'User experience'

3 April 2013

SAP sponsors the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF)

sam_yen_keynote_300

SAP has become the first major sponsor of the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF), writes Gerd Waloszek on the SAP Design Guild blog.

The HCI encyclopedia, which recently appeared in its second edition, is one of IDF‘s major assets. But IDF offers designers a plethora of free educational materials:

  • Free Textbooks: 100+ expert authors on how to design interactive systems. Used by universities and tech companies around the world.
  • Free Educational Videos: HD video interviews with leading technology designers and professors. Filmed around the world.
  • Free Educational Images: Royalty-free images suitable for learning, teaching, publications or just plain fun.
  • Free Wiki Bibliography: The world’s largest wiki bibliography. A goldmine of research on designing interactive products.
  • Free Toolbox: A curated toolbox of essential products/tools for interaction designers. Our paying members get significant discounts.
  • Free Conference Calendar: A curated calendar of great conferences – ideal opportunities for learning and professional networking.

In addition, IDF supports a professionals association that “is meant for those who want to invest in their career” (membership cost is $98). Thanks to SAP’s sponsorship, membership in this association and access to the resources is free for SAP employees (they will find the respective information on SAP-internal Websites).

In the future, IDF will, among others, cooperate closely with SAP’s new User Experience Community.

IDF is overseen and guided by a distinguished executive board of industry experts and leaders in the field of high tech, software design, and user experience. Members include Michael Arent from SAP and SAP’s former Vice President of User Experience Dan Rosenberg.

2 April 2013

Why data without soul is meaningless

nansense

As we move towards a quantified society, one shaped by data, we start to dismiss things that are unquantified, writes Om Malik of GigaOm. Empathy, emotion and storytelling — these are as much a part of business as they are of life.

“The problem with data is that the way it is used today, it lacks empathy and emotion. Data is used like a blunt instrument, a scythe trying to cut and tailor a cashmere sweater.” [...]

“What will it take to build emotive-and-empathic data experiences? Less data science and more data art — which, in other words, means that data wranglers have to develop correlations between data much like the human brain finds context. It is actually not about building the fanciest machine, but instead about the ability to ask the human questions. It is not about just being data informed, but being data aware and data intelligent.”

29 March 2013

The next Big UI Idea: gadgets that adapt to your skill

slideflowux

As gadgets get more complicated, UI’s must be able to teach their users over time. Philip Battin shows how flow can be used to improve the user experience in interactive electronic consumer products in an article for FastCo.Design.

“More and more interactive products are being returned. In 2002, 48% of all returned products were technically fully functional but were rejected for failing to satisfy user needs (28%) or purely due to users’ remorse (20%). Even though a product may have all the features one can hope for, complexity and bad user experience can prevent users from integrating it into their lives.

User experiences are subjective and dynamic, but by and large, interactive products are not designed to take people’s changing capacity and experience into account. But they could. Here, I present a model for how designers can use the fundamentals of video games and the psychological principles of flow to design enhanced user experiences.

24 March 2013

Big Data and personal data for behavioral analysis and behavioral change

logoMTL2

In a broader article on Big Data and privacy, the New York Times writes about the work of Alex Pentland, a computational social scientist, director of the Human Dynamics Lab at the M.I.T., and academic adviser to the World Economic Forum’s initiatives on Big Data and personal data.

His M.I.T. team, writes the New York Times, is also working on living lab projects. One that began recently, the Mobile Territorial Lab, is in the region around Trento, Italy, in cooperation with Telecom Italia and Telefónica, the Spanish mobile carrier. About 100 young families with young children are participating. The goal is to study how much and what kind of information they share on smartphones with one another, and with social and medical services — and their privacy concerns.

The Mobile Territorial Lab (MTL) aims at creating an experimental environment to push forward the research on human-behavior analysis and interaction studies of people while in mobility. MTL has been created by Telecom Italia SKIL Lab, in cooperation with Telefonica I+D, the Human Dynamics group at MIT Media Lab, the Institute for Data Driven Design (ID³) and Fondazione Bruno Kessler, and with contributions from Telecom Italia Future Center.

The data presents a valuable and unique source for investigating personal needs, community roles, phone usage patterns, etc. and for providing benefits to people in terms of personal, economic and social benefits.

MTL aims at exploiting smartphones’ sensing capabilities to unobtrusively and cost-effectively access to previously inaccessible sources of data related to daily social behavior (location, physical proximity of other devices; communication data (phone calls and SMS), movement patterns, and so on. The Mobile Territorial Lab (MTL) in Trentino aims at fostering mobile phone related research activities with real people on a very responsive territory. This include the involvement of a significant number of committed users with the goal of having a continuous and active user base to interact with and cutting down the experimentation setup costs. Not only.
A continued and active user base equipped with smartphones, enabling users to access (from everywhere) online services and to collect personal or contextual information from the integrated sensors, represents a valuable and unique sample for investigating new paradigms in the management of personal data.

22 March 2013

She’s not talking about it, but Siri is plotting world domination

siri

Apple has a vision of a future in which the disembodied voice of Siri is your constant companion.

It goes something like this: You arrive home at the end of a long day and plop down on the couch. A beer in one hand, your phone in the other, you say, “Siri, open Netflix and play The IT Crowd.” Midway through the program, you feel a draft. “Siri, it’s cold in here.” Siri politely tells you the temperature, and asks if you’d like it raised. The furnace kicks on. As the credits roll down the TV screen, Siri reminds you of your dinner date downtown. In the car, she gives you turn-by-turn directions to the restaurant and sends your date a text message to say you’re on the way. Halfway to dinner, you realize you need movie tickets. No problem. Siri takes care of that, too.

This is where Apple is headed with Siri, as the nascent voice-activated AI spreads from our phones to our desktops, our homes and even our dashboards to become our concierge to the digital world. Cupertino is moving aggressively to develop a distinct personality for Siri that will make interaction more natural and fluid, and kindle the innate human tendency to anthropomorphize objects.

Read article

22 March 2013

The next wave in branding: merging experiences across markets

tie

It’s time to start thinking strategically about designing user experiences for interconnected ecosystems like health care, argues frog’s Fabio Sergio.

“Within [massive inter-connected service ecosystems such as education, finance, or health care] the aim to shape an “experience” out of a jumble of disconnected products and platforms provided by different and sometimes competing brands and organizations can feel like an insurmountable, complex challenge.

This level of opportunity is great for consumers, who get to choose their own preferred route to satisfy a need or desire, but it poses novel challenges for experience design. Designers must now think about how to conceive and design such complex sequences of loosely choreographed interactions so that the overall experience can still generate a coherent set of impressions, ultimately cementing in people’s recollections and reflections the desired perception of a brand’s values.”

11 March 2013

Re-designing (or redefining) UXD

UXD2013_Hero

Putting People First rarely plugs conferences (before they happen) but this one seems intriguing:

RE:DESIGN/UX Design will take place in Silicon Valley on April 29–30, 2013. The events are capped at 125 attendees and the focus is on small-scale, spirited, salon-style discussions with industry leaders and peers.

The theme for 2013 is “James Bond is an Experience Designer: What UXD Can Learn from How Others Think”

“As we hurtle into the future and the concept of “experiences” changes dramatically by the day, what it means to be an “experience designer” is changing, too. At RE:DESIGN/UXD we’ll dive in and see what we can learn about crafting the future of experience by thinking like a British spy, a journalist, a genome-code cracker and beyond.”

The speaker line, very much focused on interactive media and Silicon Valley type software companies, is impressive, with such greats as Peter Merholz, Eric Rodenbeck and Jeff DeVries.

I wonder if they will discuss the rich debate currently unrolling on the changing role of UX research, particularly in Silicon Valley.

5 March 2013

Are our household appliances getting too complicated?

Breville toaster

Who needs a kettle with four heat settings? A washing machine with a ‘freshen up’ function? A toaster with six browning modes? What happened to the good old days of the on/off switch, asks Tom Meltzer in The Guardian.

“Function inflation or “setting creep” – both of which are names I’ve just made up – is not, of course, confined to the kitchen. We can see it in our computers and cars, our phones and televisions, and, in its purest form, in the deranged one-upmanship of a top-of-the-range Swiss Army knife, complete with a “fish scaler”, a “chisel” and a “pressurised ballpoint pen”. But is the surreal image of a war fought using descaled fish in Switzerland really progress? Or are all these settings just getting in our way?”

1 March 2013

The user research behind HTC One’s Sense 5 interface

htc-one-2

Drew Bamford, Director of User Experience at HTC, explains Sense 5.0 and why the company’s Android UX needed redefining.

“HTC radically overhauled the look and feel of Sense UI aboard the HTC One. It removed the standard homescreen of app icons and a weather widget and replaced it with something HTC says is far more useful.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, says Drew Bamford, Director of User Experience at HTC. Sense 5 is more than just a UX – it’s a redefined experience born from extensive research.

‘After releasing Sense 4 last year, I challenged the team to step back and take a fresh look at the overall customer experience,’ said Bamford, writing on the HTC Blog. ‘We interviewed customers for their personal feedback and we became students of human behaviour, taking more time than ever to observe how people use their phones today.’” [...]

The company’s research turned up three rather interesting points about the way in which its users interacted with Sense UXs of old. Most people, apparently, don’t differentiate between apps and widgets.

Widgets aren’t widely used – weather, clock and music are the most used and after that, fewer than 10 percent of customers use any other widgets.

Most of us don’t modify our home screens much. In fact, after the first month of use, approximately 80 percent of us don’t change our home screens any further.

25 February 2013

Isobel Demangeat on the UX of augmented reality

 

A bit of an older talk, but still quite interesting:

Isobel Demangeat, UX researcher at Qualcomm Corporate R&D Cambridge (UK), spoke at MEX in December 2011 on the nuances of short-range mobile interactions through augmented reality. Her in-depth talk shares the results of ongoing studies at Qualcomm’s labs in Cambridge, UK, bringing a much needed user-centred design perspective to the hype around AR.

23 February 2013

Designing empathy into an open Internet of Things

jessi_baker

The mobile technology of tomorrow may be real-time, always on and algorithm driven in its characteristics, writes designer Jessi Baker, but there is a real opportunity to design, create and promote open, empathetic systems allowing the Internet and connectedness to not only empower us to act as a global society, but to embed this in our every action, forging more than communication, but empathetic, social connections, between us, our lives and actions and other people, societies and environments.

23 February 2013

Cultivating empathic design in an analytical world

circuitry

There is an empathy gap in technology development, argues April Demosky on the FT’s Tech Blog.

“In the analytic, data-driven world of Silicon Valley, emotions often do not get factored into the latest product design.

This comes down to the way engineers and technicians think, says Anthony Jack, the director of the mind, brain, and consciousness lab at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. [...]

That tension appears in the hallways of Google and Facebook, where technical thinkers reign. Understanding how people in Africa use a product, or how people who speak Dutch use it, often starts with looking at data. [...]

At the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, Mr Jack urged technology leaders to do more to incorporate empathic-minded people into the production process, so that their tools were more relevant and useful to everyday folk.

“It’s still hard for a Google employee to really understand what it’s like for an average user to use a Google product,” Mr Jack said.”

Related article: Cerebral circuitry on on whether gadgets are changing how our brains work as regards empathy and human interaction:

“Online culture, and social networks in particular, are oriented toward outer lives, rather than inner lives, [says Jaron Lanier, a prominent Silicon Valley technologist]. It favours objective, quantitative thoughts over subjective, qualitative feelings.

Today’s dominant internet programs reflect the analytic minds of the engineers who built them and fail to capture the humanistic elements of everyday life, he says. As a result, technology is reducing the range of cognitive styles, similar to monocropping in agriculture, where the cultivation of one massive crop of wheat on the same land year after year reduces the diversity of soil nutrients and results in less resilient plants.”

22 February 2013

Lean and user experience, again

lean-loop

When anthropologist Natalie Hanson was asked last year to contribute to a new book called The Handbook of Business Anthropology, edited by Rita Denny and Patty Sunderland (who also wrote Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research, 2007) wrote a chapter about Lean and User Experience, because she feels that this is a critical trend for user experience professionals to understand.

As a sneak preview to the chapter, she shares (an earlier incarnation of) the methods part of the chapter.

Natalie Hanson is a trained anthropologist (with PhD from Temple University) working in the business world. Currently she is the Associate Principal for User Experience at ZS Associates. In her previous role at SAP, she served as a global Senior Director of Strategic Programs and User Experience in the Operations Board area. She founded the acclaimed anthrodesign listserv in 2002. Now in 2013, the list has nearly 3000 members (including social scientists, designers, and many others) who engage in dialogue both online and in person at local gatherings.

7 February 2013

Book: Orchestrating Human-Centered Design

ohcd

Orchestrating Human-Centered Design
Guy Boy
Springer, 2013

The time has come to move into a more humanistic approach of technology and to understand where our world is moving to in the early twenty-first century. The design and development of our future products needs to be orchestrated, whether they be conceptual, technical or organizational. Orchestrating Human-Centered Design presents an Orchestra model that attempts to articulate technology, organizations and people. Human-centered design (HCD) should not be limited to local/short-term/linear engineering, but actively focus on global/long-term/non-linear design, and constantly identify emergent properties from the use of artifacts.

Orchestrating Human-Centered Design results from incremental syntheses of courses the author has given at the Florida Institute of Technology in the HCD PhD program. It is focused on technological and philosophical concepts that high-level managers, technicians and all those interested in the design of artifacts should consider. Our growing software -intensive world imposes better knowledge on cognitive engineering, life-critical systems, complexity analysis, organizational design and management, modeling and simulation, and advanced interaction media, and this well-constructed and informative book provides a road map for this.

(via Fabio Sergio)

2 February 2013

The four waves of user-centered design

four-waves-of-ux-small

Dr. William Gribbons is director of the Master of Science in Human Factors in Information Design and founder and senior consultant of the Design and Usability Center at Bentley University.

An article for UX Magazine describes what he considers to be the four waves of user-centered design.

20 January 2013

The irrational consumer: why economics is dead wrong about how we make choices

lottery

The New Science of Pleasure,” a new paper by Daniel L. McFadden, reviews how psychology, biology, and neurology are ganging up on economics to prove that, when it comes to making decisions, people are anything but rational.

Abstract
The neoclassical view of consumers as relentless egoistic maximizers is challenged by evidence from cognitive psychology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and neurology. This paper begins by surveying the development of neoclassical consumer theory and the measurement of welfare, and expansions to encompass preference fields, nonlinear budgets, hedonic goods and household production, and consumption dynamics. Following this, it reviews the newer evidence on consumer behavior, and what this implies for the measurement of consumer beliefs, intentions, preferences, choices, and well-being.

The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson interviewed the author.

“Neither the physiology of pleasure nor the methods we use to make choices are as simple or as single-minded as the classical economists thought. A lot of behavior is consistent with pursuit of self-interest, but in novel or ambiguous decision-making environments there is a good chance that our habits will fail us and inconsistencies in the way we process information will undo us.”

17 January 2013

Living the Quantified Self life

wolcott

Festooned with digital accessories that track everything from his heart rate to his footsteps to his sleep patterns, Vanity Fair writer James Wolcott has plugged into the Quantified Self movement. Farewell to gut instinct, and hello to the “data-driven” life: a new path to personal and social enlightenment.

“Self-tracking—treating your body and brain waves as an info dispenser—exemplifies the irresistible converging of microchips, medical advances, social media, geek fashion, affinity branding, and the hardy American tradition of personal improvement. Benjamin Franklin, with his meticulously kept chart book notating his prog­ress in achieving the 13 virtues—frugality, industry, etc.—was a founding father of self-help programming, exhibiting a recordkeeping punctilio converting daily fluctuations into accounting reports with pen and paper. No need for dusty ledgers today—smart-phone apps can take dictation for us. The goal isn’t a steady uptick of Christian virtue and wise prudence, but a greater transparency of our personal biomechanics in the quest for vitality, mental clarity, sleep quality, pain management, smoother operation, enhanced productivity, Zen tranquillity.”

17 January 2013

Interview with Catalina Naranjo-Bock, UX design researcher

naranjobock

This week Danielle Arad interviewed Catalina Naranjo-Bock, UX design researcher, on key UX issues that are trending today in technology.

Catalina is a hybrid user experience designer and researcher who has collaborated with creative departments in companies across the US, Europe, Canada and South America in the area of human-centered product development. She has also served as adjunct faculty, speaker, and author in different design and research related contexts. Her professional engagements include projects with Intel, LEGO, Nickelodeon, MTV, and Yahoo!.

“I think user experience will continue to become more strategically important instead of just service-oriented. What I’m seeing right now is user experience company-wide goals and metrics that are driven by the highest management level. This is starting to happen more in the technology world, but might spread to other types of products. UX roles might become a lot more specialized; however, what companies will look for is people that have cross-functional skills and can work in a variety of settings. You will start seeing compartments in the field as companies try to find out the best user experience strategy. You will also see the new grads with lots of different skills in their education and a background in design combined with other types of fields that previously might not be associated.”

(via InfoDesign)

11 January 2013

How research misses the human behind the demographic

distance

Deutsch’s Douglas Van Praet discusses how focus-group feedback, and the whole notion of the consumer, are misguided and how research should focus on understanding the unconscious and improving human lives.

“How [market] research studies are done is at sharp odds with what science now knows. The elephant in the room is that the vast majority of our decisions are made unconsciously. What is a no-brainer for any cognitive scientist remains mind-boggling to marketers. The conscious mind is simply not running the show, but we’ve created an entire industry pretending that it does.

Advertisers are doubling down on this myth, investing in exhaustive investigations of self-reported preferences, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. These deceptions become guideposts for product and campaign development. For $150 and a ham sandwich, panelists are drilled for hours in formal focus groups before two-way mirrors and cleverly concealed microphones that elicit groupthink and inauthenticity. The best become “professional respondents” glibly dominating groups on the topic du jour–from potato chip to microchip.

The problem is we’re profoundly social beings having spent 99% of our evolution relying on vital resources from tribal affiliates whose opinions mattered. Group rejection likely meant a death sentence. So it’s no surprise we still only put our best face forward while artfully maneuvering ourselves competitively in the pecking order.

The brain is designed to hide most of our intentions and promote self-confidence, an adaptive function that improves lives and prevents information overload. So we invent stories and believe our lies and confabulations. Social science experiments reveal that we are inherently self-righteous and consistently overrate our knowledge, autonomy, and abilities. We say advertising doesn’t influence us even though sales say otherwise. And we maintain these self-serving delusions when wired to a lie detector, which means we are lying to ourselves and not intentionally to the experimenters.

Douglas Van Praet is the author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing. He is also Executive Vice President at agency Deutsch L.A., where his responsibilities include Group Planning Director for the Volkswagen account. Van Praet’s approach to advertising and marketing draws from unconscious behaviorism and applies neurobiology, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral economics to business problems.

4 January 2013

Fitness by design

fitbit

Can data heal? Yes, argues Dan Hon, whose type 2 diabetes spurred him to embrace “personal informatics” devices such as the Nike FuelBand and the Fitbit. Yet as such devices become a part of everyday life, a new challenge emerges: the Balkanisation of health data across multiple platforms.

“What isn’t clear is the design process of ecosystems to support passive, wearable devices that are intensely personal and mix-and- match. We don’t worry about fashion being interoperable, about wardrobe-archive issues, or being able to use a piece of clothing from five years ago with another bought last week. Increasingly, we will. So the kind of battles being played out around interoperability, data sovereignty and social visibility in personal informatics represent a kind of avant-garde as core issues of the “Internet of things”. The principles of the much-hyped “smart cities” market, for instance, are being tested right before our eyes, as personal informatics goes up against the obesity epidemic.

Yet we don’t know much about the psychological or cultural impact of learning so much about ourselves, of seeing ourselves through the prism of performance metrics, never mind displaying that in a public form. This is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of personal informatics: it lets us know who we really are, whether we wanted it to or not.”