After working on five books as an editor or co-author, Lou Rosenfeld became disenchanted with the traditional book publishing model. So, in late 2005, he founded Rosenfeld Media, a new publishing house that develops short, practical, useful books on user experience design. Rosenfeld Media published their first book, Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior, in early 2008. I recently had the opportunity to interview Lou—along with Liz Danzico, Senior Development Editor at Rosenfeld Media—about starting a new publishing house and “eating their own dog food.”
The 18 minute “Connecting” documentary, created by Bassett & Partners for Windows Phone Design Studio, is an exploration of the future of Interaction Design and User Experience from some of the industry’s thought leaders.
As the role of software is catapulting forward, Interaction Design is seen to be not only increasing in importance dramatically, but also expected to play a leading role in shaping the coming “Internet of things.” Ultimately, when the digital and physical worlds become one, humans along with technology are potentially on the path to becoming a “super organism” capable of influencing and enabling a broad spectrum of new behaviors in the world.
Jennifer Bove Kicker Studio
Andrei Herasimchuk Twitter
Robert Murdock Method
Jonas Löwgren Malmö University
Eric Rodenbeck Stamen
Robert Fabricant frog design
Raphael Grignani Method
Liz Danzico School of Visual Arts
Helen Walters Doblin
Younghee Jung Nokia
Blaise Aguera y Arcas Microsoft
Massimo Banzi Arduino
“There are some strange changes under way in our world. We constantly hear the refrain of the massive chaos around us, yet the allure of such a large, looming flux may distract us from something more important: the countless tiny, nuanced, and fundamental ways in which our culture and society are advancing. This issue of interactions describes these subtleties and teases them out of the greater topics that we’ve grown accustomed to discussing: environmental change, the role of education and government in a technological society, and the nature of behavior.”
Here are the articles that are currently available for free:
Time goes by, everything looks the same
by Dennis Littky
“The system doesn’t work.” So says Dennis Littky, author of our cover story and founder of Big Picture Learning – a school focused on developing a new educational model. Dennis offers his views on how design and a designerly approach can bring change to the broken education model in the United States.
The research-practice gap: the need for translational developers
by Don Norman
Between research and practice a new, third discipline must be inserted, one that can translate between the abstractions of research and the practicalities of practice. We need a discipline of translational development. We need translational developers who can act as the intermediary, translating research findings into the language of practical development and business while also translating the needs of business into issues that researchers can address.
by Katie Minardo Scott
Katie Minardo Scott describes the challenge of research-practice synthesis—the relationship between a designer and the data that can be so overwhelming. To make research valuable, she says, we need to make the synthesis process as visible as the research phase and make the synthesis output visible to stakeholders. Personas accomplish both of these goals, recognized or not.
Navigating the terrain of sustainable HCI
by Carl DiSalvo, Phoebe Sengers, Hronn Brynjarsdottir
The authors explore the manner in which sustainability has impacted HCI and academic research. No longer a simple colloquialism of “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” sustainability research and design now require an acknowledgment of the political differences involved in the discipline. This demands a more nuanced discussion of topics, as well as a more direct connection between research and practice.
Adding by leaving out: the power of the pause
by Liz Danzico
What would happen if, as communicators and designers, we became more comfortable with the pause? Because it turns out we can add by leaving out. The pause has power.
Adaptive reuse: things, containers, and streets in the architecture of the social web
by Fred Scharmen
A way of talking about buildings and cities in terms of protocols, relationships, and parameters—all borrowed by architectural theory from computer science—can be returned to a conversation about online systems in order to rejuvenate our methods of understanding and designing places.
Our first Special Guest is Nabeel Hamdi who, in this interview with Andy Polaine, talks about both his approach to development work, which advocates a bottom-up “small change” approach, as well as giving us his insightful views on education, especially the role of designers as catalysts rather than experts. Keywords: change, development, education.
Lauren Currie and Sarah Drummond from Snook give their view on the issues surrounding teaching service design as well as their thoughts on the structure of higher education in this video podcast. Keywords: service design, education, teaching, learning
Arne van Oosterom, owner and Strategic Design Director at DesignThinkers brings us an insightful and entertaining view on Building a Culture of Trust. Arne will be joining us in the Main Studio to discuss his talk and the issues it raises. Keywords: Trust, Culture, Service Design, Design Thinking, Business, Touchpoints
Bonfire of the literacies
by John Thackara
7 June 2010
John Thackara on education, service design and the limits of online.
Time, co-creation and improvisation
by Liz Danzico, chair and co-founder of the MFA in Interaction Design Program at the School of Visual Arts
9 June 2010
For me at least, the collaboration question is not an easy one. It’s not a matter of talking about how, but of “how good,” and increasingly, “when.” This last consideration, the consideration of time is key. As service designers, collaboration and co-creation — with one another and with our audiences — is increasingly happening in the moment. And that’s both something we can plan for and nothing we can expect. The way we work together must be, to a certain degree, unscripted. There are hundreds of opportunities for us to co-create in one way or another may bring a creative spirit to the work we do. But do we? Can we in a way that’s relevant and meaningful?
Tools to encourage behaviour change
by Mary Rose Cook and Zoë Stanton, founders Uscreates
21 June 2010
Uscreates is an agency which empowers the public to help change negative behaviours in their communities. We apply a range of knowledge and approaches drawn from service design, social marketing and behavioural economics to help the public devise strategies and interventions to encourage behaviour change. We are going to use our week hosting the COTEN project to focus on behaviour change and some of the ways in which we use service design processes and methodologies to add value to behaviour change work, and vice versa.
Experience, experience, experience: lets get specific
by Ben Reason, co-founder live|work
21 June 2010
Service Design cannot escape talking about experience and experiences. The current and future experiences of people – service customers, clients, users, patients, consumers, etc. – are the context that service design works in.
“The process of design is spreading into new areas of society and business, and as it does, our work gets more complicated and more rewarding. From the details of our interfaces to the focus of our efforts, this issue describes the complexity of the changing landscape of interactions.”
Here are the articles available for free online:
interactions: Business, Culture, and Society
The process of design is spreading into new areas of society and business, and as it does, our work gets more complicated and more rewarding. From the details of our interfaces to the focus of our efforts, this issue describes the complexity of the changing landscape of interactions.
Reframing health to embrace design of our own wellbeing
Rajiv Mehta, Shelley Evenson, Paul Pangaro, Hugh Dubberly
This article describes a growing trend: framing health in terms of well-being and broadening health-care to include self-management. Self-management reframes patients as designers, an example of a shift also occurring in design practice – reframing users as designers. The article concludes with thoughts on what these changes may mean when designing for health.
Depth over breadth: designing for impact locally, and for the long haul
In the past few years, we designers have acknowledged the imperatives of sustainability and design for the greater good, and responded by launching initiatives that are often rife with widespread cheerleading rather than deep, meaningful work. [Yet] I firmly believe that lasting impact requires all three of the following: proximity (simply being there, in the place you seek to design with and for), empathic investment (a personal and emotional stake in collective prosperity), and pervasiveness (the opposite of scattershot – involvement that has impact at multiple scales).
Solving the world’s problems through design
Design Revolution is a fantastic sourcebook of inspiring designs and creative problem solving and a deeply humanistic call to arms. Pilloton wants nothing less than for designers to focus their energy, knowledge, and talent on making people’s lives better.
Natural user interfaces are not natural
Gestural systems are no different from any other form of interaction. They need to follow the basic rules of interaction design, which means well-defined modes of expression, a clear conceptual model of the way they interact with the system, their consequences, and means of navigating unintended consequences. As a result, means of providing feedback, explicit hints as to possible actions, and guides for how they are to be conducted are required.
Making face: practices and interpretations of avatars in everyday media
We’re starting to see more and more experiences that weave avatar with message, pairing the expression of intent with content. How will the mix of image and message further proliferate through everyday life? Will the image stand for the message or will face work still be work? What will be socially acceptable, and will new etiquettes emerge in segments that cross personal, professional, and mixed boundaries?
The ubiquitous and increasingly significant status message
Bernard J. Jansen, Abdur Chowdury, Geoff Cook
The status message has evolved from its lowly beginnings into a multidimensional feature and service addressing numerous social needs.
Back to the future: bleeding-edge IVR
Ahmed Bouzid, Weiye Ma
The glaring disconnect between what companies aim to achieve in deploying interactive voice response (IVR) systems (better customer service) and what they actually do achieve (customer frustration) can be squarely laid on the shoulders of shabby voice user interface (VUI) design and implementation. The vast majority of today’s IVRs are, simply put, shamefully unusable, and customers detest them.
Intentional communication: expanding our definition of user experience design
Design and content. Content and design. It’s impossible (and stupid) to argue over which one is more important than the other – which should come first, which is more difficult or “strategic.” They need each other to provide context, meaning, information, and instruction in any user experience (UX).
Content strategy for everybody (even you)
When done the wrong way, creating new content and managing the approval process takes longer and is more painful than anyone expects. But planning for useful, usable content is possible – and necessary. It’s time to do it right.
interactions cafe: on language and potential
The more we carefully select our words, the more comfortable we’ll be in making the wholesale shift toward the emerging role of design in healthcare – and in other arenas where social responsibility is growing, and designers are able to value the whole person.
Here are the articles available for free online:
interactions: exploring aspects of design thinking
Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko
Popular discussion of “design thinking” has reached a point of frenzy. Unfortunately, there is often little depth to the discussion, and for many, the topic remains elusive and vague. While each issue of interactions has included articles about or reflecting the application of design thinking, this issue addresses the topic a bit more directly.
Evolution of the mind: a case for design literacy
As we come to the end of the first decade of the 21st century and what many consider the end of The Information Age, a recent flurry of books, articles, and initiatives seem to indicate that a new, pervasive mind shift is afoot. It’s called design, and like arithmetic, which was once a peripheral human aptitude until the industrial age forced it to be important for everyone, recent global changes and the heralding of a new age are positioning design as the next human literacy.
Design thinking in stereo: Brown and Martin
By 2006 an IIT Institute of Design interview with Roger Martin, titled “Designing Decisions,” told of his conversion to the concept when noting the language and behaviors of designer friends. That same year, Tim Brown presented fundamental thoughts on design thinking that also caught my attention. By the end of 2009 both Martin and Brown had released books on the topic.
Designing interactions at work: applying design to discussions, meetings and relationships
Roger Martin, Jennifer Riel
Ultimately, designers and business leaders want the same thing: transformative ideas that can be translated into real value. Yet, even with this common purpose, the interactions between design teams and business leaders often represent the biggest stumbling block to the development of breakthrough ideas. How often has a brilliant design idea been strangled in its infancy by a client who could not, or would not, “get it”? How often is breakthrough innovation stopped short by number crunchers who don’t understand the process of design or the insights afforded by it? And how often do business folks moan that designers lack even the most basic understanding of cost and strategy?
From Davis to David: lessons from improvisation
Improv is extending its practicality. Designers have been adopting improvisation design methods in their own practices. Made more visible by organizations such as IDEO and Pixar and the research of people from Elizabeth Gerber at Northwestern University and Steve Portigal at Portigal Consulting, we’re seeing how improvisation can be powerful in interaction design work. With collaboration activities in particular, improv becomes especially important when untangling complex problems that require teamwork or just getting a client unstuck.
Technology first, needs last: the research-product gulf
Design research is great when it comes to improving existing product categories, but essentially useless when it comes to breakthroughs.
Sugared puppy dog tails: gender and design
Designers are not passive bystanders in the production, reproduction, reinforcing, or challenging of cultural values. We actively create artifacts and experiences. We design products with implicit or explicit assumptions about how products will be used and by whom. We mentally simulate the product user who is part of an imagined story of the product in use – these imaginary people are drawn from our everyday lives and usually have a gender, perhaps a shape, size, age and ethnicity. Thus we embed imagined, gendered others into our designs, inadvertently reproducing cultural norms because they seem so “natural.” And so in a chain of reification and reproduction, products are wired in subtle ways that reflect and reinforce existing cultural assumptions.
The lens of feminist HCI in the context of sustainable interaction design
Shaowen Bardzell, Eli Blevis
One might identify feminism’s central tenets as commitments to agency, fulfillment, identity, equality, empowerment, and social justice. I think these commitments make feminism a natural ally to interaction design. As computers increasingly become a part of everyday life, feminism is poised to help us understand how gender identities and relations shape both the use and design of interactive technologies – and how things could be otherwise, through design.
MyMeal: an interactive user-tailored meal visualization tool for teenagers with eating disorders
Desmond Balance, Jodie Jenkinson
Since patients with eating disorders (EDs) have demonstrably abnormal perceptions of the size of food, a meal-visualization tool could help patients with EDs feel more comfortable about portions by helping them understand what appropriate food portions look like in the context of a balanced meal.
On design thinking, business, the arts, STEM …
Jon Kolko, Richard Anderson
Why [is it] only now [...] that the language related to the intellectual and intangible aspects of design is beginning to catch on?
interactions: information, physicality, co-ownership, and culture
Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko
From tangible computing, to societal problem solving, to the trials and tribulations of user reserach – this issue explores the evolving nature of experiences, people and technology.
Tangible interaction = form + computing
Mark Baskinger, Mark Gross
The ability to merge physical and digital interactions has long been the goal of designers; the ubiquity of technology is now making that goal a reality. This piece from Mark Baskinger and Mark Gross explores that melding of physical and digital.
Why marketing research makes us cringe
What separates design research from marketing research is a core but elusive principle: There is a phenomenal distinction between evaluating a product before it is finalized, the focus of design research, and evaluating consumer response after a product is finalized.
Why designers sometimes make me cringe
Why is it that user experience design-often hailed on the covers of major contemporary business magazines as the creative savior of everything from product innovation to business operations-seems to prefer to paint a picture of itself as a misunderstood, misapplied, and unrecognized profession; a victim of ruthless market forces and incompetent business managers?
The transmedia design challenge: technology that is pleasurable and satisfying
I agreed to give a keynote address at the 21st Century Transmedia Innovation Symposium. Traditional dictionaries do not include the word “transmedia,” but Wikipedia does. Its definition introduced me to many other words that neither I nor my dictionaries had ever before heard (for example, “narratological“). Strange jargon aside, I do believe there is an important idea here, which I explore in this column.
The art of editing: the new old skills for a curated life
This age is not about writers learning new tools, nor is it about readers sift through content; it’s about editors experimenting and making meaning of stories for themselves and for their new audiences-whether those are small or large.
interactions cafe: on designers as catalytic agents
Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko
Isn’t all design a service to someone? Perhaps that can be debated. But currently the service design genre is receiving considerable attention and achieving currency. When Phi-Hong D. Ha, an interaction design and strategy consultant, was asked what is meant by “service” in today’s design world, she responded, “Service design is a collaborative process of researching, planning and realizing the experiences that happen over time and over multiple touch points with a customer’s experience.” And according to Liz Danzico, chair of the School of Visual Arts’ new MFA Interaction Design program, “Service design looks at customer needs and experiences in a holistic way.” Yet many service designers in the United States do not call themselves Service Designers. Much of the work done in this area is still referred to as “customer experience” or “user experience.” This is where Ha enters the arena. She was a senior user experience designer for Method, where she led the team in redesigning TED.com and TheApt.com. At Method she started championing the emerging field of service design, and she is currently on the faculty of SVA’s MFA in Interaction Design and a member of the Service Design Network.
User experience design is NOT…
1. …user interface design
2. …a step in the process
3. …about technology
4. …just about usability
5. …just about the user
8. …the role of one person or department
9. …a single discipline
10. …a choice
Eric Reiss wrote a nice follow-up post.
In alphabetical order:
Paul and Rebecca both characterized themselves as “heavy online news readers.” And although it’s true that they’re heavy consumers of news, their behavior reveals that they are not getting the majority of their news from newspaper websites, as this description might suggest. While Paul is using the Internet to set up his newsletters and alerts, he’s not really reading news online. Instead, he’s reading e-mail newsletters, which is typical of about 50% of Americans who have broadband at home. Rebecca, for all her diligence, is really gathering all her news and commentary offline, then supplementing it by scanning the headlines online, typical of about 24% of all online news readers. Neither one, then, really lived up to their characterization of how they use the news.
It’s no surprise that Paul and Rebecca can’t articulate what they actually do. People often say one thing, then demonstrate another. Rebecca and Paul are just two of twelve people that we’ve been spending time with for a design research project for a news and media company called Daylife. While the results will be used to inform the user experience of a website in the short-term, our larger goal is to understand how people are consuming news and information today. And the fact that people are unaware of the way they consume news is precisely the reason we wanted to conduct the study in the first place.
Liz Danzico is director of user experience at Daylife, a website that gathers, organizes, and analyzes news from around the world. She is also the senior development editor for Rosenfeld Media, a publishing house dedicated to user experience. Liz has served as director of experience strategy for AIGA, formed the information architecture team at Barnes & Noble.com, and managed the information architecture group at Razorfish, New York.
Dan Saffer, a senior interaction designer at Adaptive Path, leads us through an exploration of this emerging discipline. Published this month, Saffer’s new book, Designing for Interaction, is a much-needed primer on the topic, helping us understand the design of interactive systems.
Liz Danzico, managing director of AIGA’s Voice talked with Saffer just prior to his book being published in July
In this thought-provoking talk, best-selling author Peter Morville explores the future present in mobile and embedded devices, GPS and RFID technologies, search algorithms, findable objects, evolutionary psychology, and the long tail of the sociosemantic web.
“Intelligence is moving to the edges, flowing through wireless devices, empowering individuals and distributed teams. Ideas spread like wildfire, and information is in the air, literally. And yet with this wealth of instantly accessible information, we still experience disorientation. We still wander off the map.
How do we make decisions in the information age? How do we know enough to ask the right questions? How do we find the best product, the right person, the data that makes a difference?
In Ambient Findability, Morville searches for the answers in the strange connections among social software, semantic webs, evolutionary psychology and interaction design. And, he explains how the journey from push to pull is changing not only the rules of marketing and design, but also the nature of authority and the destination of our culture.”