Plateaus are harder than mountains

Data is just the raw material for storytelling, understanding and insights. Design is its process to get there.

“Bold claims have been made about applying big data to solve the world’s problems, from health (Fitbit) to saving energy (Nest). Data is all around us, appearing in slick devices and colorful dashboards, yet focusing on the technology can cause us to miss the people who have to use it. Our job as designers is to communicate information. A clean design with big numbers and charts looks good, but how can we make sure people actually understand the data?”

(Stephen Turbek a.k.a. @stephenturbek ~ Boxes and Arrows)

User experience without the user is no user experience

Food experience without food is no food experience as well.

“User experience is a method of engineering and design that creates systems to work best for the intended user. In order to design in this way, users must be included in the design process through user research and usability testing. If user research and usability testing are not practiced, then UX is not being practiced.”

(Ashley Karr ~ ACM Interactions Magazine)

Why DesignX? Designers and complex systems

Progressing on the design maturity path for all designers: from wicked problems to complex systems.

“For many years, together with a number of design educators, I have been discussing how design can address the complex socio-technological systems that characterize our world. The issues are not new: many people and disciplines have grappled with them for some time. But how can design play a role? Do our educational methods, especially the emphasis upon craft, prepare designers for this? What can design add?”

(Donald A. Norman ~ Core77)

IBM living design language: A shared vocabulary for design

Major tech player enters the world of digital design for the enterprise. Oh wow!

“Whether we design for them or not, our products and services are framed by six universal experiences. Each experience offers opportunities to solve unmet needs and emotionally bond users to products. These are not product states, they are user experiences. When someone is “trying” your product or service, they should be doing the same thing as “using” it. From the technology perspective, there is no difference. But the context – and therefore the connection with the user – is very different.”

(IBM Design)

UX leadership: The nature of great leaders

To lead the UX tribe, in theory and in practice.

“(…) we’ll discuss the need for great leaders in User Experience, describe some qualities that are characteristic of all great leaders, and consider some unique factors that make a UX leader great. Although UX leaders share many leadership traits with other disciplines – including business, product management, and engineering – leading UX research, strategy, and design requires particular strengths as a leader.”

(Jim Nieters and Pabini Gabriel-Petit ~ UXmatters)

Redesigning your website? Don’t ditch your old design so soon

Look in the mirror, not to the other.

“Before you redesign your site, make sure that you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current design. Garner design ideas and alternatives by studying your competitors. The focus of competitive tests is not to crown a winner, but to gain deeper insight into why design elements work or fail so we can make informed decisions moving forward.”

(Hoa Loranger ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

Make user experience a top priority

The message is coming through. Slow, but consistently.

“(…) a clear link between a strategic approach to user experience and financial performance. Revenue growth, margins, valuations and share price performance were all higher for these companies relative to their respective peer group. These companies outperform because they provide consistently outstanding user experiences that help their customers succeed.”

(Gabriel Lowy ~ APM Digest)

How to use an experience map to develop a winning content marketing strategy

Keep remembering, the map is not the territory.

“An experience map is a large visual of the path a consumer takes — from beginning to end — with your product. The goal of this map is to get everyone on your team on the same page about the customer journey — so it is to be shared. In addition, the map must be an easy-to-understand, self-contained unit.”

(Demian Farnworth a.k.a. @demianfarnworth ~ copyblogger) ~ courtesy of @thomasmarzano

There is no such thing as UX Design

Like the formats ‘What UX Design can lean from (…)’ or ‘The difference between UX Design and (…)’.

“User experience is an emergent property of an entire organization, not just one group. When user experience is so closely associated with design, it allows non-designers to feel like user experience isn’t their responsibility. This association also sets up designers to fail, because they are given a charter they cannot deliver on.”

(Peter Merholz a.k.a. @peterme)

DesignX: A future path for Design

How Design can solve the wicked problems of the world.

“DesignX is a new, evidence-based approach for addressing many of the complex and serious problems facing the world today. It adds to and augments today’s design methods, reformulating the role that design can play. Modern design has grown from a focus on products and services to a robust set of methods that is applicable to a wide range of societal issues. When combined with the knowledge and expertise of specialized disciplines, these design methods provide powerful ways to develop practical approaches to large, complex issues. We seek a radical reformation of design practice, education, and research. It is time for a new era of design activism.”

(Donald A. Norman)

Is The Grid a better web designer than you?

We just have to wait for a Turing test of website designs. Was it a synapse or an algorithm?

“However, if you’re doing the job of a web designer properly, The Grid has no way to compete. No artificial intelligence will ever replace a human designer, because design is largely about emotional intelligence. Good design extends into every facet of a website, and it’s not about computers talking to each other, it’s about human beings communicating.”

(Benjie Moss a.k.a. @BenjieMoss ~ Web Designer Depot)

Designers can do anything

Articulating the new role and opportunity of designers in the digital and physical world of now and beyond.

Jon Kolko: “The switch to an empathy focus is actually really easy. You need to watch behavior, so that means actually watching people do things. We talk about watching people work, play, and live because sometimes the things they do are actually not that utility driven.”

(Nick Lombardi a.k.a. @NickLombardi482 ~ O’Reilly Radar)

Conversations with the past: Hermeneutics for designers

Allways good to look back into the future. The cultural heritage we can use from.

“When we think about our work as designers, we imagine ourselves with our head in the future, surrounded by latest ideas of how things will be: the natural user interface, the internet of things, self-driving cars, ubiquitous computing. Within this world it’s easy to forget that the future is just a thin sliver on top of an enormous past. All that we think, all we know, everything we can imagine, comes from this past, and has been shaped by thousands of years of human history. We sometimes like to imagine that the future comes to us as a simple continuations of our past activities, but quietly we all know that it’s more complicated. The past is full of unfinished projects, disappeared companies, dusty books and long forgotten heroines. Deep in our past there are thousands of visions of different worlds and different lives. There are the great works of philosophers, painters, sculptors and interaction designers no longer known and no longer understood waiting to be rediscovered.”

(Sjors Timmer a.k.a. @sjors ~ Medium)

The next era of designers will use data as their medium

We used to call it Information Visualization of InfoGraphics. What’s in a name.

“The software industry today is in need of a new kind of designer: one proficient in the meaning, form, movement, and transformation of data. I believe this Data Designer will turn out to be the most important new creative role of the next five years.”

(Mark Rolston ~ Wired)

Breaking fresh ground in human–media interaction research

It’s that time of the year for trends of the future, so I thought…

“Human–media interaction research is devoted to methods and situations where humans individually or collectively interact with digital media, systems, devices, and environments. Novel forms of interaction paradigms have been enabled by new sensor and actuator technology in the last decades, combining with advances in our knowledge of human–human interaction and human behavior in general when designing user interfaces.”

(Anton Nijholt ~ Frontiers in ICT)

What you know about information architecture, might not be true

But as you also know, common knowledge is not as common as you think it is.

“You don’t hear the term information architecture much anymore. There is a lot of talk about understanding the users needs and delivering appropriate content. But, little about how the user finds that content. This is because it is a subject that is thoroughly covered. There are some great books on the subject and so bloggers don’t feel they have much to add. The problem is that when a subject has been so well covered, it moves into the realm of common knowledge. We all think we understand information architecture. Yet, it is a specialist area and the things we think we know may not be correct.”

(Paul Boag ~ Boagworld)

The Patient Experience movement moment

The experience movement is moving on. In all countries, industries and institutions.

“For years, the patient experience movement has continued to gain momentum. From a novel concept, there is an emerging consensus that the patient experience is a fundamental aspect of provider quality; one that complements established clinical process and outcome measures but is neither subsumed nor secondary to them. An increasing volume of research as encouraged by publications such as Patient Experience Journal show this to be true. As the expectation of a high-quality patient experience becomes the norm, these developments have brought us to what we call the patient experience movement moment and there is little doubt that the patient experience has become, and is poised to remain, a central concern in healthcare for many years to come.”

(William Lehrman PhD, Geoffrey Silvera MHA, and Jason A. Wolf PhD ~ Patient Experience Journal 1.2)