Why ‘design for experience’ is becoming the new normal

Experience design at the big consultancies. It’s getting more crazy day by day.

“Experiences are intrinsic to each individual; they are subjective by nature. In fact, we cannot design how our clients will experience our products or services. What we can do, instead, is coming up with design that can positively influence that personal, unique experience.”

Anna Vassileva a.k.a. /anna-vassileva ~ PWC.lu

Are we taking the ‘U’ out of UX?

Acronyms never live long.

“User experience is a huge buzzword these days. Although seemingly self-explanatory, some companies aren’t getting the point—they’re still overlooking behavioral experience in lieu of look and feel. Many of the ads I saw reserved their most specific and vivid language for the visual design end of things. It left me scratching my head and wondering if only the most sophisticated—and largest—companies truly wanted UX and had the budget to support it. Are other companies just paying lip service to the current buzz by hiring visual designers and labelling them UX?”

Mark Richman a.k.a. /markjrichman ~ Boxes and Arrows

The business of UX strategy

HCI and UX connected to the business world.

“The majority of business versus UX design choices are influenced by a combination of market megatrends and sales distribution channels. Within this context, the trade-offs vary by industry. The design constraints placed upon an FDA-regulated mobile health solution cannot be compared to those of a chat app for teenagers that blocks parental access. However, the requirement for high-quality UX has become universal to achieve success across all distribution channels and industries. Therefore, every digital product or service requires a UX strategy that considers the business dimensions described here and more. Doing so optimizes for a high-quality user experience in conjunction with the best commercial outcome possible. Finally, it needs to be loudly emphasized: Even the most exhaustive UX strategy must be frequently revisited because the underlying market megatrends and constraints evolve continuously to disrupt the most carefully crafted plans of mice and men.”

Daniel Rosenberg a.k.a. /danielrosenbergux

The politics of design systems: Keeping stakeholders and UX teams invested through the process

Design systems, getting into the 2018 hype cycle.

“As digital ecosystems mature, a design system is rapidly moving from an innovation to a requirement for companies looking to execute quality design at scale. But framing the effort as a simple design and front-end development exercise minimizes the impact of the system on every aspect of the product design cycle. By recognizing and treating your design system effort as organizational change, enterprises are better equipped to set themselves up for success.”

Dani Nordin a.k.a. /daninordin | @danigrrl

Consolidating Design Systems: Over time, systems happen

Living design systems need to grow and flourish.

“A stronger system’s success places them in a powerful position to dictate terms. Acquired systems may bring weaker tools, processes, capacity and commitments from their leaders. Yet their core features may still be strong, as is their emotional tie to them. When talking mergers and acquisitions, “look into the books” of weaker system too. They may be looking for a way out, an existential lifeline, otherwise risking a fade into an abyss without a consolidation. These imbalances makes consolidation conversations difficult. Your goal? Realizing the promise of a thriving practice serving more teams at scale. So time to exercise some leadership and management to make consolidation best serve your community!”

Nathan Curtis a.k.a. /nathancurtis | @nathanacurtis

The UX of Design Systems: On Google’s Material Design and the templatization of digital products

Now that the hype on Google MD has faded, we’re waitng for the next killer DesSys.

“What is new is that today design systems can be more than printed design manuals. We have the ability to write design systems in code and use them directly in digital products. (…) All this critique of design systems is essentially an argument for UX designers to create design systems that grow from user-centric research. As UX designers, you are here to bridge the aesthetics with the functionality of digital products. Rather than starting with a fascination of design systems, you have to first of all focus on the user and let that inform your design system – and keep doing that over time. You have to argue for the process of understanding your users, talking to them, learning from them, and drawing up coherent systems that work on behalf of them. If you do this, systems are an incredibly powerful way of creating products that are beneficial to both companies and users.”

Rune Madsen a.k.a. @runemadsen

Tying in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to your brand’s digital presence

All technology gets a business application, one way or another.

“Although we are now relatively more familiar with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), it is still quite a challenge to understand how to design effective brand experiences with them. You don’t want to invest in technology for it only to be a gimmick that does not significantly bolster your branding activities. And yet, there is the pressure to not get left behind while everyone else seems to be using cutting edge technology. Most major brands today—The New York Times and Mercedes, as two examples—have used augmented reality and virtual reality experiences to engage customers. How can your brand leverage AR/VR for best results?”

Babar Suleman a.k.a. /babarsuleman | @B_Su ~ Boxes and Arrows

Pace layering: How complex systems learn and keep learning

From buildings to complex systems. Nice addition to Donatella Meadows kind of thinking.

“Pace layers provide many-leveled corrective, stabilizing feedback throughout the system. It is in the contradictions between these layers that civilization finds its surest health. I propose six significant levels of pace and size in a robust and adaptable civilization.”

Stewart Brand a.k.a. /stewart-brand | @stewartbrand ~ Journal of Design and Science (Issue 3)

Connecting things: Broadening design to include systems, platforms, and product-service ecologies

Broadening the design scope leads to increase of complexity.

“Traditionally, design practice and design education have focused on giving form to physical things—apparel, buildings, messages, tools, and vehicles—the artifacts that constitute material culture. These artifacts are also the material of the traditional design disciplines—apparel design, architecture, graphic design, product design, and transportation design.”

Hugh Dubberly a.k.a. /hughdubberly ~ Dubberly Design Office courtesy of @freegorifero

Working with external user researchers (part 1)

In principle, you can outsource anything. In practice, it’s not always the best option.

“You’ve got an idea or perhaps some rough sketches, or you have a fully formed product nearing launch. Or maybe you’ve launched it already. Regardless of where you are in the product lifecycle, you know you need to get input from users. You have a few sound options to get this input: use a full-time user researcher or contract out the work (or maybe a combination of both). Between the three of us, we’ve run a user research agency, hired external researchers, and worked as freelancers. Through our different perspectives, we hope to provide some helpful considerations.”

Chelsey Glasson et al. ~ A List Apart

What went wrong in Hawaii, human error? Nope, bad design

The ultimate consequences of bad design: Three Mile Island, Challenger, and now Hawaii.

“The author and eminent design researcher Don Norman examines how poorly designed software spread panic in Hawaii–and offers tips for avoiding such incidents in the future. (…) To me, the most frustrating aspect of these errors is that they result from poor design. Incompetent design. Worse, for decades we have known how proper, human-centered design can prevent them. “

Donald A. Norman a.k.a. /donnorman | @jnd1er ~ FastCo.design

The Systemic Turn: Leverage for World Changing

Introduction to several deep thinking articles on the role, value and transformation of design related to ‘wicked problems’ a.k.a. grand design challenges. As discussed during RSD5 (2017).

“Both systems thinking and contemporary design practices are insufficient, on their own, to transform the complex continuous problems our institutions have sustained through a rapidly morphing modernism. Leading practitioners in both core disciplines have quite similar motivations for envisioned outcomes in the world. This is clear in projects developed in flourishing communities and organizations, effective human-centered health practices, fully functioning democratic governance, citizen-centered cities and services, and so on. Practice-led research and reflective practice have taught many of us that the silver bullets of recent design ideas, such as multidisciplinarity and human-centricity, are also insufficient to the complexity and scale of these tasks. Systemics lends design thinking an explanatory theory that integrates principles with the power tools of disciplined method. Design lends systems thinking the pragmatic applications of integration, the transformation of human activity, and the surprising power of observing human experience in design research.”

Peter Jones a.k.a. /peterhjones” | @redesign ~ She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 3.3

Voice-Enabled Design: Will Drama Teachers Replace All Product People?

Always learn from adjacent disciplines. Unexpected connections are the best.

“I don’t think drama teachers will replace us all. But as product designers, we need the capacity to change our skillsets whenever it is needed. With visual UI shifting to conversations and voice-enabled interfaces, we can make our devices more inclusive and communicate with them more like with other humans. For these goals, learning new skills certainly pays off.”


Then and Now: The Bauhaus and 21st century design

The historical perspective on the Design dimension. The manifesto for a digital Bauhaus (Ehn, 1998) included?

“Design can address the critical problems of our age. The Bauhaus movement was of great historical importance. Today, we need more. Aristotle is considered of as one of the forerunners of the scientific movement, even as his actual words and writings of science and technology are completely ignored by today’s working scientists. That is how I feel about the Bauhaus movement: I am grateful for what it accomplished, but I do not find it relevant to the complex issues we face today.”

Donald A. Norman a.k.a. /donnorman | @jnd1er

Design Thinking is kind of like syphilis: It’s contagious and rots your brains

Always appreciate a good metaphore or analogy.

“Have you ever heard of Design Thinking? Your answer to that question will depend largely on where you sit in the world. The phrase Design Thinking is known almost universally in design circles. It’s made its way around networks of business hype more than once. Hell, the folks at Singularity University — a cult of technological utopians who hoover handfuls of vitamins and believe we’ll all upload our minds to servers in a few decades — think Design Thinking may be your ‘Secret Weapon for Building a Greater Good.’ No doubt, many others have also heard from people excited about Design Thinking — a state of being known as having a bad case of the DTs.”

Lee Vinsel a.k.a. @STS_News

Stewardship in the Age of Algorithms

Some deep thinking going on here. Be aware of the algo’s.

“This paper explores pragmatic approaches that might be employed to document the behavior of large, complex socio-technical systems (often today shorthanded as ‘algorithms’) that centrally involve some mixture of personalization, opaque rules, and machine learning components. Thinking rooted in traditional archival methodology (…) has been a total failure for many reasons, and we must address this problem. (…) It may well be that we see the emergence of a new group of creators of documentation, perhaps predominantly social scientists and humanists, taking the front lines in dealing with the Age of Algorithms, with their materials then destined for our memory organizations to be cared for into the future.”

Clifford Lynch ~ First Monday (22.12)

Preparing your UX career for Virtual Reality

Digital designers really need to understand the underlying technologies. As always.

“Designers will need to ramp up on new design skills to make a smooth career transition to the design of immersive experiences when the inevitable wave of new VR and AR design projects hits the pipeline.”

Pabini Gabriel-Petit a.k.a. /pabini | @pabini ~ UXmatters

The mythical UX designer: Five common misconceptions

Myths are eternal stories of fantasy in the minds of many.

“Exploring the truth about the type of people who do UX. Ah, the UX designer. A mythical figure in high demand these days. Sought after for their skills in empathizing with customers, designing digital products that people love, and their peculiar love of collaboration. Their natural habitat is anywhere there are interfaces to problem solve for – in product-based companies like Adobe or Shopify, in-house at some of the largest institutions such as banks or government, and selling their services at agencies like the Nielsen Norman Group and Pivotal Labs. But what’s the truth behind the rumors about this particular creature, and if you are considering becoming a UX designer, what are some of the misconceptions you might have? Let’s bust five myths about UX designers, and I’ll share some of my personal experiences along the way.”

Linn Vizard a.k.a. /linnvizard | @wittster ~ Adobe Creative Cloud courtesy of @peterme

Customer Experience: Moving from moments-of-delight to moments-of-transformation

Some really deep thinking regarding human experiences, situated in the 21st century.

“Recently I read research reports on Customer Experience (CX) that I should have found unsettling but thanks to the journey of discovery I’ve been on during the last few months, which included slaying a rather pesky design hydra, I have embraced this as the start of exciting transformational things to come. “

Werner Puchert a.k.a. /wernerpuchert | @weenerdawg ~ Extraordinary Blog