All posts from
August 2011

Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction Design

HCI 101 in video, ’cause youngsters don’t like to read.

“Through lectures and a project, learn the fundamentals of human-computer interaction and design thinking. Work together in teams of three on a quarter-long project. Each week, in small design studios, present and discuss work with peers. The setting for the course is mobile web applications. The constraints of this small form factor make this an exciting challenge. At the end of the course, present to a jury of IT and design leaders.”

(Scott Klemmer ~ Stanford Open Classroom)

Great Customer Experiences Learn Continuously

Humans just have one mission in life and that’s to learn. From the beginning ’til the end.

From Apple’s poster for its retail employees. – “All of these experiences have made us smarter. And at the very center of all we’ve accomplished, all we’ve learned over the past 10 years, are our people. People who understand how important art is to technology. People who match, and often exceed, the excitement of our customers on days we release new products. The more than 30,000 smart, dedicated employees who work so hard to create lasting relationships with the millions who walk through our doors. Whether the task at hand is fixing computers, teaching workshops, organizing inventory, designing iconic structures, inventing proprietary technology, negotiating deals, sweating the details of signage, or doing countless other things, we’ve learned to hire the best in every discipline.”

(Mike Wittenstein a.k.a. @mikewittenstein)

What marketing executives should know about user experience

Marketing 2.0 has a change, and that’s not marketing the social way.

“Like it or not, the digital world has changed at a wicked pace, and more and more interactions between companies and their customers now happen via an interface. Software serves us everywhere, and the user experience now shapes these interactions every day. At the center of all this change sits the brand. TV and print advertising now regularly feature digital experiences from the likes of Apple, Google, Toyota, GE, and Amazon. The visual interface has become the new face of your brand. This means that the role of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) is now harder, and their influence must reach further into the organization than ever before.”

(Nick Myers a.k.a. @nickmyer5 ~ Cooper Journal)

Where Do Good UX Ideas Come From?

I would say AAPL, but that’s problably not a satisfying answer.

“Many companies struggle with the question of whether to develop UX strategy, research, and design capabilities internally, or to engage external UX firms as-needed when projects arise. Companies must forecast their need for these services on a long-term basis, and weigh the comparative costs and benefits of each approach. But is it purely a question of economics? Does an external UX team offer value beyond the flexibility and overall cost savings of not maintaining an internal team? When asked only in the context of individual projects, the answer to this question is probably ‘no’. For a single project, the rationale for engaging an external UX firm may remain purely financial. But it’s crucial to ask a broader question: how effective will each approach be at fostering ongoing UX innovation, beyond the limits or needs of existing projects?”

(Nick Gould a.k.a. @nickgould ~ UX Magazine)

What I Bring to UX From Computer Science

As a designer, you must know the materials you’re working with: computational and connected data, information and content.

“Human-Computer Interaction has strong roots in Computer Science, and user experience design is almost exclusively a technology-focused practice. How much does UX design share with its engineering-focused sibling? I’m going to share some thoughts about my experiences from making the transition from software engineering to UX, and how my past career has made an influence in my roles as a user experience designer today.”

(Boon Chew a.k.a. @boonych ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)

Lost in translation: Bridging the gap between interaction and visual design

Interaction design deals with the behavorial dimension; visual design with the perceptual dimension of the user.

“Interaction designers and visual designers bring something different yet complementary to the table. If you can combine these in a pragmatic way it will enhance the final result and perhaps drive better innovation.”

(Adeline Salkeld-Blears a.k.a. @webdesigngirl ~ OptimalUsability)
courtesy of fredbeecher

Desktop Summit: Claire Rowland on service design

Service design as holism applied to man-machine studies, HCI, UI and product design for Linux pros.

“Like it or not, the vision of the interconnected future is coming, and our mundane devices and appliances are going that route as well. Making those things work well for users, while still allowing user freedom, is important, and it’s something the free software community should be contemplating.”

(Jake Edge ~

The Difference Between UI and UX

As long as there is still confusion among few, these DTDT posts seem relevant. ‘Filed in Graphics’ (sic!)

“In today’s creative and technical environment, the terms UI (‘User Interface’) and UX (‘User Experience’) are being used more than ever. Overall, these terms are referring to specialties and ideas that have been around for years prior to the introduction of the abbreviated terminology. But the problem with these new abbreviations is more than just nomenclature. Unfortunately, the terms are quickly becoming dangerous buzzwords: using these terms imprecisely and in often completely inappropriate situations is a constant problem for a growing number of professionals, including: designers, job seekers, and product development specialists. Understanding the proper separation, relationship and usage of the terms is essential to both disciplines.”

(Shawn Borsky a.k.a. @anthemcg ~ Design Shack)

You can’t save your way to innovation

“Speed, cost or quality, just pick two.” is 20th century thinking. “Creativity, productivity or freedom, just pick one.” is 21th century.

“What’s wrong, you might argue, with keeping costs down? Quite a bit, it turns out. If your objective is to design a product people want to use, or to invent something brand new, you must embark on a journey of creativity and innovation. That might seem like normal, every day business, but don’t make the mistake of trying to run your creative organization like a conventional one.”

(Alan Cooper a.k.a. @MrAlanCooper ~ Cooper Journal)

5 Proven UX Strategies

Set expectations, and then exceed them.

“Whether dealing with large corporations, game developers, small businesses or a sole proprietor, most business goals tend to amount to the same needs. User experience is an area that touches almost every single business problem. While every project comes with its own unique situations, there are a few tried-and-true user experience techniques that just work well and always produce results.”

(Shawn Borsky a.k.a. @anthemcg ~

Why I’m not a UX Designer (and neither are you)

Interesting observation by the Don: “When terms enter the vocabulary, they start to loose their special meaning.”

“I think it comes from a growing disregard for the systems nature of product design. What’s taken hold is this notion that because a user’s experience with a product is influenced by that product’s design, the experience as a whole can therefore be designed.”

(Aaron Weyenberg a.k.a @aweyenberg)

UX Designers: Masters of Everything, Definers of Nothing

As said, promising new initiative focusing on UX.

“I’m a UX Designer, and with a strong understanding and working knowledge of interaction design, information architecture, information design, industrial design, visual interface design, user assistance design, and user-centered design, I’m able to research, design, and prototype new user experiences. While using a holistic multidisciplinary approach, I rapidly iterate on new ideas from concept to completion. Testing and designing not only the physical dimension of digital products, but using a powerful set of learned methods to design and perfect the emotional one.”

(Mike Stefanko a.k.a. @EssentialUX ~ Essential UX)
courtesy of richardanderson

Information Architect

Still an information architect, not an user experience designer.

“I map paths and places across physical, digital, and cognitive spaces. (…) the task only grows harder as tech spins faster, which is precisely why I believe that there has never been a better time to be an information architect.”

(Peter Morville a.k.a. @morville)

Designing for Service as One Way of Designing Services

Seems this issue has been in the works for almost two years. Therefore, it’s a major achievement.

“This paper considers different ways of approaching service design, exploring what professional designers who say they design services are doing. First it reviews literature in the design and management fields, including marketing and operations. The paper proposes a framework that clarifies key tensions shaping the understanding of service design. It then presents an ethnographic study of three firms of professional service designers and details their work in three case studies. The paper reports four findings. The designers approached services as entities that are both social and material. The designers in the study saw service as relational and temporal and thought of value as created in practice. They approached designing a service through a constructivist enquiry in which they sought to understand the experiences of stakeholders and they tried to involve managers in this activity. The paper proposes describing designing for service as a particular kind of service design. Designing for service is seen as an exploratory process that aims to create new kinds of value relation between diverse actors within a socio-material configuration. This has implications for existing ways of understanding design and for research, practice and teaching.”

(Lucy Kimbell a.k.a. @lixindex ~ International Journal of Design August 2011)


Whatever ‘stuff’ is organized according to structures (a.k.a. relations) can be called an architecture.

“The transition towards information spaces as the stage for our day-to-day interactions will continue unabated. Information architects are uniquely positioned to design these spaces thoughtfully and effectively. Seeing our role as digital placemakers allows us to better understand — and employ more effectively — our work as a critical cultural component, that influences the way our institutions serve us and our fellow human beings experience reality.”

(Jorge Arango a.k.a. @jarango ~ Journal of Information Architecture Volume 3 Issue 1)

From Tsunami to Rising Tide: How to Plan for a Successful Information Architecture Strategy

After the tsunamis of data and information, now waiting for the ‘tsunami of wisdom’.

“It’s probably safe to say that we’ve surpassed Richard Saul Wurman’s tsunami of data and now face a massive flooding of information on an epic scale. Practices of information architecture have managed to survive over the years with effective tactical approaches and quick thinking. But, the flood of information and how we access and use it only appear to be increasing in volume and complexity over time. Practitioners of information architecture must consider proceeding with greater strategic intent.”

(Nathaniel Davis and Ventura Behlers)