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Design research

How to use UX research to guide an Agile Process

Pace layers in sync: research and sprints. I hope it will actually work.

“The key idea is to ensure that every action taken during the Agile process is aligned with the sprint objective and with solving a specific problem for the user. UX research is also there to continually evaluate and assess whether the outcome that the team has produced is successful. By implementing this strategy, you’ll have UX research embedded from the beginning to the end of the Agile process and empower your team to solve user problems with more alignment and feedback on their work’s impact.”

LaiYee Ho a.k.a. @laiyeelori ~ UXPA Magazine

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

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

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

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)

Design Research at the crossroads of education and practice

Deep thinking into one of the wicked problems of design research in academia and in practice.

“This paper takes an experiential perspective in describing the current situation in design education and design practice as seen through the eyes of someone on the ground at the crosshairs between research and design in education and practice. The current situation is marked by the fact that practice leads education in the integration of research with design. The integration is going well. The biggest challenges are the incompatibilities between how design research is done in practice and how research takes place at the university.”

Elizabeth B.N. Sanders a.k.a. /sandersliz ~ She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 3.1

Computational design

Thinking, designing and doing with, by and for computers.

“Computational thinking refers to a deliberative process that finds a computational solution for a concern. Computational doing refers to use of computation and computational tools to address concerns. Computational design refers to creating new computational tools and methods that are adopted by the members of a community to address their concerns. Unfortunately, the definitions of both “thinking” and “doing” are fuzzy and have allowed misconceptions about the nature of algorithms. Fortunately, it is possible to eliminate the fuzziness in the definitions by focusing on computational design, which is at the intersection between thinking and doing. Computational design is what we are really after and would be a good substitute for computational thinking and doing. (…) Computational design is where the power of the computing revolution is showing up. Computational design is what we are really after and would be a good substitute for computational thinking and doing.”

Peter J. Denning a.k.a. /peter-denning ~ Ubiquity (August 2017)

Monitoring user experience through product usage metrics

Sailing towards the ultimate goal, the cybernetics of compelling experiences. Metrics as the foundation of its feedback loop.

“User experience teams have many types of data at their disposal to ascertain the quality of a digital product’s user experience. Traditionally, these sources have focused on direct customer feedback through methods such as interviews and usability studies, as well as surveys[1] and in-product feedback mechanisms. Beyond survey methodologies, however, it can be time-consuming to create a recurring channel of in-depth UX insights through these traditional UX research methods because they require time to conduct, analyze, and create reports of findings.”

Jerrod Larson a.k.a. /jerrod-larson ~ Boxes and Arrows

Instruments of inquiry: Understanding the nature and role of tools in design

Tools make the design.

“To move from your research findings to product changes, you should set yourself two main goals. First, to effectively communicate your findings to help your audience process them and focus on next steps. Secondly, to follow through by proactively working with stakeholders to decide which issues will be addressed and by whom, injecting yourself into the design process whenever possible. This follow-through is critical to your success. Let’s look at an end-to-end process for embracing these two main goals.”

Peter Dalsgaard a.k.a. /peter-dalsgaard | @peterdalsgaard ~ International Journal of Design 11.1

How to turn UX research into results

The application of research results is always up for debate.

“To move from your research findings to product changes, you should set yourself two main goals. First, to effectively communicate your findings to help your audience process them and focus on next steps. Secondly, to follow through by proactively working with stakeholders to decide which issues will be addressed and by whom, injecting yourself into the design process whenever possible. This follow-through is critical to your success. Let’s look at an end-to-end process for embracing these two main goals.”

Cindy McCracken a.k.a. /cindy-mccracken | @cmccracken ~ UX Mastery

Design in the era of the algorithm

Perfect text for those involved in circle three of Maeda: Computational Design.

“The design and presentation of data is just as important as the underlying algorithm. Algorithmic interfaces are a huge part of our future, and getting their design right is critical—and very, very hard to do. My work has begun to turn to the responsible and humane presentation of data-driven interfaces. And I suspect that yours will, too, in very short order. While constructing these machine learning models is indeed heavy-duty data science, using them is not. Tons of these machine learning models are available to all of us here to build upon right now.”

Josh Clark a.k.a. /joshclark | @bigmediumjosh ~ big medium courtesy of @gnat

Lab testing beyond usability: Challenges and recommendations for assessing user experiences

Some real research provides sound results.

“In this paper, we report on a use case study involving 70 participants. They first took part in user/laboratory tests and then were asked to evaluate their experience with the two systems (perceived UX) by filling out an AttrakDiff scale and a UX needs fulfillment questionnaire. We conducted post-test interviews to better understand participants’ experiences. We analyzed how the participants’ perceived UX depends on quantitative (e.g., task completion time, task sequence, level of familiarity with the system) and qualitative aspects (think aloud, debriefing interviews) within the laboratory context.”

Carine Lallemand a.k.a. /carinelallemand | @Carilall and Vincent Koenig a.k.a. /vincent-koenig ~ Journal of Usability Studies 12.3

How to turn UX research into results

Getting results out of research. No results are also results.

“To move from your research findings to product changes, you should set yourself two main goals. First, to effectively communicate your findings to help your audience process them and focus on next steps. Secondly, to follow through by proactively working with stakeholders to decide which issues will be addressed and by whom, injecting yourself into the design process whenever possible. This follow-through is critical to your success.”

Cindy McCracken a.k.a. /cindy-mccracken | @cmccracken ~ UX mastery

What’s happening in the world of ethics and design?

Set of articles, skills and tools to raise the bar.

“Design has a huge influence on how people behave and live their lives. In how we as designers aim to answer the question of how to live ‘a good life’ the act of design itself can be seen as ethical. That’s why it’s important to know about ethics and learn to incorporate it in your design work. And for that, you’re in the right place. (…) In March 2017 Jet Gispen graduated on the research for and development of this ethical toolkit for designers. Struck by the lack of ethical knowledge of most designers and design students, she set out to find a way to improve that. By means of various case studies performed at the Delft University of Technology, Jet researched ways for designers to incorporate ethics into their design process. The result of this research was this template-based toolkit.”

Jet Gispen a.k.a. /jet-gispen ~ Ethics for designers

Big data UX: Research opportunity and ethical challenge

Ethics, the new unique selling point of design.

“As the user experience professional, when the business wants to let videos wander (in other words, business leaders or other well-intentioned team members want to use the video in a way that the participant didn’t agree to), someone must serve as gatekeeper. Whenever these moments occur, our UX Cassandra role should compel us to represent not only our users’ need for great user experience, but for proper ethical handling of their participation in our experiments. Each of our new tools provide ethical challenges. We have an obligation to consider their challenges and address them as seriously as we do with our live participant studies or any of our methods.”

Josephine Scott a.k.a. @josies

UX Research is the biggest bang for the buck most companies fail to invest in

Research comes in many shapes for digital design.

“The problem I see with having a UX Designer without a UX Researcher is that as a company, you develop the illusion that you are doing enough to comprehensively assess and change the user experience in a way to get the optimal results out of your investment. And, truth be told, many UX designers do a little bit of everything highlighted in this article. But they don’t do enough. They can’t. There simply isn’t enough time in a day to both create the user experience and validate its effectiveness. Moreover, as we saw above, there’s a wide variety of techniques through which User Researchers monitor, analyze and report on user experience developments.”

Craig Tomlin a.k.a. /wcraigtomlin | @ctomlin

Grand challenges for HCI researchers

When the context changes, the challenges rise.

“The remarkable impact of human-computer interaction research and user experience design compels researchers, practitioners, and journalists to ask: What is the next big thing? Therefore, it may be useful for our community to lay out grand challenges that steer the direction of future research, design, and commercial development. As HCI researchers, we are profoundly aware of the immense problems of our age: Growing human populations consume natural resources, flourishing cities require housing and transportation, families demand education and safety, and rising expectations from patients put pressure on healthcare and social systems.”

Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, Maxine Cohen, Steven Jacobs, Niklas Elmqvist, and Nicholoas Diakopoulos ~ ACM Interactions Magazine

Beyond the conversation: Context-fluid experiences and augmented cognition

How to frame fluidity into a design challenge.

“What we can do currently, however, is think about how to best make use of the available data acquisition methods to create context-sensitive applications for context-fluid experiences. As designers, it is our job to continue to facilitate and improve the two-way conversation between our technology and its users. Let’s work toward creating meaningful feedback loops between human and computer, thus optimizing the context-fluid experience.”

Cameron Miller a.k.a. /cameronalexandermiller | @ChancesAreCam ~ Boxes and Arrows