Let’s re-frame the relation between theory and practice. It’s not at all anymore about mind and hands.
“Increasingly, researchers engage with design as a means of inquiry to understand and theorize about real-world situations in a nuanced and generative manner. Doing so involves negotiating a tension between two opposing objectives. On the one hand, design is inherently concerned with addressing the problem through shaping a unique and particular solution. On the other, theorizing is increasingly desired as an outcome of a design inquiry. Or, in other words, a design inquiry needs to formulate findings that are transferable across various situations and are generative of new designs. How do design researchers negotiate the dialectic between theorizing and designing in practice?”
Naveen Bagalkot and Tomas Sokoler ~ ACM Interactions Mar/Apr 2016 ★
Anything you can use to stimulate your empathy.
“Crafting a design persona is an intense exercise that requires the the time and involvement of team members throughout your company. While the work may seem daunting, it is well worth it. By investing in your product’s design persona, you are investing in future advocates of your product—and creating a source of design inspiration for your team.”
(Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek a.k.a. @megak ~ A List Apart) ★
2015 version coming soon, because ‘the results are in’.
“The 2014 Design Value Index shows us for a second year that corporations that put an emphasis on design as a strategic asset perform significantly better than those that do not. As corporate design capabilities mature, executives are able to direct this power towards their companies’ most challenging problems. This, in turn, allows design-driven companies to grow faster, and often with higher margins, due to the exceptional customer experiences they are uniquely positioned to create. Key trends identified through this work include the rise of user-experience (UX) design as a sub-discipline whose growth is expected to outpace all other design disciplines as the number of digital interfaces expand and the significant investment in internal design capabilities under way in many large U.S. companies today, as we see from DVI companies Intuit and IBM .”
(Jeneanne Rae a.k.a. @JeneanneMRae ~ Design Management Institute) ★
It’s just a new wave of what happened before. But now with less ‘crazy designers’.
“Design isn’t just working on aesthetics or functionality, they are making contributions to strategy, they are generating new value propositions. Having design be more prominent is allowing these organizations to leverage the insights they have been gathering on customers and consumers. They are becoming institutionally empathetic.”
(Grant McCracken a.k.a. @Grant27) ★
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, said Arthur C. Clarke.
“Data analytics can help predict behavior. Designers need to add data analytics to their skill sets in order to create the next generation of services. Goodman discusses the magical — and sometimes creepy — effect anticipatory design possesses.”
(Mary Treseler a.k.a. @marytreseler ~ O’Reilly Radar) ★
Another design challenge emerging from technology: Design for connected experiences.
“(…) we live in a world of increased complexity, in which digital data, everyday objects, and social practices are increasingly connected and interdependent. In a world of increasing complexity, designing digital technologies that facilitate meaningful interactions and integrate elegantly in our everyday lives requires an understanding of how to design for commensurability – that is, making our ability to connect across networks commensurate with our current practices in the physical world. Designing the connected everyday is fundamentally about making things commensurate as much as it is about making them smart.”
(Elisa Giaccardi a.k.a. @elisagiaccardi ~ ACM Interactions Magazine Jan/Feb 2015) ★
The time has come to deliver on the promise of Design.
“Design is entering its golden age. Now, like never before, the value of the discipline is recognized. This recognition is both a welcome change and a challenge for designers as they move to designing for networked systems.”
(Mary Treseler a.k.a. @marytreseler ~ O’Reilly Radar)
Without a good theory, all data can be equally usefull.
“As an educator, I’m painfully aware of the challenges of curricular design. Far and away the largest challenge in building a curriculum is fitting the quantity of material into a realistic course structure. It’s a zero-sum game; for each topic I add, I have to remove something. Design, like other professions, is going through a process of increased specialization, and that means there are more skills to learn in order to claim deep expertise. I end up agonizing over every detail, every class.”
(Jon Kolko a.k.a. @jkolko)
Design as the new normal.
“Design is finally receiving the attention and respect of non-designers. Jeff Veen talks about a different dynamic, one in which design plays a leading role in the development of products and services.”
(Mary Treseler a.k.a. @marytreseler ~ O’Reilly Radar)
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)
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)
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)
Or how design can make the world a better place.
“Over the past 30 years, almost every aspect of doing design has changed. We still seem to be in the middle of a transition to greater entanglement and complexity, but with greater involvement of people and, hopefully, more value contributed by the design capabilities of many. We can anticipate these uncertainties with hope or fear. But if we can use design thinking, making, and enacting to visualize and explore the future together, then we will be able to harness our collective creativity to serve our collective dreams.”
(Liz Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers ~ ACM Interactions nov/dec 2014)
Research is the foundation for design to make informed decisions.
“This guidance provides a broad overview of the methods and techniques available to conduct user research. More detailed guidance on each of these techniques can be found in the links below. User research can be categorised into 2 broad themes: product research and strategic research.”
After the dilemma of the innovator, we have the one of the designer.
“If you have ever worked on a design project or any other open-ended, ill-defined problem, you’re familiar with the designer’s dilemma. It works like this: at the beginning of a project you have a lot of freedom to take the design or project in many, possibly infinite, directions. But you also don’t know that much about the problem or the potential solutions, so making decisions during those early phases of the project of the project is challenging because your level of knowledge is low.”
(Durward Sobek ~ The Lean Post)
Wondering how these instruments determine the research results.
“Design research is about understanding real people in the context of their everyday lives and then using what we learn to inspire our work.”
(Dan Perkel a.k.a. @dperkel ~ IDEO Labs)
Always handy to have a step-by-step list. Research is more complicated though
“This article is a guide on what to expect, and how to get the most from your UX researcher – a user manual, if you will. You will invest a lot in your researcher and you deserve the greatest return. You should have high expectations for this critical component of your UX team, and following the recommendations presented in this article will help maximize your return.”
(Victor Yocco ~ Boxes and Arrows)
Without research into people, no design quality.
“The truth is that there are limitations to every type of data, qualitative and quantitative. Even data lauded by some as completely objective – for example, data from website logs or surveys – oftentimes includes a layer of subjectiveness.”
(Chelsey Glasson a.k.a. @chelseyglasson ~ Boxes and Arrows)
Never do research that’s redundant. But if it takes years (longitudinal), so be it.
“Too many people just do research or talk to customers without having a plan for what they want to learn. What they end up with is a mass of information with no way of parsing it.”
(Laura Klein a.k.a. @lauraklein ~ Boxes and Arrows)
Talk about design and innovation after the phase of ‘just do it’.
“Finding the sweet spot in terms of a timeframe or design skeleton is one thing, but the real challenge comes with translating consumer insights into something innovative that the designers can stand behind. (…) And just as we’ve made the transition from a much more “magic” way of introducing design to completely immersing ourselves into the thoughts, suggestions and feelings of consumers, we’re looking to a future where the the public will ultimately be playing a much smaller role in the actual function of their products. All we can do is wait to see what comes out of the woodwork – and offer our opinions as consumers whenever we have the chance.”