All posts about
Design research

Paradigm Shift: Report on the New Role of Design in Business and Society

Thomas Kuhn and design in business and society.

“Corporate cultures’ prevailing attitudes towards design have begun to shift. Financial companies and management consultancies now have design teams, and include “design” in their service portfolios. Large corporations are bolstering their in-house design capabilities, and appointing designers to executive roles. Venture capitalist firms and startups increasingly recognize the value of including designers in the early stages of business development. Even global organizations and international foundations now list design on their agendas. A paradigm shift is taking place in the field of design. This study examines some of the latest corporate investments in design, and reflects on what this phenomenon means for the wider field of design. The focus of this study is on the key trend indicators that are defining the current landscape of design, and its changing role in business and society.”

Gjoko Muratovski a.k.a. /gjokomuratovski ~ She Ji

Designing education: Educating design

Design and education, how can they have been separated for soo long.

“The concept of design in not new to education. However, the act of designing as we understand it in user experience—or design thinking—is not yet mainstream in the design for teaching and learning. The pervasiveness of technology and the maturity of both user-centered design and e-learning are intertwining design and education in deeper ways. (…) Modern design approaches and philosophies are well-placed to facilitate this orchestration. Designing education and educating design is the right path to take. While the immensity of the task can feel overwhelming, we as designers can find the challenge and beauty of it by tackling it at a human-sized level. Let’s not focus on the systemic problems and policy changes needed in education but on the things that we as designers can do to enhance the teaching and learning experience. This crossroads of education and design is just the beginning.”

Muriel Garreta-Domingo a.k.a. /murielgd | @mparticulars ~ UXPA Magazine

Design ideal: Performing a dialogue between theorizing and designing

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

Crafting a design persona

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)

Good design drives shareholder value: 2014 design value index results and commentary

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)

Design and the Corporation: A reply from Darrel Rhea

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)

Designing on a system level

“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)

Designing the connected everyday

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)

Why I teach theory

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)

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)

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)

Designing to co-designing to collective dreaming: Three slices in time

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)

An introduction to user research techniques: Ways to understand your users and their needs

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.”

(Gov.uk)

The designer’s dilemma

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)

UX researcher: A user’s manual

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)