The future of graphic and communication design

Design disciplines still relevant in the digital domain, even though there’re last century.

“To get a glimpse of the future of graphic and communication design, it’s not enough to think about new hardware, corporate needs, or visual trends. In the short term, digital design will move beyond screens to physical surfaces and augmented or artificial environments, and designers will occupy more positions where they are directing or consulting on larger and more complex systems of experience. Design is already less visual and more collaborative, and will continue along that trend. It’s not enough, though, to look five or ten years in the future. Will there be a Machine-Learning designer in 2050? Maybe. But in forty years, it’s just as likely that jobs will no longer exist, or at least not in a way that we would recognize them.”

Juliette Cezzar a.k.a. /juliette-cezzar | @juliettecezzar ~ Design Observer

The convergence of interaction design and architecture

Moving from the physical to the digital domain.

“The rapid development of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies is propelling us toward a world where an ever-increasing amount of our experiences are mediated by digital interactivity. As this trend continues, the task of designing our built environment will be as much about designing the interactive experiences that happen in that space as it will be about form, program, materiality and so on. The fields of interaction design and architecture will become one and the same, and we’ll need to work across disciplines and cultivate new skill sets to design new buildings.”

James Patten ~ DesignIntelligence

Human-centered design for machine learning

Always keep the human in mind, even when the mind is artificial.

“Machine learning (ML) is the science of helping computers discover patterns and relationships in data instead of being manually programmed. It’s a powerful tool for creating personalised and dynamic experiences, and it’s already driving everything from Netflix recommendations to autonomous cars. But as more and more experiences are built with ML, it’s clear that UX’ers still have a lot to learn about how to make users feel in control of the technology, and not the other way round.”

Josh Lovejoy and Jess Holbrook ~ IoT for all

Why information matters

Philosophy doesn’t mean ‘vague’. It means reflective thinking on important questions, issues and beliefs.

“When we use a computer, its performance seems to degrade progressively. This is not a mere impression. Over the years of owning a particular machine, it will get sluggish. Sometimes this slowdown is caused by hardware faults, but more often the culprit is software: programs get more complicated, as more features are added and as old bugs are patched (or not), and greater demands are placed on resources by new programs running in the background. After a while, even rebooting the computer does not restore performance, and the only solution is to upgrade to a new machine. Philosophy can be a bit like a computer getting creakier. It starts well, dealing with significant and serious issues that matter to anyone. Yet, in time, it can get bloated and bogged down and slow. Philosophy begins to care less about philosophical questions than about philosophers’ questions, which then consume increasing amounts of intellectual attention. The problem with philosophers’ questions is not that they are impenetrable to outsiders — although they often are, like any internal game — but that whatever the answers turn out to be, assuming there are any, they do not matter, because nobody besides philosophers could care about the questions in the first place.”

Luciano Floridi a.k.a. /luciano-floridi | @floridi ~ The New Atlantis (special issue Information, Matters, and Life)

On becoming a UX manager: New skills, requirements, and rewards

UX settles in the tactical (managerial) area.

“One of the most exciting career transitions one can go through, regardless of the discipline, is from individual contributor to manager. Becoming manager of a user experience team adds to that already-momentous transition its own unique set of issues, considerations, and requirements. While the learning curve can be steep, the rewards of UX management are many. Watching teammates grow professionally is immensely gratifying, as is seeing a high-functioning team address complex business challenges with ease. Furthermore, it is an exciting time to be a leader in the UX discipline as strategically minded managers have the opportunity to make design and research a vital part of their organization’s strategy.”

Jerrod Larson a.k.a. /jerrod-larson ~ The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association 17.4

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)

Capturing the value of design thinking in different innovation practices

Happy twins? Design thinking and innovation.

“Design thinking has become a popular notion in the field of innovation. What is design thinking really and—even more important—what could be its value in applying it in innovation practices? This paper presents four studies that together capture the value of design thinking in different early-stage innovation practices. Study 1 comprised a literature review on design thinking to form the basis of an agreed domain of discourse for design thinking in innovation. In Study 2, this shared domain of discourse was validated. This shared domain of discourse provided the input for Study 3, which investigated how innovators apply design thinking in early-stage innovation practices. It shows that the application of design thinking is dependent on the innovator’s aim for the project, his or her vision on innovation, and the main challenge s/he is facing. This combination of characteristics is termed an image of design thinking. The images frame the application design activities in the context of the specific innovation project. Study 4 successfully validated the four images and shows that the combination of the images and the agreed domain of discourse can serve as a common language and a tool that allow capturing the value of design thinking in early-stage innovation.”

M. Kleinsmann, R. Valkenburg, and J. Sluijs ~ International Journal of Design (11.2)

Improving UX with the concept of Artificial Intelligence

UX designers have to become computational thinkers as well.

“UX designers have years of experience in creating the best design elements, and most of the time the results of which carries a UX designer to be largely positive in terms of increased interaction and achieving the bottom line. However, there is a gap between the positive change brought by UX designers and what should be the utopian final script interaction. The results may be better, but the UX design in this world cannot guarantee that every user will like everything on the website or application. There will always be some people who adore in other parts of the conversion path with a focus on UX. The main reason for this is not enough customization in the UX design to optimize the interests of each user separately. Each user is different and needs a different treatment. UX design works on a global level but there is still a gap and potential that can be achieved and brands help to invest more in significant UX design.”

Melissa Crooks a.k.a. /msmelissacrooks ~ home toys

Information in the ecosystem: Against the information ecosystem

Deep thinking on the meaning, impact and context of information a.k.a. info.

“The “information ecosystem” metaphor is widely used in academic libraries and has become nearly ubiquitous when speaking of the information systems that support scholarly communication and varied forms of data sharing and publication. The trending use of this language arises from non-academic applications — for example in big data (the Hadoop ecosystem) or software development (the node.js ecosystem) — and there remains little critical examination of the use of this metaphor. Indeed, the definition of ecosystem as the set of relations between living organisms and their surrounding non-living environment is apparently not directly a part of the metaphor. This paper first describes the emergence of ecological thinking and how it was influenced by early information science and then explores how different ‘ecologies’ are used within the academy, including in the emergent field of information ecology. A short critique of the metaphor is then posed and the paper concludes that the information ecosystem metaphor is useful, yet at the same time there are dangerous elements that render aspects of human societies and natural ecosystems invisible.”

Timothy B. Norris and Todd Suomela ~ First Monday (22.9)

Does HCI scale? Scale hacking and the relevance of HCI

If you can scale, you can deliver at any level of abstraction.

“HCI has had a massive impact on the world through streamlining and enabling millions of interfaces on billions of devices. As we face the potential of a tenfold increase in the number of devices and their complexity, it is worth asking about the relationship between HCI and scale. Do the tools and research methods we currently deploy scale to the millions of future interfaces and systems, used by billions of people, across multiple contexts? In this article we outline how we see the challenge of scale. By scale we mean how technology is used in large networks of interconnected systems, with billions of users, across diverse contexts. How can we understand and design for this complex of interconnected uses? Put simply, does HCI scale?”

Barry Brown, Susanne Bødker, and Kristina Höök ~ Interactions XXIV.5

Usability testing of spoken conversational systems

Good old usability testing for brand new technologies.

“The philosophy behind usability testing for speech-enabled systems is shared with general usability practices, but many usability practitioners have little or no experience testing speech interfaces, and the specific techniques required for collecting valid and reliable data are not widely understood. Spoken language and conversation have a number of properties that should influence the methods used to test speech user interfaces.”

Susan L. Hura a.k.a. /susan-hura | @SpeechUsability ~ Journal of Usability Studies 12.4

Integrating animation into a design system

Perceived behavior of the machine triggers human behavior.

“Keeping animation choreography cohesive from the outset of a project can be challenging, especially for small companies. Without a dedicated motion specialist on the team, it can be difficult to prioritize guidelines and patterns early in the design process. What’s more likely to happen is that animations will be added as the product develops.”

Alla Kholmatova a.k.a. /allakholmatova | @craftui ~ A List Apart

To be a design-led company

Design as the primary organizational competence. I see John Maeda’s hand in this.

What got us here won’t get us there. I want to have design leading the way. A lot more user research. A lot more mockups.(…) Design as tactical driver: where design alters a discrete product, service, or communication effort. Design for system innovation: where design alters an existing system or creates a new one to deliver a better solution. Design as a catalyst for transformation: where design changes attitudes and behaviors of a community or organization.”

Ashleigh Axios a.k.a. /ashleighaxios | @AshleighAxios ~ A8C DESIGN

Accessibility for visual design

Creating color, typography and lay-out to fit humans, all of them.

“They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As designers, we need to remember that the same is true of color and all visual abilities. It’s estimated that 4.5% of the global population experience color blindness (that’s 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women), 4% suffer from low vision (1 in 30 people), and 0.6% are blind (1 in 188 people). It’s easy to forget that we’re designing for this group of users since most designers don’t experience such problems.”

Nick Babich a.k.a. /nbabich | @101babich ~ UX Booth courtesy of @MikeClickr

Human-centered machine learning: 7 steps to stay focused on the user when designing with ML

New technology waves are ahead of us.

“Machine learning is the science of helping computers discover patterns and relationships in data instead of being manually programmed. It’s a powerful tool for creating personalized and dynamic experiences, and it’s already driving everything from Netflix recommendations to autonomous cars. But as more and more experiences are built with ML, it’s clear that UXers still have a lot to learn about how to make users feel in control of the technology, and not the other way round.”

Jess Holbrook a.k.a. /jessholbrook courtesy of O’Reilly Design