All posts from
November 2012

An Interview with Ann Rockley, the “Mother of Content Strategy”

A mother, not thé mother. Who’s the father? Who’s the child?

“The other driver is the digital content revolution. While best-of-breed technical communication and training departments have been creating multi-channel outputs for years using a write-it-once, use-it-often strategy, traditional publishers haven’t felt the pressure to adopt this approach until the Kindle, smartphones, tablet computers – and of course, the iPad – changed consumer demand.”

(Scott Wrangler)

10 Principles for Service Design

Always good to have some principles to design by. In whatever domain it applies.

“James Lawther has spent the past 20 years working in factories, supermarkets and call centres. Apparently he is fascinated by operations and is always on the lookout for ways to make them work cheaper faster or better. But we are interested in him because he writes a great blog about service improvement and offered to give us some thoughts on service design, so we took him up on this and here’s what he came up with.”

(James Lawther a.k.a. @SquawkPoint ~ The Service Design Programme)

Mining Social Media: Tracking Content and Predicting Behavior

Computational predictability: the algorithmic perspective on human behavior. A kind of Ellerdale project.

“The advent of social media has established a symbiotic relationship between social media and online news. This relationship can be leveraged for tracking news content, and predicting behavior with tangible real-world applications, e.g., online reputation management, ad pricing, news ranking, and media analysis. In this thesis, we focus on tracking news content in social media, and predicting user behavior.”

(Manos Tsagkias a.k.a. @samanos)

Collecting Payment Information Within a Single Input

Micro-design for the best payment experience.

“For years the advice for mobile designers has been to avoid text input. Screens are small, fingers are imprecise, and so errors happen. But at the same time mobile devices are always with us, always on, and always connected. So instead of trying to limit input we should be encouraging it and taking steps to ensure it’s easy to provide accurately. Enter input masks.”

(Luke Wroblewski a.k.a. @LukeW)

Designing Life-Changing Solutions

Design of digital stuff changes everybody’s lives. Deal with it.

“The boundaries between design and psychology are progressively blurring. With designers increasingly facing high stakes challenges and more psychologists jumping off the academic pedestal to get their hands dirty with real people in real contexts, the two disciplines are more intertwined than ever before.”

(Giorgio Baresi a.k.a. @giorgiobaresi ~ design mind Frog Design) ~ courtesy of fabiosergio

Effects of Typography on Reader Mood and Productivity

Great typography is like the oxygen of reading.

“The lesson here is twofold. First, good typography has a clear impact on the mood of the reader. People who are reading a well typeset page are more engaged in the experience and find that time flies by faster. Second, research has shown that positive mood improves creative problem solving, and since typography can be used to influence mood, it is possible that good typography also has direct effect on our productivity, at least in the sphere of certain creative tasks. Good typographic design then is not just a way to communicate the character of your text and strengthen reader engagement, it could boost their cognitive performance, too.”

(Dmitry Fadeyev a.k.a. @dfadeyev ~ UsabilityPost)

What is the emerging role of design in the public sector?

Design is now so ubiquitous, it’s exploding into all kinds of industries: health, education, business, tourism, and now even government as well.

“And so we find ourselves seeking a deeper transformation in the way we organise and build our society. We face a choice about the future we want to create and live within and who should be entrusted with envisioning, contributing and ultimately delivering that future. From the invention of the modern concept of the designer as an agent for change in the industrial era, to the demands of an ever-changing, interconnected global community, our needs for design and creativity have evolved. Designers are increasingly directing their talents to new problems, bringing professional creativity to the biggest and most important challenges of our times. As we acknowledge that the unprecedented demands facing public services cannot be met by increased funding alone, it seems right to look to those dissatisfied optimists for new approaches that will help deliver the innovative solutions we need.”

(Andrea Siodmok a.k.a. @designcomedy ~ Design Council)

Why the Best Designers are also Facilitators

Due to reframing of design challenges as wicked problems.

“This definition paints the picture of what it means to facilitate a session really well. As a facilitator, your job is to help a person, or a group of people, traverse a problem space. The context of the problem space could be one where you, as the designer, need to learn more about what is going on so you can properly craft an effective solution. Or it could be a situation were the participants needs to identify and solve the problem on their own, while you take that solution back and refine it further.”

(Brad Ty Nunnally ~ UX Magazine)

Avoid Problem Solving For Better Critiques

You can also call it a critical cognitive walkthrough.

“Problem solving in a critique is also a frequent occurrence. It seems to be a common trait of people who are involved in the design, development and overall creation of things, whether they be websites, products, services, or whatever. We can’t help but try to solve problems. It’s just the way our brains work. But in the context of a critique, problem solving and jumping to solutions can be detrimental for a number of reasons.”

(Adam Connor a.k.a. @adamconnor ~ Discussing Design)

Service Design: Buzzword or Magic Method?

Then, here in the middle ‘something magical happens’.

“Having worked in the design field for quite some time, Pia Betton has observed fundamental changes in the design industry in the last years: a paradigm shift from corporate to social, as she puts it, and the rise of service design methods.”

(Pia Betton ~ NEXT Berlin)

Should You Become A UX Generalist Or A UX Specialist?

Generalist inside the UX comfort zone (think: coding, visual design or content creation), or outside (think: gastronomy, theatre or architecture).

“If you doubt whether you’re up to the task, you’ll probably discover that you do indeed fall short. I’d encourage you to embrace those moments when you’re outside of your comfort zone.”

(Matthew Magain a.k.a. @mattymcg ~ UX mastery)

Experience Design in the Agency Setting : Architecting cross-channel experiences to drive brand relationships

Experience design: user, customer, patient, and student experiences.

“As the user experience field has been maturing, certain unique disciplines have emerged, like user research, usability testing, content strategy, information architecture, and experience design. While different organizations may have UX departments named after any one of these disciplines, this article focuses not on taxonomy or the UX/XD service offering as a whole. Rather, it will examine the distinct “experience design” discipline itself and how this discipline can add value within the agency setting.”

(Tom Schneider ~ UX magazine)

Accessibility is part of UX (it isn’t a swear word)

Having access should be a hygiene factor, not a motivator.

“People often go a bit wobbly when accessibility is mentioned. Visions of text only websites, monochrome designs and static content swirl in their heads. Teeth are gritted, excuses are prepared, and battle conditions ensue. The reality is that accessibility is simply a key part of UX. A truly outstanding digital experience is a fusion of accessibility, usability, creativity and technology. The trick is to weave those things together, and to do that successfully there needs to be a cross pollination of skills and expertise. The good news is that accessibility is usability under a magnifying glass. If you’re thinking about great usability, the chances are that you’re already thinking about great accessibility too.”

(Léonie Watson ~ humanising technology blog) ~ courtesy of ericscheid

What is User Experience?

“I shall not today attempt further to define ‘it’; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.”

“I am one of these people. I design experiences. Or I design for experiences, if we must mince words. I don’t do this because I was trained to do so. I do this because I must. I am a User Experience Designer. Or whatever they’re calling it these days.”

(Stephen Anderson a.k.a. @stephenanderson ~ NEW Boxes and Arrows)