All posts from
August 2010

Designing Behavior in Interaction: Using Aesthetic Experience as a Mechanism for Design

“As design moves into the realm of intelligent products and systems, interactive product behavior becomes an ever more prominent aspect of design, raising the question of how to design the aesthetics of such interactive behavior. To address this challenge, we developed a conception of aesthetics based on Pragmatist philosophy and translated it into a design approach. Our notion of Aesthetic Interaction consists of four principles: Aesthetic Interaction (1) has practical use next to intrinsic value, (2) has social and ethical dimensions, (3) has satisfying dynamic form, and (4) actively involves people’s bodily, cognitive, emotional and social skills. Our design approach based on this notion is called ‘designing for Aesthetic Interaction through Aesthetic Interaction’, referring to the use of aesthetic experience as a design mechanism. We explore our design approach through a case study that involves the design of intelligent lamps and outlines the utilized design techniques. The paper concludes with a set of practical recommendations for designing the aesthetics of interactive product behavior.” (Ross, P. R. & Wensveen, S. A. G. ~ International Journal of Design 4.2)

Why Great Ideas Can Fail

“Designers are proud of their ability to innovate, to think outside the box, to develop creative, powerful ideas for their clients. Sometimes these ideas win design prizes. However, the rate at which these ideas achieve commercial success is low. Many of the ideas die within the companies, never becoming a product. Among those that become products, a good number never reach commercial success.” (Donald A. Norman ~ Core77)

Possibilities Abound

“Wurman holds a special place for those who practice information architecture. He coined the term in 1976, in part as a response to what he identified as limited perceptions of the word design. The term information architect grew from his desire to know rather than already knowing; and from his ignorance and curiosity rather than his intelligence and assumptions. So it’s not surprising that when Wurman presented keynote remarks at the recent IA Summit, he spoke of information architecture within the framework of a journey from not knowing to knowing. That’s the magic of this business, he told us.” (Thom Haller)

Emotional Design with A.C.T.: Defining Emotion, Personality and Relationship (1/2)

“In Part 1 of this two-part article, I’ll be discussing how emotions command attention. Then, we’ll dive deeper to explore how design elicits and communicates emotion and personality to users. Emotions result in the experience of pleasure or pain that commands attention. The different dimensions of emotion affect different aspects of behavior as well as communicating personality over time. In Part 2, I’ll introduce a framework for describing the formation of relationships between people and the products they use.” (Trevor van Gorp ~ Boxes and Arrows)

Making the Deal: Supporting Product Demos with User Assistance

“Demo software changes the rules. Customers purchase your product only after it has proven its usefulness. Usability barriers in demos often cause customers to decide not to purchase—after all, their commitment to your product is minimal at that point. Plus, product reviewers often use demos to evaluate products. They rate your product based on how well the demo performs for them. A poor review can discourage many potential customers from even trying your demo, let alone purchasing your product. In both of these scenarios, your product’s user assistance can affect how successful a user or reviewer is in getting your product to work for them, in the critical window during which they’re making their judgment about your product.” (Mike Hughes ~ UXmatters)

Personas: Explorations in Developing a Deep and Dimensioned Character

“If we are going to begin to address these issues, we need to get at the root of the problem—our empathetic understanding of our users. Having empathy for users and understanding their needs doesn’t come from reading words on a page. It doesn’t come from statistical analysis of demographics either. It comes from truly embodying and experiencing the character of a persona, so it becomes ingrained emotionally and physically in our memories. Actors understand this. From the time Stanislavski began teaching Method Acting – a process of transformation in which actors begin to take on the true nature of a character – actors have referred to this moment when they realize a character’s emotional memory and have truly become the character as the moment of embodiment.” (Traci Lepore ~ UXmatters)

The making of Undercover UX Design

“Writing a book has been the most complex information architecture challenge of my life. The permutations in which you can sculpt, exclude, clarify and link information are staggering. No surprise then that we relied on our familiar design process, heading up the chain of goals, structure, content and surface. We appropriated the tools of our trade: personas, content analysis, user feedback and deep iteration—but it was trial and error that finally unearthed the process that worked for us.” (Cennydd Bowles)

Good Help is Hard to Find

“One of the most fundamental rules of user experience on the web is that developers are rarely qualified to evaluate it. As developers, we know far too much about the web in general, and intuitively grasp details that mystify people who spend their days contributing to society in other ways. For this reason, it’s all too easy for us to build websites and applications that are hard to use. Good user testing during the development process can mitigate the problem, but in many projects, the testing budget is limited if present at all.” (Lyle Mullican ~ A List Apart)