All posts from
January 2013

Re-Introducing page description diagrams

Content models, schemas and DTDs. Good old skool abstracting stuff. But… what’s a page anyway?

“Recently, we discovered the page description diagram, a method for documenting components without specifying layout. At first, it seemed limited, even simplistic, relative to our needs. But with some consideration, we began to understand the value. We started looking at whether or not PDDs could help us improve our process.”

(Colin Butler a.k.a. @cbutlerUX and Andrew Wirtanen a.k.a. @awirtanen ~ UX Magazine)

Man-Computer Symbiosis

One of the giants on whose shoulders we (HCI) stand.

“Man-computer symbiosis is an expected development in cooperative interaction between men and electronic computers. It will involve very close coupling between the human and the electronic members of the partnership. The main aims are (1) to let computers facilitate formulative thinking as they now facilitate the solution of formulated problems, and (2) to enable men and computers to cooperate in making decisions and controlling complex situations without inflexible dependence on predetermined programs. In the anticipated symbiotic partnership, men will set the goals, formulate the hypotheses, determine the criteria, and perform the evaluations. Computing machines will do the routinizable work that must be done to prepare the way for insights and decisions in technical and scientific thinking. Preliminary analyses indicate that the symbiotic partnership will perform intellectual operations much more effectively than man alone can perform them. Prerequisites for the achievement of the effective, cooperative association include developments in computer time sharing, in memory components, in memory organization, in programming languages, and in input and output equipment.”

(J.C.R. Licklider a.k.a. Lick, 1960)

The evolution of technical communication

Information management and technical communication appear to be the parents of content strategy.

“Over the years technical communication has transitioned from a conventional author-reader engagement to a realm of social collaboration. Let’s take a look at how technical communication has progressed over time and the significant milestones along the way.”

(Monalisa Sen and Debarshi Gupta Biswas ~ tcworld)

All dashboards should be feeds

What you also can do with Big Data and Feeds. Creating meaning out of information.

“So, a big but sincere request to everybody who’s making analytics or stats apps, either standalone or as part of a larger app: Please throw away the dashboard. I know they demo well and look great in investor pitch decks or screencast videos. But they don’t actually help me make decisions, or get better at what I’m doing. And that’s the only reason I’m measuring something in the first place.”

(Anil Dash a.k.a. @anildash)

Intersection: How enterprise design bridges the gap between business, technology and people

With this book, Milan Guenther achieved a comprehensive reframing of the Enterprise concept for the 21st century with Design as its primary driver. Intersection will become a beacon for many in the design, business and technology communities.

“Many organizations struggle with the dynamics and the complexity of today’s social ecosystems connecting everyone and everything, everywhere and all the time. Facing challenges at the intersection of business models, technical developments and human needs, enterprises must overcome the siloed thinking and isolated efforts of the past, and instead address relationships to people holistically. In Intersection, Milan Guenther introduces a Strategic Design approach that aligns the overarching efforts of Branding, Enterprise Architecture and Experience Design on common course to shape tomorrow’s enterprises. This book gives designers, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders a holistic model and a comprehensive vocabulary to tackle such challenges.”

(Milan Guenther a.k.a. @eda__c)

David Weinberger keynote address at KMWorld 2012: Facilitating knowledge sharing

Knowledge sits in the relations, not in the nodes.

“Now we have a new medium and this medium is capacious beyond belief, and is linked. So what we’re seeing within this capacious medium is knowledge living at the level of the network, not in the individual nodes, not in the books, not in the minds of the individual experts, but knowledge now consists, in my view, of knowledge networks.”

(David Weinberger)

User experience, incorporated

The delicate position of UX between all the powers that be in business.

“It is easy to see that there are a few common ingredients across these different strategies, such as executive commitment, access to customers, new technical prototyping skills, and small, interdisciplinary teams. All of these ingredients are critical not only to UX, but also to developing the sort of bottom-up, risk-taking culture that is central to succeeding in the 21st century market. These skills are standard in the startup market where UX is increasingly appreciated as a key to success and value creation. The startup market is creating a new breed of business executives, like Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square, who are impatient with requirements-driven waterfall product development processes. They think ‘UX-first’. The big challenge now is to drive these same skills into the more traditional, top-down management culture at big companies. The companies that get it right will be either be at the forefront of disrupting business or much more likely to thrive in the era of disruption.”

(Robert Fabricant a.k.a. @fabtweet ~ DesignMind frog)

Media studies, mobile augmented reality, and interaction design

Integrating, relating, and syncing multiple important fields of practice and disciples always results into something interesting.

“McLuhan’s idea is compelling, but media aesthetics is not as simple and singular as McLuhan suggests. It is not simply that technology changes and extends our perceptual systems, because we are not passive in this process. As individuals and as a whole culture, we create new technological forms and designs that define new relationships between us and our environment. There is a feedback loop in which our view of the world changes our designs, and our use of new artifacts and designs changes how we perceive the world. If we take a historical view, we can see these feedback processes at work. Media studies can then contribute to aesthetic design, which we can define as the practice of reconfiguring the way the user perceives her environment through technology.”

(Jay Bolter, Maria Engberg, and Blair MacIntyre ~ ACM Interactions Jan/Feb 2013)

Stop explaining UX and start doing UX

The end of DTDT seems near.

“The external validation model ensures that we’re always arguing from a position of weakness—begging for resources before our managers or clients have seen what they’re buying. We need to have the conversation about value after we’ve proven that the UX process works, not before. (…) Actions are stronger than words. We have the power to break the cycle of learned helplessness and earn the respect we crave—if we stop explaining UX and start doing UX.”

(Kim Bieler a.k.a. @feadog ~ UX Magazine)

There is no spoon: The construct of channels

Channel, device or touch point. Typical inside-out thinking.

“Channels are completely fluid to the context of our needs. We can define them broadly: digital channel versus phone channel. Or we can zoom in and define them more narrowly: mobile channel versus desktop web channel. Or more narrowly still: native app versus mobile web. The purpose of defining channels largely depends on the context in which they are being discussed – at what detail do you need to define a particular channel to support the experience? You’ll typically define them more broadly at the organizational level, and then more narrowly as you move down to the strategic and then tactical level.”

(Chris Risdon a.k.a. @ChrisRisdon ~ Adaptive Path)

A consistent experience is a better experience: Service design

Service design forces user experience design to sync with the new normal.

“If there is one thing that has held the test of time, it’s that history is bound to repeat itself. What was once old will most certainly become new again in the cycle of time because good ideas never go out of style. Service design is a shining example of this fact. In spite of the fact that the conception of service design is nearly 30 years old, it is an idea that is more relevant than ever today.”

(Mark Eberman ~ Digital Compass)

Five big UX topics in 2012

More UX galore for the near future. Now we have to deliver the real goods.

“For years, UX professionals have vigorously lobbied for a “seat at the table” when it comes to formative decisions about products and product development. Looking back at 2012, trends indicate that this wish is becoming reality. Many leading UX consultants reported that their clients are more open to research and design methods with a UX focus than they have been in the past. This elevated focus on UX ideas and concepts will require informed engagement with several high-level topics that emerged in 2012. This article discusses five of the themes that we expect will have relevance into 2013.”

(Catalyst Group ~ Boxes and Arrows)