All posts from
December 2013

Building the in-house design agency: Getting the best of both worlds

Embedding UX capabilities in the enterprise is a major challenge for the field.

“The biggest barrier I’ve seen to using UX in a firm is often simple lack of knowledge of what UX can deliver. (…) An integrated internal UX team is critical to organizational success, and the stakes are higher in larger enterprises. An internal practice that builds lasting relationships, provides thought leadership, and acts as trusted advisors provides long-lasting value to the firm. As the digital space becomes increasingly human-centric, and organizations evolve offerings around consumer need, the internal user experience agency plays a significant part in delivering both short term wins as well as long term success.”

(Stephen Turbek a.k.a. @Stephenturbek ~ Boxes and Arrows)

Advancing the practice of IxD through better education

Formal education and curriculums of design for UX, interaction or information architecture has been a neglected area for years.

“For the inaugural event, we brought together 25 people interested in education to listen to provocations from educators within different contexts and then to workshop around those same provocations. Although the outcomes were not as I had hoped, I do think it was a successful and well-timed event. I didn’t even know that the hosts of the next year’s Interaction conference were already thinking along the same lines and wanted to lead their own initiative. So we coupled our talents together to help prepare this year’s event with lessons learned from the previous year and we have prepared an amazing single-day event for people interested in the intersection of education and interaction design around the world.”

(Dave Malouf a.k.a. @daveixd ~ Core77)

The Service Design imperative

Great collection of content when you haven’t attend the event in Cardiff.

“Service Design is the application of design practice to the other 80% of the economy. It demands new skills, tools and techniques, perhaps even a rethinking of what we mean by design itself. Designing product service systems and the business models that enable them, means crossing boundaries between design disciplines, business and technology. It means changing the processes and practices not only of designers but how firms innovate and organize themselves. This isn’t easy as we share different working practices and cultures, but, it’s essential, for service designers, if we are to collaborate or even lead innovation. Innovative service systems can create rich and integrated customer experiences — delivering real social and economic value, opportunities for self-expression, and bring meaning to peoples’ lives, as well as to the world we share.”

(Service Design Network 2013 conference videos and presentations)

Applied UX strategy: Maturity models

We have many maturity models, for usability (Nielsen), CX (Forrester) and now for UX.

“In a perfect world, companies would take a systematic approach to product design from their very first days. But, in reality, early product design efforts can be sporadic for various reasons – for instance, because a product must launch as soon as possible, there’s not enough money at the start, the user base must grow at the fastest rate possible, or the product idea changes constantly in trying to discover an effective business model. Why is this?”

(Yury Vetrov ~ UXmatters)

Designing moments of meaning and pleasure: Experience design and happiness

Let’s be happy. Sure, for the rest of our life.

“While society changes its focus from ‘well-fare’ to ‘well-being’, design becomes increasingly interested in the question whether it can design for happiness. In the present paper, we outline Experience Design, an approach which places pleasurable and meaningful moments at the center of all design efforts. We discuss reasons for focusing on experiences, and provide conceptual tools to help designers, such as a model of an artifact as explicitly consisting of both the material and the experiential. We suggest psychological needs as a way to understand and categorize experiences, and ‘experience patterns’ as a tool to distill the ‘essence’ of an experience for inscribing it into artifacts. Finally, we briefly reflect upon the morality implied by such experiential artifacts.”

(Marc Hassenzahl et al. ~ International Journal of Design 7.3)

Smartwatches are the future, but Samsung Galaxy Gear only partway there

Just figured out design for smartphones and tablets. Next up for design challenges, wearable glasses and watches.

“The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch poses unique problems due to the tiny touchscreen. The use of gestures and streamlining content are reasonable solutions, but need to be implemented in a more usable manner.”

(Raluca Budiu ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

IA and business strategy: An evolving relationship

All experience design fields will be part of the larger business ecosystem. Like it or not.

“Information architecture doesn’t drive business strategy, per se. It won’t tell you what sort of business you should be in, or if you should outsource part of your manufacturing, or if you should change to a matrix-based management structure. But increasingly, IA needs to be considered as an input to those decisions, because all of them require thinking through how the digital places where you do business have to change, structurally. The difference between success and failure — or if a new business approach is even possible – can depend on the shape, clarity, and resilience of those information environments.”

(Andrew Hinton a.k.a. @inkblurt ~ The Understanding Group)

Service principles guide customer experience

Principles in general and design principles in particular are great beacons.

“When people in an organisation have different interpretations of what really matters to customers, the customer experience falls apart. The difficulty is to align business units and individuals to do the right things – and do them consistently. Strong principles are a powerful way to unite teams to deliver better customer experiences.”

(Anne Meijer and John Holager ~ live|work)

Surveying the big screen

And what about wall-size screens or future iTVs?

“(…) by embracing large screens, designers have the opportunity to work within a larger fold, presenting the user with more content simultaneously, lessen scrolling on longer pages, and create a richer, more expansive user experience. And by using the same practices we developed to adapt layouts to smaller screens and identifying some common patterns for large screens, we need not necessarily introduce extra cost or time to our projects.”

(Mike Pick a.k.a. @mikepick ~ A List Apart)

Un-sucking the touchpoint

Touchpoint as device, product or channel is not specific enough. Conversations build from stories, dialogues and interactions might be.

“The touchpoint has been around for a long while, particularly in thinking about brand marketing and service design. But as design disciplines and approaches collide – from customer experience, to service design, to experience design – and we start horse trading terms, methods, and outputs, some of these concepts are given new life. For me, the touchpoint has become a central way to view designing moments across increasingly complex journeys. Whether it’s an expanding digital product ecosystem, a cross-channel retail experience, or a complex, intangible service experience.”

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

Classification and its consequences

Creativity is connecting two existing things in a new way. I would connect it to Glushko’s TAO.

“We see this Linnean mentality often deployed all over our information spaces, and its consequences still produce scaffoldings that simply expose internal structures, be those the enterprise’s, the organization’s, or the university’s, with no concern for actual usefulness. The move towards cross-channel experiences is turning this into an even more complex scenario, where the different nature of the channels themselves (staff at a store, a mobile phone, a kiosk, signage) introduces one additional dimension to an already layered problem space.”

(Andreas Resmini a.k.a. @resmini)