Transforming a scholarly discipline and its field of professional design practice.
“As a way to capture a broadly acceptable high-level characterization of design, we focus on the guiding values or ideals of the discipline. We first reason from the notion of engineering interfaces for usability and utility up to the 1990s to the current ideal of designing interfaces for experience and meaning. Next, we identify three recent technical and societal developments that are challenging the existing ideals of interaction design, namely the move towards hybrid physical/digital materials, the emergence of an increasingly complex and fluid digital ecology, and the increasing proportion of autonomous or partially autonomous systems changing their behavior over time and with use. These challenges in turn motivate us to propose three directions in which new ideals for interaction design might be sought: the first is to go beyond the language-body divide that implicitly frames most of our current understandings of experience and meaning, the second is to extend the scope of interaction design from individual interfaces to the complex sociotechnical fabric of human and nonhuman actors, and the third is to go beyond predictability by learning to design with machine learning.”
Kristina Höök and Jonas Löwgren ~ She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 7.1 ★
In any structure, you must search for the power of silence, whitespace and emptiness.
“The article frames music through the lens of information architecture in order to infer a few considerations on information architecture through the lens of music, and is a thoroughly revised and expanded version of the author’s opening keynote at World Information Architecture Day in Verona, Italy, February 18 2017.”
Federico Badaloni a.k.a. /federico-badaloni | @fedebadaloni ~ Journal of Information Architecture 6.1 ★
Good old taxo’s.
“Taxonomies may be thought of as hierarchies of categories to group and organize information to be found when browsing, or as a structured set of terms used to tag content so that it can be retrieved efficiently and accurately. Sometimes the same taxonomy may serve both purposes, and sometimes two different taxonomies are used, one for each purpose, for the same content or site. Taxonomies are not new, in fact there has been a lot written about them, including an informative series of six articles here in Boxes and Arrows by Grace Lau in 2015. An area that still needs to be better understood is exactly how taxonomies should be designed and implemented to be most effective.”
Heather Hedden ~ Boxes and Arrows ★
The use, action and value are in the design.
“Data plays an important part in our daily lives. It shapes how we view the world and, for better or worse, informs the decisions we make. Despite controversies around who collects and does what with data, data-centric work is seen as critical to solving the most complex problems of today, from climate change and security to health crises and inequality. It spans many types of tasks in various professions, undertaken by multiple stakeholders, who may or may not share a common understanding of the domain or the task. It also raises questions of data literacy, inclusion, and fairness in ensuring that the value the data creates is shared as widely as possible.”
Laura Koesten and Elena Simper ~ ACM Interactions Magazine XXVIII.2 ★
Going from communication to conversation: Claude Shannon goes Gordon Pask.
“Technology has matured to allow organizations to deploy sophisticated chatbots and digital assistants. These solutions use Conversational AI capabilities to create experiences for the workforce that go beyond what humans alone can deliver. These bots can fundamentally transform the way workplace interactions are enabled, with the ability to resolve inquiries, automate administrative tasks, prompt the right behaviors, and deliver data and insights to improve “in the moment” decision-making. Many organizations have struggled to harness the full power of Conversational AI, but now is the time to figure it out, because the need for organizations to provide this type of ‘always on’ and personalized support has never been more important.”
Greg Vert ~ UX Magazine ★
A design dent in the universe.
“This paper introduces a framework for impact-centered design that maps the direct and indirect psychological, social, and behavioral effects resulting from human-product interactions, as well as the strategic pathways that designers utilize to achieve these effects. The framework was created through a series of expert workshops in which 186 design cases were analyzed. The framework includes three basic levels. At the base, user-product interaction evokes three types of direct product experience: aesthetic experience, experience of meaning, and emotional experience. The second level describes more indirect and long-term types of impact: on behaviors, attitudes, (general) experiences, and users’ and stakeholders’ knowledge. The third and final level represents the general quality of life and society. This paper details the characteristics of and theoretical models underlying the various impact areas, provides illustrative student design cases, and describes how the impact areas relate to each other and how design can influence them. Design research can help increase the designer’s influence by contributing theoretical models that explain the various relationships in the impact areas. We propose a three-part classification of these models to get an overview of the current state of knowledge of each impact area, and to discuss the different ways in which models can guide designers. In the discussion, we offer four action points to help set a concerted agenda for impact-centered design research.”
Fokkinga, S. F., Desmet, P. M. A., & Hekkert, P. (2020) ~ International Journal of Design, 14(3) ★
UX design can’t be seperated from new technologies.
“AI and UX design have grown up as quite different disciplines. But we’re now starting to see that small bits of AI can enrich a UI in interesting, useful ways. Adaptive user interfaces (AUIs) employ elements of AI to improve user experience. AUIs recognize and automate frequent tasks, such as when an email recognizes a phone number and lets users initiate a call with a tap on the number. These bits of low-risk AI free up a little time for consumers and maybe make them a little happier.”
John Zimmerman et al. ~ ACM Interactions Magazine XXVIII.1 ★
Ethics not only for research, but also for design.
“Research is an essential part of creating good UX. We are often in roles where we interact with our users in order to collect data to inform our UX. We need to ensure our UX research is compliant with ethical standards of research conducted with humans. To do this, we need to have an awareness of potential ethical issues in research, training on how to conduct ethical research, and a systematic review of our research protocols to avoid potential ethical pitfalls. In this article, Victor Yocco discusses some areas of ethical consideration for UX practitioners when conducting UX research, and explores potential solutions to preventing research from venturing into unethical territory.”
Victor Yocco a.k.a. /victor-yocco | @VictorYocco ~ Smashing Magazine ★
We explain it again and again, over and over. Until (…)
“Usability testing is a core component of User Centered Design and can be used at any stage in the process. It provides valuable insight into the mind of the user, giving us a better understanding of users’ mental models, and it helps to highlight issues that might negatively impact the experience, while also pointing to solutions. If you are new to Usability Testing and want to learn more or just interested in how someone else approaches it, this article gives an overview of how to set-up and run a usability test, and provides a checklist of things to do to complete a usability testing project.”
Gerry Duffy ~ Boxes and Arrows ★
Patterns from the physical world finding its way into the virtual one. Still relevant and urgent, after all these decades.
“Christopher Alexander has been a leading pioneer of academic research on architectural and urban design since the early 1960s. He is also a practicing architect and builder with a passion for creating and restoring life and beauty to our physical environment. In this essay I review, evaluate, and reflect on some of his particularly fruitful, promising, or problematic ideas. I will put forth some ideas of my own for clarification, and to indicate avenues for future research. I argue that Alexander’s notion of patterns (a verbal medium for capturing and conveying design knowledge in a systematic, reusable form) is in need of conceptual development along lines I suggest, even though Alexander downplayed the significance of patterns as he moved on to other theoretical ideas (mainly about aesthetics) later in his career. While I go into some detail about selected parts of Alexander’s work, the intended readership of this essay is not restricted to specialists. I have made an effort to provide guidance and background information to readers not already familiar with Alexander’s comprehensive body of theory.”
Per Galle a.k.a. /per-galle ~ She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 6.3 ★
Crossing of UX (design) and the organization of academic information.
“This article describes how academic libraries structure and support user experience work, how different structures and supports affect the UX work that is done, and the impact of that work on users and UX workers. With the aim of identifying structures and supports that work well, I asked thirty people who do UX work in academic libraries to complete interviews and a short questionnaire. In this article, I define structural facets that shape the institutional contexts of UX work, and I draw from the research to describe where these contexts created striking patterns in the data. After examining the contextual differences, the article concludes with structures and supports that make a positive difference to UX workers and to users.”
Shelley Gullikson a.k.a. @shelley_gee ~ Weave: Journal of Library User Experience 3.2 ★
An industry up for innovation in PX.
“Design has had a massive impact on the success of many organizations, especially tech companies. However, there are still plenty of sectors where design doesn’t have a seat at the table yet. Healthcare is one of them.”
Oliver Lindberg a.k.a. /oliver-lindberg | @oliverlindberg ~ Shaping Design ★
Licklider in the making.
“This essay will explore some of the possibilities to rethink how humans and ‘intelligent’ machines interact today. The focus is on practical application – how can technology that exists today be leveraged creatively to make applications that are vastly more powerful and useful?”
Jessy Lin a.k.a. /jessylin | @realJessyLin ★
Human behaviour as a new design focus after design for human experience.
“Behavioural design has emerged as a critical new area of research and practice. However, despite the development of extensive lists of possible problem features and suggested solution principles there is little guidance on how these should be connected. Therefore, in this work we systematically examine interactions between major problem features and solution principles, based on an analysis of 218 behavioural design interventions drawn from 139 cases across design domains and foci. This forms the basis for a number of contributions. First, we bring together behavioural and designerly perspectives on problem characterisation via two proposed problem features: change demand and behavioural constraint, related in a two-by-two framework. Second, we synthesised recommendations from across domains and foci to operationalise a list of 23 solution principles relevant to designers. Third, we link these insights in a proposed Behavioural Problem/Solution (BPS) matrix. Further, we identify a number of potential systemic challenges in the reporting and evidencing of behavioural design interventions. Together, these insights substantially extend both theory and practice surrounding problem-solution mapping in behavioural design, and form a foundation for further theory development and synthesis in this area.”
Philip Cash, Pramod Khadilkar, Joanna Jensen, Camilla Dusterdich, and RuthMugge ~ International Journal of Design 14.2 ★
A useful retrospective and curated overview of significant people, events, and publications on content strategy.
“Content strategy has been around longer than most people think. It has, like so many other fields of practice, been called by different names, and has evolved along with the enabling technologies. Digging into the history of the manipulation, management, and governance of content takes us down several paths that converged to become what we know today as content strategy.”
Rahel Anne Bailie a.k.a. /rahelannebailie | @rahelab ★
From the caves of design research.
“The emergence of the internet and subsequent massive data collection and storage is creating vast opportunities for design research and practice. In this dissertation, we investigate the interrelationship between design and data science practices and explore data as a new creative lens for design inquiry. While digital data has been increasingly used by designers, such as using A/B testing to drive design decisions for internet products, data has been less explored as a resource for inquiry about the world. Despite how data-connected artifacts increasingly facilitate human interactions, designers’ repertoire still primarily relies on practices established for inquiring in the physical world. The current industry practice of integrating data scientists into the design team is neither affordable nor feasible to apply across the vast majority of contexts and cases where design operates. To address these problems, in this dissertation, we aim to deepen the theoretical and practical knowledge on the intersection of design and data science, and to develop methodological contributions to support future data-rich design practices. The main research question we pursue in this dissertation is ‘How can designers integrate data practices into design inquiry?’ We address this question through conducting a Research-through-Design program to gain, on the one hand, a better understanding of how the fields of design and data science intersect, and on the other hand, to develop methodological contributions for future data-rich design practices. The resulting conceptual framework of Design Inquiry Through Data has been constructed throughout a series of empirical studies in which data-rich design practices are studied. For each study, practical data methods and techniques have been curated and/or developed.”
Peter Kun a.k.a. /peterkun | @kuniiii ~ TU Delft Repositories ★
The evolution of HCI has followed many roads.
“UX divergence into interaction and service design shows that creative design must be a good thing. However, it must also be a real thing, not a sanitized “safe for work” substitute from Design Thinking or Agile development. Creative design is mostly not scientific. Attempts to impose rational systematic processes and rigorous scientific practices have constantly failed and will fail more and more as more and more creative designers are recruited for their critical expertise for 21st century technological innovation. Creative designers are now at the heart of the technology industry. They won’t go away and they can’t be side- lined or marginalized. They need to be understood on their own terms and valued for the millennia of achievements that cram every museum and gallery.”
Gilbert Cockton ~ Journal of Usability Studies 15.2 ★
UX design and knowledge disclosure through a new type of labels (a.k.a. tags).
“At the center of the evolving debates of open access and intellectual property in memory institutions is a long history of excluding Indigenous Peoples from conversations concerning the access and use rights to their belongings. In recent decades many memory institutions challenged prevalent historical and current classifications of Indigenous Peoples in online catalog records. Most recently the Library of Congress (LC) adopted a new cataloging practice called Traditional Knowledge (TK) labeling as a way to return control over access and use of Indigenous materials to their rightful Indigenous owners. The advent of this emergent digital rights tool disrupts previously held assumptions about the purpose of rights statements in catalog records as well as challenges the existing balance between the rights of Indigenous communities and the interests of public access. The adoption of TK Labels in the LC’s “Ancestral Voices” digital collection brings serious practical implementation issues to light that deserve further consideration before memory institutions invest in this new digital access rights metadata standard. Although TK Labels are a technological opportunity that provide more space for community-based relationships within memory institutions, this paper suggests that the practical implementation of TK Labels in Ancestral Voices falls short of its promise to return authority to the Passamaquoddy people. Rather, TK Labels raise more logistical and technical questions about the effectiveness of the TK labeling framework and purpose of re-cataloging records describing Indigenous materials.”
Dana Reijerkerk ~ First Monday 25.8 ★
Still a vibrant field for any industry.
“For years, there has been a disparity in the understanding between the medical community and the general population. Despite the fact that every single individual possesses a body, most of us are not aware of how they work and how we can take care of them better. There are many reasons for this — firstly, medical science is incredibly complex and constantly evolving, treatments that were commonplace 10 years ago can be rendered archaic overnight in the face of new physiological discoveries and it can be hard to keep up. Secondly, every human body is different, and with no dearth of medical information readily available on the internet, it has become increasingly harder for an individual to determine what information is relevant to them specifically and what they can ignore. Lastly, it is not the primary responsibility of the medical community to present medical information in an easy-to-understand way to the general population which leaves many complexities untouched, nuances ignored and jargon abound. Instead, this job falls on those of us committed to information design.”
Akansha Kukreja a.k.a. /akansha-kukreja ~ Design Observer ★
I rather go for a full proof research plan.
“Both reliability and validity are necessary ingredients for determining the overall success of a research project (…). Let us now see how we can estimate the reliability of our research findings and ensure the validity of the methods used in our research plan.”
Pallabi Roy Singh a.k.a. @pallabi1220 ~ UXPA Magazine 20.2 ★