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 ★
Hit the road Jakob!
“A UX roadmap is a high-level, living artifact that prioritizes and communicates a UX team’s future work and problems to solve.”
Sarah Gibbons ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
Information and information architecture: Alive and kicking.
“Information architecture is the process of categorizing and organizing information to create structure and meaning. To give this context, this article explores not only the basics of information architecture, but also the broader view of the information age, how we use information and how it impacts our world and our lives. Understanding the bigger picture enables us to get a much clearer perception of the value that good information architecture delivers to help our information-overloaded lives.”
Carrie Webster a.k.a. /carrie-webster ~ Smashing Magazine ★
A new UX-related discipline emerges.
“It refers to the practice of writing small pieces of text that intend to help or guide users on various touchpoints as they interact with an interface. It primarily aims to establish a medium of communication between the user and the interface. It also helps in mending (or evading) any potential conflicts or discrepancies that users may face while interacting with a digital product. UX writing differentiates itself from other forms of writing by being extremely concise, yet communicating a lot of meaning at the same time.”
Ritwik Mital a.k.a. /ritwik-mittal ~ Galaxy Weblinks ★
This classic never disappoints.
“An examination of the original diagrams by Charles-Joseph Minard, and related materials by Léon Lalanne and Émile Cheysson in the ENPC Archives.”
Paul Kahn a.k.a. /paulkahn | | @pauldavidkahn ~ Nightingale
Accessibility, inclusion and exclusion. Life matters.
“The ethics and responsibilities of technology companies are under increased scrutiny over the power to design the user experiences embedded in their products. Researchers advocating a Rawlsian ‘just and fair’ design process have suggested a ‘veil of ignorance’ thought experiment in which designers adopt the standpoint of unspecified hypothetical users to ensure designers are not biasing their own perspectives at the expense of others. This article examines including and excluding such standpoints through the lens of edge users – a term based on extreme ‘edge cases’ in which systems are more likely to break down. Edge users are particularly marginalized and subject to a spiral of exclusion when interacting via Internet and Web resources whose design disregards them because their ability to research and voice their experiences is further limited. Active proxies, those already helping or standing in for marginalized users, can be enlisted as design allies to develop a deeper understanding of such edge groups and contexts. Design ethics, in short, needs to move beyond making technologies accessible to all people, to making all types of people accessible to designers.”
Julian Kilker ~ First Monday 25.6 ★
Patterns of behaviour, in any domain.
“Simple fact-finding tasks were less memorable, with basic user expectations like plain language. Complex research tasks required more effort; users asked for advanced features including comparison tables and chunked content for these tasks.”
Feifei Liu ~ NNG ★
From content accessibility to AI inclusion.
“According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people worldwide have disabilities. The field of disability studies defines disability through a social lens; people are disabled to the extent that society creates accessibility barriers. AI technologies offer the possibility of removing many accessibility barriers; for example, computer vision might help people who are blind better sense the visual world, speech recognition and translation technologies might offer real-time captioning for people who are hard of hearing, and new robotic systems might augment the capabilities of people with limited mobility. Considering the needs of users with disabilities can help technologists identify high-impact challenges whose solutions can advance the state of AI for all users; however, ethical challenges such as inclusivity, bias, privacy, error, expectation setting, simulated data, and social acceptability must be considered.”
Meredith Ringel Morris ~ Communications of the ACM (June 2020) ★
All (visual) details matter.
“Robust typesetting guidelines for leveled texts do exist, but primarily as internal support documents for design teams at educational publishers. These documents aren’t typically referenced by professional levelers, and it’s the levelers who define a book’s official reading level.”
Brian LaRossa ~ Design Observer ★
Finally are we getting somewhere with design and content (‘Writing is a Design Discipline’).
Throughout my career, I’ve seen content strategy operate in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes it’s explicitly called strategy. Other times not. At some businesses, it’s highly valued. At others, it’s outsourced. Sometimes it’s run as a part of a larger line-of-business or integrated marketing team. Other times it’s wrapped into the design organisation. In many of these situations, content strategy can thrive. But across the board, in my experience, the companies that are successful in creating content-led experiences that deliver real value to their customers are the ones that see content strategy as a design function, not a management function.”
Matthew Rayback a.k.a. /matthew-rayback ~ Digital Drum ★