UX Origins: How childhood experiences shape design choices

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Someone recently pointed me to an interesting book, Some Place Like Home: Using Design Psychology to Create Ideal Places, by Toby Israel. The book’s thesis is that a designers’ childhood environment profoundly affects their professional and adult design choices. The environments and objects children see and touch in their formative years will, according to Israel, … Continue reading UX Origins: How childhood experiences shape design choices

Random Acts of Design Kindness

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Have you ever thought of design as an opportunity to be kind to someone? User experience designer Jeff Howard wonders if service design (a way of thinking about design in which the user experience has many “touchpoints” across many channels and contexts) isn’t ultimately a frustrating and Sisyphean task, where customers and users are always … Continue reading Random Acts of Design Kindness

Apple in Stereo

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Apple is famous for their minimalist aesthetic, and infamous for occasionally taking the aesthetic too far and sacrificing usability. There’s the famous round mouse for the original iMac. There’s the symmetrical third-generation iPod remote control whose identical volume and previous/next buttons are impossible to distinguish. While not as egregious as the previous examples, Apple’s iPod … Continue reading Apple in Stereo

See. Feel.

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Touch Sight, a fascinating “camera” for blind people. For my entire design career,  my colleagues and I have wrestled with the terminology we use to segment and focus our work, both in our careers and in our critiques. Whether it’s the “information architecture vs. interaction design” debate or the “visual design vs. graphic design” debate, … Continue reading See. Feel.

Who Watches the Watchman?

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Let’s say you own a big building full of valuable stuff. How do you make sure that the night watchman patrolling your factory floor or museum galleries after closing time actually makes his rounds? How do you know he’s inspecting every hallway, floor, and stairwell in the facility? How do you know he (or she) … Continue reading Who Watches the Watchman?

Experience Design User

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A week ago, Jesse James Garret veritably bellowed the words “user experience designer” in his plenary address at this year’s IA Summit in Memphis, attempting to create some common ground between the information architects and interaction designers in the room and across the industry. In a strong and deeply-felt speech, he admonished the community (-ies?) … Continue reading Experience Design User

Web 2.0 Incomplete

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Two weeks ago, BusinessWeek’s next Design and Innovation blog asked for my thoughts on this month’s Facebook home page redesign, as a kind of follow-up to my thoughts in those same virtual pages a year ago. I was asked to opine on the new design without having viewed the actual live site, which was launching … Continue reading Web 2.0 Incomplete

Are We Designing Interactions or Designing Software?

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One of the problems faced by designers trying to integrate their work with most software development processes, even (or possibly especially) with Agile development, is that the literature makes no distinction between software development and software design, or at least no distinction that makes any sense to dedicated user experience designers. The common complaint among … Continue reading Are We Designing Interactions or Designing Software?