Whenever news of an earthquake hits, we are told that the quake had a magnitude of, say, 3.2 or 5.0. Or 7.0, as was the case yesterday in Haiti and use retin-a. We all understand that 7 is worse than 5, of course, but I fear that few of us really understand or appreciate the … Continue reading Drop the Richter Scale
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?
A few months ago I heard a fascinating woman interviewed on the radio, Noreen Grice. Ms. Grice is a blind astronomer — something that, while initially surprising to me, actually makes perfect sense when you consider that most of today’s astronomy research is based on radio signals, mathematics, physics, and chemistry — and not at … Continue reading Touch the Universe
In his Time Magazine Person of the Year interview, Barack Obama said “it turns out there’s some spending that has to be done on information technology, for example, that we can do very swiftly.” If recent speeches by the new President are any sign, I sure hope he’s talking about rural broadband access. Like many … Continue reading Tubes for the Sticks
Like every other advanced human activity that can be taught and learned, there must exist a set of fundamental skills required to use interactive things. I’m not talking about behind-the-scenes design or development skills, but end-user skills. Not just what used to be called “computer literacy” (although that’s part of it), but more basic cognitive … Continue reading Interaction 101
Debating the merits of competing design ideas is fun and, as I’ve argued in parts one and two, can be extremely productive. But some design disputes are, I think, unanswerable. And it’s important to realize when a debate has crossed over from something you can resolve to something you will never reach any definitive conclusion … Continue reading Adversarial Design, Part 3: Arguing the Unarguable
Fish Magic, 1925, Paul Klee It is said that a fish, even a really smart one, cannot really grasp the meaning of the concept “wet” because it is the only condition they know. There is no “dry” to compare it to. Humans, too, have a tendency to imagine that the way things are today is … Continue reading The Peculiar 20th Century
I have a tendency sometimes to be skeptical about user research in the design process. This is mostly because so much of it is, IMHO, (a) just fundamentally bad (e.g., employing sloppy research methods or hamfisted statistical analyses), (b) flatly dishonest (e.g., dressing unscientific research in pseudo-scientific drag in order to justify a desired result), and … Continue reading Design Research is a Design Process
A running theme here at graphpaper.com is the debunking of shoddy research methodologies and junk science used to lend authority to and help guide decisions in the design professions. I want to encourage my readers, and the industry as a whole, to (a) stop being so gullible about the research they hear about in the press, and to (b) stop performing meaningless research themselves. Today’s episode addresses the field of advertising research.
One basic assumption of good experience design is that people fundamentally don’t like change. They can’t deal with it, it’s too risky, and changes will all too often lead to failures. But the human mind’s capacity to adapt to change, sometimes rapidly and seamlessly, can be astonishing.