Don’t worry about the size of your headline font in week one.

February 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Don’t worry about the size of your headline font in week one. You don’t need to nail that perfect shade of green in week two. You don’t need to move that “submit” button three pixels to the right in week three. Just get the stuff on the page for now. Then use it. Make sure it works. Later on you can adjust and perfect it.

From “Getting Real: Ignore Details Early On,” by 37 Signals. The whole essay is awesome.

People want more choices. / More choices make people sad.

February 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

“People will often want more information than they can actually process. Having more information makes people feel that they have more choices. Having more choices makes people feel in control. Feeling in control makes people feel they will survive better.”

Susan Weinschenk

BUT

“The more options there are, the easier it is to regret anything at all that is disappointing about the option that you chose.”

Barry Schwartz

The Problem with Starting with a Problem

June 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Defining the first step [in a person’s decision-making process] as problem recognition may imply the ‘problem’ has an objective existence, independent of the customer—and the producer. Framing the decision process as problem-solving suggests the customer is a ‘rational actor.’ The danger is that people often act more on emotion than by rationally calculating self-interest. And their definitions of problems depend on their point of view and are often formed in conversations with others—including producers. Indeed part of the innovation process is reframing an existing situation to create consensus around a new definition of a problem.

Hugh Dubberly and Shelley Evenson, The Experience Cycle (written for Interactions Magazine)

Making Things

April 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

“This focus on delivery must underpin everything we do. It’s understandable for designers to want strategic roles, as we encounter tactical limits. But in claiming the territory of design thinking, we must never forget the design doing, where true craft and talent turns thought into results.”

From “The Fall and Rise of User Experience,” keynote speech by Cennydd Bowles at IA Summit 2011

Sketching with Travis

June 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

photo of our interface sketches for a recent pitch

Our interface sketches for a recent pitch

Usually the UX team is spread one-to-a-project where I work, but every once in a while we get to collaborate, and we have such a great time. Working with the designers and developers at my company gives me perspective that’s really valuable, but i also think my work is always better when it’s pushed forward by design critique from one of my fellow UXers.

The Role of the Citizen in Design

April 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

Whether we’re city planners or interaction designers, it seems we come up against the same questions about the value of involving those for whom we design in the design process. As I’ve been studying city and regional planning forums for my master’s capstone research, I’ve come across some conversations that are eerily similar to those that still sometimes happen between designers in my own field. From the Cyburbia forums (registration required):

Submitted by jaws on Sun, 2006/07/23 – 1:28pm.

Citizenship has nothing to do with how roads and pipes and squares are going to be built, anymore than citizenship entitles you to decide how everyone’s shoes are going to be made. You’ve appropriated the notion of citizenship into a sphere that is completely irrelevant.

Submitted by Lee Nellis on Mon, 2006/07/24 – 7:45am.

Ah, the technical delusion.

Citizens should have EVERYTHING to do with where new roads, pipes, squares, etc. are to be built. They are the ones who are going to use them. They are the ones who will be impacted by them. That is why planners are not technicians (and why engineers who listen poorly, if al [sic] all, have messed up so many communities), but facilitators and educators.

There is, of course, a technical aspect to all of these facilities. Citizens are not going to have much to say about the actual piping schematic of a sewage treatment plant, but they are/should going to have a lot to say about the impact a new plant will have on the pace of growth and the quality of life. The reality is that efficiency cannot and should not be our goal in planning (in the actual construction of a plant, of course). Our goal has to be to help folks actualize their citizenship – and that is a messy, inefficient process.

Despite the vocal holdouts, many city and regional planners have been employing participatory design methods (mainly charrettes, interviews, and focus groups) perhaps even before interaction design existed as a profession. We may be working in different mediums, but I think this is yet another example of how designers of any object, system, place, or service have a lot to learn from one another.

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