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by Jon Kolko
User-centered design research activities produce an enormous quantity of raw data, which must be systematically and rigorously analyzed in order to extract meaning and insight. Unfortunately, these methods of analysis are poorly documented and rarely taught, and because of the pragmatic time constraints associated with working with clients, there is often no time dedicated in a statement of work to a practice of formal synthesis. As a result, raw design research data is inappropriately positioned as insight, and the value of user-centered research activities is marginalized – in fact, stakeholders may lose faith in the entire research practice, as they don’t see direct return on the investment of research activities.
Design synthesis methods can be taught, and when selectively applied, visual, diagrammatic synthesis techniques can be completed relatively quickly. During Synthesis, Designers visually explore large quantities of data in an effort to find and understand hidden relationships. These visualizations can then be used to communicate to other members of a design team, or can be used as platforms for the creation of generative sketching or model making. The action of diagramming is a way to actively produce knowledge and meaning.
This workshop will introduce various methods of Synthesis as ways to translate research into meaningful insights. Workshop participants will learn about how to manage the complexity of gathered data, and through hands-on exercises, they will apply various synthesis methods to elicit hidden meaning in gathered data.
This hands-on approach is critical for building both confidence and ability with the various synthesis methods that are discussed.
As a result of completing this workshop, attendees will:
Understand how synthesis fits into the larger design process
Understand the theoretical underpinnings of design synthesis as an intellectual problem solving methodology
Be able to apply specific methods of synthesis in their respective careers
This workshop is best suited for between twenty and sixty participants. Participants should be familiar with either qualitative or quantitative research activities (such as ethnography, questionnaires and surveys, contextual inquiry, etc), and will likely hold jobs relating to research, usability, design, “UX”, or marketing. No Design Synthesis experience is required.
by Erik Dahl
The products and services we design and deploy are embedded within a culture and not just a context. Culture is an important concept that is often overlooked by designers. We need to think beyond user's goals, needs, desires, emotions, context, psychology and principles of design; we need to start designing from a place of culture.
This talk explores how cultural understanding can inform design as well as how our designs impact the cultures that use them. I define culture in terms of design and build a framework designers can use to better understand culture and it’s implications on their design work. Designers will walk away from this talk with basic cultural literacy and the tools to incorporate cultural understanding into their design process. I will also show the impact the products and services we design have on cultures.
Ultimately, design (even if data and pattern driven) is subjective and we bring our own historical trajectory to our designs. Having a deeper understanding of culture will have a direct impact on what we bring to our design decisions.
More broadly, as a design profession we need to be expanding our discourse to include culture and cultural theory into our understanding of interactions, experiences and design.
If you've ever shouted at a computer, you'll know that they can be infuriating colleagues. Since Asimov's iRobot we've recognised that human-computer relationships are beset by disfunction. Inconsistency and lack of ‘emotional intelligence’ are computers’ personality disorders. We have an opportunity to create context-aware interfaces with emotional intelligence. How can we do this and apply it today in defining and designing interactions?
How can computers work with teams of people? For instance, Belbin Team Roles tell us about how different personality types play specific roles on teams. What roles are suited to computers’ strengths? What feature sets and behaviours will make them coherent, consistent team players that human members can relate to? I'll show this is a tool that attendees can apply immediately.
I've interviewed professionals such as psychiatrists and negotiators to see how they apply emotional intelligence. For instance, negotiators adapt their behaviour to others’ stress levels. They don't tell an angry person to ‘calm down’ – they mirror their emotional level and ‘bring them down’. I'll show how we can already detect users’ emotional states and how to apply this knowledge. I'll propose techniques for attendees to discuss and apply.
The presentation will focus on stories, tips and discussion. But I'll provide plenty of references and reading recommendations for the audience to explore afterwards.
We often talk about emotion in terms of the user's experience. It's time computers got emotionally smarter. This presentation will give attendees tools to design interfaces that do that.
Gamification is the process of applying game design elements to non-game contexts in order to drive user engagement, influence behavior and improve the user experience associated with digital products and services. Over the past year, the practice of gamification has exploded, fueled by marketing hype, media curiosity and spirited debate. While much of the discussion has revolved around extrinsic reward mechanisms as a panacea for customer loyalty and engagement, the most important and effective motivational dynamics of games have been left on the table.
In this presentation I’ll cut through the hype and draw from the fundamentals of game psychology, double-tapping into the techniques game designers use to motivate, engage and guide players through a game’s lifecycle. In doing so, I’ll lay out a model for architecting user engagement, directing behavior and satisfying the needs of both users and business alike.
by Ryan Betts
The DNA of our industry is rapidly evolving. Devices are multiplying like a zombie plague; once immutable patterns are being challenged; interface conventions are changing at an incredible pace; all the while, our documentation is struggling to stay relevant. This constant flux is enough to make you want to quit and buy a farm. But one thing remains constant through it all: user experiences are forged in code. As UX professionals, we are learning, unlearning, and relearning things all the time. We do it to understand the needs of our users, keep abreast of changes in our field, and communicate effectively with our clients. Understanding code is no different. Whether you are wrangling big data, making objects smarter, or trying to design a more intuitive mobile interface, code literacy is an invaluable design skill. At last year’s conference, there was much discussion about what the material or medium of our profession is. This talk will explore the ways in which code is becoming more and more critical to the experiences we are designing, and present you with a framework that you can apply to your own practice to increase your code literacy.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
— Alvin Toffler, Rethinking the Future
by Lis Hubert
For those of us that like sports, and even for those that don’t, we can see many similarities between both athletics and interaction design to learn and grow from. We were told that being a jock would not lead to intellectual success in the real world, but it has been seen that being a sports junkie has helped individuals become even better IxDs than anyone could have imagined. In this session join a self proclaimed jock as she shares lessons from the field (pun intended). We’ll discuss how being a jock means understanding not only how to be a great teammate who understands different personalities and skill sets, but also how to be a great motivator, strategist and, at times, leader. Next, we’ll relate these characteristics to being the best designer you can by learning how to: work with others (yes, even those pesky marketing folks), motivate others, convince your teams and executives of your design rationale, strategize to see the best design solutions come to light, lead teams to success, and much more. These are the qualities that, learned from personal experiences as an athlete and a designer, have made people more effective in both realms.
This discussion is designed to take even the most uncoordinated benchwarmer designer to All-Star status. You don’t wanna miss it!
What do bakers, metalsmiths and user experience professionals have in common? They’re all crafts, but unlike other crafts, UX doesn't have a mentality of apprenticeship and practice. I argue that because UX requires broad knowledge across a number of disciplines, practical experience, and people skills, simply getting a degree and attending conferences isn't enough.
Interaction Design is a young field dedicated to how people interact with technology, but people used to interact without technology way long before it. Kid’s street games are one example of what we call Vernacular Interaction Design. Those games have interaction structures that were designed by players themselves across many generations, accumulating a history of successive adaptations for local cultures. By playing those games, children learn how to behave across different social dynamics and, at the same time, update game’s representation of those dynamics by according new rules. But this tradition is under threat. Children are spending more time playing videogames than playing street games. That wouldn’t be a threat if they could adapt videogame rules by themselves, but currently most videogames don’t offer this possibility. Game companies do their best to update their titles, but because they need to operate under mass market rules, they can’t innovate much. This cultural stagnation is happening in many other areas of life, tough. Think about social networking, dating, working.
But Interaction Design can do something about it. Systems can be designed to allow emergent vernacular forms of interactions. Also, old vernacular forms can be revitalized by using them as inspiration for new forms, like Graphic Design did successfully with vernacular typography. This talk will present student works from Faber-Ludens Interaction Design Institute that used children’s games as inspiration for designing enjoyable work interactions.
When clients approach us to help them design a digital product (a website or an application) considering user experience, we make recommendations which match the best both user and business requirements.
Unlike in the digital world, designing a physical product is no longer just about coming out with an interface which is easy to use, or finding the right balance between users and business needs. It gets more complicated than that. It involves other areas such as ergonomics, safety and packaging. You will also ought to work around various constraints and production considerations to achieve a good user experience as well as to optimise its gross margin return of investment. You no longer work solely with designers, developers and business analysts. The decision will have be made involving electronic and software engineers as well as the production team.
A product could have the most distinctive aesthetic, with the most ergonomic design and provides the best user experience. However, if it is hard to be manufactured, expensive to run or difficult to be serviced, it cannot be considered as a good product.
Furthermore it is much harder to do an update patch on a physical object than a digital product if you find something is wrong after they are in the production line or out in the market. This presentation discusses the elements that should be taken into consideration when designing for a physical product and how to get the right people involve at the right stage in the design process.
As interaction designers, organizations are the context for our work.
And when it comes to the web and other digital channels, organizations are broken. We have a problem.
However great our interaction design chops are, we can't sustainably deliver great user experiences that achieve business goals without becoming agents of change. That's right: to do our work well, we need to help our organizations deal with the huge changes that the internet revolution has created. Management sticking their heads in the sand didn't work so well over that last 15 years.
That means we need to leave our comfort zones and step away from our digital tools, to talk to colleagues and clients about the problems they face. Call it service design, multi-channel user experience, or web governance: it comes to the same thing. Does the organization have the key areas of web strategy, governance, execution, and measurement covered?
In practice, design is the easy part—creating an organizational context for design is what separates the linchpins from everyone else. You’re probably an agent of change already. In this session we'll discuss the context for our work, and how organizational denial about change, silo-centric thinking, and poor governance and strategy lead to disappointing interaction design outcomes. We'll explore methods to deal with this problem, and share practical ideas for becoming agents of change within our organizations.
1st–4th February 2012