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All our actions are interactions.
In today’s world, we do not exist in isolation; we are all highly interconnected and deeply interdependent. Today’s challenges affect everyone and we need everyone’s involvement to address them.
Meanwhile, the root of many of our world challenges today is fragmentation: fragmented thinking, fragmented behaviors & fragmented solutions. To tackle these challenges, we need eloquent and crossbreed solutions. From fragmented thinking, we need to shift to comprehensive innovation, and I believe that the essence of comprehensive innovation is human interaction.
By ‘human interaction’, I refer to interaction in its different forms and contexts. Beyond the digital realm of interactive design, and beyond the concept of user experience, human interaction includes people’s verbal and nonverbal interactions with each others, with objects and with each others through objects. Whatever the interaction and whomever the parties involved, it is crucial that human interaction is always considered in the context of its environment. An interaction between two people in space, for example, is part of a larger network of interactions, including each person’s interaction with space. The Language of space and the language of people in space is a foundational component of human interaction.
I believe we cannot design interaction itself. Instead, we can design for interaction. We need to design the context for interaction to emerge, a context that embodies the qualities of a human context: incomplete, impermanent, imperfect. It is everyone’s responsibility, including designers and architects, to design the context for human interaction.
So how can we create contexts for human interaction?
As an architect, space is my language. Whatever your language may be, I believe it is only a tool and only relevant in light of the interaction it can stimulate and the enhanced experience it can offer. The focus is on the process rather than the product. This shift of focus implies a shift of behaviors: we now have to shift our designer role from a dictator to a facilitator. We now have new roles; we now have to have new roles. The role of facilitator is what allows us to mature from fragmented thinking to comprehensive innovation.
So how can we create contexts for interaction? The process of designing for interaction can in itself become the context for interaction. We can’t design innovation; instead we design the context for it. Designing the context for interaction is key to designing our future, because after all, all our actions are interactions.
This presentation will introduce the topic of interaction design in the context of the city as interface. With reference to an urban re-development program in the Netherlands, a range of public installations will be presented to illustrate how a focus on the end-user experience and the application of key experience design principles has been pushing the boundaries of traditional approaches to urban re-development.
Lorna Goulden will introduce the audience to Strijp-S, a 66-acre former industrial site that once belonged to Philips and is being developed into an inspiring creative quarter close to the city center of Eindhoven. In 2008, whilst a creative director at Philips Design, Lorna authored an award winning vision document “Strijp-S: Creating a Public Lighting Experience” which outlined the strategic direction for an innovative lighting plan and presented a set of ‘experience scenarios’: examples of how people in the future would experience the public space of Strijp-S as they go about their daily lives.
This vision for Strijp-S was developed in line with the innovation and sustainability ambitions of the city council and their development partner Volker Wessels. The goal was to also outline a new approach to the design of the public space, one that would more closely reflect the changing usage patterns and varying contexts of a dynamic urban re-development; and one that would also be fostered to develop iteratively over time in the form of a test-bed or living lab. This living lab function was envisaged to support the initiation of a closer interaction between designers, researchers, manufacturers and citizens – creating an incubator for technology and innovation to develop towards more relevant and desirable user experiences.
The end of 2013 will mark the final installation of a range of innovative projects comprising the Light-S program which constitute the transformation of the vision into a reality encompassing the entire Strijp-S location. One of the biggest challenges has been the departure from a traditional approach to urban development; rather than designs being specified and fixed before construction, the Light-S program by its very nature incorporates a core of flexible dynamic systems, and requires a phase of iterative co-development to define the eventual content and behaviours.
Light-S aims to challenge the way that we think about public lighting, a new language of interaction has yet to evolve, one intended to directly influence and enhance the experience of the citizens in the urban environment. Utilizing the capabilities of existing and emerging technologies a number of innovation questions have been posed: What if light is made tangible? What if light becomes interactive and responsive to changing events and activities in the public space? What are the new languages of interaction in the public space that these innovative lighting systems will inspire? What is the role of interactive lighting in city branding? It will be the task of the living lab and an iterative co-development process to uncover the answers to these questions as well as uncovering new questions for consideration.
As humans strive to design ever more sophisticated interfaces and experiences, it’s clear we need new models –and new languages– to guide the way. Looking across disciplines for inspiration, we find that biological systems have been perfecting interfaces for eons. Where animals and plants are the users, and ecological systems are the screens upon which interactions, relationships and experiences play out, evolution has produced ingenious design solutions to seriously complex UI/UX problems. Over millions of years, the natural selection of interactions has resulted in a wealth of elegant processes (bees pollinating plants, for example) that mold individual behavior for long-term fitness.
All of this leaves us wondering:
Is there a universal language that nature uses to communicate with itself? The answer appears to be yes, and the language appears to be UI.
So, is there something hidden in nature’s language of interfaces that might reveal a system for designing the next generation of interactions between people and things?
What might studying these ecological interactions, and associated interfaces, teach us about our views on UI/UX?
What tricks does the natural world employ to signal, filter noise, prevent errors, and make system status visible?
In constantly evolving ecological systems, how do nature’s interfaces adapt to meet the needs of it’s users?
In nature, relationships are everything. An ecosystem, in fact, is defined by it’s dynamic network of relationships and complex interactions. To succeed, individuals need the system to thrive, just as the system needs individuals to flourish. As a result, individuals, populations and communities –be they ants or orangutans (or humans?)– are constantly in dialogue, 24/7/365, give or take four billion years. Add to the mix that natural systems are constantly evolving, forever adapting to the needs of individuals and communities –as well as perturbations to the system– and you’ve got some rich fodder for design inspiration.
In this provocative talk, we’ll:
1) Draw useful connections between the UI of Nature and the nature of UI
2) Highlight some jaw-dropping examples of UI in the natural world
3) Articulate a set of ecologically inspired principles that can be applied to designing leading edge interactions between people and things
4) Present case studies that demonstrate opportunities for next generation Interaction Design
by Steve Baty
In focusing on the users' experience with our digital products we have come to believe that the experience is the most important goal of our design efforts. But for our clients, they care much more for the behaviour of the people in the system - the sales and abandonments, the referrals and repeat business, the loyalty and social contacts. Designing for behaviour - at the individual and aggregate levels - offers a very direct means of delivering on those goals.
The idea of designing for the experience of the user has become firmly embedded in our practice. In doing so many thousands of digital services have been improved. There is very real benefit to designing digital services with a clear vision for the user's experience - we better understand their context, their mindset, their goals and broader activity, and the things that cause them frustration and pleasure.
As a reaction against the Functional Requirements model of design that dominated the '80s and '90s, a shift to the experience of use offered a very superior approach.
For the organisation, the theory (and some good evidence) suggests that a better experience will lead to more of the desired behaviours. This indirect approach is well-meaning, but requires client organisations to not only buy into the value of an improved experience, but also the connection between experience and behaviour.
The reality for the designer is that in many cases they simply look to design for the behaviour of users, and take into account the experience as a secondary effect. Rather than focusing on emotional responses as the main objective, we can focus on the target behaviours and how to shape them.
This talk will outline the key inputs in a model of Behavioural Design and how those inputs help designers to directly target specific behaviours. It will look at the role of interaction design, behavioural psychology, systems thinking and other tools. And it will propose that a model of design with behaviour as its focus offers a coherent and complete approach to design in a way that is consistent with the goals of client organisations.
by Anneli Olsen
Let’s face it – cats are probably the most selfish and self-absorbed creatures on the planet. Everything we’d hate in another human being, we love in our cats. So how have they succeeded in becoming one of our favorite pets? Whatever they’re doing must be a hell of a user experience.
In this talk I’ll present some of the key things I’ve learned by doing a user experience evaluation of my cat.
Designing for the web has made interaction designers lazy.
Before the web, we had to care about making interactions efficient because they were for pinstriped businesses or high-pressure environments like aircraft cockpits.
The web changed the rules.
With the web, interfaces had to be easy for the millions of new users who were coming online. Meeting that challenge undoubtedly made interfaces better. But our designs no longer had to be efficient – people just had to think they were efficient.
For users, sitting home at their computers, it's hard to judge the passage of time. That means there's a big difference between perceived efficiency and actual efficiency. Little by little, we've lost our our ability to design for actual efficiency.
But perceived efficiency is no longer good enough. We need to create interfaces that people can glance at, use with a flick of the wrist or check a dozen times an hour.
In this talk, I'll explain why this matters. How improvements in interactions that are so small they're hard to measure can end up making a huge difference to user experience. I'll discuss how companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars making interactions more efficient and why it pays off.
I'll look at what stops us designing for efficiency. In most cases efficiency is not even recognised as a design requirement. Often, designers mistakenly reject the most efficient designs. We user test our designs in ways that lead us to choose the least efficient iterations – ones that frustrate users in the real world. I'll give practical advice on how to change that.
I'll also investigate perceived efficiency. After all, for years we managed to fool users into thinking that the web was efficient. What were the tricks of the mind we relied on? What does the psychology of analysing conversations have to teach us? And what design patterns have we become used to pushing at users that are holding us back from more inventive, efficient solutions?
Of course efficiency on it's own isn't enough. In fact, as I'll show, it can be terrible. Interactions also need to be usable and satisfying. I'll discuss how to find the right balance.
I'll distill all that down into some techniques and rules the audience can apply immediately to measure and improve their designs.
Along the way, I'll offer plenty of examples, and a few surprises.
by Lea Ward
How can governments encourage those who have been dependent on social assistance for years to find their own way in society? The Dutch city of The Hague looks to answer that question with a new programme: “Door-to-Door for Change”.
“Door-to-Door for Change” is a pilot project that targets 150 families in The Hague who have been on social assistance for at least 3 years. The goal is to have 15% of parents find work and 50% increase their community engagement through volunteer work or neighbourhood activities. Research suggests that having parents work and being involved in the community increases chances of future success for their children.
To be successful, “Door-to-Door for Change” needed to answer 2 difficult questions:
Understanding users and their context
A structured design process started with delving into the needs of the two groups who are key to the project outcome: the families and the social workers.
The project team reviewed 50+ in-depth interviews among people long dependent on social assistance to gain insight into the different attitudes, objectives and capabilities. They identified 6 distinct groups, each with their own needs vs. the programme.
As for the social workers, the team interviewed and observed them at work. Though committed and highly experienced, many have been working exclusively for the city and are used to the procedures and forms that come with city work. New tools that put forms aside and encourage an active dialogue between parent and social worker were crucial here.
Based on extensive contextual and user research, the programme and supporting materials were designed that built on the underlying motivations of both parents and social workers.
To encourage parents to find work, the design starts from their own motivation. During house visits social workers start by having participants identify why they would want to work, if they could. Is it for the money? To be a better role model? To feel better physically & mentally? They identify their own personal “what’s in it for me?”. The reasons are used to guide and shape the programme participants follow to find work. Social workers register their progress versus that goal in a digital system.
For social workers, their need for an active dialogue and open communication was crucial for the design. The programme uses a visual language with simple text in an informal, non-bureaucratic style. This creates a more human relationship between family and social worker. The cards, supporting materials and the digital system that follows the progress further help social workers to truly interact with participants.
* 500 families in 2013 visited
* While initially skeptical, now all enthusiastic and convinced social workers
* Engaged, goal focused participants, expressing hope and motivation – first results look positive
by Jonathan Rez
We live in a predominantly physical world. In our daily lives we traverse urban environments and have interactions within tangible spaces.
These spaces are comprised of physical landscapes, which are inundated with 2D and 3D elements – the lexicon of the city. Careful choreography of such elements ensures that environments communicate information, express meaning, influence our experience and shape our behaviour on a daily basis.
The experiences we have within the physical realm are designed by architects and urban planners. Compared with these venerable professions, which have accumulated wisdom spanning millennia, UX is but a toddler. It runs around skilfully, but has much to learn as it matures.
In this presentation I will share some of the lessons I have learnt along the way, while working with urban planners and architects, to create and improve human experiences in the built environment.
Some of the specifics to be covered in the talk include:
1. Introduction to the field of experience design within physical environments
2. What characterises people's behaviour in physical spaces, and how are spaces designed to support people's needs
3. How to design experiences in the built environment, and what are helpful methodologies
4. I will share anecdotes from projects I worked on to help bring to life learnings which will be relevant to the IxD community.
We are good in designing usable and engaging products and services. We understand the user's needs and have a toolkit with dozens of deliverables. But for some reason a lot of designers find it difficult to sell an idea or concept to their team members, managers or clients. After this session that problem will be solved!
Selling your ideas and convincing others is one of the most undervalued assets in our field. This ranges from convincing a colleague to use a certain design pattern to selling research to your boss and convincing a client to go for your concept. You can come up with the best ideas in the world, but if it is presented in the wrong way these ideas will die a lonely dead. This is sad, because everybody can learn the techniques to bring a message across. The main thing is that you know what to pay attention to.
In this session I will take you on a journey through the world of presenting ideas. You will see and hear examples of good pitches, learn how others think and in the end know how to sell your ideas. We will move through the heads of clients and your colleagues, learn what their thoughts and needs are. We will move to the core of your idea and into the world of psychology and philosophy.
It will be an epic journey.
Who are most efficient and effective learners you can think off? Children are, they need to learn a lot to be able to live independently and cope with daily life, and they learn mainly by play. In play exploration, trial and error in a safe environment is vital to educate knowledge, skills and behaviour. Games are often being dismissed as “It’s just a game!” and not taken seriously as a strong tool to engage people and achieve more than “just” for fun only.
To know how a game is designed or game elements can be applied as a tool for behaviour change we need to investigate the context of a game:
“Summing up the formal characteristics of play we might call it a free activity standing quite consciously outside ‘ordinary’ life as being ‘not serious’, but at the same time absorbing the player intensely and utterly”. [Johan Huizinga: Homo Ludens 1938]
Based on the description of Johan Huizinga's 'state of play' a model is created; A magic game circle is defined by 1) player = the person interacting 2) play = interaction including the meaning the player gives/feels in the goal and rules 3 game = the definition of the rules and goals.
If we are able by using this MGC-model to design games in its wider context of games being played by different player-types within an even wider context of real life we might be able to provide games as a sustainable intrinsically motivational tool for people to become players to learn to cope with life.
Freedom, safety and trust are most important matters to take in account when designing games or attempt to facilitate a magic game circle for a user to get in a state of play. Does my player feel safe to play, is he/she able to play, does he/she understand the game, does he/she trust the rules or game, does he experience freedom to play?
If designed well games can be inviting and persuasive and even addictive. Game elements are like ingredients, there is an increasing amount of cooks, restaurants, kitchens, cookbooks, spices and flavours but no consensus is yet found what is play and how it is perceived. The magic game circle can help as a tool to discuss these elements and recipes in a constructive way.
by Chris Clark
When we talk with our bosses, buddies, children and customers we have distinct manners of speaking; each group gets a different vocabulary and grammar. Whether we're showing respect, showing off, or just trying to find common ground, we all specially tailor the way we speak to our audience. And we do it without trying or really knowing why.
When you're designing interactions you're doing the same. Our onscreen work -- from marketing copy to UI labels, push notifications and support scripts -- is crawling with text; words are a key part of every web site and mobile app, and they're saying more than we know. Every turn of phrase reveals a legacy of design decisions and company politics, but most importantly they invite our customers to try and figure out *what we think of them*. Do we talk to our customers like royalty? Friends? Idiots?
The words we use can invite or exclude, empower or admonish. This session is a crash course in sociolinguistics, and a challenge to identify and iterate on the messages hidden in your own products' copy.
For the last years we all were substituting responsive design by designing for mobile, tablet and desktop computer devices; actually nothing more than screen-sizes and input methods. And with that we were so sure that we were successfully predicting context (this guy is out in the streets), intention (and he wants to find our location) and restrictions (for which he can only use his thumb).
But these times are over: mobile devices have conquered the living room and the desktop has transformed into the mobile office. We strongly belief that not the amount of pixels on the screen determine the user’s experience but her situational being in current time, location and real world context. We must curate more thoroughly!
Today we need to talk about how we create services that not just run on any device but especially deliver experiences that create superb value for the users in their personal situation. Those services are aware of what people do, want, need, who they are with, which time and which conditions and what restrictions they have to deal with. This has to be accessed on a level far beyond just the device that calls the service.
Our talk is about he we tackle this resulting complexity and analyses the possibilities we are given as the designer of tomorrow’s connected products. We pair up our research with tangible examples from the industry and hands-on advice. This is about exploring the opportunities as well as challenges we face when we try to overcome responsive interfaces to get to truly adaptive service offerings.
Designing large UX projects is a tricky business, particularly when they involve complex requirements, multiple stakeholders, ambitious deliverables and tight timescales.
It’s the part of the design process that no one seems to talk about. Which is strange, as the approach we take can make or break our projects. How do we choose the right techniques? How do we decide the order in which to do things? How do we keep true to the ideals of user centred design within the constraints of a commercial environment? How should our approach flex to accommodate new requirements? How can we keep our ideas fresh in a world of ever-evolving technologies?
In this talk we will share our approach to this dark art. We will survey our peers within UX consultancies and client-side teams to gather and present a range of responses to designing UX projects. We will examine the similarities and differences between the contrasting approaches. We will investigate what makes a meaningful design project.
We all know that the project we design after an initial meeting is never the same as the one we actually deliver. In the second half of this talk we will explore some of the classic challenges that we face during our projects. When and how do we change our project's design? How do we balance conflicting user and business requirements? How do we deal with the politics? What if we're expected to work a UX miracle or two in a single day? We’ll explore the typical problems we face, the disasters we have overcome and also share some of our favourite tips and tricks when it comes to keeping things on track (and on time and budget).
Behind every successful design engagement is a well-rounded dynamic team. However, the culture and expectations of design agencies are largely built around the outspoken, gregarious personality. Furthermore, as agencies and companies have become more and more global, it’s likely you’ll only encounter more emphasis on extroverted styles of working, no matter where you live. Group brainstorming, on-the-fly presentations, and open workspaces have become the norm in design settings. For many of us, encountering personality types with more intensity than a high school debate team has become a daily challenge, so how can we all be successful while still staying true to our naturally-effective styles of working and communicating?
When people think of “creatives,” the stereotype is often that of a very outspoken, extroverted, no-holds-barred personality. But we suspected that a lot of people who excel at, and are passionate about design – specifically UX design – are actually more quiet and introverted.
As fellow introverted UX designers ourselves, we were excited see a more recent emphasis on introversion coming to light as strengths rather than flaws. We were delighted to see TED talks, New York Times articles and a few lauded books all focused on introversion being heartily discussed and embraced in the media. Even better, we were learning that a good balance of extroverted and introverted strengths can elevate great ideas and teams alike.
The fact that there were at least two UX designers who resonated with all of this had to mean that there were other introverted designers out there. So, we set out to discover just how many designers tend to be more on the introverted spectrum, and also uncover what makes them successful, what makes them tick, and how they use their introverted qualities to round out their teams and create great designs and experiences.
We poured over findings from surveying more than 100 people about the topic, as well as 6 one-on-one interviews, a group discussion with 20 UX designers and a handful of anecdotes from some of our introverted colleagues and friends.
We heard deeply personal stories about lessons learned when going against natural tendencies and pretending to be a gregarious and spontaneous conversationalist, and inspirational stories about how displaying quiet confidence can be effective when dealing with powerfully strong voices in a large meeting.
Whether the idea of introversion speaks to you, or you more readily identify with more extroverted qualities, everyone can benefit from tapping into their quiet side and encouraging others to do the same. It’s our hope that our findings inspire others in similar positions as ourselves, and to inform all of us on the introvert/extrovert spectrum of the amazing differences in strengths we all possess that, when combined, make up super teams of professionals.
5th–8th February 2014