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Year 2014

will.i.am’s new bracelet

Earlier this week Wil.i.am revealed his PULS bracelet he has been working on for the past 3 years. It’s not a watch. It’s a phone, it has 1GB of memory, 16GB storage, 780 mA power, 3G, Bluetooth, wi-fi, GPS, a pedometer, and an accelerometer.

There are leaders and there are followers and followers follow leaders. And leaders are followers too. But they don’t follow the crowd. They follow their gut; they follow their instinct; they dance to the beat of their own drum. They have the Puls because they follow their dream. They go against all odds. They’re the oddballs, the bizarre, the weirdos, the freaks, the dreamers, the unique. They’re hip-hop; they’re punk rock; they’re geek; they’re chic; They are artists; the black sheep… and a lot of people think they are outcasts, cast from society, but the reality is, they are an army, a strange imaginative wild and complex and beautiful people. And they are leaders. They are cultural taste makers; they’re trailblazers. These are the people that set the stage. These are the people that rock the stage. They’re the ones who think of things you can’t fathom and imagine the things that have not been imagined. I am will and we are fashionology.

A woman with rainbow vision

Concetta Antico was found to have a wider spectrum of color perception than most of us do. According to news, she sees about 100 million colors, because her eyes have a fourth receptor causing a condition called “Tetrachromacy”. Given the fact that my SLR can only do 16.7 million, that IS impressive.

Create your own personal wiki

Have you ever worked on a really large and complex design project, that spans over multiple years? There is a lot of stuff and knowledge to keep track off, and while it might be simple to memorize, your team members might remember things differently. Anyhow, if you need to keep track of knowledge or want to use it in a team, having a wiki will certainly do no harm.

Total reading time: 3.5 minutes

Adobe’s vision of design in the future

Adobe is re-imagineering the future of creative work. Twelve years ago they spoke about software when you need it, and by connecting to the internet. Today we are using Adobe Creative Cloud. Now Adobe’s latest vision of the future is different … and it’s not on Mac OS. There has always been a shift back and forth to focus more on one platform than the other. In future we give inputs through sensors a la Iron Man, and we use multiple devices in the process of creation. Software is smarter, we don’t need to be that accurate when drawing shapes, the technology will do it all for us.

Total reading time: 2.5 minutes

Ever wondered how a computer boots?

The booting process is the process by which a machine comes form its rest state to a usable state. During the boot process there are several units involved that have a specific order.

Useful collection of frameworks for defining the minimal viable product

UXPin just launched a free MVP Guide. It’s a master collection of frameworks, expert opinions and examples on how to build amazing products with limited resources. Free e-book can be requested at http://uxpin.com/guide-to-minimum-viable-products.html

Pentagram to kickstart a reprint of the NYCTA

Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda, two designers at Unimark back in the late 60s designed the New York City Transit system. Untangling the chaos and designing a complete signage system took them about 4 years. Pentagram found a copy of the original, and photographed each page and put the manual online for the world to see.

Now Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth are working on a project and plan to kickstart a full-size reissue of the NYCTA Graphics Standards Manual.

Nemo

Ways to work effectively with a designer

Designers are in the business of improving situations in a wide range of fields of practice. Whether that’s consumer goods, systems and services, environments, or social situations.

Their solutions save lives, they make it so that people can navigate, vote for the right candidate during political elections, and they make it so that people can use technology without reading a manual.

Design is both – an art and science, and it takes a long time to get really good at it. Designers have a special set of skills, behaviors, and attitudes which make them very talented and effective problem solvers.

They have come up with all sorts of tools, techniques, and methods, that can help experiment in a relatively low-risk way.

If you are working with a designer, ask them about their process and how they work. It’s important to manage expectations before a project starts and whether you can work WITH each other.

Did you notice how I am emphasizing WITH and didn’t say FOR? That’s because if you create an environment where the designer is working FOR instead WITH you, then you are taking away the designer’s ability to help solve your problem that you approached her for in first place.

Below is an overview of five design stages. The things listed are a suggestion and don’t need to be covered all at each stage. Each stage though is important and should be part of the design process.

  1. Discovery
  2. Interpretation
  3. Ideation
  4. Experimentation
  5. Evolution

Discovery

discovery

Activities
What the designer does

  • Engaging with target audience
  • Watch what people do
  • Listen to what they say
  • See how people behave, and how they react

Purpose
Why the designer does it
Understanding and immersion into the design problem within its context

Strategy
Methods + tools a designer applies
Conduct research + collect data

Examples:

  • Observational studies (people and their context)
  • Ethnography
  • Competitive research
  • Interviewing
  • Asking questions
  • Expert reviews
  • Task analysis
  • Surveys
  • Facilitation collaborative consulting
  • Process analysis

Approach
Skills, behaviors, + attitudes a designer demonstrates

  • Unbiased
  • Passive
  • Listening
  • Observing

Collaboration
Who the designer (needs) to work with

Examples:

  • Project owner
  • Target audience
  • Users
  • Customers
  • Partners
  • Stakeholders
  • Trainers
  • Technical writers
  • Customer support

Advice
How to work WITH the designer

  • Provide the designer with a design goal
  • Tell the designer who she can speak to, or get her in contact with your researcher.
  • Be open + unbiased
  • Build trust

Interpretation

interpretation

Activities
What the designer does

  • Synthesize + organize collected information in meaningful ways
  • Comparing across disciplines
  • Identify patterns
  • Identify gaps
  • Ask questions, eventually redefine the problem + the design goal
  • Take on different viewpoints
  • Consider the entire product life-cycle

Purpose
Why the designer does it

  • Generate new insights and knowledge
  • Decide on point of views

Strategy
Methods + tools the designer applies

Examples:

  • napkin sketches
  • design board synthesis
  • empathy mapping
  • user journey maps
  • experience maps
  • persona profiles
  • collaborative consulting

Approach
Skills, behaviors, + attitudes the designer demonstrates

  • Active
  • Unbiased
  • Not drawing conclusions just yet
  • Positive

Collaboration
Who the designer works with

  • Preferably with other designers
  • If the designer is working independent, it is required to have feedback loops if the project is highly complex or technical

Advice
How to work WITH the designer

  • Be constructive
  • If you find a piece of information is missing, add it.

Ideation

ideation

Activities
What the designer does

  • Conceptual thinking
  • Play
  • Sketch

Purpose
Why the designer does it

  • Generate quickly many quantities + qualities of ideas
  • Identify possibilities + opportunities

Strategy
Methods + tools the designer applies

Examples:

  • Game storming
  • Brain storming
  • Facilitation
  • Collaborative consulting
  • Playful thinking/role playing
  • Problem solving angles (removal, inversion, reversal, confrontation, source removal, isolation, division, analogy, attributes, challenge assumptions, phenomena)

Approach
Skills, behaviors, + attitudes the designer demonstrates

  • Active
  • Unbiased
  • Be playful + open
  • Not drawing conclusions
  • Not deciding about the final solution just yet, i.e. leave room open

Collaboration
Who the designer works with
Preferably with other designers.

Advice
How to work WITH the designer

  • Non-judgmental
  • Be positive + open

Experimentation

experimentation

Activities
What the designer does

  • Prototyping (from low to high fidelity)
  • Testing
  • Evaluating
  • Engaging with target audience
  • Gathering feedback
  • Incorporating feedback
  • Iterating
  • Defining quality + attributes

Purpose
Why the designer does it

  • Optimization
  • Narrowing down the choice of options

Strategy
Methods + tools the designer applies
Use cheap, + low-risk methods

Examples:

  • Paper prototypes
  • Wireframes
  • Models
  • Dioramas (miniature or real-size)
  • Sketching
  • Interactive prototypes

Approach
Skills, behaviors, + attitudes the designer demonstrates

  • Engaging with target audience
  • Active
  • Positive
  • Asking for feedback
  • Decisive
  • Evaluating

Collaboration
Who the designer works with

  • With other designers
  • Product owner
  • Stakeholders

Advice
How to work WITH the designer

  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Schedule meetings
  • Provide support + find ways in how to involve stakeholders

evolution

evolution

Activities
What the designer does

  • Mature the design
  • Engage with target audience
  • Test before deployment
  • Eventually accompany production cycle
  • Consider the entire product life-cycle

Purpose
Why the designer does it

  • Getting the solution ready for real-world implementation
  • Gathering feedback
  • Incorporating feedback
  • Ensuring that design gets implemented as intended

Strategy
Methods + tools the designer applies

  • High fidelity mocks
  • Build or have it built
  • Usability testing
  • Testing in general

Approach
Skills, behaviors, + attitudes the designer demonstrates

  • Engaging with target audience
  • High emphasis on quality + intend
  • Benchmarking against design goals

Collaboration
Who the designer works with

  • Production companies
  • Product owner
  • Stakeholders

Advice
How to work WITH the designer

  • Be honest + constructive
  • At this stage there shouldn’t be any new requirements
  • Give compliments for a job well done, or better: recommend the designer to others you see benefiting from their abilities

Design Thinking Movie – the 2nd

Design thinking is a framework for problem-solving that allows its users to think about and explore different alternative solutions that can solve very hairy problems.