Posts in category: Design

Crafting our toolbox

Crafting our toolbox

Master craftsman Henry O. Studley crafted this magnificent tool chest. Image from finewoodworking.com What an amazing way to express his passion and dedication to his craft! What is today’s digital version of this? My toolbox is nowhere near as amazing. My tools...
Assumed levels of knowledge (when providing instructions)

Assumed levels of knowledge (when providing instructions)

There are discrete bits of knowledge all over the internet. The more granular and specialised the knowledge however, the more background we need to make use of it. The way domain experts provide instructions can really help bridge the first-leap gap. In starts with...
Design thinkers and the MBTI

Design thinkers and the MBTI

Industrial designer Michael Roller asked designers to take the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) to see whether designers fall into certain personality types. He compiled the results here. http://www.michaelroller.com/?p=996 Apparently “designers are less akin to the...
Projects are like mahjong

Projects are like mahjong

Working through the stages of a project is like working through a shanghai mahjong (shanghai solitaire) formation. A new formation can be initially overwhelming when we first encounter its complexity. Just like a new project. There are so many factors both explicitly...
Real feel vs quantifiable measure

Real feel vs quantifiable measure

As part of any user experience (UX) design, we need to consider the feel of the service or product for the end user in their use context. Smartphones and tablets feel smooth, fluid and fast compared to PCs despite having significantly less powerful microprocessors...
Holding up the lifts

Holding up the lifts

The lifts of the cruise ship I was on earlier this year were very slow when responding to calls. I wondered if it was the software? Have they deliberately made the lifts less than optimally responsive to hails so as to encourage passengers to use the stairs instead?...
Good design in plain sight

Good design in plain sight

Good design can often be hidden in plain sight. Especially in situations where in order for the design to work, it must not call attention to itself. At the ticketing hall in Milan central train station, the schedule display monitors are beautifully mounted onto twin...
Designing for motivation

Designing for motivation

We can imbue greater intrinsic motivation into work by activating the three aspects of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose in the work design. (Definitions below are from LifeHacker. I have added questions to expand upon each.) Autonomy: Our desire to direct our own lives....
Designing for happiness

Designing for happiness

The following four factors for happiness may be useful as the basis for designing user experiences (processes, services, and user interfaces.) Material in quotes were from SlideShare. Questions are my value-add. “Autonomy – feeling that your activities are...
The tyranny of defaults

The tyranny of defaults

I came across this concept recently: the defaults a system is rolled out with often become the unseen and unquestioned status quo. A system can be an enterprise content management system, a cultural behavioural norm, or the boundaries and expectations we define in a...
On quiet cities

On quiet cities

Visiting Milan for the first time earlier this year, I noticed how quiet it was. Not quiet as in dead and lifeless; but quiet as in not emotionally or psychologically taxing, despite being a bustling urban centre. The only other large city that surprised me with the...
Buffet traffic

Buffet traffic

Earlier in the year, I had an interesting few weeks observing how people navigate the crowded buffet restaurant of a cruise ship. Image courtesy Shutterstock. There appeared to be three broad difficulties. Actively impeding traffic: Chatting in the middle of traffic,...
Solving the wrong problem

Solving the wrong problem

I have been pondering the issue of solving the wrong problem (or solving the problem at the wrong level) ever since I read a news story about an elderly woman who was allowed to have in-vitro fertilisation to help her get over the death of her adult son. It seemed...
Solving non-problems

Solving non-problems

Solving non-problems is the act of doing something because we can; without truly contemplating our intentions and the potential outcomes. I fail to see how this has got anything to do with “recycling.” Granted it is a whimsical and a fun idea. I do actually like it....
Read me!

Read me!

When you are watching a movie with subtitles, do you feel compelled to read the subtitles even though (a) the movie is already in a language you understand, or (b) the subtitles are in a language you can’t read? We are all wired to pick up patterns – and for...
Square peg round hole

Square peg round hole

Jeanny Wang on Somewhere.com shared this insight with me recently: Clement Mok wrote a piece back in 2003 asking whether the diversity and fragmented state of design is the root cause as to why the field will never establish itself as a respected and united...

Resource: What is strategic design

Strategic design is the initial exploration, understanding and planning part. Executional design then follows to implement the final solutions. … Strategic designers are the meta-design people you hire before you hire the executional designers. Read more here:...
The MoSCoW Method

The MoSCoW Method

The MoSCoW method is a useful technique to clarify product requirements during design specifications. I was asked to describe it to someone recently. Here is the write up of it. Must Have: basic required functionality to qualify to play. The fundamental of the...
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