Tag Archives: experience design

portrait of the artist { @ work }

20141006_123528

what happens without design

HdBGu

our current challenges around government, corporations and the economy are due to a lack of conscious experience design effort

more and more i feel that we need to realize that its all up to us

we need to more actively participate and to quite literally guide the re-design of our readymade, given systems — most of which, at this point, no longer effectively serve our human needs as a society, especially those needs of people living below the most upper of upper classes in this nation and the world

but how do we meaningfully participate? 

and would it be more effective to participate within the given systems or somehow work on designing a more renegade, extra-governmental set of new systems to positively create faster momentum and greater impact for the vast majority of people?

for me its the whole
design or be designed
decision we all need to make

or, i guess, we can all simply continue with our armchair quarterbacking methodology of just sitting back and complaining about the horrific results coming out of the current dynamics { which were, of course, historically guided to where they are today }

 

some reflections on the challenge of experience design

a huge part of ux has nothing to actually do with design and processes — ux is about establishing culture and curating the experience of ucd

the theatre of Work, ReVisited

theatreofwork_preview

back in 2009 when i still conducted critical design research for Dynamic Media Institute in Boston i decided to start up a presentation series aimed specifically at helping my greener friends coming into the industry with some of the basic challenges they might encounter along the journey of their profesional lives

i’ve encountered more than my fair share of interesting twists and turns in my rather adventurous career as an accomplished experience design professional — and some of the joys and tribulations of navigating the glorious terrain can benefit by simply continuously building a better and better understanding and awareness of the environments in which we need to perform

in delving into the digital archives of my mind i recently rediscovered a few slides appropriately titled the theatre of Work — survival tips for newcomers to the workForce

the theatre of Work

the phrase by itself starts to imply some of my subconscious views and feelings regarding: the social dynamics; the essential personal behaviors we need to exude while performing; and general feel of the landscape set up by the workaday world as a means of reaching toward success for ourselves and for the companies we work for

i am an experience designer and a performance artist

i never studied the theatre, which is an important key differentiator i need to continually remind myself of along the way

its also vitally important to have an unrelenting sense of self-awareness and continuous introspective reflection for the kind of trek we’re all on within ANY industry

just this hybrid mash-up between designer and artist can have extremely important internally conflicting motivations embedded within the very nature of each role

but anyhow, i digress { i just heard someone on blogging across the way stand up and scream, ‘DigreSsioN!’ ala that famous set of passages from A Catcher in the Rye ;] }

after living a little longer and experiencing a few more years of this life of work we all live and breathe, i believe i have even deeper, more profound wisdom to share than i originally intended by designing up a few slides for a future-such talk to be about workerly advice

i am therefore re-opening this thread of thought — copy-pasting the open Keynote file and the PSD folder from my portable harddrive back onto my current active MacBook Pro device to really start digging into what new significance i can bring to the table to help people navigate the choppy waters and hopefully not make all of the same foolish mistakes i’ve made along the way

i know my triathlon could’ve gone a LOT smoother so far had i just had proper mentorship or perhaps better personal self-awareness and more thoughtful empathy to guide me

but i’m an impatient clown, for the most part

i always want the impossible and i design to reach for the bluest of the bluest skies

i would be more of a fool, however, if i continue to noodle and clown without ever learning and growing for the journeys i’ve made — and i feel that if i share some of my story in a thoughtful and meaningful way it might actually make up for my own silly idiocies and hopefully make for a better overall experience for colleagues, friends, acquaintances and frenemies that even care to listen at this point

i need to focus on my storyFirst presentation out at Massachusetts College of Art for the next few weeks, but i also hope to put some time into this theatre of Work concept, too, as it is near and dear to my heart — i want to help people and give them better perspective and hopefully facilitate better and better experiences in the world through my designwork and my design leadership

but, until then — shove off, bitchez! ;]

 

logo_storyfirst

 

..:: teaching IxD ::..

ixdLogo

this Spring semester at Massachusetts College of Art and Design — which is, like, almost over, sadly enough — i got the distinct pleasure of taking the materials, sequencing and my approach to teaching Interaction Design { by night for MassArt’s Continuing Education Department } and filtering the entire course down into an independent study with Aliyah Domash

i didn’t realize it until we met up to work on the fine details of how Interaction Design might work at this independent study scale — but, that whole ‘small world’ kind of aspect of the design community in Boston was working its crazy magic from the onset, and strangely enough, i already met Aliyah and got to see her work from a semester or 2 back by sitting as a guest critic in one of the final presentations of Alison Kotin’s Foundations of Graphic Design course — anyhow, flashback to that class and i got to see a lot of hand-drawn, amazing depictions of an artichoke, all in black and white, cropped and composed and mounted very professionally and pinned to the wall — it was a fantastic and dynamic final critique that i’m sure involved a smörgåsbord of hummus and cookies and water and other potluck snackage as a part of this wonderful celebratory discussion of all the fine work and progress each student made over the course of the semester

so, as you can probably tell, i have a certain obsession with foodly comestibles AND a little bit of an issue with portion control, right? ;]

but, back to our regularly scheduled topic — meeting Aliyah in Alison’s design class

anyhow, that night and these sorts of conversations with students and faculty and different nuance of design potentialities always makes me happy and excited about the kind of design community we have at MassArt and in the Greater Boston Area in general — and what? with AIGA Boston, BostonCHI, Boston Cyberarts, Dorkbots, IxDA, Pecha Kucha Night Boston, Refresh Boston, Upgrade Boston, UXPA and the myriad university-driven lectures, hackathons and networking opportunities steeped in designery, you almost can find it difficult to keep up with just the community, forget about the most current trends, buzz and general discourse that accompanies the fine world of design in the general locality

who would’ve known that a year out i’d be working to teach and mentor Aliyah at MassArt in this wonderful independent study setup, right? small world, crazy small, in fact — and then, its just utterly phenomenal to see how quickly a student like Aliyah comes in on day one, starts up with the first 3 more analytic exercises in experience design deconstruction and all — and then through reading, dissection, personal and professional reflection and our near-weekly conversational sessions at MassArt and the project work that puts the focus on active exploration of interaction and user-centered design as a theory and a practice and an empathic journey to guiding this bizarre, almost otherwoldly force we call Design in a way that keeps real, live people at the center of our approach and goals as design professionals — well, its just amazing to see Aliyah’s progress over the semester and to see the full spectral journey of her final project work for final critique and completion of the course

its been a really wonderful semester — really interesting to see how i’ve had to flex and bend the materials and approach, only slightly in all actuality, to keep the design of the course itself ultimately very interactive, human and fun

i’m really looking forward to the final critique, although i know we’ll miss meeting up on a semi-regular basis with the good excuse of putting some credits on the roster while hopefully also digging into what design can really mean for all of us as both professionals and people exploring the world through the filter of human-centered experience design

 

ixdIconz

 

uxWTF experience design challenge #1 — CVS receipt reDesign { please }

okay, okay, okay — for those of you that might personally know me in some way from the UX and Design Community, and by know me i mean really know me, you’ve probably heard me rant on about the real reasons why i am a user-centered designer

most people outside of the profession simply assume that all designers have this wonderful and delicate appreciation for elegant design in the world and that their passion and motivations lie somewhere within the logic of thereby wanting to design and bring to life newer designs as inspired by Bauhaus, clean and minimalist typography or by some self-delusional thinking that our contributions as designers in modernday society will somehow make for a greener, more peaceable and liveable planet

sorry if this sounds like a loaded way to re-introduce myself here for you — i don’t mean to sound hostile or pessimistic or negative in any way, believe me — i’m actually quite a lighthearted and humorous person in person, if you know what i mean — but i want you to understand MY reasons for being a designer, which i don’t think are too atypical, but they’re definitely not reasons most designers typically discuss in such a public forum

i design because i am constantly frustrated

yep, there ya go — i said it out loud { or as loud as you can get in blogPost format } — i’m frustrated, constantly frustrated: with the way the world is; with the horrendous design of just about everything we encounter in life; with the ridiculously backwards and twisted way everything seems to be better designed for The System, for information and data, for Machine-to-Machine Communication and Interaction { or M2M if you wanna get all TLA on that shit }, but not nearly even remotely designed for human consumption, use or participation

so, here we go — no real fantastic segue, fade or transition here to help move into this next concept, you now know my personal and professional motivations as a user-centered design professional and performance artist — they’re actually quite political reasons to do what i do, but let’s not get into that now, aight?

right now i want to talk about an idea that came to me recently while taking care of business in a public office restroom { this is where i get my most brilliant ideas, as funny as it sounds, in the handicap stall while sitting on the porcelain throne } — thinking about these frustrating experiences i keep bumping into out there in the world, i tried to figure out a way i could actually make discussions like these more consumable, more relatable and — most importantly — more actionable

i mean, how could i inspire other people to work with me in some collaborative capacity to actually redesign these horrifically poor and annoying experiences even if there might be no actual paying project on the books, even if there is no real financial reason to tackle these vital worldly challenges, even if the ONLY potential motivation to change these experiences is simply embedded in the very human need to show off what real, innovative design thinking can do to improve and better optimize our universal human experience and to hopefully become ubiquitously famous through these public, humorously expressed issues and processes to show people how to actually change the world

i mean, i’m talkin’ Steve Jobs level shit here — just without all the asshole politics and multimillionaire nerdy swagger of ‘The Genius’ bullshit we’re all led to believe about iPod Man

and it all starts with this concept

logo_uxWTF

let’s take a look, in blog serial format, at a list of these frustrating experiences through user-centered investigation and photodocumentation and see if we can’t put our heads together and fix this shit

its not that difficult people

its really not

and i’m here to help ya

let’s start with this one, this little uxWTF? design challenge:

the CVS receipt reDesign

now, to be completely fair here, this is NOT solely a CVS-related UX offense we’re talking about, right? we’ve all experienced this at NUMEROUS retail consumer establishments — it just so happens, though, that i’ve been picking up my meds a lot lately { thank gawd, right? who knows what this post’d be about without ’em ;] } and this similarly strange feat of cash register magic recurs like fucking clockwork with each and every transaction at the CVS Pharmacy and even at the front counter { not sure on the Photo Lab area, though, let me know if you can verify this same phenomena happening there, too }

let’s take a looksy

here’s what the CVS Pharmacy Technician handed me at the register before wishing me to, ‘Have a nice day’ …

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

look familiar? this receipt — and i kid you not — this receipt is almost as tall as i am

that’s ridiculous

its just fucking ridiculous

what a waste of the life of a sapling

and you know what? i never ever use the coupons on these neverending receipts — never

i bet someone takes advantage of the remarkable savings provided by Consumer Value Stores, but i personally think the benefits or value i get from these veritable partystreamers of savings do not in any way outweigh the environmental cost or just the frigging paperwaste nuisance of these amazing little lengthy souvenirs i collect from each trip to the national chain convenience store

i used to actually save these receipts and scotchtape them together to write on the eventually handmade collaged side of my frankenpaper sans ink — but c’mon, seriously? seriously?

so, uhm, i don’t know — i recently downloaded and started using the CVS smartphone app on my android mobile device, and i actually think the app would be a far more appropriate delivery mechanism for these additional CVS membership savings — could be nicer, right?

a LOT nicer

i mean, we know they’re tracking our every purchase via the app or our CVS loyalty card much-like any supermarket, department store or other corporate chain of transactional wonderment, and i think it would be the very least they could do for us — let’s get smart, now, aight? — THIS might actually be one of the best potential implementations for those semi-bizarre and overused / misused QR codes { QR = quick response, in case you weren’t already in the know } — i mean, it might be superCool and magically fantastic if the entire CVS members rewards savings systems { and that of other similarly national chain-like corporate establishments } all somehow leveraged the app or the card, right? but at the very least, bring out the QR codes, print ’em right on the receipt, and then it might be, i don’t know, 6 inches long at the most { mostly now depending on just how many items you purchased from the store, not how much psychosocial data-driven stalker suggestions they can spit back at you } — i mean, we don’t need to memorialize last Tuesday’s purchases from the pharmacy for any real reasons as average American citizens now, do we? in fact, the printed proof is in some ways an actual privacy liability that could potentially break patient confidentiality { but maybe not, i’d need to actually read my receipt to see what’s listed for my recent pharmacy purchase }

on another note — and this is something i am just DYING to see happen in the very-near future — i would also love to see these apps and other store membership systems that track our every micropurchase behavior actually provide our data for US to usethe government sees my data, stores and financial institutions see my data, Hell, even offshore agencies working for credit card and other similarly skanky organizations most likely have more access to my personal transactional behavioral information than i do as the user of these systems, as the actual supposed member of these systems { whatever that means to me at this point, right? }

show me the data!

i think its about time to better empower the people through the access and flow of our data

and its also about time that we start turning the tables a bit and actually get paid for sharing our data with these organizations — why do we so willingly sign up for these services that basically steal our information and use it for the big consumer feedback loop for devious subliminal purchase suggestions from The Man { in a rather loose and corporatey collective sense of definition } — i mean, i know i know, we willingly sign up for these services and give it all away for free, like the utter dopes we all are — but c’mon, let’s get it back, let’s take back what’s rightfully ours and what should be ONLY ours unless we make a little jing in the deal — and i’m not talking about this beautiful, easy ‘giving back’ gesture we receive upon receipt, this paper streaming printed register tape of coupon savings, i’m talkin’ about actually gettin’ paid

pay up bitches!

you want this? you want this data?

pay me

Extending experience design { eed }

DSCF0242just like any other realm of design, you do not necessarily need to start thinking of the Total eXperience Design right from day 1

let’s say you start off designing a campaign or concept from a pure print standpoint at first … you have brochureware, business cards, flyers, posters, books, periodicals or any microSet of these items from the realm of paper and physically printed work … you can easily take your high resolution and vector-drawn artwork and interpolate that into the realm of onScreen eXperience ( oSX or whatever else you might personally call it … most might say uX for user eXperience, but i think i prefer the implied ‘operating System‘ in this oSX tla* … there is also an nearReference to ‘ossification‘ in the oS part of the tla which definitely holds some resonance to end deliverables like wireframes and other IA documents that set up the backbone for later rounds of ‘skinning‘ or visual design treatment ) … that works out nicely, right?

and then from high resolution to low resolution ( for onScreen ) to no resolution ( for mobile or text-based interpretation of the original print to web to text ), that’s another easy degradation … and we all know it could work in the reverse as well ( but would be a LOT more efficient having vector and high rez brand elements from the first ), there just may need to be some sort of reCreation to make the no to low to high rez translation possible

these are still playing in the realm of what i would consider relatively flat media … sure, there can be an element of time and space in both onScreen and onDevice eXperience design, but there is an almost near-predictablity whenever the backend relies on database technology ( as opposed to a less predictable system of people or performers )

here is another way to extend the experience design

let’s say you hand out training materials and businessCards ( other paperWare as well ) and after a period of rehearsal and behaviorSetting event-based sessions your salesForce or performance militia is then allowed to carry out some sort of activity ‘out there’ in both the real world and online … these performers ( salesFolk, whatever ) can then use tools such as databases and preScripted materials ( corporate or not ) to act on the behalf of an organization to work toward achieving a goal … a truly dynamic system … one that is a lot more improvisational and a LOT less predictable than one that uses a pre-programmed mathematical set of algorithms to perform a task ( a Javascript randomizer, perhaps, serves up 1 of 20 different animated gifs … or maybe there is a semantic web microApplication or adServer that grabs the historical online trends of a user and serves up some content or graphic that proves to be more relevant to the user as they navigate a system … if you’re a heterosexual woman, maybe the dynamic system serves up the image of a strapping, young poolboy w/ the tagline … ‘Hey Baby, time for some fun’ … and then maybe if you’re a tree in the autumntime, maybe a block of text gets served up instead to describe the benefits of dropping acorns to not only propagate the species but also to help a squirrel family survive through the upcoming brutal winter squalls approaching )

as an example … the totally random, packeted and human-chaotic approach Al Qaeda implemented might best explain the difficulty, perhaps, in properly tracking and putting a stop to the young pilot students in Florida prior to the 911 attacks … i personally believe, with the advent of satellite spy systems and other superCool stealth tracking the US government utilizes, that there is no way they could NOT have known, to some degree, that there was at least going to be some sort of mass hijacking in the skies above and about NYC … maybe the pure evil inside of a system of human beings cannot be tracked or measured by any device or team of watchers … or maybe all data was available to certain departments or individuals tracking the behavior patterns of these suspicious foreign agents but there was a failure to go beyond the numeric, patternistic analysis and interpret the criss-cross addition and multiplication of all the components to fully realize the truth and intention behind the efforts of the student internationals suddenly interested in ‘learning to fly’ … but the human element here, in this particular system design, that human element was either the excuse behind non-prevention or acted as an insanely powerful subterfuge to the antiSystem ( i guess system and antiSystem can be purely a matter of perspectavity … from the US standpoint, of course, we were protecting the system of Democracy { or Capitalistic Consumerism from the purely financiofactual societal analysis filter } and the antiSystem would be the terrorists, no matter from where or whence, from the era of the great Lewinsky and onward into the future forever and evermore )

the ultimate dynamic systems need to not only involve humans as the end-user | viewer | participant, but should also exploit the power of human performance within the system to help steer the processes from within the system

could robots effectively be programmed to sell Oracle products?

let’s say you could completely emulate a human voice, the inflection and accent of a salesperson or performer ( i keep saying performer as my real interest, my intentions are not meant for real market-effective purposes at all but perhaps, indeed, for the forces that influence the opposite inflexion when so deserved ) … could all of the circumstances behind a human conversation between client and representative be accounted for to anticipate every thread and potential for exception or bargaining? i don’t think so …

my theory is that life is a dynamic system … and that people, being the users of the system, need an equivalent human component within the system to create the ultimate dynamic set of status and interactivity …

if we started with a performance piece, a play perhaps … how could that experience be extended? maybe the brochureWare, the artifacts that will survive the live experience, these items could be designed to help brand the event and serve as a means to resuscitate the memory of the original live performance ( its key elements, narrative and nuances ) in the mind of the concertGoer or theatreGoer … maybe there are more intential ‘takeaways’ distributed to the audience ( Walter Sickert and The Army of Broken Toys typically distribute little ‘toy’ noisemakers for cued audience participation at critical shock and emphasis points in their theatricalmusical event-based concerts and shows … Crank Sturgeon quite frequently uses olfactory sensation to create a bit of spacial memory discordance that heightens my own post-event discourse and reflections of his noise performance, sound art and danceworks { he might throw freshly raked leaves about the space or burn fabric inside a toaster oven, each producing a unique and memorable nasal-based brand for his performative episodic installations } ) … or perhaps the performance itself purposely begins to extend beyond the stageSpace … maybe there are faux-protestations being carried out in a semi-unoffcial manner to heighten the senses of the audience as they encounter the rage and discontent of this pre-performative ‘appetizer’ tasting of what the intended subject matter could include … more and more literary experiences ( or at least fictional and written experiences ) are being augmented with peripheral online experiences that might express the opinions of just one character from the book using MySpace, Facebook or other pretended social web experiences to deepen the mythological aura and fictionSpace surrounding the ‘real work’ … Sasha Baron Cohen’s ‘Brüno’ movie had several promotional website extensions that helped heighten not only the hype but also the riduculous personality and parody that is obviously at the core of what Cohen does …

not every design needs this sort of extension

but in thinking about Total eXperience Design potential for a campaign, activity or product it can be very helpful to consider the static, temporal, algorithmic and ultimately human ( chaotic or concordance-reactive ) elements to include for the most effective txd … to consider, perhaps, not only the user expereince as seen from the side of the target audience but also from the vantagepoint of the targeting user participant in the system

*tla = three-letter acronym