Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kent State UXD Program- Interaction Design Journaling Week 4

As a computer scientist, who turned into an instructional designer who then has turned into aspiring user experience designer there are two important concepts that have remained consistent throughout, time and space.  In particular both an instructional designer and an experience designer both care deeply about time because in both cases they want to design a space that is functional but also matches the style of the intended audience.  Both roles care deeply about creating something that marks a distinct difference in some performance metric.  A key difference is that the skills of a user experience designer always has to stretch across space and time where a instructional designer is always asked to confine their solution into a space.  This is why I've been drawn to the field of UXD. The field compels us to stretch across space and time, always looking to visualize how technology can improve the experience while remembering all of those important concepts that got us here.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Kent State UXD Program- Interaction Design Journaling Week 3

I have seen first hand through my professional experience and my most recent academic experience (through exercises and assignments) that it is important to make clear of the business logic or understand the business strategy.

A good example was the exercise we are doing now for my class for a lunch buddy program.  This is proposed app that allows parents to add new funds for a child's lunch account.  There was a concept of an account, a child, and a primary payment method.  Is the account the same as the child?  Do you want to allow parents to select a different payment method for each of their children?  For the purposes I assumed a child essentially represented an account.  This would allow a parent to choose two different payment methods for both of their children.   But doing so makes you make decisions about the navigation.  As a designer you have to take into account the interface has to be easy to create different payments for multiple children.  But it also has to take into account there are many families with just one child.  My solution was to use a home screen friendly to multiple child families but to have the navigation include a simple 'Add funds' icon to allow those families with one child a simple way to add funds.  In this case the since there would be only one child the App would make it easy for those families to just add some funds without looking at too much information.

The business logic and business strategy can have an effect on the design of your App or web site.  Its important to always remember this otherwise it will cause frustration from your audience.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Kent State UXD Program- Interaction Design Journaling Week 2

My wife and I were watching the fascinating PBS special on how good the National Weather Service is able to predict the weather due the massive amount of data they collect and the use of different algorithms.  I know, it doesn't seem like are sometimes very good at it but given the number of changes that happen over hours it is pretty clear it is not easy to predict something that is constantly changing.  The takeaway I did come away with the importance of starting with a good point of origin.  Statistically, they found that when certain points of data were collected incorrectly at their origin it had a massive effect on their algorithms ability to predict the weather.  In User Experience Design, sometimes it can be an awful experience when there is not enough meaning to start your path.  It is true that some designs leave people lost as they navigate a digital experience but often those designs at least start off well.  But the most frustrating experiences for me have been when web sites or mobile applications didn't do enough to show me where to get started.  When that happens you are likely to think how good can this experience be if this organization can't get that right.  The result was often me never coming back or deleting the App.  I would also add that even when designs are done well, its important to keep learning from your users to understand if your main screen should evolve past its original design into something else.  This means understanding not just their digital habits through site metrics but also general trends in spending and other external metrics. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Kent State UXD Program- Interaction Design Journaling Week 1

In this week's class I agree with some of the content I watched from a Lynda course on Scenarios and Storyboards.  I liked the part where the instructor said you need to run through scenarios before you start proto-typing.  My only comment is that I didn't see specific mentions of how to build accurate personas.  I know from reading a lot of case studies many times the designer has to experience the pain of who they designing for first hand to truly appreciate the specific situation.  I know that is a slippery slope because you could have lots of customer experiences but its certainly worth a designer trying to place themselves in their customer's shoes by actually doing and experiencing the pain. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Kent State UXD Program- UXD in Practice Reflective Journaling Week 7

I had the opportunity to listen/read to the first part of the book called Nonsense:The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes.

It is a fascinating voyage into the power of letting yourself not know and the impact of doing this.

This is interesting to me because I believe designers are great at doing this more than anyone else.   Designers can hold a thought an idea in their mind and not make a decision right away what they want to do with it.  Most people have a sense of urgency to make a decision and find themselves that they are not creative.  They are creative but they not have the patience for taking a chance of
not knowing something.  The book discusses the impact of not knowing and most often our emotions are amplified, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.  I am still reading it but I would recommend anyone who is interested in this unique skill, of  not knowing (or not always having the answer) and still thriving and being successful in your career.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Kent State UXD Program- UXD in Practice Reflective Journaling Week 6

I had the opportunity to see Bruce Mau speak at the Bersin by Deloitte Conference called IMPACT in Hollywood, Florida last week.  The conference is mostly a Human Resources, Talent, Leadership and Learning conference.  In his introduction he asked everyone who was a designer to raise their hand, and about 1/10 the room raised their hand.  Then he looked up the description of the Bersin by Deloitte member community and highlighted that the word design was very clear in the definition of community members.  He asked again who was a designer and everyone raised their hand.  The members of this conference work to design human experiences for the purposes of meeting the needs of employees whether its designing a on boarding experience or designing a leadership curriculum.  Design is an important part of what we do but a lot of us are not aware of key design principals.  His presentation went on to further talk about the notion of enterprise design and I would share some images taken from the presentation but I am not sure I am alloweded to.

It was a great presentation and I recommend the book called Glimmer (audiobook version) by Warren Berger which talks about Bruce Mau’s career and the impact of design thinking on our world and culture.  The paperbook version has the interesting title CAD Monkeys, Dinosaur Babies and T-Shaped People: Inside the World of Design Thinking and How It Can Spark Creativity and Innovation.


Link to audio book version


Link to the paperback version


Friday, April 22, 2016

Kent State UXD Program- UXD in Practice Reflective Journaling Week 5

In the book Glimmer(Berger, 2009), Warren Berger discusses the controversy of doing too much research to do effective design. 

Bruce Mau has his own philosophy called speculative design.  Although he thinks it’s important to get in touch with your customers and understand their lives there is a danger in relying on this too much.  Mau uses his speculative design to write down some initial thoughts on a proposed design. (Berger, 2009) Although Mau does do the research he often finds his initial speculative design is correct. (Berger, 2009)

The book discusses opinions from John Thackara and Cameron Sinclair on if designers should stay to their local area in terms of focusing on design improvements.  (Berger, 2009) The summary is that while some designers in an attempt to do a lot of research do make mistakes in foreign environments, there are many more examples of designers who have made a significant impact to the world by looking outside their own environment. (Berger, 2009)  The Aquaduct, , is one such example designed by IDEO designers to tackle the problems of sanitation and transportation of water in developing regions of the world.

I think one area that the book does not address and can sometimes make a different is the passion that drives the designer.  A designer who does not have passion for the project and may lack some design skills may rely on research too much.   I believe it is this passion that is the difference and gives that person an ability to listen and pay attention better than anyone else.


Berger, W. (2009). Glimmer: how design can transform your life, your business, and maybe even the world. Random House Canada.