That my team — a design team — does research, has at times confused colleagues unfamiliar with design methods. Some expect that customer research is produced solely from the market research team and that any design findings only come out of the usability lab. So, to set the scene on our latest field study I presented an introduction about how ethnography has played a part in the product design and innovation of many brands we are familiar with.
A list of resources I frequent for strategy, collaboration, research and design practice. Updated every now and again.
Earlier in the year I had the good fortune of presenting to a class from the University of Technology, Sydney’s Interaction Design course. As someone who occasionally hires designers, experience in user testing and a sincere integration of users in the design process is what makes candidates stand out. Why? Because this is what reduces errors, minimizes IT and build change requests and helps ensure users can understand and use our products. It’s a mistake to think something has to be detailed and almost production ready to be tested. Test ideas, test sketches, test digital, test services. Test early, iteratively and often.
“UX proponents tell tall tales about how good design really takes place. Bottom-up, evidentiary design implies that the designer is ultimately unnecessary, a mere facilitator who draws out a solution from the collective… And top-down, genius design becomes indistinguishable from salesmanship. As a result, design dissolves into other, more established disciplines like business intelligence, product marketing, and corporate evangelism. It’s an error that makes good design look far easier and more replicable than it really is. And worse, it allows people to conclude that their own expertise from data analytics to advertising to illustration is a sufficient stand-in for design.”
Ralph Affleck is king of the maker’s movement. Watch him in action for a beautiful dose of inspiration.
There are some great UX/UCD resources online — my favourites to date have been Service Design Tools and more recently UX Mastery. But today I was knocked out by the phenomenal effort to define and encapsulate design research activities in a cohesive project framework. It was all revealed by a rather innocuous tweet that did not quite foretell the brilliance ahead.
“the idea behind brainstorming is right. To innovate, we need environments that support imaginative thinking, where we can go through many crazy, tangential, and even bad ideas to come up with good ones. We need to work both collaboratively and individually. We also need a healthy amount of heated discussion, even arguing. We need places where someone can throw out a thought, have it critiqued, and not feel so judged that they become defensive and shut down. Yet this creative process is not necessarily supported by the traditional tenets of brainstorming: group collaboration, all ideas held equal, nothing judged.
There was wine, cheese, crackers, butcher’s paper and markers—obviously some audience participation was on the agenda at Groundbreaker [web archive]. This series has been instigated by U.Lab [web archive] out of the UTS design school. Each week will cover a topic related to collaboration, innovation and design practice. This week’s was crowd sourcing:
How HR can influence an innovative culture through selection and rewarding exploration over exploitation: Roger Martin talks ‘design thinking’
What do you do with your eponymous moniker when your duo turns into a company? That was the predicament that Toby & Pete founders, Toby Pike and Piotr Stopniak found themselves in only 18 months after they started and the focus of their talk for the Apple/Australian Insight series. Toby & Pete are CGI artists who specialise in print media. They produce phantasmagorical images for the likes of Nike, AMP, SBS and Daily Juice.
I love a good critique so I left the October Insight talk [web archive] featuring Dutch design duo Toko well sated. They reflected on their career; taking risks, both professional and personal (they moved their lives to Australia almost on a whim) and the state of the design industry.