Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

User research is cheap and easy

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

OK, so I’m clearly one of those people that’s been living under a rock for the last couple of years: I’ve only just realized that the user research industry has gone online and social.

A couple of the services that I’ve tested in recent projects include User Testing: http://www.usertesting.com/ - an easy-to-use online service that lets you create simple tests that are distributed to their testing resources who may be selected according to various demographic parameters (age, experience, income, etc.). (more…)

The emperor has no Pepsi

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

There’s a great article over on the Guardian newspaper regarding the recent Pepsi re-branding. It’s been around a while, but I had not come across it, and a friend just pointed it out to me: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/07/bad-science-pepsi-rebranding. It’s both depressing and hilarious all at once.

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Six strategies for Agile UX

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

User experience design in the context of Agile development seems, for some reason, to remain a hot topic. There is a perception that design and agility are somehow in conflict, which seems odd to me – I’ve always though of design as a naturally Agile process (if only due to it’s inherently iterative nature – all design solutions are always open to improvement).

I tend to think of design as something that begins before development in order to, first of all, validate the business hypothesis, then provide context and frame the problems being addressed during an Agile iteration cycle. Business and customer feedback from deployment of the cycle (sprint, whatever) subsequently helps inform future design efforts.

Even when the overall strategy is as banal as to simply throw shit at the wall and see what sticks, I have found that costs can always be mitigated to a signficant degree by having a little more customer insight and knowing, to extend the metaphor, which bits of wall are likely to be sticky.

Austin Govella has six useful points to bear in mind, touching the importance of on modeling, collaboration, and communicating effectively, amongst other things: http://www.thinkingandmaking.com/view/agile-ux-six

“Art” vs. “Design”

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Having recently spent a few days with my brother, Tim (a sculptor – you can find examples of his work at www.timmorgansculpture.co.uk), my thoughts have returned to one of our favorite topics of conversation – the dualism (or perceived dualism) between “art ” and “design”. Tim is presently working on a proposal for a new project, so naturally we talked about the submission process, and the back-and-forth with his client and their approvals committee. (more…)

Is Google the new Microsoft?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

googlesoftJust as Microsoft seems at last to be struggling out from under the weight of it’s own mediocrity, and is finally, albeit under palpable threats to it’s survival, starting to put usability and desirability at the forefront, Google appears, in turn, to be reaching that tottering, preponderant level of product-portfolio obesity where corporate arrogance begins to seriously outweigh business sense. (more…)

Is interaction design finally going mainstream? ;-)

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Windows Phone 7For many years, north america’s hi-tech behemoths have had a tendency to favor engineering over design, leaving the art of creating products that are at once useful and desirable to the likes of Apple. Now, finally, the era of mainstream interaction design is upon us, or at least, that’s the impression I’m getting as 2010 gets underway, particularly after watching today’s launch announcement from Steve Ballmer regarding Microsoft’s latest refresh of their mobile platform.

Windows Phone 7 is a major clean-up, but it had to be. Apple has rightly poured scorn on Microsoft’s previous design mis-fires and Redmond was heading for redundancy in the mobile space. Design-wise, the Zune player was a step in the right direction, but is an irrelevant product in a market that has already been lost. Mobile is a far deeper space, and one in which the race is still open – certainly for a number 2 or 3 slot. (more…)

All-new Iforma brochure for Q1!

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Brochure Q110To freshen everything up for the new year, we proudly present our new products and services brochure for your perusal.

The draft is going off to the printer today, so we should have hard copies available within a week or so. If you’re not on our mailing list and you’d like us to send you a copy, please use the contact form and drop us a line. You may download the PDF here.

“In The Bubble: Designing in a Complex World” by John Thackara

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex WorldHappy New Year!

We took a couple of week’s holiday over the new year, and I finally had the time to sit down with John Thackara’s profound, although somewhat disturbing, book “Designing in a Complex World” and give it the attention it deserves (much to the consternation of my 2-year old daughter, Rosie).

Thackara, design guru and consultant extraordinaire, runs the “Doors of Perception” series of conferences (and blog, linked to by this site) amongst a great many other things. His range of experience is incredibly broad, and this is reflected in the book, which explores topics including (but not limited to) manufacturing, architecture and social media, but nevertheless carries with it a couple of predominant themes – that of ‘human-centeredness’, and that of ‘lightness’. (more…)