Archive for design

shiny thing are wet


“The evidence that people are drawn to shiny things is all around us: from the pages of lifestyle magazines to the page stock of lifestyle magazines. One logical explanation for this cultural affection is that we’ve come to associate gloss with wealth and luxury.”

“… that our preference for glossy might be deep-rooted and very human,” says Patrick. “It is humbling to acknowledge that despite our sophistication and progress as a species, we are still drawn to things that serve our innate needs–in this case, the need for water.”

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do we need to care about technology any more?

“Talk about experiences, not features. Technology is there to enable an experience, and as long as it doesn’t get in the way, most consumers would rather not worry about it.”

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design language: chandler’s law

"When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand."

Raymond Chandler

A concise but evocative piece of advice for writers who have somehow painted themselves into a corner, plotwise. The addition of a new opponent or complication, usually amidst a burst of violence, can free a protagonist from where he has become mired in the current plot.


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design language: chekhov’s gun

"Chekhov’s gun" is often used as an example of foreshadowing, with the sight of the gun preparing the audience for its eventual use. But the primary point of Chekhov’s advice was to caution against including unnecessary elements in a story or its staging.

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how is that useful to the player?

“Usefulness is best achieved by thinking about everything as user experience. If you start with “useful” as a first principle, then you automatically place customer need and experience first. And you’re less inclined to get lost in your own jargon, product-development silos, or legacy.Usefulness is best achieved by thinking about everything as user experience. If you start with “useful” as a first principle, then you automatically place customer need and experience first. And you’re less inclined to get lost in your own jargon, product-development silos, or legacy.

“Being useful doesn’t always mean asking the focus group. It’s fair to say that customers don’t always know what they want. Customers now play an increasingly equal, participatory, and critical role in brand and business. But co-creation should not be accepted as a default solution to every challenge. Even when consumers do know what they want, empowering them to create it might not result in the most impressive solution. Observing consumers is usually a more effective way of discovering unmet or poorly met needs, and can reveal hacked solutions that suggest real opportunities of how to be useful in the world.”

Be careful to avoid the ‘faster horse’ answer.

Think how you can be useful in areas that are not necessarily in your core but still drive customers to your business.

  • Look for ways that customers are navigating around obstacles and build a business out of that.
  • Consider how you can connect your customers directly to one another. And have them create mutual value.

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i have an idea…

“We’re looking for people who can say, ‘I have a product idea, I can think through a need, I can think through a customer base, build something, ship it, and then iterate based on how it’s being used.’”

  • A product idea
  • An understanding of the need it fills
  • Targeted for a customer
  • Ability to build it
  • Leadership to deliver
  • Perspective to know when to stop, and finish it
  • Collect and understand feedback
  • Iterate and respond that feedback
  • Learn

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iterating things that you feel

Designing for Facebook, Cox said, gets at “the science of things you can’t reason about, that you just feel.” He added: “That’s why, when we’re trying to accomplish something that’s pretty new, it’s important to be iterating in that [design] mindset.”

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design for user experiences, not for design’s sake

User experience is the outcome that all design should be focused on.

“…are underestimating the significance of customer experiences”

“As smart and connected technology matures beyond a luxury into everyday commodities, consumer expectations only inflate.”

“…businesses are designing for the sake of designing, without regard for how someone feels, thinks, or acts as a result.”

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there is no UI — only UX

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understand, don’t ask

Understand and empathize with consumers of your product to stimulate innovation.

“Internalizing the values of your users makes innovation easier, but getting there is hard …the goal is not to ask them what we should design, but to gain insight, absorb it, and translate it into a language our clients understand. Without that insight, any attempt at innovation is no better than a wild guess.”

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stand up on innovation

    • Know Your Audience, Then Ignore Their Advice
    • Data Does Not Replace Insight
    • Keep It Fresh
    • Develop Your Own Point of View
    • Create a Story Around the Material
    • Even Friendly Audiences Need to Be Won Over
    • Don’t Expect Everyone to Get It
    • You Can’t Test Your Way to a Decision

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your audience are people…


Get out there and observe and talk to your audience.

“In our socially-mediated world, marketers must place greater emphasis on understanding their audience as people rather than as consumers.

To build a social brand, marketers need to discover who these individuals really are.  This requires research that can elicit stories about how people feel about their world, the subtext of which defines their identities.”

IDEO say it is human-centered;

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown, president and CEO

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it is your duty to ask simple questions


“We get seduced by the complicated in Western society,” Ms. Zimmerman says. “We’re in awe of it and we pull away from the duty to ask simple questions, which we do whenever we deal with matters that are complex.”

We are drawn to complexity. We fear simplicity.

In design, it is easy to slip in to adding choices, options or features.
In thought and words, we like to use long words or acronyms and jargon.
When writing we include needless words, and struggle to stick to the point.

Asking simple, direct and even ‘dumb’ questions can help you get to the heart of the matter.

omit needless words :

simplification failure :

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do you want to be fast and sloppy?

“59% of American’s surf and watch TV at the same time” Nielsen report, and the numbers are increasing with every survey done. Smartphones provide connectivity options 24/7 everywhere.

Yet, multitasking allows you to be faster, and achieve sloppier results.

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turn feedback into inspiration

“Steve Jobs has often cited this quote from Henry Ford: "If I’d have asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!‘ "

This is Jobs’s defense of Apple’s reluctance to listen to even its most passionate customers, and the line is a good one to remember the next time you’re considering a new round of focus groups. "The whole approach of the company is that people can’t really envision what they want," says Reid. "They’ll tell you a bunch of stuff they want. Then if you build it, it turns out that’s not right. It’s hard to visualize things that don’t exist."

But Jobs doesn’t exactly ignore customers; he uses their ideas as inspiration, not direction; as a means, not an end. “

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react to my touch

Design considerations for touch UI

  • Design for immediate access – tapping is quick, and think about finger travel distances and screen proximity of touch points
  • Keep gestures smart and simple – respond as the user would expect in the real world, keep more complex gestures for optional or shortcut commands
  • Leverage clear mental models – keep actions and reaction consistent with the expectation
  • Design for real hand sizes – both size and position on screen
  • Touch feedback is key – a finger covers the button when pressed, make a response happen off button. Users are often distracted, and audio is unreliable communicator.

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achieving breakthrough innovation

They must radically rethink the entire business model — technology choices, distribution, pricing, scale, workflow, and organization. Fine-tuning the existing business models will not work. That is why the bottom-of-the-pyramid customer base is the best friend that a company focused on breakthrough innovations ever had. This unfamiliar market with very low discretionary income provides sufficient distance from the current top-of-the-pyramid customer base to force institutions to change their practices.

Rather than researching markets, they must immerse themselves in the lives of their target consumers. At the bottom of the pyramid, there are tough challenges in access, awareness, affordability, and availability, and only those who are grounded in the reality of their consumers’ lives will understand their priorities. The consumers themselves may not articulate their needs.

They must accept constraints. They cannot do all things; they must do a few things very well. Many people have come to believe that creativity must be unconstrained; in practice, however, breakthrough creativity requires an explicit acknowledgment of limits.

They must not innovate in isolation. Breakthroughs occur when there are clusters of innovations, taking place continuously over time, in small experiments from which companies learn rapidly, and in an ecosystem involving many collaborators and partners.

None of these changes will be possible without a clear and unflagging commitment to a strategic intent. In the case of Indian health care, that is the intent of serving all people with world-class quality at prices they can afford. Guided by that value, the process of breakthrough innovation is a market development task; it is very different from the challenge of serving an existing market more efficiently.

The Innovation Sandbox by C.K. Prahalad

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frugal innovation


Being budget minded, focused on simplicity, challenging of the design & the processes and being aware of the implications of huge market sizes. Focus on customer.

“The term is quite commonly used in countries such as India or China to describe a specific kind of innovation which takes great care to minimise costs of innovation and cost of final product.

“Frugal innovation is not just about redesigning products; it involves rethinking entire production processes and business models. Companies need to squeeze costs so they can reach more customers, and accept thin profit margins to gain volume. Three ways of reducing costs are proving particularly successful.”

  • Contract out more work
  • Use existing technology in imaginative ways
  • Apply mass-production technique in new and unexpected areas

The Economist’s special report on innovation in emerging markets

Jeff Bezos;

Q: The company has a reputation for frugality. Does that apply to the way you innovate?
A: I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out. When we were [first] trying to acquire customers, we didn’t have money to spend on ad budgets. So we created the associates program, [which lets] any Web site link to us, and we give them a revenue share. We invented one-click shopping so we could make check-out faster. Those things didn’t require big budgets. They required thoughtfulness and focus on the customer.

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it is what you think you see as much as what you actually see…

#1 We do not attend to everything that we see. Visual perception is selective, as it must, for awareness of everything would overcome us. Our attention is often drawn to contrasts to the norm.

#2 Our eyes are drawn to familiar patterns. We see what we know and what we expect.

#3 Memory plays an important part in human cognition, but working memory is extremely limited.

Thinking with our Eyes, from Now You See It by Stephen Few.

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design language: filling the bar

People love filling bars. They will complete more tasks if they have a progress bar showing them the steps left to do and the steps completed. There is an inherent reward in marking off progress along a bar or ladder.

By using stepping stones, and marking off progress people are more likely to complete the steps in the sequence.

It helps reduce friction.


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