Posts tagged 'process'

Rolling through the dial with Radioball

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Teague's RadioballI usually prefer to write about tools, processes and methods here, but when I see a project that so completely exemplifies the values and priorities within a design process, I just can’t help but want to share it. Teague’s RadioBall is one of those projects. Go ahead and watch the video after the jump:
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Why Wiggly Wireframes?

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Sketchy WireframeAaron Travis explores the motivation and payoff for developing low-fidelity wireframes for user interfaces during the design process. While I have my own reasons for loving all things lo-fi, this (web-specific) article really nails it. Their rationales are clearly thought out and expressed in a way that make them relevant to a wide variety of disciplines.

Read More for excerpts
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Using Comics to Describe User Experience

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

An excellent article appears today on Boxes and Arrows. It gives an overview of the benefits of using a narrative technique to communicate complex interactions. In this case study, User Experience Designers developed comic strips to communicate broad goals to a larger and diverse audience.

Comics are effective not only because they are essentially narrative, but also because they are unpretentious, easy to follow, and accessible. Whereas a functional specification document uses words and often “tech speak” to communicate functionality, comics use pictures and interactions to get ideas across.

Can’t draw? Don’t have time to draw? Check out the comments at the bottom of the article for a link to, where the folks at Sun Microsystems’ web team have built a repository of free stock scenes and characters that you can use to build storyboards with little effort. The ‘examples’ section, which has tips for how to use narrative techniques to describe design choices, reads like an introduction to Aristotle’s Poetics:

Another common format is a three-act play: (1) A hero… (2) has a problem… (3) and solves it (or not)

The act of designing a user experience can be compared to developing choreography for a user to enact. Writing like this in sometimes-dry forums like Boxes and Arrows validates my belief that telling a story is a valuable way to describe interaction to a broad audience.

SEE ALSO – ComicLife : A Story Machine

Siemens learns about efficiency from Video Games

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

Businessweek has an article by Reena Jana on a new design tool that focuses on game-like usability to increase productivity. The Game Engine Modelling system, developed by Rich McDaniel for Siemens, uses game engine graphics and physics modelling to aid factory-automation designers in designing more efficient factories.

GEM achieves this time-savings with the help of an easy-to-use editing tool that allows designers to select from a library of shapes, physics attributes, and other elements from a simple drop-down Windows menu. They can also type in specifics to match real-world measurements and actions. [...] Workers training with GEM software navigate just as they would a PC game, using commands and keys that correspond with on-screen movement

There is one detail in the article that stood out for me that I felt that Jana touched on but didn’t give the attention I thought it deserved: While simulation systems are in wide use in the automotive and aerospace industries, where tolerances and safety concerns demand it and budgets allow it, with this project what Siemens is really doing is developing a simulation technology for the masses. This ‘democratization of simulation’ will open up new markets in mid- and small-scale factory operations that might otherwise not have been able to afford Siemens’ services. Much of what I wrtie about on this site is ephemeral or pie-in-the-sky, but if this project bears out, it will be a great example of ‘sketching’ technology enabling people to create real value on an industry-wide scale. : Siemens’ New Game Strategy

Brainstorming Followup

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Bob Sutton has taken the time to lay out his views on Brainstorming on BusinessWeek Online. His writing stems from a Wall Street Journal article outlining research that said that when it came to generating ideas, individuals working individually could be just as effective as team members working in a group. Sutton had a post on his blog refuting many of the methodologies of the quoted research, including the lack of context in the research group sessions and the fact that the participants were not professionals in a specific field and therefore not as well equipped to solve specific problems in a group.

However, rather than continuing to split hairs over methodology, his new article expands on some of these ideas and stands as a support of brainstorming itself. Both Sandberg and Sutton believe that brainstorming is a skill that takes time to develop, requires discipline to manage, and must be integrated into the culture of an organization, not just exist as panaceas to design process problems. The meat of the article is 8 tips for improving (or even deciding whether to bother with) brainstorming.

Link to Sutton Article

See Also:

Does Brainstorming Not Suck?

Does Brainstorming Not Suck?

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Bob Sutton has a post on his blog refuting the Wall Street Journal’s
recent articlewhere they cited research showing that idea generation through group brainstorming was no more productive than individuals coming up with ideas on their own.

“G]reat brainstorming sessions are possible, but they require the planning of a state dinner, plenty of rules, and the suspension of ego, ingratiation and political railroading. Hosts have to hope that people won’t expend creative energy trying to tell others their ideas are bad without actually telling them that — admittedly a real business skill. And they have to cross their fingers that the session won’t deteriorate into what some people call “blamestorming” or “coblabberation,” where you get nowhere or settle on something mediocre to be done with it….

My reaction to reading this is “So how DO you tell people that their ideas are bad?” It may seem flip, but often the difference between good and bad idea generation is how well the people involved know each other. I can tell my best friend that his shoes are ugly, but I couldn’t necessarily tell an employee of a client during a group facilitation the same thing.

Sutton says that because the sessions took place in an experimental environment rather than in a workplace with established culture and processes, that they can make no definitive claim on the efficacy of brainstorming.


if these were studies of sexual performance, it would be like drawing inferences about what happens with experienced couples on the basis of research done only with virgins during the first time they had sex.

Continue reading “Does Brainstorming Not Suck?