Inside IDEO

Design Observer points to the 1999 ABC Nightline program that took an inside look at IDEO.

How does the process of designing a better product work? To show you, Nightline went to Palo Alto, CA to the designers at IDEO, and gave them the toughest problem we could think of. Take something old and familiar like the shopping cart and completely redesign it in just five days.

IDEO’s unique brand of brainstorming is called “Deep Dive,” a sort of total immersion into the problem at hand. It’s one company’s secret weapon for innovation.

There is a great quote in video 2 that I took away with me. “Enlightened trial and error succeeds over the plans of the lone genius.” This was a reaction to the question about why a team vote on brainstorming trumps a boss’s opinion. There’s also the adage, “Fail Often To Succeed Sooner” that’s often referenced at IDEO, regarding their prototyping process. It’s great to see the process of ideation, refinement, organization and focusing, and prototyping in this video.

Wireframe Icons, Royalty Free, EPS and PNG

Based on demand to use the wireframe icons on web sites, and to use them in Adobe Illustrator and Visio, I’ve created EPS and PNG versions that include a Royalty Free license agreement. You may use them in your UX documents, but the license also permits you to use them in web sites.

There are restrictions for use on commercial products or commercial applications that offer products
or services for sale or for fee-based usage, however. For details on the license and prohibited uses, please see the Royalty Free License Agreement.

Concept Maps

Hugh Dubberly of ddo does some nice concept maps, poster-sized infographics to model ideas. Their description:

We create concept maps, a type of model, to explore and learn about complex information spaces. By showing everything—the forest and the trees—in a single view, concept maps help people create mental models and clarify thoughts. We create concept maps to share understanding—with our clients, peers, and others interested in the subjects.

Their gallery of downloadable PDF posters include the creative process, play, innovation, and much more.

Designing For Sign Up

Joshua Porter’s “Designing for Sign Up” presentation from Webstock, 2009, does a great job of focusing the task of sign up on user motivation and anxiety, and thinking through scenarios that help remove barriers to entry. As he says, the form itself is the least of your concerns. Porter describes the entire experience leading up to the call to action, providing excellent examples that ease users into sign up.

Dan Klyn interview with Richard Saul Wurman

IA instructor and author of the forthcoming book "Now That I See It" interviewed Richard Saul Wurman to discuss architecture and design, IA roots in library and information work, and the work of making the complex clear.

One thing that I latched onto is Wurman's contention that his success working with the design of information systems and structures comes as a result of acknowledging his ignorance. "Grasp your life as an ignorant person," he says. Most of us, in our arrogance are unwilling to do that. He also notes that the importance of doing this was selfishly motivated by his desire to explore and find patterns that help with this need for making things clear, but it starts with acknowledging this knowledge gap.

This idea resonates with me largely because that's how I feel approaching new projects every time, and that's why this blog exists--Konigi means "to make known"--to find what others have shared, understand them, and share that knowledge. Secondly, it seems similar to what Paula Scher discusses in her TED talk about ignorance--that the ignorance of the new is what has led her to her most innovative moments. There's something powerful in that idea shared by these exemplars of design.

Check out Klyn's blog for the full interview.

Is Information Architecture Dying?

Anthony Viviano at Organic asks if Information Architecture is dead, continuing the discussions about the inclusiveness and expanding scope of IA vis-a-vis UX, and hopping on the question about interaction design being a dead end job. Clearly, he doesn’t think the practice and craft of IA is dead, just as the craft of Interaction Design is clearly alive. But the role is changing, and while the navel gazing gets resoundingly loud around defining things, the definition of the shifting roles and responsibilities in the field is meaningful.

User Experience Sketches Flickr Group

New UX sketch group on Flickr.

This group is a collection of user experience sketches from a variety of designers solving a various problems from all around the world.

A sketch is
1. Unpreciousness : Sketches are not precious and can destroyed to make room for more ideas.
2. Quick : Sketches don’t take days to make. They are fast as we are fast.
3. Useful : UX sketches lead to solutions. While doodling is immense fun for the purposed to ux sketching we are going to collection sketches that are means to an end.

Sketches can include
- Paper sketches
- Software sketches
- Form sketches
- Electronic sketches
- Video Sketches

The Value of Paper Prototyping

Christian Watson discusses how he uses paper prototypes, showing a photo of a recent project he worked on.

Rather than sketch the whole page on a sheet of paper, I prefer to draw out the various components of the page, cut them out, and Blu-Tack them to the paper. This makes it easy to change different elements, switch them around, etc, without having to redraw the whole page each time.

Sketching out and adding individual components in this way enabled me to quickly come up with a general template layout. I then went back to particular features about which I had more concrete ideas and drew them out in more detail.

Another really helpful feature of paper prototypes — as long as you have them visibly attached to your wall — is that you get to look at them every day. I found this to be invaluable for letting the wireframe ‘sink in’ so that I could view it and review it multiple times a day and make sure that I was happy with it.

Can’t agree more about the benefit of having them taped up to the walls too look at every day. I do this with everything and it helps to see things out of the corner of my eye, or from a distance with some regularity. It’s a way of “living with” ideas, in order to assess their usefulness over time.

While I was reading this, I ended up searching for photos of my own paper prototypes and found this photo I took of a paper prototype I worked on a few years ago. I remember also enjoying the act of taping vellum modules to pages and moving them around with teams and test participants. I think it also feels more fun and participative working with disposable ideas that way.