How I Learned to Love Superlatives

When people say things like “it changed my life” or “it was the greatest experience ever,” I tend to distrust them. I guess I don’t trust superlatives in general; they seem like placeholder descriptions that preface what people are really trying to say. (more…)

Part Today, Sum Tomorrow

I’ve been invited to participate in the new tradition of CanUX 2006, the Canadian User Experience workshop. Not only is it about good things like user experience and interactivity, but it takes place in Banff, Canada, one of the lovliest places on the continent.I’ll be exploring the new role of editors and readers in a presentation, “Part Today, Sum Tomorrow” and just tickled about digging into the ideas with a small group. (more…)

Case Study: Boxes and Arrows

Boxes and Arrows is devoted to the practice, innovation, and discussion of design; including graphic design, interaction design, information architecture and even business design. Since 2001, it’s been a peer-written journal promoting contributors who want to provoke thinking, push limits, and teach a few things along the way.

Designing for Interaction: An Interview with Dan Saffer

If you’ve been delighted by your iPod, intrigued with your TiVo, or frustrated by your mobile phone, then you have encountered the work of an interaction designer. And an interaction designer, most likely, has crafted the experience we have with many of the products and services we encounter every day. Dan Saffer, a senior interaction designer at Adaptive Path, leads us through an exploration of this emerging discipline. Saffer’s book, Designing for Interaction, is a much-needed primer on the topic, helping us understand the design of interactive systems. (more…)

Remaking the Modern Classic

In the heart of the meatpacking district in New York City, a simple glass storefront stands against its unheroic warehouse neighbors—the first in a series of juxtapositions from Vitra, the internationally renowned furniture manufacturer. Walk into the store and you see the second big juxtaposition: Vitra’s new HeadLine chair, the company’s fresh entrant into the office chair market, sitting side by side with a plywood Eames chair, one of the first designed by Charles and Ray Eames in the 1950s. The contrast defies expectations. The world has clearly changed a lot since the Eames classic; Vitra, however, seems to stay the same. (more…)

The Gentrification of the Web

After handling the counter of Josie’s Java on Court Street in Brooklyn for two decades, Josie D’Esposito passed away in May 2004. (1) A few weeks of confusion followed, during which neighbors’ whispers (trying to predict the fate of the familiar counter) were quickly followed by the close of the coffee shop. More whispers were followed by a notably cool, yet out-of-place, Thai restaurant’s move in. The gentrification of the neighborhood had officially begun. (more…)

Designing for Everyware: An Interview with Adam Greenfield

Ubiquitous computing—computing systems that are everywhere around us—are becoming increasingly part of our everyday. Smart appliances and interfaces that respond to gesture and voice are no longer just reserved for films like Minority Report; they are our new reality. Designing for systems we cannot see or anticipate suggests some significant shifts. (more…)

AIGA Internet Kit

The idea for the AIGA Internet Kit began well before I arrived at an AIGA Leadership Retreat in 2003. The premise was to make available a tool, most likely a content management system, that would allow chapters to set up a website quickly and easily. “Easy” was critical because chapters are run by volunteers who have limited time to learn (and teach) new systems. (more…)

The Moment of Zen: The Daily Show and Product Development

Watching The Daily Show as part of the studio audience is like being part of a highly efficient—and undeniably enjoyable—product development team. Mondays through Thursdays, the show begins with an extensive “warm up” where Jon Stewart (the show’s host) and the “warm-up guy” get to know the audience, and vice versa. By the time the taping starts about an hour later, not only has the temperature of the audience been taken (and raised), but the audience feels they have participated in the process and, on good days, helped contribute to the show’s content. How might this form of participation affect people’s affinity toward a product? (more…)

Findability is Ambient: Interview with Peter Morville

Intelligence is moving to the edges, flowing through wireless devices, empowering individuals and distributed teams. Ideas spread like wildfire, and information is in the air, literally. And yet with this wealth of instantly accessible information, we still experience disorientation. We still wander off the map. (more…)