Monday, December 27, 2010

DD+D to Host the Chicago Service Jam 2011


DD+D is very excited to host the Chicago Service Jam as part of the Global Service Jam 2011!

For more info on the Global Service Jam here http://www.globalservicejam.org/
Chicago Jam www.chicagoservicejam.org

A Service Jam is a cooperative gathering of people interested in Service Design (defined below). It is there to encourage experimentation and innovation – participants come together without a team, without a service idea and are given a subject or theme to incorporate in their new-to-the-world service while meeting new people.


The Global Service Jam is a community of Jams taking place internationally over the same weekend. All the Jams share the same starting themes, and publish their local results over a central platform. The theme and constraints for participants in the Global Service Jam will be announced at 5:00PM (local time) on the Friday, and results must be shared by 3:00pm (local time) on the Sunday. In a spirit of experimentation, co-operation and friendly competition, teams will have 48 hours to develop brand new services inspired by a shared theme.

Dates- March 11th. -March 13th. 2011

Location - Conifer Research

Why Participate?
As a participant in the Chicago Service Jam, you will work through a whole design process in one weekend. Whether you are experienced or completely new to the field, you will learn more about service design.


Furthermore:
You will pick up a load of new ideas and work practices. (e.g., personas, scenarios, bodystorming, sketches, paper prototypes, diagrams, and theatre techniques.)

You work in the Non-profit/community based sector and what to explore "Design Thinking".

You will meet a lot of cool people at all levels of experience.
(service designers, UXers', interaction designers, graphic artists, non-profit professionals, customer experience folks, students, professors, businesspeople, anthropologists, customers, hackers and actors)

Your work and ideas will be reviewed by your peers, and presented to the world, where they can be seen by potential customers or employers.

You will design something that may become a real business.

You might get rich and famous.

You will certainly have a blast.

At a Design Jam, the process is just as important as the outcome. How did you get this idea? How did you approach the problem? To allow teams to compare their processes and bounce ideas off each other. Articulating their ideas and getting questions from the audience helps teams to focus, and seeing how other teams have taken completely different steps gets everybody reflecting on the many different ways to explore a problem.

What is Service Design?
Service design is about designing customer centred business models for the service industry. Designing around customer needs, touch points, to create better customer experiences, which in turn differentiate service companies from their competitors to either capture market share or increase profitability, is where the designer focus rather than management consultancy focus comes in.

Service designers may spend a number of hours literally going out and meeting potential customers, using video and other tools to try and understand and capture their current experience, coming back and analysing that for insights by mapping out ideal journeys and experiences through a service, looking at specific opportunities to improve interactions with a company, prototyping new service concepts and then supporting a roll out. Changing a service model may have a number of implications on the organisational structure that need to be addressed, operational changes that need to be implemented, not to mention building a business case for it.

We're looking for Participants, Mentors, Volunteers, and Sponsors for the event.

Registration website www.chicagoservicejam.org

In the meantime, please direct questions to byron@dramaticdiversity.com









Sunday, November 28, 2010

Don Norman's Why Design Education Must Change

Don Norman has written an amazing article titled Why Design Education Must Change for Core 77 design magazine and resource.

Here is an excerpt :

"Fresh eyes can indeed produce insightful results, but the eyes must also be educated and knowledgeable. Designers often lack the requisite understanding. Design schools do not train students about these complex issues, about the interlocking complexities of human and social behavior, about the behavioral sciences, technology, and business. Many designers are woefully ignorant of the deep complexity of social and organizational problems. I have seen designers propose simple solutions to complex problems in education, poverty, crime, and the environment. Sometimes these suggestions win design prizes (the uninformed judge the uninformed). Complex problems are complex systems: there is no simple solution. It is not enough to mean well: one must also have knowledge."

I believe working with nonprofits (pro-bono) is an excellent way for designers to gain some of the missing knowledge Don speaks of. Designers working with community based organisations. Organisations staffed with people who've studied social science, and the behavioral sciences. And who use those skills daily to serve their communities. This exposure, working on multi-disciplinary teams is critical for designers seeking to fill the gap in knowledge.

DD+D's Design Empathy, Design for America, Project H and others' offer opportunities for design professionals and students to make the change in thier education that Don speaks of.

Please find Don's complete article here.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Insight Translation with Marty Gage @ IIT

Great video on a tricky subject.

Marty Gage at IIT Design Research Conference 2008 from IIT Institute of Design on Vimeo.


Insight Translation: bridging the gap between research and design.
If design is problem solving, then design research is problem seeking.

Expressing these design problems or opportunities in a meaningful and inspirational manner can be the difference between great design thinking and wasted time and money.
Insight translation provides a clear transition from customer meaning to product attributes – focusing team creativity for market success.

This presentation will demonstrate examples of insight translation and provide 4 principles for doing it:

-Meaningful: clearly linked to the research data
-Actionable: the research approach is designed to deliver data that affords translation
-Aspirational: expresses what people wish
-Inspirational: inspires companies to pursue great design and ignites designer intuition


Marty's Bio :For two decades Marty Gage has pioneered participatory design techniques in order to liberate the unspoken desires of user populations. He has established that user involvement at the earliest stages of the development process provides unprecedented insight for designers, engineers and marketers. Using multi-sensory toolkits along with state-of-the-art ethnography, he provides creative fuel for design firms, engineering firms, and corporate design teams internationally.

His intimate experience with creative teams and his understanding of the design process allow him to turn research findings into simple, actionable design criteria and opportunities. His body of work crosses industrial and consumer product categories encompassing subject matter as diverse as weapons systems and baby diapers.

Marty recently merged his design research firm, Rocket Surgery, with lextant Corporation, a user experience consultancy. This merger is the logical extension of a long collaboration with Chris Rockwell, founder and president of lextant. Marty heads the Design Research Practice at lextant.Marty founded Rocket Surgery in 2002, after having co-founded the research firm SonicRim in 1999. Previously he practiced as a member of the research team at Fitch Inc. for 10 years, where he helped to establish Fitch as a leader in design research.

Marty has won numerous design awards and has published widely on design research, including a chapter on participatory design research methods in the book, Human Factors Testing and Evaluation Methods. He has served on the Business Week-sponsored Industrial Design Excellence Awards jury, evaluating the research entries in particular, and is frequently asked to speak at design conferences and schools such as The College of Creative Studies, The Cranbrook Academy, The Ohio State University and The Savannah College of Art & Design. Marty holds his BA in Psychology from Hendrix College and earned his MS in Human Factors Psychology from Wright State University.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Design Empathy at IxDA

Byron is organizing the November 17th IxDA meeting to showcase design projects developed for Chicago’s non-profit community. Find out who’s involved and sign up to attend at http://www.ixdachicago.org/events/design-empathy-using-design


Local non-profit design organizations including iamEPIC, Design for America, Project H Design will share recent projects and discuss the opportunity for collaborations with IxDA Chicago members.


Come and find out how you can help them help the community.




Project H uses the power of the design process to catalyze communities and public education from within. We are a team of designers and builders engaging in our own backyards to improve the quality of life for all. Our six-tenet design process (There is no design without (critical) action; We design WITH, not FOR; We document, share and measure; We start locally and scale globally, We design systems, not stuff and, We build) results in simple and effective design solutions that empower communities and build collective creative capital. We believe design can change the world.Every project H team partners with an organization in the community to grow a project. The Chicago team has partnered with Broadway Youth Center, a homeless and at risk youth services group located in Lakeview. We are in the process of researching BYC's processes in order to grow a mutually beneficial project for the staff, youth and the community at large. http://projecthdesign.org/



EPIC helps creative professionals and nonprofits join forces, making a bigger impact on the world than either could alone. In regular intervals, we are pairing select teams of “creatives” from the ad/design industries with select nonprofit clients dedicated to education, children and families. During what we call an “8-week creative rally,” each team creates plans, programs, and materials—on a pro-bono basis—that their nonprofit client needs to positively affect the lives of those they serve. http://iamepic.org/




Design for America (DfA), an award-winning national design initiative using design to create local and social impact. Design for America’s vision is to develop a national network of interdisciplinary university students and community collaborators confident in their ability to bring about social impact through design.
Design Empathy is a new venture of DD+D, that will provide an opportunity for members of the IxDA community to get involved with communityinitiatives in the Chicago area. The venture will be a clearing house, the middle man,theconnection between those that want to get involved and those that are in want ofdesign services.Event is free and open to the public with RSVP. Attendees will need to have a photo ID to show at security on the 3rd floor when they enter.









Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Non-profits can learn from Coke

“We think, if people need something we don’t have to make them want that something.”

Melinda Gates makes a intriguing case for nonprofits taking a cue from corporations such as Coca-Cola, whose plugged-in, global network of marketers and distributors ensures that every remote village wants — and can get — a Coke.
This is the work of the Design + Non-profits collaborations. We have the skills we need to make a difference. Organizations like DfA and, Epic, Project H, and D4G are all doing this work. And LocalD will soon be there to help these collaborations happen.

More soon on LocalD

Take a look and let me know what you think please.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Service Designers - What's their job?


Here is Dianna Miller's reply to a question regarding finding employment in the Service Design field that I found helpful. What do you think?
(This is from the
IxDA discussion board.)

I can answer from the perspective of how I teach service design here at SCAD. First, a couple things to recognize if you're looking for a job in service design in the US:

1. Service Design as a discipline under that name is currently more widely practiced and understood in Europe (especially in the UK) than it is in the US. There are a few contributing factors to this, but suffice to say, this is where many jobs under that title are currently located (other countries are Australia, India, Brazil, and Korea). This is not an exhaustive list.

2. Some of what I will describe as service design may, in fact, be practiced by people on this forum who have job titles other than Service Designer. This depends largely on the nature of the design problem/space they are working in. You may find a job where it would make sense to use service design methods as an interaction or user experience designer.

3. Service design work in traditional service sectors such as hospitality and transportation likely include human-human, as well as computer-human,
touchpoints. These sectors already have positions for designers working on brand-as- service experience and they are probably not called service designers. Software-as-a-Service jobs are much more likely to be filled by interaction designers who may adopt and adapt some service design tools (see #2). Healthcare and public services are important sectors where I believe we're more likely to see jobs emerging for service designers who work with a methodology that is distinct from UCD although certainly related to it (see below).

I'll answer the questions in reverse:
What types of projects could a Service Designer participate in?
I'm not sure we *design* services; rather, we design *for* services. Service happens when one person (or group) exchanges value with another person (or group). This exchange (called a
touchpoint in SD parlance) can happen online, on the phone, in person...doesn't matter. It can be a provider-consumer, employee-employee, provider-partner exchange, etc. What is important here is that it is between people, even when intermediated by a device. Because it's between people, we can't always predict what the exchange will be and certainly can't control the exchange as designers.
What we *can* do is design the elements, resources,
affordances, interventions (call them what you will) that both providers and consumers use to create this value exchange. Service Designers design the facilitating aspects of a service: the service medium, platform, stage (again, call it what you will).

Service designers refer to these elements that we design (or design for) as the five
Ps of service design: people, props (a.k.a. product), place, process, partnerships.
Therefore, a group working on the design for a service might produce:
PEOPLE: service scripts, protocols for employees; feedback channels for customers

PROPS: product design or graphic design of the artifacts used by the service

PLACE: architecture or interior design of the service's location(s); interaction design within the virtual environment

PROCESS:
workflows (rituals) and workflow affordances between customer and employee, employee and employee, etc.

PARTNERSHIPS: contracts, proposed relationships between partners to improve the value proposition of the service

Many of these elements are outside the range of any one designer's
skillset. Which brings us to...
How do you define a service designer in terms of skills and qualifications?

1. service designers are not the subject matter experts of what they are designing. Therefore their value as designers lies in their ability to bring the benefits of their design process to the people who are the experts: these people are the service providers, partners, and service consumers. Service designers therefore must be good design facilitators: they listen, observe well and can mirror,
reframe others' ideas and perceptions.

2. The tools of design facilitation are the same as design: it's all about modeling. Service designers have skills in innovative modeling (visual,
sensorial representations: 2D, 3D, 4D + enactment) that we use to help Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and consumers envision and concretize their own ideas, as well as give feedback on the ideas of others. We use concept modeling to experience prototyping to engage service users directly in the design process. It's this ability to facilitate group ideation and viscerally SHOW (not tell about) the impact of the service that aids in holistically managing the complexity of it.

Side note: Since service design is about the relationships between actors in a service system and the cross functional flow of activity between these actors, you'll note that service designers talk a lot about two specific models: the service ecology (a.k.a actor map) and the blueprint (a.k.a in business as a cross-functional flowchart with "
swimlanes").

3. Another important aspect is that service designers facilitate this design process among the
SMEs by engaging them in co-design activities. In other words, we do user research, but we don't stop there: we actively engage users of the service system in the design process. It's paramount to engage service users in the design process because we are designing for a system, a platform, and NOT, as an end, for targeted users interacting with the designed thing. We solicit and engage the ideas of various stakeholders to understand how they want to interact with each other. We test the elements of the service with them through experience prototyping so we can see how they, as individuals, complete the experience. In this way, we have the chance to see what kinds behaviors/interactions will emerge.
In other words, service designers are prototyping a future to see how people will create value *with each other* once these designed contexts and resources are implemented and available to them.

I'd like to make one point on the subtle, but important distinction between User-Centered Design methodology and a systems-focused methodology like Service Design. Research and design in the UCD process focuses on representative users for whom we design tools, experiences. Service Design is also user-centric and a service project may certainly require UCD tools and methods such as user modeling, but when we're researching for the service system itself, we're looking at the unique perspectives and activities of the various stakeholders in the system to understand the synergies, breakdowns,
workflows, influences between them. The resulting design heuristics are then likely to be for the platform, even though the design is ultimately for the benefit of the users.








Monday, October 4, 2010

Retail and DD+D at RTC

Byron lead DD+D's “Embodied Dramatic Personas and Realistic Scenarios” workshop for the retail planning, product design, communication design, and marketing teams at RTC Friday.

RTC is a global company that helps marketers connect with consumers in the retail medium.
For more info on RTC http://www.rtc.com/rtcind.ns


Here are some comments from the
RTC participant Teams:

"I feel it helps to stretch our
boundaries when examining shoppers and how they shop and behave."

" Seems really helpful in idea generation, sharing insights, and presenting to clients."

"The presentation was engaging and provided me with some new ideas for incorporating theatre methods into the design process."

" The technique can be used for internal problem solving and process improvement and workshops with clients."

"The technique would help to round out and ask the "what
if''s" once shopper data was initially received."

"As a designer/writer I need to become other people to tease out the best way to
communicate information to "me". What would effect "me" and cause "me" to act?"

"Very Effective. I didn't see the connection (theatre+design) before coming today, but when
Byron broke it down in terms of trust, improvisation, creativity etc.. , I immediately saw the connection."

"I saw this being a great way to run a participatory design workshop during the idea/concept stage. I
especially like the "forum"theatre approach."

"This approach might be interesting in presenting research to designers for hand offs or to clients during research
storming identifying their needs and showing them their own clients."

Thanks Ann Zimmerman and
RTC!








Friday, September 24, 2010

IxDA announces launch LocalD- Service + Design


Here is a video from our September Interaction Design Association (IxDA) meeting where we announced our launch of IxDA's LocalD (Service & Design Placement) and our collaboration with Northwestern's Design for America program.

Jeff Leitner and Jason Ulaszek also presented "UX for Good".
An interactive workshop where we worked on solutions for
Streetwise Magazine.
A magazine sold by Chicago's homeless community.
For more info on UX for Good please see http://www.ux4good.com/

Jeff is dean of The Insight Labs, a pro-bono program that enlists top business and brand strategists to help non-profits and government agencies. The labs themselves are raucous, 3-hour meetings and, beginning in October, digital events to broaden and deepen the best thinking from the live sessions. Jeff is also a partner in Cause Strategy, a senior strategist with Manifest Digital and founder of 10,000 Blankets. He is a former lobbyist, political operative, newspaper reporter, kibbutznik and social worker. Likes: systems thinkers. Dislikes: timidity, olives.

Publicly,
Jason is a leader in the user experience practice at Manifest Digital, adjunct faculty at DePaul University and consultant to start-ups and small businesses. Privately, he's a crazed evangelist for interaction design - accosting strangers with sermons on the value of user-centered design in solving business and social problems. He is a former shoe salesman, animal clinic handyman and telemarketer. Likes: great beer, impossible challenges. Dislikes: negativity, olives.

Byron is a local leader for IxDA ,was a participant in one of Jeff"s Insight Labs for the Chicago Sinfonietta and was a Boot Camp presenter for DfA'10.

Byron also performed as a Streetwise vendor "Spark" during the "UX for Good" workshop.Sparks are those people that make you shake your head and say “what was that?!”. They inspire others by the work they’re doing through the way they question the norm and illustrate a different, better future. They are the innovators in their field. And, they like to mix it up.













Service Jam "Service as a Solution"



Join us October 10th – 12th, 2010, for an important dialogue on "Service as a Solution."
The
Service Jam is an online event that will engage non-profit organizations, corporations, academic institutions, and government agencies in a discussion on how social innovation can help solve our world’s largest problems.

By engaging prominent leaders, professionals, and passionate individuals, the Jam aims to generate breakthrough ideas that will redefine service and social innovation. Through IBM’s Jam technology, participants can collaborate virtually and have the flexibility to log into the Jam from anywhere in the world at anytime most convenient to them during the three day event.

Featuring special guests:

George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.
Ray Chambers, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria
Harris Wofford, U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania
Michael Nutter, Mayor, City of Philadelphia
Jean Case, CEO, The Case Foundation
Sam Palmisano, President and CEO, IBM
Marc-Philippe Daubresse, Minister for Youth and Solidarities, France


During the Jam, invited Hosts—distinguished leaders in the social sector—will be leading specific discussion forums, as well as conversing live with participants.There will be 8 discussion forums occurring at the same time. Participants are encouraged to join any forum of their choice at any time during the event.

Following the Jam, IBM in collaboration with key partners will produce a white paper summarizing key findings and highlighting creative ideas to share with participants. This document will reveal key trends in social innovation and will serve as a pragmatic guide to help organizations innovate, design and improve service programs.

Join service leaders from around the globe October 10-12 at 10:00 am US Eastern Standard Time, as we discuss the current and future role of Service as a Solution.

To register and for more info please go here.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Design for America Final Design Solutions

Byron and Miaoqi are proud to have been included in this summer’s Design for America (DfA) boot camp at Northwestern University’s/Segal Design. And are invigorated by the final Service Design solutions that DfA Fellows developed for their community-based clients.

We’re not talkin’ brochures and websites, but listening to and designing for people’s actual needs! Please find pics. below from our Bodystorming Boot Camp session for Misericordia Homes one of the community based clients.























Saturday, September 11, 2010

Socialization on the Underground theatre+FILM+design



Jennie Olson, faculty advisor for Northwestern University’s/Segal Design's, Design for America (DfA) used this video as an example of prototyping for a DfA Boot Camp session this summer.

It’s a great example of how personas can “come to life” and their stories. Context of use can be explored using theatre (actors/narration) and film (set) to tell engaing stories.

It's an effective and memorable way of explaining design solutions to teams and stakeholders!



Monday, August 23, 2010

UXmatters features DD+D



Many Thanks to Traci Lepore, who recently joined our team; she featured DD+D in her regular column Dramatic Impact for the UXmatters Newsletter.

Our work with Embodied Dramatic Personas is explored. Our future plans are also highlighted.The article titled, "Personas: Explorations in Developing a Deep and Dimensioned Character"can be found here on this page.







Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Who I am, and who you are



Miaoqi Zhu - DePaul University CDM

Meeting Byron in the elevator for the first time was kind of interesting, especially when he told me his background is acting, and he went to IxDA meeting purely due to the motivation of bringing theater to design. I agree there is definitely something that theater can share with the course of design, but in the meanwhile, as he perhaps knows, I am struggling to understand to what extent design needs qualitative or quantitative study, in other words, which one is better in terms of "measuring" the human experience of interacting with an artifact.


After two years of HCI Design training at Indiana University, I came to DePaul to learn traditional research methodologies in the discipline of Psychology; I took statistics classes and studied experimental design techniques such as factorial designs, quasi-experimental designs, and so forth. Afterward, I compared those with the design research methods learned from IU. I suddenly feel like those differences are not simply the “differences” for me, in fact it brings out a question: what kind of direction I want to go in the future. The “Design-oriented” design and “Engineering-oriented” design are still somehow “disconnected'; basically, the former wants to collect data from the very context in which users interact with the artifact, yet the latter ensures the validity of data, which means a formal experiment should be carefully conducted to exclude bias caused by the "noises."

As I continue the conversations with Byron, I steadily realize that sometimes, you may need to look at a thing as the whole rather than looking into one particular pattern, as everything has multiple aspects, and they are dynamically connected. For instance, when fashion designers try to determine the color theme for jeans, they may also consider the material to be used or the lighting effects under a variety of conditions, even the present ethnographic thinking. By the same token, a real user-centered design is the one that includes most of “individual” aspects and offers the best connection among them; it sounds like finding out I.V. and D.V. and testifying their relationships, but once again, a design study welcomes data from rich contexts instead of rigorously-controlled experiments.

Please do not get me wrong! We still need to use certain methods from
traditional disciplines to examine the outcomes/products. For example, if you are going to get rid of all the physical buttons in the car and replace them with a touch screen based interface. It is highly valuable to conduct an ethnographic study to understand diverse scenarios, explore users’ behavior patterns afterward and construct personas; however, we cannot simply let interaction designers play own magic all the time, at some point, they may resort to scientists/engineers to ask if the solutions are feasible, or meet with usability specialists/statisticians to conduct long term studies to discover whether there are potential safety issues or not, if so, are they caused by the new features? If so, what are they? Perhaps during the first phrase of concept generation, designers should get these people involved.

We all can be the “scientist,” when we talk about certain phenomena that occur in daily life, we usually begin with the assumption, then enlist some argument and draw own conclusion, that is what scientists do every day; we also can design, when we shop for favorite clothes or decorate own rooms, we are our own users, so please enjoy being a designer. In the meanwhile, we are acting consistently, as we have many profiles, and we just act it out to interact with external world, it happens so naturally that we barely realize it. However, I am just wondering what if we combine those three together, who you will become and how that will impact other people and the society, let us find out soon by the help of Byron!

( Miaoqi is a Ph.D. student from DePaul University CDM, his research interest and projects involve Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Personality and Game Enjoyment, User Interface on small screen device and Ethnography for HCI research. He has worked for AOL, Indiana University, and Whirlpool Corporation. )

Friday, August 6, 2010

Critical Mass - Making Personas more Personable

DD+D's workshop, Embodied Dramatic Personas and Realistic Scenarios was featured in an article titled “Making Personas More Personable” in Critical Mass’s Experience Matters.
Please have a look and leave your feedback.


-----------------------------------
Making Personas more Personable


Mo Goltz - Critical Mass Chicago
I recently had the opportunity to attend a seminar with the Insight & Planning team to learn about creating authentic personas. The seminar’s focus was around creating personas that are more like real people rather than the flat, somewhat contrived versions that’s aren’t entirely uncommon. Byron Stewart, an actor and co-owner of Dramatic Diversity/DD+D showed us how we can use techniques from the world of theater to create personas.
This may sound strange, but he had some excellent points that hit a nerve with professionals who have been seeing a troubling trend amidst persona design. Many of us are aware of the theoretical value behind personas, but let me take a minute to illustrate how a robust, well-defined persona can make scenarios come alive.


Let’s take a well-known character from the annals of American Pop culture… Homer Simpson. Imagine him walking from the Quickie Mart to Moe’s Tavern in the town of Springfield. Now imagine him using whatever design you’re working on now. No, seriously, stop reading for a second and imagine it.
The point of this little exercise is that since Homer’s character has been so well developed we can actually see him in our mind’s eye with a strong sense of his perspective on the world. Complete with imperfections and personality quirks that you’ve likely observed in various situations throughout the years, it isn’t so difficult to imagine what he might do using your design. Dare I say it could even be fun and helpful?
Love them or hate them, personas are an established way to put more of the user in the user-centered design process. When utilized properly personas get you out of your own head, designing for the target to make their lives easier and make the experience extraordinary. As humans we are inherently biased, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of making design decisions based on our own preferences, opinions, and proclivities. However, depending on the products or service, the actual users may be nothing like you. Choices that would work for you using your own design could just as likely frustrate and confuse your target audience. This may sound obvious but we all see far too many examples of poor user-experience planning in the products, customer service, marketing and packaging we encounter every day. According to the consulting firm Accenture, “almost 95 percent of electronic goods that are returned are not faulty and 68 percent of customers just that they can’t figure out how to use them!” Just think about any TV remote you’ve ever used.
The question then becomes how to make decisions that will satisfy your USER’s needs while providing an enjoyable experience for them. Sounds easy as pie, right? If a high quality persona is developed as a strong character with a specific point of view, using them in your work is like having a representative of your future user base at your beck and call. The persona helps guide you on your design journey.
As a designer committed to user-centered methods, I have noticed a disturbing trend that was voiced by many Planners and Information Architects in the seminar. More and more personas aren’t evolving beyond an abstract, bulleted list of personality traits, preferences, and other assorted details with an associated mug shot of some random person. These personas-esque creations are veering toward the stereotypical, the hollow and the fabricated. They can’t help us see the world from their point of view because they don’t have a point of view. They aren’t real to us–no more real than the androgynous mannequins at American Apparel, at least. To be a useful tool, a persona should be a character that is real enough for you to conjure up in your imagination, one you can ask yourself what he or she would do in a given situation. The personas that often get created aren’t robust enough to help us out in that department. Here is where theater comes in.
As it turns out, theater has a lot in common with design. (No, not just an affinity for skinny jeans.) The overlap is so obvious that it belies the depth of its utility. In theater there are characters in scenes, and in design there are personas in scenarios. In acting, much time and attention is spent on understanding a character’s motivations, their emotions, their wants and needs. If all falls into place, the audience doesn’t see someone pretending, they see a real person come to life. Even those of us (like me) with no acting background can leverage this thinking by augmenting persona development to bring them alive and make them more meaningful.
What if each member of your team ‘owned’ one persona? S/he would be the explicit advocate before any features are added or removed to the persona. This team member would my spend time determining how the target might FEEL about this, and how s/he would react. If the persona is a fleshed out character that you’ve spent days thinking about–comparing to people you know that are similar to her, discovering commonalities that you share, figuring out what s/he wants or feels—s/he would be much more natural and far from arbitrary. Get everyone on your team to know their personas intimately and then showcase them to others. Your personas can even be used in body storming (The act of combining brainstorming with the physical exploration and ideation) to enact likely behaviors.
Using Theater as part of the design process can take persona development from the prescriptive to the realm of descriptive. Your users are more likely to have amazing experiences interacting with your designs if they are more thoroughly and comprehensively considered at every stage of the design process. One of the best ways to accomplish this lofty goal is to create personas that are real to you, to the full team, and to stakeholders. If you chose to add theater-based methods to your design toolkit, Stewart ensures the user will be at the core of what you create.
To view Critical Mass's Experience Matters on-line zine, please go here.

( Mo is an Information Architect Intern in Critical Mass Chicago office this summer. )
For more info on this workshop and others , please contact Byron at byron@dramaticdiversity.com









Sunday, August 1, 2010

Design for America Boot Camp & DD+D


Byron (DD+D) is preparing to lead two Boot Camp sessions for Design for America’s (DfA) Summer Studio fellows at Northwestern University’s Segal Design Institute.

DfA is an award-winning national design initiative using design to make local and social impact.
For more info on DfA : please click here .

Starting tomorrow the fellows of DfA'10 will work for 6 weeks on designing solutions for two clients, the Academy for Global Citizenship and Misericordia, both of Chicago.

The Clients

The Academy for Global Citizenship is a unique Chicago Public Contract School, located on the Southwest side of Chicago. Their mission is to empower all students to positively impact the community and world beyond. For more info of the Academy http://www.agcchicago.org/

Misericordia offers a community of care that maximizes potential for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities, many of whom are also physically challenged. By serving society’s most vulnerable citizens, Misericordia also serves the families who want the best for them, yet cannot provide it at home. For more info on Misericordia http://www.misericordia.com/

DD+D

Byron will be presenting DD+D's, Embodied Dramatic Personas and Realistic Scenarios, workshop on August 9th followed by a Bodystorming session on August 16th, both during the research phase of the project. The sessions will be conducted at Segal Design Institutes's Ford Design Center, on Northwestern's Evanston campus.

The Fellows

15 Northwestern students both grad and undergraduates from a variety of majors including Anthropology, Industrial, Environmental, and Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, Biology.

The Faculty

14 distinguished Northwestern Segal faculty, design professionals, entrepreneurs, and DD+D members.

The Design Questions,Process,and Solutions

will be coming soon. Please check back to find out how the project is progessing!


For more info on DD+D's workshops please contact Byron at byron@dramatidiversity.com









Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hannah Chung's paper accepted to Design and Emotion Conference


One of our Bodystorming participants - Hannah Chung (Segal Design School, Northwestern University, mechanical engineering '12, Design For America student founder) submitted a paper co-authored by Assistant Professor Liz Gerber, “Emotional-Storyboarding: A Participatory Method for Emotional Designing for Children," that was accepted to the Design and Emotion 2010 conference.

After Chung won the Social Designer competition for her method of developing a storyboard for a children's story, she and Dr. Gerber wrote a case study outlining how to co-design with children to effectively incorporate the emotions to which children most readily relate.

Chung says Professor Gerber “pushed me to explore more about the process that I created, giving me confidence to find the meaning behind it.” Initially, the coloring book was the goal, but the competition was about the design process—not the coloring book itself.

“Through the research and application of the emotional storyboarding process, I realized the importance of using human centered design principles, designing for the users, and incorporating the emotion factor that the users can relate to,” Chung says. “I think these are the keys to deliver a strong story.”

Again, Congratulations! Hannah



DD+D's Dennis will hold Bodystorming sessions in NYC

If you're in New York please don't miss it!
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Innovation Made Physical: Bodystorming with Dennis Schleicher

IxDA NYC is pleased to present two bodystorming workshops with Dennis Schleicher. Bodystorming is a participatory method for demonstrating or developing ideas in a physical setting. Team members will explore ideas and interactions physically, using props such as maps or photos to give a sense of place. Come explore this unique method for bringing innovate ideas to life!

Bodystorming goes beyond brainstorming by giving an idea a physical form and acting it out in different contexts. The process is designed to uncover how the relationships between people, locations and things affect ideas in ways that written scenarios cannot. It enables rapid iteration of ideas and relationships through a dynamic process of acting and evaluating. The process reveals how people interact with services, products and each other on a physical, emotional and intuitive level.

Register Now: http://ixda-nyc-bodystorming.eventbrite.com

WHEN
Saturday, August 7th 2010

WHERE
Workshop 1: 9am - 11am Central Park
Workshop 2: 1pm - 3pm Prospect Park or McCarren Park

PRICE
$15 per workshop
$25 for both workshops
Each workshop is limited to 30 people. Be sure to wear loose clothing for the event.

IMPORTANT!! Particpant slots are limited. So you must have a ticket to attend. Please only RSVP if you know you can attend.

Cancellations: Please email us (nyc.ixda@gmail.com) as soon as you know you cannot use your ticket. We'll release your seat for one of your fellow practitioners and generate good IxD karma for all involved!

ABOUT OUR SPEAKER
Dennis Schleicher is Director, User Experience Architecture at Sears Holdings in Chicago where he builds the teams that build the online brands for Sears Holdings Corporation, mainly Sears.com and Kmart.com. He has worked with American Public University Systems, Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, United States Air Force, Microsoft, Comcast, Dominos, White Castle, Bosch, and Numara.

Dennis uses his background in business and industrial anthropology to design interactive products to support the way people communicate and interact in their everyday and working lives. He is actively involved with the Information Architecture Institute, the ASIST Special Interest Group of Information Architecture, Overlap, and the Interaction Design Association (IxDA).

ABOUT IxDA
IxDA’s mission is to improve the human condition by advancing the discipline of Interaction Design. To do this, we foster a community of people that choose to come together to support this intention. IxDA relies on individual initiative, contribution, sharing and self-organization as the primary means for us to achieve our goals. IxDA comprises over 10,000 members, and many meet at events like this one in over 80 locations worldwide. If you or your friends are based in the suburbs or further from New York, you can find contact information for other local groups on the ixda.org site.

Register Now @
http://ixda-nyc-bodystorming.eventbrite.com , See you there!

Dennis on our Bodystorming session at Sears

For more info. on how you can use Bodystorming please contact byron@dramaticdiversity.com


Thinking like a Storyteller

Cindy Chastain-Thinking Like a Storyteller from Interaction Design Association on Vimeo.

Experience Themes: An Element of Story Applied to Design


Playwrights weave stories around themes. Musicians create thematic concept albums. Even graphic designers envision around themes. So, why not interaction designers?

Designers too often neglect to define a common vision, or coordinating force, behind the scope of what they’re designing, making or building. Without some means of unifying their efforts they can easily end up with a product or service that falls short of its potential for delivering an optimal user experience. One path to holistic coordination is to employ the concept of themes as used by playwrights, fiction writers, and filmmakers. For storytellers, themes are used as a compass, a means of examining every element in the story for its possible implication with regard to theme. For readers, themes offer a cognitive and emotional response to the story that is often much deeper and more memorable than details of plot.

In experience design, themes can be used to:

  • pattern and unify product solutions
  • unifying teams,
  • assisting in the work of defining strategy
  • helping to design for the intangible pleasure, emotion and meaning in experience.

By aiming to capture the value and focus of the experience designers intend to deliver to users, themes guide in the design process and, by extension, strengthen the impact and meaning of that experience.

Drawing on personal experience, narrative theory and examples ranging from interactive products to film, this presentation is a call to action for designers to equip themselves with a deeper understanding of narrative techniques. It focuses on core aspects such as theme, scene-making, and sequencing to illustrate how thinking like a storyteller can make you a better designer. You’ll also learn how this approach can be a powerful basis for holistic design.

Cindy's bio:
Cindy has been exploring ways to engage an audience through storytelling, teaching, writing and design for over twelve years. Just recently she took on the role of Creative Director, Experience Architecture at Rapp, a global, full-service agency based in NYC. She’s led projects for clients ranging from BBC Worldwide to Showtime, Fuse, Madison Square Garden, Coca-Cola and Unilever.Cindy earned an MFA in screenwriting from Columbia University in New York and a BS in Radio, TV, Film from Northwestern University. In addition to moonlighting as a filmmaker and screenwriter, she is in the process of researching a book that explores how the elements of story can be used as a framework for design. She also coordinates UX Bookclub NYC.

DD+D has a NEW workshop, Embodied Dramatic Personas and Realistic Scenarios. This participatory workshop, most recently presented for Critical Mass's (http://www.criticalmass.com/) Insight and Planning team by Byron, helps persona writers to use theatre techniques to develop their character building and storytelling skills. For more info. please contact byron@dramaticdiversity.com

Refrences:

theuxworkshop.tv , C. Palle

IxDA.org , N. Barday



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Byron (DD+D) co-facilitates, The Marshmallow Challenge at the IxDA meeting/summer bash!



Event date: July 22, 2010 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm;

Location:
IDEO Chicago, 626 W Jackson Blvd., Floor 7, Chicago, IL 60661.



Event description: Come reconnect with your design community peers, commiserate over a summer of crazy clients, share stories, celebrate the sunshine, have a cocktail or two.

We will be doing The Marshmallow Challenge (learn more here: http://www.marshmallowchallenge.com/Welcome.html) with prizes and food. Come for a fun evening with fellow designers and design appreciators!



Sponsored by IxDA, IDEO and Design Kitchen!
DD+D is a member of IxDA Chicago.



IDEO - http://www.ideo.com/
IxDA - http://www.ixda.org/


We had eight teams, five people per team, and a lot of fun!
This diverse group of designers, researchers, students, and entrepreneurs had 18 minutes to design the tallest freestanding structure using only spaghetti, string, tape, and ingenuity with a marshmallow on top.

As an entrepreneur, I know the importance of prototyping early, putting that “marshmallow” on top many times before it actually stands freely on a strong foundation. I thought this design exercise would teach the importance of prototyping and would also accomplish some of our IxDA Local Leaders goals.

The Marshmallow Challenge is an activity that required IxDA members to interact in different ways. Often we meet, listen and leave. This was our first attempt at breaking down some of the clicks and getting people meeting and working together on a fun design exercise. Our hope is to eventually introduce the group to community based organizations and their design challenges. IxDA Chicago would take on these design challenges as a way to expose the larger Chicagoland community to design thinking and its possibilities for changing institutions and individuals. We’ve discussed a conference featuring IxDA members as presenters and community based organizations as participants.

This user experience 101 conference would mean exposure to a style of thinking and doing that is much needed by many service based organizations. It’s also a great opportunity for IxDA’ ers to present and use their knowledge for a good cause.

As for our Marshmallow Challenge we didn’t have a winner within the time limit. However, one team was able to complete a freestanding structure minutes after the deadline. We heard explanations/excuses like, “It was gravity” “We started talking and time got away from us” “This can’t be done.”

Teams reported back that they found the Challenge thought provoking, useful and fun.

I suggest this exercise to design and non-design groups interested in team building, design thinking, prototyping , problem-solving and more.

( The Chicago area chapter of the global Interaction Design Association (IxDA) exists to bring together local area designers in all disciplines that overlap with interaction design, whether it be product, digital, space, research, or even business, that strive to create user-centered design solutions. This organization is volunteer-driven and always looking for sponsorship or hosts for upcoming events.If interested, please contact: http://www.chicago-local@ixda.org/ )


Here are some pics from our Challenge at IDEO Chicago...

Aislinn Dewy, Senior Interaction Designer, IDEO and IxDA Local Leader
Byron Stewart, Owner, Design Lead DD+D Co-facilitators of The Marshmallow Challenge