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

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.

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.

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.