Karen Holtzblatt and Hugh Beyer present one course at CHI 2013.
20 years is a long time in the world of technology. When Karen started her initial work in Human-Computer Interaction, the interaction we were talking about was English-language command lines for the EVE editor at Digital Equipment Corporation. Most software at the time crunched numbers, filled in forms, or processed commands. EVE was revolutionary because you [...]
I’ve attended two conferences in the last three weeks—Jared Spool’s UX Immersions conference, and CHI 2012, the primary computer-human interaction conference. UX Immersions was the smaller conference, focusing this year on the Agile/UX interface and on design for mobile devices. It was a great group of very focused people and, as it was run by Jared’s [...]
I’m pleased to announce my article on “What Makes Things Cool?” has just been published in the November issue of Interactions. See the front cover of your copy of Interactions or buy a copy of the PDF here. Any time that a new platform emerges, it calls for new design principles and techniques to truly [...]
Products are produced by using a process – the way people organize themselves to get things done. Whether it is a formal process with a name or just the habits of working that get built up in a culture, nothing is produced without some kind of “way” of doing things. Companies are always looking for [...]
Come see our new site at www.innovationincool.com! When Apple came out with the iPhone in 2007 it was a game-changing product. Everybody was talking about it, even those not flocking to AT&T. People at parties gathered around the phone to watch the pinch, the swivel, the pictures, and the games. The technology industry, including our [...]
InContext presents 3 sessions at CHI this year
Making compelling products and applications
Making compelling products and applications
Analyzing and understanding interaction design
The sad news about product design is that it requires people to make and ship products. Products, systems, cars, medical devices, games, even apps—all require the work of many coordinating people. First, we have the development team; then add in marketing, product management, and testing; top with user-centered design roles: user interface, user research, user [...]
Karen is the visionary behind InContext’s unique customer-centered design approach, Contextual Design. Karen’s combination of technological and psychological expertise provides the creative framework for driving the development, innovative designs, and design processes. Recognized as a leader in the design community, Karen has pioneered transformative ideas and design approaches throughout her career. Karen is the inventor [...]
Do you ever get “the clutch”? You know what I mean—that feeling in your chest that THIS feature MUST be shipped or the product will FAIL. When a team member can’t let go of their idea no matter what the data from the customer, the reality of shipping, or the difficulty of the code, we [...]
I walked out of Verizon yesterday having just ordered the Motorola Droid X. I was pretty excited to try it out, having waited for Verizon to get something I wanted. “You know what was conspicuously missing?” my husband said as we walked out of the store. “Nokia!” we said together. Where is Nokia in the [...]
The really impressive thing in this year’s CHI is that our community has recognized the value of field data for the purpose of design. Understanding the details of people’s lives has become mainstream, central to the design process. This is real industry change and we are celebrating it.
Innovation is not just, or even primarily, about technology leaps — or user experience leaps — or new category definitions. Innovation is about corporate identity and corporate skill. Go scan the business bookshelves. Innovation that produces major profit is the holy grail of business. Everyone wants to know the secret sauce. And now everyone wants [...]
Don’t ask your customer what they need or want or like. People focus on doing their life not watching their life. So if you ask them outright, people can’t tell you what they do or what they want. It’s not part of their consciousness to understand their own life activities. We can offer you a better way.
Every methodology invented for designing the right thing starts with gathering requirements. Requirements gathering is the single most difficult part of the process because if you don’t get it right, you don’t build the right thing—or the most desirable thing. Here’s why these popular methods fail, and what you can do instead to find out who your customers really are and what they need.
Energy utilities are ready to cross over the boundary of the energy meter and into your life. At Connectivity Week I had the pleasure of participating on one of their keynote panels. Here are some thoughts about the state of our utilities and how things are evolving.
Reading after a show or movie is not just “being in the know” or “being part of a community”. It’s not just about having something to talk to others about. It’s also about our reluctance to let go of something that is part of our lives no longer—it is about re-experiencing as a human driver.
This hands-on guide for people who need practical direction on how to use the Contextual Design process and adapt it to tactical projects with tight timelines has now been translated into Korean. A Japanese version will be published in January 2010. These two translations are in response to the high interest in Contextual Design shown [...]
PDMA is the Product Development and Management Association. At this year’s international conference, I’ll be appearing with several industry thought leaders in a workshop called Finding the Collective Brilliance through Product Design and Integration. October 31-November 4, 2009. Anaheim, California, USA.
Social networking has created opportunity to enhance life—we can keep and find people we lost and want to weave back in, or catch up, or network for jobs. But have we lost the natural way we manage our social relationships?
What does it mean to gather requirements with green consciousness? I am not a crunchy tree-hugging green environmentalist. But today environmental consciousness is reaching the mainstream. The average consumer, like me, is asking questions about what it all means for daily life. I was talking to a rabid green friend of mine. “If we could [...]
In these difficult economic times, customer loyalty is critical. How can you provide your users with delight and make them loyal to your brand?
Observations of the numerous vendors encountered in Mazatlan, Mexico Tom Cruise is walking quickly through the mall of the future. The 3D avatars on the walls of the shops and signs are saying hello to him personally; they are modeling wares just for him; and they are talking about bargains. It is loud, it is [...]
What’s the impact to your bottom line when your customers switch loyalty to your competitor? What if you could understand why and be able to prevent it? My car story After 13 years and 180,000 miles my Toyota Celica convertible was starting to feel unreliable. I didn’t like driving it in the snow, it felt [...]
I am geographically dyslexic. I go up the elevator into my hotel room—and when I leave I invariably turn the wrong way to go back to the elevator. In building 10 at Microsoft I needed a guide to get me to and from the restroom after being lost multiple times! Then there was the time [...]
“Mommy, I’m NOT sitting on the toilet! It’s going to get me! NO, I’m not going to!” “It’s okay, Amanda. Look, I’ll go in with you and cover the laser beam so it won’t flush,” says Mom to her 4-year old. Automation is supposed to make life easier. Or automation is supposed to help fulfill [...]
Challenges and Solutions Why it matters: Organizations are challenged today to shorten and simplify processes but also want to get customer data into the development cycle. This is especially the case when development follows Agile development methods such as Extreme Programming (XP). When development experiences a tight timeframe or teams react to heavy weight front-end [...]
Techniques that Work for Mobile Platforms CHI 2004 SIG Why it matters: The ongoing transformation of the role of mobile devices is leading to more and more discussion about the best way to include the customer in the design process Do the traditional methods work, or do they need to be transformed as the technology [...]
Why it matters: Technology has a direct impact on relationships Designers can have a positive impact on relationships and intimacy if they design for it User data should be collected to ensure that we don’t accidentally disrupt the interpersonal My doctoral dissertation was on “Women’s Friendship and the Psychological Sense of Community” (This was also [...]
Get the right data: Different types of “talk” provide different types of data Saying “we talk to our customers” does not necessarily mean you are doing customer-centered design To get data that is truly useful for product design, you need to use a data collection method created for that purpose. Use these guidelines for gathering [...]
Why it matters: Personas are currently receiving a lot of attention; is the attention warranted? How can contextual data be used to create personas? How would personas fit with the Contextual Design process? Recently I participated in a conference panel discussing and comparing methodologies. As a group we represented a variety of user-centered methods like [...]
Why it matters: Meetings are suffering from an image problem You don’t want to waste valuable time with unproductive meetings You do want to lead productive meetings that yield real results When meeting invitations arrive, do you and your co-workers immediately groan in protest at the impingement on your productive time? Worse, do people start [...]
Points to consider : Field data collection is becoming more common in many industries Field data can be used for design, innovation, marketing, and product placement Many field methods rely on set questions and do not collect design data Design data comes from careful observation and partnering with the customer A recent New York Times [...]
Points to consider: There are only so many ways to do work, and they’re revealed within a few interviews Frequency data doesn’t show what matters in the work practice Contextual data uncovers tacit details about work practice, including underlying goals and intents; surveys show generalities and frequencies Contextual data doesn’t show market trends, it models [...]