Far too often, perceptions of what is cool and useful drive interactive design trends. We use our gut instinct and intuitive sense to identify design solutions. But whenever I think about this, I remember what a college professor taught my class about a complex concept in aerodynamics. As a few of us nodded our understanding, he proclaimed, “If you think that makes sense, you are wrong. It’s counterintuitive, so just make sure to memorize it the right way.”
Our intuition is not always correct, and not all systems bear internal analysis. User experience and interaction design are structured, evidence-based practices. We should not just trust our gut, but always seek to understand how things really work with real people—and why. Read More
Part One of this series, Applied Empathy, introduced a design framework for meeting human needs and desires and defined five States of Being that represent the different degrees to which products and experiences affect and motivate people in their lives. Part Two explained the three Dimensions of Human Behavior and outlined a variety of specific needs and desires for which we can intentionally design products. This third and final part of the series shows how this design framework maps to a variety of well-known products and experiences and illustrates how this framework can be put to practical use.
Mapping the Framework to Digital Products
It is no accident that user experience and experience design originated with and matured from software development: It is only through truly digital products and experiences that we can satisfy all three Dimensions of Human Behavior, both deeply and simultaneously. Software has a unique ability to incorporate both analytical and emotional hooks into virtually any physical activity, in a way that is typically difficult—and often even impossible—in the analog world. It helps account for both the tremendous financial success and the cultural growth of computing lifestyles since the mainstreaming of the personal computer, which was greatly accelerated by the invention and subsequent ubiquity of the Internet. Digital technology has unlocked the potential of this intriguing triangulation of the Analytical, Emotional, and Physical—in the human condition, never before satisfied so fully—which explains why the most celebrated and successful products in recent years tend to skew toward the digital realm. For this reason, I will use two popular digital products as mapping examples. Read More
I recently attended the Eurogamer Expo, which gave me a chance to look at what was new in the world of gaming and play with some of the Cool New Stuff coming out over the next year. In addition to playing with the Xbox One—which was disappointing—and the PlayStation 4—which, though interesting, was underwhelming—I also had an opportunity to use the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset. I like new, cool hardware. Occasionally, I’m disappointed—Leap Motion, I’m looking at you—but every so often I find a gem, and the Rift is one such.
A few gaming stands at the show featured the Oculus Rift headset. Most of these were high-definition headsets. But the queues were around an hour long, and while I am keen and dedicated, there were better things to do with my time. So I tried a standard-definition headset that a university was demoing. Read More