Archive for May, 2010

Designing for Occasions: strategic framework to innovative service design

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I last dinner last night with Greg Prang, an old buddy back from when we were in business anthropology grad school together. He was in town for work.  He is at the Hartman Group working as a business anthropologist.  Nice!

He was telling me about the great work he is doing there on “occasions” and investigating the world of occasions.  Previously I blogged about “need states” and I think occasions are the next step along the path from need states. I see need states as having grown out of the work on shopping ecologies and how e-commerce spaces can fully take advantage of different shopping ecologies. With the megatrend growth in mobile shopping, these ecologies have blended and become co-located with occasions giving us even more blue-ocean opportunities for innovation.

User Experience might find this framework the most interesting/useful:

Instrumental >> Savoring >> Inspirational

Don’t think about products that you are launching. Think about experience design as designing for “occasions.” This framework is a strategic way to think about your customers’ occasions” and developing new products. Look at using this framework as a way to drive innovation especially on service design and mobile devices in which context can change rapidly.


Greg Prang

Strategic Framework for Occasions

Need States

Shopping Ecologies, One example of Pilgrimage

Social Mania: Designing Social Interfaces

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Yesterday I organized a uxSEARS extracurricular-activity, after work for some of our user experience architects, we played “Social Mania: Designing Social Interfaces.” It is basically a pattern library of social rules for building great social experiences.

Players form teams & compete with to develop the best experiences before time runs out. The team that ship products delivering the best experience win.

The Objectives are to:
• Build a social digital product around an object for a specific audience delivered in a specific way.
• Deliver a well rounded product (with features across Identity, Activities, and Relationships) in a defined time frame.
• Work as a team to collaborate and build the best products

We had Pete Wendel, Pete Simon, Mark Geotz, Ariel Rudolph, Victor Pinto, Emil Gentolizo and myself.

We produced 4 products in 1 hour and had a lot of fun. People afterwards told me:
•It breeds innovating thinking & gets your creative juices flowing
• It helps one realize how many different components there can really be and could be considered for any social system
• It was fun and collaborative

Based on the results I think it would an excellent thing to do with any designers working in this space and even with your product management teams.

If you are here in Chicago and are interesting in trying it out, drop me a line. I am always up for teaching others about this very cool game. Don’t worry if you don’t have a Ph.D. or anything in social media or user interface engineering, it is easy to get the hang of it, you just have to be interested in and open to stretching your mind into the social media and social business space.

“Interesting” is the new like

Monday, May 24th, 2010

It’s about what I will like next.
It seems the latest UI pattern is to allow people to “like” something online. When something becomes the fashion I start wondering what’s next. “Interesting” is the next “like.”

“Like” is a “lie” in sheep’s clothing
My reasons are beyond Robert Schoble’s observations that “like” is more of “lie.” Schoble writes about why he doesn’t truthfully “like” the things online that he really “likes,” that he would “rather be seen as someone who eats salad at Pasta Moon than someone who eats a Big Mac at McDonalds.” Over 50 years ago Mason Haire found the same thing with housewifes reluctant to admit they “liked” instant coffee. If he asked them why they didn’t say they bought it, they said ‘I don’t like the flavor.” But he discovered that people’s real reason for not admitting they purchased instant coffee was more truthfully “People will think I am lazy and not a good wife.” Here is the crux of the “lie” in “like.” Though this is insightful, I want to go beyond Schoble and Haire. We are in the midst of a deep cultural trend in our society that is driven by curiosity, toward future “likes”, and that is best summed up as things that are “interesting.”

Nobody has hobbies anymore
People no longer talk about hobbies or do we hear people say “You’ve got to get yourself a hobby.” The 2 most popular hobbies – #1 is reading, #2 is watching TV really don’t give insight into people. But if you know what they are INTERESTED in reading, well that is a different story. A story with tension and drama.

Interesting isn’t a metadata attribute, It’s an alley-oop
Something by itself isn’t interesting. It can’t be measured like a length, width, or color. Interestingness is more than the number of people that “like” something. I like water and I like food. I am interested in cheap Mexican food that is good and doesn’t upset my stomach. More than knowing what my friend likes, if I know what he is interested in, we have something to talk about and to share. Relationships based on affinity, such as liking dogs, are ok, but don’t give much entry point in which I can share something with the other person. If I know that someone is interested in something it tells me that they are curious about it, that they want to know more. That gives me an entry point, that gives me something to possibly share with them. Like doesn’t open the door, it isn’t an “alley-oop” for me to slam dunk a conversation starter with someone. Interesting is the game winning slam dunk.

Interesting is all about the juxtaposition
Things have a tendency to become interesting when you put them next to something else. Michael Leis wrote about juxtaposition and how just putting things next to each other can build interest. He argues that the positioning is that which create curiosity, it is the positioning that we want to make sense out of. We are sense-making animals. It isn’t just about how many people like something. A better way to take “like” to the level of interesting is to bring in more juxtapositions. Show a person and the different things they like. Or put the things in order of what they liked. But the truth of the matter is that we gotta take like up a notch, take it to 11, take it to interesting.


The “like, er, lie” economy

Mason Haire, “Projective Techniques in Marketing Research,” Journal of Marketing, Vol 14 (April, 1950), pp 649-656

Juxtaposition by Michael Leis which is in his presentation Designing Narrative: Contrast, Timing, and Context

Social Mania, Designing Social Interfaces. The game

Monday, May 24th, 2010

This coming Wednesday night we are going to play Social Mania: Designing Social Interfaces. The Game. We are looking forward to using this to help us imagine and build the best social experience we possibly can. Who says User Experience Architects aren’t a fun loving group.

I am a huge proponent of using games to help people come up with ideas. Work, Games, and Fun are not mutually exclusive.

In Social Mania, players form teams that compete with each other to develop and deliver the best experiences before time runs out. The team that ships products delivering the best experiences over a period of four quarters (20 minutes) will score the most points and win the game! But watch out—the other teams may sabotage your best efforts by playing anti-patterns.

I got a deck of the Social Mania: Designing Social Interfaces, the game right from Erin Malone’s hands. I first learned of the game at the Overlap where Erin and Christian we prototyping the deck and we were real guinea-pigs for what has become an awesome way to get up to speed on design patterns in the social experience space.  I’d argue that Erin and Christian in the updated versions have really taken it’s focus beyond social media to be able social business.

She and Christian Crumlish do have a new 3.1 version of the game, but I have the 2nd Edition.


The Overlap 09 Poster

Here is the link to the website (and the book)

Here is the link to the game, $30—beta-3

Town Hall for uxSEARS

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Here is a great photo of our last Town Hall for the uxSEARS group.  Yes, that’s me right in the front.  No – I am not the one with the tie!

Cubana Torta (Grilled Sandwhich) from Frontera Fresca

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

I had a yummy Cubana Torta today from Frontera Fresca (from Chef Rick Bayless)

The sandwich was a panini-grilled, fresh artisan bakery roll with roast Pork, applewood smoked bacon, Chihuahua cheese, black beans, cilantro crema, chipotle mustard, and avocado.

The presentation was excellent. The sandwich is split into two halves and it sits up in the basket so you can easily see all the goodness inside. There were giant slabs of pork and big slices of bacon. And nice bite sized pieces of avocado.

All the inside parts of the sandwich were hot, but I’d say it was overcooked because the bread was a bit too crispy and the cheese was overly melted.

The sauce they put on the side was very tasty – I kept dipping the corners of my sandwich into it

Overall a really good cubana sandwich, next time I will ask them not to toast it as long

5 most interesting ideas from J Boye Conference 2010

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

From the J Boye Conference 2010

The 5 most interesting ideas from J Boye Conference 2010

The unbound Portal: The user is at the center. It is no longer about the end users having a portal into the enterprise, but now it is about the portals giving enterprises doorways to the end user.

CMSs are the new operating systems

The biggest way to change a company is to change who they see as their competitors.

Social Business is about 4 principles
1 We have a sufficient robust network of nodes and connections.
2 People are now more into collaborating than hoarding.
3 Communication is now becoming the work.
4 The information expanse is focusing attention on analysis and meaning.

Question: What if your employees’ tweet and no customers hear it?


“A framework for aligning UX & Business”
Dennis’ Presentation at J Boye Conference

J Boye Conference in Philadelphia 2010