Tag Archive | user experience

The CLUMSY Manifesto

This text is about not only looking at design from the perspective of care, but also about reclaiming agility for what it actually is. Too often, “failing fast”, “failing early” and “failing often” are nowadays applied as excuses for not thinking things through, rather than as actual design agility where iterations improve the service being developed, and where people really learn from their mistakes.

The CLUMSY Manifesto highly respects agility. It is not an objection, but a productive counterpoint. I believe that the problems underlying the current misuses of agility are the same that systems scientists like Oliver and Langford described over three decades ago: the user experience and the design experience may not be the same. Service Design addresses this gap well, but as soon as it collides with existing practices in organizations, its impact may start to wither. Like cultures eat strategy, systems architecture sure as hell eats user experiences. To put it stereotypically, left brain has a tendency to veto the right in any large scale design, unless there are people present who are adept in both modes of thinking. To foster such processes, the CLUMSY Manifesto was born.

CLUMSY design should be:

Careful. No amount of failing fast will do good if the key failure was done before the ideation phase. That failure may be for example not taking into account existing legislation, APIs, user patterns, value ecosystems, or upcoming trends, or taking those into account but not trying to alter them sufficiently. Being careful does not mean checking absolutely everything in advance, nor a lack of taking risks. It means not using “we’ll sort it out later” as an excuse for being intellectually lazy.

Liberating. With the background research properly done and applied, design is free to concentrate on that which is possible, and on changing the realms of possibility by e.g., lobbying and network forming. Restrictions foster creativity and in time even impossibilities can be achieved. Those who speak of limitations should be treated as a loyal opposition, not obstructions to be overcome. Keep the “Yes, and…” in active use.

User-centered. Users should be present at all times in the design process, either for real or as extrapolations from sufficient field research, represented through things such as stories and personas. Even a single omission can turn user experiences into process flowchart arrows, and getting the real user back into the implied user can be very difficult.

Marketable. There is no point in creating a great product or service if it does not reach a sufficient number of users. Marginal popularity and cult status may feel great, but rarely carries a societal impact. Especially not in the short term – and companies tend to kill off projects that only result in something ten years later. Same way as basic research is not appreciated without obvious USPs, despite its crucial importance in the long run, result visibility is mandatory for most designs. If it is the customer who defines the value of a service, design is effectively worthless if it never reaches the market proper where its value is ultimately determined.

SYmbiotic. No successful design exists in a vacuum. The ecosystem has to be advantageous to the design, and the design in turn for the ecosystems and at least some of their value networks. If it is not, either the design or the ecosystem has to change. Likewise, care and agility have to exist in symbiosis, if we are to create something that is successful, optimal and as user-friendly as possible.

Herbert Simon wrote in the 60’s that design is really about adjusting an internal process of some tool or concept to fit the outside reality. As service and user experience designers we are particularly well equipped in both tools and perspectives to be able to facilitate such alignment. Let us thus be agile and clumsy at the same time. Humans usually are, and that’s for whom we are designing.

J. Tuomas Harviainen
(The author teaches business science and information systems, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tampere, and is a recent graduate of the Laurea SID MBA program.)

Design Weekend

This month Futurice Tampere hosted a Design Weekend together with Tampere University of Technology Unit of Human-Centered Technology and Ubinet doctoral network. During the weekend I had the chance to learn from and work with UX design students.

What is UX?

Nothing is more telling than a real-life UX example, such as this excerpt of a UX job description at Twitter shared by Fast Company in 2012:

“Define interaction models, user task flows, and UI specifications. Communicate scenarios, end-to-end experiences, interaction models, and screen designs to stakeholders. Work with our creative director and visual designers to incorporate the visual identity of Twitter into features. Develop and maintain design wireframes, mockups, and specifications as needed.”

In short, a UX designer’s job is to deliver an exceptional experience for the end user while considering the technical implementation and keeping in mind the business application.

What is Lean UX?

Yes, we’re talking about “that” lean. The same lean used to gain efficiency in manufacturing plants across the world and in the latest start-up just around the corner.

Plain old UX can be heavy on deliverables such as lengthy requirements documents and in-depth wireframes. This documentation, some argue, shifts the designers focus away from the most important part of the work: the actual user experience (Gothelf, 2011).

Enter Lean UX. Its about being quick, nimble and avoiding waste. In place of lengthy requirements documents, it favors low-fidelity “deliverables” that help bring an idea to light more clearly, visually and, most importantly, faster.

What does UX have in common with Service Design? Continue reading

The Course for Human-Centered Design: How Might We Enable More Young People to Become Social Entrepreneurs?

The Course for Human-Centered Design (provided by Ideo.org and +Acumen) is a seven-week curriculum, which introduces the concepts of human-centered design and how this approach can be used to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change.  This course has been developed to educate those, who are brand new to human-centered design. No prior experience is required. However, I would recommend this course for anyone looking to improve their human-centered design skills.

What is Human-Centered Design? 

Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a creative approach to solve any kind of problem. The process starts with the people for whom the solution is designed; and ends with e.g. new product or service that is tailor-made to suit these people’s needs. HCD is all about building a deep empathy with the people’s needs and motivations, generating a lot of ideas, creating prototypes, sharing the ideas and solutions with the people; and eventually taking the new innovative solution out in the world. Please see the below video describing the concept of HCD.

Our team and design challenge

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Building Mobile Wallet Pivo

The series in the Service Design Breakfast (#SDA15) continued with an exciting topic on November 5th, when OP-Pohjola, the largest national bank in Finland, and design company Nordkapp presented how they designed and developed the Mobile Wallet Pivo – one of the most successful banking applications in Finland.

Pivo Wallet has an intuitive and simple UI.

Pivo Wallet has an intuitive and simple UI.

What is Pivo?

Pivo is a digital wallet application for smart phones. With an intuitive and simple UI, it offers an easy way for customers to glance at their account balance, while simultaneously viewing their purchase history and an estimate for future spending based on their buying habits. It helps customers to be in control of their daily spending and to know what they can afford. Pivo has also integrated loyalty programs into the service offering, such as PINS and Cityshoppari, enabling the customer to find offers and coupons based on their interest and location. Thus, Pivo is a platform for mobile payments, focusing on the purchase moment, before and after the actual payment. The aim has been to develop one common brand for other partners and banks to build on.

Continuous feedback from the customers

A Lean UX design process was used to develop Pivo Wallet, with the continuous circle of thinking, iterating and measuring. Customers have been involved throughout the entire design process. Actually they were involved already before the concrete concept was defined. Feedback was asked from customers based on a vague idea using a video prototype communicating the concept thinking. A lot of qualitative and quantitative user research was made already in the beginning of the process. The hypotheses were validated with interviews, demos, usability tests as well as private alpha and public beta tests. Pivo also has an active user base providing continuous feedback and improvement ideas via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Lean UX process was used to develop Pivo Wallet.

Lean UX design process was used to develop Pivo Wallet.

The UI is the actual product

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Power to Change User Behavior

In yesterday’s Service Design Breakfast event at Startup Sauna, Janne Lohvansuu from User Intelligence has presented the case of live UX design in YLE’s Eurovision ambiance. User Intelligence have prototyped and tested new event page for YLE during the Eurovision 2013. Prototype was interactive, connected to live content during the events and tested by Eurovision enthusiasts. That way they have obtained crucial insights for the new service concept that intend to change the way we are watching TV.

“We, user experience professionals have an awesome power to change user’s behavior with the help of technology” Janne said. Research shows that 86% of mobile internet users are using their devices while watching TV. This brings an opportunity to introduce second screen on mobile devices and engage users with the content related to TV program. YLE and User Intelligence got engaged to explore that opportunity. That’s how it all began.

UserIntelligence - Ding dong! - Live UX design in YLE Eurovision ambiance

User Intelligence – Ding dong! – Live UX design in YLE Eurovision ambiance

Applying service design, User Intelligence started from understanding the big picture – customer journey. It was about creating event hype stamina, from initial competitions through different events, culminating in Eurovision finals. After the big picture, they moved to details of the customer journey – what happens before, during and after each event.

Having in mind different screen sizes of mobile devices, User Intelligence came up with event page concept. That was based on mapping of event’s time dimension (before, during, after) on different type of devices. Event page concept helped them to understand the change and to enter the cycle of rapid prototyping. For example, “before” page contained down counting ticking clock. “During” page had 2 tabs – one to watch TV show and another to watch next to TV content, like current ranking of songs. Depending on device, one or both tabs were present.

In-event testing was not done with ordinary, but extreme users – Eurovision fans. Their needs are quite the same as ordinary people have, just amplified and therefore easier to identify. Separate room was decorated to resemble home atmosphere, with sofa and multiple mobile devices scattered around – phones, tablets, and laptops. Users were freely using and changing device. For example, when following live content if they noticed their favorite is moving up, that produced more interest and made them change device looking for video content. Most useful were video clips. If they missed something they were able to find it.

Design process – the wheel of UX with key additions.

Design process – the wheel of UX with key additions.

Interactive co-creation went on through multiple iterations, finally producing pages that scale both time vise and device vise. The result has met YLE’s expectation – meaningful concept of second screen and user engagement. As such, the outcome is seen as a significant step towards changing a paradigm how people are watching a TV.

How to change paradigms, or key learning from live UX design in YLE’s Eurovision ambiance case:

  • Have enthusiasm and energy – go out and interact with users
  • Engage extreme users – get into their mind set
  • Make the process lively – engage users with fun and excitement

Written by Predrag Miskeljin.

The nature of “innovation” is changing

by Jane Vita, Sofia Nyyssönen, Tinja Lindförs and Tiia-Marina Silva

The world is always changing and everything goes around adapting. Some companies that have more vision are already looking for the new market – we call them forerunners. These companies have a new vision and concepts in their minds such as design thinking, agile methods, service design, social design, among others. They are not thinking only about their consumers but how to make their employees do better products and services.

Consumers are also more concerned about their needs, they are more demanding, Products and services are created with their proposals, so why not put them in the center of the whole process of design and make them part of the creation? We went through 5 books where the main topic discussed was co-creation and we’ll share in this post what we find in common in all them. Continue reading