Blog posts

How to put the ‘real’ in ‘realistic’ user testing – 10 tips

Posted by Sharon Cartwright in user testing on May 4, 2012 | 0 comments

The opportunity doesn’t arise for every user testing project, but occasionally the perfect project emerges that is a great candidate for more realistic user testing.

Generally user testing participants are pretty good at suspending disbelief and engaging with ‘make believe’ type tasks in a session, but seeing participants in a more realistic situation definitely returns richer insights. If the opportunity arises to make your testing more ‘real’ and less ‘make believe’ you should take it. Read more »

Generating smarter ideas

Posted by Kelly Ann McKercher in Innovation, social design on April 19, 2012 | 3 comments

May of us want to come up with brilliant, innovative ideas to make us millions. What about those ideas that are brilliant, but also do no harm to the people, cultures, and environments of which our ideas impact?

Critical design thinking is a vital component in the design process that allows us to critique the impact our design decisions will have on our world and the people in it. Allowing us to evaluate if we are really generating smarter ideas.

What is critical design?

Anthony Dunne first mentioned the term ‘critical design’ in his 1999 book ‘Hertizan Tales’. He introduced it as a form of design thinking in which designed artefacts are used as a medium to stimulate discussion around the cultural, social and ethical implications of emerging technologies. Since, the term has continued to grow in popularity and inspire various projects. Read more »

Public sector innovation. Pfft. Right?

Posted by Kris Nygren in e-government, service design, user experience on March 16, 2012 | 1 comment

By Kris Nygren

If someone had told me last year that the most innovative initiative we would be involved with in 2012 would be conceived by ACC, I would probably have laughed it off. Yet, for the past four months we’ve been involved with ACC’s Idea Nation initiative and it’s shaping up to be one of the most courageous and creative approaches to a big, hairy problem I have ever seen. Read more »

Quotes from Webstock 2012

Posted by Trent Mankelow in conferences and events, user experience on February 23, 2012 | 1 comment

Going to Webstock is like eating breakfast. A very large breakfast. Think crispy hash browns, creamy mushrooms, plump poached eggs, grainy toast, small but perfectly formed sausages. And slow-roasted tomatoes. And hollandaise.

Of course, the trouble with so much food is the inevitable food coma that follows. So it is with Webstock 2012. My brain is stuffed full of new ideas, and I’m going to be spending the next couple of weeks waddling around, digesting what I learnt.

There were a lot of highlights: the quality of storytelling (hardly a bulletpoint in sight), the mixture of melancholy and mirth, the down-to-earthness of everyone there. Also, Kapiti black doris plum ice cream. Read more »

10 Tips for Mobile Usability Testing

Posted by Trent Mankelow in mobile, user testing on January 24, 2012 | 7 comments

By Trent Mankelow

The first time we conducted usability testing on a mobile device was in 2005 for Vodafone. The technology we used to run the testing was primitive, complicated and fragile. Here are a couple of photos to show you what the setup was like.

These days, our approach to mobile usability testing is very different. The whole process is much more guerrilla and lightweight, and we rarely test indoors. Given our recent growth in mobile testing projects, we thought we’d take a step back and share with you some of the lessons we’ve learnt. Read more »

Data December – 22 Useful Statistics to end 2011

Posted by Trent Mankelow in business, statistics and trends on December 16, 2011 | 0 comments

My wife and I went out to dinner recently, and I couldn’t help but notice the couple at the adjacent table both using iPads in-between forking food into their mouths. I’m not passing judgment – I think that smart phones, widespread broadband, and social media are all changing the way I behave too. As a society our attention is fracturing: at the dinner table, while we watch TV, as we shop.

So for our final newsletter of the year I thought I’d share with you some recent statistics that highlight how digital technology is changing our lives Read more »

Designing away the stress

Posted by Philip Cockrell in design, user interface on November 29, 2011 | 0 comments

Are all those mundane, admin tasks sucking your time and getting you down? User-centred design might be that elusive but effective answer.

Have you ever drifted into a kind of zen-like state when you were mowing the lawns? All of a sudden the lawns are freshly mown; what were you thinking about? Or when your Nonna is making that penne arrabbiata for the umpteenth time, it’s like she’s doing it without thinking.

Read more »

Winning the tournament

Posted by Shailesh Manga in business, service design, user experience on November 16, 2011 | 0 comments

I recently relocated to the US of A so watched the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup from afar.  It was not only nerve-racking but a good reminder about the importance of not just having a game plan, but a plan for the entire tournament.

This is not just a necessity for rugby but also for conducting research and design. Reflecting on my experiences, I am often asked to come up with an approach to “win a game” but not to “win the tournament”. This can result in tactical approaches which may not always be the best for a product or service in the long term.

Read more »

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