“For me context is the key – from that comes understanding of everything” – Kenneth Noland
I was lucky enough to find time for some reading over the past week, with the Chinese New Year holiday. I picked a diverse range of books to read, or what I thought were diverse, but looking back there was a common thread across all of them (and others that I have recently read). They all show in their different ways the importance of context in shaping behaviour, a theme that has repeatedly come back to me ever since my time as a student. Read more »
Think-aloud protocol is an approach that asks users to verbalise what they are thinking and doing as they work through a task, in order to find aspects of the user experience that delight and more importantly those aspects that confuse and frustrate or don’t work in the way that they should. This is a very common method to evaluate usability of a product, service and, most often, software or website. The method is very straightforward in allowing users to share what they are thinking, feeling and doing as they complete any task, and to what extent the object or process being evaluated is helping them to achieve their immediate goals. Read more »
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances” – William Shakespeare
In I Is An Other, James Geary explores the power of metaphor and its pervasiveness in everyday life, arguing that it is not just a literary device but fundamental to human thought across domains as diverse as economics, advertising, politics, psychology and many more. Metaphor is “essential to how we communicate, learn, discover, and invent”.
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Role-playing is used in design, workshops and research to place people in the roles of users, exploring the behaviours and habits that happen in different scenarios or reflect different aspects of customer experience. This is done by acting roles in realistic scenarios to build empathy and identify challenges and opportunities in a product or experience. This can be a low cost and easy to execute way to uncover many of the habitual behaviours and responses associated with a particular aspect of life. Read more »
On October 6th 2010, Gap introduced a new logo designed to make the brand more contemporary, reducing the prominence of the iconic blue box associated with the brand. On October 12th 2010 after less than one week the original logo design returned.
A larger sales (and PR) disaster befell Pepsi in 2009 when they rebranded Tropicana Pure Premium. In the words of a company statement, the new pack was “designed to reinforce the brand and product attributes, rejuvenate the category and help consumers rediscover the health benefits they get from drinking America’s iconic orange-juice brand”. Between 1 January and 22 February, when Pepsi brought back the original design, sales dropped around 20% costing the company tens of millions of dollars. Read more »
“Eating is a multisensory experience” - Hestor Blumenthal
In The Perfect Meal, Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman explore the multi-sensory of eating. This is a great read for anyone interested in eating and drinking or sensory science, and the book is packed full of interesting anecdote, food history and guidelines for good (and healthy) eating, as well as being a comprehensive review of the literature of sensory science and especially that relating to how the senses interact.
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KJ technique is a way of helping teams work through a problem (or data) and reach a consensus about key priorities. The technique is also referred to as Affinity Diagram, referring to the output from the approach. Although the idea of grouping ideas and prioritisation is not new to the world, the approach was developed and adopted as a planning tool in Total Quality Management by Jiro Kawakita, a Japanese anthropologist. The technique focuses on building consensus, helping a group to organise complicated ideas and information through consensus over the course of a team meeting. Read more »
In The Age of the Image, Stephen Apkon argues that the (moving) image is becoming the dominant language of the twenty first century, replacing the word as the primary means of communication. He also argues that the importance of the rise of visual language makes it necessary to place it at the centre of the educational system. For anyone interested in communication and storytelling, this is an interesting read. Read more »
Closure is the name for the way in which humans perceive a set of individual unconnected elements as part of a single recognisable object or pattern rather than individual pieces. This is one of a number of principles relating to Gestalt psychology, and is so strong that people close gaps and fill in missing information to complete a pattern if necessary. Read more »
Behavioural mapping is a process for recording location-based observations of human behaviour, through the annotation (manual or digital) of maps, plans, videos and photographs. It is used to document activities, behaviours, characteristics and movements of people in time and space. There are two main approaches to behavioural mapping. Read more »