Orientation sensitivity refers to visual processing of line orientations, when certain orientations are more quickly and easily processed than others. Think of a standard analogue clock which we can all quickly interpret. Apart from outré previous experience, the positioning of numbers at 30 degree increments around analogue clocks corresponds to minimum recommended for easy detection – differences which are less than 30 degrees can be much more difficult to detect and interpret. Read more »
Experiments are used in design and research to measure the effects of actions or features by showing the causal relationship between those actions or features and specific outcomes (e.g., behaviours). Typically, a hypothesis is posed about such relationships and then the actions or features are manipulated in controlled ways while the outcome is measured. In the simplest case (say low sweetness vs high sweetness in a beverage), the comparison of outcomes (amount drunk, preference rating) between the two conditions provides a simple model of the impact of the manipulation of sweetness.
Sensation: The new science of physical intelligence by Thalma Lobel connects a number of themes from the Inspector Insight and Doctor Disruption blogs. The focus of the book is on the practical implications of the theory of embodied cognition connecting this idea to ideas of metaphorical thinking and symbolism in the environment, themes explored in Brand esSense and in many previous articles (see Thinking about analogy, Metaphors in thinking, Metaphors in semiotics, Sensory metaphors and Creativity and metaphor). Sensation is the clearest explanation I have read of embodied thinking, linking the results of years of stand-alone research studies to an underlying theory of the relationship between human thinking, sensory perception and the interactions between humans and the environment.
Signal-to-noise ratio is the ratio of relevant to irrelevant information in a display, and one of the most important outcomes for a designer of any system, product or communication is to design the highest possible ratio of signal to noise. Communication is all about the creation, transmission and reception of information, and during each of these stages the signal is degraded and irrelevant information (noise) added. Such degradation reduces the amount of useful information with a lower amount of signal and a greater amount of noise (hence a lower signal-to-noise ratio). Good design always maximises signal and minimised noise.
User journey maps are used to visualise the experiences of people when using a product or service, evaluating each individual interaction and identifying improvements that can be made at each moment. The map tells the ‘story’ of an individual’s actions, feelings, perceptions, considerations and behaviours including positive as well as negative moments, covering all such interactions over sometimes long periods of time. Such documentation of a series of events helps shift business focus from an operational (system) point of view to a the broader context of how individuals interact with the business in the real world.
While businesses and especially marketers and advertisers focus on ‘digital disruption’ and play with their new online toys, arguably they are still missing the biggest behavioural disruption of our age – the ageing of consumers. societies and spending power. Having just turned 50 myself, I continue to be amazed at the narrow focus of most marketing activities on those much younger than me. Perhaps it’s just that middle age advertising executives like to pretend that they are still teens?
Collages are great inspiration in design and research, giving participants the opportunity to express their feelings, desires and thoughts in a visual (and therefore less conscious and more intuitive) way than traditional research approaches. Using imagery allows people to “project” on to a visual artefact giving insight into hidden motivations and emotional responses. Read more »
A recent paper by a team from Princeton University and the Free University of Berlin has shown that taste related words engage the emotional brain more strongly than equivalent literal words. They showed that the brain processes everyday metaphors differently from more literal language, with greater emotional engagement. For example, ‘she smiled at him sweetly” created more activation of the emotion centres of the brain than the expression “she smiled at him kindly”, even though they have equivalent meaning and were understood equally well.
I recently wrote a piece on how Vittel used package design to create a behavioural trigger, and today came across another example. Nescafe have relaunched their classic coffee with a great piece of sensory branding that is also a great behavioural trigger. The newly designed jar has a 3D-printed lid that can also be used as an alarm clock.
Triangulation is the process whereby designers and researchers converge the answers from multiple methods to corroborate evidence from different perspectives. This combination of sources helps ensure the accuracy of findings and mitigates the weaknesses of any individual method or data source. For example, by comparing data across different collection methods or questions, helping to give increased confidence in the findings or challenge the approach(es). As well as potentially providing more robust conclusions, triangulation can also provide a richer depth of information from multiple sources. Read more »