Readability is the degree to which prose can be understood, determined by word length, word commonality, sentence length, number of clauses in a sentence and the number of syllables in the sentence. It is something that is often overlooked by designers and researchers, who often believe that more complex information requires complex presentation. This, of course, is bunkum. The principle of cognitive fluency teaches us that the easier something is to read the more readily it will be understood and the more likely it will be acted on. I write this as I am preparing for a client workshop on report writing where the number 1 principle is make everything as simple as possible (but no simpler as Einstein famously said). Read more »
Exploratory research covers a wide variety of approaches used in the first stages of a research program where territory is unfamiliar. Exploratory research is often used to plan, scope and define later research stages, by understanding the key issues, dynamics, beliefs and behaviours relating to a particular topic as well as the context of the topic and business challenge. It is usually immersive for the researcher or designer, helping them build understanding and empathy with the user and the context of the design challenge.
Sound is often the most neglected of the senses when it comes to branding, although it is only second to the visual senses in terms of its importance and has a very specific role that helps the brain to create stories from cause and effect.
There is more to using sound in branding than music and song, important as they are. Of course, music and song are particularly powerful in creating links to specific emotions. However, in the esSense® framework outlined in Brand esSense, other aspects of sound can also contribute to building a brand through the senses, symbols and stories.
Case studies have always been an important part of teaching and also have been used regularly in the social sciences and design. They are useful in exploratory research for comparison with existing knowledge about a topic, problem, phenomenon or design, as well as to provide inspiration and to inform better practice. Read more »
It is common sense that objects and environments would be designed to be usable by as many people as possible without any modification. Except that common sense is never as common as it should be. For example, Kim Walker and Dick Stroud point out in Marketing to the Ageing Consumer, that far too few businesses really consider the needs and constraints of those users beyond 20-30 year olds with perfect sensory, physical and mental abilities. Read more »
The concept of speed dating is well known, and in design and research the same idea is applied to comparing multiple design concepts or ideas in rapid succession. This gives researchers the opportunity for quick feedback and also to collect more general information on usage context, societal and environmental issues. Speed dating is typically used at early stages of development to rapidly screen visual ideas and storyboards rather than more developed prototypes. Read more »
Crowdsourcing happens when a “crowd” or group of volunteers help to solve or complete a task or project. Crowdsourcing is an approach that can be used to collect large quantities of data or solutions from a range of people outside your organisation in a short amount of time. Read more »
The principle of iteration is central to design thinking. Just as evolution allows complex structures to develop over time in nature, iteration is at the core of good design, building on simple foundations to develop more complex designs. This is achieved by progressively exploring, testing and refining a design over time, often with very fast cycles of iteration. Iteration is often broken into two phases: design iteration and development iteration. Read more »
I’ve just read the second edition of Brand Meaning by Mark Batey and although there is some additional material and up-to-date examples the core argument of the book is the same (you can read a review of the first edition here). Successful brands are ones that create and nurture strong meanings to consumers, and the more symbolic and value-driven that meaning is, the more powerful it becomes. Read more »
Directed storytelling comes from the social science method of narrative inquiry and is a quick and simple way for researchers and designers to gain insights into the real-life experiences of people by using simple and thoughtful questions and prompts to guide and frame a conversation. The approach is based entirely on the stories that people tell, and is means of collecting information on real-life behaviours and contexts where observation or longitudinal studies are impractical. Read more »