Principles of Design #66 – Similarity

Nov 23 2015

It is a key principle of design that elements that are similar are perceived by users to be more closely related than elements that are dissimilar. This principle comes from Gestalt psychology, and while often seeming obvious is important to the way that users interact with objects, helping them simplify and structure the world. A simple matrix with alternative rows of dots and squares, this becomes a set of rows only with the similar elements grouped into holistic lines. In the same way, even complex displays is interpreted as having different areas and groupings depending on the colour, shape or size of different elements and to what degree they appear similar. Read more »

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The Social Psychology of Music

Oct 19 2015

As the authors of The Social Psychology of Music point out, although music has many functions in human life, they are all essentially social. We use music to communicate, even when from very different backgrounds and speaking different languages. Music has the ability to trigger very powerful emotions., forming the basis of shared experiences. Music always conveys meaning, but that meaning is always situated in a social and cultural context. Meaning can never be free of context. Read more »

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The Importance of Curiosity

Oct 14 2015

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

“Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.” Vladimir Nabokov

I seem to have been reading a lot of books recently on the topic of questions (perhaps inspired by a good friend), and so I was curious to read Curious by Ian Leslie, all about the importance of curiosity in human life and its place in learning, business and innovation.  Coming off the back of reading A More Beautiful Question (read more here), Ian Leslie arguably suffers from a lack of more practical argument and application to the reality of business, but still offers up some nuggets of insight into the importance of curiosity in the success of humans. After all, curiosity is linked to the most fundamental animal behaviour (called ‘seeking by Jaak Panksepp) and the need to explore the world.

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Design Methods #33 – Content Analysis

Oct 03 2015

Content analysis is a systematic listing and description of the form and content of written, spoken or visual materials, often leading to a summarisation around themes, patterns and frequency counts of specific items (words, phrases, images, concepts, etc). Content analysis is typically used in qualitative research to provide a more manageable way to analyse open-ended comments and verbatims. Content analysis can be used to give structure and system to what are often deep accounts of a topic, but with lengthy text or transcripts and ambiguous images that can be very time-consuming to interpret. Read more »

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Using Sensory Signature to Build Brand esSense: Bringing experience to the heart of your brand identity

Oct 01 2015

“Unify, simplify, amplify” – Ken Carbone

When asked to define brand identity, many people brand logos and names as well as the history and values of brands. Some even mention the design of a product or experience, but very few immediately mention the role of the senses in creating distinctive and memorable experiences. Many dictionary definitions focus solely on the visual look and feel of brands, but a better definition might be, “the elements of a brand that together identify and distinguish the brand in the consumer’s mind”.

For Keller, Aperia and Georgson, brand identity answers the fundamental question, “Who are you?” However, my favourite definition comes from Alina Wheeler’s Designing Brand Identity. She states that, “Brand identity is tangible and appeals to the senses. You can see it, touch it, hold it, hear it, watch it move. Brand identity fuels recognition, amplifies differentiation, and makes big ideas and meaning accessible. Brand identity takes disparate elements and unifies them into whole systems.” Read more »

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Review of Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart and Mind

Sep 29 2015

Of all the books I have read on the sense of touch, the best short introduction is Touch: The science of hand, heart and mind by David Linden. Only published earlier this year, a paperback version will be available at the beginning of 2016. This is clear and comprehensive overview of the role of touch in human lives, it’s relationship to emotion and social relationships and its interaction with the other senses. Read more »

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In Touch With Reality

Sep 06 2015

“Seeing’s believing, but feeling’s the truth” – Thomas Fuller

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves” – Albert Einstein

I first wrote about the importance of the sense of touch five years ago (click here). At that time there was very little literature focusing on this important sense, but the last two years has seen the publication of at least four books about touch and related senses (see below) so it’s time to look again at touch. Touch is often neglected, especially by marketers, so let’s focus on why touch is such a powerful way to communicate with your customers. Read more »

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On Becoming More Risk Savvy

Sep 05 2015

“Knowledge is the antidote to fear” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Risk Savyy is recommended for everyone. Over the course of the book, Gerd Gigerenzer highlights the ways in which all of us, including the very best professionals, often misunderstand and misuse statistics and probabilities and end up making the wrong decision. He shows that risk and uncertainty are not the same thing, and how the way in which information is presented changes the decisions that we make. While covering some of the same ground as Daniel Kahneman in Thinking, Fast and Slow,this book contains simple rules and tools that will help you to avoid the same mistakes. Read more »

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Principles of Design #65 – Satisficing

Aug 19 2015

In behavioural science, satisficing is the human tendency to “settle” for a satisfactory solution (i.e., one that is good enough) rather than optimal solution (i.e., one that is the best available). The term was coined by Herbert Simon in 1956, and refers to the “bounded rationality” of humans and how the decision-making process works when it is difficult or impossible to identify an optimal solution. The term is a combination of the words satisfy and suffice and reflects that in many (if not most) situations, we lack complete information and/or the time and effort required to find an optimal strategy.

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Design Methods #32 – Mind Mapping

Aug 16 2015

Mind mapping helps capture and generate ideas using visual thinking, through a nonlinear process of capturing thoughts and ideas that are associated in the mind(s) of people. The process allows anyone to consolidate information, interpret the links between ideas, communicate the linkages and hierarchy between different ideas and concepts and enhance problem solving and memory of multiple thoughts.

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