Design Methods #44 – Elito method

Feb 26 2017 Published by Neil Gains under design

The Elito method is an approach to help designers develop comprehensive and connected solutions grounded in research insights and business objectives. The approach helps designers and researchers move from research findings to the articulation of design directions, helping them move from analysis to synthesis and bridge research outputs to the needs of business, through the development of fact-based narratives. The approach was developed in 2002 and named after Eli Blevis (the name is a shortened version of “Eli’s Toolbox”). Read more »

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On Thinking and Not Thinking

Sep 30 2016 Published by Neil Gains under book review

Proclaimed as “The All New” Don’t Think of an Elephant, George Lakoff’s classic book has been substantially rewritten and updated to reflect contemporary issues in political debate and recent electoral history. The original book was a must read for anyone interested in behavioural science, communication (or politics) and the important lessons from the first book remain, updated and expanded in this even better and more valuable book. Read more »

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Design Methods #39 – Speed Dating

Jun 20 2016 Published by Neil Gains under design

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 »

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Design Methods #35 – Artefact Analysis

Feb 23 2016 Published by Neil Gains under design

Artefact analysis is the systematic evaluation of objects in their natural environment. Artefact analysis looks at the material, aesthetic and usage qualities of any object in order to understand its physical, social and cultural context. It has been used frequently by anthropologists to understand other cultures, and is increasingly used in design and research to understand the lives of people through the things that surround them.

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Principles of Design #65 – Satisficing

Aug 19 2015 Published by Neil Gains under design

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 #31 – Value Opportunity Analysis

Jun 16 2015 Published by Neil Gains under design

VOA Chart for Blender (sourced from DesignWiki)

Value Opportunity Analysis helps researchers and designers map the impact of user’s aspirations and lifestyle to product design features. As we have written in Brand esSense and on this blog, where product execution meets the goals of customers, then they will pay a higher price and appreciate any improvement that makes the product better deliver against their goals (or ‘jobs’). Many products and services are designed to improve quality of life, and the connection to improved life quality depends on those things most valued by customers. Read more »

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Context, context, context

Feb 23 2015 Published by Neil Gains under context

“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 »

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Design Methods #27 – Think-aloud protocol

Feb 01 2015 Published by Neil Gains under design

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 »

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Design Methods #19 – Triangulation

Jun 26 2014 Published by Neil Gains under design

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 »

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Design Methods #16 – Image Boards

Mar 14 2014 Published by Neil Gains under design

Image boards (also called mood boards) usually comprise a collage of pictures, drawings and other imagery that can be used to visually communicate a description of a targeted aesthetic, style, audience or context to guide design. In research they are also used to understand or communicate brand imagery or an idea or topic. Read more »

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