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Notes from the Field

Festivus Links - 12-23-09

Dec 23 2009 in Notes from the Field

Festivus, chrome, doppelgangers for sale, photo-collage sculptures, holiday-based computing, your brain on checkers, the Copenhagen wheel, and a taste of a London that never was.

Mickey McManus
Chairman & Principal

Why do we prototype?

Over the last several years, I’ve developed the mantra, “Just prototype it.” The experience of having to think through how things are built makes you ask all sorts of questions you never get around to in a design/brainstorming meeting. There are a few things to keep in mind before you begin though.

Kevin Hoffmann
Director of Engineering

People, Technology, and Design

Nov 10 2009 in Connected World

Although new technologies are leading to greater efficiencies in building design, we will succeed in building the future only by thoughtfully considering the intersection of people, technology, and design.

Dutch MacDonald
President & CEO

Missing the Point in the Design of Electronic Medical Records

The push for Electronic Medical Records is all over the news, and has even been signed into policy by President Obama. But not everyone thinks they’re everything they could and should be. Dr. David Eibling and Dr. Augie Turano from the Pittsburgh VA hospital came to MAYA to talk about some of the shortcomings of the current systems, and the vast potential of future ones.

Learning Design through Reality TV

Jun 05 2009 in Notes from the Field

Putting my food-lust aside, Top Chef has quite a few “design lessons” hidden between the fancy presentation and obscure ingredients. It’s pretty clear that the “rules” that make a contestant successful on Top Chef are the same “rules” that apply to good design work. Sure, they’re working with food rather than technology, but the core ideas are the same.

Usability Rant: Why is it so hard to talk to users?

Practicing the principle of involving users in the design of a product is not that easy. There are pitfalls, roadblocks, political difficulties, and motivation issues. This rant is to convince you that the thousands of excuses I’ve heard for not including users in the design process are all bunk.

David Bishop
Lead Designer & Researcher

Information Centricity 101

Information-centric design places primacy on the information itself to support direct interaction between people and information.

Francine Gemperle
Director of Human Sciences, Senior Design Strategist

The Wrong Cloud?

Apr 23 2009 in Connected World

In our opinion cloud computing, as currently described, is not that far off from the sort of thinking that drove the economic downturn…

Is usability obsolete? (Part II)

Usability is slowly being sidelined by three computing trends (outlined earlier), but our demise is being accelerated by three additional “human” trends.

Usability Rant: Adding complexity when you should be taking it away

I wish I lived in a world where designers were forced to remove two features from a product for every one that’s added in. It’s so easy to campaign for the addition of a feature, but try suggesting removal some time and you’ll be beat down with a bazillion cries of “somebody might need that,” “but our competition has that,” and “that’s moving backwards.” Well, that’s hooey. Half the stuff I own would be easier to use if it wasn’t so, I dunno, b>laden with extraneous junk.

David Bishop
Lead Designer & Researcher