Tag Archives: experience design

Giant Steps

I’m working in New York this week, and was lucky enough to catch Jeff Han and Bill Buxton in conversation at the Cooper Hewitt. I know–right? What a pairing!

Bill Buxton and Jeff Han

Some pieces of the conversation I wanted to share…

“I believe that, in design, you really have to understand what’s been done before…to understand not just the point you’re at, but the vector you’re on.”
– Jeff Han

“Our job is not just to make a digital analogue of a physical device. It’s to see what can really be done.”
– Jeff Han

“You can easily impedance mismatch to the customer. You have to scaffold not only up to the customer, but up to the industry.”
– Jeff Han

“I wouldn’t hire anybody that I wouldn’t work for myself.”
– Jeff Han

“The only way you can manage is if people feel that you’re not a manager but a collaborator.”
– Jeff Han

“We’re not technologists. The thing that binds (Jeff and I) is that the technology we know the most about is people.”
– Bill Buxton

“When people talk about mobility–it’s not the mobility of the device–it’s the mobility of the human.”
– Bill Buxton

“Don’t develop technologies; develop solutions.”
– Bill Buxton

“Your expertise has to be on the human side of things.”
– Bill Buxton

“Now that we can do anything, what should we do?”
– Bill Buxton

A post-brand world?

While brands are doing backflips to garner customer loyalty, could it be that the consuming public has reached a point where the collective noise of brand-song has become so deafening that it ceases to register? Or that many of the products in our lives are so commoditized that the customer/product relationship is all but irrelevant?

post brand world

Are we moving toward a post-brand world?

What would this mean for companies? For starters, a focus on treatment of customers–service, support, retail experience–becomes paramount if a brand wants to create actual relationships with its customers. The brand is no longer just the product–it is the experience of interacting with the company that makes the product.

Design touches us every day

Theresa sent me the following email and picture this afternoon. It’s a touching little reminder of how simple, thoughtful design decisions affect us all, every day…

I was really excited that this teabag has no staples so one can stick it in the micro!

Imaginary pleasures

Psychologist Paul Bloom considers the importance of perception and imagination to our experience of pleasure in his forthcoming book, How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like.

What matters most is not the world as it [actually physiologically impacts] our senses. Rather, the enjoyment we get from something derives from what we think that thing is.

Our main leisure activity is, by a long shot, participating in experiences that we know are not real. When we are free to do whatever we want, we retreat to the imagination—to worlds created by others, as with books, movies, video games, and television (over four hours a day for the average American), or to worlds we ourselves create, as when daydreaming and fantasizing.

This bias towards experiences of the mind over sensory perception points to branding as a crucial component of consumer experience.  Branding shapes the narrative behind product and service offerings. If Bloom is right about what drives us,  that’s as important an aspect of the experience as the thing itself. A successful offering provides an experience on the functional and sensory levels that supports and is enhanced by the brand narrative. When these elements are incongruent, it creates a broken experience, a sort of brand dissonance.

In a recent interview, Bloom also tackled the question of whether animals have imagination. He says that although their play might seem related to imagination, they lack the ability to construct alternate futures – something crucial to our ability to innovate solutions.

Which means that my dog, although she seems highly imaginative to me when she’s trying to do something sneaky, is not likely to dream up the next iPod.