Evaluate critically a master’s thesis/diploma thesis from your own research area submitted to a foreign or Austrian university/university of applied sciences (no thesis written at FH JOANNEUM).
Design in the Anthropocene, Broadening Human-Centred Design by Shreya Sood Aalto University
Level of design:
The design of this Master Thesis comply with the general rules of a Master Thesis, where no “design layout” is required or even accepted. In these cases there are sometimes two versions, the official and the designed one, however I could not find another (designed) work within my research. The thesis was written in a serif font for the continuous text as well as for headlines. In my perspective a variation would have been nice, however, it seems like it was restricted to a certain design layout.
Degree of innovation:
Regarding the degree of innovation it can be said, that the topic illustrated in the thesis is very contemporary and future oriented, and thus has a high degree of innovation, as it focus on the improvement of an actual improvement process (how and if people become more sustainable through design, in particular when following the Human Centered Design approach that is well known and accepted). Additionally the starting point was a self study, or reflection on the person’s own process of three projects that were developed during the study year 2020 and its outcomes, followed up by interviews of peers who experienced the same projects. Before this thesis I never came across an applicable example where Auto-ethnography was used as a qualitative research method, which makes it even more innovative speaking for my own experiences, which is of course not comparable to everyone’s.
A big plus for the independency criteria is already the chosen method of self study and faking it I actually picture very difficult. The amount of references added in the bibliography and some spot checks I did, additionally resulted in a high quality of rephrasing and citation.
Outline and structure:
The front page as well as the title page are included and on the correct spot within the thesis. Besides these elements, also the structure is clear and in order. The abstract is before the table of content and is not listed within it. It is only written in English, so the native language (Finnish) is perhaps missing. The table of content gives a clear overview, is numbered, but not linked to the dedicated chapters. After the introduction the topic is introduced, next chapter incorporates the theoretical background, followed by detailed insights in the methodology and findings that can be deduced from this mapped to the Research Questions. Within the next chapter the discussion happens and the content part closes regularly with the discussion. In the end of the structure the list of references and appendix is placed.
The naming of the chapters is very straight forward, sometimes for my personal taste a little to general. Positively to mention is that the graphics within the work show the same illustration style and thus are consistent and standardized.
Degree of communication:
The work was written at the Finnish university Aalto, Helsinki within the program Creative Sustainability. The written language is English, of the level B2 and at some points on the edge to C1, however the writing style is still comprehensible and not too complex in the length of the sentences for example. The content was drew up objectively, but within the introduction where the personal approach for the self study was stated out, the reader could still sympathize with the author on a personal level.
Scope of the work:
In total the thesis encompasses 85 pages, 71 for the actual content (from introduction to end of conclusion). It has a similar scope to the requirements of the Master Thesis we will write. Additionally the pages between the chapters are pro rata balanced.
Orthography and accuracy:
I could not find typos or sloppy mistakes when reading through it, so from my point of view it is of high quality also in this area. However as I am not an English native speaker I would not completely rely on this estimation.
Five pages are dedicated only to the list of references. I would estimate the quantity of resources reasonable to the scope of the thesis. The list consists to approximately one half of scientific papers / articles , one third of internet resources, whereas the rest are books. It has a great variety and the resource spot check was promising in terms of quality too.
It is time to shape a sustainable future. But do we all have the same idea of what sustainability means and what impact our decisions have?
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
— Robert Swan, Author
Today, the word “sustainability” is widely applied to define the processes, measures and actions through which humanity avoids the exhaustion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance that does not allow the quality of life of modern societies to decrease. Sustainability has these following three dimensions:
Taking these three pillars into account it becomes clear that all topics written about before in my blog entries are included in the topic of sustainability. So first of all I want to refine the working title of my research to Sustainable UX. So my Master’s thesis is intended to build on these three pillars of sustainability. The three dimensions as stated above should include popularising social diversity and equity, the 3 Rs (recycle, reuse, reduce), inclusive design, integrating environmental and social values, green consumerism …
“Interdisciplinary integrates separate disciplinary data, methods, tools, concepts, and theories in order to create a holistic view or common understanding of a complex issue, question, or problem.”
— Wenger, 1999
There is a parallel between design and interdisciplinarity. (design can be considered as a discipline and an industry.) Both are defining features of contemporary innovation practice. Interdisciplinarity is broadly defined as “the integration of knowledge across disciplines, both narrowly and broadly, and the exchange between disciplines and society.” (Frodeman, 2016)
At the same time, design connects multiple fields of knowledge and industries. Design permeates the complex realm of physical and digital products, blurring the boundaries of human interactions and experiences. Today’s design practice requires systems thinking and the collaboration of multiple disciplines to holistically solve complex human challenges. Thus innovation in the age of the circular economy requires comprehensive practice and an interdisciplinary process that brings together the systemic view of different disciplines – to define opportunities, design sustainable solutions with long-term impact and scale innovation. Circular innovation is about creating new value that balances the benefits for all stakeholders on the planet, rather than focusing on the needs of a single customer. By becoming more interdisciplinary, ecosystems for businesses and the environment can be created that become more circular and resilient.
Speculative design could be a possible approach, together with design thinking, to tie the complex problem of interdisciplinarity for Sustainable UX. It is one of the most exciting ways for designers to practice problem solving through design. With the help of design thinking and other methods, scopes can be expanded and transboundary systems and prototypes can be developed that stimulate discussion about alternative ways of living and allow the imagination to flow freely. Design speculation has the potential to become catalysts for redefining the way we relate to reality and cultures.
Breathing is becoming increasingly important for stress relief. However it is not only good for controlling the body, but also for controlling wind instruments for example the flute.
With the development of the Hyper hybrid flute, an attempt was made to integrate the profound role of breath control into a digital flute and to take it in advance it was successful. In principle, musicians can control not only the volume, but also articulation, octave, micro-tones, etc. through breathing techniques on wind instruments. However, most existing digital versions do not capture the various effects of breathing as is possible in analogue. Instead, they rely on additional interface elements. An interface was developed that converts real-time breath data into MIDI controls. The Hyper-hybrid Flute can be switched between its electronic and acoustic modes. In acoustic mode, the interface is identical to the regular six-hole recorder. In electronic mode, the interface recognizes the player’s fingering and breathing speed and converts them into MIDI commands.
SIDE NOTE: Definition of MIDI: MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, which means “digital interface for musical instruments”. It is a language that allows computers, musical instruments and other hardware to communicate with each other. The MIDI protocol includes the interface, the language in which the MIDI data is transmitted, and the connections needed for the hardware to communicate.
The Hyper-Hybrid Flute interface has three contributions in particular:
It simulates that acoustic property of the flute where higher breathing speed leads to higher octaves and more micro-tonal pitch bending.
By exaggerating the parameters, the interface is expanded into a hyper instrument.
A simple toggle supports the change between electronic and acoustic mode.
To detect if the hole is covered by a finger when playing the flute, a ring-shaped capacitive sensor is placed on each of the six holes and the breathing rate is measured by a BMP085 air pressure sensor.
To enter the electronic mode, the musician inserts the air pressure sensor into the mouthpiece outlet. This mutes the recorder and simultaneously exposes the sensor to the air pressure in the recorder, from which the breathing speed is calculated. To enter acoustic mode, the player releases the air pressure sensor from the exit port, so that the playing of the interface is acoustic and the air pressure sensor is not triggered. The picture below shows the prototype with the attached sensors.
Controlling Octave and Micro-tone via Breath
The influence of the breath on the micro-tone and the octave can be modeled as follows:
Harder blowing at a pitch leads to an upward micro-tonal pitch bend.
When the breathing speed exceeds a specific threshold, the pitch jumps up an octave.
Such threshold values for the breathing speed increase with rising pitch. This is shown perfectly in the picture above. The higher the velocity of the breath with holding for example D# the higher the jumps to another octave are.
Measuring the relationship between pitch bend and breath pressure using an acoustic recorder gives a pitch bend coefficient of 0.055. The micro-tone enables the musician to perceive his position relative to the thresholds. This interactive feedback allows them then to calibrate their breathing speed and avoid unexpected octave jumps. Under the bend coefficient > 0.055 the interface becomes a hyper instrument. The micro-tone as a musical device offers an additional dimension of expressiveness.
How does it become a MIDI controller?
To know what pitch the instrument should produce at any given time does not make it a MIDI controller per-se, because MIDI requires a discrete stream of note on and note off events. So the interface must be stateful.
The breath velocity is compared to a threshold to determine whether the instrument should be at rest or producing a note. A rising edge in that signal marks the excitation of the instrument, which fires a Note On event. Meanwhile, a differentiator listens to the pitch and fires its output line when the pitch changes value. The differentiator output, conditioned on whether the instrument is at rest, also fires a Note On event.
What tools are used?
The interface is wireless. All sensors are connected to an Arduino Nano, which communicates with a Processing 3 sketch via Bluetooth. The sketch uses the midi bus library for MIDI messaging. The recorder body is modeled in Fusion 360 and fabricated with MJF 3D printing.
In the results of this research, it is very clear that there is still innovation in the field of wind controllers. With the ability to measure octaves, the multi modal music teaching system can be expanded to include breathing technique in the learning outcomes. The MIDI interface is accurate and allows for optimal communication through the musician’s breathing.
Therefore, the hyper-hybrid flute poses as an interesting solution on the path to the digitization of wind instrument and also new didactic concept and learning more immersive. Besides teaching, I especially see this hyper-hybrid flute applied in the context of arts and performance art but also possible in commercial productions where simulations of wind instruments might be useful. Moreover I want to mention the importance of interfaces as bridges from the analogue to the digital world, what this flute also represents. It is of high interest to combine these worlds to create even better and more comprehensive solutions and experiences. Analog and digital, these opposites both have their justification and are to a certain extent equally dependent on each other, and definitely can profit from each others strengths.
I want to close this post with Adrian Belew’s words: “Digital for storage and quickness. Analog for fatness and warmth.”
Howdy! This blog post provides a short and crisp overview of accessibility (design) particularly as it applies to web standards. Accessibility is a topic that has been mentioned many times in recent entries, so it’s time to dig a bit deeper. The purpose of the entry is mainly to refer to existing standards, to have the possibility to retrieve direct links at any time. So let’s start.
As we heard before accessibility refers to the design of the environment so that it can also be used and perceived by people with impairments without additional assistance. Accessible design focuses on the outcome or end result of a design project. It’s based on accessibility guidelines published by various governmental and industry groups, which aim to make sure people with disabilities can access websites and other digital products effectively.
In terms of web accessibility, an important metric is the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) standards by W3C. WCAG are developed through the W3C process in collaboration with individuals and organizations around the world. The goal is to create a single common standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
There are two editions of the specifications, each of which extends over several pages and describes individual cases in detail. Since it makes little sense to copy the content to this blog post, I hereby refer to the two versions for further readings:
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0; W3C Recommendation 11 December 2008: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1; W3C Recommendation 05 June 2018: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/
Another useful guide is provided by WUHCAG — Web accessibility for developers, which also builds on the WCAG standards. However it is structures as a checklist with different accessibility criteria levels. Thus it makes a good starting point to adapt or start accessibility on websites. https://www.wuhcag.com/wcag-checklist/
Nevertheless, I want to provide the most important points from the Guideline 2.1. which are divided into four basic principles for accessible web content.
Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
Make it easier for users to see and hear content.
Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
Give users enough time to read and use content.
Do not use content that causes seizures or physical reactions.
Help users navigate and find content.
Make it easier to use inputs other than keyboard.
Make text readable and understandable.
Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.
Each of these different principles have a success rating of either A, AA, or AAA. An A rating is the minimum requirement for having an accessible site and AAA is the gold standard of accessibility.
The Web-Zugänglichkeit-Gesetz (WZG) is the country-specific accessibility law in Austria, which builds on the WCAG standards.
Accessibility is a team effort between designers, developers, copywriters, and content creators. To create an accessible end product, everyone must work together and design with the guidelines in mind. Thus to establish an holistic approach of UX, accessibility needs to be one of the pillars on which it is built. Especially the discipline of Interaction Design indicates potential for creative design approaches of accessible products. Be it high-tech glasses that you wear to see or navigate, be it a smart way to hide your hearing aid, be it a flexible interface design for different user groups, etc.
While writing the last blog entry, I came across an issue that may turn out to be relevant to taking under consideration for answering my research question. Therefore, this blog entry serves as an “interim” post to discuss and contextualize my thoughts and, in the best case, provide scientific input.
The starting point constituted the following sentence from the article What You’re Getting Wrong About Inclusive Design I read for blog post #4: “Inclusivity. It’s one of the biggest buzzwords inside corporations right now. But the person who brought the practice of inclusive design to Microsoft-Kat Holmes-isn’t so sure that companies really get the idea yet.”
The statement above immediately started an inner discourse and ‘trains of thought’:
‘Trains of thought’:
„For topics that are socially relevant, specific terms develop in the media that stand for the "whole issue". In principle, this is a good idea, since it is easier for people to grasp something complex that has been presented in a simplified way. However, this observation seems extremely ambivalent to me. As much as umbrella terms emerge to take up important social issues, summarize them and make them accessible, they abstract the substance behind the actual issue. This is furthered by the inflationary use of those terms. Polarization occurs very quickly. Either everyone wants to adorn themselves with the feathers or is reluctant to put them on.
This can be seen very well with the term sustainability. Everyone knows very well that sustainability is important. Due to the inflationary use of the word, one reads about sustainability everywhere. From it two groupings developed. Those who have integrated sustainability into their lives and are convinced of its importance, and those who exploit sustainability by using it as a marketing strategy (keyword greenwashing within companies). It becomes intangible to the gross consumer as all is sustainable without communicating exactly how and why. This fosters that people can no longer relate to the topic, because it has become too general and it might causes anger that „suddenly everything has to be sustainable“, and if „I am not as sustainable as possible I am less worth“, whereby also fear of change plays a role. A similar problem takes place with inclusive design relating to this excuse of issue addressing in society and media. Everything has to be inclusive, because it is socially important to think inclusive / to be diverse.“
These ‘trains of thought’ were the starting point of the considerations after which I did my further research on buzzwords.
In fact, in many areas the problems of buzzwords are discussed and in many cases there is a political and economic factor that cannot be denied. The digital research shows that the topic around buzzwords, took place 5-10 years ago and only little current reports or statements can be found. However, the content is in keeping with the times.
In a dossier by Thomas Niehr published on the website of the German Federal Agency for Political Education in 2010 it was demonstrated that buzzwords are an excellent linguistic instrument for implementing strategies because they can be used to influence people’s thoughts and feelings.
Thus, the language strategy usually consists of strengthening one’s own position while devaluing that of the opponent. To get an approximate idea of the strategic impact of buzzwords, one needs to know who has used that buzzword in public discourse and in what way. This is especially true for buzzwords that are used to refer to controversial political ideas. Especially in public debate buzzwords are used to propagate certain demands and programs.
On the one hand, when a buzzword hits the zeitgeist and the program it contains finds many supporters, the so called “battle for words” sets in: Different groups will try to pass off the buzzword as their own, to “occupy” the buzzword for themselves. On the other hand, buzzwords are evaluated very differently depending on one’s views. For some, their association might be very positive, for other it is a synonym for the exact opposite. A distinction is therefore made between positive buzzwords and fighting- or stigma-words. The latter are used to discredit the ideas of the opponent, which is f. e. often used in political context.
What makes a word a buzzword?
It can be stated that there are no words that are buzzwords per se. Words require certain environmental conditions in order to be used as buzzwords at all. The existence of a public sphere in which buzzwords can be used and received is essential. If a demand or a program becomes explosive in such a public and is represented by a grouping, a buzzword can emerge. In retrospect, it becomes clear that such a buzzword has emerged in public discourse and has suddenly been used very frequently. This is true, for example, of environmental protection from the 1970s onward.
Some buzzwords acquire international significance and therefore also circulate, sometimes even with a time lag in different language communities. Therefore, it makes sense to analyze other structures (Note: Shape user research internationally).
Anything that you don’t want to implement for its own sake, but for an image, cannot work in my opinion.
Which leads to my conclusion that the Establishment of UX can not be driven by a specific terminology or buzzword like „Establishing UX“ rather by an unconscious process combined with political support, otherwise change will not be possible.
The questions I’m asking myself now are: Do I need buzzwords to establish a new approach to UX? Do I even need to get rid of them to make it work? And if I use some buzzwords, how dangerous or essential could they become to the process of establishment?
Buzzwords that came to my mind during research and that I recently encounter in everyday life:
Big Data Covid19 Commitment Diversity Foreigners Feminist Innovation Sustainability (derived from buzzword „environmental protection“)
Source: https://www.bpb.de/politik/grundfragen/sprache-und-politik/42720/schlagwoerter?p=0 Thomas Niehr (1993): Schlagwörter im politisch-kulturellen Kontext. Zum öffentlichen Diskurs in der BRD von 1966 bis 1974. Wiesbaden. Thomas Niehr (2007): “Schlagwort”. In: Ueding, Gert (Hrsg.): Historisches Wörterbuch der Rhetorik, Bd. 8. Tübingen, Sp. 496-502. https://www.creativejeffrey.com/creative/buzzwordproblem.php?topic=creativity https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzzword https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/40-buzzwords-that-make-smart-people-sound-stupid-most-overused-corporate-jargon.html Harr, Peter Josef. Bedrohtes Menschsein. Eine kritische Analyse unserer Gesellschaft unter dem Aspekt der Liebe. Lit Verlag. Berlin, 2009. S.87 Buzzword Innovation — article: „Moving beyond buzzwords.“ by Dov Greenbaum and Markk Gerstein 2 books reflecting on society’s semantic station with „innovation“. In both books innovation was stated out as a term that has been reduced to a buzzword. Both books are valuable in forcing us to appreciate what is truly valuable to society. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abd9805
The last entry was about Universal Design, which is a design approach / a paradigm / a strategy that has the overall goal to create environments that can be used by everyone to the greatest extent possible.
This entry will be about Inclusive Design which is often mentioned synonymously in literature for either universal design or accessibility. Therefore, one of the goals for this entry is to deeply understand the meaning of inclusive design and to illustrate the difference (if there actually is a difference) to universal design and other design methods.
I started by googling the terminology inclusive design and I came across a wide variety of definitions. Sometimes it is equated with universal design, then it is described as not quite the same but very similar, then it is explained in comparison to accessibility.
In the course of researching I came across Kate Holmes, who works for Microsoft and has established inclusive design in the company structure, especially in the design process.
In her article „What You’re Getting Wrong About Inclusive Design“ she states out a major point what inclusive design really is and not is. It is a design process not a design result.
Thus inclusive design is not only about trying to design for an outcome to be accessible, usable, experienceable for everyone. It is a methodology for how to approach design for creating design that can be used by a diverse group of people. In the digital realm, the process of inclusive design starts by identifying situations where people are excluded from using particular technologies. Recognizing that exclusion can happen to anyone depending on the particular circumstances is a key element to inclusive design methodology.
Inclusive design and accessible design both focus on the idea that disabilities happen at the intersection where people and their environments interact. Inclusive design, in particular, recognizes that solutions that work for people with a disability are likely to also work well for people in diverse circumstances.
The terminologies inclusive design, accessible design and universal design are often mixed or confused, because there are also many similarities. They are connected by the shared goal to create digital products that can be used by the widest possible group of people, regardless of their current circumstances. To make it clearer to understand the interference, I would place the term Universal Design in the hierarchy as a paradigm above inclusive- and accessible design, as it represents the intersection of their commonalities, and describe Inclusive Design as the process oriented strategy approach and Accessibility as a benchmark for an outcome of design.
As a conclusion, when designers pay attention to the people who are actually using the products they develop, and how they adapt when something doesn’t work well for them, UX designers can use inclusive design principles to create user-friendly products that work for the majority of people and meet accessibility guidelines in the process.
In the course of researching inclusive design, I came across the term "discursive design", which is about design that encourages discourse. This term provides an interesting component to the establishment of UX and has therefore been added to the Glossary, where you are welcome to read about it.
As the glossary in my last blog entry shows very well, there are already existing concepts which cover topics that I planned to bring in the context of UX and its establishment during my research. So, in upcoming blog entries, I’ll take a closer look at the following terms: Universal Design, Inclusive Design, Accessibility, Green UX, UX Metrics and everything I’ll come across within this research that turns out to be central for my research topic.
This Blog entry will cover universal design, its 7 principles and its (socio-) ecological impact.
Universal Design has its origins in architecture and it is seen variously as a design approach, a process, a paradigm, or as a design attitude leading to a design strategy. This strategy overall aims to create environments that can be used by everyone to the greatest extent possible. Universal design is based on the idea that a design which meets the needs of excluded groups, such as the elderly, children or persons with disabilities, will also improve the product experience of a broad range of social groups.
While universal design is often mentioned along with related concepts like accessibility and inclusive design, it can be distinguished by its goal of creating a single design solution that can serve as large a diversity of users as possible.
Universal design is not only a theoretical concept, there is a guidance within 7 principles, how a designer can achieve universality in design.
7 Principles of Universal Design
The 7 Principles of Universal Design were developed in 1997 by a working group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental designers led by the late Ronald Mace at North Carolina State University. According to the Center for Universal Design at NCSU, the principles “can be applied to evaluate existing designs, guide the design process, and educate both designers and consumers about the characteristics of more usable products and environments.”
Principle 1: Equitable Use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
Principle 4: Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently, comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.
Moreover, the research gave me some examples where universal design implies added value for ecology and socio-ecology. In the article „Designing for the future? Integrating energy efficiency and universal design in Belgian passive houses“ by Ermal Kapedani it was said that energy efficiency (EE) and universal design (UD) are two important fields addressing parts of the environmental and social pillars of sustainability.
Another article examined whether universal design combined with a socioecological approach improves measured accessibility compared to existing fitness facilities. It was shown that universal design coupled with a social ecological approach improves accessibility in fitness facilities and results in a reasonable payback time. It led to higher scores than comparison facilities and excess revenue exceeded the extra cost of accessibility enhancements. Therefore, Universal Design combined with a socio-ecological approach leads to successful results.
Japan is well known for a very well implemented universal design approach and acts as a model country in regards to providing accessibility. Japan has built efficiency into the experience, removing friction and guiding you through a range of services from renting an apartment to taking out the rubbish. Train stations are one of the best examples of universal design and equitable use, allowing a wide range of people to access the station.
Hello again. The first blog entry was meant to be like a kick-off entry/overview for the process of research within this project. It consists of information, assumptions, opinions and perceptions. To answer the questions I asked myself i have to close some knowledge gaps before. It will be important during my research to recheck these assumptions and to find a best solution approach within my topic.
Before I follow up on the content and questions from the first entry, I would like to clarify and define terminologies I will work with. Therefore this blog entry is used as a small glossary for UX related terms I came across within my research already and which I will update continuously in course of my further research. Additionally the glossary should help me in my research to follow a clear direction and to avoid misconceptions.
There we go:
++ A/B Testing
A/B testing is the comparison of two designs against each other to determine which performs better.
The practice of designing experiences for people who experience disabilities. Those with difficulty with any of the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch or taste may be benefitted by using products and services that have been designed with accessibility in mind.
++ Agile UX
Agile UX adds UX design and research methods to the agile methodology. The most important driver for Agile UX is the close cooperation between developers, UX designers and UX researchers during the entire process of product development. Ideally, every sprint entails a design and/or research goal. By planning, testing, optimizing and re-testing elements throughout the project, the UX team is able to roll out a final product that has already been validated by their target users.
++Corporate Identity (CI)
The corporate identity concept can be seen as a strategic concept for positioning the identity of a company and defining a clear uniform self-image, both within the company and in the corporate environment. By developing a clear “we-awareness”, the corporate identity concept is intended to establish a corporate culture internally as a network of lived behavioral patterns and norms. Decisions are made on the basis of a uniform corporate image or identity and corporate mission statement. This enables a significantly higher compatibility and synergy of corporate activities and releases considerable motivation potential through identification with the company and its policies.
++ Cognitive Biases
Cognitive biases are errors in reasoning, memory or other cognitive processes that result from holding onto existing beliefs regardless of contrary information. There are more than 100 documented cognitive biases, commonly categorized in four categories: biases that arise from too much information, not enough meaning, the need to act quickly, and the limits of memory. Cognitive biases are particularly important to be aware of while conducting research, as a way of arriving at truer findings instead of relying on personal preferences. Example: Designer Bob loves minimalist design, and exhibits confirmation bias when he decides to approach his new UI project with an ultra-minimalist approach.
++ Customer Experience (CX)
CX refers to all the different interactions a user has with a brand through its different channels and products, and how a user feels about them. It has a profound impact on brand trust.
++ Customer Journey Map
User journey maps depict an entire process that a hypothetical user can go through. From the information process, to the booking process, to the purchasing process. This mapping goes far beyond a single product or service. It also considers everything that lies outside of individual touchpoints (such as a website).
Customer journey maps visualize how users would achieve their goals and complete tasks. Ideally, research should show the pain points and customer needs within this map. Journey maps are often presented as timelines to demonstrate interaction points covering the beginning, middle and end of an experience.
++ Design Thinking
Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. Involving five phases—Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test—it is most useful to tackle problems that are ill-defined or unknown.
++ Discursive Design
Discursive Design is about exploring how design can be used for good-, prompting self-reflection, igniting the imagination, and affecting positive social change. Discursive design (derived from “discourse”) targets the intellect, prompting self-reflection and igniting the imagination and expands the boundaries of how we can use design; how objects are, in effect, good(s) for thinking.
++ Inclusive Design
The British Standards Institute (2005) defines inclusive design as: ‘The design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible … without the need for special adaptation or specialized design. Inclusive design does not suggest that it is always possible (or appropriate) to design one product to address the needs of the entire population. Instead, inclusive design guides an appropriate design response to diversity in the population through: Developing a family of products and derivatives to provide the best possible coverage of the population. Ensuring that each individual product has clear and distinct target users. Reducing the level of ability required to use each product, in order to improve the user experience for a broad range of customers, in a variety of situations.
++ (UX) KPIs
In business administration, the term “key performance indicators” is generally used to refer to the success, performance or capacity utilization of a company, its individual organizational units or a machine. UX KPIs are key performance indicators that can be used to manage and coordinate UX in companies. They are intended to help integrate UX into the company and increase the UX maturity level.
++ Mental Model
A user’s mental model is a conceptualization or internal explanation each user has built about how a particular system works. As Norman says (1990), it is a natural human response to an unfamiliar situation to begin building an explanatory model a piece at a time. We look for cause-and-effect relationships and form theories to explain what we observe and why, which then helps guide our behavior and actions in task performance.
According to Norman, each user’s mental model refers to a product of many different inputs. Two core variables are “knowledge in the head” and “knowledge in the world”. Knowledge in the head comes from mental models of other systems, user expertise, and past experience. Knowledge in the world comes from other users, the work context, common cultural conventions, documentation, and the conceptual design of the system itself.
A persona is a fictional representations of a user group you’re designing for. Personas help stakeholders understand who you have in mind when you make design decisions, and act as a reminder to teams that “You are not your user.” Contrary to popular belief, personas are not to be taken as one actual person, but rather as a mix representing a group of users with similar behaviors and mental models. Personas are often created early in the design process so the designer knows who it is designed for.
++Return On Investment
A measure for evaluating business performance. In traditional finance, ROI is the most common “profitability ratio” most often calculated by dividing net profit by total assets. The general idea of ROI helps product teams evaluate whether certain efforts are worth pursuing.
++ User-Centered Design
An approach for designing a product or service (user interface design), in which the end user is in the center of the process.
++ Universal Design
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. By considering diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that meet peoples’ needs. There are 7 principles universal design follows.
Usability is a measure of how well a specific user in a specific context can use a product/design to achieve a defined goal effectively, efficiently and satisfactorily. Designers usually measure a design’s usability throughout the development process—from wireframes to the final deliverable—to ensure maximum usability.
++ Usability Testing
Usability testing is the act of evaluating products or services by testing them with users. During usability tests, researchers observe participants who attempt to complete tasks. The goal is to identify usability problems, collect qualitative and quantitative data and determine participants’ reactions to an experience.
++ User Interface (UI)
UI is the medium through which users interact with an experience, product or device. Your mobile screen, the automated checkout kiosks at grocery stories, the keyboard on your laptop and the way Alexa responds to your voice are all examples of user interfaces.
The path(s) that users take to complete tasks or achieve their goals. From the perspective of analytics software like Google Analytics, journey maps visualize “a person’s experience during one session of using a website or application, consisting of the series of actions performed to achieve a particular goal.”
++ UX Analytics
UX Analytics are important for knowing how User Experiences are going. There are different tools to obtain analytics metrics. While companies used to run focus groups, client interviews and in-lab studies, today the right testing software enables organizations to conduct user research online to scale and quantify results continuously.
++ UX Design (UXD)
UXD is the practice of affecting the user experience through a user-centered design process, with a focus on usability and making user interfaces easy to understand. User experience design is a broad field containing many subfields like information architecture, research, UI design and more. Contrary to popular belief, user experiences designers cannot design all the possibilities of an end-user’s experience (too subjective and vast), but these professionals can apply a design process to help users complete the most important actions.
++ User Experience
User Experience (UX) is everything that happens to a user while interacting with a product, service or general experience. This includes the person’s emotions, attitudes, reactions and behavior during the experience. As a design field, UXBeginner defines user experience at three levels: Level 1 (broadest): the general experience anyone can have with a product or service. Level 2 (as philosophy): Placing the user – and their experience – as the priority and origin of truth for product design. Level 3 (as a way of doing things): UX leverages design thinking, processes, tools and techniques (wireframes, sitemaps) in order to create and affect the user’s experience.
Sources: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/user-mental-model https://careerfoundry.com/en/blog/ux-design/ux-design-glossary/ https://uxmastery.com/resources/glossary/ https://www.uxbeginner.com/glossary/ https://djangostars.com/blog/ui-ux-terms-everyone-should-know/ https://medium.com/@workatplay/the-persona-is-past-its-prime-meet-the-mental-model-a41ac415906d Interface Design : Usability, User Experience und Accessibility im Web gestalten http://www.inclusivedesigntoolkit.com/whatis/whatis.html https://wirtschaftslexikon.gabler.de/definition/key-performance-indicator-kpi-52670
Establishing User Experience by adapting to defined standards for today’s society.
The topic arose on the basis of problems that I personally have noticed. This encloses issues for UX-Designers in the work context and which that play a current role in societal life. The idea is to connect these subjects to establish UX comprehensively and holistically.
1) Reputation of UX in general
It is hard-pressed to find any product with a user interface that is not subject to UX principles. However, there seems to be a certain contradiction between the recognized importance of UX for the product and the actual influence or relevance granted to the UX team in companies.
UX has existed in the high-tech industry for several decades, however for a long period it has not had a unified name while also not having been marked by high relevance. This has changed to a certain extent over the years, but still to less to make a general difference.
So it is part of the problem’s statement to find a way to further establish UX f.e. in companies context.
Questions for further research:
++ In which professional fields is UX already established? ++ What are the benefits of UX for a company? ++ Is UX measurable?
2) Sustainability in digital technologies
Currently, a highly politicized issue is that of sustainability. There are various guidelines on how a website and digital design can be made more sustainable and thus more accessible in order to reduce energy consumption. And there are as well a lot of concepts to use ICT to develop sustainable output. Although a community has formed around the topic of ‚Green Web’ and sustainability during the last decade, it is still too little of a controversial topic within interaction design and it is lacking in general awareness and power.
So I asked myself if it is possible to integrate meaningfully the issue of sustainability into the field of UX to further strengthen its significance and reputation.
Questions for further research:
++ What is the current value of sustainability in Interaction Design? ++ What does sustainable Design/UX/ICT mean? ++ Is there an existing connection between sustainability and UX?
3) UX and gender equity
As I mentioned before UX is not as established as it could or even should be. One question that arise to me is: Does UX need a redesign not only in terms of sustainability but in terms of gender equity. A lot of (digital) products are designed on the standards of male persons. Furthermore designs are often built on stereotypes. Likewise the topic of sustainability, to establish UX usefully the standards have to change, which is why I also want to have a look on the aspects of integrating gender equity in UX for its establishment.
Questions for further research:
++ What is the role of gender equity in the field of interaction design? ++ How can we design gender sensitive? ++ Why is gender equity in design significant?
In the following blog entries, I will discuss the results of my research from each of the areas listed above (1, 2, and 3).