Posts tagged with User Research:

Design Research in a Non-Linear World

Co-Authored by Cynthia Kossayan

When we studied social sciences in college, we learned a systematic way of understanding topics and issues. It’s a very linear process with a finite number of data points, well-defined methods, and there was always that defined period when the data collection ended.

Our real-life experiences outside of academia in the design world have been anything but linear. As we’ve worked on a range of research and design programs at SKD, we have been thinking critically about the linear path we learned in school.

This is due in part to the shifting nature of information and in part to who we are. In a program we did recently for a technology client, we became very immersed in Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, terms coined by Marc Prensky. He uses the terms to draw an analogy about people’s understanding technology to a country’s natives, who find the local religion, language, and cultural means as natural and indigenous, compared with immigrants who, when new to a country, often need and are expected to adapt and begin to adopt the local culture.

We, along with all of the other young people entering the workforce, are Digital Natives.

We are different practitioners dealing with completely different sets of data than our predecessors.

Today, data is scattered and it’s pervasive. There are pools of data constantly being updated, filtered, created and archived and they’re sitting, waiting to be mined. According to Don Tapscott, there have been 5 exabytes of data collected between the dawn of civilization and 2003. (An Exabyte equals one quintillion bytes). Today, 5 exabytes of data are collected every two days!




Designing for Digital Natives

Last year, Karten Design had the opportunity to work with Hitachi Global Storage—a company that challenged us to re-imagine the external hard drive for “Digital Natives.” This generation of customers sees no boundaries between the digital world and what older Digital Immigrants call “the real world.” Their viewpoint opens new opportunities, and challenges designers to create unlimited possibilities for new products, interfaces and experiences.

As I look at all of the new technologies and products being unveiled this week, I think the lessons we learned during our LifeStudio project with Hitachi GST are particularly poignant: good consumer electronics design makes experiences more accessible and enjoyable. That’s what I hope I will see at CES.

Can Tech Newbys Design Products for Tech Natives

Most designers are digital immigrants–and yet their target audiences are digital natives. That poses a serious challenge for designers.

Originally published on Co Design, August 26th, 2010

Ever wonder why the email icon on your computer looks like a postage stamp or an envelope? Think about it: email has almost made the postage stamp irrelevant, so why does the icon cling to an antiquated ceremony?

Some of the research we’ve been doing at Karten Design has clarified such seeming paradoxes and made me wonder how our products and interfaces will take shape in the years to come. Until recently, many objects have taken cues from established ceremonies, whether mailing a letter or filing a piece of paper. Much of this has to do with the sensibilities of a product’s target audience: Digital Immigrants. CONTINUE »

Hiking, Design Research-Style

Co-authored by Erin Mays

Who would have thought that a professional design mixer in the scenic Topanga State Park would turn into a case study on group decision-making? I guess that’s what you get when you put 10 designers, strategists and researchers together on a Saturday morning…

This Saturday, we joined a group of co-workers and local design professionals on a hike in LA’s Topanga State Park. After 2.5 miles of uphill hiking, we paused to take in the view at the Parker Mesa Overlook, which on a clearer day would have provided panoramic views from the Pacific Ocean to the San Fernando Valley.

That’s when it happened. On one of the Cliffside benches, we spotted a set of BMW keys, presumably forgot, dropped, or just plain lost.

Our hearts immediately went out to the guy[1] who would soon return to his car only to find himself locked out and unable to return home for a shower. Our group quickly fixated on the lost keys and the dilemma they presented: how best to see them returned to the owner. As a group of trained problem solvers, our instincts took over and we found ourselves asking questions.