Sunday, 12 July 2015

Atom 48: Does Experiences Kill Usability?

If you would have looked at a decade of User Experience evolution, the remarkable shift from early years to now, is the curve of experience that shifts to more of engagement factors. How to engage an user through experience is the primary question at the back of the designer or business mind. The engagement was not the back-bone of the interface design by deep-diving into the history, though there were subjects of bringing in persuasion or emotional design to fore-front. The emotional attribute was in generic related to the visual aesthetics but not thoroughly that touches content, interaction and micro-detailing. It really shows experience is just the whole piece rather than a single marvel.

Enough of that we understand the micro-details and minimalism shine at foreground, but we do also need to keep in mind of the "usability" or "efficiency" that taught us to solve rudimentary issues before choreography of experiences sprung up to create the magic. We sometimes think Usability can suffer under hands of elaborated scrolls, unwanted transitions, inefficient content and more that can kill its existence. It's not fashion that user's can brag of the excellency but its sheer mechanics of time, task, need and hope. Yes, hope of coming to a site or place in expectation of resolving or knowing a need where a task is established in which time is involved!

If you would have been a follower of Wimbledon Tournament in recent days, then many would not have missed the IBM's Wimbledon website, a very refreshing look to the tennis sport. One thing and only thing that stands the best is the experience of the live video as a backdrop when the tournament or play has completed for the day. The video brings in touch of Wimbledon terraces, drinking spots, city lights and garden fountain in front of your eyes!

But that's all that is do with experience, when the usability is a forgotten aspect on the site - which so far mesmerizes to think going extra-ordinary does not mean the basics are not achieved. The good scenario is to understand of how a tournament site should work at basic level - when no live scores are shown upfront or neither correct information of the play is updated; which may be the purposes in addition to selling tickets and cross-selling Wimbledon products. I believe the tournament scores have to be the chief mechanics for the website, which is not lucidly shown or when it says  "Play is in progress" it also queer to figure out that when actual state of the match is "suspended momentarily", where trust and usability are beaten hands-down to show how a credible or usable website is this one to be. There are also other inconsistent information or arrangements that really perplexes the whole idea - Arrows everywhere (which it means forward or a video?), arrows with different affordances, primary navigation at a strange location, content order of the primary navigation is clueless or baseless (what choice was that to make About section to stay up ahead of shop or foundation), infrequent news update section, footer section right at the foot of the screen.

When Experiences like best of images, videos or technical improvisation enlivens a site it does not undermine to kill usability for sheer joy or accolades. User experience strategy should tie all its base elements in pure grounded manner when the experience aspects can float in obscurity - when the whole design in unseen against time, task, need and the user's worthwhile hope stays positive finally!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Atom 46: Intrigue Factor: The tangential direction on creativity

The intrigue factor which I would like to measure is to arose curiosity, unusual framing & deliberate differences. Intrigue quality leads suspicion in mind, and rather an element if cognitive dissonance. It's deliberate - Yes - planned to look at in a differing angle, planned by planners that the lookers look for the sense behind. The dissonance that is built is leaned to get solved by the lookers or users ( consumers) by a way that naturally would be satisfied or correlated.

Intrigue factor is an essence to produce an experience that is commendable, if the ideation is brilliant. It nicely needs be crafted that is no overboard or too-queer (intrigued) that misses the sweet-spot. It laces well on the mind of consumers by which the output of the experience is felt on good-high of the curve. The experiences can range from good-will, care, rush, need, fun to oblivion. It's intertwined with emotional elements and the intrigue factor simply built with it, either in solo or in orchestrated manner.

I recently viewed the "Flipkart" ;one of the leading online retail company advertisement on the cable channel, which really got the intrigue factor. Element used is unusual body-language, funny & real setting. It makes you think a while of the narrative flip-book-like animation of background settings change while the body-language just remains the same. It keeps it simple and terrific consistent s the next time the body-language makes you to move to what the core message under the hood is. Why the second time? Simply dissonance needs to be settled firstly before finding the core message under the creative ad. The pull towards will naturally flow on successive viewing though! Not only here, most of the music albums does do have it.

Don't forget the intrigue factor which is just unnoticed and untold most frequently. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Atom 45: What's wrong with the Appraisal System?

Baffled and Wonder-struck one more time!
Is Appraisal a healthy system? Is Appraisal really helping you out? Is it just a gimmick practice?

Mostly appraisal system is equipped to have Goals, Measurement or Metric Values, Comments or Your say and which is over-checked by a senior official either rated or remarked. There could be minor deviations with the way its handled or structured, but at a high-level it is just a mere grumble box!

An appraisal system is a measure to help oneself to exceed or match benchmarks when the experience grows with it - or when results are looked at either as in numbers, money or by quality standards. In dictionary terms "an act of estimating or judging the nature or value of something or someone", but in true nature we been second guessing or interpreting someone's act in a short span of time. This is highly linked to short-term association vs. long time association with a superior or evaluator. I say, we been interpreting since it always does not mean, How truly the person had delivered his/her responsibility. Why so?

The real conundrum of Evaluator vs Doer -

1. The evaluator will look for patterns to conclude on the estimation part (which by far means is subjective - where 5 good deeds vs 1 bad deed vs 2 normal deed = Nothing but just interpretation)
2. The evaluator looks towards relationship and personal reflection by which it means somewhere evaluator may turn little softened by any one bad deed vs other good deeds.
3. Evaluator may not be in a position to completely understand an individual (except for a long standing association) - since the knowledge area of a doer is well less understood in different circumstances - which really needs time and once again guided by patterns
4. A passing Evaluator is no more a great fillip to the process - looks to me as a "bystander" who may or may not get to see the real value or may blow smaller mistakes to larger proportions, Worse case when the evaluator is less knowledgeable to understand the Doer's subject but alternatively seeks only what the project had requirements lead to
5. A Doer just who wants to win the Evaluator score - can easily manipulate or deceive own intentions, acts or qualities - which by means is self-defeating
6. An experience Doer can be easily dissatisfied with understanding relation status with Evaluator and stop performing after a threshold - also can get to a stand-still if not the task means to be regular or less challenging

In all, its highly complex to state the system never is a true picture of Evaluator or Doer by just like "Life is a stage, where men and women are actors"  in lines of Shakespeare - all boils to mere traumatic rat-race scene. Its a trash-bin if the system just makes the Doer [feel like] ordinary or extraordinary [not a true-self projection], It may also see that relationship building is all that makes one to stay afloat or one-time achievers banner may re-surface in multiple roles or projects.

If the system itself behaves a passing cloud, nowhere anybody would like to trick the system - atleast humans by good-will! A true building system should be instead modeled to help the "Doer" be in commanding position when in need. It simply means - Drop the Goal business and move to "Action" setting; Stop Measuring and move to "Scores"; Stop Commenting and move to "Guides".

It looks like this -
Applying Gamification mildly on this new appraisal system where
1. Action setting - leads to simply check-list that lays a roadmap (Something if you were a designer - hands on a new tool vs. Something if you were a CEO - to win a new business in new market) with easy scores laid on it - If you act on it, you get a score - anybody can read it or cross-lay it with past events [Goal setting is more of "What is in future" - simply Action is "What is now" - Pick a Scorecard any moment, any day and willfully change your patterns or learning to suit the context]
2. Measure Me is just a goof; with all said above and more - Nobody can measure unless oneself measures truly their own abilities [agreed, feedback from opponent end helps -but only if you do agree - its in oneself-own hands], If Action is true - You get a score - You deserve where you need to be, rather to measure anybody on 1 good deed or 5 bad deeds, If you succeed with your action - You win or lose or make second attempt. Ultimately all your scores of your behavior, skills, learning & investment are mapped sequentially and is a portable process even you move from Project "A" to Project "Z".
3. Comments once again may stand True, Neutral, False, Absurd and only if you agree it as a Doer. Guides are set to help to bring viewpoints when the scores toppled or Action's have not been streamlined or completed. It should provide chances, excuses and be transparent to ideally except Human tend to make mistakes [Guessed So - If you need to have a healthy Score - you would have a clean slate and cut noises] - Guides also should seek to see the crest and trough of individual, What If - You been a great performer, and fell to dismal caves of sheer external environment or act and came back to the zenith - Its a measure that is commendable! Now where are all these qualities or Guides that make you keep tracking or aiding when the chips are down.

Appraisal should atleast benefit the Doer to carry the case and see the strength and performance guide with a sheer reflection as a mirror, but not like a morning fog! Evaluator should value the Doer and be a "Traffic-constable" to realize, lead, prune or guide the Doer on any day. Its the Doer's score and life, and Evaluator should be proud to make Doer to Do his acts - leave alone to measure oneself by themselves and compare where in a day they stand and where they are heading to.

All organization build Appraisal System as a measure to drive a system to improvise the Org, wherein the real need is to improve Individuals who will be tactical and strategical point of source - where the "self" needs to be made larger than the "Organization", We need to run systems willingly against the poor vice-versa mechanism!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Atom 44: Stuck Passively?

Its been some time now rather more than 5 years that treading through the UX domain - plethora of changes had swiftly changed the way we adopt,engage and deliver goods. I remember where it was more of one device that we been looked to address upon with a less noises to turn around! In an evolving and rapid ever growing technology field - You been standing still? or Moved a little?, Guess Quick; need to cover up the miles before left in obsolete.

But I am not talking about survival now, but a revival in stake. With devices just thrown in like a toy-store, designer have lots to think and rather play with it - never I would think it was exciting as now! I rather believe its upping as a trend - where soon digital life will be part of your self in a decade's time. Once again - when such a rapid stage shakes you up, now and then, Would all your processes, frameworks and methodologies need to just be static? One of it, Delivering Wireframes or Prototypes!

We highly bank on HTML to show us interface behavior of micro-interactions and details. Now we need to think of cross-channel devices or atleast one-to-many devices. But always showcasing design through Static Prototype is pretty slicing all your abilities by half. It never means, we made our best effort to think in three states or few desirable states of transition - but rather chosen a way to replicate the static flows in multiple diagrams. Limited exploration of certain tools like Axure, Powerpoint, Fireworks, Flash and few other open source tools showcase interaction flow, rather no straight foward approach! But, it never been so lucid and easy or natural to create an Active Prototype or a perfect tool to create rich interfaces in blink of an eye! Interactive Prototyping has covered basic flows, manageable task but not encased rich interactive flows seamlessly - Imagine a way to discover powerful interaction flow that has got myriad ways to be creative.

Its high time where things are getting highly demanding, exploding & enticing to get on with Active Prototyping bandwagon, and if so been Stuck Passively with the non-interactive modes. Its never meaningful to be unnatural messing around with static tools (even with inclusion of tools like Axure), when time is ripe to use, explore and deliver with a far better tool like Muse,, Indigo Studio (newest to arrive). Active Prototyping will correlate with the need to stand with expectations of rich design and to capture micro-interactions - which ideally helps project members, client and design community. But is this enough, a marriage between Powerpoint animation techniques that when overlaps with interaction software is a greater bet, which is just intuitive and easy.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Atom 43: Wake Up, You are Creative!

Educated as a designer? Breathing ideas? Smelling problems? Visualizing end-products? 
All these never been out of passionate designer's life-line, I said life-line, I strongly believe that living as a designer will be a gifted one, where you can still live fresh without ever knowing you had been burnt-out working or thinking endlessly! Dual life, sometimes a drunkard lives in you,in certain dazed and dazzled days :-)

A designer will have been running through various assignments either be freelancing or regularized - evolving concepts and ideas, bringing more natural charisma to the floor, where people always looking at your works (not calling these deliverables, Please give a break!) pop-eyed closely. Certainly, there would be cumulative experiences that you have gathered and created, but somewhere due to lots of external factors and environmental, cost, resources factors may have influenced to a clinical approach - processes and streamlined practices would have barged in to bifurcate the creative stream. If this been a temporary off-shoot for a specific time limit, it seems no larger show-stopper. But on continual failing to cope with urge and seemingly unfit routine to get driven by processes - creates a valley, where processes must have taken you off-route. 

I think the valley is no longer existential, if certain bridges of smaller degree creativity keeps looming you now and then. But, conscious state of connecting and crossing-over these islands of void helps to bring back the original self of oneself. Its been process vs. fluidity that constantly engulfs one in the design field, may it be the project management role or on-site clientele pressure to close solutions; by and large are untold designers wall crawling moss. School education in design, must have brought lots of creativity and less of detailing but hitherto as time moves ahead, we get clogged with money, fame, responsibility and expertise to drive us to clean up the kitchen sink sooner rather than later; where conscious self awareness could keep us enlightened to not get drifted away - but keep these unsighted valley's thwarted. I believe its faintly due to lot of external resources may have shrouded our inbuilt capacity - which most probably a creative genius would be self-aware, would have silently went to the drawing board, gathered pencils and chalks - withdrawn, smiling, solving one more time looking at the world from his end!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Atom 42: Trend or Behavior? Chicken-Egg Conundrum?

We have found myriad trends that emerge bubbling up, as technology evolves.The recent boom been the Smartphones and suitably followed by Tablets. World is going Mobile, and real genius like Apple turned things in an overnight, such shift never been the quickest in the history of any evolution and adoption.

Behavior is closely tied to how technology relates to humans. Using it to the greatest aid makes life simple and delightful. Imagine how Fitbit, Pebble, Nike + & Jawbone UP all create greater support to the living system.But the slimmest line is untold as technology revolutionizes the products (some tend to fade quickly) and humans just get attracted in the swirl of its immersivity! Behavior evolves by adoption and that naturally says to be the trend.

Another school of thought, is perhaps, trend like QR code which channels the behavior around the technology that stood to be called a trend. Companies using Big data to help to make their own decision, which will be eventually leading to more personalisation to the end users.The Big data will churn a behavioral change of making consumers to look out on more as "Me-sumers" - naturally a behavioral change evolving where perceptions, expectations and belief system are transformed.

The crux of this looks quite lucid that a behavior change is just post to trend evolution - but quite subtly only the first wave of it may seem so (not always), as a strong case of a iPad device created series of flutter (ideal thought process to create portable powerful device as envisioned by Steve Jobs) eventually a creator thinks so "What else my fellow-humans or my users would really love to have" (a natural behavior phenomena that lead to creation).It ultimately shows for the tablet market do not hibernate or stop there;but a microcosm of how subsequent transition it may face is also forthcoming. The usage of Second screen is a causative factor of this behavioral attribute - and which leads to the context of upholding a significant market for Smart TV, wherein the additional wave leads to new trend of Smart TV evolution. This evolution will have its own consumption story that may well emerge into more fluidic interfaces - without any device to frame a content. Purely technology that may have always been catalyst supporting both the "Trend" or "Behavior", nevertheless its a Chicken-Egg conundrum in simple terms, where a trend turn to a behavioral change and by lots of boredom, paucity and constant outlook for new ideas (busy neurons!) the behavior pushes to a new trend where humans either choose or reject to live with it!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Atom 41: Hear Jack! Speaks Business!

Novice and Expert Jack's are split-personality roles. EJ is an inner-self of NJ and truly leads in finding a new mission for the bored NJ - Hear Jack!

Novice "Jack": I been talking to Clients, team and leading it one way on my designs?
Expert "Jack": Yeah, you been great NJ, But What Next? You just need to move to Board rooms now!

N-J: You think so? Am I made for it?
E-J: Turn into a UX Strategist - It will turn the world for good, and trust me, you' ll love it
N-J: That's brilliant! So Where do I start?
E-J: You need to learn Business Strategies, think how you could churn money through your skill-set
N-J: Don't you think I been doing this kinda work under-the-hood earlier....
E-J: I bet you did it, but that's no more skimming on the surface, get to the depth behaving a "Strategist"...
N-J: Um, So How I climb this uphill........

E-J: Not a serious tough-nut to-crack NJ.....
E-J: Look one deliverable that may stand different from what you are doing.....
E-J: UX Strategy documentation - that explains; strengths of org, market share, competitive benchmarking, customer segments, business plans, roadmaps with solutions - Do you see the value in it?
N-J: Hey, I have done certain things of these pieces
E-J: But, What you need to address is how you will turn your solutions to money. How you would end on RoI and more so talking on business perspective and holding the problem by scruff-of-its neck!
N-J: Looks you want me to get the "jargon confetti of biz minded break-up value and find barriers to entry by understanding backwash effects and build Balance Scorecards by leveraging backward integration if so, or really dissect brochurewares and study buy phases"
E-J: Thats more you need to converse now NJ!!

E-J: Lets say plainly - you need to Understand Company like Positioning, Market share, Impact on Margins, Competitors profitability. Understand Biz Strategy like Sales Projections, Strategic Gap Analysis, Operating plans, Supply chain management, Industry Analysis and Vision. Understanding Customers and Behaviors.
E-J: More simply - Where are you now? Define Where you want to be?  How will you get there? How will you measure success? The viable future is managing brand experiences through Reflections-Frames-Solutions
N-J: Interesting, I need to now start defining problems in business areas, societies & draft ideas to devise plans
E-J: Look at Apple, Belron, First Direct and Zappos - deeply diving into customer touchpoints, not just marketing messages and are top performers in CX and advocacy
N-J: What questions more should I ask then.......?
E-J: Questions like - Can you link UX Measures to strategic goals of the org? Link between UX and Business performance? Do you have clear framework for which you can plan and prioritize UX activities? Brand values and UX linkages? Understanding of pain points across different customer touch points?
E-J: Its something that you may try to discover through Reflections, move to framing vision/principles, lay a roadmap and measure to discover anything been left out in a loop
N-J: As a UX Strat - I learn that to dig deep insights of customer, company and identify opportunities and improvise the business processes.
N-J: Do not you think that a Business Strategist is also well learnt to be more like UX Strategist?
E-J: Both bring complementary skills to the table and that's why more its intended you to learn the Business terminologies, metrics, deliverables earlier rather than later, and justify the claim in making decisions.
N-J: Oh, right, you mean to be a central role and bring decision from different perspective and tying it with the more relevant structural language of business
E-J: Yes, NJ. Love to see you planning your Shift in a smooth way that your language is getting enriched and seems more fruitful for the receivers, Lets visit sometime soon, and find how good is your disposition channel!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Atom 40: YDCIDC : You don't care! I don't care.

Recently, I witnessed a great vicissitude of transition in emotional behaviour on a service termination, rather on telecom. It was not easy to stand to see a cross-channel break up of all departments - sales, customer service and call centres. How often can you digest when differing view points are brought on a simple Termination of a connection? Termination of connections would mean losing customers in a rudimentary language. Reasons may be migration to newer services, lets call this "Responsive transition"; where the dissatisfaction or alternate service providers reign decision for customers.  It's responsive state for the companies or providers since they lose customers and do need to act - if the genuine reason's are mapped and necessary shift is somewhat deviated. Apart from this, there stands other "Non-responsive transition", which do not highly be intervened by suppliers as the customers may have solely decided on personal grounds. Eg. Migration to another country.

These "Responsive transition" is a major bet that should be aimed by the providers, where each of the departments or silos should work in tandem and co-create a company. The creation is a term that defines here to rebuild or reinvigorate the brand or problem in front of customer's eyes. It should showcase its necessary willingness to retain the customer base by more channelized, mediated & directed methods. By more so, even this approach fails to retain the customer - it should take due responsibility to not tarnish brand image which relates to brand equity. 

All disjointed departments and poor service design leads to deteriorate perception of the brand and workforce culture. Responsive participation to weed problems of the customer is never understood and in more worse case - the customer service never asked me a question of Why I need a termination. They never cared about the termination, except that they had to communicate it back to the corporate office and guided on a half-baked process (since they really did not understand how back-office of termination works). Merely they served as a mailing service and disjointed role with the Sales team. To more in dismay, the sales team when found the reason of my termination never really approached in a "responsive" mode to realise their losing stand of the "responsive transition", or cared more to fetch real reasons behind the termination.

In a purely disconnected service world, each silos work in different view points, never looked to merge or never owned. In such disparity, CX (customer experience) look to be dilapidated and strategical measure is required. If these different puzzle blocks are never entertained to come to a single frame, customers will stare at the brand with lot of ambiguity, with lots of questions and head-scratching experiences. May be this relate to "If you don't care, I don't care" (YDCIDC) is surely a trend that will speak of Why CX needs a top-priority. 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Atom 39: livingUX Edition 1.0 (UX best reads)

1.  Explains digital strategy - To get to a strategic framework to develop insights, firstly identifying Site Metrics, User Survey, User Research [Track 1: User] plus Stakeholder interviews, Competitive Analysis, SEO/SEM research [Track 2: Business]. The Strategic regions are categorized as CONTENT, SOCIAL, SEARCH.
Persona Creation,Content Planning, Content Governance, Workflow, IA & Taxonomy are part of Content. Channel Strategy, Ecosystem design, Response Assessment part of Social. Keyword Opportunity Analysis, Link Strategy, Segmentation Analysis covers Search. [Check the link for the diagram]
2. How People really use Mobile covers 7 Primary Motivations and the goals as 46% of activity as "Me Time" (seeking relaxation or entertainment) and 19% by socializing. 
Other activities categorized as Self Expression, Discovery, Preparation, Accomplishing (11), Shopping (12). New data show that 68% of consumers' smartphone use happens at home rather than on mobile.
3. provides list of tools and frameworks : Dojo, Infragistics, FeathersUI, Telerik, JuiceUI, jQuery UI, Componentart

4. UX vs CX -- UX (persons anticipated use of system) vs. CX (customer-supplier relationship). What they have in common is Empathy. User Journey vs. Customer Journey. KPIs, Business Strategy, Business cases involved part of  CX. A marketing researcher, manager, business analyst are involved in CX. Identify customers, find business cases, establish strategy, establish KPI, governance and culture. Provides strategic framework & business approach. Customer is a receiver of product, service, goods. CEOs look for CX rather than UX.
5.UX Strategy as explained by Eric Schaffer: Ecosystem Solutions needs to be build which is the work of UX Strategists. Digital banking channels like ATM, Mobile devices,Web and more needs to be tied in.Creating more value as how Amazon does. Creating a Motivational Ecosystem! Ideally required to build motivational leads and enable ease of use. Who does it? UX Strategists. 
Starts with Executive Intent - modeling behaviors - coherently designing the cross channel experience. Without motivation and big picture design is simply 'Hope". Form big picture by building a ecosystem and motivational leads.

6.USER REACTION/Impression STUDY: Quick survey in-person or remotely sent to find the severity of design. This may follow up with specific questioning with a follow-up study/interview or survey to understand Why they say so? Why follows What. The Metrics are assembled on thoughts, feelings,needs, activities, motivations, experience, problems

7.Field Study/Visits recorded on basis of observations and inquiry. Places, People, Quotes, Notes, Artifacts and outcroppings (physical traits) are recorded with pictures, video, audio possibly feed relationships. The final output is a collated document of the recorded information, relationship mapping & communication patterns are generated.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Atom 38: Demo Me! Demons You!

In the previous article, I did mention about picking up a puzzle game for a kid. In continuity, the reflection do extend a further from fuzzy objects. What exist in minds eye - is running through physical modes while questing for puzzle board. The fuzzy objects somehow lives in the middle of all the objects, but the behavioural notion in finding out may come spontaneous or forced. 

Spontaneous selection is either by serendipity, intended helpers or by intuitive feeling that says "I think, this works". Now the Intended helpers is our primary subject to discuss. Forced selection is purely when the helpers fail to function and user chagrined & vehemently decides under a force-will or environmental conditions. 

Intended helpers are nothing but simple cues, guides, narrations, marks or intended semantics. In a narrow span of time, I really am looking for these "helpers" to demo me what is the object all about. It means my Fuzzy object = Helpers ; which is natural mapping and demonstrating my choice. Either the fuzzy objects need to match the choice or should be higher, with derivations directly received demo helpers.

The other day, it wasn't easy to pick a puzzle board, since very few had intended helpers that demonstrating me - How it works, What it is for? Of the so many products vying to get sold, I just wonder why should not products gleefully be humanised or proclaim with empathetic feeling to the onlookers. 

Demonstrate me the product/object and get rid of the demons in it!
Demo Me! Don't create these demons inside you!

Atom 37: Fuzzy Objects, Distantly coming real?

I recently went to a toy store to get a wooden puzzle board - a figurative scene imprinted on the board - that's exactly is my requirement, the size which I had in my mind is say 6" x 6", that needs at least 10-12 pieces of larger modules, my niece is just above 2,highly susceptible with smaller choking parts - dare to buy with more of supervised handling of the game. Slightly that summarises the brief visual requirement I had in mind. "Visual requirement" - is a neater way to think, mostly people before pinning the hard facts or scripts have the visual object in mind - be it a place, object, a person, a route, a gathering, outcomes and diurnal tasks. Tracing the requirement in the mind is been the first source of holding an idea or vista in the cloud and trying to cross-pollinate it effectively, fuzzy objects are these, indeed lets call them "Fuzzy sources or objects" as starting areas of connecting the dots. 

Really in a project before the "fair" requirements are gathered; or we call the business requirements or requirement gathering in generic, how many times we would commenced with assumptions listing, more often this is a "Fuzzy source", that is not greatly documented or showcased as a engagement model. The assumption listing as bullet points is a straightforward approach, but these "Fuzzy sources" are like UFOs, blips, fuzzy creatures hovering like clouds bursting, blooming and wandering in different spatial times. Emerges in a linear or even radial order that which needs to be easily recorded in simple diagrams. 

Connecting diagrammatically is a lucid natural approach to draw the fuzzy objects, and building these natural diagrams are the most essential means to end to start with requirement mapping, which can be  naturally understood by other stakeholders as the fuzzy objects relate to their own fuzzy sources. What a natural extrapolating means? What a collaborative effort to clear clouds, rather assumptions. Building  such Fuzzy sources are a commendable approach which also naturally creates dialogue - appreciation - translation. In creating a low-cost (resource efficient) fuzzy source is a good starting point when capturing requirements with Client - this often sometimes as in a UX Consultant world, be a rapid prototype to judge a use case or requirement flow or wireflow; a bridge that connects visual linkages to   Structures or case docs. Fuzzy sources will stand as dialogues along with the rapid prototypes. Fuzziness is all we start with, appreciatively fuzzy needs to be represented for the onlookers or interested mob, an intertwined model of dialogue plus prototypes on this fuzzy is to be aimed for.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Atom 36: Who cares for the Sightless Objects?

I rarely been on other end of testing products, interfaces, ideas - rather a designer adopts an inbuilt user thinking model to circumnavigate the user's world in several cycles, but being somebody questioning about the implemented idea. 

An application that simply an email newsletter, serving to address upcoming monthly sessions. It's stacked in a table format with columns that speaks of Date, Subject, Time & location. Whereas a title differentiates each grouping, whether it meant for Testing, DotNet or any other similar larger hierarchy. It ain't the greatest looking app, but served for a definite purpose. Now, all these upper level chunks say Testing or Microsoft held a Visual icon to the leftmost extreme of the table. This ideally means the first column is meant for Icons that defined the "Header" in a visual connection. These were simply grey group of icons.

The evaluation mode starts from my end, where am busy browsing or glancing at the content. My benefactor sat opposing to me, looking for my comments on the solution. There were improvements required to add extra column with"day" that stood missing, splitting Time and date columns - more of utilitarian value and user expectation. But the real cog in the wheel or serious deflector that awe-struck me as a design consultant was the "never-consumed" Icon. The Icon on the left never helped me nor ever I noticed whole busy over 2 minutes engrossed in the content part, astonishing though icons is the first row next to Subject of the learning module - the theory of reading in F pattern, or reading it from top to down simply failed - primarily am in searching mode, glancing what quick I may be interested in, rather moving in expected theory based mechanism. 

To note these were in Grey colour, which never was readily noticeable (good though if intended in that way) or consumable. These "Sightless" objects are part of everyday apps, sites and interfaces, either user looks consciously in want of more clarity or they just remain untold, creating borders for content! I eventually had to ask about these icons to the owner of what they trying to convey. Wondered in dismay which by figment of imagination never really mattered or a "sensible" object of care. When Content is King, perfectly as in this situation, all the peripheral objects deemed to be Sightless and immaterial to me. All I care is what is in sight, more over - true meaning of intentions. 

Intentions have to be obvious and be Sighted, any Sightless characters stay in as uninvited guest or remain silent or worst case when sighted later expands mental load of the user. In this case, it more often remained silent and when sighted it reflected a backward thinking, never leading from front. The cure is to be a reductionist, but also to look applications from Sighted or Sightless behavioural notions. Sightless are not meaningless, apparently they are inconsequential to situations and can change character in the event user transcends into differing mode. Certain degree - it turns meaningless with space of time and remains sightless. Necessary checkpoints or care to be ensured in defining Sightless & Sighted elements - and to bring greater essence to design creation process.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Atom 35: Why DID isn't there?

Innumerable times the rhetoric message needs to be transcended to differing stakeholders internally and externally., wasting energy and endless discussions ending to be a quagmire of "looping dialogue syndrome". We create artefacts that holds research, analysis and stream of wire-flows or visual mocks. But I overlooked at this deliverable and calling it as "line of fire", ready to bombard, dumb-stuck and transitioning high-energy people out of the board room (serious power-movers, aren't these designers). Wish that was ain't an aggressive or over-optimistic piece of thought.

The missing puzzle of more so time is a binding wire that ties all the core heavy stuff. I call this the Design Intent Document (DID), which explains the design doodles, concept, key highlights, USPs, business thinking components, stats, evidences, analysis, metaphors, quotes, building blocks, constraints that addresses interest of business, technical & marketing folks.

Do we been doing this earlier? Fairly, most of these disjointed elements have not been a ready-use document or viewer, though its nice to be something like a BRD that is durable in longevity - alias a source guide. An affordable record, that suggest what designer been thinking and the evolution process starting from day one. It is a historic archive that is single reference point where it builds a neat story of the journey.I believe we been vastly orally demonstrating these key areas to various people at varied timeline, and not driving the DID as a base to build specific conversations. 

Selling is one effective way on building this DID for the customers, but DID quintessentially aids folks behind the development engine to adhere the concept and imbibe design language.,also when the designer moved out of the existing project. DID will help to leverage the design thought process uniformly whosoever wishes to improve or add additional elements on scalability grounds. Our style guide lays branding or specification detail, but rather it never speaks on the "Why" and only relates "What" needs to be done, Let the following team know the "Why" or best "Behind the camera" of a production unit. Without a DID the strategical view points are never addressed, and it is just assumed to an Elephant in the room scenario!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Atom 34: Invitation: Names Please!

It's not unusual finding or naming toys, digital devices and your pets! Rather brilliantly the social world open doors for tagging, and innumerable objects got flying happily tagged! Counting these as living objects, I find them with a glee, saluting heroes or their owners. 

What so special and Why we care to? Not a rocket science, but its purely people love order (though pretending,bad luck!) or so they chose to build personalisation & create objects of desire. Craving for a product, thing or a source and behave in connecting with it. I wonder if Naming as not been a cultural trait, we been machined or coded without a private property invisible till death. Names still stay as private unless wishfully collaborated. 

Now, I been dejected at what organisation treat their processes or systems. Do they own? Do they really nurture as a living entity? Names not the only wholesome way to treat or define the character of an "embodiment", I hear the voices saying that with a perfect sly look on. But don't boredom out all methodical approaches to white-collared workmanship patterns. 

We create roll-outs, incubation, objectives, strategy and million other things to be ordered & to stay achievers, I remember Joker in the movie "Dark Knight" saying to the Mayor - "You schemers are only looking for poor order, but I do not plan and like Chaos", this really needs to be broken apart in two subjects, where this blog addresses our straight-jacket approach to process thinking. It takes a "genius thing" to make things simple, and whining on names? Is this need of the hour? Why to profoundly complicate and just to leave alone frameworks and process to its own. Apparently, when the experience as to drill into heart, soul rather survive to skin-deep.I don't have any cases that had gone failed when this lackadaisical approach of running traditional party just alike without "name tags".
But the personification or to recreate a living entity inside each object, is blissful and emotive, and sooner whole mob will call by it and live by it.

Really, I had named all my process systems, thinking frameworks or plans by pure naming patterns. I love by making surroundings more human or to sensibly touch nature in whatever possible measures. The recent object of my creation was to create a learning behaviour model, which is a self-learning model and this is so divided into Triad phases of 2-4 months each. The measure is a habitual quality that is felt from inward and phase will move in tandem with actions exerted. Still objectives are tied to a larger goal, where the phase is to strive to live with a habit. I simply took animals to map such a quality which is a mean to stop thinking but just to act. In short, uncivilized culture, that's where I want to belong for now to achieve my goal. These are Mad dog, Untamed Lion, Blue Whale - the core of my living entities. All my serious faces have just gone cracking with a metaphor "of fun, names, unusual, informal sense" to bring life on to monotonous regular slides & bullet-points! Further, invite your players to create names, conundrums & brain-drawing sooner on, May be an eventful social party?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Atom 33: Back to Basics [unlearn with Wieck]

James Wieck put through "50 Things Every Creative should know" - with 140 character limit and neat visual to support it. The most prominent thing which could be observed is that such a rule book for all sort of things - UX frameworks, methods, approach, technical challenges, business solution etc. will neatly fix lots of issue, a mini-book which I long to see, may be create one! Is there an argument between creating slideshows and presentation with the same fit of this kind? Yes, If that's a easier sort of way to do - then ideally it can help. Imagining just got 15 mins to run through a topic and how effectively would this be done? I think more of a time - its the substance that nails your head and stays rooted forever. Easy to look back and be delightful of the experience that you know and recollect.

That was much an after-thought - but some of the things that stand well-said [top 15] from my side are -
1. There is always Someone better
2. Have a positive self-image
3. Curate your work often
4. Listen to your instincts
5. Time is precious, Get to the point
6. Ask questions
7. Seek Criticism not praise
8. Network - its not what you know, its who you know
9. There's no such thing as a bad job
10.Embrace limitations
11.New ideas are always stupid
12.Do not underestimate self-initiated work
13.Justify your decisions
14.Share your ideas
15.Don't take yourself seriously

Why we need unlearning often?
We need to go back to the school basics, now and often, which is kind of real strain sometimes - but purposefully it lands a new terrain and fresh sense of perception.One way to look back and prune your thinking and behavioral skills.

Link to reach -

Friday, 28 December 2012

32. Why "Angry Birds" is addictive gameplay?

Not a game fanatic, but for the need of learning experience on design - trying to give a hand at the angry birds. Late to come to the party! But I have thrashed through 24 levels of 8 mini-episodes "Rio" in quick time with "diligent" euphoria & mania.The first few games never provide adequate chance to understand the palette of challenge,run & behavioral modifications that would one encounter going forward.

The important aspects that creates "unnecessary" prolonged engagement -
1. Unnecessary - a befitting word - keeping in context that one would love progression, but this game sometimes loops back to previous levels because of uncanny differences on "strike" & "impact" and prolonged engaged at one level - with multiple attempts due to positive addiction behavior
2. Subtle "Strike" and "Impact" [self-coined words] of the birds at various "points" (areas of impact) of the structure or opponent territory - provides different down-fall and dismantle of the structure
3. When there exist variation in hit/strike "points"; "Let me see how if it would work if falls on this particular point?" is a differentiated attitude/behavioral modal that emerges either planned or through serendipity means
4. How can you get three stars or higher points by utilizing less resources to destruct the opponent Pig sty/structure
5. Tend to give another worth try as a means to find a mode of attack in variance of swing, direction or through trajectory - once again planned or by casual serendipity
6. Learn about structural dynamics, look-out collapsing details of the structure - capture and utilize it in the next attempt as a key driver

I feel that the addictive game-play is also through assuage of attack, destruction which is more an easy exercise than building - which in itself is different behavioral attribute. It feels easy to do - easy to cling on and improvise. One thing for sure your target may miss - but its worth a try, that the object creates some form of down-fall; smaller successes to build initially.

Angry Birds calls itself in marketing notes as a challenging physics-based demolition gameplay, and lots of replay value.The certain appreciation of replay is what creates that addiction and "unncessary" mania in a prolonged manner - where progression in gameplay is not always the end but strange looping-back mode to previous levels is to be noted.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Atom 31: Get a revolutionized system for LPG cylinders!

LPG Cylinders scarcity hit the turf sometime back in India, Government regulations now came into effect with supplying 9 cylinders per house-hold for domestic uses. LPG Cylinders became sole living entity in every house - you wipe it out from their family - they go perplex & motionless [pun intended]. Its such a essential partner that flow of life is driven = cooking and your primary life = food is all directly proportional. This is elementary stuff, but getting basics cleared first up.

Also Booking of cylinders have undergone serious transition in recent past - as Mobile Text booking came to effect and people busy seen text'ing nowadays against telephonic booking! This is a good move - where systems became mildly Hi-tech - for the benefit atleast.

Now, the crux of the issue is gas booking process remains broadly the same way when you need to count the behavioral attributes. Manually, count the days it works for you generally - keep tab of the calendar - shoot the SMS (priorly telephone to book) - and now await for the newer one - you can use another cylinder if the first out empties (if you had booked for 2 cylinders quota initially), How affordable is it for lower-middle class people - I reserve it to your guesses.

Now basically the cylinder gas that dwindles is not measurable - People need to know how much of gas is left? A nifty system to measure gas volume apart from weighing it out needs to be fixed. This brings in fact that you have a method to measure,monitor or perhaps control my gas usage effectively. Now if this is overboard - can this be tracked with a dashboard and give me effectively all metrics - such as i get better to control my usage levels and understand the wastage. I think Government needs to address in behavioral attributes - self actuate people by themselves.

Next, I dont stand with the fact that cylinders need to be booked every often 45-60 days - which puts an additional work on my regular schedule. Don't make me think! I say: Don't give me extra work! How could this be done? Get a settings firstly set-up whether your family needs frequent top-ups or cyclical or its quite sporadic (if you live in two places and keep travelling). Example is that I lived in bangalore and only used 2 cylinders per year it means - I have to know this pattern in the first place - so I can choose in the first year 4 cylinders - this against a benchmark that my whole family of 4 uses 6 cylinders a year.

Now I get this setting done either approximated or measured - but when I make it "4" it means a quarter I need a cylinder. So let the system message me saying - "Hey you have a booking pending-What would you want to do?" Now if I had my Measurement stick or system in place - I go to it and read that half-empty cylinder is still intact with me. So I can reply to the Message stating - let me push it by a month's time. Now I am understanding a pattern for my first time usage - also I know how good am using - how frequent - I learn that I use it preciously or dearly (may be tie a Gamification measures or give me a discount on my next cylinder since I have saved some precious gas for the country) - I know my money spent - I also take all this to get my settings count right - all happening in a loop.

So, it means I have moved from Mechanical ways of booking a gas to a Humane Model - a citizen governed model. If not being a country-man, I think you can drive people to be a family-man by atleast inculcating subtle educational model in the gas usage.

Take the pre-booking of 9 cylinders to the family - the best way you get discounts is to push the usage of your each cylinder - means you have learnt effective usage of expending gas!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Atom 30: Jewelry Industry: If adopts Consulting Model?

Women folk's flood the Jewelry stores as more of desire against any immediate needs. Cultural traits will heavily influence the argument of Jewelry industry need to adopt a newer,fresher model of selling. The eastern world behavior will take immense cue of what could be effective latent needs. The Jewelry industry had seen heavy store traffic and the real challenge towards consulting model will be utilizing staff & human resources.

Women have innumerable questions and need a detail conversation before their purchase, and the big ticket counters like jewel is never under-rated. Representatives in the store try to aid customers in their decision making and pricing factors. Sometimes, when customers visit the store; and have to post-pone their buying decision - due to lack of attentive managers, larger crowd and issues with jewel design. More often, people start at home with lot of anxiety expecting things should be favorable.

Moving into Consulting model - the shop would provide appointments to customers. This could be tailored for a medium to high budget purchasers, which immensely means personal attention provided. Occasions or budgets could be driving factors to decide the customer's schedule. The current system is never a personalized model, but it also means that people never shy from buying - if they need to against any discomfort. They just been luckier or adapted to a model that never defeats the sole purpose. But when consulting emerges, the value to the customer is viewed with different viewpoint, and buyers plan their trip in advance. It is similar to getting appointment to consult a doctor or equivalent to have a seat booked for theatrical shows.

Jewelry stores which adopt such a consulting model - will benefit by providing trust and experiences that are quite a formalized stream, that never this industry looked for. Certainly, the points to ponder for store-keepers would be to have methodical plans, build communication channels, use IT services if required, allocate resources and also choose considerable lead/buffer time in scheduling appointments. What if best be - when customers can bring in their favorite designs and have a chat for customizing models against the regular available lot?

Monday, 22 October 2012

Atom 29: Emotional Branding on Facades

Recently car power-house BMW opened a new showroom on GST Road -Chennai. Neatly flanked in a usual glazed facade, mundane view as the scene everywhere, nothing extraordinary. It had a very different branding on the glazing - not that astonishing! - But worth a talk. Why it looks special? It holds a story board on the facade, before the eye settles deep inside to graze the cool cars - with series of linear rectangular (1:2.5 ) billboards (as appears in the image).

The Storyboard could have been better proportioned, to admire instantly. But nevertheless, these billboards captured driving essence or the story which BMW fixated with a family. Now as BMW a brand, that can print glossy banners, life-size or facade full-blown screens and pulsate a visitor. But they have made a subtle essence to the branding, which was not jarring but optimal and lively.It blended simplicity but had emotions.What kind of emotions? Happiness, Family value, Moments coupled with the product, How often would you see facades hold such branding elements? Agreed, they adorn the interiors. But there exist a neat idea for most businesses to replicate this scene.

All does know its a brand of its own class. But when the brand looks to reach to people humbly, is more often a cinematic experience to the passer-by, some wondering a day to step-in and belong. Who said machines are machines? But they are used by humans, and machines are emotionally related, atleast in the sub-continent, and there lies a connection.

Now stepping aside and looking at Audi, another new showroom in the city, with narrow frontage, but enlarged it visually - by creating a void next to two buildings at the front. Created a vacuum to find what is missing betwixt two adjoined building, drives one in - and there you find gorgeous Audi scintillating in dazzle halogens, just at your eye-level view - and when the door is shut - a huge Audi banner on the facade - creates a sensational, dazzling sight - primed to be prestige and adorned.

Both had a very different approach to the way Emotional branding is created - one which elevated feeling of being simple (it just meant, make your money and come here-we are also simple like you, and join the family), and another says you "rule the orb" if you had the money and your next shopping place is here -be in the floodlights - Come on in!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Atom 27: Child's delight: Surplus of things

Its been constant wonder affair in watching how Child respond to external environment. Never they show disinterest on new objects, weird particles, oblique shapes, mundane pieces and much more. I been regularly driven into & engaged with passion on observing my niece, an 18 month-er.Its what Surplus of things that marooned them - nothing but Child's delight!

Recently, she had the dough (much in quality of a clay) - which really took her in great amazement. Her beaming face and readiness says it all. The amount of tenacity and elasticity the dough provides, really became an experimental tool for an hour or so. Her time with usual toys and playthings have become less, against she is an involved player with some of the other things - sound of bikes, car engines, freight rail, crow hopping, texture of ladle, glittering silverware, wardrobe closet, tail-gating, dirty slippers, wooden door, pencils, crayon & writing tools, pretend book reading, ipad gaming, gesture, phone dialing & follow people. More a factual note is that linkage with external stimuli and observation, rather than to sneak in their own world to mind their own business. Surplus of things that surround are just the delightful world that she wakes up, dreams about and sleep's over.

How often we been taken by surprises and interrogate the world around? How good do we use the tools at hand with greater respect and skill? The need to experiment, observe, wonder, ponder and sleep over is often a designer's delight too, but at the hindsight - children do this with utter sheer joy - with natural ease. Its surplus of things that we live with, and let it naturally be observed with joy and consumed upon.