Conceptual Design

What does the product do?

Health Foo: Health and Human Rights

I want to live a healthy life

“I want to live a healthy life!” For as long as humans have lived in groups, this meant a social covenant — conforming to rules set by many to insure mutual survival. One way or another, health and law have been intertwined for millennia: don’t poo in a public well — one of the first health edicts along with burial customs religious food-limiting laws — limiting food born illnesses from decimating communities mandatory immunization — the need for herd immunity Health and community are mutually entangled. The price of living in a community means giving up certain personal rights: “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one” But this is a delicate balance. As a group, societies have done horrendous thing to individuals in a name of greater good: taking a right to privacy forced quarantines, treatment, and sterilization compulsory rehabilitation subjugation of women and minorities Starting about the mid of the last century, the awareness for the need to protect the rights of the few and the one from the many grew in its momentum. It was striking to me how the 1943 Abraham Maslow’s Pyramid of Human Needs became an echo for…

Language and Cultural Differences in Communication

Kulula Plane Decorations

Above is an example of Interface Design — Kulula Airlines decorates its planes in a very playful manner. Does this choice make you feel safer or more reticent to fly their planes? Well, that depends… Consider the FAA Passenger Briefing Guidelines: 14 CFR 91.519. Below are a few examples: § 91.519 Passenger briefing. (a) Before each takeoff the pilot in command of an airplane carrying passengers shall ensure that all passengers have been orally briefed on: Smoking. Each passenger shall be briefed on when, where, and under what conditions smoking is prohibited. This briefing shall include a statement, as appropriate, that the Federal Aviation Regulations require passenger compliance with lighted passenger information signs and no smoking placards, prohibit smoking in lavatories, and require compliance with crewmember instructions with regard to these items; Use of safety belts and shoulder harnesses. Each passenger shall be briefed on when, where, and under what conditions it is necessary to have his or her safety belt and, if installed, his or her shoulder harness fastened about him or her. This briefing shall include a statement, as appropriate, that Federal Aviation Regulations require passenger compliance with the lighted passenger sign and/or crewmember instructions with regard to…

Tools to Jump-start Product Design Process

product design proposal: user groups

I often encounter the Blank Page Syndrome among our clients. They have an IDEA, but find it difficult to translate the nebulous desires into plans and actions that become a business. I hear a lot: “I know what I want, I just don’t know how that gets translated into something tangible.” The problem though is that most times, these individuals don’t know what they really want. And my job as a designer is to do product design therapy to uncover the real needs and separate them from vague desires. There are a few strategies for this (cognitive scaffolding for the design process). From the point of view of the final product, it is important that the client buys into the ideas and makes them their own. When I hear my words spoken back to me a few weeks into the process, I feel more confidant that the final result will be the practical manifestation of my client’s desires. Define the Categories of Product Users When one runs a business, selling products or providing services, it’s important to keep in mind that in most cases it’s not about you (typical mirroring error). The products and services have to appeal to end…

World-wide Map of Health-based Human Rights Judgments

Benjamin Mason Meier, Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy, is one of the creators of the Global Health and Human Rights Database. Benjamin and his colleagues wanted to collect information on different forms of legal tools used around the world to advance the human rights in health. Here is a link to his paper describing the project: “Bridging international law and rights-based litigation: Mapping health-related rights through the development of the Global Health and Human Rights Database.” I was interested in seeing his data on the map. So I used an open source project CartoDB to plot Benjamin’s data on the map. And here’s a quick visualization. Now I’m interested in comparing the resulting map with The World Bank eAtlas of Global Development maps. In particular, it would be interesting to compare GDP with focus on health-based human rights.

Health, Human Rights, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs, used under the Creative Commons

In 1943, Abraham Maslow published a paper on human motivation: “A Theory of Human Motivation.” The ideas (and diagram) from that paper have been widely used in business schools and management training programs. But these same ideas can be applied to human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed into life by UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, just five years after the Maslow’s publication of “A Theory of Human Motivation”, echoes the work via a set of Articles stating the rights of every human being. Physiological Needs Article 25 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to the right of adequate food (and presumably water is included), housing and clothing (for homeostasis control), and medical care. The right to medical care implies to me the right to live healthy, or at least healthy to the best of ability of a particular individual. This right to medical care as a universal right of all human beings can be interpreted to mean many things. For the purposes of the comparison to the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it could be interpreted as every human has the right to have their physiological needs met. This could…

Cuteness Inspires Violence Research and Angry Birds

cheek pinching

Have you ever felt the urge to hug someone too hard? Squeeze a baby? Pinch a cheek? Even when you knew it might hurt the other person? If you have, you are not alone! Last month, Scientific American published an article Cuteness Inspires Aggression on the study done by Rebecca Dyer and Oriana Aragon of Yale University, documenting the intense response to cuteness. Cute aggression’s prevalence does not mean that people actually want to harm cuddly critters, Aragon explains. Rather the response could be protective, or it could be the brain’s way of tamping down or venting extreme feelings of giddiness and happiness. The scientists are currently conducting additional studies to determine what drives the need to squeeze. So this research led me to think of the success of the Angry Birds game. Originally, I thought that it was the juxtaposition of the cuteness factor and violence that made the game so irresistible as a sales effort (once people started playing it, the puzzles were good enough to sustain engagement with the game without the cute + aggressive factor). Would the game be just as fun to talk about (or to wear t-shirts) if the birds weren’t so damn cute?…

User Roles and Governance

2013-06-09 Role vs Governance Diagram for NIH Citizen Engagement Think Tank

One of the areas of discussion at the NIH Citizen Science Engagement Think Tank meeting last month was how to categorize the roles (and thus rules of engagement) for citizen scientists. There was a continuous pressure to call individuals who “donate” their medical data to scientific research patients. Let me start by saying that I find that unacceptable — aside from the fact that every human being on Earth has been or will be a patient at some point in their lives; the label patient implies a lower level on the hierarchy than doctor or scientist. The whole point of citizen science initiative is to break down the barriers to entry — we are ALL scientists! Being a scientist is not measured by the number of years in school or diplomas on the wall. It is the willingness to do science that is key. Thus we can all be scientists. With that said, what follows is the discussion on group dynamics — how do people work in groups and how we can support productive scientific endeavors through good design and social engineering. Think Different Collective Groups of people are not made up of homogeneous people — we are all idiosyncratically…