Tag Archive for problem solving

Design Solution to Real World Problem — Speeding!

Canada Road Slowdown Project

Knowing something about behavior, visual processing, and human nature, designers can nudge users into doing the right (or in this case, lawful) action. Speeding is a problem all over the world. People are notorious for underestimating the real amount of time it takes to get places they need to be. Traffic congestion, car problems, detours, and other (un)foreseen events can make a huge difference in time variability of getting from one place to another. The problem, though, is that we can’t really force people to leave on time or drive the speed limit when the drivers think that no one is looking. So with the law on our side, we can create other ways of forcing people to behave lawfully by changing environmental conditions and relying on human nature not to do what’s right, but to do what they think they have to based on circumstance. Here are a few creative ways of solving the speeding problem on our streets. Using Visual Processing Errors to Slow Traffic Canadian drives misdiagnose the problem and try to drive straddling the “hole” in the road. Everyone is successfully slowed down. The Fake Traffic Cop Threat as a Speeding Deterrent In general, people tend…

Special Preview: Wearable Computing (Steve Mann)

The next chapter in the Interaction-Design.org tome on human-computer interaction design is now up for an early review to my readers. This chapter takes on Wearable Computing and is written by Steve Mann. Mostly, this is a historical review of Prof. Mann’s experimentations with wearable computing devices, and for those unfamiliar with this subject area, this is an interesting introduction. On the left, you can see an early version of wearable computing: Steve Mann’s backpack based system from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. But as always, I have a slightly different take on this topic… The Little Mac That Saved My Son’s Life Almost 18 years ago, I went into a preterm labor. At 24 and a half weeks into gestation, this was very scary. At the time, San Francisco Children’s Hospital was pioneering a program for high risk pregnancies (which mine just turned out to be). Two doctors, Dr. Kuts and Dr. Maine, figured out how to use an old Mac SE, a modem, a telephone, a subcutaneous pump, and a belt which measures contractions to allow women like me to stay at home as much as we could (as opposed to spending months in the hospital). Here’s…

US Rio+2.0 Speed Geeking Session

FrontLine SMS Screen Shot

So I’ve learned a new word: Speed Geeking. It’s like speed dating but for geeks to quickly present their ideas to a small group. You have five minutes strict, and then move on to the next presenting geek. It was a very interesting format, but it clearly had accessibility issue: I walk with a cane and I found it very hard. It would have been impossible in a wheelchair. And others with disabilities clearly had issues with this format. But that said, I’ve learned a lot. Below are my notes on the Speed Geeking event at US Rio +2.0. Noel Dickover — Senior New Media Advisor, Office of eDiplomacy, U.S. Department of State — introduced Speed Geeking and ran the event with an iron fist! FrontlineSMS Demoed by Sean Martin McDonald, Director of Operations http://www.frontlinesms.com Main Point: SMS is cheap data that is easy to structure and moves over cell networks (without Internet) Yahoo Demoed by Gil Yehuda, Director of Open Source Product Management at Yahoo! Gil talk about the use of Flickr for journalism, human rights, and keeping people safe. He raised the issue of copyright. KIVA Demoed by Beth Kuenstler, VP of Marketing & Communications If you haven’t…

Special Preview: Philosophy of Interaction and User Experience

A person uses a piece of software, a Web site, or any other product — “virtual” or “real” — to achieve a goal. The design of interaction with these products can either help or form obstacles that interfere with the realization of that goal. A product is easier to use when its interaction is designed to meet the needs of its intended audience. Product designers who consider those needs produce far more effective interaction solutions than those who base their designs on aesthetics or business needs alone. But how does one go about “considering” user needs and then come up with a design solution that works? Oscar Wilde famously said: The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple. Pure and Simple design is similarly rarely pure and never simple to develop. I my class, Cognitive tools for Product Designers, we explore what users bring to usability. We all arrive at the scene with different baggage — our experiences, education, perception, memory, and so on are unique to each of us. No two individuals interpret an experience in exactly the same way. While this sounds daunting, we shouldn’t give up on design all together. We all have some…

The Cultural Context for Product Design

Nothing exists in isolation. Design divorced from the context in which the product is used is of little value to its audience. Cognitively, this makes sense—most designers agree that they have to consider the environment, culture, and situation as part of the process of developing a new product (or redesigning an old one). But practically, context and culture get little play in design meetings. This post is aimed at relieving some of designers’ mirroring errors—helping see alternate ways their products might be used in the real world. Enjoy! Cultural Difference in Car Use: livestock Cultural Difference in Car Use: large loads Cultural Difference in Bike Use: large loads Notice the little bike on the left… Cultural Difference: people movers

Temptation and Strategy

By now, everyone who reads this blog probably heard of the “Marshmallow Temptation Test”. The test is designed to check a kid’s ability to resist eating one marshmallow right away if told that he/she could have two in a little while. There is a strong correlation between those who can wait and avoid the temptation of eating the single marshmallow, and the those who grow up to be more successful (than the kids who give into temptation and eat the one marshmallow). The basic setup is simple. Place a kid in a room with a single marshmallow on the plate and tell the kids that in just a little while, the researcher will be back with the second marshmallow which the kids can have ONLY if the first one is still on the plate! Enjoy the video! Note: this is about attention controls; about developing coping strategies early on to postpone rewards; about controlling for impulsive behavior.