Diagram of time in 6 month project: months on x axis & daily hours on y axis to show how useful project time is compressed
Diagram of time in 6 month project: months on x axis & daily hours on y axis to show how useful project time is compressed

I have been reading a few books on time and research shows how little is truly available for what companies recognise as ‘real’ work.

Connie Gersick’s work on inertia and midpoints shows teams do not engage meaningfully with work until half way thru whatever the defined project timeline is. So in a 6 Month project, most work occurs post the 3M point (x axis in image).

Daniel Pink’s book When (which includes Gersick’s research) talks about Chronotypes and the idea of a fairly standard Peak, Slump, Recovery sense of individual capacity. Mornings work for most people for analytical work but performance slumps by 20% or more in afternoon. …


Diagram of four themes of post about friendship, authority, shared goals and shared enemies
Diagram of four themes of post about friendship, authority, shared goals and shared enemies

This is a post to just set out some ideas of problems in Codesign and Service Design with communities and change in a world of fake news, populism and authoritarianism.

More particularly it is a post about the problems of friendship. Friendship that bridges between families to enable civic society yet also which can ensure civil war. Friendship that is enabled by social media and yet poisoned by it.

Friendship

The power of friendship is great. It creates positive change in neighbourhoods and communities that go beyond simple family or clan connection.

People will build and will fight with their friends. They will keep doing this way beyond what they would do for money or ideology. …


3 Per’s — Perception, Perspective, Percentage
3 Per’s — Perception, Perspective, Percentage

Just a short post about 3 professional biases in user research that prevent making accessible or inclusive products and services. These are some basic ideas of the normal, on what it is to be human, and how such definitions of being human exclude so many people.

I am not saying do not use them. I am saying be aware of how you use them and involve people with different ideas and viewpoints on them. Normal is a comforting place to view problems from but it is not the right place.

Perception

How does your sense of a normal Perception affect your research?
How does your sense of a normal Perception affect your research?
How do you centre research on a Normal idea of Sense?

I work as a Sensory Design Consultant and how people presume a very tight ideal of how humans sense and perceive is a problem. …


Square card held up — text says Do not flip this card. Let us now assume we are kind, astute and capable
Square card held up — text says Do not flip this card. Let us now assume we are kind, astute and capable

There is an old conservative trick to stop radical change happening. Politicians and journalists talk as tho such a change has happened and then condemn its clear failure.

I have read slightly too many tweets and read too many articles lately talking of the failure of human centred design. Mostly they are written by people who are not conservative but have been captured by this old narrative trick.

This is a quick post just to clearly state that human centred design has not failed because we have not really even started with it yet. …


Two Lego minifigs look at each other while standing on pieces of printed paper that represent ideas about Hope
Two Lego minifigs look at each other while standing on pieces of printed paper that represent ideas about Hope

I’m currently working on a talk and a workshop on the topic of Hope for EuroIA in September. Obviously, it is being held as an online conference. This means I have two constraints, particularly for the design of a workshop. Firstly, I must explain and engage people with ideas of Hope – an enormously broad concept. Secondly, I must enable people to participate in activities while sitting at work or at home with only a few materials to hand.

This post is about the current prototype of both the ideas to be communicated and the method for involving people.

Vast, small and big

Overhead view of 3 pieces of paper, a pen and two minifigs
Overhead view of 3 pieces of paper, a pen and two minifigs

EuroIA is a conference for Information Architects. This is the profession that are interested in the organisation of the words, content and concepts that underlie websites. For a workshop to be helpful it needs to help information architects help their own corporate customers and end users think about Hope. …


Diagram of Stop and Go Back that if you feel lost the stop and go back to a point where yiu felt certain
Diagram of Stop and Go Back that if you feel lost the stop and go back to a point where yiu felt certain

Getting lost is stressful. It becomes harder and harder to make good decisions. Many people who get lost and die in physical spaces, like forests, are often found near to systems of paths but, from a personal perspective, nowhere near safety. Providing advice on how to not get lost is not just about providing better signage and maps, it is about providing ways for individuals to survive when faced by both personal and systemic behavioural biases.

Stop

Both physical and digital architectures and experience design are currently biased towards a systemic ideal of frictionless journeys.

Ensuring that people move quickly thru spaces and get to the ending that satisfies the provider, but not necessarily the consumer, is important to both UX and Service Design. Rapid movement thru the system is a key metric for success. Many people, moving quickly thru many touch points to a delimited number of successful transactions. Both buildings and websites are designed on this frictionless theory. …


Text quote: Dissent is not brealing the harmony of consensus but mitigating the harm of it
Text quote: Dissent is not brealing the harmony of consensus but mitigating the harm of it

Generally, I facilitate experiential workshops on topics like senses and emotions in design for conferences and organisations. Being together, working closely is crucial. That all stopped suddenly in March.

I needed both some income and some idea of how to work in a future where in-person workshops were few and far apart (in all ways).

Online was clearly the only opportunity but there seemed to be multiple problems with the delivery technology and the general sense of how online time is spent.

I developed and ran a workshop on Design for Dissent. This was drawn out of the final conference talk I did on Post Normal Service Design and previous workshops on Active and Structured Listening methods. …


The best person is you

Image for post
Image for post

I love talking about Post Normal design and the issues underlying it. However, I also know that the best person to be speaking is not always me. The ‘Workshop on a Postcard’ is a simple tool for enabling you to start conversations in your place. You know the context, you know the tools and you know what is being developed. You are the best person to start a conversation.

The card is a public provocation. Lots of people know there are things that are not right but they never have the opportunity to talk about them. You have two powers:

  • The power to hold a space to be listened…


4 sketches of user journeys that cross over between life and death
4 sketches of user journeys that cross over between life and death
Preliminary sketches of user journeys that pass beyond life

Good design is often described in terms of recognising constraints. What can be made in this place, with these people, at this time? What can be made with this amount of money before that date?

Constraints are the edges of a territory and humans seek boundaries to create mental maps. This is how wayfinding (the long journeys that have defined humanity’s development) and knowing crossover. Our cognitive maps and our spatial maps are basically the same things.

What is more interesting is what happens when humans consider what is the other side of a constraint and what that means.

Death is such a constraint. …


Image for post
Image for post

Sharing knowledge publicly, as a concerned citizen in a codesign workshop or as a professional expert in a multidisciplinary team, seems to be an unarguable good. However, there are multiple ways in which the way in which we share our knowledge can go wrong. This post is about ways of Knowing, Common Knowledges, 3 bad consequences of knowledge sharing and 1 helpful technique. It’s mostly aimed at people who think that affinity mapping and big walls of Post It Notes are good ideas because sharing knowledge publicly and openly is always a good idea. It is not. How we share our own knowledge, and how we perceive knowledge formed by the opinions of others, have deep effects on our ability to think clearly and critically. …

About

Alastair Somerville

Sensory Design Consultant, usability researcher and workshop facilitator. www.linkedin.com/in/alastair-somerville-b48b368 Twitter @acuity_design & @visceralUX

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