Archive for October, 2010

Your Memories Will Be Rewritten

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Your past actions are the best predictor of your future decisions. Your past—or the memory of your past—has always been immutable. What if it wasn’t? What if marketers could meddle with your memories directly, instead of trying to insert their products into your daily flow? Who would we be when our past has been hacked? When the trust you place in your friends is exploited? What implications would it have for us and society?

What if this wasn’t hypothetical?

From research in cognitive and behavioral psychology, we know how to perform inception. It’s easy. We need to understand the predictable failings of human memory and internalize its ramifications, otherwise our personal past, and hence our future, will be rewritten by the marketer. It’s your life experience, brought to you by Coca-Cola.

This was my keynote for the John Seely Brown Symposium at University of Michigan. The three previous keynote speakers were Danah Boyd, Brewster Kahle, and Lawrence Lessig. I was a bit nervous.

So You Want To Be A Designer: Top 5 List

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Getting started in user experience can be difficult. Our profession has an identity crisis. You need look no further than swarm of acronyms that we hide behind: CHI, HCI, UI, UE, UX, IA, ID, IxD, IxSD,… the list goes on.

Our identity crisis means learning our field is like trying to inhabit the mind of a multiple personality disorder sufferer. For an aspiring interaction designer, figuring it all out is daunting. For anyone, it’s daunting.

This is my top-five list of what I’ve found to be most important to do and master if you want to get into design.

1. The Hardest Part Of Software Is Culture. Get A Book On Negotiation.

The hardest part about creating software isn’t software. It’s people. Creating a killer interface is meaningless unless you can convince the rest of your team, client, or company that it is worth the investment. Your job as a user experience person is to cultivate a culture where good design has a leading voice at the table. If you cannot communicate, you will fail. If you can not convince, you will fail. If you cannot listen, you will fail. (more…)