Design Thinking: As Conceptualized By Tim Brown

September 30, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: design, design thinking, innovation 

Last night, I purchased a copy of Tim Brown’s first book, “Change By Design.” Tim is the CEO and president of the “global design consultancy” IDEO and one of the primary advocates for design thinking.  According to IDEO’s website, design thinking is:

  • “…a means of problem solving that uses design methodologies to tap into a deep reservoir of opportunity. These methods include observation, prototyping, building, and storytelling, and can be applied by a wide range of people to a breadth of organizational challenges.”
  • “…an approach that use the designer’s sensibility and methods for problem solving to meet people’s needs in a technologically feasible and commercially viable way. In other words, design thinking is human-centered innovation.”

While I’ve only read the Introduction and Chapter 1, I’m looking forward to seeing how he expands on the concept of design thinking, including how it was practically implemented on past projects.

If you’re interested in learning more about the topic, I’d suggest starting with his article, “Design Thinking,” (2.88 MB, .pdf) which was published in the June 2008 issue of the Harvard Business Review. You can also follow his blog.  Moreover, I’d also recommend taking the opportunity to watch his recent 17 minute TED talk.

Print This Post Print This Post

User Experience and Systems Thinking

September 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: design, user experience 

Donald Norman has published an article entitled, “Systems Thinking: A Product Is More Than the Product,” in the September/October 2009 issue of interactions.  While well worth reading in its entirety, there are a few key passages worth highlighting, including:

  • “A product is actually a service.” (p. 52)
  • “In reality a product is all about the experience. It is about discovery, purchase, anticipation, opening the package, the very first usage. It is also about continued usage, learning, the need for assistance, updating, maintenance, supplies, and eventual renewal in the form of disposal or exchange.” (p. 52)
  • “If you think of the product as a service, then the separate parts make no sense – the point of a product is to offer great experiences to its owner, which means that it offers a service.” (p. 52)
  • “…the most important aspect for the delivery of a cohesive experience is systems thinking.” (p. 52)
  • “A systems analysis goes beyond the design of individual screens or actions. It considers the entire experience from start to finish: thought through action through reflection.” (p. 54)
  • “A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences.” (p. 54)

Print This Post Print This Post

User Experience (UX) Defined

September 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: human factors, usability, user experience 

Although there are several definitions for user experience (UX), one of the most comprehensive I’ve seen is:

“UX is about technology that fulfills more than just instrumental needs in a way that acknowledges its use as a subjective, situated, complex and dynamic encounter. UX is a consequence of a user’s internal state (predispositions, expectations, needs, motivation, mood, etc.), the characteristics of the designed system (e.g. complexity, purpose, usability, functionality, etc.) and the context (or the environment) within which the interaction occurs (e.g. organizational / social setting, meaningfulness of the activity, voluntariness of use, etc.).” (Hassenzahl & Tractinsky, 2006, p. 95).

A couple other examples can be found here and here.


Hassenzahl, M., & Tractinsky, N. (2006).  User experience – a research agenda.  Behaviour & Information Technology, 25, 91-97.

Print This Post Print This Post