Me, Laggard

You heard about reactions to mobile phones in 1973? How hilarious that people objected to a piece of technology that has proven to be so useful and effective. We all like to think of ourselves as early adopters. But I am definitely a laggard in some ways. Just as it took me 3 years to get used to skinny jeans, I don’t think the first prototype version of Google Glass is for me just yet. For the last couple of weeks, it Continue reading


Who needs Inclusive Design Methods?

Which ICT companies could benefit from an Inclusive Design toolbox? And not only that, why would they want to use Inclusive Design?


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Designer Massimo Vignelli on Intellectual Elegance, Education, and Love

Iconic Designer Massimo Vignelli on Intellectual Elegance, Education, and Love | Brain Pickings.

Here is another side to the recurring theme User Focus vs. Superstar Designer. Like other Italian designers, for example Verganti, Vignelli is definitely on the side of the superstars, but he brings it very persuasively. Something to think about!

Massimo Vignelli

Read more in the books How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer about Vignelli or Design-Driven Innovation by Verganti.


User Centered Design versus the Superstar Designer

Various forms of this question pop up every now and then. On the one (extreme) hand, there is co-design, using focus groups to dictate the design space, and methodological design to fit the creative process into standard work. The other extreme would be the superstar designers of today, who repeat their hit tricks to produce a never ending stream of attractive looking products.

You Are Not the User

I think it is important to keep a sense of perspective over the co-design/user focus/design ‘stars’ question. Democratic design is not an attractive alternative to ‘hebbedingetjes’, as it will produce bland, unoriginal solutions. We need people who have the guts to come up with inspiring, intensely beautiful, society-shaking visions, who are not afraid to translate those ideas into systems and products.

At the same time, designers should not be so arrogant to think they know it all. They should  emerge themselves in the environment they design for, like anthropologists, to truly understand what impact their ideas would have on the people that experience them. At least they should take notice of what has already been done. There for the taking is a vast and growing body of scientific literature on mindsets and behaviors of various focus groups, and methods for doing user experience research.

In my opinion, the reason we should practice user research and co-design in the design process is not to validate our own ideas or to hand over the reigns to the user altogether. Designers should treat literature, user experience research and ethnography not as a ‘client’ or brief, but as a source of inspiration. Be inspired and produce great design that inspires others.

Inspiration Picasso

Third User Evaluation

Experiencing the interactive wireframe prototype of the LightScribe App.

Value Laddering

Last week I got this paper from dr. Tilde Bekker about Value Laddering. Value laddering is a technique to interview users about their experience with a product, based on following through on answers by asking ‘why’ several times. This site also has a pretty thorough description of the process.

Hopefully I can finish the GUI and prototype this week, so I’ll have time to evaluate my concept with users. It would be great to use the Value Laddering technique for this. I need to find out how to do it exactly and write a plan!


Two weeks ago, we had a workshop by Berke Atasoy, about his co-creation tool named Storify. It is a really nice technique that takes you through a user-inspired ideation process. For most professional designers and design firms, the steps may be obvious, but I like it because it de-mystifies the design process and allows non-designer participants. Plus it provides you with really nice, inspiring stories! Continue reading

A LightScribe Story

Imagine you are a 15-year-old boy and bored to no end. Finally, the school bell rings and you are done for the day. Usually, you would hang out in the nearby park with friends, doing nothing really. But ever since some of your friends introduced you to it, you are often using the LightScribe app, like today. When you see your friends, you all whip out your smartphones and start the app. The app sees all available LightScribers in a nearby radius, so you can easily select your friends’ group from the list. With some laughs and jokes, the best location is picked. Perhaps when it gets darker outside, you will move to the park, but for now, the decision falls to the bike shed.

The app picks one random cell to be the ‘photographer’. The other participating smartphones are designated ‘light sources’. You are picked to be one of the light sources, and the screen of your cell Continue reading


The CAR-model is a model by Menno Deen, based on Ryan and Deci’s Self-Determination Theory. It describes the three factors a game must incorporate, to be an interesting game, namely:




Interestingly, these overlap nicely with my own vision for this project, and the 10 Crucial Factors of Experience Design (Sheldon). I think I need to find out more about this research!

Answer Your Research Question: a Hypothesis

Q: Why would teenagers want to do Light Scribing?

A: Light Scribing can make teenagers feel competent and connected to their friends.

After meeting with Rob Tieben today, I discovered there is still something missing here. Light Scribing does not in itself give the feeling of competency or connectedness. That this came out of my research is because from the start, I went with the assumption that the Light Scribing would be done within a social network setting. So the real answer could be:

A: Light Scribing within a social system can make teenagers feel competent and connected to their friends.


*off thinking about it some more*