New Mediators

<p>The New Mediators from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.</p>

Hace mucho que no veía esta video, me parece muy bueno el papel que plantea al diseñador


Un banco interesante

La autora del blog de Design Sponge comenta sobre un evento llamado ICFF  International Contemporary furniture fair.  En general no se sorprenden muhco los proyectos, peor a mi como a ella le llamó mucho la atencion este banco de Elizabeth Joy Wong.

Interesante y divertida esta pieza de una estudiante de diseño de Pratt School,  hecha de pequeños modulos madera de pino, que se mueve porque tiene “foam core” que amortigua el peso de la persona que se sienta.


Designing for Different Age Groups

Designing for Different Age Groups

May 3 2011 by Alexander Dawson | 20 Comments | Stumble Bookmark

Diversity is one of the things that make the web great, and every audience has its own needs and requirements. But what happens if that audience is comprised of a specific age group? Are you providing something fun and interactive for kids, or are you strictly an adult-only website (such as one that sells alcohol)?

Age is an influential factor on the web in terms of not only psychology, but also accessibility, usability, and user interface design. Many other variables can affect your designs, but we’ll focus on the difference that age can make in creating a website.

From 0 to 80 in Under 5 Seconds

The differences in how various ages use the web have never been starker than they are today. Because the web has become so integral to many people’s lives, a sort of age gap has arisen where different generations of users have developed different abilities on the web.

While much of our work depends on generalizing about age groups (and not everyone will fall neatly into one of them), our understanding is based largely on sensible, logical guesswork.

So, as long as you take the time to know how your target age group is affected, you should be able to dodge the pitfalls of catering to fringe users.

As usual, research is the order of the day. Study and analytics to the rescue!

Consider today’s elderly generation, many of whom are only now logging on for the first time. There are so many books that teach senior citizens how computers and the web work; there is almost a small society of people playing catch-up with this newfangled invention that we design for daily.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have infants and young children who will have never known a world without the web and who are learning the concepts and gaining dexterity online as we speak.

These people are real, and you have to make sure your website serves their needs.

Why It Matters

Designing for different age groups is important for two reasons. First, ignoring an entire user base such as the elderly alienates them from the experience. And let’s face it: all of us will get old, and we wouldn’t want to be treated like that.

Secondly, younger users will be tomorrow’s designers (or, from your client’s point of view, tomorrow’s customers). If they stumble upon your website and have an awful experience, that will likely stick with them and could shape their perception of the website or service. (However, access to some websites, such as ones related to alcohol and adult content, should be restricted.)

The four age brackets for web design (although you should expand them as required).

While this article distinguishes between children, teenagers, adults and the elderly, it’s worth noting that the difference in computing ability between a six and a ten year old will be dramatically different, so you can’t take anything for granted.

The best approach is to define your age bracket (and the younger the audience, the narrower it should be).

With this in mind, let’s look at the first age group and its implications for your website’s design.

Designing For Early Years

The impact of websites is most heightened with children. When the web was young, the education system saw computer skills as a luxury. Times have changed, and the skills have become central to our society.

Ten years ago, the average 10 year old would have quite limited computer skills; this is no longer the case. Through early interaction with the web, children as young as five and six (even younger) are gaining rudimentary experience with devices and websites.

But there is a variable that affects their experience more than education: physical development.

Very young children may find computers challenging at first. Image source: creactions

While computers have become ubiquitous in early education, children’s bodies and brains are still developing. Knowledge that adults take for granted may be limited. Their motor skills and ability to use mice and keyboards don’t match ours. Our layouts need to account for such limitations.

While adults may have some patience for errors, young children have none (or in many cases, lack the knowledge to overcome them).

Nevertheless, designing for children has a few advantages to designing for adults. Young children want to be entertained and don’t necessarily have a direct goal in mind, which gives us the opportunity to engage them through exploration and interaction (rather than just putting them on the fastest route to a solution).

If the journey is colorful and educational and engaging, then it will likely be a successful visit.

Children tend to play minesweeper with links, just clicking them to see what happens. But when they find a route that works for them, they are more likely than adults to stick with it; a trait referred to as learned path bias.

Children’s websites should be educational, entertaining and clutter-free.

So, how do we make our websites child-friendly? Best practices include:

  • Keeping the UI clean (children get distracted by visual clutter)
  • Using iconography (they identify with experiences that are recognizable)
  • Using vivid, exciting colors
  • Avoiding integrated advertisements (kids find it harder than us to distinguish content from ad banners, which quickly lead them away)
  • Consider using animation and sound (this is the only age group for which video seems ideal)
  • Relate content to characters they know (like from TV)
  • Provide games that educate and attract their attention
  • Reinforce their actions through emotion (telling them that they did a good job encourages repetition)

Designing For Tweens and Teens

As children grow up, motor skills and comprehension become less of a limiting factor. Older children and teenagers often gain experience with computers through school homework and recreation (for example, on social networks), although this doesn’t mean they know how computers work fully.

Technology is generally more prevalent with teenagers than with children; although even very young children now have mobile phones and laptops, albeit monitored by parents. Patience levels also increase.

Teenagers rely on technology to keep up with friends and for homework. Image source: duchesssa

Teenagers (and tweens) tend to be more resilient to targeted advertising and are less willing to explore websites (adopting a more methodical approach: seeking rather than discovering information).

Research indicates that the major difference between this age group and adults (and children) is that teenagers are more socially focused. While adults tend to use technology to achieve set goals, teens are preoccupied with interacting socially, being heard and partaking in group activities (such as in online forums). This gives designers an opportunity to engage with this audience.

While not all teens are the same (and despite some adults believing they are an entirely different species), design choices have more of a chance of affecting a much greater portion of this user base. Consider how these socially inclined users can contribute to your website and how they might spend their free time using your service and promoting it to their friends.

Also, think about how open they might be to new experiences, not being so tied to learned behavior.

Following popular culture is key to attracting teens.

  • Making a website teenager-friendly means:
  • Keeping the UI clean (a factor common to all ages)
  • Favoring graphical content to textual content (teens tend to read less online)
  • Using animation and sound (moderately, though — not as much as for young children)
  • Ensuring that the content isn’t so simplistic that it appears childish

In addition, research shows that teens have the same learned path bias as children, are more easily distracted by interactivity, are more social online, and are more driven by social trends (fashion and peer interests hold sway in web usage — there is power in numbers).

Designing For Adults of All Ages

Of course, people who have been alive since the web first reached a critical mass comprise a large proportion of our user base today. Many designers look to them for usability testing and when assessing whether their work serves the audience’s needs.

This can be problem, though, with increasingly younger people accessing our websites and increasingly older people becoming more web-savvy and wanting to use the web.

Adults are seen as the average web user. Image source: rajsun22

As with younger and older users, most adults have at least moderate experience using computers.

But that isn’t to say that all adults are computer literate. While most adults have computer experience, only those who are very interested in technology tend to understand how it works. For example, a Google survey showed that 90% of people didn’t know what a browser is, despite being able to use one.

Adults tend to be at their peak in dexterity and motor skills. Accessibility is still an issue, but most adults are at a stage when they aren’t so dependent on instruction, have little trouble making choices and don’t need advocates for their needs.

Adults in general are goal-oriented and tend to visit websites with explicit objectives (relying on search more than discovery), and they are usually more accustomed to (and forgiving of) quirks in the user experience.

But this comes at the cost of being less focused on social interaction and being averse to advertising (they filter out noise while scanning).

Usability and accessibility are critical, but that doesn’t mean the website can’t be clever!

Tailoring a website to adults is generally straightforward. If it is accessible and usable by modern standards, then it will likely be useful to them.

Unlike younger users, adults are much less drawn to animation and sound (favoring text over visuals).

Unlike older users, they put less value on research and study and more on getting answers as quickly as possible.

Ironically, then, it is more difficult to engage this age group than others.

Designing for Later Years      

Elderly people get it the worst with regard to targeted design. While much research has been done into human behavior and HCI for children (not to mention the investment to educate children in computers), the expanding age group of seniors — who are more familiar with a world without the web than with it — seem to be less catered to.

Elderly users tend to be the ignored. Image source: EPA Smart Growth

Seniors tend to experience a decline in dexterity and motor skills, which affects website usage. Many of them may be using the web for the first time, and because their developmental years were at a time when computers and the Internet weren’t part of mainstream society, they’re less likely to take on the technology as fast as other generations. In addition, the aging process means a decline in health (both mental and physical), which can affect online interaction.

Being elderly does have its advantages, though. Unlike adults, seniors are often focused on achieving set tasks, while still being open to explore websites and sometimes having more patience than children and adults.

In addition, they tend to be more focused on interaction and are more willing to research, read, learn and involve themselves in communities.

And having more life experience, they may have an advantage in solving problems and parsing technical content. Designers will certainly appreciate having an audience that is more likely to appreciate the nuances of what they provide.

Older users may be a bit set in their ways, so make sure everything is visible, clutter-free and well labeled.

Best practices for designing for elderly users include:

  • Making websites highly visible and highly memorable
  • Text should be large and easy to read
  • Links should be easy to click
  • There should be little animation or movement that might be distracting
  • Website navigation should be straightforward

Elderly users are open to having an emotional connection to a website; they are more likely to form strong opinions, and they are more susceptible to the effects of a negative experience.

When designing for this group, avoid putting the onus on them to correct errors, cut down on confusion as much as possible, and encourage social interaction through an engaging UI.

Age Matters in Web Design

Whether you are building a website for children, adults or the whole family, age affects how it will be used and perceived. Young children are still developing in mind and body, and seniors encounter issues of their own. Teenagers and adults have particular objectives when browsing the web and interpret information differently.

Only by looking objectively at who will use your website can you hope to attract the widest possible audience.

One of the central principles of web design is usability, and while it would be incorrect to assume that all of your visitors have the same ideas, goals and perceptions, we still have to generalize to some extent so that we can make timely decisions.

Keep your website accessible to the elderly, meet the criteria for adults, keep teenagers engaged, and make your work child-friendly.

Each internet user is unique, but several generations of users may want what you offer.

Related Content

About the Author

Alexander Dawson is a freelance web designer, author and recreational software developer specializing in web standards, accessibility and UX design. As well as running a business called HiTechy and writing, he spends time on Twitter, SitePoint’s forums and other places, helping those in need.

Introduction to Design Studio Methodology | Semantic Foundry, LLC

Categorized | Design Thinking, User Experience

Introduction to Design Studio Methodology

Posted on 30 April 2011 by semanticwill

(I first learned the Design Studio methodology from Todd Zaki Warfel, founder of Message First, and perhaps one of the best designers I’ve been fortunately enough to learn from. While originating in architecture and industrial design schools, I believe he was the first to apply it to collaborative design of complex software systems.)

Updated: Here are the photos from May 2, 2011 Design Studio that I facilitated.

Soundtrack: Butterfly Crash, Minus Zero (Dubstep Charts 2010/11)

Introduction to Design Studio

“It is hardly possible to overrate the value… of placing human beings in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves, with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar.”
~ John Stewart Mill (1806-73)


The early stages of product innovation can crucially influence the success and direction of any product. Yet these stages tend to be fuzzy, highly politicized and under-documented. This brief article is to give you a high-level overview of how teams can use Design Studio to explore opportunities and innovate products to better serve customers needs.

Design Studio is conducted in a highly interactive, fast-paced team setting following a methodology, commonly used in architecture and industrial design, with some important twists. It has been called the “Iron Chef,” of ideation. It can be intense, focused, and chaotic at times; but for those lucky enough to have participated, they understand the power and effectiveness of this tool.

Getting Started

Coming on the heels of market and customer research, contextual inquiry, as well as open brainstorming sessions to fully explore the “problem space,” teams use the Design Studio methodology to achieve a few key goals:

  1. Collaboratively work to understand the nature, opportunities, and constraints of some articulated problem space. If you imagine your current state, and then some positive future state – the problem space, sometimes called the Design Gap, is the place between those.
  2. Allow ideas from various perspectives and insights to percolate up between team members.
  3. Turn “ideas” and especially unstated assumptions from tacit or verbal states into cognitive artifacts that can be shared, evaluated, and iterated upon.
  4. Create a culture of shared ownership around future product vision.
  5. Generate a lot of ideas in a very fast time frame – usually no less than 3 hours, and sometimes as long as 10 hours.
  6. Allow open and honest critique of various concepts.
  7. Force participants to defend their concepts and negotiate with other team members.

Why Collaborative Design?

There are no rockstars in collaborative design. Stephen Klocek in “Better together, the practice of successful creative collaboration,” states the problem:

Ninja. Rockstar. Gifted genius. Many of the ways we talk about creative work (whether it’s design or development) only capture the brilliance of a single individual.”

Having spent time in some larger digital agencies, it is often the case that the Account Planner, Strategist, and Creative Director spend time around a conference room with the client trying to suss-out requirements. The process then moves to the ivory tower (or black box, if you will) at the agency’s office where a few select people lock themselves away until they generate “The Insight,” often followed by “The Solution,” which is then communicated to the art directors and technology teams responsible for execution. I could, and will, write an entire article about how fucked up that is, but not today. Needless to say, those days of the black box Rockstar/Ninja/Douchebag Creative Director are quickly coming to an end. Thank God!

The reality of designing modern digital solutions is that no one individual can possibly capture all the complexity of creating a truly vibrant social ecosystem with various customer engagement points, different usage patterns and behaviors based on different needs, goals, and customer backgrounds all interwoven into an emergent ubiquitous engagement tapestry. This is why innovation really is, and should be, a team sport.

How It Works

The Design Studio methodology provides a collaborative, pragmatic process of illumination, sketching, presentation, critique, and iteration leading to a shared vision and hopefully more coherent and elegant solution – but this is not “design by committee,” by any stretch. The Design Studio guides participations through an evolution in experience ideation. Just like business school, it uses a case study approach to solve a unique and clearly defined problem which the assembled team has agreed upon and which also aligns with the business’s strategic roadmap as articulated by the executive team. This ensures that teams don’t wander off the reservation and create the next great snack delivery platform.


The goal of the design studio is to arrive at some solid design solutions in a collaborative setting. Using the following process of illuminate, sketch, present, critique, and iterate, multiple cycles at first individually, and eventually as teams, which allows us to arrive at some solid concepts by the end of the day. Along the way, the process helps develop greater trust amongst participants, and surfaces unknown requirements from key stakeholders.

“Co-creation needs externalized material. Sharing the fuzzy, early, raw concept gives your partner material to work with, to respond to and evolve. Externalizing ideas allows for closer collaboration, earlier input, and deeper thought partnership. This is true when generating and proposing ideas, and equally important for synthesizing and evolving concepts.”
– Klocek,  “Better together, the practice of successful creative collaboration

Importance of Sketching


Illumination in Design Studio

The key to the illumination phase, sometimes less than 45 minutes, is for the team to gain a shared understanding the business context, customer, challenges and market opportunities. What is important is that this helps enframe the articulation and exploration of the problem space, but shouldn’t be the only thing. Too much emphasis should not be placed on the so-called “voice of the customer,” since this is rarely a good source of insight. Simon Rucker articulates this very well in his article “How Good Designers Think,” in the Harvard Business Review when he writes:

Good designers aim to move beyond what you get from simply asking consumers what they need and want. First of all because they understand that most people when asked don’t say what they mean or mean what they say, but also because people often don’t know. Good designers want to unearth what consumers can’t tell them: latent & emerging needs and motivations; actual behaviors and attitudes; and, crucially, barriers to as well as drivers of change — or simply put, what your competitors don’t also already know.

Simply put – your competitors are talking to the same customers you are – do you really think disruptive and differentiated ideas will come from listening to your customers in focus groups? Another important consideration is that potential solutions should never be brought to design studio, and most certainly not introduced during the illumination phase.


Through rapid sketch-boarding activities the teams focus on getting as many ideas (good & bad) down on paper as quickly as possible. I have often thought that the activities such as sketching can best be described as modalities of decision analysis. This is the essence of abductive thinking – a generative exercise of exploring what could be, as opposed to what is. With each new design decision explored, new constraints are introduced as new opportunities arise. Sketching, by its nature is fast, transient, and has a tempo which allows us to not become to attached to a particular solution.

Generating sketches in Design Studio

Why Sketching?

Importance of Sketching

But why is sketching such a fundamental part of design studio? Externalizations of different kinds (sketches, wireframes, paper or code prototypes) are most useful for communication & reflection where we want to present ideas to our design team, to the client, or to a customer – sketches are rhetoric instantiated, because every sketch is an argument, and every design argument must have a form. For a complete exegesis on the importance of sketching, read my article “Shades of Grey: Thoughts on Sketching,” published in UX Magazine.


Participants learn to sell their ideas, accept change, negotiate positions to arrive at the strongest set of potential solutions worthy of further exploration and iteration. Cognitive psychologist Herbert Simon says “everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.”

It is through the articulation of design concepts in the Presentation phase that participants argue for what the preferred state is, and potentially how to get there. As Richard Buchanan says, “products are vivid arguments about how we as humans, situated in social context, should lead our lives,” and taken another step, sketches in design studio serve the same purpose – to make a clear argument for solving the problem space being explored.

Presentation in Design Studio


Critique in Design Studio is a formal but flexible framework used to highlight strong ideas worthy of further expansion while discarding weaker ideas in a safe, friendly environment. The aim of critique is to provide actionable and positive counter-arguments to those being made in the sketches presented. A simple framework for design critique Who, How, What, and Why.

Starting from the problem space and goals articulated at the beginning of the design studio, the critique should focus on the 2 or 3 strongest or most compelling concepts in each sketch addressing these questions:

Who:  Does the sketch solve a problem for the intended audience? Does the solution speak to the customer or does it speak to the designer’s ego?

How: How does the concept solve for the problem and more importantly, how can that solution be simplified?

What: What is the argument being made by the solution and is it effective in achieving it’s goal – is it an compelling argument? And finally,

Why: When sketching potential solutions, each participant will choose different angles of attack based on their own stance (or prejudices); understanding that stance, the focus of attention – in essence, the Why, is as important as the What.

The specific insights from critique will provide the participants with an increased understanding of the assumptions and biases of fellow participants. The criticism will feed back into design in the Iteration Phase, specifically by pointing to inconsistencies between the solution and its surroundings, context of customer use and business constraints. Finally, the criticism will give the designer feedback for concepts that, while brilliant, may not be fully fleshed out.

Iteration in Design Studio


Concepts from each round of the design studio are then extracted, stolen, re-combined and transformed within teams and across teams. Participants are encouraged to take the feedback from critique, as well as concepts presented by others, and engage in another round of sketching – remixing and reinterpreting concepts to arrive at a more solid argument. Refined ideas will be honed, with the strongest ideas chosen by each team gathered and distilled into a unified group solution. It is at this point that the teams pitch (Present) their solutions to other teams, and the process of Present, Critique, Iterate, starts all over again until only 1 or 2 solid concepts survive.


Next Up

In Part 2, I will explore the logistics of designing a Design Studio including how to select participants, design their respect teams, provide just enough background information for the illumination phase, as well as the the most important element – the timing of each phase and setting the guardrails and ground rules.




How Good Designers Think, Simon Rucker, Harvard Business Review

Criticism as an Approach to Interface Aesthetics (PDF)

Better together; the practice of successful creative collaboration (Cooper)

Playing well with others: How to create effective design teams (Cooper)

Wicked Problems in Design Thinking, Richard Buchanan (PDF)

Shades of Grey: Thoughts on Sketching (UXMag)

Shades of Grey: Wireframes as Thinking Device (UXMag)

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Muy interesante proceso, parecido al que seguimos en innovación

Congreso de Diseño sin apellidos

About IDA
The International Design Alliance (IDA) is a strategic venture between the international organisations representing industrial design, communication design and interior architecture/design. The alliance was created by its founding partners, the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) and the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda) in 2003. In 2008, the IDA welcomed the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI) to the alliance as the third partner.

About the IDA Congress
The IDA Congress is the primary event for dialogue between designers and non-design stakeholders in a summit format. The 2011 IDA Congress marks the alliance’s inaugural event since its establishment in 2005. Taipei was selected as the host city after an international competitive bid process.

Design at the Edges
‧ the edge between the design practices and other fields having a stake in design, including: science, technology, government, business and non-governmental humanitarian organisations;
‧ the edge between design disciplines, especially industrial, communication and interior architecture/design-what do they share in common and what sets them apart;
‧ ‘cutting edge’ work and ideas in design and in other fields: radically new, controversial, experimental, pushing the boundaries of the discipline.

  • 2011/04/15   2011 IDA Congress Education Conference –Call for abstracts extended to 25 April 2011
    The International Design Alliance (IDA) is a strategic venture between the international organisations representing industrial …

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  • 2011/03/15   IDA Congress Education Conference is Calling for Papers
    The 2011 IDA Congress Education Conference, an afternoon parallel session to the 3-day programme, will be held 24-26 October 2011 at the Taipei..

    Read More

  • 2011/02/17   Intersection of design & Issues of global relevance [Keynote speakers announcment]
    A maverick among Taiwanese businessmen, and the man responsible for the development of urban strategies to transform East London during and…

    Read More

    Taiwan Design Center, have extended their early bird registration rates until 31 March 2011. By booking early, visitors can earn a 60% discount for the..

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  • 2010/12/20   Youth Hostels Provide You with Friendly and Inexpensive Accommodation!
    book youth hostels and get a special discount without HI card. Please book hostels online and confirm your reservation before the end of …

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  • 2010/12/10   Taiwan is Ready to Show its Prowess as an Island Dedicated to Design
    A Design Magic Tour Bus to debut and promote Island-wide Aesthetic Awareness of Design: Hosting an international design conference together with..

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I really think the 2011 IDA Congress Taipei is going to be a cutting-edge event.

We are looking forward to having designers from all backgrounds, from all around the world, coming together here in Taiwan.

It is a unique, exciting and innovative congress model for the 21st century of design.

IDA Logo

Dr. Mark Breitenberg, Icsid President

“Design always works well with constraints, and a bad economy might produce better design.”

世界設計大會的主要活動是為設計師 之間的對話和非利益相關者的設計師 峰會格式。經過國際徵集建議,台灣 創意設計中心 被選定為世界設計大會 的合作夥伴,2011年舉辦的首屆世界 設計大會。

IDA Logo

Dr. Mark Breitenberg, Icsid President

“Design always works well with constraints, and a bad economy might produce better design.”

世界設計大會的主要活動是為設計師 之間的對話和非利益相關者的設計師 峰會格式。經過國際徵集建議,台灣 創意設計中心 被選定為世界設計大會 的合作夥伴,2011年舉辦的首屆世界 設計大會。

IDA Logo

Dr. Mark Breitenberg, Icsid President

“Design always works well with constraints, and a bad economy might produce better design.”

世界設計大會的主要活動是為設計師 之間的對話和非利益相關者的設計師 峰會格式。經過國際徵集建議,台灣 創意設計中心 被選定為世界設計大會 的合作夥伴,2011年舉辦的首屆世界 設計大會。


Jae-Jin Shim
CEO, Seoul Design Foundation

I think the fact that the first IDA Congress since the establishment of IDA(International Design Alliace) is held in Taiwan and in Asia is really…

Albert Ng, O. Ont.
Founding President, RGD

Taiwan, a beautiful leaf‐like island floating on the blue Pacific Ocean…Upholding her traditional values, coupled with her unique…

Sanja Rocco
Icograda Vice President 1999-2001


Brandon Gien
Managing Director, Good Design Australia

Design at the Edges is set to be a thought provoking and a very unique design event – the first ever congress of its kind….

Apisit Laistrooglai
Managing Director, (TCDC)

Insightful presentations, thought-provoking discussions and stimulating workshops. The 2011 IDA Congress Taipei is a must go to destination…

Shirley Feng
Secretary-General of SIDA

I am always dreaming to travel on the beautiful land of Taipei city again, and if possible, this would be my fourth time to be there. It was…

KIM Hyuntae
President,Korea Institute of Design Promotion

Taiwan has great meaning to Korea and the Korea Institute of Design Promotion (KIDP). The 1995 Icsid Congress, held in Taiwan…

Past President of (ICOGRADA)

I salute Taipei as the first city to host the first IDA Congress in October 2011. As an internationally working graphic designer, as President …

Multiple cooperations between Taiwan and France in the field of design have successfully involved partners on both sides since…

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