On visual representations

Bildschirmfoto 2016-08-24 um 10.36.36

“Whenever mental transformations are necessary in order to make comparisons of the configurations, graphic representation presents the viewer with a difficult task.”

Quote: Norman, Donald A. (1993): Things that make us smart: defending human attributes in the age of the machine, 59

Image: taken from Stephen Fews’ Perceptual Edge, Visual Business Intelligence Newsletter, August 2007 (recommended read!)

Philosophy Error Messages

I guess I really have an obsession with error messages. Yes, I collect them in some secret folder in my system because some are really silly. Additionally, I often find them not really helpful or quite unpolite – even in times where systems are getting more and more “intelligent” and therefore should be capable of displaying helpful advice for _people_ instead of some unpolite advice or binary techy stuff.

So, what if systems could “think” – I mean semantically. Wouldn’t it be fun to take system notifications and error messages to the next level by asking for the meaning of life with some metaphysical ontological questions?
Here they are, I guess they are perhaps more helpful than the real ones. At least they can make you smile – and think.


They refer to René Descartes, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Sigmund Freud, Burrhus Frederic Skinner, Erwin Schrödinger, Immanuel Kant and Albert Camus.


Books: The Human Brand – How we relate to people, products and companies


I just finished reading „The Human Brand“ written by social psychologist Susan T. Fiske and Chris Malone, a Brand consultant. I have to admit: I’m a huge Fan of Susan Fiskes’ work in social psychology since the stereotype content model and the dimensions of warmth and competence were basically introduced to our course during the first semester in psychology. It’s based on solid research and it helps to explain how we perceive different people and form those implicit cognitive stereotypes which can result in emotional prejudices.

The basic outcome of this book is, that we relate to companies, products and brands as if they were humans – which means we have implicit feelings towards them which will result in trust (or not) and customer loyalty (or not). It tells us why a short termed, profit-based approach – which we can often find in the field – may become some sort of „death sentence“ to businesses, especially in the digital age.

There are a plenty of well researched real world examples and case studies which are fun to read. The book covers only basically user interfaces in the terms of warmth and competence too (like: Computers as social actors). Its not the main topic but you can adapt the findings easily to design strategy, for example.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who is working in the fields of User Experience Consulting or Design strategy, brand consulting or marketing and to business owners/CEOs.
This is definitely not some shady „Guru“ bullshit book filled with senseless noise and nice sounding buzzwords – nope: this one is in my opinion a well-researched must-read and it contains a paradigm shift for marketers and consultants.

If you have some time, in this video the stereotype content model is explained, too (>1hr and sadly bad sound)

And the books short marketing video:

UXshot: Why would you need a design strategy?

Your (digital) product just wearing a pretty „make up“ and working well is not enough. Why Design strategy and UX is important and related to branding:

Today, companies are often seperated from the direct product-customer interaction. So, customers often begin to abandon the „cold“ interaction to those products – which appears often too anonymous to them. Instead you see a trend: they’ll look for smaller, local companies with a personal touch/approach because they feel engaged to them in an emotional way and this is the reason why your product needs a „soul“ (metaphorical) aka an emotional engaging brand and therefore a more positive emotional product experience which is often communicated as “user experience”.

A „scientific“ approach to a design driven company culture 

Look Ma, the sun is the center of the solar system!

How a set of „core principles“ will help you in accomplishing a shared design culture and understanding in your company.

In science theory there is an approach called „Methodology Of Scientific Research Programs“ which was introduced by Imre Lakatos who was a student of famous Karl Popper.
In general and simply explained, science theory helps us to understand in how science could make progress and wants to explain how we build our knowledge about the world and it’s therefore strongly connected to epistemology and these two ground philosophical questions:
„What is knowledge?“ and „How could we know what’s the truth?“

user interview

UX Research Methoden – In welchen Fällen sind User Interviews eigentlich angebracht?

Im Designprozess kannst du verschiedene Methoden bzw. einen Methodenmix nutzen, um das Produkt, die Webseite oder die App „besser“ im Sinne von „user centered“ zu gestalten – sprich: du bekommt wertvolle Einblicke in die Welt der Nutzer.
Im UX Design bedienen wir uns gerne aus dem Methodenrepertoire, welches sich in den Sozialwissenschaften bewährt hat. Daher dachte ich mir, das wir mal ein paar Einblicke in einige Methoden geben. :) Weiterlesen

Computers finest. Eine Foto Love Story in n Teilen. Heute: Sie haben fertig.

Ja, so ungefähr könnte man es manchmal beschreiben. Ich und Computer/Technikbedienung. Eine äh.., ja intensive Beziehung sozusagen haben wir da: „It’s complicated“ würde drüben bei Facebook stehen.

Nicht das ich Probleme habe, einen zu bedienen. Nein – eher die Art & Weise, wie man Software teils bedienen muss, wie man sich der Technik wegen verbiegen muss, mental, zeitfressend, nervenraubend – das macht mir zu schaffen. Stichwort: Mensch-Maschine-Schnittstelle. Die Kommunikation ist leider oft sehr einseitig und – Maschinen sind sehr geduldig, anders als Menschen. Eins zu Null sozusagen.

Stereotype threat und Usability testing

Kann das Stereotype threat Phänomen Einfluss auf Usability Tests haben?

Stereotype threat heisst wörtlich übersetzt: Bedrohung durch Stereotype.
Was ist das genau?
Der Begriff und die Stereotype threat Theorie (STT) wurde von Steele and Aronson (1995) in ihrer Studie erstmalig bezeichnet und folgendermaßen formuliert: “Stereotype threat is being at risk of confirming as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one’s group.”

Back to school.

Ich habe eine neue Off Time Beschäftigung. Ein Psychologiestudum. Ja, genau – Psychologie.
(Nein, nicht klinische Psychologie, Psychotherapie und Psychoanalyse. ;) )

Ihr fragt euch vielleicht, was denn Psychologie mit Interaction Design oder meinem Lieblings-verhassten Begriff “User Experience Design” zu tun hat.
Jede Menge!

Wir haben in erster Linie mit Menschen zu tun. Wir gestalten Benutzeroberflächen, die mehr oder weniger komplex sind FÜR Menschen. Menschen haben ganz unterschiedliche Bedürfnisse, Ziele und Erwartungen, wie etwas funktioniert. Wir helfen Menschen dabei, mit der Technik zu kommunizieren, am besten ohne Sprachbarrieren. Auch genannt: Mensch Maschine Kommunikation.
Wir beraten aber auch Unternehmen, wie sie ihren Umsatz mit digitalen Produkten steigern können, und haben dafür einige Methoden um gewisse Dinge zu testen und anschliessend zu verändern. Aber auch hier geht es letztendlich wieder um den Menschen: den ‚happy customer‘.