guerillagirl – user experience designer

guerillagirl's (ux) design journal

by stef

Collaborative remote sketching workshops – Lessons from the field:

sketching utensils

  1. All kind of workshops, not only remote: Neverever facilitate AND co-create at the same time. These are two modes of thinking – at least for me. Furthermore, as a facilitator, you might have inhibitions to use your own idea in the following refinement process: This is on some kind of a meta-level. It could leave the impression as if you just want to do your own thing, as you hold a special role as a facilitator. In addition, when you are the UX Designer and a sketching workshop facilitator at the same time, you might develop inhibitions to use your idea in your concepts because this could also transport a wrong message ( like: „they do what they want to do anyway“; leaves the impression the sketching workshop was a „farce“)
  2. Think about doing the ideation/generating ideas sketching ahead of time a bit before the workshop and scan them. Then share them in your team so people can refer to them during the workshop.
  3. When you have no supporting presentation in your virtual room: Prepare index cards or sheets of papers with largely written clear instructions. Hold them in the camera and make sure everybody can read it. Test-run it.
  4. In remote workshops, it’s absolutely critical to have a super clear agenda and a clear process for how sketches will be shared during the workshop that everyone understands *ahead of time*. To ensure that, prepare a super clear „please-read-upfront“ – agenda with all links needed (eg for shared folders to upload artifacts). Send the agenda ahead at least one day before the meeting. Let co-workers proofread it.
  5. Plan enough time – especially the generating ideas/ refining one idea process: Make sure there is enough time for all these exercises: minimum 15 min. generating ideas; minimum 15 min. agreeing on one solution within the group to refine, minimum 15 min. to actually refine it.

by stef

Q – a genderless voice

Cool and interesting project as it’s a well-known fact that voice based digital assistants like Siri convey social roles via their voice.
When we listen to a voice based assistant, we will imply implicit assumptions like the mentioned social gender roles we have learned and internalised over a long period of time – despite we are knowing it is a machine. And as technology is using (by default) female voices for *assistant*like-roles (“How can I help?”) they even support/promote classical gender stereotypes such as women being perceived as “warm”, “helpful” and “cooperative” rather than “dominant”, “competitive” and “independent” – which correspond more to male gender stereotypes.


by stef

Plato’s cave allegory and experience design.

What does Plato’s cave allegory have in common with human centered design ?

It demonstrates the effects of narrow and non-holistic thinking, a phenomenon we can still observe in many organizations – where it sometimes seems that one department doesn’t talk to other departments to get a holistic, cohesive understanding of the customer’s experience and their problems.

„That is someone else’s responsibility“ is often a standard jargon in such organizations. But: in the user’s or customers mental models – meaning how your customers/users think how things work (also called cognitive representations or mental models) – there is only one responsibility, not several based how internal things might work. That means: Customers do not split up responsibilities in department-like silo thinking, like the organisation itself probably does.

So, getting rid of this department-like thinking and instead gaining a holistic understanding of customers and users is key to get an idea of the ways how your customers think, and then put this learnings of your customer’s way of thinking first – not the mapping of the underlying internal business structures and hierachies (or the the underlying tech-backend structure) to the users interface

Everything else will most likely lead to something called silo-thinking and most likely, self-referential design and will most likely have negative effects on the user’s or customer’s experience.

by stef


“[…] the trouble begins with the word user – there are only two industries that call their customers users: illegal drug dealers and software houses”

– Edward Tufte

This quote is unfortunately (and only) very relevant when we take a look at the business models of certain Internet businesses.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find the direct source where he said it – if someone knows? It might be a talk he gave?

by stef

About “good” design

“Successful products meet user goals first […] The essence of good interaction design is devising interactions that achieve the goals of the business or service and their partners without violating the goals of the user”

Cooper, A., Reimann, R., Cronin, D., & Cooper, A. (2007). About face 3: The essentials of interaction design

by stef

John Searle nicht widerlegt! (Maschinen weiterhin dumm)

Ladies and Gentlemen, große Neuigkeiten aus Berlin: Das Sensemaken hat schon lange gestoppt, scheinbar. Ok, ok, nicht so neu.

Aber: Da wollte ich doch gerade einen sehr halbgaren Kurzartikel über meinen heutigen Nachmittag verfassen, der sich weitgehend mit “Künstlicher Intelligenz”, Robotern und Sprache beschäftigte. Soweit, so gut. Nun, gerade als ich mein doch sehr gefährliches Halbwissen zusammentragen und in die Welt hinausposaunen will, da passiert das Folgende. Und ich sag’s Ihnen: Das ist so dermaßen meta, das gibt’s praktisch gar nicht!

Also *trommelwirbel* da war ich so am schreiben:

[…] Was ich mich allerdings frage, ist: hat er damit John Searle widerlegt?”

Zur Erläuterung: Gemeint sind Luc Steels Forschungsarbeiten zu Intelligenz (der heute unter anderem im HKW zu Gast war) – und vornehmlich Sprache. Genauer gesagt zu Robotern, die ihre eigene Protosprache entwickelten – also im weitesten Sinne semantisch “denken” können, und was macht die doofe Maschine aus John Searle? Sehen Sie selbst:


Ja, gibt es denn sowas?

Das, meine Damen und Herren, ist META. Aber sowas von. Und somit ist Searle, der die (semantische) Intelligenz von Maschinen anzweifelt, nicht widerlegt! HA!

Anbei noch ein paar Fotos & Tweets zum heutigen Nachmittag, so zur allgemeinen Unterhaltung an diesem Samstag Abend.

Der Beweis aus dem Texteditor, im Entwurf:

Hito Steyerl meint: ( I agree!)


Düstere Aussichten?

Bitte ja!

by stef

My three alltime-favorite books for interaction designers.

Even though my shelf is very full of good ( and also not that good books) there are exactly three books that have had a tremendous impact on my professional thinking, and to which I keep coming back to again and again. Although some say Cooper is “outdated” – I don’t think so – quite the contrary: I think it’s the most timeless classic ever written for interaction designers. And yes, I think the industry needs more “flamethrowers”. Bonus if they’re female, ha!

by stef

The value of Design

A recent McKinsey research confirms again that good Design is good for business and that design is a top-management issue:

“What our survey unambiguously shows, however, is that the companies with the best financial returns have combined design and business leadership through a bold, design-centric vision clearly embedded in the deliberations of their top teams.A strong vision that explicitly commits organizations to design for the sake of the customer acts as a constant reminder to the top team. The CEO of T-Mobile, for example, has a personal motto: “shut up and listen.” IKEA works “to create a better everyday life for the many people. […] It’s not enough, of course, to have fine words stapled to the C-suite walls. Companies that performed best in this area of our survey maintain a baseline level of customer understanding among all executives. These companies also have a leadership-level curiosity about what users need, as opposed to what they say they want”

by stef

Carmen Hermosillo (humdog) über die Kommerzialisierung des Selbst

“i have seen many people spill their guts on-line, and i did so myself until, at last, i began to see that i had commodified myself. commodification means that you turn something into a product which has a money-value. in the nineteenth century, commodities were made in factories, which karl marx called “the means of production.” capitalists were people who owned the means of production, and the commodities were made by workers who were mostly exploited. i created my interior thoughts as a means of production for the corporation that owned the board i was posting to, and that commodity was being sold to other commodity/consumer entities as entertainment. that means that i sold my soul like a tennis shoe and i derived no profit from the sale of my soul. people who post frequently on boards appear to know that they are factory equipment and tennis shoes, and sometimes trade sends and email about how their contributions are not appreciated by management.”

Aus: pandora’s vox: on community in cyberspace (1994)

by stef

Human-Computer Interfaces – Xerox Star GUI

The Xerox Star was an early commercial computer introduced in 1981. It was the first computer mimicking the office paradigm to make computer operation more easy for people by using icons representing familiar office objects like the “document” icon, folder icon and a two-button mouse, many of them later have become standard in personal desktop computers, like in 1983 the Apple Lisa did. Before, in 1973 the Xerox Alto introduced the first graphical user interface ever.

Evolution of the document icon shape
The Evolution of the document icon shape in Xerox Star.
Image: Wikipeda