I aim to shape products, interfaces and services that mediate meaningful dialogues between people, systems and their environments within everyday life.

Posts tagged ‘ideas’


UX Education Panel

Last night I gave a talk on a UX education panel hosted by IxDA Toronto. I was joined by 3 other panelists: a college new media instructor, a senior creative director of a large design agency, and an interaction designer/educator at a local design studio. It was really interesting to discuss the diverse paths people followed to end up in the UX field. Formal education backgrounds ranged from computer science and information/library science to fine art and design, while others were self-taught and learned on the job.

User experience or interaction design is such a multi-faceted discipline that you need to build a foundation of skills ranging from the creative to the technical and analytical. There is no “one size fits all” educational path.



Two wonderful videos explaining user experience design. Now I can show this to my family and friends whenever they ask me what I do.

Who doesn’t love a good UX design, and who doesn’t get totally frustrated with bad experience design.
Hail to all the great UX designers of the world. Spread the love for UX design !!!

ILUVUXDESIGN part I from lyle on Vimeo.

ILUVUXDESIGN part II from lyle on Vimeo.


UX Book Club: Thoughtful Interaction Design

This month’s Toronto edition of the UX Book Club focused on Thoughtful Interaction by Jonas Löwgren and Erik Stolterman, who take an academic and theoretical approach to discussing the field and practice of interaction design. Most of us at the meeting found the writing to be a bit dry and that it jumped from one thought to the next without diving deeper to expand into details of the topic.

We had the pleasure of having one of the authors Erik Stolterman join us via video conference for an engaging Q&A and discussion session. The discussion covered topics such as: how thoughtfulness and reflective thinking makes one a better design practitioner, reflection in action versus reflection on action (the words of David Schön), explaining a rational design process to a junior designer is not what you actually DO, good design versus efficient design, and the importance of making a good case for the design process.

Related to the field of interaction design specifically, Stolterman brought up these interesting comments and ideas for further thinking and reflection:

  • interaction design does not have a long tradition as other design fields such as architecture or industrial design so it ends up borrowing a lot of theory, language, and  studio/critique techniques from other design areas, yet because interaction design is more future thinking and is constantly changing, is has become more open/collaborative, theoretical, and intellectual-based than its other design counterparts
  • future work will shift from software to the physical world of products and spaces – what kind of material will we be working with in 10 years?
  • ethical considerations come into play in how will we influence public and society as a whole; in designing the future world and its behaviours, norms and activities we must consider a social- and cultural-specific context
  • “deception of the small steps” refers to continually adding more interactivity slowly into our daily lives. So where will these small steps eventually take us? And what are “natural” and acceptable changes?


What Good Is Design Research

I just read an interesting article by Adam Richardson that responds to Donald Norman’s view of design research. Although Richardson a

grees with much of what Norman says, he disagrees with Norman’s statement of the role of design research as being fundamental to incremental improvements to already existing solutions but useless for creating innovative breakthroughs. For example, technological inventions such as the airplane, automobile, telephone, radio, television, computer, personal computer, Internet, SMS text messaging, and cellphone were technological revolutions in which design research did not play a role. Richardson points out that in the inception of these breakthroughs, formal design research as we currently know it did not exist. However, he points out that a form of design research was employed in order to determine a particular user need and to develop and evolve the technology to meet the need.

I agree with Richardson’s rejection of how Norman defines design research as user research:

Design research has many definitions, but within the product cycle, it consists of studies aiming to understand the activities, desires, and needs of the people for whom a product or service is desired. Design researchers use a wide variety of methods, but all of them, whether it be ethnographic observations, systematic probes, or even surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups aim at one thing: to determine those hidden, unspoken needs that will lead to a novel innovation and then to great success in the marketplace.

Design research has a much broader scope that not only encompasses user research but also technological research and market research, which provide a more comprehensive understanding of problems leading to more insightful and compelling solutions. One interesting and important point that Richardson makes is that designers need to find a balance between analytical research and inspired creativity. If focused too much on user research and finding evidence to back up every single design decision, we lose opportunities in discovering those inspirational ah-ha moments.


Canada dans 50 ans : la technologie

La semaine passée, j’ai fait une courte présentation sur l’avenir du Canada en 50 ans en focalisant au sujet de la technologie.

Je vous présente mes idées en commençant avec une histoire moderne en bref, puis je me suis concentrée sur les idées de

l’information, la communication et la sécurité. Je vais parler des conséquences possibles de l’avenir fondé sur les tendances courant. Ma présentation commence premièrement avec la situation négative, puis suivi de la situation positive.


Dans l’histoire moderne d’humanité, nous avons observé beaucoup de changements et progressions technologiques qui sont responsables de la transformation de notre société et le monde entier.) En général, ces progressions technologiques ont un aspect positif et un aspect négatif.

Par exemple :

  1. La presse typographique de Gutenberg est considérée comme une révolution d’informatique qui propage et préserve la connaissance. ette connaissance encourage l’individualisme, mais en même temps, à cause de cette révolution d’informatique la censure est devenue plus stricte.
  2. Les téléphones relient les personnes à longues distances ensemble, mais ils peuvent être aussi sujet d’être sur l’écoute (« tapped »).
  3. La radio et la télévision ont permis les émissions et l’éducation répandues, mais peuvent être aussi soumis à la propagande.
  4. L’internet nous permet de communiquer avec n’importe qui à travers le monde, mais toutes les communications sur le World Wide Web sont des messages qui peuvent être lus et tracés.

Surtout, dans les dernières décennies, le progrès technologique est composé de l’internet, les téléphones cellulaires, les télécommunications sans fil, les télécommunications au temps réel, les conférences par vidéo, la collaboration à distance, etc. Ces nouvelles technologies sont devenues omniprésents (partout à la fois « ubiquitous ») et nous permettent de relier avec les autres à travers les frontières géographiques.


Au présent, il y a beaucoup de modes de sécurités et surveillances qui nous protègent. Beaucoup de pays ont déjà introduit les passeports électroniques et le Canada va les suivre en 2011. Ces passeports incluent une puce informatique (« computer chip ») avec une photo numérique qui contient l’information biométrique comme les empreintes digitales et des scanners du visage et de l’iris. Dans l’avenir, le gouvernement peut implanter des traceurs aux corps de chaque personne pour les traquer partout et autour du monde.

A cause de l’influence politique des États-Unis sur le Canada pour la surveillance et la sécurité vis-à-vis du terrorisme, la société canadienne va devenir un monde pareil à celui d’Orson Welles dans son livre 1984 où les citoyens sont toujours sous surveillance. Tout nos détails et informations personnelles et tout ce que nous faisons – soit les communications, soit les conversations, ou même des habitudes comme nos modèles de mobilité et chaque mouvement dans nos maisons – seraient surveillés et enregistré dans une base de données ( « database ») massive.

Dans ce monde de conflit, les caméras sont omniprésentes pour exiger le contrôle social. Avec les dangers de bioterrorisme et les maladies, il y aura une augmentation de télécommunication au lieu des rencontres personnels : le résultat de ces événements est une diminution du contact humain et des individus deviennent plus isolés.



Dans 50 ans, la technologie omniprésente et la réalité augmentée sera intégrée dans nos vies et nos environnements quotidiens. C’est-à-dire : toutes nos tâches et actions vont être plus facile à faire, plus accessibles et plus pratique.

On peut vivre dans une société sans argent physique où on peut simplement porter une carte électronique comme un portefeuille numérique. Avec cette seule carte on peut choisir le contexte pour l’usage, soit une carte de crédit, soit une carte de santé. Quand on fait des achats, on peut simplement sortir du magasin et le totale des achats serait déduit automatiquement de notre compte en banque avec la détection d’un portefeuille numérique.

La connectivité de peuples par la technologie encourage la liberté de l’information, l’inclusion et l’égalité. Dans ce monde toutes les personnes peuvent communiquer avec n’importe qui, n’importe où, dans n’importe quelle langue avec une traduction de langage au temps réels.

Parce que la technologie sera moins chère, elle va être disponible à tout. Mêmes les pays en développement peuvent offrir leurs citoyens les téléphones mobiles ou les portables pour leur permettre de se communiquer et de s’informer. Dans l’avenir, cette connectivité permettra à ces personnes d’être plus éduqué et productive et d’avoir plus de possibilités.

Alors, en 50 ans, il n’y aura plus les inégalités sociales et nous serons tous relié avec l’un à l’autre.



Marble Interactions

Exploring marble games and contraptions and different forms for my Memory Marbles.

games_formsEnjoy Recurring Commission For Your Reverse Phone Search Traffic

” height=”426″ />

Sketching out possible interactions with Memory Marbles.




Concept Direction: Lost Marbles

To lose one’s marbles is an expression meaning to lose one’s mind or to forget. I play on this phrase for my concept direction. Baby Boomers are afraid of forgetting, whether through the natural aging process of inheriting Alzheimer

viagra for sale

‘s Disease. Marbles harken back to childhood nostalgia; they can be used as playful, portable, tangible devices to store tidbits of memories for reflection, sharing and exploration.

Below is an slide excerpt of my interim concept presentation.





Brainstorming: Play

The wonderful thing about the aging Baby Boomers I interviewed, as opposed to the current elderly population, is that they enjoy staying active through hobbies, sports and enjoyable activities. Another thing is their engagement in play to stimulate t

generic cialis

heir minds as well as maintain social connectedness. I researched existing tangible, playful forms, and brainstormed ideas for possible design opportunities.




A New Way to Twitter

Poke has designed BakerTweet, an ingenious little system that allows bakeries to send Twitter updates about their f

cialis for sale

resh baked goods that have popped right out of the oven. What better use of Twitter than to immediately inform customers of warm fresh scones or cookies?


Teams and T-Shirts

I’m currently reading The Art of Innovation, in which the author discusses the significance of team shirts (making and/or wearing) to create a sense of belonging to a team. He goes on to explain that the impact of solid teamwork produces better results. After reading that I thought the t-shirt aspect was fun but a bit silly and non-essential. Isn’t it usually just natural group dynamics that drive a successful team?

Not long after reading about this idea, I had a lecture in my Introduction to Sociable Robots class that covered the topic of teamwork between humans and robots. Conducted studies revealed that when a team identity was created for a human-robot team through either wearing the same t-shirts or dressing alike, teammates think more highly of each other, have better co-operation, agree more, and value each other more. With this sense of team unity, teams are also able to complete a task better and faster.

It’s quite interesting then that something as simple as a team t-shirt can create such an impact.


Brainstorming a New Vending Machine

After our analysis of our campus vending machines we came up with some design design requirements to consider for a new concept:

  • natural and intuitive gestures and process
    • selection, payment and receive drink
    • does not require any learning
  • contextualized interaction based on learning and social awareness
  • easy-to-use interface to reduce errors
    • more accessible to everyone
  • encourage exploration and and browsing
  • enjoyable, delightful, and sociable user experience

We first conceptualized the idea of having a window through which a user can physically pick out a drink but the logistics of controlling when and how many drinks can be grabbed was a bit of an issue.


We then decided on incorporating a contextualized touch screen interface to give users a (virtual) tangible interaction while providing visual information and creating an enjoyable experience.


Attraction and Engagement

When not in use, the vending machine’s screen displays featured and most popular drinks to draw attraction from passersby. Sensors can detect when a person is standing in front of the machine, which will then display the drink menu.

Drink Selection: Menu Display

The menu displays large icons detailing the images of available drinks and associated prices. As opposed to the current design, the menu does not show any repetition of drinks, nor does it show drinks that are sold out. Users simply need to touch the icon of a drink to view drink details (nutritional value, volume, etc.) rather than map their drink decision to a button they need to press, reducing selection errors. After viewing details, users can decide to pay for their selected drink or go back and view other choices.


As opposed to paying first before selecting a drink, our concept accepts payment after the user has already selected a drink. A bucket container for coins allows just one gesture of dropping coins instead of inserting coins individually into a slot.

Drink Collection

Users can easily grab their drink at arm level with little effort.


Kinetic Pine Cone

In considering the movement of organic opening and closing I decided to base my kinetic design on a pine cone. Below are some studies of the movement, and ways in which I could make a simple working prototype in less than 2 days. Initially I tried to use the structure of an umbrella as a basis for the motion of pushing upwards and outwards. I took 3 umbrellas and disassembled them in an attempt to extract the runner and stretchers to layer them atop one another. It turned out quite messy and just short of disastrous, and I realized it would be impossible to make it work in less than 24 hours.  In the end I employed a simpler method of using a cardboard tube with arm pulleys sticking out of the core and a centre core moving the pulleys when being pulled upwards.




























I just started a new course this week called Embedded Interaction with Michael Fox, who specializes in interactive architecture. For our first exercise we’ve been asked to build a kinetic structure inspired by nature or biological systems (also known as biomimetics).  We can draw examples from plant tropism, bird wings, spiderweb structure, etc. For example, Velcro was invented after the engineer,  George de Mestral, realized the hooking mechanism of burr to his dog’s fur.

Interesting examples for consideration:


weeping willow

pinecones will close when warm and dry but close in cold and damp conditions


Although this project won’t involve motors or gears our later projects will. Flying Pig is a basic useful resource for future reference.