Making sense of a census

Spotlight was created for the 2011 Australian Census - making the story all about you!

The campaign idea was simple - engage people by showing them how their Census data can influence decisions that will shape their community and the future of Australia.
The campaign will consist of TV, print and radio but at the heart of it is an interactive microsite which will bring your personal data to life. The goal was to make data feel tangible and relevant to everyone and thereby drive interest in Census.

(Source: Campaign brief)

(not another) kids au:maybe the house will never be as tidy as it was, and maybe they won’t get lazy sunday mornings for another 18 years, but sidney and geno have a family and they couldn’t be happier. 

Recently, at a CIO and IT SRummit in Mumbai, Rakesh Kumar, Research Vice President at Gartner said that analysts, “are seeing an acceleration of adoption of cloud computing and cloud services among enterprises, and an explosion of supply-side activity as technology providers maneuver to exploit the growing commercial opportunity. The potential benefits of cloud are a shift from ’capacity’ on demand to ‘capability’ on demand, a reduced cost of computing resources and a shift from technology use to ‘value’ consumption.”


Most systems executed fail. Why are there so few ‘good’ systems? The answer, from my perspective, is simple. The teams creating them have little or no understanding of the end user.

This is the first of a three-part paper on the What, Why and How of user experience. It explains and positions user experience practice within the broader field and gives some insight into common terminology.

Keep reading

User Centric Evaluation Of Citynomadi

We are participating in a user centric research project of the University of Tampere. There are three focus groups that make their trial paths in a visibility of the university, most likely around the the Tampere Hall.

The focus groups are following: tourism guides in city of Tampere having a lot of juicy stories, students and average travellers, who enjoy exploring the new places by themselves.

We’ll inform about the results, and surely take all the comments in to a careful consideration while creating our service forward.

Users don't know - you have to lead them.

The user is king. It’s a phrase that’s repeated over and over again as a mantra: Companies must become user-centric. But there’s a problem: It doesn’t work. Here’s the truth: Great brands lead users, not the other way around.

The Apple and IKEA way

Take Apple. One evening, well into the night, we asked some of our friends on the Apple design team about their view of user-centric design. Their answer? “It’s all bullshit and hot air created to sell consulting projects and to give insecure managers a false sense of security. At Apple, we don’t waste our time asking users, we build our brand through creating great products we believe people will love.” Another hyper-growth brand, IKEA, has the same belief. One of us had the privilege of working closely with IKEA’s global brand and design leaders; at IKEA the unspoken philosophy is: “We show people the way.” IKEA designers don’t use user studies or user insights to create their products. When I asked them why, they said “We tried and it didn’t work.” Of course, neither Apple nor IKEA will say this publicly since they are both extremely closed companies and would risk offending users (and the design community) by speaking out against user-centeredness. And since no one will speak up, the false value of the user-as-leader has spread.

Be a Visionary

If users can’t tell a company what to do, what should companies do instead? The best brands are all guided by a clear vision for the world, a unique set of values, and a culture that makes them truly unique and that no user insights could ever change. They define their own rules.The vision must come first. This could come from the client, designers, a team, an organization, or a design leader. It needs to be clear and applied consistently over the project.

Create an icon

The same goes for truly extraordinary products, the icons of the world. There are three types of iconic products and none of them are made through user-driven design.

Why it’s harmful to listen to the users

But can’t you create radical new products based on what the user wants? Why do the most innovative brands not care about what users want?

Users insights can’t predict future demand

The demand for something fundamentally new is completely unpredictable. Even the users themselves have no idea if they will like an entirely product before they start using it (and maybe, only after years of use). Demand for something new cannot be predicted. The world is driven forward by improbable, high-impact events, both negative and positive: September 11th, the subprime crisis, or the explosive rise of social media. These events completely changed the world and were difficult to predict—perhaps a few individuals saw a glimpse of the future, but the majority of people were totally unprepared. It’s the same with new products and brands—you can’t foresee what will be successful. This is a very scary thought for most business leaders, but the good news is that there are ways to deal with it. All creative industries are dependent on the constant launch of radically new products. And the music, movie, publishing, and fashion industries have tried to find stability in a sea of unpredictability by constantly putting out new products and seeing what sticks. They have learned to hire the best and the most creative people in the world (whether it’s directors, music producers, or authors), worked hard to launch a broad portfolio of products and to speed up the time it takes their products to reach the market.

User-centered processes stifles creativity

Could you imagine Steven Spielberg starting out new film projects with intense user studies and insights? Not really. There is a reason why Spielberg and all other profoundly creative people don’t work in a user-centered way. The user-centered process is created as linear rational process for innovation and that’s why it’s so popular among managers. But as studies of successful innovations and creativity shows, creating something new is a chaotic, unpredictable, frustrating, and very, very hard process. And most of all, it’s the result of extraordinary efforts and visions of a few extremely talented people. These creative people will feel limited and bored, not inspired, if they have to start out a creative process with a lot of user knowledge. Their inspiration comes from a multiple of sources and is highly individual. Creating a formula will always be in vain and won’t result in something really new.

User focus makes companies miss out on disruptive innovations

Focusing on users will lead companies to make incremental innovations that typically tend to make the products more expensive and complicated and ironically, in the long run, less competitive. Radical innovations typically gain traction in the margins of a market and the majority of customers (at least in the beginning) will dislike change. If a company bases their decisions on user studies, they will conclude that most radically new innovations are not rational to pursue. This often means that companies miss out on new growth markets that can end up eventually eliminating their business. The same logic applies to branding. A company will always go for very small incremental changes in their branding efforts if they base their decision on user input. In the short run, minor changes pleases their users. In the long run, it means the big brand will be run over by bolder, often smaller, and more innovative brands that redefine an industry.

User-led design leads to sameness

Even if user insights were useful, it isn’t a competitive advantage. Even the most advanced users studies are now widely available. Most companies have conducted these studies and they have had the same insights about their users as you have. Therefore, product strategies based on studies will tend to be similar to their competitors. The result is a sea of sameness. This isn’t a theoretical point—most industries are characterized by very similar products and brand positions, partially because companies have listened too much to their users. Branding is really about differentiation, about standing out. User centeredness leads to the opposite, similarity.

It’s time for brands to step up and trust themselves again. ***

Written by Jens Martin Skibsted and Rasmus Bech Hansen.

Your users are your brand's most important asset

Over the past year I have been involved in many different discussions and meetings with the purpose of determining a company’s or product’s customer. I quickly realized that there isn’t a simple answer that can be applied across the board. However, I sometimes like to propose a different question: Who is your brand’s most important asset? More often than not the answer is simple. The users.

How does this help?

If you are asking this question then you are missing something vital to your business’ success. Without users you have no advertisers and typically no content. This also usually means you have no revenue. Basically, you have no business.

Building for the user and thinking about pie

Keep this principle in mind as you build out your web service or product. With every decision you make ask yourself “Is this good for the user? Why?”. User-centric design is indeed on the rise but you’d be surprised how many UX and product designers are still slaves to aesthetics. Looks are nice but they are not everything. If your web app was a pie, aesthetics would be a single slice while user experience would be half the pie.


We truly are entering an era where the user is king. Customer service, customer interaction and user experience are becoming increasingly important in our society. This is because users, at their core, are the primary link to revenue. Users are the ones who add true value to your platform, product or service. Without them you don’t even have a business.

I also want to note that I realize this principle doesn’t apply to all products everywhere but most modern services and products would truly benefit from this user-centric mentality. So what do you think? Is the user really that important or are there other factors? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

‪Meaningful Play: Getting Gamification Right‬
Google Tech Talk Presented by Sebastian Deterding

Really good simple insight into gamification - great presentation.

Mobile intelligence, business cloud computing applications, and high-speed broadband services are gaining ground, redirecting the focus of ICT from networking to more user-centric applications. Happy Sunday. #chrisdofdof #sunday #thinkabout #life

Lecture 2 - User Centric Design & Requirement Gathering

This weeks lecture was an overview of the User Centric design method which follows and iterative process where we Design > Implement > and Evaluate.

The Design Process

While the Iterative Design model has its upsides, it can become expensive and time consuming completing a full design while following this model. When completing a Design and Implementing it, it is often possible to find major flaws in your design once you get back to the evaluation stage. Which in turn can lead to a complete redesign and re-implementation and thus becoming a very time consuming process.

A more responsive method of designing is the Spiral model. This model follows the same three principle stages of Design > Implementation > Evaluation, with one major difference. The Spiral model begins with a very basic design followed by a basic implementation and completing the circle with a very general evaluation. As each evaluation stage completes the next stage starts to increase the complexity of the design, increase the fidelity of your implementation and you evaluation begins to become more specific.

Requirement Gathering

There are three primary activities that a designer performs in order to comple the requirement gathering phase:

1. User Observation
2. Interviewing/Surverys
3. Task Analysis

User observation will help create a model of the target audiences main tasks and priorities. Observations will bring light to the context around a particular product or application and the relationship of the use of the product to other products.

Interviews aid in verifying and clarifying observations, and generally stay focused around the designers primary agenda but will allow the focus of the investigation to change. Interviews can give insight into behaviours that you have observed, but more importantly can point out things that the designer may not have captured throughout observations. Interviews provide insight into identifying the goals the users would like to achieve through their actions.

Task Analysis is to form a detailed idea on how users perform tasks and how users are achieving their intended goals, and in turn helps to identify the tasks that the designer must support. Task analysis delves into what your users goals are, what they are trying to achieve and what they are currently doing to achieve those goals. Users experiences vary depending on Personal, Cultural and Social situations, identifying how a user performs under these different situations also gives insight into how a task will be performed. More deeply, a task analysis must also take into account a persons behaviour and influences that surround them such as physical environments.

These three phases can determine the success of your design.

User Centric Design

Over the course of the week we discussed users wants and needs of an interface in relation to our assignments. Through the lecture and tutorial we were asked to discuss ideas for apps, which our target group would find useful, and to come up with 3 ideas which we could expand on. These are some ideas for apps/interfaces that would help first year (and other) uni students:

  • Updates with UC events and gatherings
  • essay/lecture note taking app that corresponds with whats happening on the lecture slides being presented to you
  • email reminders - reminders to check your uni email when you get a email
  • interactive map to tutorial rooms
  • Question App
  • App with easy access to contact details such as tutor offices hours and emails
  • other important contact details such as counsellor, doctors etc

I found very difficult to come up with concepts that were unique, different, or would be useful to students. I have decided to pursue the idea of the question app, because I feel it something that I can easily expand upon. Through the discussion of other people’s ideas I was able to critique my idea more and focus on what the target group will need out of the app, such as:

  • Interactive
  • use notifications
  • adaptable to different platforms (mac, pc, phone, tablet etc)
  • quick and simple navigation
  • similar to messenger apps in the way of communicating question and answer
  • notifications when your message has been answered so you don’t have to check constantly.
  • an FAQ option which gives useful answers without waiting for a response.
  • Student central contact information incase they have an inquiry that needs more discussion

I will continue to work out the kinks in my idea throughout the week. The discussions in class really helped me to focus on what is need in my design to to cater to the target audience.

Lecture 2 Notes

This week I listened to a lecture online, the teacher, Raghu explained through this lecture the different methods that can be used for User Centric Design. The first method we looked at was the Iterative Design, this is constant method which starts with ‘design’ then ‘implement’ and ‘evaluating’ the results, you then repeat this process over and over again until you are happy with the outcome. As mentioned in the talk this can be time consuming, and can cost money, if you are improving the design each time. The second method is the Spiral Model which is less time consuming, I think  this method would work best for because with this assignment we have a pretty small time frame.

The three requirements when gathering information is by (1) observing the users (2) interviewing the users and (3) analyzing the task given, and searching for ways to improve the problems. I think all of this approaches are very important as the designer you need to create something that will benefit the users. And to hopefully fix the problem that can be seen once you have gathered the information, and when you have also gone through one of the methods mentioned above (Iterative Design/ Spiral Model.)

As part of the homework we are to identify our primary user group, we already know they are 1st year university students, but for this assignment I have chosen my target user group for my assignment to be international students, who are studying abroad.

One idea that I have thought about a lot is developing an app, that is easy to use and students can use it on there tablets or phones. This can be accessible for all students at the uni as well, but there are features that are made for the international students.

-The app would have a GPS reading of the campus and you can enter in what building you wish to go to and it will help direct you there. There are also interactive maps of the campus for the students to click on and to get a better idea on what the building looks like, so they don’t get lost.

-There will also be a language setting in the app, making it easier for the international students to change the app from English. 

-There will also be a timezone page where students can customize the timezones, to their hometown.

-There will also be a English translation system, where student can type in the English word they do not know and it will be translated to their preferred language.

-There will also be a calendar which the students can fill out when there assignments are due- alarms are also set so the student will get notified/ reminders to start or submit an assignment. There maybe a ‘tick’ or an ‘x’  and the student can click on either one (the ‘x’ will silence the reminder, but remind you a bit later to start/submit the assignment, the ‘tick’ will symbolize that you’ve submitted/started the assignment, it will also silence the alarm. )

-The Calendar/alarm will also help the students schedule how much time they should be putting in for there assignment, in regards to the unit outline.

-The students email will also be linked in the app, so you will be notified if you receive emails.

-There will also be a contact page, with all the teachers emails and the uni’s contact details.

-There will also be a link for students to use if they wish to submit drafts of their assignments, where they will be marked and sent back to them ( the students would have to submit a PDF file, the people marking the assignment would be qualified)

-Other classmates who have the same classes can also be added into your ‘contacts’ making it easier for students to communicate with each other.

The other idea would to use these same notes and to make a website for the uni students, incase they don’t have access to a tablet/smartphone. 

As for my third idea I haven’t thought of anything as of yet.