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14 SEPTEMBER 2015

Design for Action: designing the immaterial artefact

"Throughout most of history, design was a process applied to physical objects. Raymond Loewy designed trains. Frank Lloyd Wright designed houses. Charles Eames designed furniture. Coco Chanel designed haute couture. Paul Rand designed logos. David Kelley designed products, including (most famously) the mouse for the Apple computer.

But as it became clear that smart, effective design was behind the success of many commercial goods, companies began employing it in more and more contexts. High-tech firms that hired designers to work on hardware (to, say, come up with the shape and layout of a smartphone) began asking them to create the look and feel of user-interface software. Then designers were asked to help improve user experiences. Soon firms were treating corporate strategy making as an exercise in design. Today design is even applied to helping multiple stakeholders and organizations work better as a system.

This is the classic path of intellectual progress. Each design process is more complicated and sophisticated than the one before it. Each was enabled by learning from the preceding stage. Designers could easily turn their minds to graphical user interfaces for software because they had experience designing the hardware on which the applications would run. Having crafted better experiences for computer users, designers could readily take on nondigital experiences, like patients' hospital visits. And once they learned how to redesign the user experience in a single organization, they were more prepared to tackle the holistic experience in a system of organizations."

(Tim Brown and Roger Martin, 2015, Harvard Business Review)

A version of this article appeared in the September 2015 issue (pp.56–64) of Harvard Business Review.

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TAGS

Bill BuxtonCharles EamesCoco Chanelcomplex systems • David Kelley • design history • design intervention • design processdesign thinking • design-oriented approach • design-oriented thinkingdesigned artefactethnographic design approachFrank Lloyd Wright • genuinely innovative strategies • graphical user interfaceHarvard Business ReviewHerbert Simon • holistic user experience • IDEOimmateriality • intervention design • iPoditerative prototyping • iterative rapid-cycle prototyping • iTunes Store • Jeff Hawkins • look and feellow-fidelity prototype • low-resolution prototype • nondigital experiences • PalmPilot • Paul Randpersonal digital assistantphysical objectsrapid prototyping • Raymond Loewy • redesignRichard Buchananrole of the designerservice designuser experienceuser experience design (UX)user feedbackuser interface designwicked problems

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
10 FEBRUARY 2013

The Tablet Newspaper: A Vision for the Future in 1994

"The Knight Ridder Information Design Lab is developing a newspaper interface for the tablet device. The tablet newspaper draws on the strengths of print and on the strengths of electronic forms. It is both browsable and searchable, both broad–reaching and customizable. It offers pages with story abstracts linked to more detailed stories, background material, photos, sound, and video. People can ran read as deeply or as casually as they want. Stories are no longer limited to 'news hole,' the space allotted to editorial content after press configurations and advertising have been considered.

The tablet newspaper includes editorial content and advertising, both important components of a local information package. Like editorial content, advertising can have many layers, and can be searched and sorted, as well as browsed. Additionally, ads can have transaction hooks, so that readers can make reservations or purchases."

(Teresa Martin, 1995, CHI Conference Proceedings [http://www.sigchi.org/chi95/])

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TAGS

1994ACM • Apple Newton • Association for Computing Machinery • browsable • digital eradigital media • digital paper • digital readingdigital technologyelectronic formselectronic newspaperelectronic publishingfuture of the book • information interface • ink-on-paper • interface design • Knight-Ridder Information Design Lab • layout designlook and feelnew technologiesnewspaperpage layoutPDApersonal computerpersonal digital assistantremediation • Roger Fidler • speculative researchtablettablet interface • tablet newspaper • tablet publishingtechnology convergencetechnology innovation • textual information • the future of the book • vertical orientation • visual clues

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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