Monday, August 31, 2009

"Mommy, where do ideas come from?"

I just read Mommy, where do ideas come from? It was insightful. Here are a few quotes I found interesting.
Experiencing real people in their actual environments fuels our senses of empathy and intuition that helps to guide us towards the ideas that make people happy, successful (and even better looking). Plus, the research phase affords us the opportunity to be fully immersed in the users and the domain for a few weeks at the start of the project, which in addition to providing rich data and empathy, also gives our brains boot-up time to start noodling on the problem and explore possible solutions in the background.
I am particularly satisfied when a solution I have created has made someone else work easier. I makes it more real when I talked with them or interacted in some other way.

Sometimes, words are worth 1,000 pictures

The first step in our design ideation process comes before any “official” sketching is done: we describe the users’ ideal experience in words. The scenarios we develop at this stage are forward-looking and technology-agnostic, focusing on the personas and how they think, feel and behave rather than on specific interface elements or technical implementations.
I am convinced that if we invest some time in describing in words the experience we want our users to have it will pay dividends.
There’s something special about the process of sketching - even jotting down some really bad ideas helps us learn about the tensions on the problem and gets us closer to a workable solution.
I love having the large jotting paper available to us since our move to our new office.

The power of paired designing

Because we work in pairs, Cooper designers often can’t say for sure where one person’s idea ends and the other’s begins. But what we do know is that our design partners are a major source of inspiration and design ideas. We come up with ideas while we’re talking through the problem with our partners, or while listening to them talk through it with us. We piggyback on each others’ ideas, zeroing in on what’s good about our partner’s proposed solution and tweaking what’s not working, buoyed by the collective energy in the room. And just having someone there to call b.s. when we’ve gone too far off the reservation frees us up to explore novel and even downright crazy solutions that may yield useful insights or contain aspects that can be applied to a more practical design approach.

As Richard Buchanan (Emma’s grad school professor) used to say, “Ideas don’t live in your brain or my brain but in the collective space between our brains.”

I know that one of the successes of MOS was the paired designing Sam and I did.

Don’t be afraid to stare out the window

One of the benefits our designers enjoy is that we are typically assigned to only one project at a time, which means that our design problems not only get our focused attention during work hours, but also find their way into our background brain cycles outside of the office. Oftentimes, ideas come in the shower, on a run or bike ride, or while washing dishes - any time that our minds are given the freedom to wander. Even here in the studio, you’ll often see designers staring out the window, watching a ship come into port or commuter-ants scurry through the crowded streets below. Taking some quiet time for woolgathering helps to reduce stress, while also distracting the judging part of our brains. After letting our minds meander for a bit, we can often corral some of those fragmented thoughts into a useful idea.

I am amazed at the amount of inspiration and motivation I get when I am mowing the lawn, working in my garden or just walking. Maybe there is something to the physical movement. Something about a simple task that doesn't take my brain power.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Modify Your Command Prompt Settings

I was just shown how to change some settings of the windows command prompt. This is what I changed.

Open your command prompt. Right click on the title bar and choose properties.

- Under the Options tab in the Edit Options section I checked QuickEdit Mode. This allows you to select text and hit enter to copy text to the clipboard.
- Under the Layout tab, I changed the Screen buffer width to 100 and the height to 500. I changed the Window width to 100 and the height to 35

When you click OK, you tell it to "save properties for future windows with the same title". If you open your command prompt from a short cut you choose "Modify shortcut that started this window".

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dependency Injection

Here is a good explanation on dependency injection looking at Unity specifically.