Holiday Reading on Design, Information, Culture

December 23rd, 2009 § 0

For the holidays, I’ve collected a couple of articles that designers (and design interested non-designers) should read, from recent weeks when like me you’ve been too busy with before-Christmas deadlines.

Slaves of the Feed – This is not the realtime we’ve been looking for
Thomas Petersen, founder and partner of Danish digital creative agency Hello discusses our digital life and ponders possible ways to solve the problem of information overload with design.

Re-thinking Interaction Design
Johnny Kolko claims interaction design should move away from talking both branding and user experience. I don’t agree with everything Kolko writes, specifically I find he’s muddling macro and micro perspectives on the role of interaction design (there’s both a critique of UX and branding as ways of maximizing profits, and a critique of using design for that purpose in the first place, and neither are fully explored), but there are some interesting points made about design’s role in culture.

Don Norman’s attack on design research, and ensuing debate
If you have missed this somehow, the debate goes on about what actually drives innovation, technology or design – and whether there’s actually any point in ethnographic and similar research into the consumer’s deep, subconscious wishes. Norman’s answer is basically no, as he finds that technology more often than not creates the needs it fills. Design research is only useful for small incremental changes, he claims (compare this to what Roberto Verganti says in Design Driven Innovation, a book I wrote about earlier this year!) Three responses to this claim: Bruce Nussbaum, who disagrees, Adam Richardson, who thinks Norman’s definition of design research is too narrow, and Steve Portigal, who raises some interesting questions around several points in Norman’s piece.

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Tagged: design, design research, digital, information, interaction design