Surprisingly, our understanding of how we stumble upon new insights hasn't come far beyond to say, "And then a miracle happens." The more scientific a...moreSurprisingly, our understanding of how we stumble upon new insights hasn't come far beyond to say, "And then a miracle happens." The more scientific accounts divide discovery into stages marked preparation, observation, incubation, and reflection. This semi-miraculous formula of insight, owing to Graham Wallas, permeates our understanding of creative process, but many questions remain unanswered. Little is known about what happens in the incubation stage of insight acquisition, for example.
Gary Klein, a cognitive psychologist and an outsider to the field of insight research, has devoted himself to answering this question by scientifically examining the available evidence from the stories of people, famous or not, who are credited with a great insight. Some of these stories resemble the prototypical Aha! moment of Wallas, but as Klein discovers, this is not the only type of insight people get. In fact, he identified three types of insight: connection, contradiction and creative desperation. Each one operates a little differently in terms of how it shifts the person's story of how things work.
This book is a valuable contribution to the field of insight research. If we stop even a moment in our quest for perfection and predictability, and study how heuristics and biases combine to produce the insights that they do, then, according to Klein, we can improve the chances of producing breakthrough new insights. We can both minimize error and maximize insight, Klein writes. I, for one, am convinced that this new positive study of the heuristics of the human mind is a great antidote to the excesses of much of contemporary research in cognitive psychology. I hope that we will see more works like this in the future. (less)
Very thorough book about using personas at every stage of the design process to communicate user needs throughout the organization. Some of the things...moreVery thorough book about using personas at every stage of the design process to communicate user needs throughout the organization. Some of the things suggested in the book (like making cardboard cutouts of the personas and treating them like real people) are kind of goofy, but there are lots of great ideas here as well. It's a big book, but definitely worth your time.(less)
There are a lot of interesting observations about the scifi aesthetic here. For example: if you want to make your technology look retro, use capital l...moreThere are a lot of interesting observations about the scifi aesthetic here. For example: if you want to make your technology look retro, use capital letters and monospace fonts. To evoke advanced technology, use a sans serif typeface. Color coding is often used to differentiate different alien races. Social status must be taken under consideration when depicting a conversation two people where one of them is a volumetric projection, i.e. hologram, so you can't have Darth Vader look like a toy in the hands of a Stormtrooper.
This is indeed interesting, but not really useful to most interaction designers, unless your task is to design a dashboard for the next Star Trek movie.
The authors are engrossed by the cool and weird technologies they encounter in their survey, but do not draw lessons that are applicable to designing present-day interfaces. By the way, after reading about those awesome movies, I wished they had provided a shortlist in an appendix.
Nonetheless, give this book a try. It is the only one of its kind. If you are designing sci-fi interfaces, it's truly useful.(less)
Really loved this book. It opened a new window into my thinking about how experiences should work. John Ferrara, the creator of Fitter Critters, a gam...moreReally loved this book. It opened a new window into my thinking about how experiences should work. John Ferrara, the creator of Fitter Critters, a game that encourages healthy eating habit in kids, vividly shows how good game design needs to have a message. There are many examples of games with a message, but the one that stuck with me is Monopoly, which we now think of as a game that seems to encourage mindless greed, but it was created in early 1900s as a critique and a "practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences."
There are many other tidbits in this book, and some unique perspective on persuasive design. Ferrara cites another author --whose name I forget-- and claims that any game where the only winning strategy is to do the "right thing" cannot be a persuasive. Persuasive games allow the players to discover the right thing for themselves. There are often compromises and the players have to discover the balance on their own. That's the essence of persuasion.
Now I am more inclined to think of gameplay as a means of communication, whether that's between the designer and the player, or between the players themselves. According to Ferrara, designers have a responsibility to find the meaning in what they build, even if that meaning is about the game itself.(less)