June 24, 2013
The Interaction Design Foundation is publishing Gamification At Work by Jankaki Kumar and Mario Herger for the public tomorrow. I just finished reading the book and taking notes thinking I might review it. However, rather than do a simple review of the book’s content, I decided to situate the major points from the book into a post on the general topic of gamification in the workplace.
I appreciate the opportunity to read the book’s early release and, if you haven’t yet seen it just click on the link to it above and you can access it as well. Hopefully you will also consider reading my own thoughts on how the points in the book fit into what is most aptly considered gameful design.
Gamification At Work is an interesting read for several reasons. Kumar and Herger not only cover the essential components of a well-thought approach to why playing games is not antithetical to getting work done. They add to that contribution by outlining a design strategy, which they refer to as Player Centered Design, and providing case-study insights from the SAP Community Network that add essential details to each part of their overall discussion.
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April 5, 2011
At the end of February I co-presented at STLUX’11 with Dave Gray. Our presentation was called Exploring the Usefulness of Chartjunk. The collaboration behind the presentation started as an exchange between the two of us on Twitter regarding whether the whole concept of Chartjunk is a myth. Over a series of conversations about recent research on the relative importance of visual embellishment in how people remember and understand data, I suggested to Dave that we develop a presentation around the topic. Dave agreed and suggested that we also build the presentation in a manner that engaged the audience to share their thinking about the issues involved.
Dave and I designed the presentation as a simulated debate between the pre-eminent critic of Chartjunk (actually the design theorist who formulated the concept) Edward Tufte and Nigel Holmes, an illustrator and the former Graphics Director at Time Magazine. Homes is well known for his use of visual embellishment in designing graphics that tell stories about data relationships. We designed the presentation around four graphic displays, two by Tufte and two by Holmes. We discussed the graphics and then asked members of the audience to consider each graphic on four dimensions.
- ease of understanding what it is about
- ease of understanding the categories and values displayed
- ease of seeing the basic trend
- ease of determining whether it conveys a message
I designed a simple survey that allowed us to gather data on those four dimensions using an implicit five point scale, eliciting participation and dialogue with the audience at the same time. The graphic below provides a view of the survey’s instructions. The participants seemed overall to enjoy the approach and the evaluations confirmed the impression.
We drew the four dimensions from research done in 2010 by members of the Interaction Lab at the University of Saskatchewan. The Interaction Lab researchers designed an experimental study to test two basic questions: “first, whether visual embellishments do in fact cause comprehension problems; and second, whether the embellishments may provide additional information that is valuable for the reader.” I’m not going to detail the methodology used, however the researchers asked four questions to participants in the research as they reviewed graphics by Holmes with a great deal of visual embellishment or the same graphics after applying the data-ink ratio used by Tufte.
Q1–Subject: ‘What is the chart is about?‘ ‘Tell me about the basic subject of the chart.’
Q2–Values: ‘What are the displayed categories and values?‘ ‘Tell me how the chart is organized and any relevant values.’
Q3–Trend: ‘What is the basic trend of the graph?‘ ‘Tell me whether the chart shows any changes and describe these changes.’ (Note that this question was not relevant for pie charts.)
Q4–Value Message: ‘Is the author trying to communicate some message through the chart?‘ ‘Is the author trying to get across a specific point or is he or she merely presenting objective information?’
We reported on the major findings of the research team to the audience as follows:
- There was no significant difference between plain and image charts for interactive interpretation accuracy (i.e., when the charts were visible).
- There was also no significant difference in recall accuracy after a five-minute gap.
- After a long-term gap (2-3 weeks), recall of both the chart topic and the details (categories and trend) was significantly better for Holmes charts.
- Participants saw value messages in the Holmes charts significantly more often than in the plain charts.
- Participants found the Holmes charts more attractive, most enjoyed them, and found that they were easiest and fastest to remember.
At the end of the presentation, after we covered the research study findings, we then asked the participants to list as many of the graphics from the four discussed earlier and to rate each along the four dimensions. As we broke up the session a few participants asked if we could share the findings from the participative survey.
I agreed to post the results and I am now getting around to it.
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September 25, 2008
I don’t usually discuss books or reports without contextualizing the discussion. However, I’ve just begun reading a book that merits mention before digesting how it fits either strategically or tactically with experience design issues.
Skilful Minds first discussed virtual anthropology several years ago noting the following.
The term points to the ability of customer researchers to now tap into the stories about personal experience that increasing numbers of people are providing online…But, keep in mind that the people offering their stories and experiences for your edification are not doing it for you.
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August 27, 2008
We initially discussed place-based stories back in 2006, noting the way [murmur] provided people experiencing a place to add a story about their engagement with it. To listen to the stories, visitors to that place simply called a number on their mobile device.
I was reminded of the [murmur] service this past weekend while walking through the Missouri Botanical Gardens(MoBot) here in St. Louis. MoBot is hosting the Niki exhibit, showing forty mosaic sculptures done by Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 – 2002). Each sculpture is assigned a unique number that corresponds to an audio message for that work. For example, La Cabeza information is available at (314) 558-4357 11#.
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July 20, 2008
Adam Silver, a Strategist at Frog Design, recently wrote an insightful article, “Calculated Design”, in the company’s online magazine — design mind. I want to discuss the article because it touches on several key issues relating to innovation and designing products and services for the experience of users/customers. Adam notes that as globalization and digitalization emerged in the 1990s the trend resulted in product and service interfaces with more culturally diverse and geographically distributed audiences and a fragmented market. The combination of these forces led designers to search for new methods to augment artistic intuition. Considerations of form and function also required attention to feel, features, and interactivity attuned to the needs, wants, and beliefs of specific users/customers.
As Adam observes, ethnography was one of the first new methods incorporated by design research to meet these challenges in the market. However, he thinks ethnography is, on its own, unable to provide the kind of information needed to validate product and service ideas across wide audiences. Read the rest of this entry »
April 13, 2008
Tom Stewart indicates that the International Standards Organization (ISO) recently “decided to use the term user experience in the new version of ISO 13407 (which will be called ISO 9241-210 to bring it into line with other usability standards).” He is in a position to know, since Tom serves as Chair of the sub-committee of ISO responsible for the revision of ISO 13407 – the International Standard for Human Centred Design. The change might not seem significant at first glance, but its importance is easy to miss. Read the rest of this entry »
January 26, 2007
Skilful Minds first discussed feature bloat in mobile devices here. We have mentioned OpenMoko as a potential solution to experience design issues related to users controlling the seams of mobile devices as well as providing vertical applications to better fit user needs. Well, OpenMoko has finally been opened up to the public so that we can follow the process of developing and implementing innovative sofware on an open source mobile device. OpenMoko is based on the Linux kernel and, unlike other mobile devices using Linux, the applications for OpenMoko are open source.
You can see a video interview with Shawn Moss-Pultz . He is the product manager for First International Computer’s Mobile Communications group which produces the Neo 1973 phone, the initial hardware platform for OpenMoko. In OpenMoko the entire software stack is open to developers to come up with innovative applications.
January 9, 2007
I know, I know, you are probably saying “Can’t he talk about anything but seamful and seamless design?” Well, I’ll get off that topic soon. Yet, in the meantime, here are a couple of examples of how a seamless interface to the user of a device is a seam for control by someone else. One basic point of those arguing for seamful design is that the user of the device, rather than the developer, is the agent whose control over the device needs maximizing by designers. Those who contend the goal of a seamless interface is a well-intentioned effort to relieve those using ubiquitous mobile devices from information overload often fail to mention up front that all connected devices provide seams of control. You might say that proponents of seamful design are the Libertarians of experience design, contending that control over the agency of any device belongs with the person who uses it, especially if they own it. Read the rest of this entry »