Designing for Service: Creating an Experience Advantage


We are surrounded by things that have been designed—from the utensils we eat with, to the vehicles that transport us, to the machines we interact with. We use and experience designed artifacts everyday. Yet most people think of designers as only having applied the surface treatment to a thing conceived by someone else. Eli Blevis created an illustration to emphasize the gulf between the general public’s notion of design and designer’s views of design (Blevis et al., 2006) (see Figure 19.1).


The Language/Action Model of Conversation: Can conversation perform acts of design?

Written for Interactions magazine by Peter H. Jones.

Editor’s Note:
In last year’s January + February issue Usman Haque, Paul Pangaro, and I described several types of interaction—reacting, regulating, learning, balancing, managing, and conversing. In the July + August 2009 issue, Paul Pangaro and I described several types of conversing—agreeing, learning, coordinating, and collaborating—and we proposed using models based on Gordon Pask’s Conversation Theory as a guide for improving human-computer interaction. Peter Jones responded, noting that there are other models of conversation and prior work in bringing conversation to human-computer interaction in particular Winograd and Flores 1986 work with The Coordinator. We agree on the importance of The Coordinator and invited Peter to outline the history of models of conversation and their relationship to HCI. His response follows.

—Hugh Dubberly


Bio-cost: An Economics of Human Behavior

Written for Guest Column in ASC / Cybernetics of Human Knowing

Much of human behavior is directed toward goals: finding food, selling services, curing cancer, making meaning.

Achieving goals requires action. Action requires effort. Effort requires energy and attention applied over time. Effort overcomes obstacles. Obstacles tax our patience, sap our resolve, and cause us stress.


Using Concept Maps in Product Development: Preparing to Redesign

a case study from
Exposing the Magic of Design: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis

edited by Jon Kolko
Oxford University Press

Dubberly Design Office consults on development of software and services. We follow a user-centered process that often involves mapping. We use concept maps to represent factors that influence the product development process. We regularly map user goal structures and user interactions; business models and resource flows; and hardware and software infrastructure and information flows. Increasingly, we are called on to map data models and content domains.


A Model of Mobile Community: Designing User Interfaces to Support Group Interaction

Written for Interactions magazine by Youngho Rhee and Juyoun Lee.

Editor’s Note:
This article proposes several models of community, including a model of “mobile community”—an extension of physical community merged with online community. The authors also provide examples of how these models have contributed to the development of community applications in their work at Samsung.

—Hugh Dubberly


Building Support for Use-Based Design into Hardware Products

Written for Interactions magazine by Tim Misner.

Editor’s Note:
Use-based design is a new model of product development. It is a process of measuring user behavior and applying the resulting data to improve the next version of a product—creating a feedback loop between user and designer. (We might refer to the process as data-driven design, but that term has another meaning among software developers.)

Basing design decisions on customer behavior has roots in mail-order catalogs of the late 19th century, such as Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck. Use-based design grew along with direct mail in the mid-20th century. More recently, the Web created opportunities for collecting data on user behavior. Google is famous for driving decisions with use data. But few designers have experience in basing decisions on data, and many are still uncomfortable with the practice.


10 Models of Teaching + Learning

Here we have collected 10 models,
each of which answer the questions:
What is teaching?
What is learning?

Each model is partial—incomplete.
But each provides a point of view, a frame.

The models are arranged from simple to complex.


What is conversation? How can we design for effective conversation?

Written for Interactions magazine by Hugh Dubberly and Paul Pangaro.

Interaction describes a range of processes. A previous “On Modeling” article presented models of interaction based on the internal capacity of the systems doing the interacting [1]. At one extreme, there are simple reactive systems, such as a door that opens when you step on a mat or a search engine that returns results when you submit a query At the other extreme is conversation. Conversation is a progression of exchanges among participants. Each participant is a “learning system,” that is, a system that changes internally as a consequence of experience. This highly complex type of interaction is also quite powerful, for conversation is the means by which existing knowledge is conveyed and new knowledge is generated.


Models of Models

Written for Interactions magazine by Hugh Dubberly.

Models are ideas about the world—how it might be organized and how it might work. Models describe relationships: parts that make up wholes; structures that bind them; and how parts behave in relation to one another.


What is Interaction? Are There Different Types?

Written for Interactions magazine by Hugh Dubberly, Usman Haque, and Paul Pangaro.

When we discuss computer-human interaction and design for interaction, do we agree on the meaning of the term “interaction”? Has the subject been fully explored? Is the definition settled?