Continuum – More than Money – – Design At The Edge

Rajesh Bilimoria, Vice-President of Continuum

Rajesh presented on some of the current intricacies of how money is used and ways to create new offerings for consumer financial products and services.

Case studies
Rajesh cites case studies like Kenya’s M-Pesa, Visa’s black card (which he says the concept actually existed as a myth among aspirational users before it was a real Visa offering), and the work Continuum did to improve the online banking of BBVA. Rajesh mentions samples of their research process and method of moving from concept works to usability testing in order to validate are the right user tasks can be executed.

Their wireframe was unique, as it highlights the user’s priorities, not just the functional aspect of what it means for BBVA, but what it means for BBVA’s users.
It’s similar to what Monica Bueno presented at the Service Design Conference in Cambridge last year on the visibility of service design hierarchy by a website’s layout.



layout shows the importance that the business places on their own offerings and depts.

Context and needs matter. Highlight the opportunity.
“Context and needs of how people live” frame the opportunity. He stresses the discrepancy between priorities, where “what’s important to the company often isn’t the most important thing to real people.” “We have to shift” that way of thinking so that, “the consumers’ focus is our focus.”

  • ex: “Consumers are not after a mortgage, they’re after a home.”
  • [imo Reframing those priorities can make the interaction much smoother when the consultant can let their client know what the client’s consumer expects.]

  • We should strive to create “a  much more humanistic experience even when you’re dealing with something like a mortgage.”
  • “We can easily ignore the complexities of our interactions, but it is these complexities that create the opportunities for real innovation.”

    For example, the mobile telecom industry is focused on driving ARPU (average revenue per user). If that is the driving priority of the business, it is does not create a very positive user experience. See more on what Umair Haque dubs “fake costs” in the telecom and banking industries. http://www.managementexchange.com/blog/why-business-brain-dead-and-how-wake

    Experience
    Rajesh places emphasis on pursuing experience as a driver for improving offerings, and revenue.

    Metrics
    I am interested in how you develop metrics for an experience that you’re not yet sure what it will bring.

    New system of metrics


    Rajesh mentions “If we just use the metrics we have now as metrics of success, that’s a good way to kill ideas. And if we use yesterday’s perspective and yesterday’s lenses, we don’t give today’s ideas time to breathe.”
    One method is to use experiential metrics that initially framed your prototyped idea. The parameters that define how are you delivering on it can be turned into dimensions for new metrics. That will help the client keep fidelity after it is implemented.


    Bruce Nussbaum notes that “a good way to kill innovation is to apply one set of [existing] metrics to a new experience.”

    Application from different domains
    (possibly look into Doblin Group’s Ten Types of Innovation for measuring impact)
    Are today’s measurements relevant to what we are implementing? Another way is to look to a competition’s metrics as well as other domains, offerings that are experientially similay may have metrics that are similar.

  • ex: Netflicks didn’t look to Blockbuster for metrics, but may have looked at
    for different interactions that can provide metrics about what the next ideas is.
  • [Blockbuster did charge a lot of “fake costs.” For example “late returns” used to always charge the renter a fee, but how often did that late return cause a film to be “out of stock.” A title with less copies, but not empty, may actually have helped encourage browsers (people that were browsing) to think that it was a hot film.]

    Rajesh says that “Not that everything in the past that is bad,” but says “starting with experiential metrics as business metrics have to support that.”

    Continuum “looks carefully to understand, think about what things mean, create new ideas that build on our understanding and thinking.”
    Like Jason Severs of frog design, Rajesh also suggests taking the client out into the field. He also notes the importance of story telling. This isn’t just used to show the client the existing conditions that a user encounters, but also envisioning a future scenario.

    ———————

    Organizations
    An increasing part of our work is figuring out how an organization needs to adapt.
    Nothing can kill an organization that is advserse to change.

    Embrace Complexity
    SImplifying problems can help us meaningfully address human complexity and our world.

    Rajesh’s thoughts on currency

  • People will spend more time and more money to purchase intangible things.
  • Previously , social networks were invisible.
  • [Now there with SNS there’s] the excess of numbers, with connections [potentially] being currency.
  • “In a lot of the luxury [industry], time is currency”
  • “alot of services are around time managment”
  • “quality of life is a metric.” “happiness is going to be a currency”
  • “things of value that are not currecny bc they can’t be traded.”
  • “money is going to be less impotant thatn it has been in the past.”

  • CONCEPTS
    for developing a new financial services system for Gen-Yers
    “It’s not the saving that’s hard, it’s starting the habit of saving that is hard.” – Rajesh
    “And it’s reducing your debt” – Bruce
    Rajesh spoke about the concept of a model where instead of a service offering a you a deal to pay and recieve something (Groupon-eseque), you may get a deal for future (with investment appreciation).

    My thoughts on the presentation
    While the main case study, BBVA, was a website, I really appreciate Rajesh speaking about experience outside the context of just web and digital services. He did not even have to specifically define that he was talking about people, users and their lives. He framed the presentation well and spoke broadly with specific examples where the main points were about human behavior. Even when showing the case study for BBVA, he showed research photos of user’s physical desk setup, videos of users engaging with digital prototypes and images of users working with paper prototypes.

    I am excited to see what design consultancies can offer in terms of service design and designing pathways for experience that are not solely web based.


    This lecture is part of Bruce Nussbaum’s Design At The Edge lecture series.
    additional
    mapping user habits

    Automobile Interaction

    I was impressed by my little brother kludging his mobile to his dashboard. We had the GSP nav running as well as Pandora.

    While cruising to DIA, all of a sudden the car asks, “Do you want to preform a systems check? To cancel, press ‘OK’.” In an androgynous version of HAL, the voice sort of freaked me out. My little brother said “No, I just took it in last week.” My response was, “Why is the car talking? And why does the car have an “OK” button? This is not ok.”

    I thought Don Norman would be displeased.

    It turns out the “Ok” button is also the play, pause, and tune button as well as the volume toggle. It just happens to be one of the furthest buttons from the driver.

    Pyramid (inverse pyramid of accuracy on top)
    “The automobile industry is copying all the worst features of the computer industry, ignoring all the advances in user-interface design” (Norman)

    But as you try to create meaningful experience, the content is more more subjective, the ability to be effective is based off of different criteria.
    Kozatch PyramidThe auto industry is trying to design personal experiences, without first properly addressing usable, obstacle-free interactions.
    Ironically the interruption asking if we would like to perform a safety inspection could in fact be putting someone at risk of crashing. Norman notes “the real irritations of modern communication are those of human attention.” So why is the car emulating a human voice and interrupting you while you drive at 85mph? Shouldn’t there be a threshold – 45+ don’t ask any questions. Or if there is snow on the road, don’t ask any questions. Like mom had “let’s play the quiet game,” while trying to concentrate on driving. Or shouldn’t there just be a feedback loop so the warning system registers that a systems check was already preformed?

    There are many regulations when designing for automobiles, so the threat isn’t so much that the notification was dangerous, the threat is that it the notification was pointless. In this case, the safety inspection was already completed. So the audio warning was dismissed. If the safety inspection was not completed, the audio warning would be dismissed, but there would be no note left behind reminding the driver of the necessary safety inspection.

    Designing meaningful experiences requires an increased emphasis on research before production and as well as heavy user testing.

    As the pyramid narrows at the top, it is easier to encounter a higher degree of dissatisfaction as a design is harder to match with peoples’ expectations.
    There is a bigger question than how to refine the interface of a car. Why is there a new car model every year? That question popped into my mind a few years back. It’s often a new shell with out much newer functionality. Pre-Cold War cars are kept well running in Cuba, and probably with a lot better milage than your 2006 model.

    You can see it on the consumer level. Why are there so many marginally different models? It permeates onto its brand image level with the discontinuation of some brands. After the recession, auto companies saw they couldn’t keep pushing superficially new models of every year in a redundant brand architecture.

    On a systematic level, the nation’s capital has a beltway that looks like a parking lot. New York has the best public transportation systems in the United States, but it is one of the worst in the world.*

    The federally subsidized rail system from the nation’s capital to the financial city is horrible. We have problems in the form of single buttons as well as the major veins of these systems.

    Norman closes his piece on IxD for Autos with “Design specifications for the appropriate way to design, given the attentional demands and safety considerations for the driver. Ah yes, but this will have to wait. Work in progress.”

    We should get working.

    *I’m not measuring how effective a transportation system is by the sheer number of people it moves.
    Donald Norman, Interaction Design for Automobile Interiors http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/interaction_des.html

    Crafting Hybrid Design

    Definitions.
    We shouldn’t let definitions limit our discipline.  Our actions, tools and methods should define our discipline, not vise versa.

    Siloing Definitions
    Apparently in Silicone Valley, introducing yourself as an “interaction designers” denotes that you know how to code. But that on the east coast, it means you are a visual designer possibly without the ability to code.

    Someone else told me that “User Experience” is online, but “Experience Design” isn’t exclusively online.  But isn’t the design of a service also supposed to be user centered? It makes sense that the pathways must be well designed for the provider as well, which is why some companies like Kaiser Permanente prefer the term “People Centered,” since they also design for the nurses that take care of patients.  There is the theory that experience cannot be designed, only the parameters for the experience. But that doesn’t mean outcomes are totally out of our control. We need to influence specific prompts of the experience at the right times.

    There’s the threat of being overly specific.  I’ve also heard that if something becomes a discipline it is no longer integrative, making the institution of learning a “tradeschool,” or the firm “industrialized and mechanized.”

    Defining by Differentiating
    Oreilly gives four definitions of what IA may be and then states what is not IA.
    “*Graphic design is NOT information architecture.”
    “*Software development is NOT information architecture.”
    “*Usability engineering is NOT information architecture.”
    Some architects say that information architecture isn’t actually architecture, because most IA practitioners don’t have BArch or MArch degrees, nor are they certified by an association like RIBA, The Royal Institute of British Architects. You can now find the term Interaction Architects popping up.

    There are designers fighting for new ground, and designers fighting to defend their current titles and current methods.
    Maybe we currently we exist in the “gray areas between disciplines” fighting for future methods.  (Oreily).

    Design Future
    Another way to put this is that we’re “hybrid designers [that] re-design, re-think,” and are “better suited to a complex physical/non-physical world” (FastCo). While we may get caught up in defining new disciplines and titles, we should focus on defining new methods and media.  Not new media as in tv, web, mobile but new media as in Robert Fabricant’s concept that “behavior is our medium.”  Fast Co emphasizes “Being a thought-leader (or a design-thinker) is nice, yet also being a craftsman,” who can create functional outputs is important.  I find the concept of being a “Hybrid Designer” very fitting.   There can be different types of hybrid designers, but they will all rely on specific craft.

    Robert Fabricant leads a team of Hybrid Designers at frog design

    Well, what is craft?  Richard Sennett believes craftwork to be “highly refined, complicated activity [that] emerges from simple mental acts like specifying facts and then questioning them.”

    As humans we place concepts into hierarchies and then apply labels terms to them.  This allows us to understand ideas and share them.  But these are all abstractions.  When the lines begin to blur, we begin to freak out.  Lines themselves are abstractions that do not exist.  We just use lines as means to define an actual space.  In imagery like painting or illustration a line is just used to define an edge, but if you zoom in it’s not a line, just more space…gray space.  Even vectors are something we cannot directly engage with.  Let’s create the fine grain detail, develop new craft and then zoom out to decide what specific type of designer we are.  For now, maybe a Hybrid Designer is a nice, loose umbrella term.

    Even if you are an architect there is the chance someone will define you as someone who “builds buildings.”  It’s not just buildings or construction sites, or website.  It’s communities and empires.  The communities and empires of the future are those of the mind.

    sources
    Orielly Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
    http://www.oreilly.de/catalog/9780596527341/toc.html

    Fast Co on Beyond Design Thinking: Why Hybrid Design Is the Next New Thing
    http://www.fastcompany.com/1656288/beyond-design-thinking-why-hybrid-design-is-the-next-new-thing

    Robert Fabircant – Behavior is Our Medium at IxDA
    http://www.ixda.org/resources/robert-fabricant-behavior-our-medium

    NYC UX Community Holiday Party

    Yesterday was the UX Community’s annual holiday party, attended by IxDA, UPA to name a few.

    I attended with my friend Jake from Parsons’ Design+Management program.  It was mostly relaxing and socializing. But I learn about new things every time I meet with members of these groups. We met a number people there who majored in English, liberal arts, or journalism. That is because just a few years ago degrees were not available for the disciplines they now practice. Which is interesting for Jake and myself because he is getting a BBA in Design+ Management and I am getting a BFA in Integrated Design. Those are not common job titles. It isn’t necessarily our goal to make them more common titles. We’re looking define new roles, new methods and from that may come new titles.


    Topics we brought up:
    Service Design for transportation – specifically airlines
    Redesigned airline tickets – passfail.squarespace.com
    brought to my attention by Jess Eddy who has great work.

    Information Architecture
    Do you have any examples of good IA for a site including search functions that aggregate info from other organizations? Specifically for services like OpenTable or Kayak – where there is info from many restaurants and hotels.

    960 Grid System
    Fluid 960 Grid System – featuring code download
    960 Grid System – featuring Illustrator, InDesign, Flash template downloads etc

    Architecture
    Bjarke Ingels
    3 warp-speed architecture tales on TED
    Bjarke Ingels Group website

    Joshua Prince-Ramus uses Hyperreality
    Designing the Seattle Central Library TED on youtube

    Designing Meaningful Experiences

    David Kozatch, founder of D.I.G spoke, at IxDA about Designing Meaningful Experiences.

    Topics:
    How we can make experiences emotional.
    Information overload, how we can make information useful.
    Adaptive UIs
    Helpful – non-intrusive
    -Interested
    -Simple and Clear
    -Respectful
    -Forgiving
    Related:
    3 Levels of Experience
    Don Norman Talk on Design of the Future Things
    Front Stage Back Stage – Service Design
    Don Norman’s Ted Talk on  Design and Emotion
    Denis Dutton’s Ted Talk on Beauty on A Darwinian theory of beauty

    Svcs/Software Mentioned or Used:
    Jing, Blekko – new search engine,

    See IxDA for a universe of information.
    Follow IxDA NYC on Eventbrite to get notified about future events.
    The next one is a Winter Social/Holiday Party details TBA.

    official event info:
    ABOUT OUR SPEAKER
    David Kozatch founded D.I.G. in 1989, after almost ten years serving in the trenches at major packaged goods companies and advertising agencies in New York. David has conducted literally thousands of focus groups and in-depth interviews in the areas of financial services, software, hardware, Web/interactive services and telecommunications. With a deep understanding of business decision makers and end users, he has consistently worked to translate client objectives into actionable solutions. For more information about D.I.G, please visit Digsmarter.com.


    slides from David’s slidsahre: http://www.slideshare.net/dkozatch/designing-for-meaningfulexperiencesixda-slideshare

    ABOUT OUR HOST
    J.P. Morgan is a leader in financial services, offering solutions to clients in more than 100 countries with one of the most comprehensive global product platforms available. We have been helping our clients to do business and manage their wealth for more than 200 years. Our business has been built upon our core principle of putting our clients’ interests first. To learn more about JP Morgan, visit the website.