User Centered Design vs Genius Design

Starting from the post of Cennydd Bowles “Looking Beyond User-Centered Design” I wrote some questions to italian friends interaction designers.

I want to thank them for the interesting discussion. These are two post emerged from these emails “A Better Look at User-Centered Design“, “Oltre il singolo designer“.

The challenge is to avoid as much as possible (we are always limited) exogenous and endogenous errors. Simultaneous create the environment that best expresses the explicit and implicit qualities in the “system design process” (from the team, the relationship with the customer , the market, etc..).

It ‘s like the metaphor of the blanket too short: pull on the one hand it turns out the other and vice versa.
This is the condition that you find in any situation where you want to increase the limit of its capacity (as an individual, group, and system).

The solution is a dynamic adaptive balance in the searching for the greatest possible harmony.

The concept seems too broad and not enough pragmatic? The operationalization is necessary, but it’s always a partial choice, starting broader visions that guide us. It ‘s so within the limits of Knowledge (see for example Popper) or any human challenge.


So, what now?
The challenge is to get out of the dichotomy in a third solution that integrates and solve the two options (I’m not so fan of Hegel…).

The center is the man with the method (UCD) that supports him and the man with the talent that allows him to make good intuitions.

In this period I’m working on this topic developing an approach on the edge of chaos between the risk of an “Egoic approach” and the risk of “the refuge of the sheep in the flock”. I’m “trying”, as always 🙂

BJ Fogg: a Psychology for the Design of Behavior Change

An interesting introduction by BJ Fogg of his Behavior Change Model. It’s the most famous model of Persuasive Psychology applied to change behaviors for designers. The talent of BJ to intercept the new frontiers of design is combined with his capacity to synthesize psychological competence in simple models and tools for designers.

Simplicity is the approach and methodology of BJ Fogg, that’s why he’s very effective in specific processes like changing habits for diet, sports, etc.


What is PSIxD?

PSIxD means Psychology applied to Interaction Design. It’s the evolution of digital interaction as a psychosocial space, that is able to create new variables and dynamics.

UX Researchers are expert of the cognitive level that is necessary to achieve a good experience and usability and at the same time Anthropologists bring fundamental competences in understanding ecosystems, cultural differences and real-world behaviors. PSIxD brings to the table another piece of the puzzle, helping designers to analyse and design the relevant motivational and psychosocial variables driving social network dynamics from the beginning to their maturity.

A Social UX Researcher is someone that has these kind of competences, it’s another step in this field and it’s even part of a the expression of a new alliance between Psychology and Design.

The practical advantage to integrate PSIxD in the research and design process is:

  1. Less errors due to more comprehensive and detailed valuation of past and potential projects.
  2. More understanding from a deeper knowledge and more data about users and network to make better analysis and more informed design choices.
  3. Higher probability to induce certain behaviors in users and groups.
  4. More criteria to manage the evolution of the community.

Donald Norman agrees!

I think that it’s time for a second new alliance between psychology and interaction design.

The evolution of the interaction as a social space needs new psychological points of view. The psychophysiologic, cognitive and behavioral points of view (part of the history of human computer interaction, from the beginning) are fundamental but not enough for the new variables, factors, dynamics and levels that emerge in social networks. The evolution of the mediated interaction as a social space is changing the user from just a behavioral and cognitive system in a more complex cognitive psychosocial and psychodynamic system.

During the event Meet the Media Guru in Milan, I asked Donald Norman an opinion about my point of view and this is his answer.

He agreed!

I think that these challenges and opportunities can’t be solved by anthropology that is too narrative as discipline. The alternative isn’t the reductionism but a balance between different psychological approaches.

The next day I talked with him about my PSIxD approach. Cross the fingers for me and stay tuned… ;)

Video by Roberto Bonzio (thanks)

A new Enterprise 2.0 approach: fundamentals and competences (1/4)

This is the first of a four post introduction to a new approach to the Enterprise 2.0 concept.

To start, I’m going to show you the basic concepts and the fundamental conditions you need to understand the specific variables, the levels and the competencies of a E2.0 project.

The specific points of view of my approach are two:

1. PSIxD: the integration of psychological and social levels in the cognitive artefacts
2. Hybrid: the transdisciplinary convergence of competences necessary to analyse and design in complex scenarios

– PSIxD is the acronim of Psychology applied to Interaction Design, a field I’m working on since several years ago, check for example the syntesis of the methodology I created with Davide Casali.

PSIxD is an important differentiation point from a big part of Enterprise 2.0 approaches that you can find around the world. It’s an expression of the changing of users and the co-evolution between human and cognitive artefacts. It’s a scientific and serious modality to analyse the impact of that darwinian natural selection of technologies, apps and practices that is the web and the mobile. We had seen to much speculations on Web 2.0. What are in synthesis the concepts you have to know?

  • the cognitive artefacts extend the cognitive processes
  • the social networks expand the social dynamics

So, in other words, the interaction is even more a virtual space, a middle ground where you can represent and manipulate mental, social and motivational dynamics of users. In an Enterprise 2.0 scenario PSIxD is a methodology of Persuasive Design that improves the probability to nudge the user to take or break several behaviours.

– Hybrid is the mix of competence, theories and tools you need to approach all levels present in Enterprise 2.0 project.
Too many models of Enterprise 2.0 are too limited on a few competences and points of view.

The competence have to be transdisciplinary because the object of consult and design is a complex system.

We have two principal objects, users and organization.

The user in a social network is on a continuum between a complex system and a psychological and social system.
In the first case the user is a node, expression of nonlinear dynamics of a complex net, in the second case the network is the expression of specific psychological and social caratteristics of the user. So, to analyse and design we need these competences:

  • Social Network Analysis
  • PSIxD (User Centered Design approach is implicit in IxD)

The organisation is on a similar continuum, so in one hand we have the organisation as complex, autopoietic system and in the other hand we have the organisation as a psychosocial group of persons. So as competences we need:

  • Management of complexity (Change Mangement from a complex system point of view)
  • Psychology of organisations

You can see in this image the hybrid competencies that are necessery to manage a Enterprise 2.0 project.

In the next post I’ll talk about the most frequentily mistakes in Enterprise 2.0.