It’s that time of year again. Mike, Don, Christian, Erik, and David will be in Austin for SXSW Interactive from Friday, March 8th through Monday, March 11th. If you’re in town, shoot us an email so we can meet up for a slab of ribs or a snort of whiskey.
Our own Christian Nelson will be speaking on a panel with Dennis Palmieri of ITVS, one of our most innovative clients. They’ll be talking about a recent collaboration called OVEE. Swing by on Friday, March 8th at 5pm at the convention center in room 12AB.
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This is the first in a series of posts highlighting Lean UX practices at Carbon Five. They are presented as ‘recipes’ for you try out for yourself, then alter them to make them your own.
While more and more of our clients are engaging us in full-service design/build projects, we still enjoy working with outside or on-staff designers. And even when we are providing design services, we always want to maximize the collaboration between the designers, engineers and business owners on our projects.
Last year, Janice Fraser of LUXr introduced us to an activity called the “Wireframe Walkthrough.” It’s probably something you’re already doing on projects without quite putting a formal name or process around it. We’ve taken the activity and deconstructed it a bit, added our insights, and put a fancy title on it in the hopes that others will try it out and add their experience and wisdom.
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We’d like to thank Made by Many, some new friends we made at SXSW, for trying out the Carbon Five’s Collaborative Design Workbook. Here’s their take on design thinking for lean startups:
MDW4 – Tim Malbon – Make Something from Boulder Digital Works on Vimeo.
They’ve added a few twists of their own (plus the great taste of lymon), including instructions on how to take your idea to the next level buying some adwords and split-testing a landing screen for your “next big thing”. Check out their version and try it out for yourself.
This year a handfull of folks from Carbon Five went to South by Southwest. Christian, Mike and Rudy were scheduled to present, but a couple of us newbies were worried we wouldn’t have anything constructive to do at the conference. We’ve all been inspired recently by design thinking and how the activities can provide insights into agile product development. It was probably Alon who originally suggested we put on some sort of informal workshop about agile design techniques at SXSW. Courtney and I took that idea and iterated on it a few times, eventually coming up with a collaborative design workbook:
Carbon Five's Collaborative Design Workbook
Download the Collaborative Design Workbook (385 kB PDF).
The workbook was designed to be printed out in color onto tabloid/ledger (11″ x 17″) size paper, but works on letter or A4 in a pinch. After printing, fold the paper in half lengthwise, trim the edges and fold into an accordion booklet.
Fold the booklet like an accordion.
The workbook walks two people through a user-centered design process to conceive of an innovative product for each other. It can be unfolded and played head-to-head and takes around 20 minutes to complete. The workbook has generated some cool product ideas, including such gems as The Cable Gnome, The Memory Pebble and The Flycycle. These and other designs can be found on the workbook’s microblog: http://mynextbigthing.tumblr.com.
Feel free to print out the workbook, grab a friend and see what you come up with. Share your designs by emailing a photo to email@example.com.
Yesterday, the W3C unveiled the official HTML5 logo and we at Carbon Five couldn’t help notice a flattering similarity:
We can't wait for HTML6
It’s taken more than 10 years, but it’s nice to know the Internet has finally caught up with us. Does this mean we don’t have to support IE8?
With all the talk here at Carbon Five about integrating design thinking in to our projects, we realized it was time to take action. The best way to help our software development teams develop an understanding of what it means to practice design thinking was to simply do it. We decided to use the d.school’s Redesign the Gift-Giving Experience curriculum to run a one hour design thinking boot camp at Carbon Five.
This post details our experience and provides tips for you if you want to run a similar session with your team. We had some help from the d.school’s Susie Wise in preparing for this session and her advice is included here.
Engineers testing a prototype
In this seminar, pairs of designers work to create a new “gift giving experience” for their partner. The result of the hour-long exercise can take any form: a physical product, a new kind of store, some software or even a game. The curriculum runs the pairs through a bunch of activities in the various design modes: empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test. The activities are done on a tightly timed schedule so the partners manage to research, design and build a prototype of their solution in just an hour.
It was really easy to set up and facilitate and led to some really clever designs and a lot of insights into design thinking here at Carbon Five. Here’s how it went:
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One of the rituals we have at Carbon Five is a weekly brown bag book club. We typically discuss technical books or have guest speakers come and chat.
Recently we’ve introduced design-related topics to the mix and last week we read and discussed the d.school Bootcamp Bootleg. It’s a deep dive into design modes (high-level process areas) and methods (activities anyone can do) for collaborative design compiled by the folks at the Stanford of Design. The Bootcamp Bootleg made for a lively lunch and got us jazzed to get out of the office and try some of the methods.
Because the document is quite dense but doesn’t have a table of contents, we put together a diagram of the various modes and methods to facilitate our discussion:
Design Thinking Modes & Methods