Emmaboda Möbler′s web shop has been around for three years now and it has proven to be a very successful project. 2014 the turnover was 3.5 Million, an increase by 75% since 2013.

According to DIBS annual report ”E-handel i Sverige 2014”, e-commerce has increased by 7% from 2013 to 2014 (the same rate as the year before that). Home decoration (including furniture) constitutes 9% of all purchases.

When launching a completely new web shop it obviously helps if you already have a well-known brand. Emmaboda Möbler has been selling design furniture for over 100 years, but their strongest target group is rich seniors, a group not overrepresented on the web. Another concern was if people were ready to buy expensive products online. It is not uncommon that the best couches cost over 50 000 SEK.

Despite these concerns, Emmaboda Möbler decided to give it a shot. Now looking back, Emmaboda Möbler’s regular customers did not start to do their shopping on the web abandoning the physical shop, instead a new set of customers made their way to the web shop. This meant that the income from the web shop became a bonus of sorts to the normal sales made in the physical shop.

The web shop was set up on one of the first cloud platforms called Heroku. One of the advantages with Heroku is that you can scale the performance seamlessly. For example you might foresee the traffic increasing during a sale, then you just login, slide a control and at once the site is twice as fast. When the sale is over you switch back to normal mode, paying only what is necessary.

Technology is one thing, but even though a site can be terrific in many ways, it does not matter if no one finds it. A strategy involving price comparing sites proved to be very efficient from day one, attracting new users to the site. Still today 21% of all traffic comes from this setup. Yearly AdWords campaigns also boosted the traffic and have proved to grow the number of organic visitors in the long run.

Although the number of visitors is interesting you also need to keep track of the conversion rate. The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who actually makes a purchase. If you sell more costly products, as in Emmaboda Möbler’s case, the conversion rate is understandably lower than it would be for a shop that sell cheaper products.

Turnover: 3.5 Million
Visitors: 78 000
Conversion: 1.5%

Turnover: 2 Million
Visitors: 55 000
Conversion: 1.2%

From 2013 to 2014 the visitors increased by 42% and the turnover increased by 75%. If the conversion rate had stayed at 2013’s level: 1.2%, the turnover would have only been increased by 40% which translates into 2.8 Million instead of 3.5 Million.

So what created this crucial increase of conversion? It is hard to say for sure, but a big change during the end of 2013 was the release of a responsive version of the site. We saw that traffic from mobiles and tablets was close to 40% and increasing. This was a lot compared to other sites so ayond recommended Emmaboda Möbler to go responsive. Looking back, it does not feel very far-fetched that users that got tired of zooming and squinting now actually went through with their purchases because of the site being responsive and adapted to their device of choice.

E-commerce, Interaction Design, Marketing, Mobile,
With hypes like “Mobile First” and Responsive web you can get the idea that it is a matter of screen size. But a mobile phone is not a small computer, it is something far different – and if realizing this you might find that there is some great potential right in front of you, for you to build better services for your customers, and to build brand.



A mobile phone is so much more different from a computer than only being smaller, with a smaller screen and smaller buttons. In difference to a computer a mobile phone stays with its user almost at all times, in social situations and when dining alone, in good times and in bad times, in all kinds of thrilling, interesting, exciting and dull environments. A mobile phone is a device that easily can be picked up in the middle of a conversation for a party to check something that might help the conversation to continue, to become more interesting, to deepen. A mobile phone is a device that easily can be shared, in order to together understand the details of a map view, or look at someone’s photos. A mobile phone can buzz silently in the pocket. It can be something you pick up in a situation when you want to pass the time or show that you want to be left alone, or to show that you are totally fine with being just that, alone with your phone before a busy conference.

But also a mobile phone holds other technologies than a computer that can be used and make sense and aid its user and even his/her friends in all these thrilling, interesting, exciting and dull environments and situations. Technologies that most companies today do not consider how they potentially can benefit, change and develop their business. There are today a range of innovative Apps that make use of the gyro, the vibration actuator and the camera to track things like movement and sleep patters, pulse, and even blood pressure and a whole range of other things. But a problem with these Apps is that they are not developed, designed and built together with practitioners, such as nurses and doctors. Therefore, these practitioners cannot trust the data collected and produced by these Apps if a user for example wants to show this data when visiting the doctor. Also practitioners like doctors do not today have a work schedule that fit with looking at App data, as it not yet has been a decision coming from their superior to make use of these kinds of technical possibilities and develop these kinds of Apps internally in the health care system.

Moreover, this is not just about a difference between computers and mobile phones. It is about there being a difference between all kinds of screens and devices being used in different settings and scenarios where technology can aid people differently from in another setting and set up.

A screen used in the car, such as the navigation system, is for example not only for the driver to use. Of course we should develop easy to grasp interfaces for the driver when he or she is the user, but it can also be that the screen in the car scenario is turned around and read by the front seat passenger who most likely is another capable driver (though not driving right now) that in this instance have better abilities to read more complicated and detailed information that could help them both in the situation they are in. Not always is it best to shape data in a form that it can be read while driving. Perhaps navigation systems should be possible to rotate and have two modes!? http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2441952

And iPad games or any game for that reason that is used in cars can be shaped to make use of all the exciting data that is in the car to be found, like how the car is driven, how it accelerates, where in the world it is, what other cars that are nearby and what other people that are travelling in those other cars and what they are doing and much much more. This kind of data is what we used when creating three car games aimed at making it more fun for some young children to sit still and as they should and then potentially more safe when in a driving car. One game make use of the forces anything in a driving car is exposed to and invert those forces in a game set up to have the children instead of leaning with the curves, out of their child seat, fight them to gain points by sitting more upright and still. Another game play with how the car gets emotional from how it is driven and has the children mimic these emotions by making use of their small but highly expressive face muscles. This game plays with how children playing this game come to realize how the system is more capable of tracking their expressions if they hold their head upright and still right in front of the camera in use. A third game play with sensations of suspense and has children look out for shadows the car is driving though in which there are ghosts to be found and potentially caught. http://www.mobilelifecentre.org/sites/default/files/Gaming%20to%20Sit%20Safe.pdf

In the world of IoT (http://ayond.se/blogs/internet-of-things-without-people-is-internet-of-nothing/) being asked by various companies where to start and in what direction to head, making better and more interesting use of all the technologies that already are here right in front of us is such ready to hand opportunity. Can we for instance make use of accelerometer data to allow for mobile rehabilitation programs formed by our physiotherapist!? Or can we be allowed to prepare ATM activities on our mobiles and later just execute them via the NFC technology!? Or can we use motor data in the car to judge how environmentally friendly or secure a person is driving and then let that shape his/her tax and insurance costs!?

We can see how for instance Volvo build brand by being first and unique in this new world of IoT (http://www.volvocars.com/intl/sales-services/sales/volvo-on-call/Pages/default.aspx). Not all companies have the budget for this. But if still wanting to be more unique and build better mobile services for your customers, and to build brand, my recommendation would definitely be to consider this range of opportunities your customers already carry with them. What could these technologies potentially bring, targeted to your business and customer needs!?

Business Modelling, Emerging technologies, Innovation, Interaction Design, Marketing, Mobile, Social Media, Trends,
Different aspects of UX and challenges faced by UX Designers.

From Business to Buttons is an event organized by Inuse targeted to the User Experience (UX) community.

“Designing how we design” was the title of a keynote given by Kim Goodwin explaining how important it is to get to know a company culture to be able to argue for better design and UX improvements.

It takes a while to get to know the values in a certain company. Sometimes these values are not the same values as the UX designers would consider the most important. A few values that UX designers often praise would probably be usability, beauty of a design, accessibility, efficiency etc. whilst a company management perhaps would answer gaining more money on a certain product range, expanding to another market etc would be even more important. When this situation rise, it is important to know these goals to be able to pitch the UX values that supports them.


Chris Risdon from Adaptive Path presented a nice overview of Service Design in what he called “Orchestrating touch points”. To deliver a great user experience, he argues,  you have to take into account the whole process of buying or using a product or service. It does not really matter if you have a great website if the other parts of your service/product are not working well.

A customer journey map is a set of touch points – a set of interactions that the user must go through to use a service or buy a product. When shopping for clothes the touchpoints could be searching for a product, store checkout, printing a return label. Note that some of these touchpoints could be done either online or at a store, these are different channels, not different touchpoints.

A touch point should at least be one of these:

  • Appropriate – in their context and culture
  • Relevant – meeting needs and being functional
  • Meaningful – being important and having a purpose
  • Endearing – being subtle, playful, delight
  • Connected – available and seamless

Otherwise they are redundant for the customer journey.

Risdon had identified a set of archetypical touchpoints that are often recurrent shown in the image below.


For example Repair/Recovery could be a password recovery on a website or a product return in a store. When you link these touchpoints together you can define a customer journey map.

ayond’s version of Customer Journey Mapping
When we are asked to evaluate an existing service or product, we use the technique customer journey mapping pretty much as explained above, but with a twist. We identify the touchpoints and map them out as usual, but when identifying problem areas and the best working touchpoints we filter out the feedback by target group.

By doing this we can visually show a client what touchpoints are problematic for a certain target group, and if you put all target groups together you get a combined view. This is powerful either if you want to improve your service for a certain high prioritized target group or if you want to improve touchpoints that most of the target groups are experiencing problems with.


Most interesting number mentioned during the event
Amazon releases new code to their platform in average every 11,6 second.

Most interesting tools talked about
Lookback – Record user testing sessions on mobile
Tweaky – Create user tests


E-commerce, Interaction Design, Trends,
There is right now an enormous buzz around the concept of Internet of Things, Internet of Everything, or M2M that some less human centric like to call it. No matter what it′s called, businesses of all kind should have a plan for how to keep up, or they will stay behind. This, as connected things already are all around.

The concept of IoT stems from the now aging dream of a ubiquitous society that we had already 10-15 years ago where all devices around would be connected and talking to one another. In this vision the car would drive itself to the petrol station when so needed, the umbrella would remind its owner to bring it if the forecast so indicated, the refrigerator would order new milk when so needed, and so forth. This is not where we are today, and many are those who therefore seem to think that we still are waiting for this concept of IoT to arrive. This, while it already here! It is already a reality we are living. It just doesn’t look like what we dreamt of when dreaming of a ubiquitous society. Instead it is here in the form of actuators, sensors, small and grand networks, Internet in some, and in some not, but Internet somewhere. And all this, in a mesh with people! People that do things, share things, brag about things, show off, lie, exaggerate, share their joy, and sometimes also build their own technology, connections and data streams.

But why did the dream of a ubiquitous society then not happen in the way that we predicted!? One obvious reason is the smart phone, a personal, connected device that most of us at all times these days carry with us. A device by which we can connect to things that also are connected. No longer do we need to struggle with Bluetooth, RFID and other short-range technologies in the way we thought when first planning for the ubicomp vision. Also the fridge and other things do no longer need to be equipped with a screen or an interface of its own, as we with the smart phone, in a way, carry this interface with us.

But also, and more importantly, the old dream of a ubiquitous society was not a dream we in the end wanted. And furthermore, we are as people not as rational as we were thought to be in the early ubicomp vision. We do not always want things in the same way as we previously have wanted them. And even if a system was to buy the milk for us the way we most days want it to be done, the day we want it differently we will be sickly annoyed with that system. Some of us might remember the paper clip in the office system. That clip was in fact most times perfectly correct in what it suggested for us, still we hated it! We hated it for the few times it got things wrong, and we thought it was stupid even if it was in fact pretty smart.

We have since the ubicomp vision started to live technology in whole new ways, not all of us, but many. Technology is also for some of us heading away from being just a tool we use to get to information. Some of us are these days building our own technology by the means of Arduino boards, raspberry pies, little hardware and software toolkits and more, for us technology is also a material for design, like many other more traditional materials we work with.

This all creates a messy landscape of technology, data, services and people. A landscape somewhat scary in how no one really seem to be on top of the overall picture and the life style this all might create for us:

“The combination of technology in the home, city, car, on your body, in your mobile, social media and everywhere, all thriving on various data streams allows for such an amazing plethora of interactions. But what happens when all of that is seamlessly integrated with a middle-class lifestyle? What kind of life will that be?”, Kristina Höök, Professor in Interaction Design at KTH.

But at the same time, it is a triggering landscape from the opportunities it allows for in terms of design, new technology and services. Services that might help us live more sustainable, healthy, easy, and not the least, fun and interesting lives.

It is right now, as always, the question of doing the right thing. But right now most important for businesses of all kind is to do anything at all. At ayond we see though that taking the right human centric decision in this evolving time can be the most competitive decision most businesses ever have taken. Simplicity, innovation, trust and transparency will for sure be competitive factors in the years to come.

Business Modelling, Emerging technologies, Innovation, Interaction Design, Mobile, Trends,

The Innovation Games Summit was about inspiring keynotes, hands-on workshops and networking during a couple of days in Amsterdam. The keynote topics ranged from Market Strategy to Design thinking, Gamification and Storytelling. I was giving a speech about how I use Innovation Games in my work as an Interaction Designer and Project Manager at ayond.

The Innovation Games is a series of serious games used for engaging, understanding and aligning your stakeholders and customers using collaborative play instead of boring traditional workshops. Since the games are mainly used as methods for market research, I wanted to talk about a mostly untapped potential of using Innovation Games in user research. Some interesting discussions took off after the presentation about whether the prestudy phase / design thinking phase can be executed in the form of Scrum with sprints just like the development part of a project. Design, some argued, cannot be timeboxed in the same way like the development phase can because of the nature of the design process. But when using games or methods for each step in the UX and design process you have clear milestones for preparing, executing and analyzing games or methods making it easier to map it into sprints.

Since I often have both the role as Project Manager and UX designer I also presented my version of an innovation game called Buy a Feature used for prioritizing backlogs. In the original game version and in all other methods that I know of, the opinions of the users are not taken into count in the actual prioritization process. My twist to the game is to first let users form the most important target groups play the game, the result that comes out of the game is a prioritized list of what features they like best. Then this information is brought along to the following session where I let the client play the game. By doing this you make it possible for them to also take into consideration the most wanted features selected by the target group.


Read more about the game Buy a Feature at the Innovation Games Company’s website.

Gamification, Innovation, Interaction Design,
Imagine making a 3D model using only a depth camera and your browser, a process so quick that in moments your fully-textured 3D printable model loads on your web browser.

3D printers give you the promise to print amazing objects and unlock your creative potential. But to make 3D prints you have to first make a 3D model – and creating 3D prints from complex 3D models can quickly turn into a tricky process of complicated computer programs, tedious iterations and lots of melted plastic in the trash.

With technology from our partner Volumental a 3D model can be created using only a depth camera and your browser, a process so quick that in moments your fully-textured 3D printable model loads on your web browser. The water-tight, closed model is then downloaded to your computer or sent off to an online printing service, ready to print. The dream of a replicator is therefore realized.

Volumental’s 3D Scan-to-Print web app will finally make this to a reality as they creating the world’s first browser-based 3D printable model creator. “If you have the skills to watch a movie on Netflix, you have the skills to create amazing 3D models to print”, they say.
Their technology is the world’s first that allows users to create usable, shareable 3D models of your living room sofa, grandfather, or a kitchen appliance all without leaving your browser window. We wish Volumental all luck and actually we are already preworking with the technology for some of our client.
See how it actually work below.

Emerging technologies, Gamification, Innovation, Interaction Design, Trends,
Some may think this is crazy, but we think it′s a fun step to combine social media with physical stores.

When visitors to the company’s Facebook page click on the like button for a particular item of clothing, it will be displayed in real time on the garment hanger in the store. In this way, the store employees quickly find out which designs are popular. Doubtful customers get confirmation if it is a “yes” or “no purchase” buy for others who looked at the garment. Likewise, in future, you may be able to post comments about a particular article of clothing.

See also the film that describes the fashion retailer C & A in Brazil working with Fashion Likes


E-commerce, Emerging technologies, Innovation, Interaction Design, Marketing, Mobile, Social Media, Trends,

Ask why

Bill DeRouchey, principal designer for GE, gave a presentation about how to get people to open up and talk about their products and problems in UX interviews and workshops. His tactics was to ask why, a lot. Why do you press that button and not that? Why did you react like you did etc. But you have to show real compassion and genuine curiosity to make people open up and tell you what they really think.

When you have done this you know enough to, instead of asking why, be able to say this is why. You have gained enough understanding to see the big picture and then come up with improvements and solutions. This is why, according to DeRouchey, we see a trend of UX designers becoming Product Managers, you become an agent of change.

The Internet of things had been touched on every now and then throughout the conference but not with that exact term. Bill also predicted that soon the world will be run on software and that everything will be equipped with sensors. And we are the ones that know how to design those systems. He urged UX designers to learn as much as possible from people you meet throughout your career and apply your skills on fixing the really big problems in the world, scarcity of water, food, the poorly functioning banking systems, energy problems etc. Don’t just do another startup that focuses on a simple feature, be bolder.


More down to earth again, Carolyn Chandler in her presentation The Business of Play said something that is very true when it comes to the phenomenon of Gamification. Points and badges without actual fun and value is like putting lipstick on a pig. A successful example, however, is the game Zombies, Run!, which has the objective to get people to exercise more. When you open the app while running you hear audio that tells you that you are picking up items on the way which you can use to build your city. Every now and then you will hear a zombie approaching and the app urges you to run faster. The fact that we are growing up with games makes the use of those mechanisms in other fields than acual games really interesting. Read more about gamification in the book Seductive Interaction Design by Stephen P. Anderson or The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell.


I can really recommend Web Visions to developers, UX people, AD’s but also entrepreneurs or anyone who is interested in what is happening with the web. I talked to the organizer and he said that since you can find out pretty much anything on the web, there is no point of having presentations that feels like a tutorial on some program. He wanted to invite people with a message and visions which I really think he and the Web Visions team succeeded with.


Gamification, Innovation, Interaction Design, Trends,
The second day of Web Visions NYC contained a whole range of great keynote speakers so I will just mention some of the things I found interesting.

The second day of Web Visions NYC contained a whole range of great keynote speakers so I will just mention some of the things I found interesting.

Communication and building community

Jason Kunesh who was lead UX at Obama’s campaign 2012 gave some interesting thoughts about working with interaction design in the middle of an election. Since there was so many different roles and opinions involved he claimed that his work was not as much getting deliverables done but instead to create a community where everyone are on the same page. Slow things down first, get consensus, only then can you operate smooth enough to work fast. And if you are stuck on something, bend the rules and adapt to the present conditions. Which was pretty similar to the advice that Content Strategist Sara Wachter-Boettcher was giving: “find the people your work affects, and incorporate them from the start”. I think this is very important both inside an organization and in the client-web agency relation to make sure everyone have the same expectations and goals.

New web standards

Kevin Hoyt from Adobe gave a demo on how to use PhoneGap which they acquired 2011. The idea with PhoneGap is to import one set of web code and the system will render a native app version for iOS, Android and several more. What was interesting is that Adobe is working actively for improving web standards to make them able to control all the native functionality on smartphones such as the built in accelerometer and recording devices. With that said they are in fact working towards a web where PhoneGap will not be necessary since you can directly reach all the native functionality through normal web coding. This does seem like a likely scenario and if it becomes reality the native app will be having some serious competition with web apps.

Finally there was an amazing keynote by Douglas Rushkoff about his notion presentism and I am really looking forward to read his book  Present Shock. He argued that there is a shift of how we deal with time. Before we had to wait for things but now we can choose to get all information at once, for example we can now jump to the end at once on streamed TV programs on the web. He envisioned for example the Facebook timeline to become outdated and instead replaced by a more web like visualization where connections of people, objects and trips etc. are all tied together.

Gamification, Interaction Design, Trends,
Web Visions is a three day conference in New York that has been held yearly since 2001.

UX people, designers and developers gather to hear about how the future of the web could be like. As their website states “WebVisions explores the future of design, content creation, user experience and business strategy in an event that inspires learning, collaboration and entrepreneurism”.

I will write some posts the coming days about what is happening on the conference. The first day was mostly about responsive design. Jason Cranford Teague gave his best tips on how to plan and execute a good responsive website.

First of all why design for different screens?

Mobile internet users are increasing drastically and with that a multi-screen solution is no longer a luxury but necessity. 15-20% are surfing with mobiles today and the trend is upward while desktop is declining. Some countries including India are primarily surfing on mobile not desktop. At ayond we are seeing some clients that have 50% of their traffic coming from mobile devices. Look how your site looks on different devices at the Responsinator.

Important takeaways for us and our clients

A retrofit (rebuilding a not responsive site) takes longer than if you build the responsive from the beginning. This could be problematic if using agile methodology. If responsive design is a low priority demand, you should still consider whether it should be in the final scope or not since you save time if the developers can prepare for it from the beginning.

Communication between interaction designers, designers and coders are essential since it is no longer about pixel perfect design since elements are floating depending on screen size. This require a knowledge for the designer/interaction designer of what is possible and not possible to do with the code. And possibly a new set of design tools that are more prototype oriented, for example Proty, Adobe Reflow, UX Pin.

If you do this right:

  • Sites are faster to develop – Minimal extra development to support several platforms
  • Code is cheaper to maintain and modify.
  • Pages generally load and work faster.
  • Designs are more versatile with Responsive Design. (Which makes them as future compatible as possible).
  • SEO strategy is easier to maintain since all traffic is coming to the same site.

After having been listening to Jason I still believe that 90% of all sites are best of with responsive design instead of using a separate mobile app (web or native). However, you should never forget to consider where and how the user will be working – the context. If you do, choosing the right mobile strategy is not so hard after all.

Gamification, Innovation, Interaction Design, Mobile, Trends,
Geo-location services and navigational aid have been a major success among consumers and device manufacturers alike.

There is just one catch: GPS does not work indoors. And even if we want to convince ourselves that we never/rarely need any navigational assistance when under a roof, in the following situations it would surely be of value:

  • Trying to find that x-ray ward in the huge hospital building.
  • Catching breath while trying to find the way to platform 12 to catch that Berlin-bound train leaving in 3 minutes.
  • In the supermarket, department store or shopping mall, trying to find the shelf with my favorite brand of product. (Or minimizing the time I have to spend in the shopping mall by analyzing my shopping list and then give me the shortest distance route in order to pick up all my goods)
  • Guided audio tours in (art) museums, automatically offering info about the exhibit in front of me
  • Finding the right entrance and exits in the subway (being able to combine outdoor and underground route guidance)
  • Reporting a faulty printer in a obscure room in the major office building could not be easier: bring out your indoor enabled smart phone, take a picture and send it to the attendance: the location of the printer is automatically embedded in the error report.
  • Airport navigation
  • Finding the right exhibitor in large exhibition/fair halls
  • Finding your seat in that huge football/hockey arena
  • Navigational support for indoor environment with the help of speaking smart-phones would also surely be welcomed by the visually impaired.

In conclusion: the value for end consumers is there and thus also the commercial potential. Offering indoor navigation for the visitors of a building, however, has been an expensive adventure: radio hardware has to be installed (and maintained), in addition to providing visitors with handsets. Recently, however, a number of platforms have emerged exploiting existing infrastructure of GSM/3G and wifi-routers that can pinpoint smart phones in an indoor environment (e.g. Qubulus, Ericsson, Google maps Indoor, and Skyhook wireless). Since smart-phones are now/soon in the hands of the common man, and are equipped with compass, large-screens and sound playing capabilities, property owners now have the opportunity to offer indoor positioning services with a reasonable price tag.

As application developers line up for work, it will be interesting to see how the gap between the raw position data and the specific user experience on the application level will be filled. As these services become more popular, will they adopt the navigation interface style and methods used by map-based navigational tools for outdoors environments? Or will indoor pedestrians in shopping malls, hospitals, airports, travel centers and fair halls, have different needs, requiring a new style of interface design?

Also, as the examples of indoor positioning applications IRL still are counted by the fingers of the hand, it will be interesting to see if the technology offers granularity and robustness required. How serious errors can consumers endure before they abandon the service (1m, 3m, 10m) ? And what happens to the position accuracy of an indoor environment when wifi-routers are moved, shut down of replaced by new hardware?

Surely these are exiting times in the new era of indoor positioning! To be in the know, make sure to check back with us soon, as we will keep reporting on those pilot projects in Sweden and elsewhere.

Further reading:

Innovation, Interaction Design, Mobile, Trends,
In an earlier blog post I briefly mentioned the concept of Design Thinking, which is a methodology used to develop better products and services.

In an earlier blog post I briefly mentioned the concept of Design Thinking which is a methodology used to develop better products and services. A common device is fail faster to succeed sooner to avoid costly changes when the product is nearly finished. This can be done by involving users throughout the whole development process and by iteration. By doing this you catch mistakes in an early stage because, as we all know, it is easier to change the position of a button on paper than doing it on a physical product.

I was curious about the Design Thinking concept when I got to San Francisco since the term seemed to be more popular than User-Centered Design, Service Design or Interaction Design. I attended a class in Design Thinking given by John Nash from the Stanford d.school and it turned out that Design Thinking was sort of a relabeling of the User-Centered approach and I recognized the methods from my studies in Interaction Design.

The main steps to follow are:

Empathize – Understand the people for whom you are designing.
Define – Prioritize and choose your scope.
Ideate – Explore solutions.
Prototype – Put your solutions on paper and iterate.
Test – Test your prototypes in the relevant context.

Read more about the methods in the nicely packaged d.school Bootlegs.

At a later occasion I also met Charlotte Burgess-Auburn, Director of Community at d.school. She explained that the d.school do not offer any complete degrees, just classes for graduate students at Stanford. The goal is to encourage students from different disciplines to collaborate from this common ground. The d.school also encourages and supports their graduate students if they have difficulties in implementing Design Thinking in a professional contexts. Charlotte says that if you are less than three people believing in the methodology it is hard to sell in the methods to the rest of your colleagues or clients. The genius here is that the d.school educates students from all sorts of disciplines to understand the value in Design Thinking which might show to be more powerful when spreading the message than just offering a niched master program for a much lower number of students.

What I have learned from the d.school and what I try to implement in my projects is this: make your clients realize the potential in and business value of investing in Design Thinking or Usability or User-Centric Design or whatever you want to call it. You might have to teach them about the methods to win them over. It does not have to require more than a couple of hours of workshopping to learn the basics and to understand why it works.


Innovation, Interaction Design,