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Using Constraints to Brainstorm Simple Designs for Mobile Apps

While a mobile app may do a lot of things, it’s essential to design the app so it feels simple to the user at any moment during its use. But how do you generate ideas that will make an app simple? Try the following approach. List the top ten features you want in your app. These should be the most important things that characterize your app. If you have more than ten that’s OK, but try to come up with at least ten. On
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How to Run a Brainstorming Session

Brainstorming sessions are great for solving problems and generating ideas. You will enhance your results by remembering a few key guidelines for running your session. 1. Create Specific Questions in Advance To engage a group, it pays to have a plan. For brainstorming, the plan can be quite simple. Start your session with a question. For example, “What words describe the personality our product might want to co
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Sticky Notes, Walls and Whiteboards: When to Use Low-Fi Methods

In the age of hi-fi tools, low-fi tools still have their place and a very important place. But when should you go with low-fi? Here are some insights. Team Involvement When team participation is needed low-fi methods are almost always the best. Everyone can relate to and use a whiteboard, markers and sticky notes. Also, with low-fi tools people can easily work together or in teams. This creates a productive chemistry
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How the MIT Media Lab is Transforming the Healthcare User Experience

Image credit:  MIT New Media Medicine group at the MIT Media Lab The New Media Medicine group at the MIT Media Lab suggests a key to solving healthcare problems lies in establishing new kinds of collaboration between patients and practitioners. Traditionally, the relationship has been one of “inequality” where practitioners and medical experts monopolize access to information. This leaves the power of the people and
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Two Types of Design Thinking You Need

Most design thinking can be thought of as either Top Down or Bottom Up. But what’s the difference? Why is each important? And what are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach? Top Down thinking is goal driven. For example, if you were designing a house, a Top Down approach would be to consider the number of rooms, the type of rooms and the overall style. Top Down thinking deals with solving the critical side of
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What is the Right Fidelity of Prototype? Five Questions to Ask

High-fi, low-fi, or something in between? Choosing the right fidelity for a prototype is crucial to effectively use the limited resources of your project. Low fidelity prototypes, such as hand sketches, are fast and enable more iterations. High fidelity prototypes, however, might better engage an audience for feedback. To choose the right level of fidelity, consider the following five questions: Who is the audience f
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A Simple Way to Use Aspirational Thinking to Elevate Your Product Design

Your desire is to make a great product. Or take an existing product to the next level. It’s great to have the intention, but how do you put that intention into motion? Here is a simple exercise that you can try. Instead of thinking of the details of what might improve your product, simply consider your product as an “environment” or a place people go to get some kind of value. Try filling in the following sentences:
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Use “Made to Stick” Principles to Improve Your Product Design

For anyone involved in product design, I highly recommend the book Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. The book does a great job of explaining 6 principles that characterize products that “stick” in the minds of customers. The principles are: Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotional Stories For product designers, these principles are great tools for improving your product design. Much of what makes a desi
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Not Enough Time to Design? Try a Time-Boxed Workshop

Lean UX methods have become popular as a means of getting the core concept of a product and its business value on target with minimal time and expense. One of our favorite “Lean” design methods is the time-boxed workshop. Why Time Boxing? The best reason for time-boxing is it virtually guarantees forward progress and positive team work. By defining a clear topic and a time limit, people will literally think different
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Can Lean UX be Used to Design Complex Products?

Lean UX can work very effectively when designing complex products, including products that demand a heavy amount of science, complex workflows or handshaking between components. In this article, we’ll explore why Lean UX methods are effective. What is Lean UX? Three things come to mind when describing Lean UX. First, using very rapid (and usually low fidelity) iterations to get the user experience focused on the most
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