Thursday, September 29, 2011

Design Studios, Studying Design

Back in August, while attending the ICER conference, I discussed some work being done to incorporate the studio model into the computing classroom. Several people replied, sharing their own work in this area or knowledge of others' work. At least one person I spoke with believed the studio model was impractical. Interestingly enough, there is a discussion about the use of Design Studios within the UX (User Experience) community. In late August, the first of two articles in UX Magazine discussed the basics of Design Studio. The rationale for using Design Studios included the following:

"The reality of designing modern digital solutions is that no individual can solely capture all the complexity of creating a truly vibrant product with various customer engagement points, different usage patterns, and behaviors based on complex needs, goals, and customer backgrounds, all interwoven into an emergent, ubiquitous engagement tapestry. This is why innovation really is, and should be, a team sport."

The above quote reflects a key feature of UX work: obtaining a holistic view of the interactions, perceptions and ramifications of users interacting with digital artifacts. Beyond traditional user interface and graphical design issues (although those are relevant), to include all the complexities that people, as people, bring to the table and what that complexity means for their "experience" (hence the name User Experience). Cognition, affect, behavior, environmental and social factors.

The second of the articles, which came out today, provides resources and guidelines for how you can put Design Studios into action. Very interdisciplinary:

"Teams should be designed to have some balance representing various disciplines. Mix up key stakeholders representing various functions within the company. I have found that it’s crucial to include participants from sales and customer support. They bring a unique vision of the customer and the market to a process. Ideally, Design Studio should cut across executives, sales, customer support, product management, development, marketing, and experience design."

These articles are a great resource if you are interested in the implementation of design studios - either in the classroom or in your workplace.

If you follow the guidelines shared in these articles, ... what has your experience been?

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