DesignThinkers 2013 Recap: Part 1 of 4

Last week was the 14th annual DesignThinkers Conference, hosted by the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD).

The event brought together thought leaders in visual communication, creative processes and strategic design thinking. In this four-part series, four of our designers will share key ideas and personal reflections from their favourite talks at the conference.

Systems + Stories and Making Every Interaction Count

As this was my first deisgn conference, I was pleasantly surprised to be exposed to a broad range of topics. Initially I thought that the conference would focus primarily on the print medium, but the discussions ranged from illustration to system strategies and design thinking in a digital world.

One talk in particular I found truly insightful and thought-provoking was Systems + Stories by Chloe Gottlieb. Gottlieb gave an overview of the work she has done at her time at R/GA, projects including: One Copy Song, Nike+ FuelBand and Nokia viNe. She addressed the idea of 'systems thinking', how everything from the identity system all the way through to the interactions you have within an interface truly fit together and tell a story. She also discussed the idea of 'gamifying' through social interactions on projects like the Nike+ FuelBand. The ability to not only keep track of your progress but share it with your friends & family helps to engage the user by offering a competitive aspect to an individual activity. I love the quote used for the Nike+ FuelBand product; "Make it count", in which every interaction with the system counts towards the game and increases your likeliness of using the service by shifting your behaviour. In doing so, Nike is helping their users live more effectively in the physical world, which increases user loyalty to the brand.

Finally, Chloe touched on 'user testing in development stages'- watching how people use the product/service, obtaining the analytics from system interactions and discovering when they're actually using the product. For example, some individuals simply sit at their desk at certain times of the day for long periods of time therefore they don't use the product. How can Nike motivate users to move around and be active? Do they care? Would they share? Is it something that engages the consumer/user? What are the communication and engagement objectives? All valid questions derived from user testing in development stages that help to validate the product. Overall, my experience at DesignThinkers was very informative.

Check out Parts Two, Three and Four of our DesignThinkers Recap Series.

Written by

Amit Jakhu

Amit Jakhu

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IxDA 2014 Overview

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