Category Archives: Environmental Design

a rendering of an intersection showing striped crosswalks and sidewalks

Designing for Pedestrian Safety

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I am really curious what you think about this fundamental rethink of the pedestrian crossing. It was designed by an architectural firm in San Francisco where there is an average of 3 pedestrians hit by cars every day.

A firm called Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects is trying to reduce accidents by rethinking how people get from one side of the street to the other. The company … has come up with a network of pedestrian lanes and planters that blur the usual boundaries ­between walkers and drivers…

a visualization of a social network

The Perils of Collaborative Filtering Algorithms

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Because of the many wonderful years I spent living in Florida, many of my close friends are there. Which means many of my Facebook and LinkedIn contacts are there as well. As many of you probably know, when social networks are choosing which ads to show me, they depend on this network of contacts to gain some insight into what I might be interested in. There are as many strategies for these collaborative filtering algorithms as there are ad networks

A man serving food from a cafeteria line

Another Great Example of a Helpful Nudge

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I have been a fan of the Smarter Lunchroom Movement ever since I decided to focus my career on behavioral science and cognitive disfluency. This is a great example of how we can use the most basic human behavioral tendencies to make the world a better place. And without being overt, controlling, or suppressive. With marketers using these same techniques to push us towards fast food, it is the least we can do…

a woman wearing glasses

The Best UX Activities: Find a Simple but Annoying and Common Pain Point and Mitigate It

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Reading this article in OZY (sort of a “cool” news aggregator) made me think of the core underlying UX best practice. “Frames constantly sliding down your nose or off your face are no good for anybody: They cramp your style and your view. But for Nashville-based Don Hejny, the slipping and sliding cleared his vision right up – it showed him the perfect invention, a solution called “Nerdwax.””…

a pop-up market in a West Elm store

Business Partnership between Competitors to Improve the User Experience

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My thoughts today span the connection between user insight and business development. When I saw this article in Fast Company (one of my favorite sources for light reading), I thought it would make a great post for EID readers. Here is the article. I am specifically referring to the inset article on the right side of the page that highlights the business partnership between West Elm and Etsy. Both of them sell housewares. But in 2010, West Elm had a bright idea…

an old voting booth

Aesthetic Affiliation: Could it Really Be That Easy?

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Previous research has found that after participants choose an aesthetically pleasing design, they become more open to uncertainty. The hypothesis is that high aesthetic products have an innate value that gives you the same positive feeling that self-affirmation does. But, this is not practical in the field. So this study wanted to find a more practical way to do it. They wanted to know if highlighting the participant’s connection to an aesthetically pleasing design could do it. This could be done in the field (i.e the real world)…

Shared workspace with multiple people working in an open office

Can We Use Social Proof for Workplace Design?

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I just finished reading Jonah Berger’s book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. In his chapter on triggers, he talks about a phenomenon that is pretty well established in marketing. People are more likely to wear the same brand of shirts as their coworkers and friends than they are to wear the same brand of socks. The visibility of the social proof matters, especially for product categories that we don’t talk about a lot (like our brand of socks)…

An image of notes and other brainstorming tools

User Experience in the Mainstream Media

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It was great to read this interview with Michael Heilemann from Squarespace and Aarron Walter from Mailchimp at Fast Company magazine. The takeaway I want to highlight today is that the way these two tech execs define user experience is very interdisciplinary. It involves every area of human factors. As a quick test, I scanned the list of HFES Technical Groups and I couldn’t find one that wasn’t included and essential in their definition…

Image of a MakerBot Replicator 2 with example printed objects including a skull, diamond, and landing gear

3D Printing, Unexpected Consequences, and User Experience

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Is this something that you would appreciate as a user? “The startup KeyMe, which says it’s trying to bring “innovation” to the locksmith industry, has launched a partnership with the 3-D printing marketplace Shapeways to let people print copies of their own keys on demand.”…