ideation iteration illumination

Personas are useless. OK there I’ve said it. I’ve made a strong, dare I say “controversial”, statement. How useless are they? Well that’s another matter. There is a modicum of utility to them if a designer never gives much thought to who’s on the other side of the of the screen when creating new products. After all, human understanding is the currency we deal in. It is empathy we need, that is what connects us as humans, one to another. Personas are not a necessary means to empathy and can quite often be the heavy mallet that shatters the fragile subtitles that enrich human experience.

Personas are so very correctly referred to as a tool. Some tools prove useful and stand the test of time and some tools turn out not to live up to their promise and should be discarded. The endemic problem is not the personas themselves but rather it’s the designer wielding them. See, we humans are pretty clever and despite the old saying that you “can’t fit a square peg into a round hole”, we can. We can as long as we have the right tool.

Read more…

An interesting topic came up today that I’ve had pause to consider on a number of occasions, but one I’ve never done a deep dive on. I’m not sure how deep this dive will be either, but wanted to at least lay the groundwork for some future thinking.

The topic focuses on virtual versus physical media ownership, and specifically the newer streaming model of consumption. Media like photos, music, movies, and video games are all available digitally without the need to occupy actual three dimensional space, on a desks, a shelf, or a living/work spaces. Traditionally all of these items have had a physical component the most recent of which has been the Digital Disk (CD/DVD) complete with jewel case, printed cover art, and bonus added features.

The shift from CDs to MP3s (probably one of the more accepted means of digital ownership) allowed for the transfiguration of physical artifacts into digital ones, thus expanding the physical space allocation of owned content. What was once on CD is now also on a hard drive. The digital version is then capable of being further duplicated onto various devices in an ever expanding footprint of ownership. DVDs have this ability as well, but the DRM (digital rights management) and space requirements often make this a far less likely outcome. The pure MP3 download (i.e. without a CD) has become ubiquitous thanks to iTunes and Amazon MP3 but even then a footprint is felt, occupying a bit of real world hardware space.

Read more…