For the last five weeks I’ve been a part of an intensive experiment learning the latest in user experience (UX) design from remote usability testing to rapid prototyping. The goal of which is to transform from a guy who likes to draw pretty concert posters into a UX designer who can diagnose usability issues, propose research-based changes, and draw pretty prototypes.
The UX field is a new/not-new field, that appears to have many roots in the automotive industry. (Google the Kano Model.) Why? How come? What I would like to learn more about is the history of automotive design to see what can be carried over to my UX career. Additionally I am interested in automotive design in the same way that I am interested in theme park service design, video game design and virtual reality UX, these are all environments where the user is fully immersed in the experience.
What does that mean for the future of cars once they become autonomous? How will this change the interior of cars? Currently they are designed for comfort, driver performance, and safety. Cut out the need for driver performance and the car becomes a safe, comfortable living room. A place where we can become fully immersed in something other than our safety. What tasks could we be doing in the car that we cannot while we drive? Type on laptop, cut food, play games on the Oculus Rift. These are all things we do at home. My guess however is that we'll likely fill that time with things we do at work.
For five years I was a delivery driver for a wonderful coffee bean company. I drove around the Twin Cities Metro Area to grocery stores and brought in 50-100 pounds of coffee through their backdoors. The orders were scanned in by a Receiver and then put on the shelves. I then wrote orders anticipating sales for the next week. An autonomous vehicle couldn't do the second half of my job, but it certainly can do the driving part, and I welcome it. What I want to know is, how will my employer use my time on the clock while a robot is chauffeuring me around town? Autonomous vehicles will be a disruptor. Now that we can be fully immersed in our work, while being driven around, new opportunities will emerge.
One of the neatest inventions is the pallet jack, it's simple, reliable, and it allows one person to move a thousand pounds of stuff easily. You see a lot of them in the backrooms of grocery stores and warehouses. What once took a team of people to push and lift, now only takes one person. You couldn't sell soda at grocery stores without a pallet jack. Soda/water is very heavy when compared to how cheap it is. In order to make a decent profit you've gotta move a lot of poundage and a giant labor force would make it unprofitable. What I'm trying to say is that the pallet jack was a disruptor like the autonomous vehicle and it created the opportunity to sell large heavy things all over town at an attractive price.
-Joel Lueders, UX Designer
The video game D-Pad didn't start out as a user experience watershed, but that's what it became. The D-Pad's creation was the solution to an engineering pain point.
The idea that you can invent something that nobody has used before and then for the users to embrace it because it feels more natural blows my mind. That’s exciting to me as a UX Designer. That’s exactly what happened with the video game D-Pad. In 1982 Gunpei Yokoi was working for Nintendo on a handheld Donkey Kong game when he ran into a problem trying to fit four separate direction buttons on the left side of the unit, there wasn’t enough room. Previous methods for multi-direction navigation employed either four separate buttons or a joystick, neither of which would fit on the clamshell gaming unit. His solution was to create a top piece that rocked in four directions, pivoting on top of a sturdy ball bearing, and triggering tiny internal switches.
This new invention saved space and had an unintended consequence, users described playing games with the D-Pad as feeling more natural. A qualitative response backed up by quantitative data, when using the D-Pad players looked at the screen more, their hands less. So enjoyable, useful, and natural was the experience that Nintendo made the D-Pad the standard directional control for the wildly successful Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System. Since then, all major video game consoles have had a D-Pad on their controllers. For something to feel natural it has to seemingly disappear.
For something to disappear lets look at The Hierarchy of User Needs (From bottom to top: Functional, Reliable, Usable, and Meaningful). The D-Pad is functional because it accomplishes the task of moving your character in four directions. Is it reliable? The design of the D-Pad is more reliable than four buttons because the user ’s thumb puts pressure on a sturdy ball bearing in the rocker pad, not on an actual button. Allowing the handheld unit to control the amount of pressure being exerted on the sensitive buttons. The usability is also high because the size of your fingers don’t matter as much because you rock your thumb versus move it around and press buttons close by each other. With the D-Pad you cannot error and accidentally hit two directions at the same time like with four closely placed buttons. Is it meaningful? I don’t know. If really good usability equals meaningful, then yes. To quote early video game developer Martin Graetz (Spacewars!) from 1962 after he built one of the first controllers and used it (instead of a keyboard) for the first time, “the mechanism improved one’s playing skills considerably, making the game even more fun”.
-Joel Lueders, UX Designer
Vaporwave music is modern electronic music created from the analog music of the 80's and 90's. Vaporwave Art is similar but tends to sample later towards the 90's. While in the backroom of a grocery store I snapped a picture of a crate of reissued Crystal Pepsi. To increase the Vaporwave Aesthetic I tinted it pink and purple, added a popular 90's slogan that is both applicable and for a different product (Jucy Fruit, "The Juice is Loose"), then saved the image as a gif to impart texture reminiscent of websites from the 90's.
This is the cover I made for a Christmas single by Das Freakout. They consider themselves a messy, experimental music group, so I made a "messy photoshop" of the original album by Merle Haggard on top of a image of robots, then saved it as a low resolution Gif to add artifacts and texture.
The Santa Rampage is where you dress like Santa and bike around to breweries in Minneapolis. Here are the posters I made for the last three years.
CH.3 TV is a not-so-serious news channel created by the Emmy award winning actor, editor, and multi instrumentalist Sam Heyn. I'm usually found behind the camera or doing graphic work for the channel. Today I'm in front of the camera in what YouTube user Greenpro2009 describes as, "the best ghost pepper-eating video I've ever seen. I laughed with the first hiccups and haven't stopped for 10 minutes. This needs to be seen by millions!!" #ghostpepperchallenge #ghostpepper