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August 19, 2008

It’s all about you – who, how, what, why

ESPOO, Finland – This past week I found myself do what a lot of the product designers here do – see someone struggle with something (an opportunity!) and start working out how to help. It goes without saying that understanding the person who will use this product or service is central in creating something useful.

Can you spare a Lincoln?

For the non-Americans here, Abraham Lincoln, a great president from the mid-19th century, is on the face of the $5 bill. Back in 1914 when they first put Lincoln on the bill, I am sure it was worth a lot. But, what is it worth today?

If you think that half the world has a mobile phone and so many more are aspiring to get one, understanding what is the relative worth of money in different cultures and countries is important. What we in Europe or North America might consider low-cost communication, might be a month’s salary for someone in some emerging market.

A group of folks from Nokia Design set up an interesting site asking for folks to send photos of what $5 is worth. Go check it out and see that $5 could be a bucket of potatoes in Cusco or a hair cut in San Francisco.

The myth of user experience management – a manifesto

On a similar note, Nokia designer, Chris Heathcote, refocuses the discussion on who owns and manages the user experience, not an individual or set of titled individuals, but that everyone in a company is part of a multi-point interaction to ensure that the people who use its products have a wonderful time.

I do not think he was intending to get into a naming exercise, but to call out everyone’s role in designing and delivering something wonderful for the user. What do you think?

And then there’s question of culture and race

Matthew Stevens brings up an interesting discussion he had with Darla about race and technology use. Does race determine how you use technology?

I’d like to pull it back a bit and include culture, since to me, race and culture are intertwined so tightly. It’s clear that cultures have etiquette and mores that determine how those within the culture approach and use technologies. So, my answer to them is ‘yes’. What do you think?

Image from zzzack