Design

Our experts do a lot of thinking. Here's the latest to unlock your potential.
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Verhalen & Norvaisas to speak at IDSA's Women in Design
Ami Verhalen, Vice President of Design, and Stefanie Norvaisas, Vice President of Insights and Strategy will be presenting a workshop called "Decision Making and Bias: Your Role in the Design Process and How to Manage It" during the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) Women in Design Deep Dive. The virtual event will be held October 6-7.Here's a description of their workshop: "Decision making can be treacherous, particularly in design where selecting options can feel subjective, emotional, and risky. As women design leaders, we’ve been in the places where decisions are being made for over 20 years. We’ve realized that as tough as it was to get a seat at the table that’s not enough—as leaders we need to shepherd our teams to decisions they can feel good about. Born out of our experiences and frustration with the lack of process around decision making, we studied its mechanisms and learned how physical, cognitive, social, and cultural biases affect it. We developed a process that helped us find our voice and enable decisions that stick. In this presentation, we will share lessons we’ve learned as well as tools and methods that will help you effectively design the decision-making process. You will receive a copy of our workbook, “Designing Good Decisions,” to help you take the lessons from our presentation and apply them on the job."IDSA is committed to making this event affordable and accessible to everyone. The event has a "choose your rate" ticket that ranges from $25 to $100, so make sure to reserve your spot.
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How STEEPLE Analysis Informs Design Strategy
STEEPLE analysis is a tool for scanning your external environment. It helps teams understand phenomena and imagine new opportunities.
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How you can help design succeed
Over the years, there have been designers still young in their careers that have come to me looking for advice and ideas of what to do next. They’ve all told me their tales of woe about how design is just not respected or understood where they work. And this, of course, coincides with their (and design’s) struggle to find a solid footing within the organization.
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Advanced Design goes to school
Advanced Design is a nonprofit design organization founded in 2016. This group began as a small design sketching workshop at the University of Illinois at Chicago for a handful of students who wanted to further develop their foundational skill set. These students, eager to bring the contagious energy of their workshops to the larger design community, wanted more.
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How ‘Forecasting and Backcasting’ Enable Disruptive Innovation
Forecasting and backcasting provide a framework for disruptive innovation by establishing a solid structure to support big, strategic thinking.
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Cybertruck, schmeibertruck…
I, for one, am pretty excited that Elon Musk is bringing his 1980s sci-fi movie dreams to life.
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10 steps to help combat design tunnel vision
Have you ever been given a physical tool to help you complete a task when what you really needed was information or support?
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How Anthropomorphic Form Shapes Product Design
Humans are drawn to anthropomorphic form in product design. Here's how industrial and interaction designers can use this as a tool.
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Virtual empathy
A few months back, I wrote a short blog post about the power of VR and using it within the design process.
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Learning to learn quickly
Having a foundational understanding of your problem space is necessary for any design process. You wouldn’t hire someone who has never seen the ocean to design a ship, would you?
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Goodbye Industrial, Hello Design
I’d prefer to never say words Industrial Designer again.
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How to Use “Mapping” To Determine the Design of Your Controls
Good mapping makes products easier and more intuitive to use. Done well, it can create a powerful connection between a product and its users.
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What Does 'Hierarchy of Needs' Mean To Product Designers?
How can product designers apply Maslow's theory of human motivation to their work? A design won't succeed if it doesn't meet users' most basic needs.
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What’s a ‘Nudge’ in Product Design?
Nudge is a concept rooted in behavioral science that describes how minor changes in product design can markedly affect individual behavior.
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The business of empathy: Designing like your customers are human
If you are innovating by practicing customer-centered design, it may be the reason you aren’t getting the results you need.
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What’s your story?
Talking about yourself can be difficult.
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Small solutions but bigger problems
I’m one of those designers who is always searching for the latest technology or process to help trigger new ideas or new ways of doing things.
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The Why, How, and When of Co-Creation During the Product Development Process
Co-creation in the design world might take several forms, but most often it's in the form of a moderated co-workshop that brings together designers, users, and client stakeholders.
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The foreign language of sewing
One of the special skill sets I love being able to utilize at Design Concepts and for projects at home is sewing.
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What does equity design mean?
Our world is in flux. We are all aware of this. As designers, it’s helpful to step back and consider our role in shaping our rapidly emerging future.
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Human-centered design ... but even more human.
Now more than ever, society is hungry for simplicity and human connection.
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You say sketch, I say scenario ...
When I began the first year of my MBA program at a well-known business school, a Facebook was still a real book, printed on paper.
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Poetry in motion
A huge part of a designer’s job is to translate abstract qualities into defining physical attributes and product feature sets.
06 Article Dorr Aesthetic Trends
Understanding and using emerging aesthetic design trends
While there are many different types of trends you can and should reference throughout the new product design and development process including macro, consumer and industry, aesthetic design trends may be some of the harder nuts to crack.
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The Good Enough Design of the Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch has a lot of great features, but the modular design leads to some clunky compromises. Ultimately, does it matter?
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Making decisions at SXSW
Stefanie Norvaisas and I recently returned from an amazing trip to South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, where we had the opportunity to host a workshop on Designing Decisions.
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Your brand deserves a language
How do we know the difference between a designer handbag and a knockoff?
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Need for speed: Approaches to picking up the pace of development
Innovation is risky business. It is expensive and time consuming. The faster you move, the longer you can survive.
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Tips for making tough design decisions
No matter what your title is, a significant part of your job is making decisions and justifying them to others.
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Navigating the new
Late last year, our leadership team at Design Concepts announced the long-in-the-making decision to relocate our Madison workplace from our current suburban office park to the rapidly developing East Washington corridor of downtown Madison.
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Service Experience Jam: Designing cool service sh*$!
Last weekend, we gathered as a multidisciplinary team and headed to Chicago to attend the second annual Service Experience Jam.
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Uncertainty changes expectations
Earlier this year, I was on an amazing project that took me to both India and China to visit hospitals and clinics of all sizes and types.
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Interaction design beyond the screen
Connected devices blur some of the boundaries between hardware and software.
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I’ve played squash since I was a teenager.
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The Internet of (Disconnected) Things
Want to experience connected Zen? Grab a Lyft, the ride sharing service fueled by digital transactions.
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Deconstructing fidelity
Fidelity is the degree of exactness to which a model reproduces the real thing.
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Innovation? It's on the bag
Hmmm… am I more hungry than unwilling to get cold?
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What does Spiderman have to do with user experience design?
I was recently at the Interaction15 conference put on by the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) in San Francisco with my colleagues Ken Soliva and Curt Irwin.
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Wearables at CES 2015: Enough with the activity trackers!
CES 2015 (Consumer Electronics Show) wasn’t a year for big unveils and shifts in conversation. Everything was smart, everything had an app, and the Internet of Everything was still an overarching promise for the future.
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Game on: The best of the boards
What can I say; I’m a bit of nerd when it comes to board games.
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What eight little girls re-taught me about design thinking
My six-year-old daughter wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. Given the way she can rock a Sophia the First t-shirt and disco ball silver leggings, she may have an actual shot.
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Developing an introvert’s superpower
Do you know someone who can absorb a vast amount of complex information about a problem and combine it into a cohesive, elegant solution?
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Experience design and healthcare: Wicked problem and inspiring challenge
Medical diagnostics is where the often unwieldy, slow-moving beast of healthcare collides with mind-blowing, quickly changing advances in technology. It is the behind-the-scenes intersection where healthcare workers interact with equipment, day in and day out, in hospitals, clinics, laboratories and universities. This is where fast and accurate results may mean the difference between someone getting the correct diagnosis and treatment in time and, well, not.