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Visualizing the invisible, from service design to sustainability.

Know Thy User: The Role of Research in Great Interactive Design

At the recent HOW Interactive Design Conference in Washington DC, I gave a presentation called "Know Thy User: The Role of Research in Great Interactive Design." This 30-minute high-level talk was intended to provide conference attendees with repeatable processes that will help them integrate user research into their interactive projects. Other presenters at the conference went more in-depth into some of the methods mentioned in this talk, but I felt that it was important for attendees to understand the role of specific methods and activities within the research process on any design project.

Where the Roads Become Rivers

Street, Dhaka

The following reflections and photographs I captured in the margins of a recent trip to Bangladesh for a client project.

The rules of the road? There are no rules. Riding in a fast-moving car, the freeway is a fat, pulsing vein, and we are but one blood cell swirling through the body called Dhaka.

Making Clients Part of the Design Process

This weekend, I participated in HOW Design Live, a U.S.-based conference intended to help designers, in-house design managers, and creative freelancers gain the information and inspiration they need to succeed with their design work. One of my contributions to the conference was a talk about facilitated collaborations with design clients.

The Language of Interaction

I was recently invited to deliver a talk at Emily Carr University of Art and Design about what interaction designers do and how interaction design factors into the worlds of design and art.

My talk "The Language of Interaction" (slides above) was my attempt to summarize the critical role that language plays in our efforts as designers and artists. In doing so, I touched upon the three challenges that all designers and artists face in trying to craft interactions…

My Top 10 Design Business Failures


In mid-February, I was invited to speak at SCAD's Entreprenurial Forum 2011 in Savannah, Georgia. This event was presented by SCAD's Office for Career and Alumni Success, and was designed for students across all majors to gain perspectives on how they can become successful as design businesspeople in today's economic climate. The above presentation is my greatest hits album of major and minor business mistakes I made over my career before working at frog design, both as a freelancer and while working within creative agencies of all shapes and sizes.

Interaction 11 Recap

Bill Vanderplank

In early February, a number of frogs attended this year's Interaction 11 conference, sponsored by the Interaction Design Association (IxDA). Our time in Boulder began with a fresh blanket of snow and ended with all-you-could-drink absinthe at the closing night party. In my contribution for the conference, I taught a three-hour workshop called "Better Ideas Faster: Effective Brainstorming for Interaction," which focused on the unique tools and techniques that interaction designers bring to bear in translating research findings into actionable design concepts that cohere into large-scale systems.

This year's conference has been hard for me to summarize—not because of the absinthe, mind you—and in combing through my notes and reflecting on the experience, more questions have emerged than coherent themes.

Design Challenge: Thinking Outside the Wrist

Thinking Outside the Wrist - Mark Notermann

Until the end of the year, I'll be sharing design challenges from my book Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills, which was just released by HOW Design Press. The book consists of 80 creative challenges that will help you achieve a breadth of stronger design solutions, in various media, within any set time period. Each exercise includes compelling visual solutions from other designers and background stories to help you increase your capacity to innovate. Here's the last one in this series, "Thinking Outside the Wrist."

Design Challenge: The Game of Sustainability

The Game of Sustainability - Design solution by Jake Zukowski, Abdullah Shaikh, and Jeff Glasser

Until the end of the year, I'll be sharing design challenges from my book Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills, which was just released by HOW Design Press. The book consists of 80 creative challenges that will help you achieve a breadth of stronger design solutions, in various media, within any set time period. Each exercise includes compelling visual solutions from other designers and background stories to help you increase your capacity to innovate. Here's the fifth one in this series, "The Game of Sustainability."

Design Challenge: Reduce, Reuse, Redecorate

 Reduce, Reuse, Redecorate - Tom Price - Meltdown Series Chair 

Until the end of the year, I'll be sharing design challenges from my book Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills, which was just released by HOW Design Press. The book consists of 80 creative challenges that will help you achieve a breadth of stronger design solutions, in various media, within any set time period. Each exercise includes compelling visual solutions from other designers and background stories to help you increase your capacity to innovate. Here's the fourth one in this series: "Reduce, Reuse, Redecorate."

Design Challenge: Future-Casting

Mark Notermann - SAM Gets Dirty - Solution to Future-Casting Challenge from Creative Workshop

Until the end of the year, I'll be sharing design challenges from my book Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills, which was just released by HOW Design Press. The book consists of 80 creative challenges that will help you achieve a breadth of stronger design solutions, in various media, within any set time period. Each exercise includes compelling visual solutions from other designers and background stories to help you increase your capacity to innovate. Here's the third one in this series, "Future-Casting."