Oct 18, 2010

Words of Wisdom (and more) from Harry Brignull: UX Roots in Psychology, Design, Info Architecture...and so much more!

Harry Brignull is a User Experience Consultant at Madget in Brighton, England. According to his "about" page info, his work involves "building experiences by blending User Research, Interaction Design, and process consultancy."  Harry's 90 Percent of Everything blog is a well-spring of information and inspiration.

Back Story
I came across Harry's work in 2004 or 2005, when I was taking a VR Class (Virtual Reality for Education and Training) and working on an assignment about large-screen displays.   At the time, Harry was a Ph.D. working in the Interact Lab at the University of Sussex on the Dynamo project, in collaboration with researchers from the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham.

I revisited this work again in early 2007 when I was studying HCI and Ubiquitous Computing, and researching information about collaborative interaction on large displays in public spaces.  The following research article inspired me at the time, and looking back, I consider the work of this team to be seminal, and worth revisiting once again.

Izadi, S., Brignull, H., Rodden, T., Rogers, Y., Underwood, M. (UIST'03)
Dynamo: A public interactive surface supporting the cooperative sharing and exchange of media (pdf)  

(The picture was taken from the Dynamo project's website, and shared on my 2007 blog post, Revisiting promising projects, Dynamo, an application for sharing information on large interactive displays in public spaces.)

Links to a few of Harry's useful blog posts:

UX as Applied Psychology:
Clear Reporting & Critical Thinking:  Why User Experience Needs to Remember its Roots in Psychology (10/4/10)

"There was a time, back in the early 1990s, when almost everyone involved with UX research had a background in Psychology.  Back in those days, the term "User Experience" didn't really exist, and the nearest discipline was Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)..."

As a school psychologist, I'm well-steeped in the process of research, observation, and data collection.  I also know that the fundamentals of applied psychology are a very important ingredient in UX work.  Don Norman, one of the "grandfathers" of UX/HCI, was a cognitive psychologist.  He was the co-author of one of my psychology textbooks when I was a university student the first time around. Coincidentally, Norman's book, Design of Everyday Things was required reading for my HCI graduate class.

Mobile Usability Testing for Low Budgets
Mobile Usability Testing Tip: Recording from Two Webcams
In this post, Harry discusses quick and cheap methods of using two webcams for mobile usability testing. This method could be used in other situations, such as developing presentations. (It might also be applicable for use in therapeutic and special education settings.)

Image: Nick Bowmast

UX Brighton Presentation on Dark Patterns: User Interfaces Designed to Trick People
My Presentation on Out of Box Experience Design  (Harry Brignall)
David Ogilvy: We Sell or Else

Links to Harry's Blog Posts, By Topic


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