Archive for the ‘Methodologies’ Category

Mingling with the Dutch UX Design community at UXCampNL 2016


This past weekend I felt like mingling with my peers of the UX design community and check out what they’re up to, so I decided to attend this year’s UXCampNL in Eindhoven. The event, as they put it themselves, is an “unconference born from the desire to bring together the industry and academic communities to share knowledge in an open environment”.

Unlike a traditional conference, UXcamp is shaped by the attendees themselves. Anyone willing to contribute and learn is welcome to join and give a talk, workshop or start a discussion.

So here’s my take on how things went down… 

So… what IS design for interaction anyways?

I’ve been meaning to make a post here about what we define as “Design for Interaction” at the TU Delft, but since I just came across this video, my life was made soooo much easier, because they explain it beautifully. So, there, for anyone wondering what exactly it is that I and my fellow DfI’ers do, here’s a perfect explanation 🙂

Thanks to Niels van Hamersveld and Pieter Desmet for the great work producing the animation.

A quick guide to best practices for User Interface Design on Illustrator

As a creative professional working on Graphical User Interfaces (be it for products, apps or websites) you are bound to come in contact with Adobe Illustrator, the leading vector graphics package out there. It’s an amazingly handy piece of software, that when used correctly, can make your whole workflow a breeze.

In the past, I created a handy manual for the design teams I’ve worked with, highlighting some of the best practices I’ve gathered through my experience working with it, and I figured it was time to share it with the rest of the world, you know… because sharing is caring 😉

My ServiceFellow – The real world version of Emoments!

As it usually happens, great ideas are never truly unique. Our whole history of inventions and development rests in the shoulders of giants. The real trick lies in taking ideas to the next level and making them become a reality. And this is exactly what I just came across.

While working on eMoments, the mobile app concept I developed as part of my MSc. graduation project I came in contact with Marc Stickdorn, from the Management Center Innsbruk and co-author of the great book “This is Service Design Thinking”. Marc did a great job in helping me understand what services and service design in particular was all about.

Unfortunately for me, the eMoments project remained in a concept phase, but as it turns out, Marc was working in parallel on a very similar application to what I had in mind. An application that has gone through a lengthy design and testing process (which I want to believe was also influenced by my own project somehow 🙂 ) and which is now almost ready to be released into the wild.

The result? My ServiceFellow!

The first ever Design Jam Asterdam

A few days back I had the pleasure of being part of the first ever Design Jam Amsterdam and it was a very enriching experience, and of course, lots of fun!

Design Jams are one-or-two-day design sessions, during which people team up to tackle engaging User Experience (UX) challenges. They aim to get designers together to learn and collaborate with each other while working on real problems.

Sustainable packaging? Bring out the popcorn!

Another way of 'recycling' packing peanuts?

For my first post of the year I received the inspiration from a Christmas present my sister received while I was visiting her.

I’ve always had the habit of keeping the little styrofoam packing peanuts of any package I receive so that I can reuse them whenever I have to send something out myself. It saves me money and I ensure that the material is used at least once more. Sadly though, I’m sure that this is not something that everybody does and undoubtedly most of these peanuts end up in the trash after a single use, contributing to our waste problems.

But what’s the alternative? Well, as I mentioned, my sister received this gift during the holidays which I thought was brilliantly simple and a very nicely thought alternative. It was a little box with shower and bath soaps which used POPCORN (!!!) instead of styrofoam.

ROSE: Analysis of user insights for a social care robot


Relevant keywords

Remotely operated robot, Elderly, Nurses, Research, Cultural Probes, Creative focus groups

Design goal

Project TSR (Teleoperated Service Robot) was subsidized by the Dutch ministry of Economic affairs and the province of Noord-Brabant, and carried out by a consortium of research institutes and private companies. The goal of the project was to develop ROSE, a tele-operated robot for home care applications.

VanBerlo, as one of the consortium’s partners, was tasked with the analysis of user needs for the robot’s use in the care of elderly and disabled people.

Specific role & contribution

  • Direct communication with the research partners
  • Design, production and deployment of cultural probes
  • Organisation and facilitation of creative focus groups
  • Analysis of research and definition of early use cases

5 principles of service design thinking

I’ve been in contact with Marc Stickdorn ever since my MSc. graduation project, as he is an expert in service design. Well he is now working on a new book project along with some of his colleagues in which they will deal with basics, tools and service design cases.

The interesting part of it is that the project is getting the service design community involved as co-authors of the book so to speak, and as such the book is meant to be a reflection of what “the scene” thinks.

In order to get some feedback on the first sneak preview of a few pages from the introduction of the book called “5 principles of service design thinking“,  we at SusaGroup worked together with Marc and his colleagues in arranging a special Panoremo setup which could be used by service designers to give their feedback on the content and the layout of the upcoming book’s sneak preview pages.

If service design thinking is your thing, I suggest you drop by at to give Marc your own feedback.

TEN: 10 years of Design & Emotion (Workshop Part II)

TEN workshopA while back I wrote about the workshop organized by the Design & Emotion Society to celebrate their ten year anniversary, and I said I would make a second post explaining the rest of the workshop and the results… well, after finally making some time to sit down and go through it, here it is!

If you haven’t read the first part, I suggest you do so here, because that will make the coming lines much more clear to understand.

so, here it goes….

Cradle to Cradle: Hype or hope?

c2cI’ve been meaning to make a post about Cradle to Cradle (C2C) for a while and last week we had a mini-symposium about it at the TU Delft with the attendance of Michael Braungart, one of the original C2C advocates, so I figured that this was the perfect excuse to get down to it.
So, to get started, let’s explain the C2C concept a little bit, and the best way to explain Cradle to Cradle is to first explain what Cradle to Grave means.

Until not so long ago, our production paradigm was focused on manufacturing products as cheaply as possible which would be later discarded into landfills (in the worst case) or burned up for energy (in the best case), meaning that we were producing or processing materials (cradle) which would later be rendered useless because they were being buried or destroyed (grave)

Creative Sessions: Playing with serious stuff

Creative Session photos (11)A creative session is a gathering of people who, following some steps and rules shaped by a facilitator (or organizer), let their creativity loose. Working together, in one or more teams, they eventually generate ideas for the subject matter in question. The session doesn’t need to have very strict guidelines in order to work. As long as it is well organized most likely creativity and inspiration sooner or later emerge (Grudin & Pruitt, 2004).

I have participated in a couple of creative sessions and always found them extremely useful as a means to let your mind go free and be creative in solving problems or in generating ideas and so I wanted to share with you the process that I followed while organizing one such activity during my Design for Interaction MSc. graduation project in which we were dealing with emotions in hotel environments.

Differentiating emotional hotel experiences (EuroCHRIE 2009)

EuroCHRIE 2009I’m finally back home after attending the EuroCHRIE 2009 conference in Helsinki for a few days, and I have to say that it was quite an interesting experience for me, since it was not really in my professional field as a designer, but it did have to do with what I’ve been working on for the past few months first as part of my MSc. graduation project and now as an interaction designer/researcher for SusaGroup.

The conference dealt with experiences in the hospitality and tourism industry and I was actually there presenting a working paper which came from a small exploratory study I conducted at the early stages of my graduation project with the aim to identify what type of emotions people felt the most in a hotel environment and towards what exactly.

TEN: 10 years of Design & Emotion (Workshop Part I)

TEN workshopThe Design & Emotion Society is celebrating this year their 10th anniversary and they decided to organize an event at the Delft University of Technology to commemorate this milestone.

“TEN – 10 years of design and emotion” was a one day workshop held at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering on the 28th of August and luckily I was there to participate. In this post I’ll explain what the workshop was all about and I’ll give a brief explanation of what we did in the first half of the activity. In a later post, I’ll show some of the results that were obtained at the end of the day.

Measuring and evaluating emotions towards physical spaces

emotional_space1Well, it’s kind’a cool at the deep end of the pool. Two months into my current status as a Master of Science I’m having lots of fun working on a temporary basis (let’s hope that changes soon) with the good people at Susa Group, the company that I worked for during my graduation project.

And it’s lots of fun because I’m doing something which I really enjoy, and we are working on transforming one of the concepts I developed during graduation into a fully working and marketable tool which hopefully people will be using in a very, very near future.

It’s still a work in progress, but the idea is to develop a tool that can help in measuring and evaluating emotions towards  physical spaces. This opens up the door to a plethora of possibilities and applications: evaluating an urban environment to know how people feel about their surroundings (emotions in architecture and urbanism), finding out how people feel about that new interior design that you are developing for a new store (emotions in retail design) or identifying the critical emotional points of a restaurant or of a hotel lobby (emotions in experiential services) are but a few of the examples I can think of.

Developing a tool to assess emotions elicited by services – MSc. graduation presentation (Video & Pics)

So… it’s been a little over a week since I did the presentation for my Design for Interaction MSc. graduation project (Developing a tool to assess emotions elicited by services), and since I went off on a short one week vacation right after that, I didn’t have the time to post the video and some photos of the presentation during that time.

But as I promised some people, today I finally got back and had some spare time to upload everything. So above,you can take a look at the video of the presentation (takes about 45 minutes including the questions round). The file is quite big (around 500 Mb) because I couldn’t

The delivery of the future (PART VI) – An example of Vision in Product Design (ViP) being used

vip_designing_product_levelHere’s the sixth and final post of the ongoing series explaining the Vision in Product Design (ViP) process. It includes some very nice illustrations of the delivery truck we designed for the future.



Once you reach the product level once again, you use the information from all the previous phases of ViP, specially the vision which you created, and the interaction qualities you intend to have with your product, and you finally start designing the product (or service) itself.

This is probably the phase of the process which will be closest to home to designers, as here’s where you start giving shape to the cloud of ideas that have been generated so far, and you finally