All posts for the month October, 2013

All designers know how to improve their designs. They read, they study, and they attend workshops. Articulating failures and successes and the reasons for each is also a great way of pushing something forward. Improving each and every time is a sure fire way of creating a successful design.

One topic I think does not get enough exposure is how to sell your ideas properly.  I wrote an article for UXmag about this topic. I tried to give as much advice as I could to help. When I was first faced with the challenge of trying to present good ideas, I was taken aback by how no one else could see it. To me it was so obvious.

A few years ago I was approached by Bestica, a UX Company, with a question. They wanted to know what advice I would give to UX Designers in improving their careers. The advice that I gave was about selling your ideas of course. Being an advocate for good design as well as your own is a great way of moving yourself to the next level. Here is that interview.


I have always been a huge fan of Noam Chomsky. He revolutionized linguistics with a way of explaining the building blocks of all language. He broke linguistics down to its basics in a way that it could be understood, built upon, and extrapolated from to form a system of thought and construction. From this system other scholars were able to begin building rules and intricate patterns. These rules and patterns can be used to build a new language. A language in any form, sound, motion, math, or any other means available for that matter.

  • Using the base definition of an object and container, you can easily classify all objects of an interface.
  • Using the base definition of a manipulation and a gesture, you can easily classify all interactions of an interface.

The approach I am taking may seem simple minded and unsophisticated, but never the less, correct.

So what is the purpose? The purpose of classifying all objects and actions for an interface is to help build a language of interaction. We rely on this language when we create patterns or rules. Then rules become laws. This brings me to my second point.

“Creativity is only possible within a system of rules.” -Noam Chomsky

Free creation, without arbitrary limitations of computers and interaction. Humans are genetically pre-programmed to interact with things in a certain way. The way we pick up a stone to throw or food to eat. If we take those simple interactions and put them into two categories, we start to see evidence of a ruleset. We take simple actions, things that only contain one element of motion, and we take complex actions, things that contain more than one element, each into their own piles. These two piles can be used to classify all interactions. It’s a very simple way of thinking about interaction. We have simple actions and we have complex actions. This same way of thinking can be used in defining objects and containers.

If we have these four categories, two for each type of object. We can begin to understand the framework for creativity. Using those simple classifications we try to look at ways that humans will naturally interact with computers and devices. This is the basis for Natural User Interfaces.

Innovation does not necessarily mean invention.