What REALLY happened during the IA Summit (#IAS09)

April 8th, 2009 | Comments(2)


Thanks to the Twitter API and Wordle for making this visualization possible!

Reflections of an IA Summit "noob"

March 23rd, 2009 | Comments(2)

Based on my experiences with other conferences, I had expected to walk away from my first IA Summit with notepads of information, a handful of business card, and a suitcase full of swag.  Meh.

However, my experience at the IA Summit provided far more value than what I had expected to cram in my suitcase.  What I discovered was a diverse and vibrant community of practitioners that think like me, talk like me, and do what I do.   It is a community where I can learn, share, and teach.  I am thrilled to be a User Experience Designer and I have found a place where I belong.  

Measuring User Experience (Recap)

February 21st, 2009 | Comments Off

At a NEOUPA event earlier this week, Lauren Murphy (Ernst & Young) presented on the topic of hedonomics. Most of the attendees (including myself) knew very little about it. As it turns out, hedonomics is a relatively new branch of ergonomics that focuses on the pleasure of human-technology interactions. Lauren shared a diagram similar to the following…


The general idea is that technology should be designed for individual pleasure once the collective needs of safety, functionality, and usability have been met. This individual pleasure can be described as the experience itself of immersion or of being “in the flow”. For example, when playing video games, the outside world can seem to disappear and the game becomes an extension of the player. Similar experiences can occur when reading, playing sports, listening to music, etc.

Lauren shared three of her studies, but I found the third to be the most interesting. In this study, Kensei Engineering techniques were used to build a list of terms that describe an ideal video game. Over several 30 minute gaming sessions, participants would play classic Frogger and Frogger 3D. After each session, participants would rate each game using the Likert scale terms. Although the game play and sound of the two versions are nearly identical, the improved graphics and perspective of Frogger 3D presumably gave it slightly higher scores.

In summary, Lauren found in her three studies that:

  1. “Pleasurable human-system experience increased linearly with repeated exposure to the technology of interest;
  2. An habituation effect of flow was mediated by day;
  3. Performance was positively correlated to flow”

Personally, I find the thought of making the pleasurable tools and technology in corporate work environment to be very compelling. However, it will be a challenge for many companies to break the misaligned perception that work should not be fun. Regardless, the field of hedonomics is in its early infancy and will need to provide solid ROI numbers before many companies will buy into it.

I’m Just Full of Hot Air

February 6th, 2009 | Comments Off

This past fall, my wife and I went on a hot air balloon ride to celebrate her 30th birthday.   Well, it just so happens that I have a fear of heights.   More specifically, I have an acute fear of falling from a height that could cause bodily damage.   So, a hot air balloon ride qualifies as pure terror in my book.   Here is a memorable picture from our trip…


Experience design is about people.   It is about designing experiences for people within a context.   Standing in a straw basket for an hour is one experience.   However, standing in a straw basket that is thousands of feet in the hour is a different context that results in an entirely different experience.   Not everyone has the same experience within a given context though.   Although I was terrified the entire trip, my wife loved the experience! 

Experience design is not a methodology or a series of deliverables, but rather a mindset.   As a self-proclaimed experience designer, my mindset is to understand people and their context.   Based on that information, my goal is to design experiences that improve their lives in some small way.   In a recent interview, Jesse James Garrett commented that if you “add all of the little experiences up, that is the sum of someone’s life.   The ability to touch people in that way is really profound.”   I could not agree more.

Our guide of the balloon ride claimed that a hot air balloon ride is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.   I intend to hold him to it…   Although the picture above was “photoshopped”, it does actually reflect how I felt in the basket.

About Me

Damon Herren

My name is Damon Herren.    I am an user experience designer that hangs around North East Ohio (generally not from a basket though).   My mission is to improve people's lives by making "stuff" that is easy and enjoyable to use.

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