Expression Around the Clock 2 More Sleeps!

I am preparing my session for the event that I will be delivering with Nas. I met August at the Hilton yesterday and I am looking forward to walking through his presentation with him tomorrow morning.

The panel discussion is shaping up to be very interesting indeed (if the emails floating around the panelists are anything to go by).

Che wrote... (I hope he doesn't mind me sharing his words)...

"Let’s firstly agree that Design != Visual Design. Design is any human-led process for planning the creation of an artifact. Design is a much larger concept than Photoshoppin’.

Here’s a useful UX definition:

User Experience (abbreviated: UX) is the quality of experience a person has when interacting with a specific design. This can range from a specific artifact, such as a cup, toy or website, up to larger, integrated experiences such as a museum or an airport.


I think of what we do at Shift as UX Design – ideally it should activate all of the various facets of experience that Peter Morville identifies in his User Experience Honeycomb diagram:

Memorise that diagram. Good user experiences are multi-faceted, and seek to maximize all of those facets, rather than treat them as a zero-sum game: “we had to choose between beautiful and usable”, etc.

Various practitioners tend to focus on specific facets of user experience design:

· User research: useful, usable, valuable, desirable

· Visual Designer: desirable, credible, valuable

· Interaction Designer: usable, desirable, accessible

· SEM specialist: findable, accessible

· Information Architect: usable, findable, accessible

Put them all together, and you’ll get he best of all outcomes.

In short: Design is the process by which we craft User Experience.

Design vs Art

How can something be simultaneously so boring and so controversial?

My definition for design above would encompass art. But people find it useful to categorise creative output into an artificial polarity between “design” and “art”.

This false dichotomy typically seeks to plumb differences in intention, the relationship between creator and viewer/user, issues of commerciality, or issues of utility.

That’s why the discussion is typically so frustrating. Design and art are not different, yet if you decide to choose a point of difference, you’re spoiled for choice!

My personal take:

· design’s focus should be extrinsic (users and clients); consequently its value can be measured against extrinsic factors.

· art’s focus should be intrinsic; it’s true value is difficult to measure against clear metrics.

The fact that we assign dollar values to art doesn’t invalidate the second statement; it just demonstrates our perverse ability to assign a dollar value to things as intangible as human life, carbon footprints or beauty."

We are almost sold out for Thursday's event but since there will be potentially some no shows there is still some room to register if you get in quick.

Remember also that you can follow along online.

Also if you haven't already you can sign up for the Expression Newsletter at

Comments (1)

  1. Che Tamahori says:

    Way to blow my cover, Nige.

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