This week, begin here:
Christopher Wilkinson and Dhaval Gandhi have written an essential piece for UXPA on a four-part framework for product and service engagement for aging populations (8 min), comprising:

  1. the user experience itself
  2. physical and psychological supports
  3. economic aspects
  4. social aspects

This, in particular, should be a wake-up call for interaction designers:

Mental model development was adversely affected with age. The models that the older participants possessed contained less relevant information to drive effective interaction, and their ability to acquire and consolidate new relevant information also declined with age. Increases in age were directly related to decreases in icon and feature recognition—and understanding—both before and after product interaction.

Do give it a read.


In the event that you missed Erika Hall’s recent piece on the perils of surveys (9 min), this:

Sometimes we treat data gathering like a child in a fairy tale who has been sent out to gather mushrooms for dinner. It’s getting late and the mushrooms are far away on the other side of the river. And you don’t want to get your feet wet. But look, there are all these rocks right here. The rocks look kind of like mushrooms. So maybe no one will notice. And then you’re all sitting around the table pretending you’re eating mushroom soup and crunching on rocks.

James Clear’s explanation of Ellen Langer’s Copy Machine study (4 min) makes for fascinating reading. It also hints at the narrative value of the underutilized because for you comms types.

Twitter design researcher Ximena Vengoechea outlines three traits of effective push notifications & triggers (4 min) for experience and product designers:

  1. They’re well-timed
  2. They’re actionable
  3. They spark intrigue

Lush might well be the most purpose-driven brand on the planet (4 min), but your author will continue to cross the street to avoid the cool fragrance of its bathbombs.

Percolate is spawning its own finer things clubs (2 min) to fuel internal culture.

From Scott Brinker’s interview with customer experience wizard David Raab (7 min):

[Open source marketing technology platforms] already exist in bits and pieces, such as CRM, predictive modeling, Web content management, and customer data management. There’s even an open source marketing automation project called Mautic. It wouldn’t be hard to pull the pieces together into a complete stack, which is much more than just marketing automation.

Christine Cawthorne of the GDS:

Things we don’t talk about when we talk about content mostly involve emotions. Sentimental and fearful ones, maybe the odd angry one. Being a good writer doesn’t come from being a robot, we do need those emotions to help keep our users in mind.

Preach (3 min), Christine!

Bodykit (5 min) is a collection of APIs and embeddable components that allows you to virtualize, analyze, and simulate any human body — but to us it looks an awful like building your own private Kelly LeBrock (3 min).

Today’s teenagers, instead of building girls in their bedrooms, illegally scale urban scaffolding in pursuit of an ever-better Instagram stream (5 min).

If you missed FiveThirtyEight’s story on the Florida man who determines all of the player ratings in the Madden franchise (23 min), you’ll want to make time to read it. Note: includes gratuitous HTML5

Danny Rimer has written a crisp piece for Index Ventures on the demands of building a sustainable e-commerce brand from the ground up (6 min).

Dominic Basulto digs into the fascinating idea of crowdsourced cybersecurity infrastructure (4 min) for the Washington Post. If you missed the announcement about Dshell — the forensic analysis framework developed by the US Army Research Lab check it out on Github.


Take a few minutes and read Molly Knefel’s wonderful piece for The New Inquiry on a generation that will soon find its’ adolescence archived online (8 min) — and the ways in which that intersects with issues of class and privilege. It won’t help you hook up with a stranger at SXSW, but it might make you a more interesting when you sidle up to Harper Reed at the Slack party.

Until next week.