better communication means better product

Many product development problems are complex or [shudder] wicked. They’re more intricate than they may seem, they change over time, and they involve humans. It may seem paradoxical, then, to say that a significant contributing factor to product dev problems is simple to express: communication is the problem someone somewhere A lot of the problems […]

modeling design knowledge

Great news! We’ve got another paper out on knowledge construction in design. We introduce something we call the CDH model of design knowledge, which stratifies different bodies of design-specific knowledge into ranked levels. We compare it with existing hierarchical models of knowledge, and describe its unique uses and benefits for both design research and design […]

Interactivity Profiler

Last year, along with Omar Sosa-Tzec and John M. Carroll, I published a paper at SIGDOC introducing the concept of visual references. Visual references combine bibliographic information with photographic images, textual annotations, and diagrammatic annotations, in order to communicate what we called design-related intellectual influence. The following diagram distinguishes visual references from traditional, text-based references […]

GroupMe Projects

For the final project in my undergrad human-centered design class this year, I gave students a design brief focused on GroupMe. The challenge was broad, and the deliverables were diverse and interesting. In addition to generating presentations, I asked students to create one-sheets showcasing their projects. One of the teams (David Lu, Alex Yun, Kevin […]

New Human-Centered Design Syllabus

We’re closing in on the end of the spring semester here at Penn State University, and, unlike in year’s past, I’ve already finished my syllabus revisions. Download the new version here. The speediness of these revisions is due to a stellar graduate student who is also the instructional assistant who helped me teach the class […]

Scenario-based Design Courses

I’m looking for syllabi or links to online courses focused on scenario-based design. Instructive case studies, methods, tools, techniques, and assignments. All of it. If there aren’t lots of resources out there, then I’m also curious to know whether there is an interest for such a course. Product Ratings

I teach an introductory course on human-centered design here at Penn State, and the students in my class recently completed a redesign of the product rating system on I gave them an abstract design brief, which meant that they were responsible for scoping the problem and generating a solution. This is a great cohort […]

design course development

I’ve been sketching some new ideas for undergraduate design courses, and, although I came up with these with a particular program in mind, they could easily be iterated on to fit within many other curricula, as electives, etc. I’m sharing them here so that you might be inspired to take an idea and run with […]