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thoughts and observations about design, information architecture and design history
Monday 08| 7|06
Zero One

The Zero One festival is this week taking over San Jose. A Gallery Crawl happens on the 8th and all the museums and galleries are open with events and installations as part of the festival. The show my sister curated at Works Gallery is part of the festival.

I will be downtown several evenings documenting the event that the group C5 is putting on which involves Go cars and a scavenger hunt type activities.

Check it out!

Posted by erin at 02:30 PM | in Interaction Design :: | Link

Monday 05|15|06

I have been so slack. I thought when I revived this site that I would have things to say but I am sooo busy at work it is hard to sustain the interest after hours.

I am however hiring - looking for 2 visual designers for platform design and 2 interaction designers for community platforms. Ping me if you are interested - emalone at

We also just launched the second batch of patterns for the Yahoo! Public Pattern library. This batch includes patterns for Transitions, Invitations and our Grid Kit including the CSS to create 122 different layouts using one CSS file. Our web developers rock!

Posted by erin at 10:28 PM | in Interaction Design :: Patterns :: Yahoo! :: | Link

Saturday 08|23|03
IDEO rocks

An interesting article on IDEO talks about how they bring ideas and practices across the industries their clients span into their problem solving.

I have always been a big believer in the fact that you can learn from one discipline and apply it into another. We think that way at work on a smaller scale—while all our products are software—the areas we work on span very wide topics—games, music, transacting, imaging, communication tools—enough difference that goals and tasks are very different. But what we learn from one arena can be applied to another. Even what we dismiss from one could be the right thing to do in another.

An excerpt from the article stands out:

“IDEO will seek out projects in industries it finds "“interesting ” and “full of potential” and even risk taking a loss on the project just to gain access to new worlds. At IDEO, the core activity is neither manufacturing products nor pure research and development, sales or marketing. Instead, IDEO's engineers and designers are engaged, every day, in designing new products, new environments, even new innovation strategies for their clients—and the firm's success depends on routinely surprising its clients with innovative solutions.

For each new project, IDEO uses the experiences its engineers and designers have gained while working for so many different clients in so many different industries. The resulting innovations are recombinations of objects, ideas and even people they learned about while working elsewhere. For example, the bicycle manufacturer Specialized asked IDEO to design a new and different water bottle, and the project team came up with a spill-proof nozzle that didn't require opening and closing: Just squeeze the bottle and the nozzle pops open. The team first developed that idea when, five years earlier, they were working on a shampoo bottle that could hang upside down in the shower. They first heard about the idea when working with a medical products company and seeing valve designs for artificial hearts. ”

Making these relationships and remembering snippets of ideas from one space to another is one of the reasons I liked working in advertising and why I like working at a company that delivers many types of products not just one. It also supports my thought that reading, learning and being involved in lots of other unrelated things will actually help you be a better designer.

Thanks to Beth for pointing this out.

Posted by erin at 08:40 PM | in Interaction Design :: | Link | Comments (1)

Monday 08|11|03
New Organization?

Beth puts it nicely and offers some great ideas to the latest round of organizational conversations.

Posted by erin at 08:02 PM | in Interaction Design :: | Link

Wednesday 07|16|03
AOL Blogs

As I am sure many of you know by now, AOL is releasing a blogging product this summer. I have not spoken about it yet because of confidentiality reasons and then when I finally got the ok to write about it, I got really busy at work.

So, it's true. We are doing blogs. And the best part of it is that my team out here in California, did the UI work. As bloggers ourselves we have been equally excited about designing a product we will actually use and terrified that the rest of the blogging world will trash the product up one side and another. Even when we work on great ideas, with good UI and a lot of thought and research, there is inherent backlash because we are AOL.

So you can imagine how pleased we have all been over the response to our "sneak preview" with many of the blogging trend setters (Meg Hourihan, Nick Denton, Anil Dash, Jeff Jarvis, and Clay Shirky). Mena, over at Typepad, has a few words to say and Jeff Jarvis and Clay Shirky say a few favorable words.

Posted by erin at 07:21 PM | in AOL :: Interaction Design :: | Link | Comments (2)

Wednesday 07| 9|03
Design Leadership

I have been thinking about design leadership lately and reading the Design Management Journal and looking for workshops, seminars or classes on Design Strategy and Leadership.

My role at work has shifted a bit—getting bigger since a peer manager left the company, I now manage the entire west coast UI team within the AOL Studio organization—which is 225 people strong (the studio, not my team).

I am pointed to (courtesy IDBlog) an interview with Ken Friedman Ph.D. found in the NextDesign Leadership Institute Journal. Titled New Design Research: Leading or Following? Friedman offers a nifty definition of design:

“It is difficult to consider design leadership before defining the word design. The word has two levels of meaning.

On one level, the term design covers nearly any planning process.

The word design refers to a process that creates something new or reshapes something for a purpose. The design process serves many kinds of purpose to meet needs or solve problems.

Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon defined design as the process by which we devise courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.

The artifacts, systems, and processes we design are not themselves design. They are designed. They are the outcomes of the design process. This leads us to the second level of the term design.

On this level, many design practitioners think of design as BOTH the design process AND the domain-specific outcome of a specific design activity. Here we find software design, systems design, organization design, graphic design, industrial design, interaction design, engineering design, and dozens more.

To speak of design leadership, we must clarify the kinds of design we intend to consider. ”

He goes onto talk about the PhD-Design mailing list and the types of discussions on the list as well as the relationship between research and practioners and the symbiotic relationship needed to continue to advance the field. It's a good read and I look forward to what else the journal has coming.

Posted by erin at 09:03 PM | in Interaction Design :: | Link

Sunday 06|15|03
Conversations with Jesse James Garrett

There is a really interesting Q and A conversation with Jesse James Garrett over on the WELL.

Jim Leftwich leads the discussion and takes a look at Jesse's model of The Elements of User Experience beyond the scope of the web. In one of the comments he says to Jesse:

“So you see, your model for the Element Planes fits perfectly well with the
reality of interaction design as pertaining to product design. That's what
most amazing and satisfying to me. Your model represents a major step in
understanding not only the issues involved with website interaction design,
but for interaction design in general.”

Pretty neat. Jesse's model is specific enough without being too specific and general enough to be applied across various flavors of interaction design. That's why I think it has resonated so much with so many people across so many areas of this type of work.

This is a good read and provides some interesting answers to a lot of great questions submitted by various other WELL readers in addition to the primary discussion leader.

Posted by erin at 05:24 PM | in Interaction Design :: | Link

Sunday 02|16|03
Modelling the Creative Organization

I recently published a another article at Boxes and Arrows. This time I wrote about my experiences with modelling an ideal organization. I'm hoping that my experience and the options we looked at and the rationale behind the models, will help others in a similar situation. I realized when I was working on this problem, that there really wasn't much out there specifically about the makeup of a creative group. Especially when it is within a large corporation like AOL.

Posted by erin at 01:00 PM | in Interaction Design :: | Link | Comments (1)

Saturday 09| 7|02
Saturday Fun

My father sent this link to me and I can honestly say I have never had so much fun pounding on the keyboard as I did experimenting with this site.

With all the emphasis on usability and brand and ROI, we sometimes forget that delight and fun can be a pretty profound goal as well.


Posted by erin at 05:18 PM | in Interaction Design :: | Link | Comments (1)

Thursday 09| 5|02
Communication Arts Interactive Design Winners

CA has posted the winners of the Eighth Annual Interactive Design Annual.

There are blurbs from each of the jurors and each winner has its own page with an overview about the project, contributor's credits and creator's comments. There are a lot of folks here in several different categories and there are video clips of commentary from each of the jurors as well. This is going to take a while to get through.

I like the fact that they offer two links to the projects as well. One to the live site and one to a cached version. Which seems nice considering how fast and how often sites change.

Posted by erin at 03:38 PM | in Interaction Design :: Magazines :: | Link

EM Design is home to the resume and portfolio of Erin Malone.
site updated every now and then :: copyright 1995-2007 Erin K. Malone
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DUX—Five Lessons Learned

Coloring Outside the Lines

Modeling the Creative Organization

Coming of Age

Talking With Jesse James Garrett

The Tool Makes the (Wo)man

AIGA Experience Design Summit #5 - Recap

AIGA Experience Design - past, present and future: An interview with Terry Swack and Clement Mok

Summit Beginnings: Saturday

Chicken Run: Summit Closing: Sunday

design history articles
Foreseeing the future: The legacy of Vannevar Bush

Learning from the Powers of Ten

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