Author Archives: Dennis Morrow

Dennis Morrow

Dennis has a background of over 15 years in creating digital experiences across diverse industries and platforms with creative strength rooted in his ability to define the cyclical relationship between human behavior and technology.

The Right Approach for the Right Reasons

Flashback a few years ago and think of the conversations you had with your colleagues and friends. How often did the topic of algorithms come up? We’re hedging not that frequently (unless of course you’re a math professor or parent of a teenager). Now, think of how often the word algorithm sneaks into your conversations.

As we talk about what is showing up in our Facebook newsfeed or are determining the best route to get from point A to B – algorithms are hovering in the background. As we know algorithms and big data are changing the way we work, live, and think. In fact, let’s be honest, the very idea for this blog post came from some convincing algorithms that served up some content in various newsfeeds, search results, and email newsletters.

The algorithms just seem to know. Or do they? When it comes to human experiences, design, innovations, and helping the user – algorithms are making an impact. What we want to know and caution is in the use of these all-knowing algorithms for the right reasons.

It’s super easy to get caught up in the latest buzz words and technologies – Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and algorithms in particular. The problems with the latest buzz in making sure that it doesn’t overpower what it is we’re really trying to do – make real innovation with positive outcomes.

This brings us to our question: how do we work with the benefits of these technologies while keeping the focus on the user and realizing your ideas in the best way possible. Not in taking advantage of every piece of technology and crowding the innovation to the point where the focus and goal is lost. The focus is on the meaning of success – delivering your customers their ideal experience.

Why Are Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Algorithms Different?
The Internet, mobile, HTML, 3D printing, and smart packaging are real life-changers – and yes we understand that some of these are life-changers in thanks to the power of the AI, machine learning, and algorithms. However, we want to think and talk about what the application of technology inherently does or doesn’t do.

Whereas the Internet has allowed us to connect with you, deliver better ways to do our work, to open lines of communication, and helped us learn about the stranger on the other side of the World – the algorithms and the learning they power doesn’t inherently do this. No, our AI-powered tools, ideas, and visions are only as effective as we want them to be or not to be.

While we’re excited about what data, algorithms, and AI can do for us, it’s important to know why you (or we) have gone done this route. Is this making the product or service better? Does it matter to the user if it’s AI-powered? What are the implications of the AI power? Did it help us realize the best innovation of your idea? Is it technology for the sake of technology?

This brings us full-circle to the principles of UX/UI and keeping the focus human. Knowing what your customers are really looking for and how you can best deliver this to them.  Making sure the focus on solving the problems in the best way possible – keeping the focus on the users – not solely on the technology. There is a deep connection between design and success, and it’s vital that this is not misplaced.

Human-Focused Design to Improve AI
We don’t want you to get the wrong idea – we are as excited about data, algorithms, AI, and ML as anyone else. However, we want to always know why we’re making the decisions we are. Did we decide on the design because it allowed us to use that cool widget or did we choose the design because our human factors experts told us that this is what people want?

AI and its cousins can and are working in UX – it’s in taking this measured approach that allows you to still keep the focus on realizing the idea in the best way possible. In fact, maybe the smarter approach is in flipping the focus – instead of putting AI into the user design but instead using human-focused design to improve AI.

  • Remembering the humans. When thinking about how you can realize your idea – don’t lose sight of the humans you’re working for. Think of how your design, use of materials, and communication methods can deliver the best possible outcome. For example, a hearable that is easy-to-use, is comfortable, and gives exercise cues or monitors heart rate. Don’t focus on the data for the sake of the design. If the hearable is hard to get in the ear, it doesn’t matter how smart it is.
  • Helping not doing. Remember, people want to know and feel like they’re in charge. We all want control on what we see, hear, and read. The emergence and understanding of how AI has changed this, makes it crucial that people still have the decision-making power. We want to have the opportunity to scroll through streaming services and find what appeals to us at that moment – when AI takes over, our options are limited and we feel forced into making choices – eventually getting frustrated with limited options.
  • Relationship building. People return to the products and services that they trust and believe in. Yes, that old scale in the bathroom might not be using the latest technology, but when I stand on it – it tells me how much I weigh. This is what I want to know. I trust it to do its job. We know people grow attachments to products because they feel comfortable with them – developing a real connection with the material.

It’s an exciting time to be an innovator. The opportunities to make and realize outcomes is huge. It’s in doing this the best way that creates the real possibilities. Yes, some might say this is idealistic – but we’re in this for the long-term and want to see lasting innovation.

Redefining User Experience Design

One of the biggest challenges for us UI/UX professionals at Radius Innovation & Development is the ability to stay on the technological cutting edge while still delivering a user experience that is firmly planted in ease of use and the human factor.

However, our definition of traditional user experience is being challenged more and more by technological expansions on what constitutes a physical user interface.

The user experience design process at Radius is changing every day as the internet of things becomes more and more ubiquitous and advances in augmented reality become more widespread. What this means is that the user interface of the very near future will no longer rely on a keyboard on a laptop or even a screen on a tablet or phone. As a matter of fact, professional futurologists have predicted that in seven years, most interfaces will not have a screen and will be integrated into daily tasks.

Think of Tom Cruise in Minority Report, with hand gestures and screens that float in the air (this is not really in the realm of Sci-Fi anymore).

How to Achieve Great User Experience Design
Great user experience design must be deeply homed in research and innovation to deliver the most intuitive experience possible. Good UI/UX should just work, and work well.

This is why at Radius we take UI/UX design innovation seriously. We want to design and create great user experiences. This means focusing on ease of use and creating UI/UX that is extremely intuitive. This allows users to be more productive and better at performing their daily tasks. This ultimately translates into creating better products for our customers.

Enter Radius Innovation & Development UI/UX New Product Innovation
At Radius we understand that good UI/UX design is at the vanguard of new product innovation.

Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and others have already announced their latest advancements in UI/UX, moving away from laptops and phones to an augmented reality experience. This means moving the current Social Media user experience into a new world of virtual reality that must co-exist with the real world. This presents new challenges for new product development and enables us to help customers think of their products in a new way from a UX experience.

By aligning all our innovation capabilities, from UI/UX professionals to our industrial designers and engineers, we strive to deliver the most elegant, sleek, and thoughtful solutions for the end user, because a great user experience is one of the most important factors in designing a new product.

With in-house rapid prototyping capabilities, our Radius Digital Prototype Lab (DPL) can generate a 3D printed working prototype of a new product. By harnessing our augmented reality capabilities, developed through our partnership with Microsoft HoloLens, our Radius team can deliver a virtual UI/UX that customers can experience in real time, providing feedback for improvements that can be immediately implemented in the next version of the product. That’s what we call Innovation Realized. Rapidly.

Finally, through our partnership with Jabil manufacturing, we offer a platform to manufacturability at a large scale. If the customer’s business plan requires the production of a lower number of hardware units, we can leverage our in-house Low Volume Assembly capability that adapts to the immediate low volume manufacturing needs of startups or can serve the low hardware volumes required for new product development and commercialization within an established company.

To have all of these capabilities under one roof is what makes us stand out in the industry, and what makes it truly innovative is that it’s fully available to all Radius customers. This enables our customers to go from idea to market in record time and with the confidence that their new product will have the latest developments in UI/UX design, while meeting their internal deadlines and hardware production schedules and budgets.

UI/UX Design in The Smart Home
This is an example of how our Radius approach, including our in-house user experience design experts working together with all the other Radius colleagues, enabled our client to realize their vision of a fully connected smart home.

Tablet with an app controls several features in the home such as door lock, lights, washing machine, surveillance camera, music, water use and more.

A customer came to us with the challenge of helping them design a new UI/UX experience for their Smart Home Solution. The idea was to control temperature, lighting and other ambient factors in the home to match their customer’s lifestyles (while at the same time saving energy costs). The challenge was to create a new user experience where a whole array of fully integrated household appliances like thermostats, fans, and lighting were all centrally managed by a user-friendly single control app.

Another novel idea was that this single user interface app could be accessed by the end user via their smartphone, tablet or computer, making it possible to set the ambience and environment remotely via any connected device (smartphone, desktop or tablet).

Keeping the UI/UX of the app independent of the physical gadget it’s running on not only provides the end user with greater freedom to control their smart home from work, the car, or home office, but across different devices. This approach future-proofs the customer for that moment where instead of a physical gadget running the user interface (like a phone or tablet), the entire app will be running in an augmented reality space managed by voice controls or hand gestures. This is the delicate balance that our Radius UI/UX experts are striving for. We aim to deliver a current user experience that is not only intuitive and a joy to use, but one that is ready for the future.

This not only builds brand loyalty but puts our customer’s products at the forefront of innovation. We call this “The Radius Effect”.

We also believe that the “proof is in the pudding” and we invite you to look at our work. Read about the challenges we faced, learn about our approach to solving them, and see the success we’ve generated for many customers and brands.

Have a new project you’re interested in discussing with us?

Contact us today learn more about our approach and how we can help drive improved customer brand engagement while accelerating your products to market.