George Olsen

was a co-founder of Boxes and Arrows, and is a senior interaction designer with Yahoo!. Previously he was an information architect with The Capital Group and principal of Interaction by Design. He has done award-winning work for a variety of companies, from dotcom start-ups, to Hollywood studios, such as Disney, to Fortune 500 companies, including Nestle and Transamerica. He’s taught at UCLA Extension, and written about and spoken at numerous conferences about user experience design issues. He muses about user experience from time to time.

Stories by George Olsen

Jesse James Garrett’s “The Elements of User Experience” diagram has become rightly famous as a clear and simple model for the sorts of things that user experience professionals do. But as a model of user experience it presents an incomplete picture with some serious omissions—omissions I’ll try address with a more holistic model.

Somewhere in the process of evangelizing user-centered design, user experience professionals seem to have forgotten the value of vision-driven design, which can be equally important in making sites and software relevant and desirable. We need to integrate both approaches.

Polar Bear book co-author Peter Morville shares the inside stories about the making of the new edition—from its original scribblings on an airsick bag to the ideas that didn’t make it in—and his thoughts about how the field has changed since their book was first published.

Ivy-covered halls are filling up again with eager students of the user experience fields ready to change the world (or at least to study out the recession). But are these programs really teaching them what they need to know?

Part of me feels for Jakob Nielsen for the grief he’s taken over deciding to work with Macromedia after declaring “Flash 99 percent bad.” After all, the pressures and temptations to provide simple answers to complex issues are ones we all face in our professional practices.

May 6th, 2002

The CHI/AIGA Experience Design Forum

The first-ever CHI-AIGA Experience Design Forum was greeted with a real Minnesota welcome. Snow. Several inches of it. But inside the Minneapolis Convention Center there was a warm sense of camaraderie among the Forum attendees, who came in from both the CHI and AIGA communities, a hopeful sign for future collaboration among the two groups, as well as the practitioners they represent.

May 1st, 2002

Arrows in Our Quiver

As I write this the Police’s “Synchronicity” is on the radio and that’s a good way of summing up some of the interesting developments experienced during the past few months.