People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Tag Archives: design

Wandering Librarian: Danbury Public Library

Wandering into inland CT, I stopped at Danbury’s public library. While my visit was short, I did notice a couple of things while wandering around:

  • book display with staff members’ favorite picks – inclusion of staff members name added a nice personal touch
  • too much paper taped on walls, doors, etc throughout the library
  • poster guide of Dewey Decimal System in stacks to assist patrons in their search
  • bagged children’s books around a theme available for loan
  • reference desk is easily found by big “Ask Me” sign above it – more inviting than the classic “Reference” signs
  • children’s and young adult section on the 2nd floor not separated by a physical barrier – allows for easy movement throughout space by all the kids without creating them feeling like they are trespassing in the wrong section  – also noted is the charging stand in the teen section (they really know their teen patrons well)

Mainly during my visit I took note of the library’s technological offerings to its community.

  • Preloaded Amazon Kindle Fire tablets
  • Roku streaming media player available for 7 day loan
  • Early literacy iPad Kits available for 7 day loan
  • iPads in Spanish available
  • Digital Design Center with IMAC loaded with design programs
  • Digital petting zoo
  • Faxing & scanning services

One final feature of the library that I stumbled on while browsing their website is the Danbury Hackerspace @ The Innovation Center. Unfortunately, because it was not well marked I was unable to visit in person. The attached Hackerspace also offers coworking  space for $50/month.

All in all, this little library packs in quite a bit for its community.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Charrettes


What:  A collaborative session in which a group of drafts a solution to a design problem. Traditionally used in the architecture world, charrettes have come to signify an intense period of design or planning activity.

PrintWhen/why:  The purpose of a charrette is to efficiently generate solutions for a project while considering diverse viewpoints of the stakeholders involved.

How:  Break up into sub-groups to work on a smaller part of the project/problem. The sub-groups spend about 30 minutes brainstorming and diagramming potential solutions, then all the sub-groups merge and share their findings. This larger group votes on the most feasible solutions and then divides into new sub-groups to work on another design issue.

Tips: When working in the smaller sub-groups, consider using some of the previous monthly method spotlights to generate ideas.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Storyboards


When/why: A storyboard is a tool where a visual sequence of events is used to capture a user’s interactions with a product or service.

How: Think comic strip as the ultimate form of a storyboard.

Tips: There are tons of blank storyboard templates online or you can do a quick & dirty storyboard by drawing the boxes in yourself. Remember to keep it simple with as few boxes as you need to get the idea across.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.


Everyday Usability: Card Swipers

Ever since reading Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things (there’s an updated edition, by the way), I’ve been particularly more observant of design and usability around me. A few years ago, we started the Everyday Usability series. In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed the design and usability of card swipers. Card swipers = where you swipe your credit or debit card to pay for a purchase, or a library card or copy card to pay for a photocopy, or bank/debit card to enter a bank after hours. Sometimes you have to swipe the card upside down, sometimes right side up. Why can’t we have a universal card swiper where it doesn’t matter how we swipe the card?

IDEO Design Kit

Design KitIDEO has relaunched its design kit. The HCD Toolkit is step-by-step guide to the elements of human-centered design, specifically adapted for NGOs and social enterprises working with low-income communities around the globe. Through a series of  methods, activities, and resources, the toolkit can empower individuals and organizations to become designers themselves and enable change in their own communities.

Filled with photos, graphs, charts, worksheets, etc., the toolkit is well laid out and easy to follow. The toolkit gives an introduction to human-centered design and the process as well as best practices for uses of the guide and scenarios of the toolkit’s use. IDEO has generously made this toolkit available for free in hardcover or downloadable PDF. Get your copy today.