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Announcing Interactions Article: What Makes Things Cool?

by Karen Holtzblatt    12/07/2011

I’m pleased to announce my article on “What Makes Things Cool?” has just been published in the November issue of Interactions. See the front cover of your copy of Interactions or buy a copy of the PDF here.

Any time that a new platform emerges, it calls for new design principles and techniques to truly bring the possibilities of that platform to life. Starting with the iPhone in 2007, a new era of mobile life is upon us and people are flocking to all kinds of touch and mobile devices. These devices and associated apps, along with other “cool tools,” have begun to transform the lives of everyday people and workers alike. What never was possible before is now easily possible; the pain of technology use and life hassle has evaporated in a “Poof!” as if by the tap of a magician’s wand. A new way of living has been born.

In 2010 we started our Cool Project to understand the cool user experience and the way cool tools have transformed people’s lives. This research, a combination of qualitative and quantitative data, identified the core factors of cool expressed in the Wheel of Joy and Triangle of Design. My Interactions article introduces you to these core concepts. We hope it will start a dialogue about how to deliberately design cool into your products, apps, and devices.

Since this publication we have continued to collect data on the cool user experience in different business segments. I am pleased to share that the seven factors of cool have been validated and extended by our foray into the lives of business users at work. Moreover, our preliminary work creating reliable repeatable measures for cool have indicated that the cool factors are stable and measurable.

With stable concepts comes the possibility of new design principles and techniques. Currently we are developing and validating these design directions in collaboration with our clients. And take a look at our new offerings to help your team understand and design for cool.

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Karen Holtzblatt

Karen is the visionary behind the Cool Concepts and InContext's unique approach to innovation. Read more...

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One Response to “Announcing Interactions Article: What Makes Things Cool?”

  1. Jim Carlsen-Landy says:

    Really enjoyed the Interactions article, Karen. It takes me back to when we first met, and you were speaking to execs and leaders not just about great contextual design, but about how successful innovation comes from deep understanding of real-world information. This evolution to the Cool Project seems to flow naturally from that foundation. The InContext models for what makes something cool let us see that while cool products are magical, they don’t happen by magic. And really, building a model for understanding coolness is pretty cool in itself.

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