Digital technology. It has crept into our lives, and so deeply has it penetrated us, that it has completely redesigned it. In the deep oceans and the high skies, it is now as elemental in our landscape as the wind and falling rain. It’s not going to stop.
Due to the way civilisations progress, we are about to zip-line and observe more change in the next ten years, than of the last hundred. But how do we prevent this acceleration from eroding away our humanity?
We've spent an awfully long time mapping the user journey, or plotting the customer journey, when in reality, everyone is on a journey we know nothing about.
Incorporating the psychological and philosophical fields into the design process, Pete Trainor brings our focus back to the fundamental questions that drive us, and through a journey of design thinking, he asks one simple question, the one we have always asked through all times... Why?What to expect
When you step back and assess the way we design things, you realise that we don't create, we discover. Mostly we discover what is already there, by aligning ourselves to a position so that creations emerge. Aligning in order to bring things into material form – to bring them into manifestation. This is a book about re-aligning design thinking to the thing that joins us all together - Humanity.
‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.- Friedrich Nietzsche
Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live.- Marcus Aurelius
If music be the food of love, play on.- Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
I think a lot of self-importance is a product of fear. And fear, living in sort of an un-self-examined fear-based life, tends to lead to narcissism and self-importance.- Moby
The crowd will see you now, the patient will see you now, Dr. Google will see you now, the robot will see you now, the avatar will see you now. Everyone will see you now. Everyone but the doctor.- Dr. Eric Topol
When I was young, I had to learn the fundamentals of basketball. You can have all the physical ability in the world, but you still have to know the fundamentals.- Michael Jordan
Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.- Alan Turing
All things change; nothing perishes.- Ovid
Learn how to see. Realise that everything connects to everything else.- Leonardo da Vinci
The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.- Aristotle
Hippo spans 13 chapters (with two new ones coming in 2017). Helping you to weave philosophical observations into your design thinking. Below are some sample chapters.
Hello there. It’s Pete. If you’re reading this on a screen, welcome to the digital era. If you’re holding paper in your hands, I salute you. Very retro. Whatever your chosen platform is, it’s okay. Everything is always okay — as you will soon see. This book is going to twist and turn and you’ll need to use a lot of your senses to process things and understand what I’m saying and this is a good thing — to be tested. I want you to feel the polymath in you and embrace it... Click here to read the full chapter.
A more human focused approach to designing products and solutions would drastically change how we think about people and the lives we all live. It helps us to realise that people do not behave as we think they do. Even under the microscope of qualitative and quantitative, field and desk research, the results are often an observation of the person’s mind-set at a ‘moment’ in time... Click here to read the full chapter.
Have you ever started a financial plan? If you’re anything like I was, we’ve all started financial plans, ‘started’ being the operative word. It goes like this: you’ve set out with the best intentions but failed to keep the momentum going. That’s basically it. You’ve stagnated, wallowed and then… started up again. Relying on motivation and willpower doesn’t work and I know that’s not something to preach — I’m coming up against a self help industry that banks billions, but I’m not selling an ideology, I’m facing the reality of the situation, and it wasn’t always a habit of mine... Click here to read the full chapter.
Behaviour is the range of actions and mannerisms made by people in conjunction with themselves or their environment, which includes the other people around as well as the (inanimate) physical environment. It is the response of a person to various stimuli or inputs, whether internal or external, conscious or unconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary. From a human focused perspective, behaviour consists of four key elements: a person, operations (actions, activities) and interactions (relationships), and their properties... Click here to read the full chapter.
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Trainor's book should be required reading for all of us who work in digital. In a world where it's so easy to focus on the shiny things we build rather than the needs of the humans using them, and the outcomes we should be supporting, Hippo is a powerful reminder of the course we should be following. The practical examples presented bring to life thoughtful reflections on the philosophy of design and the neurological principles that influence human psychology and our mental models — which sounds really complex, but is instead rendered accessible by Trainor's friendly tone and clarity of thinking. Hippo contains a powerful message about us and our future — in the words of Thomas Watson, machines and technology aren't fitting substitutes for a lacking humanity, but should be (and will only be sustainable) if they are tools for extending the power of the humans that use them. It is only by asking different sets of questions and looking at digital tools as enablers of human outcomes rather than solutions to problems that often are of our creations that we'll be able to create a better world for everybody.
I picked up this book thinking it really wouldn’t be for me. I mean why would a self-confessed technosceptic bother reading a book ostensibly written for digital designers? But its human element called to me, and I was immediately hooked by Pete Trainor’s obvious passion: designing better things is a much healthier concept than designing things better. This is a call to action to all digital designers to think about people rather than things. Thank goodness there is at least one person out there who believes that designing for normal human beings is a great idea. And is willing to put his head above the parapet and say so.
This book inspired me to think differently, ask questions I’ve never thought of and connect concepts in ways I don’t normally. For those of you not lucky enough to have spent time with Pete; to have someone inspire and empower you to see life through a different lens as Pete does, his book 'Hippo' is the next best thing. This book is the start of the voyage to ask more questions about the world you live in and how we can make a difference in a world of digital cultural homogenisation. Frankly the world needs more polymaths, here’s a handbook for that.
This book moves seamlessly between philosophy, scientific rigour, and the practical application of human centred design for business. A highly engaging book for anyone seeking to make digital products that resonate with their customer.
Hippo is simply one of the most human, relatable books on the ethos of designing for people I've read. It is a conversation, not a lecture, about what makes for thoughtful user-oriented design. Hippo, and Pete Trainor the author, are accessible as teachers; the crux of this book is a morality tale on how to approach thinking about designing for purpose: because as we think, we do.
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