Are Design Manifestos Still Relevant?

All designers have at one point read Dieter Rams’ Ten principles for good design, Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth, and the Bauhaus Manifesto by Walter Gropius. They are well known manifestos introduced in school, often in correlation to a art/design history course.

In my last year of school, I had to create my own design manifesto and besides the obvious examples listed above, I didn’t have many examples of how I might present my design values to a specific audience or the general public. With this post, there are two main questions I would like to tackle:

  1. Are design manifestos still relevant?

  2. Where are these manifestos?

Are design manifestos still relevant?

Yes, they are! Alexandra Franzen aptly describes a manifesto as, “A written statement where you publicly declare your intentions, opinions and vision.” The authenticity of these personal and emotive manifestos is partly why they are still a popular tool. At this time, particularly for millennials, people want to feel connected to the people or companies they’re interacting with. A manifesto can act as a window into the designer/company’s DNA, allowing for the transparency everyone seeks.

Where are these manifestos?

Manifestos are being created by many different individuals and groups: artists, designers, politicians, corporations, agencies, non-profits, etc.. In response to people's’ desire for more authentic relationships to the brands they associate with, many companies are trading their mission statements for manifestos. The tricky part is, the statements or artefacts aren’t always “called-out” as manifestos. For example, the online retailer Everlane, has a manifesto of three bold statements: Know Your Factories, Know Your Costs, Always Ask Why. A manifesto hidden in plain sight? The beloved Lululemon shopping bags.

There are still plenty of manifestos labeled as manifestos. If you know where to look, they are wonderful sources of inspiration, particularly on those days when you need that extra creative boost. Below is a list of articles filled with lists of wonderful manifestos. Binge on them now, or savor one manifesto a day… It’s up to you!

Books as manifestos

Lindsay Schultz
Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.


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Inclusive Design

The inclusive design philosophy is important because the intention is not to have many different product variations as a result of user disabilities, or lack thereof. Rather, the objective is to gain a knowledge of user diversity and to design products that respond to as many of their difficulties as appropriate.

The British Standards Institute (2005) defines inclusive design as: 'The design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible ... without the need for special adaptation or specialised design.' This definition is important because it supports the fact that inclusive design is NOT designing for disabilities. As discussed in Human Factors in Product Design: Current Practice and Future Trends, the inclusive design approach can eliminate some of the social stigma associated with products used by the disabled. If you are looking to learn more about designing for disabilities, I highly recommend reading Graham Pullin’s book, Design Meets Disability.

OXO Good Grips is a great example of products designed for inclusivity. Sam Farber, the founder of OXO, began his journey of changing the kitchen utensil market after observing his wife struggle with kitchen tools due to her arthritis. The gold standard for inclusive design that the OXO Good Grip brand represents is that each design brings additional value to all parties; the tool heightens comfort for everyone while simultaneously alleviating the difficulties from users with limited dexterity. These products are not designed for a specific disability; the design is a reflection of a diverse range of users with many different abilities from which a solution can positively improve the experience for all.

A quick thing to note is that on the OXO website, their design philosophy is referred to as universal design. While often used synonymously, the inclusive design research centre at OCAD University has identified the similarities and distinctions between Inclusive and Universal Design methods. They summarized the two similar factors of these design methods so well, it is worth repeating…

The common notions between universal and inclusive design are:

  1. Designing systems so they work for people with disabilities results in systems that work better for everyone.
  2. Segregated, specialized design is not sustainable and does not serve the individual or society in the long run.

Want to learn more about inclusive design? I would recommend looking through two different design toolkits that include an in-depth look at the design principles and processes of inclusive design:

  1. Inclusive: A Microsoft design toolkit

  2. Inclusive Design Toolkit, developed by the inclusive design team at the University of Cambridge Engineering Design Centre

1. Green, William, and Patrick W. Jordan. Human Factors in Product Design Current Practice and Future Trends. Illustrated, Reprint ed.: CRC, 1999. Print.
2. "What Is Inclusive Design." Inclusive Design Research Centre. OCAD University, Web. <>.

Want to learn more about working with CHOi Design on your next program? See our work samples or connect with us.


Happy New Year!

CHOi Design 2018 New Year

Our team at CHOi Design is excited to welcome 2018! The New Years is a great time for reflection and setting both personal and company goals. We are looking forward to further dedicating ourselves to finding the time for critical thinking, and continuing to provide engaging, positive experiences for our clients.

If you are looking to partner with a talented, energetic design team, give us a call! CHOi Design can help you reach your own 2018 goals with amazing product designs across the consumer, medical and commercial industries.

A special thank you to all of the wonderful clients we have worked with this past year. We can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in 2018!

What Designers can learn from the OODA Loop

Our team at CHOi Design found the topic of conversation at the last IxDA Chicago meetup to be very interesting and we wanted to share it with our followers! The topic, A Designer’s Guide to Thinking like a Fighter Pilot, was researched and presented by Daniel Orbach, a designer at Mckinsey & Company.

Just as Daniel began in his presentation, I will mention now that I am not a fighter pilot nor do I know how to fly any type of plane. The talk was the result of Daniel’s interest in fighter pilots and his observations of the parallels between a fighter pilot’s and a designer’s processes.

So why should a designer be interested in the thought process of a fighter pilot? Well, we have many common themes to our work, including frequently working with incomplete information and using structured thinking to solve problems. The key difference between our professions, as it pertains to this topic, is the fact that fighter pilots have to think about problem solving in seconds… SECONDS!

The evolution of fighter pilot strategy is owed to the genius of John Boyd (Top Gun, anyone?). A United States Air Force Colonel and military strategist, John Boyd is known as the “Fighter Pilot who changed the Art of War”. In the 1950’s, Boyd developed the O.O.D.A. loop, a model for explaining how we go through the process of reacting to stimulus, or our human reaction time. Becoming skilled at using the OODA loop allows for efficient internal analysis and synthesis, which was instrumental for Boyd to gain the advantage against his opponents. Daniel highlighted the likeness of the OODA loop to the design process; besides the time of the cycles, they are strikingly similar.

OODA Loop and Design Process

The likeness between the 2 processes above shows that there is always time for structured thinking. Our team is always working to bring thoughtful, innovative attention to each phase of the design process, while also providing our clients with the best experience. Thinking about the OODA loop has inspired us to seek more opportunities for strategic thinking and to incorporate rapid iterative loops earlier in our design process.

If you want to learn more about the product design process, give us a call! We would love to talk with you!

Lindsay Schultz
Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.

Our Holiday Gift Guide

It's finally feeling like winter and the excitement of the holidays is in full swing! Many of us are still hunting for the best gifts for our friends and family; but let's face it, we are also looking for presents for ourselves! At CHOi Design, we aren't lacking gift ideas that call to our inner design nerdiness. Take a look at the products we would love to see under the Christmas tree this year!

An Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry

On Thursday November 16th, I attended the Ladies that UX November Talk:  Can In-House UX and Mindfulness Coexist?. Trina Uzee, Allstate’s Executive Creative Director and Wellbeing Champion, led the presentation on mindfulness and also guided us on a loving kindness meditation. This was my first time meditating, and it was really wonderful!

The presentation focused on how to bring mindfulness and positivity to an organization’s work culture. Trina spoke about the benefits of compassion, kindness, mentorship and listening; all important components of an authentic and healthy team (or work family, as Trina referred to it). Bringing mindfulness into a workplace has many positive outcomes, including long-term happiness, increased productivity, and improved team collaboration. I was particularly interested in the positive effect it had on collaboration, as team dynamics can greatly influence a design’s outcome.

One practice for increasing mindfulness is to utilize Appreciative Inquiry (AI). AI was developed in the 1980s by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva, two professors at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. David Cooperrider provides a great definition of AI on his website:

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) represents a paradigm shift in the world of sustainable organizational development: a radical departure from traditional deficit-based change to a positive, strengths-based change approach. AI focuses on leveraging an organization’s “positive core” strengths to design and redesign the systems within an organization to achieve a more effective and sustainable future. (Source: )

Below is a video from AI Commons, which serves as a nice introduction to Appreciative Inquiry:

As we move into the holiday season and look towards the new year, it is the perfect time to bring more mindfulness into your work life and evaluate how appreciative inquiry could bring positive change to your organization in the next year(s).  

I will also be considering the following: Thinking beyond utilizing AI for organizational change, wouldn’t it be interesting to lead a design critique in the same manner? Focusing on what works, rather than a product’s faults, and how to build off that success? Some food for thought!

Lindsay Schultz
Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.

Innovation in Football

During Chicago ideas week, I went to a discussion on the future of football. The panel, which included former NFL players Otis Wilson and Warren Sapp, primarily spoke of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Bennet Omalu, a neuropathologist also present on the panel, was the first to identify and publish his findings on CTE in 2005. In the journal, Omalu defined CTE as a degenerative disease caused by the “long-term neurologic consequences of repetitive concussive and subconcussive blows to the brain.”

Among all present, there was a consensus that football is incredibly dangerous and that change is both inevitable and necessary. Such changes could include eliminating tackling from the sport through middle school, then eliminating from practice in high school teams and beyond. A huge responsibility for change is on the coaches. Drills and lessons are going to have new priorities, with an emphasis on safety and quality; as Otis said at the discussion, “We’re already tough, we don’t need drills to make us tougher.”

While I think the conversation that took place was immensely important and should be had with a larger audience, that is not my intention with this post. During the talk I kept thinking about design’s role in the game and the products the players rely on for safety. I wondered how it could be that I had just watched yet another video of an autonomous vehicle, but I hear very little about innovation in the equipment we see on football players every week.

With football being ingrained in the American DNA, I can only feel like we are letting down the players both young and old. As long as the sport is still being played, we should never stop innovating and finding opportunities to protect the players we love. These athletes should never feel like they are sacrificing their health to do their job and provide use with our beloved sport; yet right now, that is exactly how they feel.

Join the designers, engineers, coaches, and everyone else already working towards making football as safe as it can be. Below is a collection of products and companies that are currently working within this much needed space. Invest, design, and be inspired to contribute!

Mobile Virtual Player
The first ever self-righting mobile training device. Controlled remotely and powered by a motor, it’s an innovative training partner that can move at the speed of your opponent. With its size, which has been specifically engineered to replicate the weight and height of a college or pro player, the MVP can take a hit. By simulating human motion, the MVP allows players to practice tackling, blocking, pursuing, evading and throwing at a mobile target, without the impact and fatigue associated with athlete on athlete training.

Image - Jim Cole/AP Images

Image - Jim Cole/AP Images

Image - ohgizmo

Image - ohgizmo

The VICIS ZERO1 is a highly-engineered football helmet designed to reduce impact forces. It is the culmination of a 3-year, $20M research and development effort shaped by some of the world’s leading athletes, engineers, and neurosurgeons. The ZERO1’s multiple layers work together to slow impact forces. The helmet features a soft outer shell and an underlying layer of columns designed to mitigate collisions from multiple directions.

A portable virtual reality device that can be used by coaches and sports medicine professionals on the sidelines to detect symptoms of concussion in under 60 seconds. Adapted from Stanford Sports Medicine’s concussion protocol, the EYE-SYNC Screening Algorithm gives clear guidance on the actions to be taken following a suspected head injury. Based on the latest research that ocular-motor and vestibular-balance impairments account for most neurological dysfunction, the protocol first assesses for those impairments. In so doing, the potential risk of further injury is decreased.

Image - SyncThink

Image - SyncThink

Lindsay Schultz
Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.

Have you ready any design fiction lately?

I was talking to someone recently about what we have been reading/listening to, and he mentioned that he has been reading a lot of design fiction. I was instantly intrigued, wondering how I had never heard of the concept before. The conversation turned into a long discussion on the world of design fiction and an evening of me reading everything I could get my hands on. This post aims to be an introduction to design fiction as well as an invitation to read some of the examples I have included.

So what is design fiction?

The term “Design Fiction” was coined by Bruce Sterling in 2005, but the concept is more often associated with Julian Bleeker’s 2009 essay, Design Fiction: A short essay on design, science, fact and fiction. Design fiction, as defined by Sterling, is the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change. In layman’s terms, design fiction has been described as “an approach to design that speculates about new ideas through prototyping and storytelling.”

A good example of successful design fiction is the Corning - A Day Made of Glass “commercial”. The reality presented in the video is the perfect mix of relatable activities and emotion with artefacts that introduce new technological possibilities. The interactions are so believable and organic with the narrative that while watching, you don’t question the feasibility of the artefacts. It is the truth in that story, and by watching, our minds open up to how that truth can become our reality.

Bruce Sterling said that, “Design fiction doesn't tell stories -- instead, it designs prototypes that imply a changed world.” While this is true, narrative plays a very important role in making design fiction successful. As described by Davis Levine in an article published by Digital Experience Design, there are three core aspects of design fiction: the use of narrative, the diegetic prototype, and the context. In order to effectually demonstrate new ideas through design fiction, each aspect needs to be thoughtfully addressed.

Here is a list of resources to start you on your design fiction fan journey:

Lindsay Schultz
Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.

What is a Desire Path?

This past week I have been on a podcast binge, working through the long list of episodes I had abandoned the past few weeks. An episode from 99% invisible, specifically episode 263- You Should Do a Story, introduced a concept I had yet to hear of: Desire Paths.

For those of you who, like me, have not heard of this term, a quick wikipedia search with provide you with this definition: A desire path (formally referred to as desire line in transportation planning) can be a path created as a consequence of erosion caused by human or animal foot-fall or traffic. Simply put, they are unplanned paths that result from repeated use.

Desire Paths can be found everywhere you look. On college campuses, it is the worn path left behind from the daily shortcut students take through the grass. In the winter, it is the paths we create when all the sidewalks and pre-determined paths are covered by snow. In the woods, it is the beaten path of hikers creating their own trail.

So what does this have to do with design? A lot.

The first, and most obvious, application for utilizing desire paths is in architecture. Landscape architects place paths which they anticipate people will follow. Desire paths are evidence that people often create their own routes, based on what they determine to be the most convenient or enjoyable. Experiments that use desire paths to inform architects PRIOR to adding permanent infrastructure will allow space to be better utilized and/or preserved.

In transportation planning, desire paths (referred to as desire lines within this context) can translate into new bus routes or other urban transit solutions that follow the desired A to B route. A revealing use of desire lines is looking where snow-covered roads are left untouched by cars. These “sneckdowns” are prime locations for curb extensions; if the space isn’t needed when there is snow, then it isn’t needed at all.

Video screen capture Streetfilms

Video screen capture Streetfilms

This concept can be applied beyond the physical paths we create. Usability designers study desire paths to understand genuine interaction between humans and technology. When there is desire or need, humans will figure out a way to get from one point to another. It might be by utilizing software in a way it wasn’t initially intended, or choosing actions that don’t correlate to the designer’s wireframes. These desire paths bring transparency to user purpose and help designers further innovate.

Sources/Additional Reading:
There is a flickr group dedicated to desire paths!

Lindsay Schultz
Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.

What is product semantics and why is it important?

Product semantics was defined by Klaus Krippendorff and Reinhart Butter as, “the study of the symbolic qualities of man-made forms in the context of their use and the application of this knowledge to industrial design.” By symbolic qualities, they are referring to the psychological, social and cultural context of a product, as opposed to only considering a product’s physical and physiological functions. This blog post serves to highlight the main points of their article, Product Semantics: Exploring the Symbolic Qualities of Form, which was published in the journal of the Industrial Designers Society of America in 1984.

  • An object's form says three things:
    1. Something about the object itself
    2. Something about the larger context of its use
    3. Something about the user who interacts with it and develops a conceptual connection.

    For example, when looking at a remote control, certain buttons will be recognized as “push buttons”, and therefore suggest that you “push them”. The button’s shape, location on the remote, and label can suggest what the consequence of pushing it will have. On my tv remote, I recognize the power button by the semantic meaning of the icon, the red color, it being the only round button, and its top location on the remote.
  • Communication (of product semantics) between a designer and a user cannot be described as linear because objects gain meaning through user interaction and their individual interpretations. As such, designers could be seen as contributing communicator.

    There are four channels that meanings relevant to product design can be communicated:
    1. Information Displays (ex. the interface of the Vantage Panoramic X-ray)
    2. Graphic elements or two-dimensional markers (ex. the buttons (icons, shape, color) on the Suretrace Circuit Tracer)
    3. A products form, shape and texture (ex. the symbolic (and easily recognized) form of the Durathon Steam Iron)
    4. Indications of a product’s internal states (ex. the indicators surrounding the Weber Spirit grill’s control knobs)
  • Krippendorff and Butter identified four main opportunities for error when designing without respect for product semantics:
    1. Designing a product unidentifiable by users.
    2. Designing a product that does not promote manipulating it in the proper way. For example, if the location and type of controls placed on a panel are not logical in terms of the user’s mental model of the object.
    3. Designing a product that lacks transparency and limits user exploration (non-harmful). Simply put, designing a product that makes you read a detailed manual to figure out, rather than using your own curiosity to explore its possibilities.
    4. Designing a product that does not fit into the symbolic environment it will exist within.

I have always been fascinated with the impact “bad design” can have to a user. While the 4 points above seem obvious, it can be easy to ignore 1 while focusing on the others. While not all product design has extreme repercussions, designers should always design products to the highest standard for the users. I had a professor that would always say, “People are stupid, consider that when designing each aspect of a product.” While this is an exaggeration, do we really want people to have to think hard to use a product? Do they want to? And what if they can’t use any previous knowledges to influence their ability to use said object? When the stakes are high, product semantics can make or break an object's success.

Source: Krippendorff, K., & Butter, R (1984). Product semantics: Exploring the symbolic qualities of form. Innovation, 3(2), 4-9. Retrieved from

Lindsay Schultz
Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.

Pinterest for Designers


Pinterest, the image-based social network, is not exclusively for those of the DIY and crafting variety. I have found that the benefits of using Pinterest are often overlooked in a professional design setting. Pinterest is an invaluable tool in my designer toolbox! Whether or not you are already using Pinterest, read through these 3 tips on how to optimize your pinning for your design process.

  1. Download the Pinterest browser button
    Adding the Pinterest button to your browser’s toolbar is a quick way to positively influence your pinning habits. For people that do not usually go on Pinterest for design inspiration, this can be a nice middle ground; you benefit from the same visual bookmarking tools while still roaming through your other favorite sources for inspiration.
  2. Pin to a secret board
    If you are searching for inspiration on a project at work, you most likely will not want your pins broadcasted to the masses. Enter the Secret Pinterest Board. This feature enables you to make any new board a secret, which opens up the opportunity to utilize the bookmarking tool sans the public broadcasting. Simply put, any activity within your secret boards will not be published. Another great feature of secret boards is that you can invite others - co-workers, for example - to collaborate with you, whilst maintaining the boards secrecy. Warning: once a board is made public, it cannot be switched to private.
  3. Don't overlook the benefits of a description
    It is very easy spend hours scouring the internet for product inspiration. A designer might spend quality time searching for innovative applications for details like product handles or buttons. Between the action of discovering an image and pinning it to a board, there is a spark, a meaning behind choosing to pin that particular image for that particular product search. I would advise you to make a note of your reasoning in the pin description field. This is especially useful when you are sharing your board with teammates; a small detail that was very striking to you may be overlooked by others. It is also a great reference for yourself when you begin the process of looking through your pins and digesting your findings. Note: I find this tip to be most relevant on secret boards. For public pins, consider using detailed and keyword-rich descriptions like buffer recommends.


    Lindsay Schultz
    Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.

    History of Industrial Design

    When looking for a clear picture of the History of Industrial Design, I found a lot of nuggets of information, but never a full picture. I have put together the information I had collected from these many sites, creating a more cohesive timeline.

    The Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain, introduced a shift to powered, special-purpose machinery, factories and mass production.

    During the Great Exhibition held in Britain, Europe was introduced to America’s developments of modern industrial mass production and functionalism.

    The Practical Draughtsman's Book of Industrial Design by Jacques-Eugène Armengaud was printed. The Subtitle states that it wants to offer “complete course of mechanical, engineering, and architectural drawing.”

    Early 1900s
    Concepts such as efficiency, standardization and functionality became popular.

    Deutscher Werkbund, focused on the integration of traditional crafts and industrial mass-produced techniques, was founded. (Precursor to Bauhaus)

    After World War 1, the USA experienced rapid technological growth and industrial development.

    The first use of the term "industrial design" is attributed to the New Zealand designer Joseph Claude Sinel.

    Industrial Designers start mass-producing goods like automobiles, trains and electrical appliances.

    Walter Dorwin Teague created the first design offices.

    The Great Depression forces industrial designers to make their production methods more efficient and cost effective.

    Herbert Read proclaimed the first and the most important principle of industrial design: A factory should conform to the personality of an artist but not vice versa.

    Robert Lepper helped establish one of the country’s first industrial design degree programs at Carnegie Institute of Technology.

    The idolization of technology, progress and modernity was a represented and explored through design techniques such as Streamlining (styling a form to express speed and movement).

    Populuxe (combination of popular and luxury) was coined by Thomas Hine to express the consumer culture and aesthetic popular during this period in the United States.

    A product design section was established at Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., said to be the first in-house design organization in Japan. This was created by Konosuke Matsushita on his return to Japan following a visit to the United States.

    When the American Society of Industrial Design (ASID merged with the Industrial Designers Institute and the Industrial Design Education Association to form the IDSA.   

    Post-modernist movement embraced the influence of color and experience. Robert Venturi is known for coining the term “Less is a bore”, a post-modernist response to Mies van der Rohe’s “Less is more”.

    Advances in computing and the rise of the Internet helps the Industrial Design profession push forward.

    The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) created the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI). Shortly after, the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) emerged as a recognized sub-discipline of computer science.

    The Professional Practice Committee presented a updated definition of industrial design: "Industrial Design is a strategic problem-solving process that drives innovation, builds business success and leads to a better quality of life through innovative products, systems, services and experiences." 

    Lindsay Schultz
    Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.

    Types of Prototypes

    types of prototypes

    CHOi Design utilizes prototypes at each stage of the design process. As defined by wikipedia, A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from. Another way to look at characterizing a prototype is to think of it as a portrayal of a design idea.

    In the article, What do Prototypes Prototype?, Stephanie Houde and Charles Hill expand on their observations that the term “prototype” has different meanings to different disciplines. Thus a prototype can exist in many different forms, some looking market ready while others simple foam or clay forms. No matter what the appearances may suggest, each of these prototypes has an important purpose and may prove to be pivotal in a product’s success.

    To stay consistent with the terminology, as defined by Houde and Hill, I will use artifact in reference to the object or system being designed. I will also apply the 3 aspects they defined as the dimensions of a prototype: role (the function served for a user), look and feel (sensory experience), and Implementation (functional components). Every prototype helps a designer interpret and iterate on at least one of these dimensions.

    As we have established that there are numerous different types of prototypes for the many industries and designers, I want to highlight some of the prototype forms that Industrial Designers most often put to use.

    While not a 3D model, Storyboards are great prototypes for exploring the “Role” dimension. Often illustrating a user’s interaction with the artifact, a storyboard is a great tool for focusing attention on the identify of the artifact within an environment and the target role it serves the user. The appearance or details of the artifact within these storyboards is not important, all that is necessary is for the general form to exist within the situation you are illustrating.

    Visual Prototype
    This type of prototype serves to explore the “look and feel” dimension. Having the appearance of the artifact, designers can use these models to examine shape and size. While it will have the physical representation of the artifact, these models are rarely functional. Sometimes referred to as appearance models or mock-ups, it can be beneficial to both designers and their clients to see a design concept in it’s physical form.

    Proof-of-Concept prototypes explore the “Implementation” dimension. This form of model will demonstrate how the product works, providing functional validation. This will not be a perfect and pretty model; components will often be chosen based on price and accessibility, utilizing simple fabrication to communicate the artifacts potential.

    Presentation Prototype
    A presentation prototype explores the look and feel as well as the implementation dimension. This model is one of the closest representations of the final artifact; it will often be made from production grade or closely comparable materials and include the artifact's functionality, albeit a mix of bespoke and ‘off-the-shelf’ components. Presentation prototypes are often used for promotional purposes, to show product viability prior to manufacturing, and to help designers license their artifacts to manufactures.

    For further information on the types of prototypes, I recommend reading the article I referenced at the beginning of this post: What do Prototypes Prototype?, by Stephanie House and Charles Hill.

    Lindsay Schultz
    Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.

    2017 International Home + Housewares Show: Trends and Discoveries

    Now that we all have had some time to recuperate after an amazing and exhausting 4 days at the 2017 International Home and Housewares Show, I wanted to share a few of our findings here at CHOi Design. First of all, WOW! We saw some really amazing products, inspiring in both form and function. For this article I am going to focus on the Wired + Well expo, which featured kitchen, household and personal care electronics. 

    Have you ever heard of a Vacuum Blender? I hadn’t either! According to Kuvings, the vacuum blender removes air from the container prior to the start of the blending process, maximizing the nutritional value of the beverage. And while it isn’t a vacuum, I was drawn to the auto blend feature that automatically stops blending when the food has reached the optimal amount of blending.

    Kuvings Vacuum Blender

    image credit:

    My friends and family laughed as I recounted the interesting products I saw at the show. Why would that be funny? Because I am a TERRIBLE cook! My saving grace so far has been cooking blogs with simple recipes and LOTS of pictures. This is precisely why I was so excited about this next discovery: the Hestan Cue. This is a smart cooking system that integrates an induction burner, recipe app and smart cookware, which all work together through Bluetooth technology to make your cooking experience fool proof. Worrying about timing and temperature is no longer a concern, since the Hestan Cue will control this for you. 

    Hestan Cue Precision Cooker

    image credit: Jenny McGrath / Digital Trends

    There was an abundance of exhibitors showcasing their one-pot cookers. Stemming from the classic slow cookers, these multi cookers increase functionality by integrating features for pressure cooking, slow cook, steam, brown and saute. If you want to know a bit more about individual models from the show, take a look at this multicooker article from

    Yedi 7 In 1 Mult Functional Pressure Cooker
    Fagor Multi Cooker

    (left) image credit: / Kori Perten (right) image credit:

    Coffee Coffee Coffee! Digital Trends created a roundup of cool coffee devices from the show that demonstrates this trend very well.

    Dash Rapid Cold Brew Coffee Maker

    image credit: Jenny McGrath / Digital Trends

    I’ve kept to a kitchen theme today, but there were so many other amazing innovative products being displayed at the show. Make sure to take a look at the links I’ve included in the article for more Insights on the show!

    Lindsay Schultz
    Researcher at CHOi Design Inc.

    UX vs. UI Designers: who does what?

    Ux vs UI Graphic

    While UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) go hand-in-hand for a successful product, the roles of the two design disciplines are very different. Don Norman, the cognitive scientist that coined the term UX in the early 1990’s, wrote a more recent article in which he highlights the blurred lines and interdependence between these fields:

    “True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company's offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.”

    That being said, there are distinct responsibilities and expertise involved that distinguish one profession from the other.  UX designers focus on how the product feels. They approach a project in an analytical manner, the main concern being that the product logically flows through each point in an interaction. To achieve this outcome, UX designers utilize user research, personas, usability testing, wireframes, and information architecture.

    UI designers are responsible for creating a graphic layout that visually communicates the path created by a UX designer. Color, typography, interactive element placement, and brand language are all critical components to UI designers, but there is also involvement with developers and code.

    The roles of the UX and UI designer can vary from place to place, even overlapping in some instances to create a “hybrid” UX/UI role. The responsibilities of these disciplines are also found under different titles; for example, the term “web designer” is often used define UI designers that can code. Rule of thumb, don’t decide on a designer by their title, but rather by the compatibility of their skills and a projects needs.

    CHOi Design