From an early age, Eric was interested in how people learn over the web. Throughout high school he worked for a learning management and e-Learning course development company, building courses and designing graphics for online consumption. Eric was a premed and Latin American Studies major at Tulane University in New Orleans. After Katrina, he found new meaning working on problems in healthcare. Today, Eric is a healthcare IT project manager and Consultant by day. He enjoys foreign travel to Central and South American countries where he can practice Castellano. He has a penchant for surfing, which he will sorely miss while in Austin.

I am not a designer by trade, but I understand the vast potential that design thinking has to change the way people approach their health. I see interaction design as a vehicle of discovery, an opportunity to qualitatively understand people and the issues that they face. By combining formal interaction design education with my existing skills and knowledge of the healthcare industry, I will design new interactive products and services that will help improve health and wellness around the world.


Reflections

Recent Tweets

@eboggsyboggs: @garychou Thanks for the retweet - your thoughts have influenced my approach; the potluck has stuck!

@eboggsyboggs: Let them Add the Drapes ! Thoughts on user agency in B-to-C applications. http://t.co/ssxZz3ctD2

@eboggsyboggs: @Scott_Gerlach @jkolko @joyclee Additional thoughts. + a shout out to Olivia Newton-John. don’t miss! — http://t.co/TSm16MSimJ

@eboggsyboggs: Yes please. I may venture to say for all humans. “Washing Machine for Men” by @faborio https://t.co/Dnsn95Pza5

@eboggsyboggs: Straightforward guide on how to create responsive designs without a framework. Thanks @HarshOnInternet ! http://t.co/2kCeoCD0yY

Recent Blog Posts

 

Let them Add the Drapes

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I bought a bacon rose for my girlfriend – #ihopeshethinksitsawesome?

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few days about how to design applications that give users the foundation – the house – but let them add character and flair in a way that isn’t obtrusive.  Even better, without doing much or any work on top of what they would be doing normally.  Those type of interactions done well are delightful.

For example, in the CareWell application I’m designing and building for caregivers and their families, any user in the family can add and change the group’s photo.  This will also update the background to the logo, visible on every screen.  I’m betting that users will change the photo, not only because it affects what they see – but that because they know other members will see that photo and delight in it.

My guess is that individuals become more attached to things that represent their uniqueness, and are therefore less likely to stop using them. Individuals are also more likely to use things that help them express that uniqueness to other people.

This is the anti-path/fb Paper approach to design.  They’ve gone ahead, curated, and built the whole shebbang.  With perfect pixels and manicured swipes, the apps look great (I’m actually extremely envious of their design team talent!), but I’ll never use them again.  There’s no room for me to make it mine.

This may very well be the fundamental difference between interaction design and industrial design.  I want something physical designed to perfection, because it is immutable.  It’s also easier to show off.  Pixels, on the other hand, are hidden and ephemeral.  Great design in this sphere requires thoughtful usability, restraint, and the respect to let the user co-create delight.

Posted in Interaction Design, Reflection | Leave a comment

Young Designers Should Start Companies

Designers should start a companies.

Fact is, junior designers have no influence in a corporation.  I don’t want to be a part of that.

You can take the traditional corporate path, or you can start a company.  It’s different, and different is scary, but my design education prepared me for iteration and solving difficult problems.

This isn’t a walk in the park.  Making decisions, project managing myself, and taking responsibility isn’t easy.  I think many people are afraid of that responsibility.  I know it because I live it everyday, as I’m trying to grow both my design and business skills through bringing a product to market.  It’s unnerving, but exciting.  I prefer excitement to a structured trajectory as long as it’s economically feasible.

And I prefer it to the the cost of most graduate school education options.  You aren’t going to make any money at the start of an enterprise.  But  let’s compare that to MBA education.  What if you just paid yourself 60K a year (well, maybe in time equivalent) instead of putting it into school coffers?  And if you’re smart and have saved some money, why not?

I may or may not make it at this entrepreneurship game this time around.  Experience from my program indicates that those who start their own companies are likely to fail in the short run.  This shouldn’t be surprising.  The best business leaders in the world fail for a myriad of reasons.  But the worst case isn’t bad.  I’ve seen my fellow business designers (“biz des”ers?) skip the corporate crawl.  One individual who just 2 years ago entered IxD is now a UX director at a local Austin company.  That doesn’t happen out of grad school typically.  It happens after running your own business.

Talk about showing grit to your potential self, supporters, and users.  Pay it forward now by starting something that’s your own.

Posted in Inference, Startups | Leave a comment

Contextual Loops – A Nascent Tool For Design

I’ve been reflecting on a design research project I completed with a colleague at Whole Foods Market.

We were asked to focus on the healthy eating customer journey – how customers make decisions on what to buy based on in store signage.  What we found was surprising.  In sum, customers rarely paid any attention to signage – there was just an overload of the senses, as anyone who has been in a Whole Foods Market can attest to.  There were multiple factors at play, from not feeling able to stop and assess because the hordes of shoppers might run one over, to the inaccurate assumption that all WFM products are healthy.

Each barrier that we found was directly related to what I would call a contextual loop – slowly moving cycles that are part of the customer’s day to day interactions.  In common customer journey maps and service design blueprints, these cycles – of repeat service use, intermingled with contextual factors such as common calendar cycles and seasons, night and day, and the changing goals of customers during these cycles, are ignored.  Yes, customers in fact arrive at grocery stores and follow a similar journey over and over to identify the next product needed, target a section, then hone a choice before ultimately making a decision.  And yes, this could be considered part of one larger customer journey from arrival to departure – but the fact is that so much about how a customer ACTUALLY shops and experiences a store is based on their accumulated experience outside of a store.  This, we know, is an ebb and flow, and on the whole, one trip to a grocery blends into the next for a shopper, treated by the store as just another divorced experience.  But it isn’t truly a divorced experience, or certainly doesn’t have to be.  What if I had a delightful, personalized shopping experience that paid attention to my shopping habits over time?  What if, when shopping at night, the service could cater to me by offering valet service for safety?

These types of ideas come from what I would call contextual loops.  Contextual loops are, brilliantly enough, cycles that occur during repetitive product or service use.  They can be customer driven – i.e. cycles of being a “good” and “bad” eater; company driven, such as  quarterly sales or seasonal products; and temporal cycles, such as temperature, time of day, or holidays.  Obviously these can overlap, and one of the goals in creating these loops on paper is to identify those interaction points.  Contextual loops can get us thinking about not only what we see during initial research, but allow us to grow our potential set of insights, as well as create delightful moments for customers.

To Start

First,  you’ll need a canvas, a standard customer journey, and a couple blank sheets of paper/stickies to start using contextual loops.  I do agree that even for most companies or services, taking a look at one abstracted journey may offer a lot in the ways of understanding current major gaps. But this tool will make sure that you don’t miss higher levels of gaps.  Now wrap that customer journey into a circle (you can just create a circle, don’t actually take a huge CJ and force it into a circle) and place it onto the canvas.  On a separate sheet of paper, keep a running list of ideas of customer goals and business goals, and start with a list for that initial journey.    On a third piece of paper, keep a list of potential touch points or business ideas.  You will move between all three, and they will build off of each other.

Canvas

Canvas

Time to get meta

Try to think of the next contextual level up.  There may not be one thing that’s more “right” then another.  Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and use your own intuition.  If you are having any trouble, place some more customer journeys on the canvas and start asking yourself – what is, or could be different, from the first journey to the 2nd? The fifth?  The hundredth?  For example, in our food related example, some issues between the first and second trips could be “food waste generated”, or “family gave shopper feedback on purchases” among others.  See if those thoughts highlight any customer or business goals, as well as generate any additional insights or ideas for future touch points.  Continuing with the example, an insight might be – customers continue to think about the brand as long as the bags stay in the house or are used.  How can we ensure more use, thus inspiring more people to see our brand?  Or, how do we support our shoppers when they have to deal with kids and a husband who won’t try a new food item without ridiculing her?

Meta Loops

Meta Loops

More Contextual Loops

Starting to think in multiple journeys will no doubt inspire you to think about the other contextual loops that are going on during these cycles – and seeing where they harmonize with customer and business goals can create valuable ideas.  Let’s look at a common contextual loop for the customer – a work week.  Our customer’s goals may vacillate during the work week vs. the weekend.  We may quickly start to see that a work day trip is all about getting in and out quickly, with food to fuel the day.  Having displays, set ups, and maps for hungry hunters vs. experiential shoppers is clearly more important on work days then it is on the weekends.  Trying to grab the attention of a shopper on a week day may be close to zero.

Continue by building out that initial contextual loop in both directions – in this example, to the day vs. evening loop in one direction, and months and years in the other.  See what you find.  The color is added to highlight, but you could easily just think of concentric circles and brainstorm.  The end goal isn’t visualization – it’s insight.

Date Loops

Date Loops

These ideas and assumptions can then be rapidly prototyped.  This is a nascent method that can help rapidly identify avenues worth testing along the way to superior product or service design.  Please let me know your thoughts or questions!

Posted in Reflection, Strategy | Leave a comment

CareWell Family Pilot Update – The effort is paying off.

Making a software product isn’t easy, and doing so for the first time, when everything is new, is a daunting challenge.  I tend to get caught in the weeds very easily.  With that being said, there are moments when you realize that all of the hard work is worth it.  Very cliche, but accurate.  We’ve just finished up our first family pilot, with a family that we got in touch with via Twitter.  This is what our primary caregiver had to say about the experience.  I got quite the jolt of excitement reading this.

“I’ve worked in all sorts of scenarios, and every single one of them would have benefited greatly from the program you’re designing. As I’ve said to both of you before, with Mom living here we’re not so very overwhelmed caring for her as we were caring for both of them, providing 24 hour a day care in their home, commuting, trying to set up volunteers to sit with them, take care of the house and yard, bills, groceries, errands, doctor’s appointments (we had two people in wheelchairs and a van that could only hold one- ironically, now, the new van I bought for Mom would actually transport two individuals in wheelchairs) It was crazy. Neither (Jessica) or I got sleep, we never saw the rest of our family, and we didn’t sleep in our own beds for more than six months- in a brand new home we had built. You would have been a Godsend in 2009/2010 and I would have paid any amount of money for your service. In that situation, it truly would have been priceless.”

That lets me know that we’re on to something special.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be piloting with another 2 families and identifying what we can do to keep improving CareWell, particularly around poignant interactions now that we’ve got a solid grip on basic mechanics.  So excited to see where this journey leads.  Hopefully, towards help for many families and their friends.  Feel free to track our journey from our website www.carewelldesign.com, via twitter @carewelldesign, or feel free to drop us a line at hello@carewelldesign.com.

Posted in Social Innovation, Startups | Leave a comment