Panel at CHI 2009: What Can UX Learn From Food Design


Panelists include Patanjali S. Venkatacharya (Oracle Corp., USA), Ronald M. Baecker (University of Toronto, Canada), Daniel Schwartz (Oracle USA Inc., USA), Chef Jody Adams (Rialto Restaurant, USA) and Chef Jason Santos (Gargoyles Restaurant, USA).

“This panel will bring together a group of user experience experts, with a group often overlooked in the art and science of user experience and food designers. The panelists will include: an award-winning Michelin-starred Chef, a culinary school instructor, a user experience practitioner, and a world-renowned HCI academic.

Together, the panel will compare and contrast concepts from food design and user experience including the challenges of meeting demanding end-user needs, and best practices from food design that one could potentially apply to the design of everyday things.

The main objective of the panel is to explore pertinent questions on the craft of design from two different domain perspectives, whilst evaluating some of the key overlapping concepts.

Among the issues they will examine are:

  • How to ensure that designs satisfy the end customers
  • The top 3 challenges in coming up with a new design (or recipe)
  • How to conduct user testing in a high-stress environment
  • Processes to use in developing entirely new creations

From a press release of CHI 2009 (April 4-9, 2009 – Boston, USA). – I’m speechless.

UPDATE: Panel abstract (ACM) – Photo impression of the panel.

Jesse James Garrett on UX and Cooking


In his closing keynote at the 10th ASIS&T Information Architecture Summit (Memphis TN – March 18-22, 2009), Jesse James Garrett (president of Adaptive Path) stated the following: “(…) we’re all user experience designers (…) We can engage people’s senses. We can stimulate them through visuals, through sound, through touch and smell and taste. This is the domain of the traditional creative arts: painting, music, fashion, cooking.”

Told you so!

What’s Your Cooking Personality?


Personas are documents describing multiple relevant aspects of a target audience. Is someone’s behaviour structured or rather chaotic. This also reflects in cooking styles. Is ‘mise en place’ obvious or not (e.g. cooking while preparing).

Now, enrich your persona descriptions with traits of people’s cooking personalities. They reveal a lot. “Cornell University researchers studied nearly 800 family cooks and determined five distinct types. So what’s your cooking personality?” – by Tara Parker-Pope (NYT)

What’s Cooking? The Evolutionary Role of Cookery


Be human, start cooking! – “Cooking is a human universal. No society is without it. No one other than a few faddists tries to survive on raw food alone. And the consumption of a cooked meal in the evening, usually in the company of family and friends, is normal in every known society. Moreover, without cooking, the human brain (which consumes 20-25% of the body’s energy) could not keep running. Dr Wrangham thus believes that cooking and humanity are coeval.” – From an article in The Econonomist on Richard Wrangham’s thesis (anthropologist – Harvard University)

Food, Dude


Susan Coleman Morse and Eli Blevis wrote an article (full version coming soon) in the ACM Interactions Magazine XVI.2: “Permaculture, urban farming, and locavorism – all are newly familiar terms that we define in this month’s forum and that are implicated in sustainable lifestyles. All denote opportunities for interaction designers. By opportunities, we mean not only potential applications of interactive technologies to help where no interactive technologies have been previously applied, but also the potential use of interactive technologies to more broadly distribute the cherishable wisdom of those who practice simpler, more sustainable, more natural heirloom and traditional forms of food culture and land use…”

Taste Visualization for Pixar’s Ratatouille


In the Fall of 2006, Michel Gagné was contacted by Brad Bird to create a series of animated vignettes for his movie Ratatouille. The concept was to design and animate abstract representations of what the character was tasting. After discussing ideas and concepts with Brad Bird, he created a series of images to illustrate potential ideas of how the taste could be visualized in an abstract way. These were reviewed by Brad and shown to the music composer as inspiration.

A great example of how to make something abstract like taste very concrete.

Philips Design Investigates Food Printer


“FOOD takes a provocative and unconventional look at areas that could have a profound effect on the way we eat and source our food 15-20 years from now” says the FOOD-project of this consumer electronics company. Wih three new projects Diagnostic Kitchen, Food Creation and Home Farming Philips figures out what the design probes are.