Aaron Marcus and Associates

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Aaron Marcus and Associates
1196 Euclid Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94708-1640, USA

Email: Aaron.Marcus@AMandA.com

Tel: +1-510-599-3195, Fax: +1-510-527-1994

Web: www.AMandA.com

Experience Design Intelligence

User-Interface Development

Information Visualization


User-Experience Design and Mobile Persuasion Design
Date and Status 28 January 2016, Copyright © 2016 by AM+A

Tongji CDI Contacts Prof. Dr. LOU Yongqi

Dean, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University

Executive Vice Director, Sino-Finnish Centre, Tongji University

Vice President, CUMULUS, International association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media

Coordinator, DESIS-China (Network on Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability)

281 FuXin Road, 200092 Shanghai, China





Tel: +86 21 65983432

Fax: +86 21 65983432

Mobile: +86 13901751533

Ms. Kelly XU Yunxia

徐云霞 Kelly




Director/Office of Administration and International Affairs

Tongji University College of Design and Innovation

281 Fuxin Road,Shanghai, China, 200092

0086 21-65988643/tjdi.tongji.edu.cn

Email: xuyunxia@tongji.edu.cn

AM+A Contact Mr. Aaron Marcus, Principal
Aaron Marcus and Associates (AM+A)
1196 Euclid Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94708-1640, USA
Tel: +1-510-599-3195, Fax: +1-510-527-1994
E-mail: “Marcus, Aaron”
Web: www.AMandA.com

Workshop in User-Experience Design for Mobile Persuasion Design,
14-18 March 2016

Overview The College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai, China, an internationally recognized education center for design and planning is presenting a user-experience-, usability-, and visual-design-oriented short course or workshop about analysis and design for user-experience (UX) development, including topics of analysis and design for products/services oriented to visual communication, visual design, persuasion design, cross-cultural design, usability, usefulness, and appeal. Platforms emphasize mobile devices, including wearables, but can also be applied to desktop systems, the Web, appliances, and vehicles. The workshop will emphasize hands-on studio work, rapid prototyping, and multiple critiques. Aaron Marcus, Founder and Principal of Aaron Marcus and Associates (AM+A) is the instructor for this course.
The course seeks to make participants aware of the critical impact and return on investment (ROI) that user-centered development (UCD) can provide:

  • Analysis can yield clear patterns within and across user groups, tasks, functions, and data, thereby simplifying the underlying design

  • User task analyses can revealed common use patterns across groups, substantially reducing complexity and allowing a simple, re-usable template-based page/application design

  • Standard visual communication-oriented, usability-oriented guidelines/heuristics can be extended to cover communication and interaction in the contexts of all major vertical markets, platforms, market segments, and world cultures.

  • Formal and informal user testing of designs can be built into all phases of the development plan, including research, design, and implementation.

The primary objectives for this workshop are to develop a body of knowledge (BoK) and technical skills to empower participants in user-centered UX development, to determine specifics that focus on stakeholders’ needs regarding process and deliverables, to build awareness of information resources, to transfer knowledge and skills to participants in an effective manner, and to prove out these changes through some initial projects.

Course Description

The subject of User-interface development, best practices and next practices, involves user-interface (UI) development defined as a user-centered professional activities to plan, research, analyze, design, implement, evaluate, document, and train. User interface components are defined as metaphors, mental models, navigation, interaction, and appearance. Best practices will explain and demonstrate UI development that achieves a high-quality user experience, which provides usability, usefulness, and appeal. The platforms will cover desktop, Web, mobile, applicance, and vehicle environments for user communities ranging across professional and consumer groups, with special attention to globalization, culture, and knowledge visualization issues. Next practices will explain current and next trends in mobile devices including home media and vehicle user-interface design.

Computer-based (especially mobile) products/services are produced/consumed worldwide. Designers/developers must be aware of culture differences in thinking about user-experience designs, even for diverse domestic markets. This class will introduce culture theories and models, plus user-centered design theory, and use these subjects as a basis for analyzing topics in mobile devices such as time, spatial relations, family structure, beauty, happiness, health, money/wealth, age/aging, groups/individuals, privacy/security, trust, and persuasion/behavior change. Participants will have an opportunity to analyze and describe/design briefly comparative differences for personas, use scenarios, information architecture (metaphors, mental models, and navigation), and look-and-feel (appearance and interaction) for mobile products/services in the US vs. Europe, China, India, Japan, Middle East, and Africa, depending on class backgrounds and experience. A special focus will be given to China and to designing a revised version of the AM+A Happiness Machine, which combines information design and persuasion design to change people’s behavior.

Instructor Biography

Aaron Marcus, Principal of Aaron Marcus and Associates (AM+A), and a Visiting Professor, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai, is an internationally known visionary, pioneer, and expert in user-interface and information-visualization development. He is on the Editorial/Advisory Boards of three publications, Visible Language, Information Design Journal, Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, and is the Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of User Experience. During the past 50 years, he has written/co-written and edited/co-edited 23 books and more than 350 articles, including Mobile Persuasion Design (2015) and HCI/User-Experience Design (2015).. He tutors/lectures around the world at most major UI/usability conferences. He has been Visiting Professor, IIT/ID, Chicago, IL, USA, for nine years and a mentor in the New Products Development course, Haas Business School, University of California at Berkeley for nine years. Aaron Marcus was the first graphic designer in the world to be involved with computer graphics. He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 2008 and was elected to the CHI Academy in 2010, the first-ever graphic designer to be so honored. AM+A was the first independent user-interface design/analysis studio in the world, and its clients during 34+ years have ranged across Fortune 100 companies as well as startups in 29 countries. AM+A worked on the first user interfaces of AOL, Travelocity, Microsoft's Three Degrees.com file-sharing and messaging system for teenagers, HP’s Halo virtual meeting room, and Livescribe’s Smartpen.

Class Format

Classes are conducted in a format combining informal lecture presentations, and discussion of daily project work. Lectures will present many visual examples important to the key topic of the course. Active participation in asking questions and discussing ideas is required. There will also be group discussions about the content of the handouts. The pace is intense. Students are expected to have read the handouts prior to the coures and to have completed daily progress on their projects prior to the class so they can present and discuss their work. There may be group student project teams that work on specific projects during the class. Attendance and participation at all of the classes is critical.

The course will be built around taking the AM+A Happiness Machine project to a next level, namely orienting it to the Chinese context, incorporating Web-based access, not only mobile device access, and orienting the product/service toward the user-experience in the business world, not the home consumer. Detailed information about the AM+A Happiness Machine will be provided as a starting point.


Grading will be based primarily on the quality of the project and secondarily on the participation in the class. The project will count for 80% in determining a course grade average. There will be a short time at the close of the course to update all class deliverables. For this course, the emphasis will be on innovative solutions, depth of inquiry, demonstration of research, demonstration of good thinking and design process, and quality of presentations and discussions in class, and quality in the deliverables.

Learning Objectives
Half of each of five class sessions will be devoted to illustrated lectures (and discussion) about cross-cultural design, user-centered design, user-experience (personas and use scenarios) topics, and user-interface components (metaphors, mental models, navigation, interaction, and appearance). The other half of each of five class sessions will be devoted to discussion of participant deliverables analyzed and designed during homework hours (about equal to the class time), namely, cross-region comparisons of UX topics, personas, use scenarios, information architecture (metaphors, mental models, and navigation), and look-and-feel (appearance and interaction) for specific examples of mobile products/services.
Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will become familiar with useful cross-culture design theories and models

  • They will have an opportunity to analyze specific differences for global regions in comparison to the US for approximately a dozen content/style topics.

  • They will have an opportunity to analyze/design specific user-centered design/user-experience components for global regions in comparison to the US.

Course Schedule

Participants should be in the Workshop room by 8 am or 8:15am at the latest so that the sessions can begin promptly at 8:30am. Participants will have until midnight on the Sunday following the Workshop to clean up, revise, correct, and submit all electronic files.



Day 1

Day 2 Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

1:30 – 5:30 pm

Analyze 1 subj.


A/D L+F/1Cult

Revise All

12:30-1:30 pm


Lunch Lunch



11:30-12:30 pm

1st Proj Disc

Personas+USc D:MMMNav



10:30-11:30 am





09:30-10:30 am

L: MPD+HMach

L: CNUX Pres: P+USc

Pres: MMMN

Pres: L+F

08:30-09:30 am


Pres: R+Anlysis Pres: P+USc

Pres: MMMN

Pres: L+F


The following are lectures and project work for the course. Each day may be divided into four components: lectures, project critiques, and discussion of the next day’s objectives and deliverables.

Day 1: Monday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm

Lecture 1.1: User-Interface (UI) Development (about 30 minutes)

Visually-oriented UI development is similar to, but different from office, home, or mobile UI development that focuses on code, functions, human factors, and function-oriented usability. There is a greater emphasis on simple, clear, effective, and distinctive user experiences. The approach will introduce concepts, principles, and techniques that are relevant and valuable for all forms of user-centered UI development, including mobile and vehicle UI development. Visually-oriented UI development affects user satisfaction in ways that immediately impact the bottom line. This topic provides an overview of the user-centered visual UI development process, presenting best practices that are known to contribute to success. Special attention is paid to issues that support customer adoption, quick comprehension, and ease of use.

-- Usability

-- User-centered design

-- User-experience design

-- Return on investment (ROI)

Lecture 1.2: Mobile Persuasion Design (about 30 minutes) and the Happiness Machines (about 30 minutes)

Mr. Marcus will introduce the topic of persuasion design and review some of the Machine projects. Mr. Marcus will decribe the Happiness Machine as it was first designed by AM+A, which will serve as a basis for the week’s work.

Lecture 1.3: Cross-Cultural UX Design (about 30-60 minutes)
Mr. Marcus will introduce culture theory, culture models, and decribe dimensions of culture.
Project Work, Day 1: Introduction to the Happiness Machine analysis and design project (about 60 minutes)
Initial lectures will describes the background, UX development process, and the current state of the AM+A Happiness Machine, which in turn is based on earlier AM+A Machines: Learning, Driving, Travel, Innovation, Money, Story, Health, and Green. All projects have been published worldwide,. Participants will divide into teams and discuss the adaption of the Happiness Machine to the Chinese business world context and/or to the Chinese home/family context, the personas/user profiles, and the use scenarios.
Afternoon work and home work for the week will involve competitive analysis, task analysis, refinement of personas and use scenarios and some key screens of the proposed mobile application.
Day 2: Tuesday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
Lecture 2.1: Chinese UX Design Trends (about 60 minutes)
This lecture will summarize unique aspects of UX design, for Web and mobile, emerging in Chinese applications.
Lecture 2.2: Mobile UX Design Trends and (oprtionally) User-Centered Design Process (about 30-60 minutes total)
This lecture will show someof the emerging products and services in mobile user-experience design. Examples will come from many countries
As required, another lecture will provide an overview of industry best practices in visually-oriented UI development for every phase of the project life cycle. It also shows how best practices integrate with the larger software development process.

-- Phases of visually-oriented UI development

-- Visual UI development activities

-- Assessing your visual UI development practices

-- Case study of visual UI development (Motorola GPS smart-car navigation system)

-- Needs analysis

-- Components of a user model

-- User model artifact

-- Task analysis

-- Conceptual design
Project Work: Presentation of Research and Analysis
Participants will present their analysis/synthesis of competition, user needs and wants, personas/user profiles, use scenarios, initial information architecture, and key screen designs.
Day 3: Wednesday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
Lecture 3.1: Topics To Be Determined Depending on Class Needs
Project Work: Presentation of Personas and Use Scenarios, Information Architecture, and Initial Concept Designs of Screens
Participants may be able to conduct informal user evaluations with possible users, or at least other participants or peers. Emphasis will be focused on personas and use scenarios, and initial information architecture responding to the personas and use scenarios.
Project Work: Begin Detailed Mental Models and Navigation
Participants working in teams will explore details of the information architecture.
Day 4: Thursday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
Lecture 4.1: Topics TBD, Depending on Class Needs.
Project Work: Presentation of User Evaluation and Revision of Designs based on User Evaluations.
Presentations will focus on mental model and navigation revisions based on any evaluations of users and/or further consideration of critiques.
Special consideration will be given to cultural and demographic impacts.

If possible, participants will evaluate redesigns with selected users.

Project Work: Begin Look-and-Feel Designs
Participants working in teams will begin initial look-and-feel designs (appearance and interaction) of selected screens based on all previous analysis and esign.
Day 5: Friday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm

Lecture 5.1: Topics TBD, Depending on Class Needs

Project Work: Presentation of Look-and-Feel Based on all previous User Evaluations and Revision of Designs
Participants will present their latest look-and-feel designs and revisions of any other content, in the form of Project Summaries of their work on their team’s particular approach to redesigning the Happiness Machine. They will have the weekend to revise all documents (based on group critiques) forfinal submission.

Appendix 1: The Happiness Machine

The AM+A Happiness Machine Project:

Combining Happiness Theory, Information Design, and

Persuasion Design in a Mobile Device Application Suite

to Change People’s Life Habits
Aaron Marcus, Principal, Aaron Marcus and Associates

Berkeley, California,  Aaron.Marcus@AMandA.com

Version of 1 July 2013

Abstract Happiness is a fundamental key to success in the 21st century. During the last decades, many researchers and professionals investigating what happiness is and how to achieve it have proposed happiness principles to help people to live happier lives. Despite numerous happiness theories proposed and training sessions to turn theory into practice, , people ofent fail in following the principles to achieve happiness. In an era of increasing economic, social, and political pressures, it seems more and more people are in need of assistance. The practice of happiness-inducing behavior risks fading more and more into the background of daily personal and professional lives.

Therefore, the Happiness Machine project of 2013 researched, analyzed, designed, and evaluated effective ways to foster a shift from unhappy or happy states to greater happiness by changing people’s daily behavior in the short- and in the long-term. The main objective of the Happiness Machine is to persuade and motivate people of all ages, all genders, all cultures, all economic and educational levels to open themselves up more intensely towards techniques of daily practice and interaction with people, objects, and contexts, that can make their “trip through life” deeper, more personally enriching, and a educational experience. For this objective, Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc. (AM+A), planned, researched, analyzed, designed, implemented (in the form of sample screens), evaluated, documented, and prepared training documents for mobile phone application prototype, the Happiness Machine, that combines happiness theory and persusion theory, information design/visualization and persuasion design, and embodies the results in a user-centered design process.

The AM+A White Paper to be provided, explains the development of the Happiness Machine’s user-experience design, that is, its user interface, information design, information visualization, and persuasion design.

Appendix 2: Some UX trends and Issues to Consider

What are the trends in UX development, especially related to consumer products, use of voice, information display, and culture issues related to UI components for both command/control and entertainment. For example, Japanese products were early adaptors of mobile and vehicle navigation systems faster than in Europe or North America. Issues include the following:

North American preferences vs. other countries: touch, voice, one-button

Incorporation of games and entertainment, especially music, video

Navigation: geographic spaces, media spaces

Customization: what, how, to what extent?

Web access: email, chatting, search/retrieval

Emotion issues: persuasion, trust, appeal

Fun: how will be have more fun while riding/driving?

Special needs of special markets: youth, seniors, disabled

Co-branding, loyalty programs, and other partnering opportunities

Competitive approaches

Emotion/appeal/culture in UI design

Emotion and culture influence all forms of UI design. For example, the differences between preferences, expectations, and behavior for older vs. younger viewers, users, drivers/riders in Germany vs the USA would take into account emotional attitudes. Among other writers/analysts, Patrick Jordan, Peter Desmet, and Don Norman have written about the importance of emotion in design. Desmet has demonstrated software that enables developers to track users’ emotional attitudes toward products. User-experience design takes these issues into account, i.e., appeal and usefulness, as well as branding and utility.

Emotional issues include those based on the following typology of emotions:

Biological emotions (arousal, reward-punishment, fear/anger, love/bonding): based upon specific neurochemical systems.

Social emotions (pride, guilt, etc.): Based biologically upon attachment.
Cognitive emotions (interest, boredom, curiosity): Based biologically upon expectancy.
Moral emotions: based upon a combination of social attachment and expectancy.
(Source: Typology of Emotions, Ross Buck, U of CT, 2002,
Dimensions of persuasion issues include the following:


Social validation




(Robert Cialdini, “The Science of Persuasion,” Scientific American, Vol, 284, No. 2, 2001, pp. 76-81.)
Dimensions of trust issues include the following:
Attraction: Attractive people trusted more

Dynamism: Activity, e.g., moving hands, text

Expertness: Relevant skills

Faith: Belief in predictable future

Intentions: Revealed objectives and goals

Localness: Presumed similar values, behavior

Reliability: Dependable, predictable, consistent

(Bailey, Gurak,and Konstan, “An Examination of Trust Production in Computer-Mediated Exchange,” Human Factors and the Web 2001 Conference, http://www.optavia.com/hfweb).

Culture issues focus on Hofstede’s five dimensions of culture, but may include others:
Power-distance: high vs. low. Focuses on the degree of equality, or inequality, among people in the country's society

Collectivism vs. individualism: Focuses on the degree the society reinforces individual or collective, achievement and interpersonal relationships.

Femininity vs. masculinity: Focuses on the degree the society reinforces, or does not reinforce, the traditional masculine work role model of male achievement, control, and power (vs. feminine cultures in which the roles are more closely related)
Uncertainty avoidance: high vs. low: Extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations .
Time orientation: long vs. short: Focuses on the degree the society embraces, or does not embrace, long-term devotion to traditional, forward thinking values (strongly related to Confucian societies).

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