The 5 TED talks on my list are not strictly centered on design and besides talks from Don Norman and Paul Bennett you’ll find a great talk about empathy (a radical experiment in empathy), about storytelling (the clues to a great story) and about the beauty of data visualization. These subjects definitely are worth to be looked into.
TED talks are a great source of inspiration and almost everyone has a few favorites. TED was first held in 1984 but lost money. Only six years after, in 1990, it was held again. The rise of online platforms such as YouTube and the decision to make the talks available for free online made the organization so popular. The acronym TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design”.
Don Norman – 3 ways good design makes us happy
I’m a big fan of Don Norman. He is a pioneer in the field of user experience. In his books he explores the human mind and its working and how it is affected by design and technology. One of his classics is “Emotional Design” in which he individuates three levels of design:
visceral, behavioral and reflective.
In this Ted-Talk he gives a little insight into his theory and explains the basic principles in less than 15 minutes. If you haven’t read the book, take this as an introduction to emotional design. If, like me, you read the book you will love to hear the concepts explained by Norman himself.
Sam Richards – A radical experiment in empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. As Ux designers we need empathy to understand the user, his/her feelings, expectations, motivations and behavior. Without that understanding we can’t create great experiences.
Sam Richards is a sociologist and teacher of the largest race relation course in the US. In this TED talk he takes his audience, step by step, through the thought process and poses an extraordinary challenge: can anyone truly empathize with another? In the different scenarios he shows how it is possible to understand the most foreign motivations, behaviors and beliefs through empathy.
Andrew Stanton – The clues to a great story
Andrew Stanton is the writer behind “Toy Story” and the writer/director of “WALL-E”. He has dedicated his life to tell great stories and in this talk he shares his knowledge about storytelling with us.
A story is an emotional experience. “Storytelling offers a way for UX professionals to really understand what they are building and the audience they are creating it for. Stories allow for the most complex ideas to be effectively conveyed to a variety of people. This designed product experience can then offer meaning and emotion for its users.” (Smashing Magazine. Read more about storytelling and UX desing here). Stories also unify the experience of a product. Storytelling has gained popularity in the last years and in this talk we discover what makes a story truly great.
David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization
David McCandless has a fascination with data. He turns complex numbers into beautiful, simple diagrams that show unseen patterns and connections. He argues that a huge amount of data is worthless and often times misleading. Information and data become valuable when put into relation and when visualized in a simple way. It makes data easy to digest and quick to understand. Visual data offers a different experience than pure numbers and in Ux design we should make use of this powerful way of presenting data and information.
Paul Bennett finds design in details
In this talk Paul Bennett shows a series of inspiring products which surprise with their simplistic approach. Bennett thinks that design is all about solving small, universal and overlooked problems with ingenuity and simplicity. Empathy is again at the heart of the design process and helps reframing the ordinary in new ways. He thinks that we can draw inspiration from the daily interaction with our environment and from the workarounds we device to master it. “Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win” is the final advice he gives in this inspiring talk.
Paul Bennett is IDEO’s Chief Creative Officer and partner and one of five senior executives.