Heuristics of Sensemaking

According to Karl Weick in ‘Sensemaking in Organizations’:

  • Sensemaking is matter of identity: it is who we understand ourselves to be in relation to the world around us.
  • Sensemaking is retrospective: we shape experience into meaningful patterns according to our memory of experience.
  • How and what becomes sensible depends on our socialization: where we grew up in the world, how we were taught to be in the world, where we are located now in the world, the people with whom we are currently interacting.
  • Sensemaking is a continuous flow; it is ongoing, because the world, our interactions with the world, and our understandings of the world are constantly changing. You might also think of sensemaking as perpetually emergent meaning and awareness.
  • Sensemaking builds on extracted cues that we apprehend from sense and perception. Cognition is the meaningful internal embellishment of these cues. We articulate these embellishments through speaking and writing – the “what I say” part of Weick’s recipe. In doing so, we reify and reinforce cues and their meaning, and add to our repertoire of retrospective experience.
  • Sensemaking is less a matter of accuracy and completeness than plausibility and sufficiency. We simply have neither the perceptual nor cognitive resources to know everything exhaustively, so we have to move forward as best as we can. Plausibility and sufficiency enable action-in-context.

Laura A. McNamara: Sensemaking in Organizations: Reflections on Karl Weick and Social Theory

Delightful experiences

A great app, a beautiful device, an outstanding service, a solid brand; all of them have something in common: You experience them in ways that you didn’t anticipate. You were not expecting the joy they brought. You were surprised. You were delighted by unexpected rewards or behaviors that burned a long lasting impression into your brain, and possibly your heart. The app or service satisfied your functional/usable/reliable expectations, and suddenly you discovered the pleasurable layer. It just… happened. But what about the prolonged use of these apps or services? As a product designer, how do you ensure recurrent delight?

1. Bring fun to users

  • By putting care and detail into micro interactions.
  • By giving respect to something that doesn’t “deserve” it.
  • By creating an “Elastic” and “it’s alive!” environment.

2. Guide users

  • By anticipating where they’re going to go, and showing them the way.
  • By letting them take a sneak peak at what’s gonna happen next.
  • By providing a natural ‘escape’ route at any given moment.

3. Relax users

  • By clearing all the clutter from the screen and letting them focus on one important element at a time.
  • By introducing moments for them to reflect, assimilate content, and breathe.
  • By protecting their work from errors caused by [x].

4. Inform users

  • By acknowledging when their actions have an immediate, mid term or long term consequence.
  • By letting them know when something is about to disrupt them.
  • By showing precise, but BRIEF instructions for complex scenarios.

5. Reward users

  • By explicitly acknowledging them how good they did and what it means for their long term goals.
  • By giving them badges for frequency of use, duration of study sessions, and performance.
  • By keeping track of achievements and placing it on a clear roadmap.

6. Punish users

  • By blocking them from moving forward if their performance falls below a tolerance level.
  • By informing them of wrongful choices and actions on the spot, rather than on a summary moment.
  • By keeping all negative remarks in a confidential, private space, visible and acknowledgeable for the user only.

Mauricio Estrella: 6 principles for designing trustworthy learning experiences.