AM+A Blog

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Exhibited Work of Aaron Marcus in 2016

During May to October 2016, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) exhibited the graphic design and computer-graphics artwork of Aaron Marcus as part of the exhibit “Typeface to Interface.” SFMOMA had accepted the donation of approximately 70 Swiss graphic design posters collected by Mr. Marcus during the 1960s and approximately 60 pieces of Mr. Marcus’ pioneering work in computer-graphics artwork, user-interface designs, and graphic design. In addition, SFMOMA purchased 21 of Mr. Marcus’ works. These collected works were used as a basis for the exhibit, which featured other graphic designers and computer-graphics artists. Information about Mr. Marcus gallery talk during the period of the exhibit appears here:

AM+A Project Summary: Mobile UX Design

CollabRX has given permission to distribute an AM+A Project Summary about AM+A’s 2014 project, analyze its Cancer Therapy applications that provide cancer trial data and information resources for several kinds of cancers to physicians, then design the mental model and navigation of a mobile version per the platform constraints of a third-party mobile app developer. The project took about one month to complete. AM+A designed application-flow wireframes to act as guidelines for content and softward developers and sample screen designs. The Project Summary is available to prospective clients.


Siemens TTB Names Aaron Marcus as coAuthor of Paper about Vehicle Media Hub

Dr. Stuart Goose, Research Manager, Siemens Technology-to-Business (TTB) Berkeley center, has named Aaron Marcus as a co-author for a paper being submitted to journals.The paper describes the technology and UX design of a vehicle media hub that uses novel sound delivery so that individuals in the vehicle do not need to use headphones to listen to multiple media sources. AM+A worked on the user-interface design for this project in 2006 and it was showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2007. The article will be submitted to refereed journals for publication in 2014.

Interactions Publishes Commentary on Aaron Marcus’ Blog about Apple Products

The March/April 2014 issue (page 9) of Interactions magazine has published a viewer’s comments on Aaron Marcus’ blog about the declining quality of Apple products. The view is “amazed” at Mr. Marcus’ “restraint” in his blog, entitled “My Apple is a Lemon.” See:

CCA/Graphic Design Invites Aaron Marcus to Review Senior-Thesis Projects

Prof. Leslie Becker, California College of Art’s Graphic Design Department Senior-Thesis CoDirector, invited Aaron Marcus to join seven other guests to critique the undergraduate BFA midterm projects of 20 students in a day-long review on 7 March 2014 in San Francisco. These guests will be invited back at the conclusion of the semester to review the final student work. Projects included video design, mobile app design, exhibit design, poster design, book design, and information-visualization design.

AM+A Happiness Machine Workshop, at Sonic Rim, San Francisco, CA

On 28 February 2014, Mr. Aaron Marcus, President of AM+A, presented a workshop about the AM+A Happiness Machine project at SonicRim, San Francisco. About 30 people took part, plus five former students of Mr. Marcus at the School of Design, Polytechnic University, Hong Kong (HKPU), via Skype. Mr. Marcus presented a lecture about the Happiness Machine, which combines information design and persuasion design to change people’s behavior with mobile devices. Three teams, participants from Mr. Marcus’ one-week workshop on Mobile Persuasion Design, held at the School of Design, Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, November 2013, presented their projects. Three AM+A Designer/Analysts (Kia Chew, Vivian Lemes, and Kenneth So) presented current work on the Marriage Machine project. The event was invited and hosted by SonicRim, a Design Research firm, and was carried out in conjunction Mr. Marcus’ Mobile Persuasion Workshop on 8 July 2014 at the Computer Graphics and Media Design Conference in Chicago, hosted by OMICS Group Conferences. (Photo by AM+A, may be republished.)



UX in SciFi Lecture Now on YouTube

Aaron Marcus’ Lecture “The Past 100 Years of the Future: HCI/UX in Science-Fiction Movies and Television,” which analyzes the human-computer experience in popular media, is now on YouTube. This lecture was the opening keynote plenary presentation of the Mensch und Computer Conference, 11 September  2011, Technical University, Chemnitz, Germany. The free e-book based on this lecture is available at the AM+A Website. The YouTube URL is this:

I’ve heard the future of interaction…

Aaron Marcus publishes an article on IX Interactions about the movie Her: I’ve heard the future of interaction

Recently, I watched, or rather, more specifically, heard, the movie Her, which features Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role of Theodore Twombly (now, there is an introvert’s name), a somewhat sensitive, somewhat appealing, caring, but almost terminally asocial techie writing handwritten personal letters for others in a cloyingly clean, modern, antiseptic office in a made-up future Los Angeles that mixes in urban scenes shot in the sci-fi downtown of Shanghai.

The other lead character is the memorable “operating system,” the on-the-spot, self-named Samantha, which Scarlett Johannson voices. She gives the primary virtual role all of her slightly squeaky, breathless, ever-so-seductive, quirky, almost always good-humored all to impersonating a machine-system impersonating a person. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy Scarlett Johansson speaking personally and directly to them?

Spike Jonze (born Adam Spiegel on October 22, 1969) directed the film. His work is much known in music videos and commercials, but he started his film-directing career with Being John Malkovich (1999). Jonze is famous for his music-video collaborations with Beastie Boys, Björk, and Fatboy Slim. He also was a co-creator and executive producer of MTV’s Jackass and is part owner of skateboard company.

Why the details? Well, I was struck dumb by this film in many ways, and it caused me to ponder its meaning. See more:

Xconomy: Aaron Marcus, Berkeley’s Bard of User-Centered Design, Battles “High-Order Crap”

Aaron Marcus, President and Principal Designer/Analyst, Aaron Marcus and Associates

By Wade Roush: Aaron Marcus, watching from his perch on Euclid Street in the Berkeley hills above San Francisco Bay, has seen the business world’s infatuation with design rise and recede, rise and recede.

Ten or 20 years ago, if you’d traveled to San Francisco or Silicon Valley in search of help designing a consumer product or a software interface, you’d have been directed to one of two marquee firms: Ideo or Frog Design.

Both companies offered industrial design and user-interface design services; both had histories that intertwined with Apple Computer and the revolution in personal computing wrought by Steve Jobs back in the 1980s; both employed a panoply of hypertalented artists and creative types; and both had showcases full of the famous products they’d helped to create, from the Apple IIc computer (Frog) to the first smartphone, the Handspring Treo (Ideo).

Ideo and Frog are still around today, each employing hundreds of people at their offices in the Bay Area and around the world. But these days, Marcus notes, they have a host of smaller competitors, like Carbon Design Group, Essential, Lunar Design, Smart Design, and Whipsaw. On top of that, there’s a new vogue at many Web and mobile companies for shipping “minimum viable products” that are hardly designed at all. In response, Ideo and Frog have scaled back their design practices and moved up-market into organizational consulting and “innovation consulting,” competing with larger firms like McKinsey and Deloitte.

Marcus, meanwhile, keeps doing what he’s been doing for the last 34 years in his consultancy, Aaron Marcus and Associates: the hard work of helping clients visualize and manage information effectively, using an approach that, in his words, “combines reason and emotion, with design as a middle ground between art and science.” See more:

Aaron Marcus lectures about Persuasion Design at Cisco

On 05 February 2014, Mr. Aaron Marcus, President, AM+A, gave a lecture about mobile persuasion design to the Cisco User-Experience Forum, at Cisco headquarters in San Jose, Cal…ifornia. About 40 participants from that location and other Cisco sites worldwide took part. AM+A Designer/Analysts Kia Chew (from Singapore) and Vivian Lemes (from Brazil), pictured, had an opportunity to explain their current work on AM+A’s latest mobile persuasion design project, the Marriage Machine.