Finnish / Suomeksi

Dr. Joel Kiskola

Portfolio. Language: Finnish, English.



From the resume

2020 - January 2024

Doctoral Researcher

Speculative and Critical Design, User Research, IxD

2013 part-time work

Consulting, Web development

HTML, CSS, JS

PhD in Human-Technology Interaction

January 2024

Doctoral dissertation

BA in Design

2015

Resume in LinkedIn


Read my resume in LinkedIn

Thoughts on my skills and their beneficiality to organizations

My design and research skills can bring profits and reduce costs. I look at this through the pieces of design work: understanding people and situations; defining the constraints and expectations guiding the design; ideation and idea workshops; prototyping; testing, and documenting the planned product and the design process.

Understanding People and Situations

It's important to be empathetic and understand the needs, desires, and ambitions of users. It's also important to prioritize the user. This can lead to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty, which in turn can increase sales and profits. By understanding the real needs of customers, I can also help avoid costly redesigns and product failures in the market.

To understand people and situations, I interview users and understand their world, and then go back to interviewing them with ideas and prototypes. As a doctoral researcher, I learned to conduct high-level user interviews and survey research. I learned what questions are good questions and how to construct research. I also learned how to qualitatively analyze what people want from designs, how they talk about them, and what affects that; and I learned how to statistically analyze, for example, which design is considered the best by many.

Defining the Constraints and Expectations Guiding the Design

By clearly defining the constraints and expectations of the design, me and other designers can focus on creating good and excellent products that are feasible within the given resources. Well-communicated design constraints and expectations can also reduce the risk of misunderstandings and save time in different phases of the project.

Design constraints and expectations can be divided into, for example:

  • Users' requirements and desires.
  • Case studies used in design.
  • Design areas (e.g., purpose, targeted experiences, accessibility, colors, smart features). Good design is characterized by not forgetting any area, such as accessibility, in the design.
  • Design choices within areas and dimensions. Excellent design is characterized by attention to all details. A winning product is often not revolutionary in its areas, but the choices within them are made more carefully and precisely.
  • Usability and information architecture principles.
  • Visual design principles.
  • Functions that promote the ethics of designs (e.g., how designs strive to increase users' activity, responsibility, understanding, and decision-making ability). I am familiar with this through my doctoral research.
Ideation and Idea Workshops

Through the creative ideation process, I can develop innovative solutions that stand out from competitors and create new market opportunities. I have a very wide range of ideation skills as well as experience in organizing idea workshops. I can quickly sketch ideas and wireframes on paper and ideate openly with others. Additionally, I can utilize critical and speculative design tactics in ideation, such as aiming for a dystopian idea. This helps break boundaries and, on the other hand, consider ethical questions of design. In 2024, I led idea workshops on artificial intelligence for future media consumption.

Prototyping and Testing

By developing prototypes and testing them with real users, I ensure that the product is user-friendly and meets user expectations before larger investments. This can also reduce post-market entry correction costs and product failure risks.

In practice, I build prototypes using Balsamiq, Gimp/Photoshop, AdobeXD, Figma, and HTML. I also master responsive, i.e., device-adaptable web design.

Once the usability and clarity are at an appropriate level in the early prototype, I can make a final-looking prototype that communicates the product idea even more clearly. I achieve this with my visual design skills and by following visual design principles. I have also lectured on these to master's students.

Documenting the Planned and the Design Process

By making careful documentation, I help ensure the continuity and efficiency of the design process, which can reduce future project costs and time. This also allows for the rapid iteration and scaling of design solutions in different projects or product versions, which can increase the organization's ability to respond to market changes and leverage new business opportunities. Additionally, when the design process is well documented, it facilitates the induction of new team members and reduces dependence on individuals, which improves project management and reduces the risk of errors. I know what all needs to be captured from the design, but I will not list it here now.

Thoughts on my skills and their beneficiality to organizations

My design and research skills can bring profits and reduce costs. I look at this through the pieces of design work: understanding people and situations; defining the constraints and expectations guiding the design; ideation and idea workshops; prototyping; testing, and documenting the planned product and the design process.

Understanding People and Situations

It's important to be empathetic and understand the needs, desires, and ambitions of users. It's also important to prioritize the user. This can lead to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty, which in turn can increase sales and profits. By understanding the real needs of customers, I can also help avoid costly redesigns and product failures in the market.

To understand people and situations, I interview users and understand their world, and then go back to interviewing them with ideas and prototypes. As a doctoral researcher, I learned to conduct high-level user interviews and survey research. I learned what questions are good questions and how to construct research. I also learned how to qualitatively analyze what people want from designs, how they talk about them, and what affects that; and I learned how to statistically analyze, for example, which design is considered the best by many.

Defining the Constraints and Expectations Guiding the Design

By clearly defining the constraints and expectations of the design, me and other designers can focus on creating good and excellent products that are feasible within the given resources. Well-communicated design constraints and expectations can also reduce the risk of misunderstandings and save time in different phases of the project.

Design constraints and expectations can be divided into, for example:

  • Users' requirements and desires.
  • Case studies used in design.
  • Design areas (e.g., purpose, targeted experiences, accessibility, colors, smart features). Good design is characterized by not forgetting any area, such as accessibility, in the design.
  • Design choices within areas and dimensions. Excellent design is characterized by attention to all details. A winning product is often not revolutionary in its areas, but the choices within them are made more carefully and precisely.
  • Usability and information architecture principles.
  • Visual design principles.
  • Functions that promote the ethics of designs (e.g., how designs strive to increase users' activity, responsibility, understanding, and decision-making ability). I am familiar with this through my doctoral research.
Ideation and Idea Workshops

Through the creative ideation process, I can develop innovative solutions that stand out from competitors and create new market opportunities. I have a very wide range of ideation skills as well as experience in organizing idea workshops. I can quickly sketch ideas and wireframes on paper and ideate openly with others. Additionally, I can utilize critical and speculative design tactics in ideation, such as aiming for a dystopian idea. This helps break boundaries and, on the other hand, consider ethical questions of design. In 2024, I led idea workshops on artificial intelligence for future media consumption.

Prototyping and Testing

By developing prototypes and testing them with real users, I ensure that the product is user-friendly and meets user expectations before larger investments. This can also reduce post-market entry correction costs and product failure risks.

In practice, I build prototypes using Balsamiq, Gimp/Photoshop, AdobeXD, Figma, and HTML. I also master responsive, i.e., device-adaptable web design.

Once the usability and clarity are at an appropriate level in the early prototype, I can make a final-looking prototype that communicates the product idea even more clearly. I achieve this with my visual design skills and by following visual design principles. I have also lectured on these to master's students.

Documenting the Planned and the Design Process

By making careful documentation, I help ensure the continuity and efficiency of the design process, which can reduce future project costs and time. This also allows for the rapid iteration and scaling of design solutions in different projects or product versions, which can increase the organization's ability to respond to market changes and leverage new business opportunities. Additionally, when the design process is well documented, it facilitates the induction of new team members and reduces dependence on individuals, which improves project management and reduces the risk of errors. I know what all needs to be captured from the design, but I will not list it here now.

Work

Clicking on the image enlarges it, and when necessary, opens a description of the design. Videos start playing when clicked once, and double-clicking them will make them fullscreen. For some videos, it's also possible to open a story about the video.

Video prototype. Audience for online writers.

The background of this video prototype involves a multi-stage design process and is related to my role in a four-year research project.

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Video prototype. Audience for online writers.

The background of this video prototype involves a multi-stage design process and is related to my role in a four-year research project.

My Role

In the research project, my role was to investigate, through critical design, possible user interface solutions to address inappropriate online discussions. Specifically, those that would address inappropriate discussions by supporting user emotional regulation. My ideas needed to be interesting to both the design team and psychologists and serve as conversation starters in user research.

Preliminary Research Before Ideation

To generate new ideas for user interface solutions to address discussions, I first identified typical user interface features and characteristics of commenting culture. (For example, commenters usually are not precise about whom their comments are directed to.) I used this information in three ways: to find typical features and procedures that I could modify; to avoid reinventing existing user interface solutions; and to consider what new solutions might be suitable for various news websites.

Ideation and Selection of Ideas for Further Development

I sketched ideas on paper and discussed them with my design team. This sketch-discussion cycle repeated three times, resulting in a total of about 60 ideas. My design team included myself and two colleagues, both of whom had expertise in user experience design and software engineering. In my sketching, I used two different critical design strategies: (1) the designer aims for the result to embody irony, sarcasm, parody, or ambiguity, and (2) the designer selects an existing practice, modifies it slightly, and then considers whether the result is ironic, parodic, etc.

Afterward, I assessed all my ideas in terms of feasibility, novelty, and criticality (i.e., challenging thinking) and discarded about twenty ideas. Then, my design team and I evaluated the remaining 40 ideas based on perceived criticality, novelty, feasibility, and effectiveness. This led us to conclude that 19 of my sketched ideas showed promise.

I created cleaner and more detailed images of these 19 ideas using Balsamiq. Balsamiq is a program for creating wireframes.

Next, I presented the ideas to the entire research team, which included my design team and a team of psychologists (3 psychologists and 1 IT expert). Psychologists provided feedback, stating that some ideas were not suitable because they included too many gamified elements or were unclear. I took this feedback into account, and then I chose the best 6 ideas from the 19 Balsamiq images and presented them at an informal meeting with Rajapinta Ry at Tampere University. Rajapinta members are primarily journalists and media researchers. I asked for feedback on the ideas from an audience of about twenty people. Based on the feedback, 6 of the selected ideas appeared promising in terms of generating discussion.

The Ideas as Part of Interview Research

The 6 ideas I chose and presented at the meeting were part of interviews with 10 experienced Finnish journalists. I co-designed the interview process and questions with another research colleague, and this colleague conducted interviews with journalists at their workplaces. (Later in the research project, I was responsible for conducting the interviews.) Interviewees were asked to think aloud about the ideas presented to them, considering feasibility, and other aspects. I wrote a research paper based on the analysis of these interviews, focusing on the four ideas that generated the most discussion, one of which was this audience idea.

Refining Based on all that was Learned

I discussed the ideas with my design team again, suggesting that the four ideas validated in the interview research and eight other ideas be further investigated and developed. However, we concluded that a total of eight ideas represented a sufficient range of user interface solutions supporting emotional regulation.

Development of Ideas for use in an Online Survey and Findings on the Audience Idea

I created more refined versions of the selected eight ideas using Adobe XD and constructed illustrative visual narratives for them. I also discussed these ideas with my design team and refined the images and narratives based on their input. I used them in an online survey targeted at news commenters.

The survey revealed the following about this audience idea: Many respondents indicated that providing feedback to the commenter through a virtual expert audience would make the commenter feel too anxious or annoyed. For example: "I don't want to know right away that I'm being evaluated before my comment is even published," and "I would be worried that it would encourage me to write comments that make virtual experts happy instead of writing what I intended." Additionally, some respondents noted that "[feedback] might just encourage some people to continue commenting [to the point of negativity]." Nevertheless, some mentioned that they would find feedback helpful when writing.

Video Prototype in Adobe XD

I created a video prototype of the audience idea for my portfolio and because I was interested in how the audience idea could work in practice. Through the video prototyping, I could experiment with what kind of audience reactions would be appropriate. For example, I noticed that clapping or other rapid movements would annoy me as a writer.

Coursework. Apartment finding tool for students

I Designed and Coded This Portfolio Website

The layout of this page is my own work. The functionality of the buttons and the image gallery is also my own creation. I chose to build the pages myself because pre-made solutions are not very flexible and contain unnecessary components for my needs, and they load much slower.

Coursework, prototype. Intelligent home insurance

This is a course project for the Artificial Intelligence and Insurance course. The student team consisted of three business and/or insurance experts and two UX/UI design experts, of which I was one (with less experience).

The project progressed as follows: we first collectively familiarized ourselves with IBM Watson's machine learning and the possibilities it offers. After that, we brainstormed together, leveraging the expertise of each team member. Following this, the designers took a more prominent role, creating wireframes that we discussed. Next, one of the designers created a prototype of the mobile application seen in the video, while I and others provided feedback. Finally, I took the lead in directing and producing this video presentation.

Coursework, prototype. New Media Experiences

In this course project, myself and two others designed the addition of augmented reality content to magazines. The work included ideation, user research, and prototyping phases, all done collaboratively.

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Coursework, prototype. New Media Experiences

In this course project, myself and two others designed the addition of augmented reality content to magazines. The work included ideation, user research, and prototyping phases, all done collaboratively.

1. Initial Idea Description

In articles about cars, there are many pictures, but unlike a typical car magazine, here the reader can get different views of the car using 3D augmented reality. The reader can explore the car from their own perspectives and save their observations for other readers to view. The reader is, in principle, part of the article, having learned more about cars and perhaps even added value to the article.

2. We Conducted Surveys on the Understandability of Magazines and Interest in Augmented Reality Content
3. Sketching Phase

After analyzing and summarizing the results of the surveys we conducted and confirming our user experience goals, we began sketching. In the first sketching round, we drew eight different quick sketches of what the design could look like, how problems could be solved, and goals achieved.

In the second sketching round, we drew at least seven different sketches based on our discussions of the sketches made in the first round. We drew these sketches on rectangular sheets the size of a smartphone.

The sketches start with the basic idea of the starting screen, followed by the tutorial screen for first-time users, and then the multi-content screen that briefly displays all the additional content of the current article. The remaining screens are content screens, such as discussion area screens and image library screens, to which the user would navigate from the multi-content screen.

After a few initial sketches, in the second round, we realized that using the application would likely be best when the device is placed next to the magazine horizontally (contrary to how it is typically held in the hand). This also led to the idea that the device could detect page turning using smartphone sensors like the microphone, which would now be placed at the ends of the magazine's pages.

4. We Wrote and Drew the Application's User Journey and Interaction with the Magazine
5. We Used MarvelApp and Photoshop for Prototyping
6. We Created an Introductory Video



Featured Research through Design Publications

Applying Critical Voice in Design of User Interfaces for Supporting Self-Reflection and Emotion Regulation in Online News Commenting. Kiskola et al., 2021.

Unsocial commenting in online services is a persistent problem. One facilitator of problematic behavior is the text-based interface that shapes and constructs communication online. The specific roles and effects of interfaces are not yet understood, which requires a critical analysis of current interface solutions as well as exploration of alternative interfaces. This article reports on design research that envisions solutions to unsocial and thoughtless commenting on news sites with a critical voice.

Contributions:

  1. identifying critical perspectives to a specific problem area in UI design;
  2. four design artifacts. The artifacts embody different critical perspectives and could serve as solutions (or inspiration for other solutions) to reducing incivility in online news commenting;
  3. views on the acceptability of the artifacts based on interviews with senior journalists knowledgeable about comment moderation
  4. reflection on emphasizing critical voice in problem-centered UI design.

Reference to the article: Kiskola, J., Olsson, T., Väätäjä, H., Syrjämäki, A. H., Rantasila, A., Isokoski, P., Ilves, M., & Surakka, V. (2021). Applying Critical Voice in Design of User Interfaces for Supporting Self-Reflection and Emotion Regulation in Online News Commenting. In CHI '21: Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445783

Research: User-centred quality of UI interventions aiming to influence online news commenting behaviour. Kiskola et al., 2022.

News comment sections provide an opportunity to maintain public discourse. However, uncivil commenting is unfortunately common. We explored how to address this issue through speculative design. After creating eight slightly strange design proposals, we asked 439 news commenters from around the world to react to them in an online survey. We hoped that our proposals would provoke the commenters to reflect on them. Fortunately, that is what happened: we received a large amount of diverse, relatively in-depth reflections on the proposals.

Link, a Finnish language blog post on Rajapinta.

Reference to the article: Kiskola, J., Olsson, T., Rantasila, A., Syrjämäki, A. H., Ilves, M., Isokoski, P., & Surakka, V. (2022). User-centred quality of UI interventions aiming to influence online news commenting behaviour. Behaviour & Information Technology, 1-33. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144929X.2022.2108723

Contact

Email: joel.kiskola(at)gmail.com

Resume

I have my resume in LinkedIn.

Copyright © Design 2024 Joel Kiskola

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