AM+A provides user-interface and information-visualization development consulting services for consumer electronics, financial/banking, medical/health, media, travel, vehicle systems, and other vertical markets. Our clients’ products and services are mission-critical, complex, information rich, and driven by business, marketing, and engineering objectives. AM+A brings 27 years of experience to thorough analyses and innovation and provides solutions that are usable, useful, and appealing. AM+A operates in Berkeley, California, USA, and includes Associates with backgrounds ranging from cognitive science, software engineering, and cultural anthropology to graphic design and branding. AM+A provides these development services:
- Planning (primarily design, but also business, marketing, and engineering)
- Research (design; but also marketing, business, engineering)
- Analysis (brainstorming, detailed factor analysis)
- Design (conceptual, perceptual; visual, verbal, auditory; 2D, 3D)
- Implementation (programming, scripting, illustration, writing)
- Evaluation (focus groups, user testing, remote testing, ethnography)
- Documentation (guidelines, specifications, user manuals, executive marketing presentations)
- Training (all aspects of user-centered user-interface development)
- Maintenance (on-call services during software/hardware builds; revisions)
In 1967, Aaron Marcus became the world’s first graphic designer to work with computer graphics. In the 1970s, when a hard drive was the size of a refrigerator, he was already designing virtual environments and navigation through information spaces. He quickly identified the user interface as a major factor in implementing the user experience of computer-based products and services. The untapped potential to turn information into knowledge motivated him to become a researcher in computer graphics and a pioneer user-interface designer by 1969. After teaching for more than a decade, he founded the first independent, computer-based graphic design firm in the world in 1982.
In 1982, when the Apple IIe was the hottest PC on the market, Aaron started AM+A, the first design firm to specialize in user-interface design and information visualization. AM+A worked on advanced research projects such as improving legibility and readability of the C programming language. Tests of AM+A’s visual design specifications proved to increase code comprehension of novice programmers by 20 percent.
For ten years, AM+A concentrated on R+D projects for major corporations and the federal government. In the early 1990s, anticipating ubiquitous computing and the emerging Internet, AM+A shifted its emphasis to the design of market-driven projects for both large organizations and smaller start-up companies.
AM+A finds that the challenges of fundamental visual communication reappear with each new generation of products. Our pioneering and rigorous approach, grounded in proven principles of visual communication, information design, and human factors, has contributed to the evolution of every generation of user interfaces.
AM+A designs user interfaces and information visualizations that enable people to make smarter decisions faster: any technology, any platform, any user community, any medium, any content, any culture, any time, any where.
AM+A design methodology involves analyzing how users of interactive systems accomplish tasks, and based on this analysis, developing designs that display and communicate information effectively. Our objective is to enhance ease-of-learning, ease-of-use, productivity, brand loyalty, and satisfaction. AM+A’s development process includes planning, research, analysis, design, implementation, evaluation, and documentation. Interfaces are analyzed and designed with respect to five criteria:
Metaphors: Easy recognition of terms, images, and concepts
Mental Model: Appropriate organization and representation of data, functions, tasks, and roles
Navigation: Efficient movement within the mental model through menus, dialogue boxes, and control panels
Interaction: Effective input/output sequencing, including feedback
Appearance: Quality perceptual characteristics
We believe that if complex products are designed in a way that balances appealing form with clear and powerful functionality, products and services will have a distinct advantage in the marketplace.
Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc. has been in business for more than a quarter-century, providing user-centered solutions on projects ranging from start-up ventures to business applications launched by some of the largest companies in the world. AM+A has served approximately 300 clients and completed approximately 500 projects.
Our emphasis is on thoughtful analysis/design and measurable benefits. This focus has attracted high-quality clients who rely on the concrete improvements we can provide. Our experience in multiple markets, our history of invention and innovation, and our knowledge and design solutions bring a competitive edge few other firms can provide.
We understand our clients’ business requirements and work hard to leverage the opportunities available in their markets. Combined with our commitment to user solutions, our ability to manage projects and our years of success partnering with our clients’ project teams dramatically differentiate us from other design firms.