Rhythm and Flow – A Conversation with Peter Stahl

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Today on Radio Johnny, Chris Baum talks with Peter Stahl, Senior Interaction Designer for Cisco. Peter thinks we are at a crossroads in the design profession, with tools and deliverables that are optimized for static experience. Peter explores the distinction between rhythm and flow; how flow could work across channels; how flow can be a lens to reflect on the success of our projects and as designers; and finally, the ways our deliverables might morph to encourage flow for all involved on our projects.


“I’m interested in coming up with some theory of what we’re after as user experience designers. The best user experiences are the ones where the user is no longer aware that they are participating in something that has been designed. Csikszentmihalyi’s theories, backed up by a great deal of research, resonated with me.”

“I find that, particularly as I work with younger designers, I’m hoping to use some sorts of principles that they can consult to decide whether they are going in the right direction rather than flailing about blindingly or using some random techniques from some random website to understand if they’re moving the ball forward, or downwards, sideways, or backwards.”

“We need new deliverables that reflect the new world of what our products are. They are no longer a series of static pages, so the deliverables need to evolve to reflect that. If we come up with a tool or a series of tools that help us accurately convey the vision of what our designs represent to a wider scope of people with less effort, then I think we’ll have really advanced the practice.”


* Follow Peter on Twitter @pstahl
* Find out more about Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that inspired the presentation.

Chris Baum

Chris Baum uses the design practice to build technology and solve hard problems creatively as a consultant in San Francisco. He has been involved in the technology scene for more than a decade, moving between designer and product manager, freelancer and full-timer, big companies and startups. In his spare time, he wrangles his son, cooks food, eats (some of) it, edits Boxes and Arrows, serves on the board of the IA Institute, and mentors several up-and-coming designers. Find him at about.me/cbaum or on twitter @cb.

One comment on this article

  1. pardeep on

    thanks for writing this up and doing the interview, it’s very helpful :)