Reading Responses Week 8

Moggridge. “Designing Interactions”

Moggridge’s article introduces what is design, explains the hierarchy of complexity, and talks about design discipline in both narrow and broader view. His article first reiterates the repentance of the design process. “The process does not look like a linear system diagram, nor even a revolving wheel of iterations, but is more like playing with a pinball machine, where one bounces rapidly in unexpected directions” (650). Therefore, he reminds us that designing is not a linear process, and designers may discover and refine their design problems and solutions several times.

I am impressed by his section regarding a hierarchy of complexity, where he gives suggestions for designing different kinds of systems of objects. In fact, I found inspiration from his discussion of the importance of sociology in the design of connected systems, since it highly relates to my design. As he states, “when we are designing connected systems of products, services, and spaces, which are used in real time, the brain of any designer who tries to absorb all of the constraints is like to explode” (655). His words remind me that how helpful the critic in the class is. Actually, I am constrained in designing an application merely solving the difference in time zones at first. I am exploded since I can not come up with better solutions with my limited experience. However, the whole class reminds me that I could focus on the reminder function in order to cater to more users. The whole class, (the team) helps me to better understand the constraints in this problem and helps me design a more useful product.

His introduction to design discipline is also helpful in reminding me to discover the users rather than imagining them. He states that “operating at a subjective level, it is difficult to tell whether we are synthesizing the right set of constraints or whether the information is accurate” (659). After all, it is the designer who overviews and has the vision to the whole project. If the designer replaces the targeted users’ view with his or her own view, even the most excellent engineer could not help the product to earn the favor from the users. The whole project may fail then. Thus, learning about the users and using design discipline contribute to the success of a product.

The Case Study of Wii U

This case study provides an example of the prototype. Since THE Wii U GamePad controller did not come together, this Motoyama made a mockup (I guess it could be considered as a prototype), to check the feeling when people use it. In this mockup, the team members could insert pieces of paper in the top to change the display, to see how it looks like when users hold the controller. Thus, the prototype visualizes the products and help designers better understand what their products look like and make adjustments on whether the logic or the appearance of them.

In the second part, Kurisu says that “when we could use MII characters of ourselves, it suddenly felt like service that I myself could use.” I think it is a great strategy for them to use MII characters of themselves, since then they could are excited to use the product they design. As a result, these designers could at least try to understand what the feelings of the users, and then find and fix the parts that they feel uncomfortable or inconvenient. This part also emphasizes the importance of teamwork. Kato admits that the term helped him to make adjustments and “devised a way to make it faster and more smoothly”. 

I found the empathy part is the most interesting since I found out that even the professional team like Wii’s also face the problems of trying to overthrow the designers’ own imagination. Kato mentions that during the debugging, many customers “use Milverse in more ways than we ever imagined”. Therefore, the customers may provide insights for the designers that beyond the designers’ limitation. I then realize that besides empathy also involves really observing the users’ reactions and then makes changes to break the limitations of designers themselves.

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