Reading Response Week 10, Jason Floyer

In this journal, Julie Woletz briefly goes over the history of immersive media, and argues that the value in immersive media lies in the interplay between the recipient and media, as opposed to solely the technology itself. For example, Woletz points out that while we have made increasing efforts to improve our image spaces, we have yet to fully incorporate the body by “enabling kinesthetic action.” I like the fact that Woletz made note of the evolutionary history of immersive media, starting out with frescos and panoramas leading up to the sensorama and modern devices like oculus rift.

Woletz breaks down the degrees of immersion in virtual environments into three categories: non-immersive, semi-immersive, and fully immersive. This made me realize that most of the devices we interact with fall into the first two categories since almost none of them block outside stimuli. Woletz explores an interesting idea saying that the ultimate display would be a room where the computer can control the existence of matter. Only this would accomplish the goal of being fully immersive and interface-less. This reminds me of the training room that Neo and Morpheus used in the Matrix. Since the idea of having this kind of interfaceless room is technologically far away, the challenge for designers is to incorporate as many elements of bodily interaction into virtual environments.

This article makes me wonder about the future of immersive interaction in media. One can assume it will only improve, and I believe that people are starting to realize the value in it. However, it is interesting to see that at least in my mind it has progressed relatively slowly. The use of 3D immersive screens and kinetic inputs have been utilized to some extent by gaming companies but not much in other areas. Like Woletz suggests, I think that an improvement in the interplay between the recipient and the media, and the development of solid kinesthetic controls may be what it takes to make virtual environments more useful.

Reading Response Week 9: Jason Floyer

This reading consisted of a list of prototyping tools to help with drawing screen mockups.   The list was in alphabetical order and contained many prototyping tools. They varied in what their emphasis was and some appeared to be free while others cost money. It was hard to look at all of them since some of the links no longer worked and others required some navigation to see their features.

For my digital prototype I think that finding a tool/program that is simple and easy to use, but has the right amount of tools to design a good aesthetic is something that would be ideal. One thing that interested me is that some of them offered interactive features that could be useful when demonstrating my prototype to others.

I noticed the list was last updated in 2014 so I wonder if there are any new tools/programs that have been released since then. Overall I think this is a very good list and I hope to find something that works for me and my project.

Week 8 Reading Response, Jason Floyer

“Prototypes” In Designing Interactions

In this chapter, Bill Moggridge discusses what design is, why we need it, and what role it has in the near future. Moggridge walks tentatively towards a definition of design. He brings up the response of Charles Eames in saying, “What are the boundaries of problems?” when asked what the boundaries of design were. Eames believed that good design came from the recognition of constraints and that the nature of the constraints defines the differences between design principles. Moggridge goes over the core skills of designs, which also serves as an iterative template for the process of design. One interesting thing that Moggridge talks about is how the mental process of design often fall into the subconscious mind. He argues that design requires tacit knowledge that is best acquired by doing. I wonder if the “greater capacity of the subconscious mind” he mentions is a real technique that can be harnessed or if it is just a fact that people working in design have to think big and small.

Moggridge then goes over the hierarchy of complexity starting from anthropometrics and going up to ecology. It was very interesting to read about this level of design thinking and how it is applied to different sorts of problems. I find it interesting that ecology or how things relate to the environment and the interdependence of living things was at the top of the complexity chart. It seems like the practice of sustainable design has not even been considered until very recently, and maybe because it is one of the hardest problems or “constraints” to work around.

Moggridge moves on to explain why we need a design discipline. He explains that an architect is required before an engineer builds a house. He also claims that design resides in the field of human and subjective thinking, as opposed to the technical and objective realm of engineering and science. In reference to interaction design, he points out that our world will soon become fully digitalized, with computers being built into every conceivable space. I agree that with this increasing complexity comes an increasing need for the discipline of design.

 

Iwata Asks, Wii U Miiverse, The Producers

In this discussion, Satoru Iwata asks members of the production team about the design process of the “Miiverse”. One thing that stuck out to me was the fact that the team of producers was comprised of people with different and important skill sets. Some worked in the Network business department, one was a director, some worked with Hatena, and others were involved with design and UI.

Another thing that struck me was that the “Miiverse” was in fact very similar to the solution to my design problem, except some of the parameters and constraints were different. But much like my solution, “Miiverse” can connect to games, with multiple features for connectivity such as snapshots, messages, and even drawings! It is interesting to see how features like this were added to a browser since the parameters or constraints compared to a regular computer were very different.

The cardboard paper prototype tool with paper that slides in and out was an ingenious way of testing the system in a very low-budget way. It was interesting because since the console controller is a very tactile experience it seems almost necessary to create a similar experience in the prototyping stage. Even though it seems rudimentary it serves as a good reminder that it doesn’t take many resources to create a paper prototype, and the benefit they provide can be well worth it.

 

Week 5 Reading Response: Jason Floyer

Shapiro, Alan N. “​Gestalt-Ideas at the Interface Between Theory and Practice​” 

In this journal, Shapiro argues that our high tech information society along with the way our education system is arranged is hindering the ability of society to form new original ideas. He claims our “20th century idea of an idea” needs serious rethinking and revision.  Part of the problem is that there is an extreme separation in many disciplines between theory and applications or practice. Shapiro recommends a hybrid between theory and practice as a way of advancing our society.

One example of the “paradigm shift” he describes is the use of blockchain technology and its ability to create “technological anarchism”. Because blockchain technology can simultaneously establish terms of contract as well as a system of trust  it can bypass current institutions and decentralize transactions. One implication of this technology Shapiro describes is its ability to create an “Internet of Creators” A system where artists and creators could circulate their work with each other and society. Another example is the use of AI and self-driving cars. Cars would eventually “own themselves” and become “profit factories” yet they would serve everyone. This would be the synthesis of the advantages of private and public systems.

Shapiro goes on to describe what he thinks will be the development of a new brand of trans-disciplinary education. Eventually after stages of abstract discourse and purely vocational schools, a marriage will occur and fragments of ideas from the humanities bound together with practical design projects will be the new “Idea Gestalt”. With this system, ideas brought into the business world would not be introduced merely to function, but to transform.

 

Löwgren, Jonas and Eric Stolterman. CH5 Thoughtful Interaction Design

In this chapter, the authors argue that designers should question product qualities and provide a use-oriented set including motivations, sensation of interaction, social outcomes, and structural features. Their first example was an ATM machine. The use of an ATM machine had foreseen and unforeseen social behavioral outcomes, and just like any product was designed to facilitate change in how we act. They go on to describe Macromedia Director and the degree of transparency, which determines how the artifact can be used. Compared with the ATM, director is rather transparent and has applications beyond its surface value. The example of Macromedia Director made me remember my own time working with Adobe Premiere, and the amount of transparency needed to create professional editing software that enables a high degree of expression.

Like first reading, the authors go on to talk about the “dynamic gestalt”. In this case they define it as the overall character of a digital artifact being more than the sum of its constituents. I find it interesting that this idea of “gestalt” seems to repeat itself in design. In this chapter the authors focus more on the overall “character” that defines a digital artifact but in both articles the idea of gestalt seems to imply the marriage of different systems or parts.

This article was a valuable look at the intricacies of design. I never thought that there were so many use qualities that exist in nearly every digital product we interact with. I think it’s going to be a challenge to try and incorporate all of them into the design project but at the same time very necessary to think through them and heed the authors advice of not allowing ourself to skip the questions of product qualities even if there is no obvious way to measure them.

Lene Nielson, Personas

In this article Nielson describes a persona as a an aspect or area of focus that is used to highlight specific context and relevant attitudes. I have never dealt with personas before and to me this definition is somewhat vague and confusing. Nielson goes on to describe the four perspectives on personas. The first one is the goal directed perspective, which maintains the designer understands the user. The second is role-based perspective which share goal direction and focuses on behavior. The engaging perspective is the ability to use stories as insight and involvement. To me this sounds like the most compelling option and it seems that many things like commercials, video games, and films use this technique. The last is the fiction based persona which is used to explore design and generate insight.

Nielson goes on to describe the ten steps of using personas for ideation with the four main ones being data collection, data analysis, persona descriptions, and scenarios for problem analysis/idea development. One of the main benefits of using a persona is that they give a design team a mental model of a particular kind of user which allows the prediction of their behavior. When thinking about my design problem, I think I was doing this subconsciously as I was trying to put myself in the shoes of the prototypical “kid gamer” and how they would interact with my interface.

One interesting concept was the inclusion of a narrative and stories that take static characters and immerse them in meaning. As a film major it is interesting to see that this process which is used in artistic storytelling can and should be used in almost everything we do. The whole chart of narrative elements including characters, time, conflict, setting, and resolution can be used in a scenario in regard to personas.

Reading Response #3 Jason Floyer

“The Design of Everyday Things” Dan Norman pp. 81-104 

In this section, Dan Norman describes some of the problems that arise with memory and everyday systems. He starts out describing some design principles that play a role in how we use and distinguish between objects. One idea that I found interesting was the ability of constraints to simplify memory. Constraints reduce the vast  amount of information that must be learned to a reasonable quality. This is similar to our reading about creativity, that talked about how creativity as a process that flourishes when there are constraints that must be worked around. Allow too much freedom and creativity is given no anchor with which to grow from.

Norman brought up another interesting dilemma of security in our systems today. One problem is with passwords. If a password is too simple it presents a security problem since criminals can guess it. If we do what security experts tell us to do, and use multiple complex passwords, we may not be able to remember them. Therefore we often resort to insecure methods of remembering such as writing them on a post it attached to the computer. I was surprised at how relevant this example was and it reminded me of the idea that at times “all solutions have negative consequences”.

Norman then goes into the issue of memory itself. First he talks about STM and how it is limited to a small number of tasks before it is compromised. He suggests using multiple sensory modalities like sight, sound, touch, hearing, and spatial locations to combat STM interference. His example of revamping the driving experience to include haptic and auditory feedback when drifting or changing lanes is brilliant to me and makes me wonder why this is not being used today. He then goes into LTM and offers another solution for committing seemingly arbitrary things to memory by assigning them with meaning. His example of the the “natural mapping” of the turn signals of the motorcycle was interesting and showed how something seemingly arbitrary could be reframed as something meaningful. His last method of using approximations was also very useful and I learned something that will help me convert Celsius to Fahrenheit.

“The Universal Principles of Design” Lidwell et al.

In this book the authors define a number of important design terms. The first term is affordance, which is defined as the a property where physical characteristics of an object influence it’s function. So it is important that affordance corresponds with the intended function for something to perform efficiently. Another term that was defined was archetypes. Archetypes are universal patterns of theme and form resulting from innate biases or dispositions. This is a useful idea when considering a design project since finding and aligning archetypes (in my case a family friendly font) will result in better results. Another recurring idea that was brought up was that of constraint. In this instance a constraint is a method of limiting the actions that can be performed by a system rendering it easier to use. One constraint I could apply to my project is to limit the number of characters that can be used in a message to a friend.

Consistency is the idea that the usability of a system is improved when similar parts are expressed in similar ways. I have never thought of this before but an example of this that I realized was the drag and drop system used on my Mac and how this action is enabled over a wide range of menus/windows. “Form follows function” was described as the beauty in design as a result from purity in function or as the idea that aesthetic considerations should be secondary to function. This reminded me of my iPhone. I always thought that the use of a grid of large application icons was slightly ugly, but the ease of navigating and using them beats any type of menu system. The “flexibility usability tradeoff” is the decrease in usability when there is an increase in flexibility. This also reminded me of my iPhone and specifically the difference in flexibility/usability in iPhones and android devices. While iPhones are somewhat limiting in their use of applications and customization, their usability is very good. And although android devices allow a great deal of customizing freedom, they are at times more complicated and less intuitive to use.

Hick’s Law is the idea that the time it takes to make a decision increase as the number of alternatives increases. This is another reminder to try and lean towards simplicity in the design of my system in order to decrease the amount of time used for decision making. Ockham’s Razor is the idea that given a choice between equivalent designs the simplest should be used. To me this idea seems rather intuitive, but it again seems to stress the important of simplicity in design.

 

Reading Response #2 Jason Floyer

Thoughtful Interaction Design, A Design Perspective on Information Technology CH2

In this chapter, Jonas Löwgren and Erik Stolterman talk about the design process and the early stages of it in particular. They describe the design process as a journey from “vision to specification”. The vision is the first organizing principle, which leads to the operative image which serves as the first externalization of the vision, which then leads to specifications which are sufficiently detailed decision. This process sounds fairly obvious, but what interested me is that Löwgren and Stolterman emphasise that while the design process in general moves from the vision to the specification, it does not move there in a linear fashion and in fact jumps between the vision, the operative image, details, and specifications.

Another interesting idea from the beginning of the chapter is when Löwgren and Stolterman talk about the “design of the design” process. It never occurred to me that it is also important to think about the design process itself in order to ensure that all angles are covered. The “design” of design process is described as a heavy thinking exercise where one must reflect on the bigger picture, role, approach, and needs for skill and competence. Another interesting idea was the inevitability of dilemmas. For me it seemed always seeking the right answer is the way forward, but it turns out that sometimes there is no right answer, and all choices have some unsatisfactory outcomes. This is a good thing to keep in mind for my own design problem.

Löwgren and Stolterman later move on to the management and social aspect of the design process. One thing that I learned was the necessity to keep the integrity of the vision, which can be difficult when there is a large team. One of the methods to help keep the vision intact were to increase informal communication between positions and management. Another was to have entrust the execution of the vision to a qualified project leader or a team.

Drawing Connections, How Interfaces Matter

In this article Jan Distelmeyer describes the complexity and pervasiveness of interfaces in our society and how it is important to think about them. One interesting idea Distelmeyer describes is how we are both passively and actively interacting with interfaces since our devices interface with each other as parts of a vast network. I agree with Distelmeyer that since interfaces are our way of forming relationships in computing it is an important subject to study.

Distelemeyer describes graphical interface as the “blockbuster” of todays’s digital politics as they help us navigate through both the “real and imaginary”. She goes on to describe that graphical user interfaces visualize what the computers offer to do. I never realized the fundamental importance of being able to easily link decision making to the basic components of a computer such as the motherboard.

Later in the article the importance of operative images is brought up. Operative images serve neither to inform or entertain, but to instruct us about usage through multilayered interface facets. I did not fully understand the four interface facets and therefore also do not fully understand the value of operative images.

 

 

 

Reading Response #1, Jason Floyer

Design Thinking: New Innovative Thinking for New Problems

In this article, Rikke Dam and Teo Siang address Design Thinking, and how it is increasingly important in a world with complex intertwined problems. One aspect of Design Thinking that I found interesting was its emphasis on human centered innovation and humans as opposed to users. In order to address problems based on human needs it is increasingly difficult to approach them using linear or technical approaches. When human centered interaction is emphasized all of a sudden it becomes much easier to think in terms of what “could be” as opposed to thinking in merely practical terms. This type of thinking is what births true innovation.

Another thing that I found interesting about Dam and Teo’s article was their equation of mindset + team + environment = innovation. The idea of having the right “mindset” never occurred to me but I realize now that it is important harness open and explorative ways of thinking as well as logical ones in order to create innovative solutions. The use of innovative teams are also an important part of the design thinking process. Dam and Teo mention that “boxed” organization of talent where one type of skill are confined to certain jobs and departments won’t be enough to solve the problems we face today.

The most interesting part of the Innovation Equation for me was the need to create environments conducive to innovation. When Dam and Teo talked about the importance of having a dynamic workspace and the fact that companies like google spend large amounts of money to do so made me wonder about my own environment. I wonder how much of an impact can a dynamically designed room, kitchen, or classroom have and wether there are things that I could do to improve my current environment

There Is No Interface (Without a User) A Cybernetic Perspective on Interaction

In this Journal Lasse Scherffig takes a look at the history of design interaction as well as the relationship between the user and the interface. In the journal, Scherffig counters the idea that interfaces are designed and exist before they are used. Instead Scherffig claims that the interface in itself does not exist but rather comes into being as it is used. For me, this was a difficult concept to wrap my head around. To me it makes sense to think about interfaces both ways, as a framework that exists, and as a product of user interaction.

Scherffig takes a brief look back to the origins of interaction and the evolution that took place in computing. He goes all the way back to the 1940s at MIT where “analog” or continuous computing was used at first to build a flight simulator. As the project progress its designers became more interested in “digital” computing and eventually scrapped the idea of the flight simulator and designed one of the first digital computers named “Whirlwind”. I think this is a good example of how something important was “stumbled upon” and relates back to the process of innovation mentioned in the first article.

I found the idea of ensuring that the user has a “mental model” or idea of how a system should work an important one especially since it is something to keep in mind for my design project. The idea of moving the system closer to the user and the use of direct manipulation are also important fundamental ideas that I should think about in my design project.

Play as Research, The Iterative Design process

In this article Eric Zimmerman highlights the viability and importance of play as a means of research and work. He chooses games as a prime example of something that is and end to itself and is designed as a form of delight. Zimmerman argues that the best way to to create games is through the iterative process which is a circular process of test, analyze, refine. This process is something that can be applied to everything and could be a valuable tool when in my design project.

Zimmerman uses specific games as case studies for the iterative process. He describes the experience of games that he’s worked on such as Sissyfight as well as other games like Loop and Lego Junkbot. In the development of these games he highlights the intense process of questioning, testing, and prototyping that is used in order to achieve the end result.

Zimmerman then moves on to describe his company Gamelabs a game development studio. In it he talks about creating a unique environment where play becomes synonymous with research and work. The company had an environment designed to foster play, creativity, and empower individuals to seek out what was interesting to them. This reminded me of Dam and Siang’s article where they briefly mention companies like google creating dynamic work environments in order to foster innovation.

Biography

My name is Jason Floyer, and I am a film and media studies transfer student from Santa Barbara City College. This is my first year at UCSB and I am currently a junior. I don’t have much work experience, but I used to be a delivery driver for Door Dash. I don’t have any background in interaction design, but I do have some experience using software, mainly video editing software. I look forward to learning about interaction design and I think it will be a valuable and unique experience!