Reading Response for Week 10

This week’s reading was an article titled Interfaces of Immersive Media. In this article, author Julie Woletz discusses the notion interfaces within immersive and interactive media. Woletz argues that interfaces of media are not recent developments brought on about by new developments in technology but rather modern iterations of efforts to immerse people in media that go back centuries.

Woletz discusses examples of immersive media comprised of panoramic paintings that date all the way back to 1787. Additionally, Woletz provides examples of many other devices that were made during the early 20th century that sought to give users more immersive experiences. Such examples include The Holmes Card Viewer, the Sensorama, and MIT’s Head Mounted Display. Reminding us that the interfaces of immersive media are no new development.

I found this article to be interesting. Mostly because it reminded me of the developments in Film that I have learned in my other film classes. It is honestly crazy to think about what the future is going to look like.

Week 9 Reading Response

This weeks reading consisted of a list of tools (programs and websites) that could provide some help for our class’ interactive designs. For the most part, the programs and sites found on the list are geared towards helping designers draw screen mock-ups of their interactive designs. In short, many of these tools help create templates for what an interactive application would look like. In fact, many of the tools incorporate the use of wireframes, which we learned to use just last week.

While the list provides a wide array of tools from which students can choose from, I found that most of the tools on the list did not pertain to my design problem. As many of these sites were geared towards creating computer and mobile application mockups. My interactive design is not a digital application but rather a three-dimensional device that is meant to be worn by a user. Additionally, the device does not contain a screen.

However, I found many of the tools in the list very helpful for many of my classmates who are dealing with applications. In fact, as I was reading through the programs, I could see many of my classmates’ work being brought to life by these tools.

Reading for Week 8

Design Interactions

The reading Design Interactions by Bill Moggridge is an article that concerns itself with the possible meanings of Design, the skills of Design, its complexities, implications and finally, its future. A very interesting reading, Design Interactions first reminds us that “Design is everywhere–and that’s why looking for a definition may not help [us] grasp what it is.” Furthermore, many ideas that we have already learned in class where reiterated and given more far more context. Such ideas included the notions of: knowledge, constraints, and Design as a discipline.

Touching on the importance of constraints in relation to design, Moggridge reminds us that “good design comes from the successful synthesis of a solution that recognizes all the relevant constraints…” In other words, constraints shape a design as much as its purpose. Furthermore, it is the nature of these constraints that “defines the difference between design disciplines.” For instance, Design Anthropometrics is concerned with the sizes of people and how this might affect a design (think cockpit of fighter jets, video game controllers, etc.) while Sociology within Design concerns itself with the way in which people communicate with one another via multiple mediums (social media, letters, phones, etc.) In short, there are many design disciplines that create designs that are best suited to deal with issues that concern each discipline. These disciplines can also, and often do, work together to create interdisciplinary designs.

I found this article to be the most interesting and quite honestly the most inspiring of the two articles we read this week. It gave me new insights as to the importance of design in our everyday lives and the effort that goes into making these designs. It definitely gave me some ideas and inspiration for my own project for this class.

 

Wii U: Miiverse: The Developers
This reading is a transcript from a conversation between the developers of Nintendo’s Wii U: Miiverse. The transcript provides many insights on the minds of the developers and their approach to designing this new form of media. It is specially interesting to hear the individual thoughts of the developers on the challenges they faced in their own words.
However, I did find a lot of the talking to be a little redundant and quite honestly not as engaging. Nevertheless, very valuable insights were given by people who are experts and are very well regarded in their field. Case in point, these developers were working for none other than Nintendo.
Although not as engaging, I did like the fact that these people were very passionate about what they were designing and did not let the challenges that they faced completely define their design. There is something very valuable to learn from these people.

Reading Response for Week 6

This week’s readings were a continuation of last week’s reading 30 Personas by Lynn Nielsen. This week’s articles, Personas- a simple introduction and A Closer Look at Personas… furthered developed the ideas of what exactly a persona is, how they work, their objective and how they can help a designer. In addition, the second set of articles for this week’s reading, titled Better User Experience Using Storytelling, concerned itself with the inherent design of good storytelling.

In the articles, Personas- a simple introduction and A Closer Look at Personas… we are once again introduced to the concept of personas within the field of design. According to the articles, personas were initially developed by computer scientist and software developer Alan Cooper as a “way to empathize with and internalize the mindset of people who would eventually use the software he was designing.” Today, designers all around the world still use the ideas set forth by Alan Cooper. Understanding that a deep understanding of the user is fundamental to creating a successful design. Not coincidentally, successful stories are often successful because of their design. In fact, across many different cultures, some of the most famous stories seem to share the same basic structure.

These articles were very interesting to read. As I continue to work on my design, I will put a lot of my time and effort into understanding the users of my device. For I want this design to be an enjoyable experience that keeps users engaged and keeps them coming back for more.

 

Reading Response for Week 4

The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things, Chapter 4, is concerned with the knowledge that is necessary for a consumer to know before engaging with a new, unfamiliar design or situation. According to the author, when we are faced with devices or situations that we have never encountered before, we resort to our previous and extensive knowledge of the world to help us figure out what to do. In Norman’s own words, “Knowledge in the world includes perceived affordances and signifiers, the mappings between the parts that appear to be controls or places to manipulate and the resulting actions, and the physical constraints that limit what can be done.”

According to Norman, a user’s knowledge on how to approach a new situation can be greatly aided by perceived affordances, signifiers and constraints that point to how the new situation should be approached. A good designer knows this, and so his/her mission will be to implement these notions in a design to improve the effectiveness and success of said design. As such a designer will create a device in which its own physical characteristics facilitate the operation of the device, giving the device better affordance. The designer can also choose to implement signifiers to point users to the right direction when operating the device. Additionally, the designer will take advantage of the constraints that are inherent to the design of the device to help the users figure out how to use the device and also how not to use it.

Norman makes mention of four different types of constraints that exist in design. These constraints are: Physical, Cultural, Semantic, and Logical. A good designer will use these cues to “limit the set of possible actions” a user can perform on a device. In return, a user will determine other proper courses of actions in accordance to his/her given knowledge about the constraints of the design, whether they are Physical, Cultural, Semantic, or Logical. These notions will all be very helpful towards the design of my very own design.

 
Universal Principles of Design

The selections from Universal Principles of Design were all rather short. For the most part, the selections covered the definitions to many terms that I assume are all part of a design theory of sorts.

While many of these terms were not new to me, I did find the implications made by some of the terms to be quite interesting. I found Hick’s Law to be very interesting, not because I thought the idea discussed was mind-blowing (it’s not) but because of how its implications are obvious. Ockham’s Razor is also a very interesting concept that makes me think of a lot of contemporary devices that implement the idea set forth by this term.

I could see how these terms are very useful to designers. As I could see how my design could be helped by implementing some of these terms.

Reading Responses for Week 3

Thoughtful Interaction Design

Chapter 2 of the article Thoughtful Interaction Design, concerns itself with the process by which an idea for a design is brought to life. For this reason the chapter itself is named The Process. In this chapter, authors Lowgren and Stolterman argue that there is no one specific way to approach the creation of a design. Instead, the two advocate for a process in which a designer does not abide by the rigid steps of established design processes but instead uses his/her own “reflective and critical mind” to borrow elements from set design processes to assist in the creation of the design. For this reason, it is critical that the designer has, as Lowgren and Stolterman write, “a thoughtful understanding of how design can serve a purpose.” This will provide the designer with some direction, and the creation of a design will follow thereafter.

Furthermore, Lowgren and Stolterman identify three levels of abstraction that are present in the early stages of the design work. These are the Vision, the Operative Image, and the Specification. In their own words, Vision refers to the “First organizing principles that helps the designer to structure the initial attempts to respond to the situation at hand.” As such, a vision is not a solution to a “situation”.On the other hand, the Operative Image refers to the very first version of a design. It is “a first externalization of the vision,” which is, more often than not, comprised of sketches that convey the general idea of the vision. As the process continues, these images will become more detailed and defined. Finally, the last level, Specification, refers to the decision to stick to one final Operative Image and make this the final and definitive design. A designer, the authors argue, should learn how to interweave these levels of abstraction through a “fully dynamic dialectical process.” Where one learns that each level continuously influences the other.

As a designer myself, I found that this article confirmed some of my own beliefs about the design process while also providing new and valuable insights. I agree with the authors that creativity is essential towards the creation of a design and that if a dilemma is to be solved one must be creative enough to find a way out. Additionally, I agree with their notions of how a designer should communicate with others who work on the project and the steps that need to be taken to achieve a vision. In short, I found this article to be very interesting.

 

Drawing Connections–How Interfaces Matter

The article Drawing Connections–How Interfaces Matter concerns itself with the significance of computer interfaces in the world of today. Author Jan Distelmeyer points out that once elaborate and clunky interfaces have, in the wake of the 21st Century, now become so seamless, we often tend to forget that they are even there. Quoting N. Katherine Hayle, Distelmeyer reminds us that new media platforms like smartphones, laptops, GPS devices, etc. “have created environments in which physical and virtual realms merge in fluid and seamless ways.” However, Distelmeyer reminds us that the significance of the interfaces used in these devices cannot be understated.

Furthermore, Distelmeyer advocates for “the establishment of the discipline of interface studies and analyses in the humanities.” He argues that the study of these interfaces is highly important, if not necessary, as they “define today’s reality in mani-fold ways.” He points out that there are many more interfaces around us than we realize. For instance, while we may recognize that there is an interface that helps us users connect with the hardware of our smartphones, we may not realize that there is an equally impressive interface that connects these smartphones to larger networks such as cell phone towers and the internet. These interfaces exist, and while we may not be aware of them the way we are of the operating systems, they are actively defining today’s reality.

I found this article to be the most interesting out of the two that we read for this week. Before reading this article, I had some basic insights as to what an interface can do. However, upon further reflection about the contents of this article, I realized the extent to which these interfaces influence our modern way of live. It is honestly crazy to think that just a couple of years ago we used to live very different lifestyles which were then improved thanks to new advances in hardware and interfaces. All in all, this was a very inspiring article that will definitely have an influence in how I approach the design of my own interactive design.

Biography

My name is Oswaldo Calvo. A third year student at UCSB, I am currently A Film and Media Studies major with plans to also minor in French. Before coming to UCSB, I studied at the local high school and middle school in my neighborhood of Koreatown, located in the heart of Los Angeles. Having came to the U.S at age 9, I completed most of my elementary school education back in Mexico. As for my work experience, I have worked in various construction sites throughout Los Angeles, performing mostly physical labor and working in demolition. I currently have no experience in interaction design. I look forward to learn valuable skills from this class.

Design Problem