Week 5 Readings

GESTALT-IDEAS AT THE INTERFACE BETWEEN THEORY AND PRACTICE

Something early in this reading really stuck out to me. It was one of the disadvantages of the progression of technology. It was referring to the fact that in today’s society we have access to any information we want basically through a click of a button. But what really stuck with me is when he said that because of this we are reducing knowledge to mere information.

This is really interesting to me. It points out the difference between someone having information because they own an iPhone and are able to look anything up and actually knowing the information and possibly having your own opinion or feelings about it. This is a huge difference.

Not only is one able to form their own opinion about a given topic rather than stating facts, but they are able to expand upon their knowledge and relate it to other things or ideas, new and old. If someone has no knowledge on a certain topic but look it up and read the facts really quick, it is much more difficult to immediately have an opinion and almost impossible to expand upon that topic.

Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology

Chapter 5 is about the ambiguity when it comes to the measurement of qualities of a product. For instance, how do you measure joy, social appropriateness, viability, etc.? Although a lot of designers have tried to find ways to measure it non are globally accepted. But this does not mean that designers do not have to keep these quality in mind when designing a product.

Just because there is a not a set-in-stone way to calculate these qualities and follow a set design path to meet the requirements doesn’t mean that they can be ignored. Designers are forced to account for all of these qualities in their design process. Because designing is a mind-set, that mind-set has to involve these qualities.

This is a very important part of design. Obviously, a designer would want their product to excel and have high marks in these immeasurable qualities. It is what sets the best designers apart from the rest, the ones that have the ability to measure these qualities in abstract ways.

30 personas 

This reading was about a new method to account for any aspects of a design that you might have missed. It is called the persona method. Although this method has been used since the 90’s there is no cookie-cutter way of doing it.

Basically you create the persona of the person you are trying to target with your design. Then you walk through their day-to-day life, actions, aspirations, and so on keeping in mind ways of improving your design. It is like a imaginary test run of your product.

This method allows you to get a sense of how your product would perform in the real world, in real world scenarios. I believe this is an effective method to improve design. It is a process that a designer should go through after having a vision of a product, to improve upon that vision and inevitably the final product.

Week 4 Readings

The Design of Everyday Things

This reading is about the use of constraints to guide someone through a process. In the reading, he uses the example of building a lego motorcycle. All of the pieces have a predetermined location as to where they are supposed to end up, but he did not give them instructions on how to put it together. However, they were able to complete the task quickly. This is because the subtle constraints put upon them.

There are four types of constraints talked about in the reading, physical, logical, semantic and cultural. In the example the physical constraints are the shapes and colors of the pieces. The cultural and semantic constraints help to determine which pieces went together for all but one. This is where logic comes in, having no where else for the piece to go it guides you to the correct destination.

I agree with the concept of constraints allowing people to eliminate possibilities until they are left with one or a few processes that make sense. It is like the contrapositive of intuition. Where intuition is ones ability to understand something immediately, and these constraints allow for understanding through the process of elimination.

Universal Principles of Design

This reading was all about marketing design for the public as well as for the designer. It talks about the importance of functionality in relation to the importance of aesthetics. In today’s society both are important, and some level of standard is placed on both functionality and aesthetics.

That being said, according to the reading functionality is more important than aesthetics. This makes sense to me. It wouldn’t matter how aesthetically pleasing something is if it doesn’t work. For example, if you built a building solely to make it look aesthetically pleasing but the building was unable to support itself or people inside of it, the building would be useless.

All in all, today’s society is in a a constant flux of shaping design and being shaped by design. Many of the products everyone has was design to be compatible with their way of life. However, those products also play a part in shaping society.

Week 3 Readings

Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology

(Chapter 2)

Chapter 2 in the reading goes through the ‘design of the design process.’  This basically allows the reader to be walked through a healthy way to go about making a design. This method involves 3 stages, vision, operative image, and specifications. The method utilizes these three stages, making them play off each other throughout the design process to ensure that the final product is the best it can be.

The main thing to note about these stages is that they are not steps to be taken in a linear fashion. To correctly utilize this method the designer must jump from stage to stage as needed throughout the process. For example, a designer could comes across an aspect of the design during the specification stage that conflicts with something from their original vision. The designer must then go back to the vision phase and alter it to something new and then move on to the next stage.

This reading made a lot of sense to me. The authors said early in the chapter, the design process isn’t really something that someone can easily sum up in a few words. I knew during the design process not everything is going to go according to plan and inevitably there would be alterations, but I never could formulate a process one could go through that would just work every time. I think the authors did well defining this phenomena as stages experienced throughout the design process in a non-linear fashion.

Drawing Connections – How Interfaces Matter

This reading was about the importance of interfaces. As we make progress into the future, so does the advancement of technology. Technology has now become completely embedded into people’s everyday lives. People always have their phones, and because this is true people are always readily available for communication.

Communication and its convenience in today’s society is another key aspect to this reading. With the steady growth of technology, communication, and its accessibility, is becoming more and more of a prominent part of day to day life. With that being said, most of our communication is done through some sort of interface. Thus, increasing the importance of interfaces and society’s understanding of them.

I often found myself lost within this reading. I understand that when someone has a very in-depth knowledge of certain events or topics it is hard to dial the terminology back a bit in order to reach a larger audience. However, the parts I did understand I agreed with. I took a class at the end of last year about technological advancement and its effect on society. A lot of what I learned in that class aligned with this reading.

Week 2 Readings

Design Thinking: New Innovative Thinking for New Problems

This article was very useful in relation to walking someone through the design process. I like how they described it as a mindset instead of a step-by-step process. Not every problem has a cookie-cutter solution or solution process that always works. It is because of this that the innovation process has to be a mind set.

I also like the section about innovation teams. Generally in businesses and every day life people feel the need to fill a specific niche that society has guided them to. However this is not be the best approach to solving most multi-dimensional problems. People with different skills and methods should be put into groups to attack problems from multiple different perspectives. Doing it this way is more effective in coming up with out-of-the-box ideas.

I enjoyed this reading. I am a strong advocate of group work over individual work. I think it produces more creative and effective results, and most of the time those results are obtained quicker. Going more in depth to group work, what the group consists of is also important. Design thinking is achieved effectively through groups that consist of people with different perspective and backgrounds.

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

This reading is about interfaces and human interaction with them. Without humans and there interactions with technology and with each other, interfaces wouldn’t exist. That being said they are an important part of day to day life. Whether it is for business or work humans constantly interact through interfaces.

This is a very strange concept, and one I find very interesting. It is something that is dependent on something else to be qualified as “existing.” While that is true, we also depend on the use interfaces to complete tasks. We rely on the use of interfaces so much that they have become intertwined with modern day society.

Another thing I found interesting about this reading is how he compared the human mind to a system of functions, and how that could relate to machines and how they operate. Basically our brain creates a task with a goal, figures out how to complete that goal, and then sends a message to the rest of our body to complete that goal. It is a lot like how machines work, however their ‘brain’ is programmed to do certain tasks.

Play as Research: The Iterative Design Process

This reading, obviously, was about the iterative design process. Eric Zimmerman, wrote about three case studies all involving game design to display how the iterative design process was used. He goes on to talk about the difference for design when it come designing for pleasure or designing for need. In this case, however, all of the case studies are about the process of designing for pleasure.

The iterative design process can be found throughout all three case studies. In the words of Eric Zimmerman “iterative design is a design methodology based on cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analyzing and refining a work in progress.” Basically you first come up with a prototype. Then you test that prototype and analyze the ways in which it worked, how it failed, and how it can be improved. After that, you make a few changes and make another prototype and start the cycle over again.

This design process makes a lot of sense to be. However, this method of design processing differs greatly from common methods like the design of gaming consoles. Where one has a vision and then plans out every inch of the design “down the minute detail” and then create it. By using the iterative design process, you get a result that is more creative and successful final product.