Steve Arakelyan – Reading Week 10

This article talks about different interfaces and what actually defines an interface.  One of the most interesting parts in the article was the one-person reality machine.  It’s an amazing invention of the time since virtual reality was not a possible concept of the time. It also matched sensory feedback such as wind and sound effects, which is very impressive for its time.

By 1968, there was already a full virtual headset one can put one and fully function.  It’s very similar to my design project, as it uses stereoscopic displays for each eye to display a 3D like image for the user. Each eye gives feedback of spatial depth and this is still used today, and it is the most advanced technique for virtual reality.  To add movement, the environment around the user can seem like they are in motion to make the user feel like they are moving around the environment.

This is very interesting as I never knew this concept was around for almost half a century.  I thought virtual reality was a fairly new concept, but people have been testing it for years now. It’s amazing to see how far we got, as the article displays an image of the first headset, and it’s more like an arcade machine than a headset.

Steve Arakelyan – Week 9

This week’s reading is a list of websites and tools one can use to aid them in solving their design problem. Many of these tools I’ve never even heard of, and this list can come in very handy when trying to sketch out my ideas. The Blueprint app stood out to me, it was very simple and easy to use.  It seemed like it could be very useful in organizing my ideas.

On the other hand, Handcraft seemed a lot harder to use and more complex.  The user would have to know how to code and use Javascript. It also has a monthly subscription fee, which means its not just a program for intermediate users.

Overall, these websites are really useful and very well organized. I would definitely use this list if I wanted to address by design problem.

Week 8 Reading – Steve Arakelyan

Design Interactions


The article by Moggridge states a very important fact, that the internet made connectivity a major part in design problems and solutions.  I can’t imagine a world without the internet helping me research my design problem.  This helps as one person tackling a design problem by themselves will be extremely challenging and hard.  But as the number of people working on it increases, the work load eases, making it easier.  This is where the internet comes in, as people from around the world can team up, but also have the world’s information at their fingertips.

Another aspect followed by this is the fact that it’s not about employees’ abilities and talents, but more about addressing the constraints.  Designers can have all the talents in the world, but constraints control the ability to solve the design problem.  Each person has their own prior knowledge and lack of knowledge, therefore combining people’s constraints can help focus on their best abilities.

This reminded me of our group summaries we had to do in class.  We all divided the tasks based on who had the best ability for each job, in order to solve our problem. But as stated, design problems are always changing, but constraints make it difficult to change the design problem.


Wii U: Miiverse: The Developers


This article also follows on the idea of tackling a design problem. It is a transcript among workers that are explaining how they made a prototype out of cardboard.  They also had a design that the interface could be used to make personal aspects such as screenshots.  The also explain how it was challenging to reach their design solution, and this made it more interesting to hear it from personal stories.

Although these were more personal, I felt as if it was more robotic.  I wish it was a video of the people getting interviewed, rather than transcripts. I think the tone and facial cues would be interesting to see when listening to an interview, because this way I didn’t feel as engaged.

A point that stuck out to me was when Motoyama said he’d only worked on PC and smartphones, but never on a gaming console.  So, this would be a challenge for him, but he decided to join the board.  I think this is important because Nintendo decided to hire designers with different abilities to address the design solution from different angles.

Week 6 Reading

Personas – A Simple Introduction

We are currently focusing on personas in class, which helped understand this article better.  Trying to understand personas is like trying to connect your design problem with all walks of life.  We currently use personas to have different types of people connect with our different scenarios we have created in order to solve our design problem.

By reading the article and listening to lectures in class, I’ve realized that making the persona as complex as possible to mimic what an actual user would be like.  One must observe people and gather data in order to create a persona that would match real life tendencies.  There is no way for a design to be successful if it doesn’t connect with the user, the user determines how effective and useful it really is.

I think the articles were extremely useful for this week because our homework was directly correlated with personas.  It really put it into perspective on who the design is for, a user, not just to solve a problem.  Only the user can determine if it solved their problem, it’s not enough if the designer feels like it would.


A Closer Look At Personas

Coming from the Personas article to this, it was interesting to compare and contrast views on personas.  Seeing it from the eyes of a skeptic really puts it into perspective on just how effective it can be, but what flaws it contains. Shlomo Goltz didn’t feel it was important and used to actually be against personas.

The question, “do I really need to use personas” was extremely useful because I questioned it at first.  It emphasizes how the user needs to enjoy the design, which then increases the number of users.  It also highlighted how if the design was just made for the designer, then they would just focus on their needs, but in this case, it’s for a user, and they need to listen to the user.

Personas work by tapping into people’s “humanity”, but understing the data projected in the personas, you can realize the final goal.  One line that stuck with me in this portion was to “keep the user at the heart of everyone”, which made me take a step back and realize that my design isn’t just for me.


Better User Experience With Storytelling

I have never heard of the process of storytelling for a design, but the article mentions that it’s a fairly new idea.  Graphic design is a visual aspect for the design, but storytelling is in the mind.  This means allowing the user to have some kind of personal say in the design, which contributes to the storytelling.

This article reminded me of video games, and the importance of storytelling in a video game design.  For me personally, if a game has no story behind it that I can connect to, it becomes very boring after a while.  The reason people continue playing a game is if it’s extremely fun or if there’s a story they feel connected to.  If these variables aren’t present, then I feel the game becomes a bore after a while.

Christian explain how storytelling gives the design meaning, giving the user something to work towards to, for a deeper meaning. Nowadays, many corporations have a story associated with them, such as Apple with Steve Jobs.  Everything has a story, stories are all around us, and give us a better understanding or knowledge of things and make it important to us.





Readings Week 5 – Steve Arakelyan

Shapiro, Alan N. (2018) “​Gestalt-Ideas at the Interface Between Theory and Practice​” ​Interface Critique Journa​l, Vol. 1.

Communication is extremely important in design, if any miscommunication exists, many issues can come about. The article touches on the importance of it and how trying to be original and unique in the process plays hand in hand.  The author also introduces three phases when transmitting ideas to society.

The first phase is the pure idea, where the university does not communicate with society, which essentially makes them act like an “ivory tower”. The following phase is the specialized idea, which is different than the first phase as the university should focus on the business side.  The final phase is the Idea-Gestalt, which is different from the first two, which brings in new designs into the economy.

Essentially, this article touches on many aspects of design and communication.  It explains to the reader that to successfully design isn’t just the actual design, but the proper communication and preparation to succeed is important.  To make something unique requires a collective thought process where everyone understands each other’s needs.

Löwgren, Jonas and Eric Stolterman (2007) “Chapter 5: Methods and Techniques” In Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology.​ Cambridge: MIT Press.

This article was interesting to me as it introduced certain designer problems.  Glass box is when the designer breaks down a large problem into smaller ones to help ease out the work load and minimize mistakes.  Then there is black box, which the designer has the solution in mind, but isn’t fully realized yet with a method.  Overall, there are numerous methods introduced, but these two stood out to me the most.

Another aspect for the designer is constantly asking questions for their design problem.  By constantly asking yourself questions, you can start to find answers for things you originally didn’t even plan on trying to solve. I believe this method is very similar to us creating 40 solutions.  When I was creating the 40 solutions, I kept wondering why was it important to solve this, what issues does it really cause?  Because of this, I started to create more solutions that fixed more problems than just that one single design problem.

Overall this one was one of my favorite articles as I was able to connect it to classwork.  The second portion about constantly asking questions really made me better understand why it was important to do multiple solutions to one problem.  It helped make the design more clearer, as I understood what issues really was important and needed solving.

Nielsen, Lynn (2018)​ “​30. Personas​” The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.

In this article, the topic of personas is introduced. I have a pretty strong understanding of what a persona was before reading this article, but I felt like it refreshed my memory and added new insight.  Personas are extremely important in design, as it can help better understand and connect with your audience.  I think this strongly resides with the idea of video game protagonists.

I’m currently playing a video game called Red Dead Redemption 2, and the persona is actually very important in what makes the game such an amazing game.  The protagonist might have an outlaw persona, but the actual player can choose to be noble, giving this rough exterior to the protagonist, but having him also have morals. I think by creating this persona in the game and allowing the gamer to choose whether he or she wants the protagonist to be good or bad, really makes the player connect with the game more.

Nielsen doesn’t just leave it at personas, but how to create a successful one.  He lists many steps on reaching your users such as creating hypothesis and then putting them to the test.  Then he adds how it’s important to constantly make adjustments in order to please the user, which I feel like Red Dead Redemption 2 does without having to have the designer constantly updating the game.  They allow the user to feel in control, making their own on-going adjustments in order to achieve the exact persona they feel suits their play style.

Reading Reviews Week 4 – Steve Arakelyan

The Design of Everyday Things

In this article, the author discusses 4 crucial categories that are viewed as constraints.  They are the logical, cultural, semantic, and physical constraints in a design problem.  Physical constraints are the actual limitations of the real world around you.  Semantic is the limitations of the meaning around you.  Cultural are the differences among cultures that don’t allow them to fully work together. Logical constraints are the thought process behind it and the work that is actually created in order for it to all come together.

As it continues, the author introduces other terminology, starting off with interlocks. Interlocks as explained, makes sure that the sequence stays the same and continues. He follows this with lock-ins, which is exactly what it says, it keeps it going and “locks it in” before it can stop.  Finally, lockouts, are also exactly what their name suggests, as it keeps people out from interrupting a space or putting themselves in dangerous scenarios.

I found this extremely helpful, especially the constraints as we can use that in our design projects.  This will help us adjust and alter out design problem by stating our own constraints that are limiting our project.



Universal Principles of Design

In this book, I really connected with this as it took a standpoint of marketing.  It talked about how consumers identify with certain brands and base their lifestyles off of them.  It even touches on the designer’s standpoint, as making things too complex doesn’t only add a constraint to the consumer but opens up more possibilities for errors when manufacturing them.  As stated in the “Archetypes” section, the designer must be wary of all types of design when making their solution.

This reading also mentions how important it is that the design focuses on the functionality rather than the actual cosmetics of it.  It is more important that the solutions works than the look is considered.  Obviously appealing to your consumers visually is very important as well, but what’s a good-looking product that doesn’t work as intended.

Overall, we live in a world where people are now more aesthetically pleased than ever.  We always have to be viewing something, and I feel as if people care more about how something looks then its actual functionality.  As a designer nowadays, I feel as if they must now equally pay attention to both the aesthetics of the design and the simplicity of its functionality.

Reading Reviews 2 – Steve Arakelyan

Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology

I enjoyed both of author’s perspectives when it came to the design project.  The Dynabook was especially interesting as it focused on aiding children learn better.  This is what leads to the idea of starting a design project, and the early stages of the design process. They state all the steps a project goes through before it is full realized, even its trials and tribulations.  They mention a “dilemma” but unlike any problem in the real world, it doesn’t have just one solution, it can be many, and it can be beneficial to the process.

Near the end of the article, they discuss the social aspects of the design project, and I found that very interesting.  In order to create a design project, a group of dynamic people is needed to achieve a diverse outcome.  So many people affect the outcome of the project, At the core would be the main designers and users, followed with the outer circle of people that have invested or are invested in the project, and finally the social environment surround the design project.

Overall this article was very insightful in explaining what people go through when finding a design problem, and then going through the processes of finding a solution.  I feel as if it cleared up a lot of confusion for the project we have, especially by stating that a dilemma does not have just one given solution.



Drawing Connections How Interfaces Matter


This article focuses on present technology, such as mobile devices making it much easier for people to virtually communicate than ever before.  We are constantly communicating, more than we ever have because it there are so many readily available ways reach people.  Interfaces are all around us now and cannot be ignored.  Even the design project I want to do will have an interface that will help better communication.

With technology growing so rapidly, as stated in the article, it becomes the most convenient way to communicate.  This can increase communication amongst people that may be shy otherwise, but hinder face to face communication. Hopefully the interfaces created will eventually add some type of in person communication in order to not lose a part of our humanity.

Overall this article was an interesting read as it touched on aspects of today’s generation.  Interfaces are everywhere, and the more aesthetically pleasing and user friendly they are, the more people would want to use it.  This is definitely going to be important when creating something that I want many gamers to be using, as I want to incorporate and easy interface with human interaction aspects.

Reading Week 2 – Steve Arakelyan

Design Thinking: New Innovative Thinking for New Problems

The article “Design Thinking: New Innovative Thinking for New Problems” by Rikke Damn and Teo Siang is about how there are different ways to approach issues, by creating a solution people have not thought of in order to solve problems people face.  What stood out to me the most was how different the approach to issues were, especially nowadays.  Face to face was critical, human connection was more important than technology taking the wheel.

Following this was how people nowadays feel that creativity and being gifted is something you are born with, but people need to change their mindset.  Everyone has their own unique talents, and if there are some you are not as strong in, it can be learnt. This is followed with how bigger corporations tend to stagnate the creativity of people, only allowing them to think how they want them to think, to maximize the efficiency at work.  Then it is followed with two other steps, such as being able to collaborate well with others, but also making the environment we work in more suitable for innovation.

Overall this article was a very interesting take on how to tackle problems nowadays.  Ive always felt creativity has been hindered as you get older and you get a job.  On top of that, with social media swaying your judgement on how truly gifted you are, it can really change your outlook on life.  Human connection is vital in this day and age, and it would be very important to use it to solve current issues.


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

The following article discusses the idea between when an interface exists.  They ask the question, does the interface exist when it’s used or when it’s made.  This touches on the subject that mankind has used many interfaces to communicate.  For employees that wanted to clock out, they punched their cards, or programmers using zeros and ones to code computer programs.  Eventually this led to programs that could be used to share data and finally creating graphical interaction.   Without this timeline, social media we know today would not exist, making this timeline incredibly important.

Continuing the reading, the article talks about the “Whirlwind, which was a creation by the MIT Servomechanisms Lab.  Originally it was made to become a flight simulator, but it was not used for that overall.  Nowadays, this computer would not be a big deal, but at the time of its creation, it was a huge deal.  It was the first of its kind, it would be able to be run a task, but then put that task on hold and work on something else, then resume back to it.  This is a normal feature for computers now, but this was unheard of at that time.

Without these humble beginnings, we would not be where we are with our current technology. Our apps, social media, or even touch screen wouldn’t have been created if we didn’t have these origins. All these slow progressions created pathways in order to invent new types of technology.


Play as Research: The Iterative Design Process

Finally, the last article touched upon the iterative design, which is a cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analyzing and refining works in progress.  An example of this design was used in games such as Loop and LEGO Junkbot.  The reason this design works so well is that it allows the creators of the game to properly work on the game.  They get to increase the quality of the game by equally sharing the responsibility of how the game is, between the creator and player.

In order to design a game, one must have a set of rules.  Following this is crafting the play, by the players using the rules to create their own unique experience. This is the designer’s responsibility, to create a structure within the game and have the players test it out.  Giving this equal role of responsibility for the success of the game.  This is crucial because the creator might create something, but the player may change it in a way that’s more enjoyable, discovering new ways to push the game to a new level.

I think iterative design is extremely important and I see it in almost every video game nowadays.  Game designers tend to put out their product before releasing it for players to rest out and return feedback.  I’ve seen many video games turn from mediocre to fan favorite because they allowed the users to bend the structure of the game to their liking.  Without having equal roles, both sides can suffer in the production of the video game, therefore this design method is very useful.