Monday, November 23, 2009


1. What seminar readings, exercises, or assignments were most challenging, interesting, or rewarding for you? Why?

The most challenging exercise for me was the discussions. Sometimes I felt like I had something I wanted to say, but the topic had already passed and I didn't want to hold up the discussion and return to it. Also in discussions like that I find it hard for me to jump in, when we are leading it as a class. I feel like sometimes people cut each other off, and also that type of setting isn't the most comfortable for me. However, I feel like I got more vocally involved as the class progressed. I also felt more comfortable because of the atmosphere we created as a class. Everyone was more receptive to others thoughts and our conversations flowed more and seemed more natural.
The most rewarding assignment was the Wikipedia assignment. To have written THE Wikipedia article on something is an accomplishment, and I am pretty proud. I wrote about the tiny town of Kilauea where my large family lives. I was surprised at the amount of information I found about such a small town. When I told my family that I had written the Wikipedia article on their town they were really excited. I liked the assignment also because it forced me to be concise and unbiased. I hadn't really done an exercise like this before. I didn't receive the grade I wanted on my initial paper, but I worked hard on the revisions and was very satisfied with my revision grade. I went through several drafts on this paper, something I also hadn't done much of in high school. The writing center was very helpful, and I definitely plan on using it as a resource in the future.
The most interesting part of this course was learning about the psychological aspect of design. This included the readings on store design and the readings about how designers manipulate customers. The layout of stores, towns, and products are strategic.

2. What are the most important things you learned in this seminar?
The relationship between a product and the user. The mapping, affordances and other aspects of a product that should be made clear to the user to eliminate frustration. I learned about the psychological aspect of design and how strategic designs are in manipulating customers. I learned how to be a part of a discussion that is lead by the class without one moderator. I learned the steps of making a good presentation. I have made many many power point presentations in my lifetime, but never with much structure. I learned how to make it visually effective, that I should outline my presentation before I actually make it, how to keep it concise, and how to make it relatable to my audience.

3. How might you use this learning in the future?
I'm thinking about going into advertising or web designing. If I do so, I can definitely use what I have learned in this seminar class. When I get a job, no matter what it is, it is most likely that we will have meetings and discussions where my colleagues and I will conduct the discussion ourselves. Through seminar I have had good practice with this. I now know how to make concise and effective presentations that are to the point. I will definitely have more of these in the future.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Behavioral Architecture

1. What are examples of architectural design that you consider to be epic failures?
The locks on the mailboxes in Hicks are epic failures. I think locks in general are examples of bad architectural design. Most locks are turned to the right first. The locks on the Hicks mailboxes are to be turned left first. There is no mapping or visual clues that let people know this. In fact, I know people who still struggle with opening their mailboxes because they are used to turning locks to the right first. On the inside of the mailbox it states directions on how the user should turn the lock left initially and then turn right past the first number, and then directly left to the last number. However, one has to actually open the mailbox to find these directions which is backwards and not helpful at all.

2. Good, Bad, Ugly. Choose a building on K campus and analyze its behavioral and visceral usability.
The Dalton Theatre is a very viscerally appealing building, especially at night. Passersby are instantly attracted to the circular front, with white pillars and big windows. At night the building is well lit and the glass on the upper windows is colored and it looks really cool from the street. The mundane brick building wings connected on the sides are in the back of passersby minds because the attention is directed toward the center of the building.
I think the building is a good behavioral design as well. As one enteres the building, they are greeted by a spacious lobby with comfy chairs and a few plants. Straight ahead is the theater, which is well labeled. On both sides of the building there are classrooms on multiple floors. This design is very similar to the inside of Dow. The navigation is very straight forward.

3. What is the flaw in the current design process? How could this problem be fixed?

There is a lack of a programming phase and a feedback phase. Feedback is required fro the relationship between decision making and response. Feedback requires a review of architecture after it has been used. There is no feedback to "check that the assumptions sued in designing a building were indeed valid". The process also has little behavioral data. The programming and feedback phase work together to adhcieve social accountability which is lacking from the process because of the lack of these phases.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii,_Hawaii

Monday, November 16, 2009


1. Select a brief passage from the reading and post it on your blog. Explain why you thought it was interesting.
"We each like to think we (perhaps "uniquely") can resist advertising and it has no impact on us. This notion, which I will discuss in more detail in chapter 3, makes light of the power of advertising and helps us preserve our sense of autonomy and individuality. others are brain-washed by ads and commercials, but not us, we think- as we find ourselves purchasing products we feel, somehow, we must have. Thus, we play into the hands of advertisers who use our illusion that we are not affected by advertising against us. As the president of a large advertising agency told me, "Even lousy advertising works!"

It is interesting at how much of advertising's influence is subconscious. This is a great example of advertising agencies needing a psychological understanding of human minds to successfully socialize and coerce them into buying their product. There obviously is a lot of work and preciseness that goes into advertising so that people will go out and purchase the merchandise that is being advertised.

2. What do you think were the author's key points?
- Advertising plays a huge role in the socialization of people in our society.
- Even if people claim they are not affected by advertisements, they are. Advertisements are everywhere and they all give us a certain feeling.
- People are most influenced by television commercials because people on average watch 3.5 hours of television a day. These commercials are a part of "teleculture".

3. Why is it important to have a psychological understanding when it comes to advertising?
Because the primary goal of advertising is to not just create a desire for a product but to make viewers actually go and buy the product. For this to happen successfully, it is important to know how the person's mind processes images and then makes them want a product. People are greatly influenced by an advertisement even if they don't admit it. This influence can be subtle, but greatly affective. For example, in the reading the author said that certain ads give people certain feelings. A psychological understanding is especially important in the example I used in my answer to the first question. The understanding is important when subconciously influencing the minds of viewers.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fashion Design

1. Why is fashion so reflective, when it could be purely functional and behavioral? (Why do people feel an impulse to express and redefine themselves through their clothes?)
Fashion is reflective because everyone has their own distinguishable personality and style. People want to convey this to others through the types of clothing they wear. People also conform to others, and want to be included and accepted. They will wear certain clothes in order to gain approval. We humans also wear certain clothes to stand out because we inherently like attention. Certain clothes also give off a sign of economical status.

2. Jones discusses the importance of time as it relates to fashion- why does fashion change and evolve, instead of remaining static and functional?
I think fashion changes and evolves because people's personalities and interests are continuously changing and evolving. The way a person chooses to express themselves through their attire one year can be different from how they do it the next year. The styles of celebrities and people we look up to are also changing, which effects how we choose to dress. Designers cater to this. Economic times are also continually changing, which effects the price of clothes and the amount of shoppers.
People also want to be seen as modern and knowledgeable of what is current. An example from the reading to support this is when Sue Jenkyn Jones also writes, "being seen to be ahead or abreast of new styles and aware of current events can gives us the edge in an increasingly competitive employment marketplace". She then goes to discuss how certain clothing can grant people access to certain places or people.

3. Based on the reading, make a checklist of principles to consider when designing a garment.
* Price- people want to get the value for the money they are spending
* Quality- fabric and manufacture evaluation of durability. Easy-care and disposability should be taken into account.
* Fit- this is a difficult aspect because everyone has different preferences. should be aware of natural and average proportions for target market and of true fit model rather than idealized body.

*Comfort- people want to feel comfortable in their clothes.
*Relevance- should be appropriate for lifestyle, work and leisure.
*Brand- unique qualities and consistency of a brand builds up a reputation
*Convenience and Service- customers want to find what they're loking for quickly and easily.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Taste For Makers

1. Identify the thesis statement of this essay.
Instead of treating beauty as an airy abstraction, to be either blathered about or avoided depending on how one feels about airy abstractions, let's try considering it as a practical question: how do you make good stuff?

2. Identify at least 3 points the author uses to support that thesis.
-instead of telling you how everything looks, she tells her story so well that you envision the scene for yourself. Likewise, a painting that suggests is usually more engaging than one that tells. Everyone makes up their own story about the Mona Lisa.

-In architecture and design, this principle means that a building or object should let you use it how you want: a good building, for example, will serve as a backdrop for whatever life people want to lead in it, instead of making them live as if they were executing a program written by the architect.
- It's not so much that resembling nature is intrinsically good as that nature has had a long time to work on the problem. It's a good sign when your answer resembles nature's.
-Mistakes are natural. Instead of treating them as disasters, make them easy to acknowledge and easy to fix.

3. If you were to write an essay on the same topic, but with an opposing argument, what would your thesis be?

A good design is dependant on personal taste.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Downtown Kalamazoo

1. Write a short evaluation of Downtown Kalamazoo's business area using specific examples from Friday's observations.
I really like downtown Kalamazoo. I like the originality the shops and how they are unique to the city of Kalamazoo. It gives the downtown authenticity. There are no popular brand stores. For example, instead of a Footlocker there is a shoe store called V&A Bootery. To me, the main street is kind of boring and unappealing because it is filled with banks and restaurants. I like the side streets like Burdick and actually like the one-way street because it makes the area seem more peaceful. The abundance of shops isn't overwhelming and I definitely want to spend more time downtown to explore.

2. Give at least three recommendations to improve the downtown.
- The signs are very readable for pedestrians, but could be hard for drivers to navigate by. The writing could be in a bigger font.
- On the main street, many of the windows are dark and uninviting. The stores almost seem vacant. Some of the stores don't even have the name of the store visible to passersby. There should be more visual clues for passersby.
-The one thing that annoys me (and can be frustrating to drivers) about down town Seattle and downtown Kalamazoo is the abundances of one way streets. I like how the side streets like Burdick are one way because it reduces the traffic and chaos, but when trying leave downtown it is frustrating to find your way out.

3. Select a brief passage from the Gibbs and Whyte articles and relate it to Kalamazoo's downtown. Use specific observations from Kalamazoo to illustrate the point.
"An outstanding example of second storiness is Madison Avenue in the Sixties and Seventies. It is now probably the finest specialty-shop street int eh world, yet its basic elements are quite ordinary. The basic module is the five-story brownstone, twenty feet wide, ten brownstones to a block; and, while quite a few have been replaced by newer and higher buildings, the brownstone still sett the form and character of the street. With few exceptions, their first and second stories are used for stores, and the same is true with a number of the newer buildings that adjoin them".
The main street has a mix of modern and old buildings. The older buildings have several stories and the architecture is notably a different style from the modern brick buildings. These taller stories aren't open to public or used for the stores, but rather there for visual appeal. The mixture of these different types of architecture gives downtown its character and its historical charm.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Whyte vs Gibbs

1. To what extent do Whyte and Gibbs approach city design from different perspectives? Do you find one more convincing than the other?
I think Whyte talks more about the small details of a city while Gibbs focuses on the emotional connection between citizens and the city. Gibbs seems to get into the mind of the shopper more than Whyte, and dives into the psychological aspect of marketing. I like Gibbs approach more because he talks about the relationship between an area and the people inside of it.

2. What elements of an urban area are particularly attractive to you? What elements repel you?
What attracts me to an urban area are the bright lights, abundance of people, and variety of stores. To me the city is full of life, and there is so much to do and explore.
Personally, poor level of cleanliness and safety can repel me from an urban area. Urban areas tend to be dirtier, and tend to have more homeless people. I also can feel uncomfortable when my personal space is invaded by the large crowds.

Jensen and I have yet to test our egg container. We heard that peanut butter worked really well in the past, so we decided to use that. We also know that nalgenes are supposedly not supposed to break so we put the egg and peanut butter inside a nalgene filled with water.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


1. What do you feel were the author's key points in this chapter?

2. Compare Whyte's ideas on design to Norman's concepts that we studied earlier. What's similar? What's different?

3. Create a checklist, based on Whyte's chapter, that could be used to analyze an urban area.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Main Street

1. List the criteria Robert Gibbs uses to evaluate a Main Street
- Should be clean and easy to maneuver around, otherwise it will detract people from coming there.
- Make people feel safe and comfortable.
- Accessories should be limited and simple. The ground should be almost boring to look at, so that people's eyes focus on the stores.
- Design stores according to the fact that people naturally turn right.
- Grab people's attention effectively. They will be strolling by the store in just seconds and that is the amount of time allotted for the store to stand out.
- Accommodate to pedestrians and to people traveling by car.

2. Think critically of Gibb's argument. Do you think "Main Street" should be a mall?
I think with some improvements it very well could be. The detail and coloring have mall like qualities. The gym is an effective "generator". I like how Main Street has its unique small shops. However, there needs to be a balance between these small boutiques, and popular and larger stores. Like Gibbs says, "brands are what give you credibility", and people like familiarity.

3. Make your own checklist to judge a Main Street. What things do you think are important?
It should be clean, safe, and inviting. It should follow the right turn rule. I actually disagree with Gibb's views on distracting accessories. I think architecture outside of the stores actually catch people's eyes, and then their focus can turn to the stores behind these figures. There should definitely be places to eat and sit evenly spaced along the street. The stores should obviously be easily accessible and visible, with visual clues telling me what I should expect if I entered the store. They should catch my eye since they only have a few seconds to do so while I am walking or driving by.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Isn't It Itonic & The Power of The Box

1. To what extent is packaging important in marketing a product? Give an example of how a package influenced your decision to buy (or not buy) something.
Packaging is very important in marketing a product. It can make or break a sale. If a product is in a really cool or mysterious package in bold colors, a customer will want to buy it just to see what's inside. For example, there are many hair products that have the same purpose and function, yet I am drawn to those products that have bold color combinations, like purple and green, and that are in interesting looking bottles.
When I go to my neighborhood grocery store, I go to the Asian section because of the cool packaging on some of the products. The fact that I can't understand what the writing on the package means, also adds to my curiosity of what is inside the package. There is this type of soda that I buy. It isn't anything exquisite. These sodas are fruit flavored. What influences my decision to buy these sodas is the packaging. It comes in a skinny glass bottle. Where the hole is on the top of the bottle where the liquid pours through, is a marble ball. In order to drink the soda, one must use the plastic object taped on top of the marble to pop the ball down to the middle of the bottle where it nests.

2. What other products have iconic packaging?
Goldfish is an example of iconic packaging. Like Q-tips and Tide, everyone knows the colors are orange and white and that the crackers typically come in a paper bag. McDonalds' cheeseburgers are another example of iconic packaging. Everyone knows they are wrapped in yellow paper. Lays are in a soft yellow plastic bag, while Cheetos are in a fiery orange plastic bag with a cheetah wearing glasses. Heinz ketchup and A1 steak sauce are also examples of iconic packaging.
Yes all of these examples are about food!

3. What usability issues exist for packaging? Give examples of particularly good or bad packaging from a usability perspective.
The designer must find the balance between making a product look intricate, unique, and mysterious, and making the product simple and easy to learn to use.
Sometimes the packaging can be deceiving. The package could be a certain size, when in reality the product itself is much smaller than the packaging. For example, it bugs me when I buy candy at Walgreens and it is half or 2/3 the size of what the packaging tells you it will be. So this is an example of bad packaging!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Retail Analysis

1. What store did you observe? Who do they market to?
I observed the clothing store Frayed, located at the bottom of Academy. It is a store that sells many popular brands of clothing such as Roxy, Volcom, Billabong, and Vigoss. What is notable about Frayed is that they sell clothing that is made from recycled material. They market to young college students who want fashionable and comfortable clothing.

2. Briefly describe the following
a. appearance of store entrance (from outside)
Frayed has a large and spacious parking lot that leads up to the store. From the outside, Frayed has huge windows with displays of clothing and mannequins. There are huge hanging signs with clothing brand names on them. As you walk up to the door, you hear the music that is playing inside of the store because there are speakers right above your head.
b. sounds (inside the store)
Inside the store you are immediately greeted by the noise of music. There are three TVs hung on the ceiling, playing music videos. The music is loud but not too loud that it is obnoxious, or that it hurts your ears. This music is current music like hip hop and pop.
c. how the merchandise is displayed
The merchandise is displayed in several ways. There are many islands spaced throughout the store in a way that isn't overwhelming but packs a lot of clothes into a compact space. Each island has clothes hanging or folded. There are jeans or shirts hanging, but in the front there is a jacket with a shirt on the inside. There are also hats and purses on the top. The clothes are displayed in full outfits with possible accessories so that customers will want to buy more. There are also tables amongst these islands with neatly folded t-shirts, or jewelry displays. In the back are pillars connected from the ceiling to the floor. About midway on a pillar is a circular table with even more shirts displayed. Frayed really maximizes their space by packing as much clothes and other merchandise as they can, but do this effectively so that the store doesn't seem crowded and the customers don't feel overwhelmed.
d. floors
The floors are a beige colored cement. There are many medium sized rugs evenly spaced throughout the store. The floors by the fitting rooms are wooden. By the windows facing the street there is a platform area with more displays of clothing. This floor is also wooden.
e. signs
Besides the hanging signs in the windows facing the street, there are signs strategically placed in all of the displays advertising sales in the store. There are also many framed pictures of friends laughing and smiling hanging from the walls.
f. cashier area
The cashier area is a half moon shape in a diagonal from the entrance. There are four stools in front of this area for customers to sit on. Displayed in the cashier area are necklaces, earrings, sunglasses, CDs, and breast cancer fuzzy socks.

3. What image does this business try to project? Give specific examples of design elements that reflect this image.
Frayed is unique because it is a store that sells clothes made from recycled material. They project this image with the amount of wood that they have in the store. This helps with the idea that all of the clothes are made from recycled materials. Frayed also wants customers to know that these clothes are stylish. They sell name brands.
Behaviorally, the store works. It is very spacious and the islands are very effective because they hold a lot of clothes in one compact area. Visually, the store is eye catching from the street. An abundant amount of bright colored clothes, mannequins, and signs are inviting from the windows. Reflectively, this store sells many popular brand name clothes. Some are expensive, some aren't. The music videos blasting from the three overhead TVs are reflective of the age group the store is marketing towards.

4. How did customers interact with various elements of the store's design?
During the 20 minutes that I was in the store there were only about 5 customers, all of them women. Since the store is divided down the middle by gender, these customers were on the right side of the store. All of them circled around the store, covering every inch. A few tried on some clothes.

5. What did you find interesting about the design of this store?
The more I observed the store, the more I noticed the amount of wood the designer used. All of the tables were wooden with no paint. The islands were wooden. The walls in the back were wooden. The floor in front of the fitting rooms were wooden. The doors were wooden. The platform in the corner was wooden.
What was also interesting was the ambiance they were trying to create. As one enters the store they are greeting by two tables with street lamps at the top. There are a couple comfy couches with plants on the side of them. There is a piano in the boys section. The designer clearly wanted the customers to feel at home and all of the wood material contributes to the natural image of the recycled materials.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Science of Shopping

1. What points from this article do you feel are most important?
Most customers enter the store to the right. People will spend more time in a store if everything is spread out, because it forces them to wander throughout the store. The more time people spend in the store, the more likely they will buy more products. It is hard to control the amount of people visiting a store, but what can be controlled is the amount that the purchasers buy. Analyzing the habits and minds of customers is a growing business. Forming a relationship between the customer and the seller can help business too. The environment of a store is crucial in capturing the interest of customers.

2. How much do you personally feel you are influenced by a store's design?
When it comes to grocery stores, I don't think I am greatly influenced by the store's design. I usually have a list of groceries I need to buy. Because I inherently know where they are located, I usually go directly to their location and check out as soon as possible. However, if I am going to a retail store, this procedure is very different. After reading this article I learned that the store's design greatly influences my mindset and my actions in the store. Most stores place their fitting rooms in the back, which causes me to peruse around the entire store before trying my clothes on. Initially when I make my way to these rooms I have a few articles of clothing to try on, and by the time I enter the fitting room line, I have even more clothes dangling from my arms. I like things with symmetry. I am a very visual person, so if the store is symmetrical with many circular tables I will probably spend more time there. I think the set up of a store can really influence how comfortable the customer feels and can also influence how much time they spend there. I will also make more trips to the fitting rooms depending on how nice the people assisting me are.

3. Make a check list you could use to analyze a retail store like Paco Underhill does.
I will ask myself the following questions:
- What intrigued me about the store to enter it? Have I been to this store before? If so, what made me return?
- How much time did I spend in the store, and how much did I spend in relation to this time?
- How much of the store did I cover? Did I walk around the entire area?
- What is the relationship between me and the sellers? How did they interact with me?
- How did the set up of the store make me feel? What kind of environment did the layout create?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015

1. How does this reading relate to the concept of user-focused design that we have discussed in class?
The mapping of the design of a website should be easy to understand. The user shouldn't struggle to figure out how to use a product or a website. The purpose of a website is to solve the users problems, not create more. The designer should also know their target audience. People like to know what they are going to get out of the website or product they are using.

2. What points do you feel are most important?
I think the biggest point was to make the navigation easy. The user should know where they are and where they are going. The page should be legible, with enough text but not too much that it appears crowded. This text should be balanced with images that are not too flashy and obnoxious. The website should be kept updated with current information, which will make the user want to re visit the site again and again.

3. Create your own list of important design factors for a web page.
I think my list of important design factors for a web page are very similar to the points that the author touched on in the article. The navigation should be easy to understand. There shouldn't be excessive wording, and there should be graphics that balance this out. If I have to do too much reading, I leave the page. I think many people are lazy and if they want information, they want it right away. Reading through pages and pages of material to find this information is exhausting, and so personally, I will look elsewhere for the answer.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Know It All

1. What do you think are the author's main points in this article?
The author's main point is that Wikipedia is a work in progress. Wikipedia is a site that provides opportunities for self-expression from those with P.H.Ds or those who are 17 years old. However, this freedom can cause problems, such as unreliability as a source. The competition for edit counts has also become a problem. There have been editing wars, and many (teenagers) have "vandalized" certain sites as a form of entertainment. The author also compares Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Britannica, and thinks that Britannica is a superior and more reliable source.

2. An important part of credible writing is selecting good supporting evidence. Select a passage from this article that illustrates the effective use of supporting detail. Explain why you think it is particularly effective.
"Last year, Nature published a survey comparing forty-two entries on scientific topics on Wikipedia with their counterparts in Encyclopedia Britannica. According to the survey, Wikipedia had four errors for every three of Britannica’s, a result that, oddly, was hailed as a triumph for the upstart"
The author refers to a survey that gives statistical information, and then uses it to compare Wikipedia and Britannica.

3. Throughout the article, the author compares Wikipedia to the Encyclopedia Britannica, but not specifically on design. How would you compare the two encyclopedias from a design perspective? I am not familiar with Britannica as much as I am with Wikipedia. From the reading, I can get a sense of the behavioral design of the two and how they differ. Britannica is more of a collection of essays where as Wikipedia is information sources that are able to be edited by the public. For me, Wikipedia is very easy to understand. You type in the topic you are interested in, in the search bar, and results are listed on page where you can navigate as you wish. I have edited sources before for class assignments, and that can be a little tricky. I get a sense from the reading that Britannica is overall just a more superior source because it can not be edited like Wikipedia and also because the content is more sophisticated.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Organization and Preparation Tips

a) Organization and Preparation:
1. What do you think are the author's three most important points?
-- Know your audience! Understand who you are presenting to, and what they are wanting from you. It is important to know the environment and how much people already know about the subject at hand.
-- Be prepared! Outline your presentation before you begin constructing a visual, like a power point. Organize your thoughts and practice before presenting. Anticipate the possibility of a time shortage. Make sure you are making a point with your presentation.
-- Keep it simple! The audience won't be able to keep up if all you give them is facts, and you don't have a purpose and direction. Tell short stories because then the audience can relate more, and you can keep their attention longer that way.

2. How might you apply his advice to your own presentation?
He gives me a lot of great advice. In the past, I have started my preparation with a power point, instead of outlining my thoughts first. I will definitely do that this time. I will think of the audience I am presenting to, and take into account what they already know. I am going to try and keep it simple and relatable, because I know I have a time limit. I should be prepared for a technological malfunction, or any other circumstance that could shorten my allotted time for presenting. For each point I make, I will make sure that it has a purpose and that my direction is clear.

3. What do you think presentation preparation has in common with product design?
It is important for designers to know who their audience is, so they can target their product to their audience's likes and emotions. No matter how beautiful or sleek a product is, if the "content is not solid" or it doesn't function properly, than the outward appearance doesn't matter. Functionality is a priority. It is essential and smart for a designer to plan and outline the design before actually starting to design a product. Their ideas will be clearer, and they will have a better understanding of what they are about to execute.

b) Areas of design I am most interested in:
Clothes- the psychological tactics in retail stores
Mac products- ipod, iPhone, computers etc.
Everyday items.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Emotional Design (2)

1. Select a brief passage and explain why it was interesting.

(pg 71) Before they were introduced, who would have thought we needed typewriters, personal computers, copying machines, or cell phones? Answer: nobody. Today it is hard to imagine life without these items, but before they existed almost no one but an inventor could imagine what purpose they would serve, and quite often the inventors were wrong. Predicting the popularity of a new product is almost impossible before the fact.

I thought this passage brought up a very interesting point. It makes me wonder what the next technological phenomenon will be, or what the next everyday item like the phone will be. These next useful products are probably already thought of. What will be the next item that we can't live without? I can't imagine the next step after the iPhone, but it is most certainly already in the process of being made.

2. Norman uses the terms Visceral Design, Behavioral Design, Reflective Design. Do these categories seem useful to you? Would other names or phrases make the categories clearer?

These categories seem very useful to me. The breakdown of each type of design has made me think differently about each object I touch, and every product I use. I think the names of the designs themselves are accurate, but Visceral and Reflective are sometimes difficult to differentiate. The design that I can clearly distinguish from the other two is Behavioral Design. On the other hand, products can often be both viscerally and reflectively designed. For me, behavioral design is simple. It does what it was made to do and is practical. I feel that Reflective is what attracts most people, especially our generation. This topic definitely dominated our conversation in last class.

3. How could a designer decide if Visceral Design, Behavioral Design, or Reflective Design is more important for a particular product? Are some types of products more visceral, behavioral, or reflective?

It depends on what the function of the product is, and who the target audience is. Clothes are definitely a Reflective Design. The media and our culture tells us what is "hot" to wear. Although they may be expensive or uncomfortable, people still buy certain clothes for the approval of others and to feel more confident. I think Visceral Designs can be used to target younger children. For example, shiny and colorful toys on the shelf will immediately attract them. It also helps that children that age want a lot of things, so they have even more of an immediate "I want that" mindset. My dad is really into sleek new technological products, but I think his parents and that generation would be more interested in Behavioral Design. We just bought my grandma a new Mac laptop so that she can get an email address and keep in contact with her grandchildren. She wasn't really interested in the appearance of the computer but more in the function of email. It causes her a lot of frustration but she is getting used to it. I think since that generation is old and slowing down, they are more interested in simple and inexpensive products that are easy to use.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Emotional Design

1. In this reading Norman touched on the three important types of Design that influence people's emotions, the "tricks" that designers use to reel people in. These three types are Visceral, Behavioral, and Reflective. Visceral gets the immediate "I want it" reaction. It physically attracts the viewer to the product. Behavioral is about the function of the product. The most important thing is that it serves it's purpose. A product can look sleek and shiny, but if it doesn't perform how it was designed to perform, then it is worthless. Reflective Design is about the looks of a product, and how sometimes although it may cause frustration, a person will still buy the product to support their self image and to feel confident.

2. In the first reading, Norman talked about the basics of design- what made a successful one and a failure. In this reading he went into further detail of what goes on in the mind of the designer, and the relationship between the customer and the product. In this reading, Norman discussed about how designers create their products to trigger certain feelings and emotions to get people interested in their products. This reading was more scientific as well.

3. a) I think the ipod nanos are a good example of a Visceral design. They are bright and colorful and well advertised on TV. When they are advertised they are shown with the rest of the color options which makes them seem even more colorful and fun.
b) To carry around my money, ID, and credit card, I either use my pocket or a simple wallet. I don't use a big flashy purse or even a decorative wallet. The wallet I use does its job, it holds the different objects that I will be soon using. They are readily accessible.
c) I think there are some clothes that I buy that aren't very comfortable and I can get annoyed with them, but I still buy them and wear them because it makes me feel more confident when I get approval from others. These clothes can also be expensive.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Design Of Everday Things (2)

1. Select a passage and explain why you thought it was interesting.
"Each detail was added by some person, a designer, carefully thinking through the uses of the device, the ways that people abuse things, the kinds of errors that can get made, and the functions that people wish to have performed. Then why is it that so many good design ideas don't find their way into products in the marketplace? Or something good shows up for a short time, only to fall into oblivion?"
This concept is covered throughout the chapter that we read. Designers obviously think through and test out the product they are going to release. Norman then goes on to say that it takes five or six attempts to get the product right. Still the question remains with visibility, affordance, and mapping in the designer's mind, why are difficult designs still made? The author also wrote earlier in the chapter that it is necessary for the designer to understand the psychology of people when designing, which I think is also very important. People are comfortable when they know that their actions actually carry out how they thought they would when they created a mental image of them using the object.

2. Why do you think Norman's book (1988) still influences designers today?
This book is still influential to designers today because it explicitly explains what makes a design successful or unsuccessful. Obviously today, with the technology boom, there is a lot of competition to make the newest and coolest product. Designers today must still evaluate their product before releasing it, and from Norman's book can learn the qualities of a sound design.

3. What factors would you include on a checklist for evaluating the design of a product?
The visibility(or lack of), mapping, affordance, and constraints. It should be clear to the user how to operate the product. If there are instructions, they should be pictures with few words.
The mapping should be natural. There should be an equal amount of functions as controls. There can be a few more controls than functions but too many functions is confusing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Design Of Everyday Things

1. What do you feel were the author's key points in this chapter?
The designer of the product should provide visual clues on their product so that the user can easily understand how the object functions. These clues should make it clear to the viewer how each part operates. Without this visibility, the products will be difficult to operate and the user will be frustrated. When affordances are "fully taken advantage of", the user doesn't need signs or labels to figure out the function. If there are more functions than controls, there will probably be some difficulty. The designer should also understand psychology when designing their products because people like to feel comfortable in what they are doing.

2. Think of a specific object that you have had difficulty using. how did design contribute to making it difficult to use? Does the usability problem arise from one of the principles that Norman discusses in this chapter?
I had difficulty learning how to use my T-83 graphing calculator, and I still have problems with certain functions. There IS a manual that comes with the calculator, but it is very lengthy and looks like a book. Each button is labeled, but with abbreviations and some I still don't know what they mean, I just know that I must press them for certain functions. When you click certain buttons there is often a list generated with many options that I still don't understand. I feel there are more functions than buttons which is a design failure.

3. How did the designers of the iPod address the principles that Norman discusses here.
I think at first, anyone new to the iPod will have a little trouble figuring out how to work it, but it is pretty straight forward. It is easy to learn that when you scroll the wheel clockwise, that it navigates down the lists on the screen which visibly shows songs, artists etc. in language that is understandable. When you click the button, it plays or pauses. The iPod is easy to turn off and on. The mapping is good and the visual clues are all there.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Perfect Thing

1. What elements of the design process does this article illustrate?
The process for designing a product is a very long one. There is a continuous trial and error, and different versions are made until the final version is decided on. Many parties are involved with this process, and there are different organizations involved.
Products are continuously changing. For example with the iPod, there is always a new version being released that is faster, more reliable, and sleeker looking. Creating the next best thing is a continuous process.

2. What factors would you use to evaluate a "perfect thing"?
I like products that are simple and compact and aesthetically pleasing. They should be easy to learn to use. The product should work fast and fluidly. There should be little to no problems with the functioning. It can be really frustrating when a product freezes or shuts down when you don't want it to. The product should also be durable and long lasting.

3. Whether you own an iPod or not, you probably have some opinions of this product. What do you feel are its strengths and weaknesses?
I have a 3rd generation mini iPod and a 1st generation iPhone. What I love about the iPod is how it holds thousands of songs in a small and portable device. The battery life is pretty long, and I can navigate through artists and songs with ease because of the wheel feature. I love the iPhone because it has everything I want in one device. It holds all of my music, my email accounts, networking applications, internet, and other cool and random applications. I love being able to look up a movie time at movie theatres near me just by touching an image on the iPhone screen. It's really helpful when I get lost driving and I can click on the map icon and get directions home.
The downfall of these products is that sometimes they freeze or shut down when I don't expect it. Sometimes the internet connection via 3G on the iPhone isn't always fast.
Another frustration is the process of transferring songs from my iPod to iTunes. I bought a new laptop for college, and had a lot of trouble doing this. I still haven't figured out how to transfer all of my songs to my new iTunes library, which also effects my ability to sync songs onto my iPhone so I can't update it with new songs.

First Blog

A little bit about myself.. My name is Katrina Carlsen. I am from Seattle. I love to play basketball and lacrosse. What made me choose K is that I love the size of the school and the sense of community. I came from a small high school. I was also attracted to the study abroad program since I have done some service learning trips abroad during high school.

What interested me about Design Intelligence was that it seemed very modern, not that any of the other Seminar classes don't.. I'm a very visual learner and I love making presentations. I spend a lot of time on the computer, probably more than I should. I've done some work with photo shop but not much. I am also thinking about majoring in Business. I haven't taken a course like this before so I'm interested to see where it takes me.