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.