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.