Designing in the moment – Ch1

This chapter started out by reiterating the simple fact that,

A first impression lasts a life time

Every one knows that a first impression is important, and this holds especially true in regard to a website. I have heard many numbers in attempting to figure out how long users take to decide if they are going stay on your site. Who cares if its ten seconds or less than one second, the fact of the matter is that its important. So that being said let’s jump into looking at the books first few tips that will work to keep users on your site.

First and foremost the layout of the site comes into play. Every one knows that layout makes a huge difference in experience and that cluttered of confusing layouts are dreadful. In the book we start by looking at a sites layout and critiquing it so that important fields were properly sized for their content. The most important parts of the site were then capitalized on, every site has something its trying to promote, from products to site subscription; these are the calls to action. We can accent those by doing many things, namely making them large, repetitive, and/or having a accenting color. On top of those ideas there was one last concept introduced… that our eyes naturally work through the site from the top to the bottom and left to right simultaneously. A layout that compliments all of these aspects is sure to bring good results.

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Conductive

Fascinated with conductive materials found in every day things Daan Spanjers took on the task of giving function to these un-utilized materials.

Conductive is a combination of a several lights with prongs and a special table. The table has copper wiring running just beneath its surface as electricity runs about it. The prongs on the light can be matched up with the copper lines to make the light work. It is a very unique and clean looking deal.

I love this idea, the first thing it reminded me of was the charger for macbook’s. They primarily use a magnet to stay connected, minimizing the amount of moving parts. This really embraces the rule of KISS and works to ensure things work well. This product brings the beauty of apple charges to desk lighting.

Its ok to be excited about a neat way to light a desk, but thats really just looking at the small picture. Looking at the big picture in my mind I am imagining cool new house outlets, innovative ways to run power from place to place, and most importantly a way to get rid of my cell phone charger! If it became standard to use this form of energy transfer, things could get very interesting.

the light in question

Measuring less to feel more

This is a device used to check the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

This product is used to check blood sugar levels, but in a different way. It is argued by its creator that the stress experienced when using standard devices causes almost as much harm as good. In an effort to combat the intimidating number displays and utilitarian design of standard instruments, this product has a welcoming and functional feel. Feed back is given by a change in colors, and the instrument looks more like a piece of art than anything else.

I believe that this would be a very useful product. There was little to back the claims of sugar being released during standard testing, but regardless the concept holds water. Things of this nature need to come about, it just simply makes life more pleasant. I would argue that most medical devices are utilitarian in design. If this product is the first step toward medical instruments becoming more user friendly then I support it!

This may actually be the best candidate for our class to be looking at. I can only imagine   in what ways a full class could apply the idea that this product does. The medical field holds a huge amount of power and importance in society. One of the key elements in my vision of the future surely includes amazing forms of medical tecnology.

blood sugar tester

Donald Norman – How design makes us happy

Watched an interesting video in class, it’s an other Donald Norman video.  In this piece he was doing a TED talk about three ways good design makes us happy. These things consisted of the following…

Visceral

Things that make connection with reactions that are programmed within you. Such as colors that we find appealing.

Behavior

Things that do something functional, such as the teapot that given its position is not only brewing tea but also reflecting wether the tea pot is full or not.

Reflective

Things like owning a fancy or cool car that  reflects on yourself. A status or a statement is portrayed through ownership.

Donald Norman – Essay Analysis

This post is a secondary post to this on that looks at the work a Donald Norman, who Is a advocate of user-centered design. Here I am looking at several articles that spoke to me from Donald’s essays.

The Paradox of Wearable Technologies

In The Paradox of Wearable Technologies Donald looks closely at wearable technology, most notably google glass. He gives attention to studies and observations of his own and shares that wearable technology could prove to be a catalyst to many issues. Most notably that people will give full attention to glass, even if they don’t have to; he gave evidence to this but pointing out things like the fact developers sprung for full e-mail when this was not initially planned or that we get distracted by simple things already.

My opinion on what he has to say in this article can be summed up in its last few words, “Can wearable devices be helpful? Absolutely. But they can also be horrid.” I think that wearable technology will come just like a new generation of smart phones, people in time will learn to properly use them. Im sure the guy that takes calls in movie theaters and in quiet rooms will be doing the same thing with glass… but thats more of a personal problem than a technical one.

Why We Fail (My Foreword)

Embrace failure, avoid failure

This singular statement embodies the topic and deliverable of the whole article. That failure is a valuable tool and should be used wisely. Donald goes further and applies this concept to UX design, he says that this is one of the best things to learn from. He believes stories of failure are fascinating to look at.

I personally could not agree any more with this, all of it. First off I have given a lot of thought toward failure and what you can take away from it. In paragliding we go a step further and takeaway from things that should have been failures, ie. “know when you got away with something”. This all of course applies to UX design, heck thats what the whole book “Rocket Surgery Made Easy” was about; testing and finding failures.

CGT 105 – Donald Norman

I was given a pretty cool assignment over the weekend, I was to look at various forms of media from Donald Norman. Donald is a advocate of user-centered design , furthermore he is one of the first few people to really dig into UX (user experience) as if it were its own field of study.

My UX teacher has done a lot of talking about how we would dive into Donald’s work, I remained skeptical of that. One would think that his studies would surly be irrelevant by now, given that decades have passed since he published books such as The Design of Everyday Things or User Centered System Design. Such an assumption could not be more wrong. His ideas have effortlessly outlived the ever evolving technologies of today. What he has to say has no real investment in the subject of discussion being any thing specific. The concepts he presents could apply to an oven as easily as it could to a laptop or even a tablet.

Now that you know that, do you want to learn more?

The first part of my assignment was to watch these two videos (video one, video two). I really got a kick out of what he had to say, I love this UX stuff and have been thinking about it a lot lately. One thought I have been giving a lot of attention to is that,”things should be intuitive”. As mentioned by Krug in Rocket Surgery Made Easy as well as my UX teacher, good UX goes unnoticed and feels natural. Donald, in these two videos analyzes the fact that bad UX does exactly the opposite thing, often leaving the user to find a individualistic explanation; they draw a faulty correlation between themselves and their failure to work with the given system when really its just a poor system.

Next I was instructed to watch this video. In this video he really capitalizes on not only looking at the fact that we all struggle with simple things but also that this issue is a product of people designing things that are not for the people, but instead for them selves. He pointed this out by making the room realize that they were divided in opinion regarding which kind of shaker held salt. He then made the point that what they thought didn’t matter what they thought or why even if they had good reason to believe what they did, that it was the opinion of the designer that mattered.

Through all of these videos I learned many great things (and recommend others to invest these videos also), the greatest of which is this,” technology should conform to the people based on their needs, people should not have to conform to technology based on there needs”.

If you would like to learn more from Donald Norman I recommend you look here, this is a collection of his essays. Among them I chose to look at,The Paradox of Wearable Technologies and Why We Fail (My Foreword)
to reflect upon in this post here.

CGT 105 – Objectified

I pay a lot of attention to design and I am very passionate about it. For that reason exactly Objectified was a very interesting to see. It covered many aspects of design; some of it familiar and some of it not. What struck me the most among all things presented to me was a series of ideas that were all created to address one issue, these ideas were to, ”make things wear in and not out” and come to terms with the fact that things are not often used long.

If one is successful in accomplishing these feats, while still maintaining other necessary design elements, a great thing happens. The product not only fits the needs of the user, but works within the worldly parameters it should.

A great question was posed in this film, “if your house was burning down, what are the few things you would grab?” When answering this question in my head I found any object I found myself grabbing has and would “get better with time”.

A lot of thought went into the making of this film and presenting these ideas well. The term “mind map” was also introduced here, giving words to the process in which people attempt to layout their ideas and in time truly realize them. I really liked this term and it made me think about a process I have gone through my self. I am building a small house; and this film gave words to things I lacked words to describe. The “mind maps” which are embodied through notebooks of house layouts, color pallets, and various things I could change to make everything work. Most interestingly the idea I have had to put metal siding on that is meant to rust (as seen here) is now something I can give reason to… to make the house get better with time.

rusty siding on house