Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Learning Log 6 - 2

An Interface That Can Be Improved

Some interfaces throughout septa are decent but can definetly be improved to help interaction. Currently you buy a ticket, get on the train, then wait for the conductor to come and punch your ticket. Sometimes the conductor does not have time to get to each person, letting some people get buy without paying the fare.

I think a good way to improve this interface would be to have a machine at each train station. At the machine you can select your destination and buy your ticket, eliminating lines because there can be several machines. Also their will be another machine that u insert your ticket into to get punch. The conductor on the train will have a corresponding machine that tracks how many people had their ticket punched. This will cut down time and confusion while riding the train.

Learning Log 6 - 1

Response to Chapter 9 of DFI

This chapter about the future of interaction design was particularly interesting. It discussed mostly about how computers are going to play a major role in the future of interaction design. When i first read about this i wondered if it would eliminate many job opportunities because computers would ultimately be replacing workers. When i though about it, i realized they would still have to be people hired to fix the operating systems.
I found is very interesting how much the ratio of persons to computers has changed over the years. When computers first emerged, there were many people using one computer. Soon the ratio became one to one, meaning each person had their own computer to use. Now most people have multiple computers that they use for themselves. Many people own a laptop and desktop computer. Also, most people now have internet access on their phones and most phones are mini computers. It is amazing how much technology has changed due to technology and computers. Even throughout my lifetime i have seen vast improvements amongst computer systems. I remember when computers had green screens and huge floppy disks. Now all you need is a small flash drive to save your work, and some computers are not much bigger than a sheet of paper. These improvements that are constantly happening play a huge role in the success of interaction design. Computer systems make it easy and more appealing for interactors.
The chapter also described the huge role that the internet plays in design interaction. Now, just about anything can be done or found on the internet. Something as small as ordering a pizza can be done on the internet, eliminating the hassle of calling to order, thus improving the pizza store's interaction design. This chapter helped a lot to make me think about improving the future of interaction design, as well as brainstorming ideas for the last project in this class.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Leanring Log 5 - 2

I recently bought the Google phone (G1) and i bought one of these gel skin cases. After using it I realized that it is a bad interface. The gel skin gets caught when you try to slide the keyboard open. It actually got jammed so many times that it eventually ripped. Also, it is not as protective as a hard case. I dropped my phone once, with the gel skin on it, and there was still a mark on the phone underneath the skin. I think only way to improve this interface is to eliminate them and use hard cases. A week after having the gel skin i bought a hard case and have not had any problems.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Learning Log 5 - 1

After reading about service design, it made me think of how often this is used on a daily basis. Service design is projected towards the users, making it easier for them to use and find a service. Usually this has to do with clear way finding and signage, just like the project we just completed. The most intriguing part about service design to me was the fact that the designer finds a layout or design, and improves it to make it more accessible to the user's. Saffer also explained that when it comes to designing for interaction, their are many mistakes that can me made. Sometimes, i feel designers focus to much on the visual aspects rather that the actually usability of the service. I believe sometimes it is important to keeps things simple, especially when you are trying to hep users find their way in a complicated area.
There are many stores and corporations that use good service design. Septa for example, has a successful service design. Their are signs that are simply designed all throughout the stations, making it almost impossible to get lost. Also, their mapping signs are very easy to read. They do not include to much color and only include the information you need, no extra nonsense.
Another service design that i find easy to use is the ordering systems in Wawa. When you want to order a sandwich or some type of food you go up the the small touch screen tv's to order. Everthing is catagorized by breakfast lunch and dinner. Their are even more catagories once you choose which meal you are looking for. Once you pick the food you want, a screen then comes up with all the condiments and you simply press on each one you want on your meal. Once you press order a small slip prints out, and the person making your meal also gets a copy. This makes it less likely for the employee to forget what you ordered and make your meal the wrong way. This service design is easy to use and simple at the same time, making it a great design for interaction.
After reading about Service design i will think more about what Saffer said when i design services myself. It it important to focus on funtionality when designer a user based service.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Project 1

The above image is the original website for AWA. The logo does not seem legible and the information is scattered in an unorganized way.

This image is my redesign for the AWA website. Information is more legible and it is more apparent where you can click on the page. This is because the clickable items are organized through their color, buttons, and use of underlining. The central image also relates directly to the whole idea of the website itself.
The above image is the original subpage for the AWA website. Everything is align left, rag right and reads directly down the page. This makes it uninteresting for the viewer and possibly more difficult to read.This image is my design for a new subpage. Information is catagorized across the page making it more visually appealing. The surrounding information also matches the homepage making it known that you are still on the same website.This website for The Humane Society of The United States is where i drew some of my ideas from. They effectivly designed this page using color coordination and grouping. I also like the way they took a main image a put it in the center, relating directly to the websites intentions.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

BAD interface

The design for this self checkout interface at Walmart is designed in a way that could make it easy to make a huge mistake. If you notice, the place where you get your cash back is all the way at the bottom, completely out of sight. Although there is a large sign that says cash out, it is not in plain for for someone over 3 feet tall to easily see. The sign would actually be covered by your own body since that is where most people stand in order to scan their items. I noticed most self check out interfaces are designed like this and I often wonder how many people accidently forget to take their cash after they pay. I can only imagine how angry I would be if this happened to me. To make this interface design more successful the designer should put the cash out section in a higher area, possibly directly next to where you put your cash in.

Response to Chapter 5

This chapter discussed all the errors that are made when using interfaces and how they usually happen. Norman describes these errors to be "slips" and puts them in many different categories. The main idea i got from this chapter is that as a designer you must presume that the person using your interface is going to make mistakes, therefore that must be taken into account. I can relate to some of the small errors Norman discussed. Just the other day i went to close a document i had made and was in a rush. I thought i had saved it and since i was in a hurry i exited it out and when something popped up asking if i would like to save my work i hit no without thinking. All of my work was erased even though the computer still tried to remind me to save it. I subconsciously was thinking of what else i had to do after that and did not acknowledge the pop up. Realizing how often errors can be made can better help a designer think of ways to prevent these errors. Although it is obvious that no matter what a design can not be slip-proof, there are steps that can be taken to make it easier to prevent errors.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Response to Chapter 4

This Chapter, "Knowing What To Do" talked more about certain limitations that can help us figure out what exactly we are doing. Norman related these "constraints" to switches for lights or electronics. It made complete sense when he discussed the problem with light switches. How can you effectively plan out where to out light switches for a 3 dimensional room on a 2 dimensional pad. That is why most people including myself find it difficult to figure out which switch controls which lights.
His new idea about making a 3 dimensional light switch panel seemed so much more functional, which made me wonder why no one else had thought of it. People don't think of it because designers sometimes look at the visual quality rather than it's usability. His new idea for the light switch panel was a 3 dimensional panel set up to replicate the room in which the lights were. Each light switch was placed in correspondence of where the light actually was in the room. This invention may not be as sleek and visually appealing, but it had amazing usability, which can be more important when you want to turn the light on. I hope that his new idea for light switch panels can become more dominant in the everyday world.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Response to Chapter 3

Chapter 3 was very intriguing to me. It was the first chapter that lead away from design and more into psychology and ourselves. Norman made complete sense when he differentiated the two types of knowledge: Knowledge in your head and knowledge in the world. He went into further detail when he talked about memory. Memory can be both knowledge in the world and in your head.
Knowledge in your head has more do to with short and long term memory. Knowledge in the world also has a lot to do with memory. The difference is that you are required to use natural mappings, like when he showed the different stove set ups. It made me think of my own stove and how i remember which knob goes to what burner through natural mapping. Usually you don't even realize you are doing this until it is brought to your attention.
Norman also discussed the different types of mental models. This first is what the designer makes, called the designers model. That is what the designer intended it to look like. The second is the user's model. That is what us as user's figure out about how we think the design works. The last is the system image. The system image is the way the product looks at the end when we use it. It often includes it's own manual, telling you how to use it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Response to Chapter 2 DOET

Norman really grabbed my attention in this chapter. I was not only able to relate to what he was explaining but learn more to become a better designer, or even help others to become better designers. Norman explained the difference between learned helplessness and taught helplessness. At first they seemed somewhat similar but after reading over again for better comprehension Norman in fact showed a distinct difference between the two.Learned helplessness is when you fail at something and assume it can not be done because of their failure, whether it be one or several times. Taught helplessness on the other hand, is when someone fails at doing a task but blames themselves, rather that feeling that they have failed.
Norman also grabbed my attention when he talked about the ongoing spiral of silence. This is when a person failed to report a problem with a design. If the majority of people having the same problem do not report it, the designer is not given the chance to find out what is not working well. In return the problem is less likely to be fixed. In a way this helped me to realize i to have to let people know when their is an ongoing problem with a design. A designer has to know what is going wrong in order to correct it. Silence will never correct a problem with a bad design. We must speak about it and let people know in hopes that they can correct it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Personal Experience in Relation to Chapter 2 of DOET


Norman made a great amount of sense in his second chapter of "The Design of Everyday Things" He started off the chapter explaining how people wrongly blame themselves for errors that happen in everyday life based upon objects or interfaces they use. I too have made the same mistakes and automatically blamed myself, when really it is the designer that makes these mistakes more likely to happen. I completely agree with Norman when he states that psychology has a lot to do with society falsely blaming themselves for their errors.
Relating back to chapter 1 i can identify with the complicated phone systems. Over the summer i worked in an office where i was required to answer and transfer many calls a day. Everyone in the office had the same kind of phone except for the consul phone in the front. The basic phones that everyone had were a bit easier to transfer a call. You simply answered the phone, and once you knew who to transfer the call to you pushed the hold button, dialed in the extension that you wanted to transfer the call to, and just hung up, knowing the call was properly transferred.
The consul phone on the other hand was much more difficult. To transfer a call you had to put the person on hold, dial in the extension, wait for them to answer, then take the person off hold, hit the transfer button, dial in the extension again, wait for it to ring, then hit transfer again and finally hang up. This seemed so much more complicated than the other phones. I can't count the number of times i accidentally hung up on the caller while trying to transfer their call. This made me feel unaccomplished, as if i couldn't learn something as simple as transferring a phone call.
After reading Norman's statements i can realize that it was not my fault, but more so the person who designed the two separate phone systems. Norman made it clear that a designer should know how to minimize the chance for errors to be made. They should have people test their interfaces, acknowledge the errors that are made, and find ways to minimize the possibility of making errors.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Response To DOET Chapter 1


After Reading Chapter 1 of "The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald N. Norman I learned a lot about improving an object's usability through design. Everyday i come across interfaces that are visually appealing, but are uneasy to use because of their design. It seems that some designers focus more on the visual aspects rather than creating a successful and easy-to-access interface. In some cases designers do not label objects in order to make them look more sleek and modern. In return this would make the object more confusing to actually use, which is the main purpose in the first place. Many customers choose to keep buying these products, simply because they look better, which gives the designer false pretenses as to how well their product is when it comes to usability. Norman made this much more apparent in his first chapter, opening my eyes to see not only an object's beauty, but how easy it is to utilize.

The Picture of this apple mouse is an example of a bad interface. Although it looks modern, sleek, and visu
ally appealing, it's usability is more difficult to comprehend than a regular mouse with left and right click buttons. This mouse does not clearly indicate how to right click something or scroll directly from the mouse. When looking at it, it is not apparent that there is a button at all. It looks visually appealing, but can be much more confusing to understand it's utility. Reading this chapter made me more aware of everyday objects like this that are not necessarily great interfaces.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Response to "Affordances: Clarifying and Evolving a Concept"


After reading and understanding this article I have learned new meanings to the word affordance. When describing the meaning of the word, Gibson and Norman both related scientific meaning into visual aspects. Affordances have a lot to do with the way one perceives things and can be easily and successfully related to the world of design. It seems that Gibson and Norman knew that an affordance was the possibility of making an action. In design it is important to make affordances easy to comprehend. It makes sense that if a design aspect such as an interface it difficult to use then it will not be successful. If a designer improves the affordances in the design, it will be easier to access and more appealing to the users. This is not to say that the designer should make everything simplier, but makes the affordances easier to comprehend.
It made sense when the writer stated that you have to test something in order to make a direct affordance. If only an assumption is made the affordance may not exsist. The hidden wall that was given as an example proves this. If you do not test the door to see if it opens than you do not have a direct affordance. If it is only assummed that a door is there, but do not test it, there is no valid affordance to be made.