Sketching, Storyboarding, and Critique

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Readings (Please submit your reading critique by 9:00AM the day of the lecture)

Reading Critiques

Vivien Chang 11:18:12 1/19/2017

This reading made me think about everyday things that people use daily and how we use them. When designing anything, one has to take into account how people will use the product and whether anything could be considered not straightforward. The simple example that the author used about pulling or pushing a door was interesting; when we see a bar across the door we think "push" or when we see a handle we often think "pull" without a second thought. What I took away from this reading is that when designing anything I need to make sure that nothing is too confusing for a user to easily understand without getting frustrated.

Timothy Smith 20:16:39 1/19/2017

Overall, the article was interesting. It made me realize how a bad design, or poor instructions, can negatively impact the usability of something that should be simple to use. In order for something to be a good design, a good conceptual model has to be established and things must be visible, like instructions, buttons, etc. Predictability, good mappings, natural relationships, and good feedback are attributes attained if using a good conceptual model. The system must be understandable. Much thought has to be put into a good design to make it usable and simple, but also to keep it from becoming too complex.

Jonathan Hanobik 21:48:16 1/19/2017

I had actually found this reading really intriguing, as it uncovered the psychology as to why people are able to work with some objects and struggle with others. Beyond anything, however, I really think that this article was stressing good design techniques and practices. Making sure that components were visible, that there was a clear mapping between say a button and an action, and that the user gets feedback are all things that a good designer should do with their product. Although this article talked about real-life designs, like a telephone or automobile, I think that the message translates to the field of software engineering and mobile application development. If a piece of software or application doesn’t have a good design, users or clients will become frustrated and abandon it. I’m grateful for the information presented in this article and will definitely keep the following words in mind whenever I’m coding a piece of software: visibility, mapping, and feedback.

Nick Miller 12:19:42 1/22/2017

Visibility is key to functionality, it indicated the mapping between intended actions and actual operations. It is noted that there may be a psychology of materials. With the psychology of materials comes the 'affordance' of things which means to the perceived and actual properties of the thing, primarily those fundamental properties that determine just how the thing could possibly be used. The fundamental principles of designing for people is: (1) provide a good conceptual model and (2) make things visible. To be a good conceptual model the system image needs to be coherent and appropriate. There needs to be a mapping relationship between 2 things including the natural mapping. The point of the passage is to show that with new technology added complexity and difficulty cannot be avoided when functions are added but with clever design (the techniques from the passage) it can be minimized

Jason Ly 15:29:24 1/22/2017

The reading emphasized that the design of a product should consist of a good conceptual model with visible functionality. The user should be able to intuitively interact with the product as intended without the need of an instruction manual or guidance. If an instruction manual cannot be avoided it should be clear and concise. I thought the paradox of technology was interesting. Several technological advances or additions of necessary features are intended to improve our quality of life but at the same time causing the device to be more complicated to use or navigate. I thought it would have been interesting to see an acceptable solution to the homework assignment towards the end of the reading. I will be utilizing the concepts from this reading for future assignments, keeping in mind that a design that might seem intuitive for me might not be the case for the majority.

JasonTucker 19:55:29 1/22/2017

This reading pertains t the psychology behind simple things, such as doors. Mostly, the author goes over how bad design frustrates a user and how ta designer of products can improve their design and design process. It goes over ideas such as feedback and mapping. These solutions can also be applied to android programming.

Damani Brown 22:08:55 1/22/2017

This article does a good job explaining why designing from the user's perspective is so important whenever a new tools is developed. The device that is being made can be extremely useful, and do some really amazing things, but it means nothing if people aren't able to figure out how to use it. Providing visual cues helps people to map controls to the function they provide, so it is important to include them in or on a new tool.

Jake Guttenplan 10:20:13 1/23/2017

This chapter taught me that there is a need to ficus on making your interface simple enough to understand without oversimplifying things to the point of obfuscation. The use of Natural Mapping allows controls to be as complex and thorough as they need to be without being difficult for the user to understand. As long as these interfaces provide adequate and clear feedback that something is actually happening behind the scenes, the user does not need to be aware of how it is performed.

Chad Pongratz 11:45:14 1/23/2017

Everyday objects are sometimes designed with things such as beauty in mind instead of utility causing the use of said object to be psychologically ambiguous to even the smartest of people, and yet, the fault is normally blamed on the human err when in fact it's more of a mechanical fault in many instances. In a good design the workable parts should be visible and allow the user to intuitively be able to function the object. Simplicity is good only if you it still offers full functionality to the user (i.e. a one button slide projector can't let you forward or reverse). Although, it is good to not have over complicated ways of using your system especially for easy tasks such as holding on the phone. Failure and action are only sometimes connected but other times are by coincidence, but should be used as a source of suspicion to check if it is just a poor design prone to the error to occur or user error.... I thought this chapter/article provided a good reasoning/explanation to the human vs mechanical error dilemma. It's made me more aware of the need to make user interfaces for systems accessible and functional at the same time. One wants their setup to clearly and unambiguously provide a simple model for the user to interact with and use. You want to consider the mapping of your system and determine the relations between parts of your system, how they interact, and how the user can utilize this to work the system overall. Of course, a system is only as good as its users actually think it is so it is important to listen to the feedback of your users and alter the design accordingly so as to improve it for those same users to want to keep using your system.

Kyle Legters 14:15:53 1/23/2017

The Psychology of Everyday Things was a very interesting read. It began by discussing different ways in which everyday items that should be extremely simple to use, can end up leaving the user feeling lost. After several examples of this, it dove into the psychology of design, explaining the conceptual model that our mind develops when we see an object, and how to make this conceptual model useful and efficient. I found this article interesting and will definitely use the advice of keeping things visible in the future.

Kyle Plump 16:12:54 1/23/2017

I liked today's reading. I had never really thought about basic human error operating certain things (doors, etc) would actually be just poor design. Syntactically, I liked that he included all of the 'conceptual model' diagrams. It helped convey the complexity of how these everyday things

Kyle Plump 16:13:07 1/23/2017

I liked today's reading. I had never really thought about basic human error operating certain things (doors, etc) would actually be just poor design. Syntactically, I liked that he included all of the 'conceptual model' diagrams. It helped convey the complexity of how these everyday things

Brett Schuck 18:28:56 1/23/2017

I like how today's reading brings attention to some everyday tasks that we deal with all the time and shows the relevance of our topics in making those tasks seamless. The author does a good job of explaining some fundamental features that make these everyday objects and tasks so intuitive and natural. These features can be relevant when working with application interface and making the task of operating our application easier.

Louis Seefeld 19:13:40 1/23/2017

Given that this is a class on interface design, I found the psychological view of how people interface with contraptions very telling, yet unsurprising. It is interesting how there are still a proliferation of gadgets that remain impractical to use. Constantly reminding myself and other designers of end user perspective is something that should be kept at the forefront of development.

Zhenya Lindsay 19:55:11 1/23/2017

This reading signifies the importance of combining of beauty with the simplicity and usability. People assume that certain objects or certain parts of the appliance does the certain thing, so it's a good thing to follow the familiar pattern. I never thought that different handles on the doors not only make it easier to push or pull them but also signify to the users that the door should be pushed or pulled. Also the everyday objects that existed for centuries and were not changed too much were probably very well designed.

John Ha 21:17:38 1/23/2017

The author talks about the struggle of using everyday objects due to poor design. For devices and gadgets to be useful and easy for customers, they need to have a good conceptual model for the user to use it, as well as visibility to make it obvious for the user what to do with it. In visibility, the author talks about affordances describing what it can or cannot do based on the material and set up. The conceptual model expands on mapping and making a complex object as minimalistic as possible. This basically ties into what we're supposed to do with our android apps. The more complex our apps may be, we still need to maintain a good design that allows the user ease of use.

Gabriel Larson 22:28:17 1/23/2017

I thoroughly enjoyed that thought of any given person struggling to work a water faucet or a door as the author says to have issues with. the notion that there is little knowledge in our heads and much knowledge in the world is an interesting one. My initial thought was that there isnt knowledge in the world, only information, as the author mentions to be a concern. the main point of the early sections seems to be that the usage of something should be evident in the design. such as a door and the door story he shared about his friend getting stuck. The term visibility is used through out to describe the mapping between the actions and the intended operation. I have noticed the issue of poor "visibility" but in my opinion some of his examples seem excessive. any issue. although i suppose design should be clear enough that it shouldnt take any playing with to understand functionality.

Spencer Cousino 22:49:49 1/23/2017

I really enjoyed today's readings, because a proper design is a concept I hold in high regard. As the author illustrates with his many examples, including the telephone, and the projector, a poor design and layout can be the ruin of an otherwise great product. I also appreciated the conceptual model layout of the freezer, while providing instructions for how the settings affect the temperature.

Christopher Thompson 23:03:26 1/23/2017

I thought this reading was very interesting. I had never really thought before about how seemingly simple objects such as refrigerators and phones can be so unnecessarily complicated. The lessons from this reading are definitely going to be applicable to designing our app.

Raj Patel 23:12:03 1/23/2017

The article dealt with the distinctions between user friendliness and poor design, as well as the affordances of products. It gives examples of how everyday objects can still give the user frustration, such as doors and telephone holds. It discusses the importance of preparing conceptual models, as they are vital to understanding complications that can arise with usability.

Christen Reinbeck 23:42:34 1/23/2017

Good designs happen by adhering to some good practices including making conceptual models, mapping and feedback to the user. Mapping the relationships between a control, using them and what these movements do, and examining the problems that arise seem to be a good way to see what problems a user may have. Giving appropriate feedback allows the user to know that a specific task was accomplished.

Timothy Platts 0:18:27 1/24/2017

I loved this reading, it was both informative while managing to keep me interested with all the examples the author provided. I think the biggest takeaway from this one can have as an app designer is that you have to have other people test your app, who have no idea how it should work. As the person designing something, it is easy to forget that not everyone has the same level of understanding of what you designed, or how you intended it to be used.

Michael Zheng 0:31:22 1/24/2017

This reading was very relatable to me. There are a lot of complex technology around me that try to simplify things, but end up being difficult to learn. One example is the elevator at Cathedral. Only half the elevators go beyond 15 floors, but it is not specified. Also, the only indication of what floor the elevator is on is located on a display board in the corner, instead of having it be displayed on top of the elevator doors.

Michael Smith 0:52:50 1/24/2017

Frustration can certainly undermine the user experience. I can relate to the author in that seemingly simple things can be surprisingly difficult to use. Visibility is perhaps the most important attribute of an object. Each device is unique, there may be no uniform way to use closely related devices. Because uses for similar functions can be imagined differently, it can not completely be the fault of the designer. People rely on previous knowledge that first needs to be learned when approaching an object. As mentioned the user needs to help indicate how to best interact with the device, and give feedback on what features work and don't work.

Paul Davis 1:01:25 1/24/2017

This excerpt covered a lot of interesting topics, many of them being very applicable to software development. I’ve used a lot of poorly designed pieces of software, things that struggle from things like poor feedback, bad mapping, or terrible visibility. I for the most part am able to navigate it, but there have been many times where I have had to help family members get something to work that was entirely the softwares fault. Things you should not need a CS degree to accomplish. These ideas will be great to keep in mind as we continue designing software.

Emily Hanna 1:31:02 1/24/2017

This reading was about P.O.E.T. (Psychology Of Everyday Things) and how crucial good design is to the functionality and effectiveness of not just complex devices but items we encounter in our everyday lives. There were a few principles of good design listed with examples and explanations as to how they added to good design. Some such ideas were visibility, where the functionality of a thing could be determined by visual clues; natural relationships, where an action produces an appropriate and expected response; affordability, the idea of what a thing or material can do affects how you use it. It concluded by pointing out the designer has a difficult job as they have to work to please a multitude of audiences including consumers, distributers, etc. and how there is a paradox of technology where as technology continues to be updated and add new features, devices become more complex and the usability and reliability can suffer.

Chevaughn Berry 1:48:24 1/24/2017

I think it is interesting how simplisticity really goes a long way. The reading attempts to get the reader to think about designing things like the way we use everyday things. Many of the examples showed that designing things in a simple, viewable, intuitive way was best for the user. The readings discussed concepts such as visibility, where the user can just understand how to use something by seeing it visually, and affordability, where properties of the object lends itself to user using it. It very interesting that as technology develops, the designer has to find new ways to keep the design intuitive.

Sakae Nakahara 8:30:14 1/24/2017

I think the design principles brought up in the reading are interesting to look at when applied to the most iconic, modern piece of technology: the smartphone. A major piece of most, if not all, smartphones is the touch screen which allows you to apply pressure on certain areas of the screen itself, as if it were a control. This seems to play into a mentioned design pitfall about how one control has too many functions leading to arbitrary mapping. However, touch screens have an advantage the others did not. Because it is also a display screen, it has an ever-shifting label allowing a user to understand what function is being accessed, and displays immediate feedback when a function is accessed. The principle of conceptual modeling is harder to evaluate. Despite the name, its function for all intents and purposes is that of a miniature computer. The general model that people have for a computer is that you can do anything just by clicking and typing; it'll do what the screen tells you it'll do. That said, smartphones also have their design flaws, many of which it adopted from traditional computers. One such is that the label for a function can be ambiguous to a user unfamiliar with the concept. I imagine not everyone who has a smartphone knows what Bluetooth is. There are also some external controls which still hold multiple functionality, such as the power button also able to shut down or restart the phone by holding the button.

Colin Schultz 8:36:50 1/24/2017

I found it interesting how much thought can go into the design of a door. More so, people can screw up designs of doors. It seems obvious how to make a good door, but I guess it's not as easy as it seems. Like the author said, it comes down to visibility. The correct parts must be visible, and the correct parts must convey the right message visibility, correct parts must be visible and they must convey the right message.

Anthony Tummillo 8:42:40 1/24/2017

I really enjoyed this chapter of POET; It used very easily understandable and relatable examples of good and bad product design. I have experienced many of the same troubles that the author pointed out with telephone systems and I have also appreciated many of the naturally-mapped controls in modern automobiles. The chapter ended with an incredibly thought provoking example assignment relating to developing a clock radio with a large list of features and I felt that it perfectly illustrated the Paradox of Technology. In all the designs I imagined while reading I could not think of one that did not increase the complexity of the device as more features were added.