Walking Tour

As I missed the walking tour I decided to walk around my apartment complex and see what I could find.

My apartment complex is right next to a main road. I am quite aware of the noise levels around this area but when I closed my eyes and sound became almost all consuming. It’s really all I could think about and sense.

I walked in the hallway and tried to open the door and then access the keyfob to open the door again. Few things I noticed: we all know door handles are usually pushed down to open, this would be considered knowledge in the head.

The buttons to each of the flats had brail at the bottom of them, this gave a tactile feedback and the brail was mapped to be inside each of the buttons which made sense. There was however no mapping in a tactile sense to tell me that I could place my keyfob on the board to unlock the door.

There was some audible feedback as once I placed my keyfob on the correct area it made a beep. Repeating the steps with my eyes open I saw the universal signifiers of stop and go. When the door is locked the light was red. When you unlocked it with a keyfob it was green.

Coming downstairs I made notes of the letterbox

Affordances – It’s a letterbox with a key and lock. It is used for the postman to deposit mail. It can also be used as safe storage for items due to it having a lock. The small gap at the bottom allows people to stick in flyers so they hang out and capture the owners attention

Signifiers – There is a keyhole and it is a different colour from the rest of the box. It have a small slit in it which allows the key to go in. There is a flap on the box and the edge extrudes out slightly allowing the user to lift it up easily.

Feedback – There is no feedback to tell you whether you have post or not, I find this quite annoying. The lock does provide feedback in that you cannot keep turning it once it is lock fully.

Mapping – The lock is mapped well to the box, it is obvious that this lock opens this box

Constraints – The size of the latch to post letters through is small to stop people putting their hands in the box. It made of metal and opaque so no one can see what is inside the box.

Reviewing yellowbluepink Installation

I have been very excited to see this installation. It’s purely all about the experience which fitted perfectly with this CTS topic.

The yellowbluepink installation, designed by Ann Veronica Janssens is the first part of the States of Mind exhibition and is situated in the Wellcome Collection.

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As you enter the installation there is the ‘States of Mind’ text being projected onto the wall. This was a custom made font especially for this exhibition. I like the use of masking to create a disjointed aesthetic. It feels suited to the exhibition which explores the concious experience. As throughout the day, every minute our consciousness is turning on and off.

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Entering the queuing area (luckily there was not a big queue) I noticed that some amount of effort had gone into designing the users experience. Seating was placed throughout the queue which was thoughtful especially for those who struggle to stand for long periods of time. There were also ipads which explained a little bit of history behind the project. There were also books placed around the queuing area just in case things got really long and boring. The book were mostly centred around design, it even had one of my favourite books Interaction of Colour.

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There was an instruction/warning sheet on the seating too that informed the user they were about to enter into a place with limited visibility etc.

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The entrance was split into 2 doors, to stop the gas from escaping. I liked this section as it helped you prepare for the experience in that as it was somewhat airtight you were in a moment of quietness. You then open the door and walk into the exhibition. It was extremely disorientating but utterly enjoyable.

Looking up did ruin the effect slightly as you could see the lighting which bought you back into reality. If you did not look up though you really were in another world. I have never experienced anything like it.

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As you walk through the room you walk in and out of different colour hazes. People come in and out of your vision very quickly, it would have been amazing to see how the room changes when no one is in there but yourself. I think it could feel slightly scary for some.

The experience could be improved, I think asking people not to speak when in the room would have helped people feel like they were in their own world. Also the ceiling could have maybe been covered with netting to cover the lighting and diffuse the light. I think this would have given a better experience that you were in a cloud.

6 Big Ideas – A Dummies Guide

Affordances

These are what the object allow you to do that are outside of the objects main purpose. Affordances also are reliant on the user too. With my example below, the vinyl boxes are very heavy when full so I would not classify this an affordance for a child as they would struggle to move the box.

Example

I use vinyl boxes to store vinyl, however due to their weight when full, sturdiness and shape I have also used them to stand on to fix a light.

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I have also used them to temporarily create a table for my piano.

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Signifiers

These will show the user how to perform an appropriate action relating to the object. Some object do not need signifiers as the objects are already so embedded in our culture they do not need explanation. For instance most people know how to operate a door handle so you would not typically see an arrow showing what direction the handle is to be turned.

An example would be the ridges on my drinking bottle. It signifies the appropriate action of the object but signalling that the bottle top can be gripped and twisted.

bottle-top

Mapping

The relationship between 2 or more things.  When an action is performed by the user something must happen and it should be what the user expects. We looked at a good example which was a light switch, when turned on you expect it to control the lights in the room. If it controlled lights somewhere else it would be poorly mapped.

I really liked the mapping example in the book which show how Mercedes used the shape of a car seat and mapped the controls to each section of the seat.

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One example is the tv remote. It doesn’t have an inbuilt instruction manual so it needs to be well mapped (which I sometimes find they are not) so the user can operate them. A good example of mapping is the program button. When clicking on the up arrow you move up the channels (1,2,3,4 etc) where as the down arrow takes you down the channels (4,3,2,1 etc). I believe the arrows on the buttons refer to natural mapping in that we would naturally perceive clicking on an up arrow to move the tv channels up in numerical value. When looking at proximity as well in relation to mapping, the Q.View button which is placed above the program control shows the user the complete view of channels.

It’s not the best designed remote and I still don’t understand what all the buttons do but I did see some design thinking in these 3 buttons.

Feedback

When designing something you have to always have the end user in mind. After all those are the people that will interact with the object. Feedback is an incredibly important process of design and not something that should be done at the end of a design process. Feedback should be continuously given.

This can be done in many ways, questionnaires, interview, test groups. In my spare time I take part in usability tests for web designers and companies seeking feedback on their websites and designs. There are many great tools that allow you to get your design in front of real users and gather feedback.

Constraints

These are measures taken to ensure the user does not do certain actions. They can be in the form of physical, cultural, logical and semantic.

An example of a physical constraint would be the plastic guards that are placed in a plug socket.

plug

I found this quote very helpful in allowing me to better understand constraints.

“The constraints by themselves are often not sufficient to determine the proper reassembly of the device-mistakes do get made-but the constraints reduce the amount that must be learned to a reasonable quantity.”

Conceptual Models

These can be seen as visual metaphors. It’s basically a very simplified example of how something works

33 Seconds 1st Workshop

Our first workshop since we collected our data was today, I struggled to come up with anything substantial, I think my data is lacking in detail which made it hard to categorise it.

My first iterations were too literal in that I was just trying to recreate the video scene on paper.

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I also tried to experiment with folding to recreate the structure of the scene. I folded the paper to recreate the bridge that I filmed under.

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Again it was trying to be too literal. I also duplicated the data to create more graphical layout on the page. This led me down the same route of trying to visualise the scene on the page.

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For my next experiments I will extract more data from the scene and try to plot something more abstract on the page.

I seemed to pick up on peoples facial expressions more than anything and I categorised people by how they came across, this will be what I experiment with next.

To read – Tufte / Information is Beautiful.

SEAR analysis

Story: What is it trying to tell?

Evidence: Does the article reference any sources to back up its point?

Alternatives: Does the article mention alternatives to give a more balanced argument?

Reliability: Can the article be trusted as reliable?

I chose the iphone 6s topic and reviewed 3 articles.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2015/10/14/iphone-6s-camera-disappoints/

http://www.knowyourmobile.com/mobile-phones/apple-iphone-6s/23321/iphone-6s-review-ios-9-camera-3d-touch-battery-performance-vs-android-marshmallow

http://www.stuff.tv/apple/iphone-6s/review

Knowyourmobile and Stuff.tv were mostly positive about the iphone 6s. Forbes article focused purely on the camera side of things and was negative about the new phone.

KYM and Stuff both concluded that the  new upgrades to the iphone 6s were worth the investment and the big announcement was the 3D touch display and 4k recording. I quite like the idea behind this new feature and can certainly see its use in a phone. I think once more developer start experimenting with the 3d touch feature we will see its application used in almost all apps. For now its quite limited.

All of the review story was whether the new iphone was worthy of an upgrade. They were more of a factual review stating lots of evidence. Forbes article show image quality comparisons and data from a widely regarded accurate benchmark for photo quality DxOMark. I thought the evidence and reliability of the Forbes article was very good.

The evidence for all of the articles was in the form of facts and case studies. Showing direct comparisons between the new model and older models. The also compared to Android phones too. They pointed out real world uses of the new technology which helped the user understand how the new technology could benefit them. I thought all of the review show good levels of evidence and reliability. I was not surprised by this seeing as they were reviewing a product. It would be a bad review if they did not provide this sort of information.

KYM and Stuff both praised the 3d touch function. I feel Stuff did a better job in terms of providing alternatives. Even though they did say it was limited in availability I did like the fact they mentioned an Android phone that also had the 3d touch function.

“And unless you’ve somehow managed to get hold of a limited edition 128GB Huawei Mate S, you won’t find these features in any Android phone.”

It was good as it came across a lot more impartial and wasn’t try to hard sell the iphone.

Know your mobile review talked a lot about the phone but I found a lot of what it said lacked evidence. For instance it was talking about how the apple’s display of 326ppi is ‘SO 2010’ but didn’t offer any reason as to why we need higher PPI in our screen. A lot of experts say our eyes cannot tell much difference once we get over 300ppi.

 

Reviewing Experiences

A physical object: Olympus OM-2n Camera

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What can you do with your object?

Take pictures, insert photographic film, carry it using a strap, attach a flash, attach it to a tripod, use the built in light meter, set a timer to take delayed pictures, attach different lenses to it, attach a trigger for the shutter.

How do you know this?

Their is a small viewfinder essentially a window into the camera that I can look through. It shows me what I can capture.

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There is a button on the top of the camera that operates the shutter, although it is not obvious you press this to operate the camera.

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A latch next to the shutter button controls the film that is placed within the camera body.

How do you do it?

When I was first given this camera I did struggle to understand how it operates as it did not come with a manual. The lever that winds the film roll back up also can be pulled upwards to open the camera body to insert the film. In the image below you can see small grooves which act as a grip to pull the lever up.

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The roll of film is then placed in the camera body, a small indent in the body means you can only place the film in the correct way.

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Once opening the back of the body the film can only be placed in the correct way

Setting the ISO is done by lifting up the dial and rotating it to the correct setting, a textured grip around the dial gives the user a haptic instruction.

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To roll the film back there is a small arrow on the lever to tell the user which direction it should be turned.

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What can’t you do with your object?

Compared to it’s digital counterparts you are unable to view images once they have been taken. Another thing is you cannot open the back of the camera body to access the film until it is wound back into the roll, doing so will damage the photo film beyond repair.

How do you know when you’ve done things correctly (or incorrectly)?

When you use the lever to move the roll to the next shot you will see a display change in numerical value, it tells you how many shots have been taken.

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Also when looking through the viewfinder you see what your lens is seeing, so you see what is in focus and what isn’t. There is also a light meter on the left side of the viewfinder to give you an indication of what your shutter speed will be.

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Once you have your focus setup and the correct shutter and aperture you can click the shutter button and you will see the mirror flick up momentarily and make a ‘click’ noise. These 2 things signify a picture has been taken. You then pull the lever to move to the next shot on the film and repeat.

How do you think the object works?

It works by letting light in via a lens made of glass. A shutter quickly opens and closes exposing the light sensitive film. Once processed this creates an image.

A digital object: Android Music Player

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What can you do with your object?

Arrange and play digital music files through a user interface. Control the volume of the audio, see the artwork that is attached in the music file, loop tracks or playlists, randomly select songs from a playlist. Scroll or flick through songs. Play and pause songs. Add songs to playlists.

How do you know this?

The app uses various icons to instruct the user. The play button is the most prominent icon on the screen. The 2 sets of arrows either side of it represent the changing of a track.

Either side of these arrows we have further icons which explain a few more actions such as adding to a playlist and bringing up the playlist.

playlist-icon

How do you do it?

You first add music to the device via a usb cable. The device will automatically populate the the music player with the music added. You then select the icon from the application list on your android device. Once opened you see the current song that was last played. From here you can play it or access the other playlists. The interface is controlled through touch on a mobile device. You can tap the screen to select the various different functions. You can also swipe left or right to scroll through the playlist.

What can’t you do with your object?

You cannot edit music such as cutting it or changing the pitch. You cannot mix 2 tracks together to create a seamless transition. The music player only plays certain formats of files. You can only play and navigate the songs by clicking on the icons or swiping. You cannot record audio with the app.

How do you know when you’ve done things correctly (or incorrectly)?

When switching between tracks you will see the artwork change. When clicking on the play button you see a set of actions as seen below. These help the user understand what is happening. The use of colour signifies a register of touch and the icon changes between play and pause. The user will hear music played through earphones or the device speakers.

android-music-app-play-button

Colour is used across the interface to signify when something has been pressed, the colour fades away to show it now no longer being activated.

How do you think the object works?

It accesses music from the internal storage and plays the music. It provides a GUI to be able to search and sort through the internal storage and select the music I want to play.

Designing for the senses

This week we were asked to carry out some basic tasks with our eyes closed, the aim was to experience every day tasks through other senses. I have found the tasks to have a meditative effect and have enjoyed them on a whole. I have a few bruises bumping into my desk a few times but other than that it’s gone quite smoothly.

My first experience was having a shower. A few things I experienced:

The sound of the shower hitting my body, I tried to think what it sounded like and the nearest thing I could think of was the sound of grains such as rice being poured.

shower-grains

That it’s difficult to feel the water running over your body in some areas such as the middle of my back and side of legs.

Next I tried to get dressed.

This was a interesting experience because I can only go by touch and ending up picking clothes simply by their level of comfort and not based on their colours, styles or appearance.

There was a slight difference between some of my pure cotton and blended cotton tshirts and I think the pure cotton tshirts had a slight my furry, fibrous texture to them. This made them softer on the touch and ultimately made me choose them.

Another object I looked at was the TV remote. I made a few sketches but really I feel the current buttons were explanatory enough plus you could hear the tv being changed so I dont think haptic feedback was necessary.

remote

I watched a very interesting episode of Click on BBC which talked about some new haptic technology.

One interesting invention was using virtual reality and the dominating sense of sight to make the users think the are pinching a small ball in virtual space.

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