All posts by Jacklynn

  • Reflection // First year, Check!

    I have found that at the end of each semester I absolutely require a rest period where I can’t think about my classes, even if it would be more fresh in my mind if I did it right away. Things being what they are, here I am now. First year of grad school complete and first week of my internship down!

    Last semester was a doozy. I signed up for one extra elective that I thought would be manageable. Overall, every week was difficult, but I didn’t die. It made finals week head-exploding, but I came out on the other side of that too (there was some serious doubts for a while).

    Without further ado, and in the same order as last time:

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  • Urbanized | Gary Hustwit documentary

    Urbanized by Gary Hustwit

    What does a documentary about urbanization have to do with my thesis? I guess not much more than everything in the whole world is designed and new perspectives always add value to a thesis on design. And an incredible perspective it was, I really like Hustwit documentaries in general.

    The landscape urban designers work with is a different kind of complex that we deal with on a digital landscape. One of my favorite things that he brought up was the shift from urban designers committing top-level designers (designing from above and forcing designs on people, like Brasília, Brazilla and Robert Moses for NYC) to designs/designers who reflect the needs of the people because they live on the ground and understand the community dynamics. The understand what things need to be in place to help a community thrive where people feel really connected to each other and have the luxury of living more sustainably because it’s easier. For instance, everything’s within walking distance so they won’t have to drive everywhere.

    They obviously reflects the kinds of things that designers need to consider when they’re designing for users. To work from the ground up and really understand the needs of the people while at the same time pushing them towards productive behavior.

    Also, I just wanted to watch that movie. Highly recommend.

  • Thesis proposal draft as a letter to Katie

    The title says it all. I thought this would help me get my thoughts and ideas out more simply and in a way that was more focused on clarity, since I would be explaining it to a non-designer.


    Dear Katie,

    As you may or may not know, the field of interaction design is exploding. Or, at least companies are considering a designer in general and essential part of any team. We can see that companies’ attentions have turn towards the field of design. For example, this year IBM was making a big push to hire 2,000 designers and General Electric launched their first ever User Experience Division of their Software Leadership Program this year. My opinion, which is not really backed up by anything but my own experience is that, since we’re spending so much of our time online and in front of screens now, there is a real need to make those experiences as unique and branded as physical products since there is nothing else a customer will see. Companies are driven to make these interactions meaningful. For example, companies like Oxo go about refining products like kitchen utensils to make them easier to use when the functioned fine before. Or consider the craft a graphic designer might put into printing a poster: picking the right paper, matching colors, and making sure the proportions came out the way they wanted—all after they’ve already spent hours making sure the visual design itself is correct. These designers are making a distinction between simply performing the task and in creating a preferred method of completing a task. Digital products have been creating more meaningful experiences in the same way by increasing the quality of the design and the way that information is delivered to people—the way an interface interacts with viewers matters and goes into consideration as the evaluate the entire product. By that, I mean the micro-interactions: everything from how the screens load, the transition between pages, and even how a button is clicked.

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  • Simon | The Science of the Artificial (Chpt 5)

    Literature Review // Simon, Herbert A. “The Science of Design: Creating the Artificial.” The Sciences of the Artificial. 3rd ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1996. 111-36. Print.

    What was the author arguing?

    Simon is talking about the science of design and in that, what that motivations and outcomes of design are. Here he makes his famous quote: “Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” He is very concerned about the lack of design education in schools because of this unique approach, they’re not thinking about problems like designers do. SImon believes that even if these scientists never become expert designers (and visa versa) at least they will be able to have mutually beneficial conversations that are creative exchanges.

    Part of the design process doesn’t always find the optimal solution but satisfactory ones because of constraints. We would have to find all the of the solutions in order to know whether one is the best or not and so its much more about the design process.

    Why is this relevant? 

    This was the other half of the Krippendorf article discussed before. Again, not that relevant I explicitly, but it’s important to see the common language that’s being using by design now.

  • Mallon & Webb | “Structure, causality, visibility, and interaction: propositions for evaluating engagement in narrative multimedia”

    Literature review // Mallon, Bride & Webb, Brian (2000). “Structure, causality, visibility, and interaction: propositions for evaluating engagement in narrative multimedia” Int. J. Human-Computer Studies. 


    What was the author arguing?

    Mallon & Webb was looking to create criteria for evaluating the experiential impact of design. In looking at this through narrative computer games, the authors were gauging user experience. There focus was capturing the effect of the narrative (broadly defined) in these experiences because they believed “each microunit has some significance at some level for the global purpose, thus creating unity and meaning.” In other words, the nuances of the narratives greatly affect the overall experience (not surprising :) ). One of their significant conclusions was that interaction and story telling seem to have an inverse relationship to one another: interactivity is essential to multimedia but it also disrupts the sequences of an author’s control of events (p 283). And from their research they found that participants obviously wanted to feel like they were making progress and part of that was feeling like they had control of the future.

    Why is this relevant?

    I thought this was relevant to my thesis in that it was increasing the literacy of this interactive media. The authors explicitly state: “Narrative was the “suggested lens for evaluating the experiential impact of a product.” It was an example of researching the way interactivity could be measured as a narrative and what the qualities of a positive interaction are for these games at least.

  • Krippendorf | Design Research, an oxymoron?

    Literature review// Krippendorf, Klaus (2007). “Design Research, an Oxymoron” from Design Research Now. 


    What was the author arguing? 

    Krippendorf was explaining how the design research (the design process) is fundamentally different from scientific research. It’s goals, process, and intention are different. One of his main points was that design is created for a desired future (as Herbert Simon states), where as scientific research looks to observe the present. This different goal has a waterfall affect on the design research process (some, not all of his points):

    • Design puts a user/stakeholder at the center of its mission since it’s creating a preferred future for individuals. Design is social.
    • Designers focus on what is variable and what can change, not what has been varied. Because of this, designers work on innovation and possibilities more than scientists might.

    Krippendorf also expands upon Herbert Simon’s famous statement that designers goal is “changing existing situations into preferred ones,” say that this goal is only won part of the three motivation categories of a designer: challenge, opportunities, and possibilities of introducing variation.

    challenges…troublesome conditions/problems that don’t have a solution (wicked problems). This supports Krippendorf’s argument that designers are more comfortable with unstructured problems. He claims that Simon’s problem solving would be here.

    opportunities…not seen by others to do something to improve others’ lives.

    possibilities of introducing variations...perhaps for the sake of doing something different. Generally open to exploring something that hasn’t been considered by others before.

    Why is this relevant? 

    Perhaps less relevant to my actual thesis topic, but I thought it was a really interesting article in that, while making comparisons to both scientists and Herbert Simon, I got to read about how the motivations and philosophies behind design. It’s important to consider the motivations behind a design author’s actions to their user/reader since micro interactions is uniquely constantly interacting with a participant. Suguru mentioned that I would have to decide who I’m focusing on (designer, user, or both) and Krippendorf makes a strong and repetitive case for remembering stakeholders.

  • Mid-semester review

    Hi all,

    2014-02-15 10.57.59-2

    I have done a pitiful job updating this blog semester, which is saying a lot since I wasn’t the best at updating it last semester either. I can honestly say it’s not from negligence. It has been an extremely busy semester where there has been absolutely no time for non-essential activity (this includes sleeping). I have not even been procrastinating, which tells you the severity of situation. :).  While difficult, it’s been nice to be so productive and I wouldn’t want to give up my two electives anyway (processing & calligraphy). I decided to stay in town for Spring Break, and have been absolutely adoring it. I don’t know that I’ve been so happy since school started. I accomplish one-two professional/school tasks a day, look for housing for the my summer internship, exercise, and spend the rest of the day reading. It’s like mundane heaven.

    But anyway, on to my class updates. Here we go! (You can see descriptions of the classes on my courses page).

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  • Studio II // A world with a billion sensors…


    Studio II is a sponsored project by Microsoft for us all to explore potential problems or react to future technology…and this semester our prompt was to react to a world with a billion sensors:

    In our daily lives we encounter sensors all the time, like when a motion sensor turns a light on in a dark place, or when a carbon monoxide detector tell us that the air is becoming hazardous. Sensors extend our abilities to see, hear, and feel far beyond what we ourselves can take in – from arrays of telescopes sensing the edges of the universe to nano-scale biological sensors amplifying our own sense of smell.

    In a world with a billion sensors, how will we make sense of it all?
    How will sensors change the way we perceive not only our environment but ourselves and others? How will sensors change the way we live and work? What interfaces, services, devices and experiences will be necessary to make sense of it all and avoid sensory overload?

    What are key problems this data can be used to help solve, what new troubles can we anticipate it creates?

    Our class split into four groups to tackle the problem and we’re actually keeping track of our progress on group & individual blogs.

    Check what my group is working on:

    The Joneses

    Or, see what I’m doing and thinking:

    Jacklynn Thinks…

  • Reflection & 2014: second semester here I come!

    Ok, while I’ve updated various parts of this site to hint that yes, the second semester has started, I haven’t officially closed off on the last semester or offered the review as promised. I was so exhausted and brain dead after the last two weeks of the semester that I was pretty much a useless puddle as a sloshed through airport security to head home for winter break.

    And then winter break was as much as a break as I had hoped because I spent most of the time laboring over my new website. I’m happy I did, but when I found myself waiting in the cold for the the Pittsburgh buses again, I didn’t necessarily feel like my brain had been refreshed.

    However, that just what been keeping me. As I was working on and describing all my projects from last semester and I really the amount of things I have learned and worked on and how much I have grown. Even just being the TA for Communication Design Fundamentals made me think more closely about the way I design and organize information. While in the thick of it, it was hard for me to look past the kind of aches of the every day process of going to class, doing homework, reading until your eyes fall out. But working on my portfolio was a good chance to step back.

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  • Processing // Homework sneak peak

    Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 11.37.04 AM

    I don’t know why I’m talking about it as if you’re interested, but I thought our section homework assignment was pretty funny: to draw our teacher in processing so that he’s a scaleable figure.

    You can check out my portfolio as I progress on OpenProcessing @Jacklynn.