All posts tagged user experience

  • Communication strategy as design

    Rough as this semester is, I had a really heartening experience today helping a CMU startup with their communication strategy that affirmed several of my beliefs on the impact of design and my process:

    1. You need to spend time understanding the problem—the whole system—to the best of your abilities. 
    2. Written communication is design and is part of the experience of an audience’s understanding your service.
    3. The team is not your audience, test your ideas with outsiders.

    I am working on their overall design strategy and user experience throughout their serivce system and will be studying the interaction design on one specific chunk of the product throughout the semester. I told them my first step really understanding their product/service. They are so involved and wanted so much to explain the entire system to me that it really took some time to separate all the information they were giving me and think about it as a designer and a user. To think about the core values their service was providing to their intended users and how to communication and refine those areas. I spent a long time meeting with the team listening to their conversation and really challenging different areas of the service until I felt confident I could communicate it with conviction—that means not just understanding in it, but believing in what they were doing.

    Notes I took to illustrate my understanding of the process and general notes on what I needed. This mess is how I think about things.

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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.

  • 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.