Sketching, Storyboarding, and Critique

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Lecture on Jan 27, 2009

Slides

Contents

Readings


Additional material (not required):


Discussion Questions

STUDENT RESPONSES

Wei Wu - 1/24/2010 17:57:38

The first chapter of Norman's "The Psychology of Everyday Things" outlines the qualities of good design--visibility, natural mapping, feedback--in commonly-used objects that are often just taken for granted by the end-user. It is profound how subtle cues like the spacing of handlebars on a door can subconsciously help people figure out the proper way to do something. From the example of the slide projector and the discussion of modern telephone systems, I learned that simplicity and functionality are opposing forces when it comes to design. One has to be sacrificed to gain more of the other, so a delicate balance must be achieved to maximize user satisfaction.

In "Visual Storytelling," Buxton encourages even the most artistically uninclined to engage in simple sketches for user experience design, but adds the caviat that a storyboard of "the states" does not capture the entire experience--one must consider the transitions between each frame drawn on a storyboard in order to create an interface. I think that this is an important point to make because in this age where people demand and expect the information they want to be served up immediately, what happens between each screen of a program is a key part of how a user feels towards it. To cite some examples, OS X includes animations for window maximizing and minimizing, and Adobe has added smooth zooming to more recent versions of Photoshop. People are becoming accustomed to a smooth experience in "the space between the panels."

As the current web designer for Residential Computing, I know how valuable a design critique like the one described by Scott Berkun is for the design process, but unfortunately, a formal cross-team critique of my designs is something that happens rarely as I roll out a website. Typically, my marketing team, consisting of a lead coordinator and a publications designer, tries to answer the questions that Berkun suggests at the end of the piece, so in a sense I can have critiques with other designers. These are helpful for spotting the aesthetic flaws in my designs, but I think that a non-designer critique would be more helpful to get the usability and practicality flaws that other teams can spot immediately through their different job scopes.


Richard Lan - 1/25/2010 16:59:07

The author of POET emphasizes usability of everyday things as a criteria for good design. This idea extends some of the ideas presented in the first reading regarding task-oriented design, in which some familiar, but irrelevant features are carried over in order to facilitate transitions from other interfaces. Such a design principle makes the use of such objects easy and efficient. Now I am thinking of ways to integrate intuitive controls and responses into user interfaces that can imitate the behavior of everyday objects.


Alexander Sydell - 1/25/2010 23:23:24

The chapter from The Psychology of Everyday Things pointed that out many seemingly-obvious things, such as adding a labeled hold button to a desk phone or making a single button have solely one purpose, are often overlooked in a product's design. It is a good reminder that designers should always keep the users, including the current technologies they use and human habits, in mind. The article by Scott Berkun had some recurring points similar to last lecture's IDEO reading - particularly about having fun at these meetings, inviting the right people (not necessarily the boss), having many writing surfaces around, limiting negativity, and a few others. Finally, the Visual Storytelling chapter provided good ideas for sketching for those who are not artistically inclined, as well as ideas for representing time in UI sketches such as using state transition diagrams.


Chris Wood - 1/26/2010 9:50:09

This lecture's reading was intriguing to me, especially the first chapter of "The Psychology of Everyday Things." The idea that aims for aesthetics in product design often times leads to confusion and frustration, negatives that people are forced to tolerate in today's world, was an interesting concept. The article on designing an interface by sketching reinforced an idea I try to keep in the forefront of my mind: if you work hard, you can do anything good. It is easy to get frustrated and give up on something you initially are not good at. However, repetition is the father of learning. I repeat, repetition is the father of learning. The article on critiquing ideas, the next step after brainstorming, I found to be a terrible bore.


Saba Khalilnaji - 1/26/2010 17:41:53

Norman's discussion on the psychology of everyday things shows me the importance of testing designs and watching your users actually use the prototypes. I can relate to the experiences Norman mentioned: I always turn on the wrong stove burners because the knobs are not placed in logically correct positions, this nuisance alone makes me want to change stoves. A product should be intuitively useful for the majority of the users, this will increase satisfaction and popularity of products. Furthermore, I've taken a design class before this one and storyboards were very useful in creating scenarios quickly and easily. Buxton had a great point when he compared animations and storyboards, the quicker and cheaper it is to do, the more testing you can do before spending too much money! Also, unfortunately, we never had design critiques in my other design class, so I look forward to such an pivotal step in the cycle. How can your team more forward with enthusiasm if your team doesn't agree with the direction of the project!


Tomomasa Terazaki - 1/26/2010 18:27:49

The “How to run a design critique” article reminded me of the documentary we watched during class about IDEO. Except the article had many similar qualities as the working environment of IDEO but more organized, in other words not as much freedom as the workers of IDEO. However, this will be a great guideline for the group projects we have to do during the class because they are written in bullet points. In one of the previous readings, it said not to let the boss talk first and after reading this article and watching the documentary I agree with this statement even more. As human beings, it is difficult to go against their bosses.

“The Psychology of Everyday Things” was an interesting article because I definitely had some experiences like what it said in the reading. There are many things that are very hard to understand how to use them (user-unfriendly). I understand about the door example the most because there are numerous times I tried to open doors wrong way. The creators should think more about the users because it is frustrating when users cannot figure out how to use the object from the first time.


Daniel Ritchie - 1/26/2010 20:18:05

In "The Psychology of Everyday Things," Norman advocates a 'one control for one function' philosopy of design. He comes to this conclusion after considering a number of poorly-designed systems (i.e. telephones) that use convoluted or arbitrary control combinations (i.e. hold a button, then enter a particular 3-digit code). In my experience, though, control combinations can work--they can improve a system's functionality without rendering it excessively complex or inscrutable to the user. The shift key on the conventional keyboard is a great example: without it, the keyboard would need twice as many letter keys just to conform to a "one control per function" philosophy! I think the critical difference between this system and the terribly-designed ones that Norman chastises is that the shift key maps consistently to the idea of "upper case." In Norman's 'what-not-to-do' examples, certain buttons on a telephone could serve multiple, seemingly unrelated purposes, which prevents the user from forming a clear conceptual model of how the system works. The shift key consistently serves the same purpose, so shift+key inputs are just as straightforward as their shift-less counterparts.

Keyboards also make use of the 'Control' and 'Alt' keys to pack more functionality into a limited space. The control key is admittedly less intuitive than shift, though users can, though experience, learn that control "is for keyboard shortcuts" or "switches from text input to menu operation." This concept can be reinforced by establishing conventions, such as Control+C to copy and Control+V to paste. The Alt key, which merely adds "alternative functions" via pressing Control+Alt, gets us dangerously close to those bad designs that Norman picks apart. I consider myself an expert computer user, and even I don't have a good conceptual model for the Alt key. I've memorized a few of its uses (i.e. control+alt+delete), but I couldn't predict what control+alt+tab or control+alt+enter would do (if anything).

My point, I suppose, is that there's nothing inherently wrong with multi-control functions. They can work wonderfully, provided they afford good visibility, workconsistently, and allow users to develop accurate conceptual models for the system of which they are a part. The burden is on the designer to avoid convoluting his/her system by greedily packing too many functions into too few controls. It all comes down to a trade-off between functionality and usability as constrained by available space.


Annette Trujillo - 1/26/2010 20:45:57

Design Critiques: I think it is very important that every member in a design critique is treated as an equal, so that nobody's ideas should be considered superior just because of their job title. If there was some superior person at the meeting, that could really affect the outcome of the meeting. And the designer should be very open to being critiqued, after all that is what the meeting is for. Also, everyone at the meeting should be very respectful of others decisions and make sure that they don't make anyone's idea or design decision seem stupid. Getting many different design critique's at different stages and by many people is only going to make the product better in the end. So even if it does seem time consuming, it is definitely worth getting so many different opinions and being very open to change.


Daniel Nguyen - 1/26/2010 21:31:52

I appreciate the emphasis on movement, mainly transitions, that the reading presents in the storyboard design aspect. In terms of our class project, I feel this reading can help with issues of scrolling through lists, transitions from one "page" to another, or even the movement of gadgets within one screen of the application. This connects to one of the other readings in terms of intuitiveness in terms of how the product is used and responds to user interaction. It is quite possible that the use of transitions or movement in the screen can help to create natural cues (i.e. the door example) for how the system should be used.


Victoria Chiu - 1/26/2010 21:35:14

I was not aware of the importance of visibility until reading "The Psychology of Everyday Things". But there are actually a lot of examples of functions that are not known by the users because they are not obviously visible. Like the right-click for mac, there are still a lot of users that do not know they can right-click in mac. If the users are using a mouse, they might accidentally find out there is right-click. But for macbook users, if the users never go to system preferences to change settings for the trackpad, it is probably really hard to find out right-click actually exists. If encouraging ideas is one of the main theme of a brainstorm session, how to express critiques in a clear and non-offensive way is a big part of design critiques. Again, here putting ideas visible on the wall is suggested. Tracing the outline of the background to get a sketch of an object is a very good idea.


Jason Wu - 1/26/2010 21:42:38

In Visual Storytelling, Buxton suggests that designers use multiple images as well as state transition diagrams when sketching user interfaces. I feel that this is a very powerful combination for creating lo-fi prototypes, since designers can quickly and cheaply show what the interface will look like as well as how to access the various features. I have used these techniques several times at work for designing web pages, and they helped me logically think through the implementation of the pages, but I also felt that the state transition diagrams ended up becoming a random mass of arrows that were impossible to follow. To remedy this in the future, I will definitely try out Buxton's suggestion to lay out the diagram in a grid and label each screen sketch in a way that identifies its map position using rows and columns.


Jungmin Yun - 1/26/2010 21:52:06

A critique meeting is a really good way to help people design in the way people want to by evaluating a set of ideas, and finding out possible directions or changes. It should be a small group of people because it might be pretty hard to exchange ideas with many people. Depending on a situation and a design, we need to arrange the room differently and use different materials. To have better use of a critique meeting, we need to take notes during the meeting of key questions that were raised or new issues that came up that we haven't thought of, and send out these with details after the meeting.


Calvin Lin - 1/26/2010 22:04:55

The principle of mapping and making things visible that Norman talks about makes a lot of sense, but also brings up many questions and issues. For example, how do you adjust for the difference in expectations and norms between groups of users? Certain consumers may be used to having things be one way, while others prefer things another way. Although there certainly are certain elements that designers can label as human nature/instinct and thus make general assumptions about users, I imagine designers have to consider many points of view.

When reading about these concepts, recent trends in mobile phones immediately came to mind. Many phones nowadays moving to touch input, and this certainly is a big step towards making the mapping and visibility the most direct as possible – where users actually can touch the items on the screen and see immediate feedback based on their touch. It has been an amazing step in having the digital world imitate the physical world on a new level.


Kathryn Skorpil - 1/26/2010 23:04:59

We learned from these articles that it is important to not allow one person to make all the decisions. I don't think that it is possible for someone to be a "specialist" in design since it's easy to know what you want, but it can hinder what other people may need more.

Something I noticed was how many of the brainstorming and design techniques are very similar in a 3D animation pre-production pipeline. The first few stages of production involve small teams thinking of a story (basically deciding the "target audience"). Then they also have some basic sketches made by some artists and pitch the storyboards they create. They often place the storyboards on a wall to make it easy to follow and understand what is trying to be portrayed. These initial brainstorming teams are usually not too big, but are big enough to get lots of different ideas.


Jeffrey Bair - 1/26/2010 23:21:38

In "They Psychology of Everyday Things" I agree with the fact that oftentimes further design revisions to an item that is not broken tend to just complicate matters. Though very few may actually want the extraneous features on a watch such as a stopwatch, alarm, and calendar, these extra features are added since developers are always looking for something to enhance their product. The problem with this is that they may not realize that by doing this they go backwards with their product and make it worse. In "Visual Storytelling" Buxton tells us reasons why certain items have transitions and how sketches can be effective and I wholeheartedly agree with the readings. It's interesting to see that every day things such as pamphlets explaining safety use simple user interface and little dialog to explain situations and what you need to do in those situations such as the airplane pamphlet. In "How to Run a Design Critique" the explanations they give on how to go about running a meeting feels like just an elaboration on what was said in lecture and noted in the video during lecture. Though it was interesting to see that they said during post meeting work you should take notes on what was brought up during the meeting which was different from what the video during lecture suggested.


David Zeng - 1/26/2010 23:31:09

I found the psychology of objects reading very interesting because it gave me a perspective on situations which I had experienced but never fully thought about. This was true in the example of the doors, as often times, I can't tell if they are supposed to be pulled or pushed. I can relate to the article, as newer technology is sometimes very difficult to use. I couldn't figure out how to text on my cell phone until someone showed me.

I also found similarities between how to develop a good critique with a good brainstorm. It seems that a lot of the ideas for openness and a need for a good focus overlap between the two activities.


Wilson Chau - 1/26/2010 23:34:07

The Psychology of Everyday Things This reading is about the reasons that many everyday things are so hard to use, harder than they should be that is. They are hard to use for a variety of reasons, but the one that I can identify most with is visibility. Sometimes in place of functionality visibility is sacrificed for aesthetics, like in the door example, not knowing which way the door swings.

Visual Storytelling This reading is about the ways that we can show the behavior of our user interfaces which is much more difficult than the physical nature of devices. One of the better ways to show the behavior of a device is to use a sequence of images which shows the flow of the interface and the different states that you can be in.

How to Run a Design Critique When running a design critique it is important to listen to what others have to say and to take that into account. It is important to keep an open mind and to be willing to branch off into different directions if that is where the group is headed.


bobbylee - 1/27/2010 0:17:07

I like ‘The Psychology of Everyday Things’ the most since it seems to mention something simple on the surface, but there is still a logic/mechanism behind it. I agree to what Norman says, if simple things need pictures, labels or instructions, the design has failed. (p.9, Norman) This is what a product should be designed for. If someone needs to read an instruction before he/she opens the door, then the door fails its job. In addition, this book really opens the mind of a product designer as Norman explains vividly about mapping, visibility, conceptual design, affordness etc.


Jonathan Hirschberg - 1/27/2010 0:36:29

Both the psychology of everyday things and the story boarding article deal with recognizing that there is a right time and place to use something. In the psychology of everyday things, the author argued that certain things are naturally predisposed to being used in certain ways, like knobs being turned or handles being pulled, and good simple designs take advantage of these things to make using them intuitive without the need for explanation. Likewise, there are times in the design process when it is appropriate to use one form of prototype over another, and that no prototype is inherently worse than another. There are times when drawings are more appropriate than video clips such as the example of an aircraft landing on water. More appropriate in the sense that passengers can hold the card, study it, and use it as reference in preparing to evacuate the plane while it is much harder to see the procedure once in a video and remember it. Perhaps one could look at the storyboard article in terms of the concepts discussed in the psychology of everyday things and see that certain models have the right fidelity based on natural tendencies of the human mind to process information in a particular format in a particular situation, and that learning how to use right fidelity prototypes best uses these natural tendencies and produces success.


Bryan Trinh - 1/27/2010 0:37:54

Pyschology of Everyday Things- Although I do agree with Norman that objects should be designed to afford the most intuitive human usage I think he failed to realize that humans can just as easily remember unintuitive patterns. What I mean by this is, if there are patterns that are ubiquitous in our lives but do not necessarily lead to intuitive human usage, it still may be good design. Take for example using copy and paste using the keyboard. Striking two keys does not really speak COPY to me, but it is the accepted paradigm and thus should be repeated. We say "turn on the light" when we use switches. We don't turn anything, but it is how it is.

Visual Storytelling- When prototyping using paper and pen, or even digital media, it is very easy to forget about the transitions between the states because the medium in which we work is naturally static. It really brought into light the attention the macOS interface designers put into window transitions. After reading this article I think I will try harder to use my minds eye to fill in the transitions between the state frames.

How to Run a Design Critique- It would be helpful if he explained what actions to take when the critique doesn't go as smoothly as the flow of the article assumes. In many cases, even if everyone in the room is removing as much subjectivity as possible, there will be disagreements. How can design teams learn how to agree to disagree when important decisions are in conflict ?


Aneesh Goel - 1/27/2010 1:12:40

The reading from The Psychology of Everyday Things seems to emphasize repeatedly one aspect of 'visibility' - having a one-to-one mapping of functions and buttons or switches or other such inputs, with the examples of the complex telephones and the car with more functions but a simpler interface. However, in a lot of cases, a one-to-one map isn't practical. In cars with a system that includes radio, CS players, auxiliary audio input, vehicle and trip status information, and a GPS (current Priuses, for example, whose displays have two different views for travel efficiency alone), there are a huge number of functions centered around a relatively small screen, most of which only have a useful meaning on a single screen. Instead of having a button for each of those functions, an elegant solution (and one used for that system) is to have a smaller set of unlabelled buttons, and have the display itself indicate what the buttons do, by having the functions' labels on the display immediately above or next to the physical buttons. This allows each input to have context-sensitive meanings while still being unambiguous. The same principle is used for console video games, where the array of inputs available on the keyboard and mouse aren't present; the right shoulder button on the X-Box 360 controller takes on several functions in games like the Halo series, but if its function is context-sensitive, that information is displayed on the screen; otherwise, it has a default action that is consistent. These control schemes are both easy to use and very effective so long as using the input is always tied to a response on the display.


Angela Juang - 1/27/2010 1:59:05

I found it interesting that the article describing the design process stressed the importance of designing transitions in addition to separate states that the user can reach. This is an area of design that is often overlooked, but through personal experience with flash animation, I've discovered that transitions are really a nontrivial part of the design process. Elements even as simple as how quickly one image fades out and another fades in can totally change the feel of the image or application, and make the user feel more or less relaxed while using it - and the user probably won't even know what's making them feel that way because it seems like it's such a small part of the application! A member with experience in some sort of cinematics could be a valuable asset in designing any application. :)


Divya Banesh - 1/27/2010 9:22:31

In Bill Buxton's section on "Visual storytelling", he talks about using tracing (or rotoscoping) to copy the frame of an object (in his paper, a phone) and inserting the drawing of the framework into other pictures to make them stand out from the background picture. Rotoscoping can also be effectively used when designing the layout of an object or application, by rotoscoping the basics of a previous product or application to maintain user expectations. Last week, we discussed that when creating a new application, it might be beneficial to keep certain aspects of existing, similar applications, so users can learn how to use the new application easily. So, if a person is designing a new phone, for example, they might rotoscope the image of an old phone and keep the numbers in 3x3 rows near the bottom. Rotoscoping an image would make it easy to maintain the charateristics that users expect from a product as well as add new characteristics to the developing product.


Jessica Cen - 1/27/2010 11:45:37

I am amazed on how some products have reduced their number of operating buttons. When I first used an iPod, I was amazed by the main circle-shaped button. That single button could pause the playing song and then play it again, go to the next song, and also change the volume by just sliding my finger on it. Its function was not obvious at first, but everything became intuitive as I used it. But now that we have touch screen devices, designers can easily create a better interface since they have the advantage of using the same device for both input and output. Moreover, Buxton in “Visual Storytelling” emphasizes the importance of simplicity in designs. I ignore completely the safety videos that are played before traveling on airplane. However, I would be grateful to have simple instructions and better if they are simple drawings if there is an accident. Like Berkun, I believe that it is important to have small critique groups since it allows some honesty between members. I sometimes feel more comfortable expressing my feedback to a small group of people because if I make a design critique in front of a large group, I feel that there is more disagreement on my ideas.


Linsey Hansen - 1/27/2010 12:06:09

I really enjoyed Berkun's article, since I felt like a lot of it goes hand-in-hand with the IDEO reading and video showed in class. Inf fact, it was more of a detailed explanation of execution, since the IDEO resources were more about presenting the idea behind brainstorming, and this was more of a step-by-step in how to do it. This also makes critique groups seem even more complicated, since while it did lay down more specific rules, it also created a lot of fine lines that requires a lot of balancing priorities on the leader's part.

Norman's book also seems interesting, since aside from the amusing stories (most of which I can relate to in some way) he raised many interesting points, such as questioning why people buy things with lots of bells and whistles that they cannot operate. As for Buxton, he mentions how just getting your ideas down and worrying about details later, which goes with the last readings as well.


Kevin Tham - 1/27/2010 12:54:54

In "The Psychology of Everyday Things" reading, I found two concepts that I felt were very important that affect design decisions. One was related to the first example of the tradeoff between aesthetic vs usability. The glass doors that were in a Boston hotel were unintuitive. In an attempt to make them look modern, the designers apted for completely glass doors that swings. It proved to be a poor decision as someone got stuck. Basically, it was unintuitive. I believe that it is important for designs to look aesthetically pleasing, but it should not in any way decrease usability of that object. Another was affordability. Are we going to make a really cool door, but only have enough money left over to use a string as the the door knob/opener? It goes to show that there are many decisions involve in the design process and each one cannot be overlooked.


Vidya Ramesh - 1/27/2010 13:01:50

In this week's reading, I found the reading labeled POET to be the one that contained the most things that should have been obvious but are not. For example, the author mentioned that humans tend to blame themselves for their inability to use common things like doors and microwaves while the real fault was not in the individual but rather in the faulty design. While the author pointed out multiple times that natural design which is composed of using natural signals to help a user find the correct intuitive responses was necessary to produce a usable product, the author failed to suggest methods which could be used to mimic natural design in an unnatural product like a website. Any technological device is inherently unnatural and therefore using natural signals becomes an incredibly difficult task. I feel that if the author had clarified on his point in terms of these types of devices, the chapter would have been more useful.


Spencer fang - 1/27/2010 13:59:28

The author of POET makes a good point, that an ordinary person must know how to interact with thousands of different objects,and does not have time to stop and learn how each object functions. The objects must behave in a way that gives the user the least surprise possible. When applied to user interfaces, I think this means that designers must do their best to make their apps behave in the same way as other apps on that particular platform, even if they believe their modifications are an improvement over the standard interface.


I like the idea of using a flow chart of images to show different paths when using a user interface. It concisely shows how states lead from one to the next, and makes it easy to think about where a user will be spending a lot of time.

The third essay's suggestion to pin up illustrations on a wall is a good one. It will make it easy to visually compare many different user interface states, think about how a user would likely transition between them, and their thought process while doing so, as mentioned in the "Visual Storytelling" essay.


Dan Lynch - 1/27/2010 14:05:24

The Psychology of Everyday Things:

This article was by far the most intriguing and captivating of the three articles. The author provides numerous case studies and anecdotes about bad user interfaces in our everyday world from doors and telephones to digital watches.

Four main topics were introduced, Visibility, Affordance, Mapping, and Feedback. The basic idea is that when you look at an object, if you know what is should do just by looking at it, then you have a successful combination of the above elements. The author brought up numerous examples; scissors for example are easily identifiable whereas the buttons on a digital watch may be confusing. The problem is in the objects affordance as well as mapping, and the number of functions performed.

This leads into the Paradox of Technology. This paradox is that technology is what reduces our problems while at the same time making them more complex. This is because our devices develop more functions than we can have UI elements, and then it is hard for a user to adapt and determine how to use the object.

Visual Storytelling:

This narrative was enjoyable and offered good advice about drawing. A good technique to take from this is rotoscoping and tracing. It is a good way to learn how to draw and make decent presentations. The article also discussed state transition diagrams that show how to change from states, and a navigation map.

The article also discusses levels of fidelity, and had a very brilliant perspective: “I hat the term ‘low-fidelity’ prototype or interface … amplification through simplification”. Very good reading.

How to run a design critique:

This article discussed the optimizations that can be done to run an optimal critique. It brought up issues that should be discussed and at which stage these issues should be discussed. The author also contributed ideas for human-level optimization, for example, how to deal with difficult employees without creating problems.

A major point I would like to point out is that the author believed that instead of beginning a meeting or critique with opinions or criticism, the beginning should consists of establishing how well the original intent of the designer or creator has been established. I think this is key and quickly eliminates irrelevant discussion.


Hugh Oh - 1/27/2010 14:07:10

The Psychology of Everyday Things:

The door example that Norman gives is a simple example that emphasizes many important points. Having design clues can save the frustration of trial and error. His friend being trapped between glass doors was just highlighting the flaws of most everyday designs.

I enjoy Norman's view on sophistication and elegance. Norman illustrates, through retelling of personal experiences, how elegance can turn into disaster. Being a computer scientist, elegance is emphasized and sophistication is encouraged. However, more functionality may not always be the right solution (i.e. the telephone described in the article). Norman argues that elegant and intuitive are not necessarily one in the same.

Norman proves his points by showing examples of flawed designs and letting the reader come up with a solution which is smart since there are multiple ways to solve most of the issues. However, he does suggest a way to solve these problems. What really stood out for me from the articles were the two solutions the author gives. The two solutions that Norman suggests are to provide a good conceptual model and make things visible.

Visual Storytelling:

What I got from this article was many tips on how to sketch user interfaces. The key being that they are sketches and not gallery artwork. When sketching user interfaces, it’s important to keep in mind that you are drawing to show functionality not appearance (even though most of the sketches in the article are very well done).

Using state transition diagrams help simplify the drawing process such that even artistically challenged people can still make useful mock ups of their interfaces. Photographs can also be a very powerful medium, especially if combined with sketching.

How to Run a Design Critique:

I felt that the way to structure design critiques based upon a deadline to be the most interesting portion of the article. Berkun makes a good point of focusing on creativity in the beginning stages of the project and slowly shifting over towards technical constraints as a deadline approaches. It is very important that you keep the deadline in mind when critiquing a design.

The article states that it is vital that a critique group be only a handful of people and to always be prepared. Having enough wall space can make the difference between an ineffective meeting and an extremely productive session. The article mainly focuses on the basics of a design critique which meant that most of the article had very general questions/statements that need to be adapted and refined. This article just emphasized many obvious but important methods to consider when leading a design critique.


Darren Kwong - 1/27/2010 14:47:42

Buxton presented some useful techniques for improving efficiency and effectiveness of sketches. Tracing an item to use as a template is a great way to save time and give an accurate portrayal. The state-transition diagram is something I did not think about using, and it gives a good sense of navigation possibilities. A larger diagram with actual screens would seem easier to work with. It's good to keep in mind what the objective of the sketches is, and that time should be spent in communicating the big picture rather than fine details.


Michael Cao - 1/27/2010 15:12:05

I thought the reading on running a design critique was very interesting. Originally, I never really thought about running anything related to a design critique meeting for our project. I would have just assumed as we were designing and implementing our project, we would automatically see changes or new ideas during the process. Especially since I'd imagine our groups would be working so closely with each other that any new idea would be said out loud for everyone to hear already. But I see how these meetings can be helpful in promoting new ideas and changes that otherwise would probably not have occurred.


Thomas Evans-Pratt - 1/27/2010 15:24:46

I really enjoyed reading from Sketching User Experiences this week, many of it's tips I felt were helpful and informative. That is until Buxton started to talk about comics and movies and how they relate to UI design. Buxton wrote much about conveying transition with the state sketches like in comics or movie storyboards, but this seems to imply that there is one choice to make after a state or one way to get to a state, but most UIs have several ways to get from one state to another, this seems to be trying to conform your user to a very specific user interaction.


Satish Polisetti - 1/27/2010 15:34:51

After reading the Everday actions and recollecting the kind of user group research done in Deep Dive - I believe that one way of identifying the key design factors for great interfaces is ethnographic observations of social phenomena in their natural setting. The observations can be done at one time or done over a period of time -- eg google analytics or web history etc.


Brian Chin - 1/27/2010 15:39:04

I thought the "Psychology of Everyday Things" reading was very interesting, especially its descriptions of everyday objects that are poorly designed. It seems illogical that everyday object are sometimes the most difficult to use, while seemingly complicated things (such as computers) are easily used by most people. I also thought that it was ironic that sometimes, making something simpler actually makes it more difficult to use. The examples of the glass doors and the slide projector with only one button shows situations where something was made simpler and more elegant, but in the process was also made more confusing and difficult to use. I feel that this is an important design lesson.


Sally Ahn - 1/27/2010 16:02:41

In the third reading, "How to run a design critique," Scott Berkun discusses various ways a critique meeting can propel a project forward. He suggests that these meetings should change overtime as the project moves from its initial stage toward the end of its design phase. The changes he mention are "increasing pressure to have definite answers or solutions to issues" and raising the "bar for considering new ideas or directions." However, he never specifies indications that may help the leader identify stages of the project when such changes should start to take place. As for choosing the leader for these meetings, he suggests "that the creator of the designs lead the meeting," but also warns that "if the designer is leading the meeting, and controlling the discussion, there is every opportunity to push for feedback that makes their pet ideas shine, and exclude everything else." This made me wonder why he recommended the designer to lead the meeting rather than having an unbiased member do so.


Charlie Hsu - 1/27/2010 16:11:00

The POET reading pinpointed a lot of specific features about "bad design" that I had formerly just lumped into a general description of "poorly designed" products. Visibility, conceptual models, mapping, and feedback are all specific concerns that can be addressed in product design. The POET reading also highlighted the critically important role design plays for end users; many of the examples of user disasters caused by poor design were familiar to experiences in my own life.

I found the Visual Storytelling a little difficult to read, but the tips and motivation for sketching were useful. Tracing and using templates sound like a great way to get the point of an user interface design across.

The design critique article was interesting in the way that it described the gradual sharpening of focus on a product's goals: as the design process moves forward, definite answers and implementations are more important. I thought that this seemed to run in a different direction than the iterative design cycle we discussed earlier, but certainly a team can't get stuck in the idea-mentality forever. The emphasis on a facilitator for the critique, instead of a "leader", and to attempt to forget job rankings, is also a common theme with the IDEO exploration we viewed in class.



Wei Yeh - 1/27/2010 16:25:02

"Psychology of Everyday Things" stresses the importance of natural design; that everyday things should have intuitive interfaces matching the user's conceptual models of the user. I completely agree with the emphasis of having little or no instructions or manuals. I have learned over the years that users disregard even the simplest instructions -- they want to jump right in to using the thing and spend no time figuring out how it should work.

I wonder how much of intuition has to do with the things a person used as he or she grew up. If everything a person uses since he or she was born was poorly designed, would that person actually find these intuitive interfaces described in the reading intuitive?


Matt Vaznaian - 1/27/2010 16:31:53

I found the Buxon article on visual storytelling pretty interesting with regards to the argument proposed that you have a lot more room for creativity and imagination with comics/storyboarding than you do with animation. I guess originally I fell into the category of people who believe that storyboards and comics are merely drawings that in sequence tell a story, whereas animation fills in the blanks of each frame by creating transitions. However, I do like the idea that leaving room for the reader to create their own transitions allows for a special kind of imagination that does not exist with animation. I also really like the idea of amplification through simplification. The words of figure 30 on page 20 really struck me, "When we abstract an image through cartooning, we're not so much eliminating details as we are focusing on specific details." I guess I just never thought of it that way.


Richard Mar - 1/27/2010 16:42:08

  • The first reading has some interesting analysis on doors and how they implicitly convey their means of operation through certain design cues. I have seen many doors with handles on the side that is to be pushed; often times people (me included) will mistakenly pull on the door before attempting to push it open. Then there is the issue of feature creep- I have personally experienced this while working on my research project, Spectacles. Every time I have to add something new, be it connectivity to another Clotho tool, or tab management, I have to figure out how to make the feature easy to access intuitively without cluttering the interface.
  • Visual storytelling is a lot like directions to put together furniture or a LEGO set. The hardest instructions to follow tend to be the ones that don't do a good job of tying together successive steps. The best instructions clearly show the transitions (how and where pieces go) and start and end states without overwhelming the user.
  • I felt that the third reading was a lot longer than necessary. The key points are just to have a small, informal group to conduct the review, and to have things on hand that make taking notes and annotating the design easy. During discussion, avoid confrontational language, and ask questions that either clarify the design or expand the discussion into potential alternatives.


Richard Heng - 1/27/2010 16:53:08

I found the sequencing section in Buxton's article on visual storytelling to be weak. I feel Buxton should have employed more of an emphasis on transitions from the beginning. After all, he is describing implementations of a form of storyboards as transition-state diagrams. I find the map that they provided to be a weak representation of the transitions. A better way would have been to employ arrows and notes. He does suggest arrows and notes later in the article, but I feel that this is an inconsistency worth noting.


Yu Li - 1/27/2010 16:54:46

I thought it was very interesting in the first article on the psychopathology of everyday things that the author thought the modern telephone was one of the worst designs out there. He makes a good point that by adding complexity and more features, the difficulty of the design cannot be avoided. However with a clever designer the product can become easier to use. I totally agree that by increasing the visibility and mapping of buttons it makes the product easier to decipher for the user. But I am very surprised that although there are many good designers out there, they still choose to often times incorporate unused features into their designs.


Mohsen Rezaei - 1/27/2010 17:00:22

My response mostly targets the "How to Run a Design Critique" reading and the IDEO video we watched in the last lecture, January 25th lecture. I know that having people with different backgrounds and area of study in a design group helps and I fully agree with the good points of it. But the question that I have had is that, is there any draw backs or any negative points for having diverse people in a design group? From what I understand everybody contributes the same amount and everybody can comment on any part of the project. Maybe people who don't have enough computer science or design background would get bored or lost when a meeting goes into the depth of a design project. Is this an extreme way of thinking or there might be actually situations where people are lost in a group like user interface design group?


Alexis He - 1/27/2010 17:00:45

I agree that critiques are very important in the process of design and are invaluable as check points for the project. But despite reading all the DOs and DON'Ts that the article describes, I still don't know how I would deal with an overly egotistical or defensive coworker in these critiques. Sure, designers and artists are used to debating and defending their own work, but this is not always the case for computer scientists so I feel this might occur more often. How could you mitigate such situations?


Jonathan Beard - 1/27/2010 17:01:50

The Psychology of Everyday Things. The Design of Everyday Things. Chap 1. Norman.

At first, I'd say I don't agree with the author about faulty design being the reason so many people struggle with technology. I think most of us are lazy now and want everything to just work for us, but maybe we're losing functionality in our desire for ease of use. The authors comments about slide projectors reminds me of everyone's struggle with projectors. The problem I think with projectors though is that there is no standard way to hook up to it, so it has to support many different inputs, all of which have their own protocol. If people get that frustrated with new products, why don't they return them and give the company some feedback? Especially now, it is very easy to email a company with complaints. Although, I don't think they'll really pay much attention.


Visual Storytelling. Sketching User Experiences. pp.277-299. Bill Buxton.

The author states that less is more, but I find the photograph with a layer on top of it easier to understand than the full phone trace out. After rendering just a simple iPhone app screen I realized that I could have drawn ten in the same amount of time, so I agree that hand drawings are more practical early on in product development. I think time is of the essence when it comes to video directions. I personally look for written tutorials online before going to videos because I expect them to be more elaborate and I can skip ahead in directions much quicker and easier.


How to Run a Design Critique. Scott Berkun.

I think another typical goal for a critique meeting might be defining what product functions should be attacked first to ensure that basic functioning of the product is met. In a sense, define the products most basic functionality. Leaving group members out of the design critique always seems like a big issue, but including certain people in it can make the meeting very unproductive in my experiences. I've found the use of a chalkboard / whiteboard to be very useful in these meetings as long as the person drawing has the capability to compose quick understandable design drawings. When someone cannot write / draw legibly, the meeting starts to lose valuable time lost to explanations. Although it helps to get outsider criticisms, I feel it is important to emphasize that everyone attending such a meeting is well researched on the topic. This also goes for the discussion leader, which is why I think the leader ends up being one of the main designers most of the time. This reading seems to be geared to a scenario with only one designer, which seems confusing to me because I imagine that most times, there are more than one designers.


Andrew Lee - 1/27/2010 17:02:30

I agree with the notion of sketching being an integral part of quick and effective development. Drawing rough sketches are basically as effective as full-blown mock-ups in conveying information about the system at hand, making it much quicker to try out ideas and refine them.


Mikhail Shashkov - 1/27/2010 17:02:45

I never knew there were so many resources on lo-fi prototyping, but judging from the seriousness of the readings, it is become clear to me that this is crucial. Likewise with the brainstorming and design critiques. It surprises me that I haven't seen these employed..anywhere, not in my previous classes nor my jobs. Perhaps they should be, but it seems like some of these approaches take themselves too seriously.

For example the article on design critique completely discourages me from trying it. Why? The article is relatively longer than I think an article on the subject should be. Also, all of the suggestions it makes hinders my brain from coming up with things on my own...it makes the whole process seem like more a rubric than a suggestion; this ironically has the opposite effect of what is intended. I like IDEO's few simple rules much better.


Eric Fung - 1/27/2010 17:04:14

These readings emphasize that designers need to be very detail oriented. The subtlest differences in design decisions have the biggest impact. The article about the psychology of everyday things shows that excellent designs (on doors, cars) tend to feel natural and thus are more easily taken for granted for being less noticeable. Designers also have the challenge of balancing functionality with the means of executing that functionality. The article says that one button for each control makes sense, but it reaches a point (such as on TV and DVD remotes) where there are too many buttons to try.

Even when designers present ideas to each other, subtle differences make a big impact. The choice between storyboard or powerpoint, and even which details to highlight on a storyboard, depends on the goals of the designer. Simpler is better.


Andrey Lukatsky - 1/27/2010 17:05:24

I could relate to the problems of using seemingly simple devices (such as a toaster oven) as described in the Norman article. Perhaps designers specifically make certain products seem complicated to increase their perceived value (ie, something with a lot of buttons means it can do more). For my mobile geriatric application, I’ll make sure to take advantage of natural mapping to allow elderly people (who have little experience navigating mobile devices) use my application with ease. --- The Buxton article really showed me how important sketching can be. Usually, this is something I forgo on. --- I thought the Berkun article brought up many points that could apply for holding meetings in general such as the importance of listening.


Owen Lin - 1/27/2010 17:07:27

I found the first chapter of the Psychology of Everyday Things to be pretty interesting. The author realizes the fact that a lot of real life objects and machines can be designed either very intuitively or not intuitively at all. I've noticed myself that products with the most intuitive designs succeed often, while those that have a bad human interface often fail. The iPod is a prime example. It wasn't necessarily the technology that allowed Apple's products to dominate the market, but rather it was the iPod's innovative and easy-to-use click wheel and the iPhone's touch screen, both very intuitive interfaces, that made them such a success.


Raymond Lee - 1/27/2010 17:10:12

The Psych of Everyday Things reading emphasized how many completely novel designs fail, with only a few very rarely succeeding. I've noticed this in Mp3 players-- players with novel designs are generally not as ubiquitous as iPod-like players. But I wonder how much of this phenomenon is due to the actual good design of the iPod rather than user laziness in adopting something new. Perhaps this is validation of the "plagiarism" step in the design cycle discussed last week.


Long Chen - 1/27/2010 17:10:47

I feel that the strongest impact Ch 1 of POET made on me is the growth of the field related to this CS 160 class of design and interface. The evolution of understanding the users and prototyping higher and higher technology is a stunning growth within the technological age. I have personally thought of some of the everyday things mentioned in the book, and some parts were a new perspective the book offered. Just the writing down of concepts that probably had occurred to many people opens up a stream of consciousness into related ideas and gets the brain flowing.

The time and sequential dimension of PowerPoint and space dimension of sketches and drawing boards was very insightful and non too intuitive. Buxton's argument for the "right" fidelity really hits the point about balancing between cheap and quick vs expensive and professionally finished. Finally, his repeated arguments concerning transitions really does not have a profound impact on mobile app design since the actions are typically a button press or a screen flick.

When reading the design critique article, I was more drawn to the author Scott Berkun. His career path and experiences are right along the alley of where I want to go. Not specifically public speaking and writing, but understanding PM as its own entity and also really studying design and human tendencies. I read the available chapter of the book Making Things Happen and really gave me insight into how working after college will feel like. The article itself was great at pointing out the importance of facilitating a friendly atmosphere that is also open to positive reinforcements and criticisms, which was the main take-away for me.


Esther Cho - 1/27/2010 17:19:37

Although Norman talks about physical design for everyday things, I can see how this can also be applied to UI design as well (which was probably the point). I can see how this can also apply to a website or software that changes it’s UI for the next version. When a new UI is introduced for a software people have already used, it only confuses the user and makes the user spend more time trying to figure out how to do the same thing they know the software can do because of design.


Joe Cadena - 1/27/2010 17:25:46

After reading the article "How to run a design critique," I am given to understand that design critiques may be used to help build creativity in less-creative team members. I only mention this because most programmers I know are usually more technically orientated. I find processes like this helpful for building the a creative confidence in one-sided programmers. Also, I wonder if it is possible to hire in personnel other than engineers to help with the critique process? I believe this would help teams who think alike or have become stagnant. Another thing I found interesting about this article is that it nearly described the technique IDEO displayed on the video we watched in class. Although we saw a bigger group than 5-6 attend the meetings, the design lead kept the group focused while encouraging creative ideas. I also noticed the different stages of critiquing as the design began to narrow. Less new ideas were allowed but more improvements to the chosen few were encouraged.


Brandon Liu - 1/27/2010 17:31:39

first reading: It would be interesting to investigate why everyday things do not follow the principles that are talked about in the article. The example in the reading compares the phone and the car, and how the car is much easier to drive. But the real product being considered is the entire phone network: each new phone that's made has to be backwards compatible with the entire system. Backwards compatability is one of the major reasons designers compromise on the principles in the article.

second reading: The author talks about how arrows can be used as notation in storyboarding. I don't agree that this is a good idea in general since arrows shouldn't be used where there isn't causality.

third reading: The creator of the design leading the meeting doesn't leave the chance for people to approach the design in an unbiased way. The discussion should be led by other people who are trying to figure out the designer's reasoning.


Boaz Avital - 1/27/2010 17:31:44

Two comments: A very important part in the article on the design critique process was the guideline that said "Listen first, then talk." It can be deceptively difficult when sharing opinions in a group, especially when the discussion is on something with a degree of subjectiveness like design, to accidentally disregard someone's opinion that spoke before you. Given enough time, it's important to save what you were going to say and explore ideas to their extent. It's hard to defer your own opinions on something unrelated since you're excited about them and to you they seem urgent, but it's important to a productive meeting.

Second, I really liked the idea from the storyboarding article on creating a graph of screens for a program, and then using that as a breadcrumb trail for your full screens. I'm going to try to use this when designing things in the future.


Kyle Conroy - 1/27/2010 17:35:34

On page 27, Norman ponders how the current problem with the phone system could possibly be solved by a small screen on each phone which gave feedback to the user. This idea is interesting because at the time (1988) this technology did not exist, but today these small screens are ubiquitous on land line phones. However, the paradox of technology has claimed another victim as the small screens haven't seemed to help simplify phone systems. I think this development may be due to the construction of the phone itself. The number buttons are great for dialing numbers, but more complex functions do not map well to these buttons, regardless of small screens. Norman also suggests that reading command via an automate voice could also help increase feature visibility, a concept used in the iPod shuffle. I myself do not have a shuffle, but would be very interested in user engagement between the two most versions, one with voice cues and one without the cues.


Geoffrey Wing - 1/27/2010 17:43:27

If all the designers or the flaws pointed out in the "Psychology of Everyday Things" read "Visual Storytelling" and "How to Run a Design Meeting," much of those problems probably wouldn't exist. When working on the class project, I will definitely pay careful attention to visibility and try to use natural mapping as much as possible. Ease of use is definitely vital to the success of a product - if the user can't use it, then it won't buy it. I also enjoyed reading "Visual Storytelling" because I personally do not have much artistic talent, so it's good to know that I still will be able to effectively create design sketches. "How to Run a Design Meeting" brought up very valid points that make a lot of sense. I have been to the meeting rooms described in the article, and I definitely prefer the rooms with a TV/monitor and the whiteboard space, since they give a lot of visibility to everyone.


Swapnil Ralhan - 1/27/2010 17:43:48

Commenting on Scott Berkun's How to Run a Design Critique, I think an important he excludes from the design critique is the user itself. Monday's reading mentioned the importance of having continual interaction between the user and the designer, and in this article we see a mention of Berkun saying that "Speak in context of your point of view. It’s fine to have a personal opinion, expressing your own preferences. But don’t confuse this with your perception of what your customers need or want.". I think that it is thus important to involve the end user from the beginning itself, even at design critiques. Possibly allow subjects or potential end users, or people who are not members of the team in the meeting and take their feedback on what in the design appeals to them.


Mila Schultz - 1/27/2010 17:44:58

In the chapter on visual storytelling, I especially enjoyed the part on transitions. In my experience, documenting and sketching transitions is the most challenging part of sketching static images. As an interaction designer, however, I agree that the transitions are arguably on of the most important parts of an interface. I do think that transitions can sometimes be captured well in storyboards, but it is difficult to identify the right level of detail to draw. Generally, too; leaving more detail to the imagination can encourage more creative thinking rather than nitpicking the interface and story. The article on how to run design critiques was interesting. I think having defined goals for the meeting was the most important part of his article. If there are too many designers without a goal, they can end up redesigning unnecessarily during a meeting just because they can, and it's easy to run on the momentum of other designers. However, this is not always the best way to address necessary changes to an existing design and can end in frustration, so I appreciated his suggested goals.


Conor McLaughlin - 1/27/2010 17:46:58

I actually chose to sketch my design for the proposal based upon the Storyboarding article thanks to its discussion on cost-effective early solutions. However, the Psychology article really solidified how important a meticulous eye for minute details is for me. Subtle clues that are not consciously acknowledged can be responsible for an object being integrated and used seamlessly. A successful product can be entirely reliant on a small detail that turns a great idea into a very real solution. It was interesting to hear the designer speak to how an untested design can cause an excellent idea to fall completely flat in the market. As a result, potentially enormous profits are forgone because a company did not take the time to test a product in the market, or properly work through a mental exercise of how a fresh mind would approach such an interface. Thorough testing and meticulous analysis are needed for any good design, no matter how simplistic the product may seem during the conceptual stage.


Vinson Chuong - 1/27/2010 17:47:00

Many of the readings, discussions, and videos thus far have focused on conveying and analyzing effective design processes. In all of them, a common problem is figuring out how to capture a design process onto some medium such that it effectively communicates the important details. In "Visual Storytelling", this problem is exposed.

I believe that for many of us, sketching a proposed interface (as in for the recent homework) currently means drawing the "look" of the interface. Maybe an equally effective "sketch" can involve only text flowcharts that detail the flow of information between user and application.

So, what does it mean to capture an interface onto a piece of paper?


Jordan Klink - 1/27/2010 17:49:53

I found this week's reading to be extremely compelling, with the topic that interested me the most being the simple question: what does it mean for something to come naturally? It is easy to say that something looks and feels natural, but actually being able to define what makes something natural has proven incredibly difficult. Norman's analysis in POET Chapter 1 focused on conceptual models, visibility, and a concept he describes as "mapping." This last topic I found particularly interesting, as Norman seems to argue that one of the main factors that influence's a devices natural feel is how well it's function maps to its form.

This is something I too believe to be of paramount importance in design, since for something to come natural it should not require much thought at all. Hence a designer must think about how the brain will immediately interpret his/her design at first glance. This requires an understanding and exploration of cognition when making design choices, and is why I believe designing an object to "come naturally" is incredibly difficult.


Steven Chan - 1/27/2010 17:50:30

I thought the article on Visual Storytelling was particularly interesting considering I'm a terrible drawer and writer and have a difficult time getting my ideas down on paper. I think the key point I took from it is that simple is better in terms of technique and it's really your imagination and personal style allows you to express your ideas well. Another interesting aspect are storyboards, which are used to track the flow of a process. Storyboards are important in other areas besides user interface design as well, such as film production and business marketing.


Andrew Finch - 1/27/2010 17:52:17

One reason that poor design is often present in software, hardware, and everyday items, is that there is far too often a major disconnect between engineers and designers. I have found that most engineers focus solely on the functionality, speed, sturdiness, and efficiency of what they develop, and completely overlook design, aesthetic, and usability aspects. They do not communicate enough with the designers and testers who do think about these things, and therefore are likely to produce flawed products. It would be helpful if the gap between engineers and designers were somehow universally narrowed--where designers were trained to consider more engineering aspects, and where engineers were trained to consider more design aspects.


Arpad Kovacs - 1/27/2010 17:57:36

The Visual Storytelling article shows how hand-drawn sketches offer a refreshing alternative to the bland photo-realistic renderings that are pervasive in our modern society. I found the example of the hand-drawn person in the photos to especially stand out, as described by the "less is more" adage. Finally, I thought that the state transition diagrams were especially useful for describing the possible processes and options that can occur when a user interacts with an interfaces.


Weizhi Li - 1/27/2010 17:57:45

According to the readings, one of very effective method that used in design process is storyboarding, which impressed me a lot. When design a product, the most important point is how to communicate between designer, client and future users so that other people can provide comments or judgement. Storyboards are valuable throughout the design process because it can help the designer express his task by providing a common visual language that people from different backgrounds can easily understand.


Anthony Chen - 1/27/2010 18:00:32

For the first article, I agree with his statement that as technology advances, it is harder and harder to design an intuitive device that holds all the functionality that the technology allows. However, I find most of his writing a complaint about such devices, as if all devices had this problem of being impossibly hard to use. While this does get the point across, it is simply not true. There are simple devices aimed for people who want the device to just work the way they want it to, without the extra features, or with only very few extra features. Look at Apple's computer line if you want an example - it offers almost no customizability once you have ordered it from the website. Unless you're paying a 500$ premium on top for their most expensive machines, you won't be able to upgrade the video card or even other simple customizations. This is opposed to most non-Apple manufacturers of computers who give you options of different-sized batteries for laptops, easily accessible internal components, etc, and for enthusiasts, the ability to do things like overclock their processors. Of course, if you want all this customizability, you'll have to do your homework first and figure out how things work. The bottom line is that on one hand, there are devices that are designed with specific functionality and are very easy to use because they are optimized for that specific functionality. On the other hand, there are devices that are designed for a very general purpose. Most of these more complex devices are derived from the simple devices, but if you want to use all the functions of that general purpose device, then you should know that you'll have to understand how those functions work. Also, because the more complex devices are often derived from the simpler devices, you really don't have to worry about user friendliness in the bonus complex functionality because if the simpler device failed, your more complex device is also doomed to fail.

For the second article, I find that most of the topics that it covers in storyboarding and sketching makes sense, although they almost seem trivial. What I like that he emphasized was how each method illustrates a particular space: slideshow/video/animations show temporal variations, while storyboarding/sketching gives a better lasting spacial representation. The ideal method of presenting ideas seems to be one sort of in between.


Peter So - 1/27/2010 18:17:23

The reading focused primarily on creating an intuitive user interface. I have found this to be especially important in the example of BMW iDrive system. The system incorporated a innovative user input but was difficult for new users to operate since they had never used a twisting scroll dial before had a hard time remember how to navigate between menus. On a more positive note, innovative designs are more easily adopted by younger users as in the case of the ipod scroll wheel. Teenage users didn't have a strong history in operating music players and so they were able to adopt a new interface style over older users.



COMMENTS/QUESTIONS

Wilson Chau - Jan 26, 2010 02:55:22 pm

where are the disc q's?

Raymond Lee - Jan 26, 2010 09:23:54 pm

He said in class that disc q's are not always gonna be here and that you just need to give substantive comment/question on the material. The disc q's are more of a guide.



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