Assignment 3: Response to ‘Thoughtful Interaction Design’

“Every design is a change of our life world; the designer influences our overall experience of the world as a pleasant or ugly place to spend out lives in.”

Thoughtful Interaction Design, while heavy and complex in its content, provides a comprehensive and extensive guide to good design approaches without compromising the responsibilities of the designer upon execution. One of the most important points that was consistently brought up in the reading was the impact that a particular design may have on the user’s end. Designers, either working individually or in a team, needs to be able to see themselves as a material of the design itself. Every aspect of the design process, which includes the resources, and the situation at hand, will ultimately affect the end-users and therefore, has to be thought out carefully. It is vital that designers keep in mind that they have been given the power to influence the lives of others as well as the existing conditions of a premise.

One example of a work that I feel has been successful in its application of thoughtful interaction design is the Connected Mall by Simon Property Group and eBay inc.. The company that aimed to enhance the digital shopping experience came up with an interactive mall directory that allows shoppers to navigate their way around the mall and assist them in making informed shopping decisions.

Connected Mall is a high def six-foot LCD touch screen distributed sparsely inside the mall at the convenience of all shoppers. It includes 3D maps of every floor in the building that maps out directions to every store to ensure that shoppers not only receive a wholesome experience in the mall, but also optimize their shopping efficiency. The touch screen is made adjustable in height, allowing easy access for children, and wheelchair-bound shoppers.

Alternatively, shoppers could also access Connected Mall through an app on their mobile phones. This enables them to refer to the mall directory at any location within and beyond the perimeters of the mall. In terms of its interface, what can be seen on the big LCD touch screens are also displayed in a miniature version of the map on the shoppers’ mobile phones. With the existing installation of Connected Mall in Stanford Shopping Center, it has been proven to ease the user’s shopping experience.

Screen-captures of mobile app:

Here is a video to show how the interface looks like:

Connected Mall has definitely gone through thorough consideration in the design process while developing the application. They have successfully came up with a product that not only pushed retail technology a step further, but managed to find a solution with the challenges of navigating around a huge mall. It is evident that they have applied thoughtful interaction design here.

Assignment 4: Response to Kim Goodwin’s Designing for the Digital Age

This reading assignment has definitely redefined my perspective on design. Kim Goodwin highlighted a very important point that separates the idea of being an artist and being a designer. An artist is one who creates to display their vision in the en-product,whether it is a narrative, a form of expression, or an avenue for exploration in the artist’s point of view. Whereas a designer would keep in mind that he or she creates to fulfill a purpose, whether it is in the functionality of the end-product, to serve as a solution to problems, to meet the demands of the client they are working for, or to satisfy the needs and goals of the user of the product or service.

Goodwin has also covered the skeleton and workflow in design by touching on several examples, such as interactivity and experience, to help readers understand how it all works, and how we as designers should go about before jumping in to execute our ideas. I find myself prioritizing aesthetics more than function when it comes down to thinking about designing a particular product. However, I often neglect an important aspect of design itself and that is the user that I am making the design for. As artists, we do get carried away with the beauty of our works that we sometimes disregard the purpose of why we even come up with the work itself. Goodwin’s breakdown of the Goal-Directed Design, a user-centered methodology by Alan Cooper, made me realize the key elements to pay attention to in every step of the workflow.

Goal-Directed Design consists of four different components: principles, patterns, process, and practices. This serves as a framework and a guideline for design teams and companies to follow to ensure that they are able to translate the demands of their clients into designs that meet their needs and satisfaction. Goodwin mentioned how we as designers should think of principles as the rule of grammar in design (creating a good solution), while patterns as the designer’s vocabulary (types of solution that could be useful). However, Goodwin was more focused in explaining the two latter components.

Goal-directed process was dissected into so many more layers that carries more weight in design. He highlighted the importance of personas, where user profiling is crucial in order for a designer to truly understand what their clients really need and from there, make better design decisions. Goodwin also discussed how practices is essential where project planning and consistent communication within the team and with the clients play a huge role in achieving better design.

I have yet to implement this set of rules that were discussed in Goodwin’s writing. I could clearly see how the information that I have gained from the reading could make better improvements to my work and attitude as a designer.



1. Is the goal-directed design methodology applicable across all the different disciplines in design itself?

2. How do we as designers go about if we ever lacked in personas?