Monthly Archives: September 2019

DR2008_07_Presentation: NTU Museum Map Redesign

Presentation: NTU Museum Map Redesign
Group: Jessie, Joslyn, Rebecca, Natasya
Date: 26 September 2019 (Week 7)
Slides: PDF or Google Slides

Insights & Reflections: We should consider on the starting and ending points on the maps and how the map is being used in a real context. We can research more on the target audience to create a supporting narrative for the use of the map.

DR2008_05_Reading: Introduction to Thoughtful Interaction Design

Thoughtful Interaction Design (2004) by Jonas Löwgren and Erik Stolterman, Chapter 1: Introduction

Every design proposal is formulated in a close relationship with a changing and growing understanding of the situation. Since this is an ongoing process, it is never possible to determine whether a design proposal is right or wrong. The design process begins when the initial ideas concerning a possible future take shape then goes on all the way to a complete and final specification that can function as a basis for construction or production. Every design process is unique with the preconditions for design work change from one occasion to the next. Every design process is affected by the people responsible for carrying out the work and existing conditions, such as available staff, tools, and time. The process is also a consequence of the specifics of the design situation at hand.

Also, design is about uncertainty, ethical activity that is deeply influenced by values and ideals. Design is also an aesthetic activity that influence our lives not only on their functionality but also from their form and the way we experience them in use situations. Design is a political and ideological activity since every design affects our possibilities for actions and our way of being in the world. These views of design, leads to a realization that design includes responsibility. In order to handle the complexity of interaction design, there is a need for a reflective mind, labelled as a thoughtful designer.

The responsibility for what is created is fully in the hands of the designer. As the design of digital artifacts is largely open and unbounded, this leaves us with a situation where the designer wields significant power, and with such power comes responsibility. It becomes important to ask questions about what is good and what is bad design, and about the goals to which an interaction designer should lend her skills.

I could not agree more on the importance of thoughtful designers in the world. It is not easy but really important approach to design with consideration of other aspects in mind, not only fulfilling one’s goal but how it will impact others. Currently, it might be seem as just a small insignificant task but actually those ‘small’ decisions are part of shaping our present and future, no matter how small it seems to be. We never know what kind of influence and impact we can bring to the society. Therefore, let’s be thoughtful! 🙂

[1] Löwgren, Jonas., and Stolterman, Erik. Thoughtful Interaction Design a Design Perspective on Information Technology Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004.

DR2008_04_Reading: You Are What You Carry

Hidden In Plain Sight: How To Create Extraordinary Products For Tomorrow’s Customers (2013) by Jan Chipchase, Chapter 4: You Are What You Carry
Hidden in Plain Sight

In carrying our stuff, some decision based on today decision and some based on habit. There are factors that affect our carrying habit such as survival as well as status, self-esteem, addiction and relationships. Fundamentally, carrying behaviour is about knowing where our belongings are, being able to access them at the right time and feeling secure in their safekeeping.  It depends on security, convenience, reliable solutions and peace of mind.

There is phenomenon the range of distribution which is the distance that people are willing to let physical objects stray when they’re out and bout. It was based on the perceived risk of danger, the actual risk of danger and the perceived and actual need to keep items close at hand for convenience. It provides perspective on the perception of risk of both the environment and the individuals in it. There is also idea of centers of gravity which is the place where we aim to set an object down and the first place we look to retrieve it, our spatial mnemonic devices. It also serves a signs that mental convenience van be just as important as physical convenience. Afterwards, there is point of reflection, the moment when a person pauses in order to run through a mental checklist of what they are carrying and what they may be forgetting. But as more and more of our possessions become digitized, we have to reexamine these fundamentals of carrying behaviour as with change comes opportunity.

Server-based storage systems like the cloud offer the promise of revolutionising how we transport our own digital belongings as it comes with challenges of providing security, convenience, reliability and peace of mind. When things become digital, the range of distribution equation changes as the physical distance, time distance and distance from consciousness can be much longer. it also means that we can juggle many more thins at once, crisscross them in myriad way as well as create collaborative networks between multiple users. Possibilities of technological advancement could create a new kind of marketplace for predictive products.Yet, it still keep the essence of carrying behaviour: having things at hand when we need them, where we need them and using memory and proximity to keep track of them.

People carry more than the bare minimum because they feel most comfortable when provisioning for contingencies. With the combination of risk probability and consequence cost creates contingency provisioning, an aspect of life where behaviour changes when a threshold is reached. Tremendously powerful tools for communication and information that fit inside our pockets and bags are our tools for survival but what “survival” means are constantly evolving. The more we come to understand it, the better equipped we’ll be to harness technology and create tools that really matter.

It really opened my eyes  that all this is insightful and not only based on what the user wants at a time, more than that it is shaped by the environment, culture and trust the person has on his environment. It seems like a trivial matter but it says a lot of the unsaid and how small changes can really affect them as well. Especially in the advancing mobility and technology, more products will utilise such information but more importantly is for the designer to be thoughtful in using this insight as well. Personally, I feel secured when I am with the people I’m familiar with and the idea of a device can indicate that thus prevent it from being stolen by strangers is a really interesting idea that will indeed give a peace in mind for owners.

[1]  Chipchase, Jan., and Steinhardt, Simon. Hidden in Plain Sight : How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers First edition. New York, NY: HarperBusiness, 2013.

DR2008_03_Reading: Calibrating Your Cultural Compass

Hidden In Plain Sight: How To Create Extraordinary Products For Tomorrow’s Customers (2013) by Jan Chipchase, Chapter 5: Calibrating Your Cultural Compass
Hidden in Plain Sight

The chapter talks about rapid cultural calibration, which is an observation method that does not only put ourselves in the local mindset but also putting local phenomena into global perspective. The method is used in conjunction with more structured techniques such as in-depth interviews, surveys and home visits to help deepen the understanding of a new cultures and compare it with others.

Some tips are given as well, firstly is to ‘wake up with the city’ at the beginning of the day as it tends to be more consistent and more regimented than the day’s end as the city finds its rhythm to the tune of the morning commute. In residential areas, we’ll find locals engaged in their pre-work activities of choice while in the hours before retail businesses open, we notice how people and businesses in the community protect themselves overnight. These simple rituals offer a sense of the strength of social and commercial relationships thus say a lot about levels of trust in a neighbourhood or city. Next is to ride local transportation to understand the stresses and pains a city inhabitants at the worst of its commute as an important aspect to understand the participants’ lives. Another way is to observe the travel-hub such as airports, train stations and intercity bus stations for the diverse crowds that pass through the halls. The observation tend to reveal norms and expectations about security and the level of government suspicion to ward its population. Another place to observe is the local hairdresser that allow social hub for people to come together and have conversations to figure out any topic we would like to know in the local context.

Other than the places, another aspect to observe is the breaching behaviours of the people to conform the perceptions and social norms. It is to explore and try out the line between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” to test the malleability of the social norm in question. Then, it is about observing the international fast-food chain MacDonalds that tailored its offerings to particular setting and culture among the global hallmarks. Another aspect to observe is to read the signs, it will tell about social behaviour and value conflicts in public spaces. The existence of a sign reveals that the issue is important enough for someone to even produce it. The sign language also vary for multilingual countries, and it reveals the aspiration of its creator. On another hand, the lack of signage can just be as revealing to indicate the regulatory environment and assumption on the social fabric of society. Lastly, it is to capture the zeitgeist “time spirit” which is the mood, essence of a culture that help us to gain intuition if the design is congruous. It can be done through macro tours to capture the sensory experience within a setting.

Overall, the method encourage us to go and explore, find out the formal and informal rules of the environment to help us understand how the consumers live, daily challenges, as well as a balance between convenience, cost and comfort to augment our understanding of the things shared with us. So the tips is to find balance between formal and informal data collection in order to justify activities that feel like work and more like having fun. It is a method to help understand which of those experience can be applied to the task at hand to spot what’s hidden in plain sight.

Personally, I feel this is a very interesting way to observe the unseen. It makes me feel like there is so much more aspect in the city that actually shape a society. It is to capture  the lives a s a whole, not only on specific aspect of it and how they are interrelated to one another. It is a great method to consider especially when the observer is not local. It will really help to put point of view from local context in considering the different aspect before starting a design. While reading it, I unconsciously imagining the situation at my hometown instead of Singapore context which I have been living for the past 8 years. I realised that I personally haven’t really understand the ‘fabric’ of Singapore as I have never intentionally observing the mentioned aspect of it. I feel that it should be a method that everyone used in the start of their research context.

[1]  Chipchase, Jan., and Steinhardt, Simon. Hidden in Plain Sight : How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers First edition. New York, NY: HarperBusiness, 2013.