Part 2: Start to work on final project proposals – prepare three ideas for a screen-based experience that you’d like to create (it can be speculative). Prepare a slide show to illustrate your ideas. The ideas can be based on any of the field trips done so far or can be something completely new.
If you click on the following link, you will find a slide presentation of three ideas I came up with for a screen-based experience.
DAY 1 – create a diary of when, why and what you use your mobile device for. Observe how others are using their mobile devices. What are the most common uses and where do you see these behaviors?
My use of mobile devices
I use two mobile devices on a daily basis: my smartphone and my laptop
Thursday, September 8th.
First of all, I used my smartphone in the morning to wake up, then I checked my mails/ whatsapp messages. Since they didn’t need to be answered immediately, I didn’t respond to them.
Next time I used my phone was in public transport to listen to music. It lasted about 15minutes.
I continued using consistently my phone throughout the day for messaging.
While I was in class I kept my mobile phone within arms reach and I read the message I received but responded to them only if I had to.
I also used my smartphone for reminders and alarms during the day. This way I didn’t have to carry a physical planner and always had the information at hand.
I used my phone again for listening to music when I was walking back to my hall.
At night I went out for drinks, therefore I used my phone for calling a taxi using Grab, which is an app only available on mobile devices. I used it for gaining time (and money) because without a mobile phone I would have had to wait until a taxi came by and hail it.
I also used my phone for calling a friend back home late in the evening (via whatsapp).
As for my laptop, the use was not as consistant as for my phone. The reasing being that I use it mostly for the software which is on it (most of the software I use is not available on the library’s computers – infographic software for example). Therefore that day I brought my laptop, so that I could work during my free hours in the library. During that day I used it from 2pm until 6pm.
Furthermore I didn’t use my laptop during class, because the class required me to take manuel notes (calculations), therefore I used a notepad.
Common uses and behaviors
Concerning others, I noticed that behaviors varied with the location. For example in the library people seemed to put their smartphones aside while working, probably wishing not to be disturbed. In this case, it seemed like the only use of the smartphone was for music and so it was rarely picked up from the table.
In the public transports on the other hand, people seemed like they were trying to kill time so they spent a lot of time on their phone, mostly sending messages, playing on their phones and/or listening to music.
I encountered a very large number of people with the Pokemon Go app open on their phone (regardless of the location, I even saw so in the library).
Lastly and this surprised to some extent, I saw quite a few people taking selfies in the library (and not in a very discreet fashion ), which is in my opinion quite an odd thing to do, since it’s a place to study and not really a place of entertainment.
From what I observed, regardless of the location, the most common uses for a smartphone seemed to be messaging (mostly whatsapp in Singapore), checking Facebook and listening to music.
For now these are the most common uses for smartphones but in the future, smartphone may even have more diversified uses such as paying, as we have seen with the development of Apple Pay and Android Pay
DAY 2 – Do not use your phone, computer or electronic device for 24 hours. Create a diary documenting and describing the difference in your behavior patterns. How did you do the things you would normally do with your phone? What other alternative behaviors did you develop? What else did you notice about the difference in behavior?
Friday, September 9th
On this day I didn’t use any of the mobile devices I mentioned earlier (mobile phone and laptop). However, it was only partly a choice. In fact, I was on a trip abroad (on the west coast of Java, in Indonesia), therefore I didn’t have my laptop on me and I also didn’t have any cell phone service.
The only electronic device I used during that day was a GoPro (a pocket action camera, which doesn’t have any screen interface). However as it is not a device I use everyday and as I wanted to capture some of what I visited, I considered that using this camera wouldn’t be in issue for this assignement.
During that day I carried a notepad to write things down whenever I thought of something noteworthy.
The first difficulty I had was for waking up. Fortunately I shared a hostel room with a friend so I relied on him to wake me up (at a very early hour – 4am). If I had been alone it would have been much more complicated and the only solution would have been to ask the desk to wake me up at 4am by calling my room.
Then for the rest of the trip I set my phone aside in a friends bag so I didn’t have any access to it.
For taking pictures (which normally I would have done with my phone, I used my GoPro. But since a standard GoPro doesn’t have a screen, I didn’t know if the pictures I was taking were any good or not. This caused me to take much more pictures than needed. In my mind I was thinking “well I took so many, at least one is going to be good”. However this led to reduce the battery life and took a lot of space on my memory card.
All in all, one of the most difficult thing (and quite annoying at first) was not knowing what time it was. In fact it made realize that in a regular day I unconsciously look at my phone very often just to know what time it is. And as I don’t wear a watch, I had no other option that either ask someone for the time, or not care at all about it.
During that day, I really liked not having to worry about things such as where to find a power outlet to charge my phone or checking my mails/messages. I think it helped me enjoy my trip even more.
I noted that I found myself quite a number of times tapping my shorts’ pockets to see if I had my phone and then remembering that I had left in my friend’s purse. This gave me mixed feelings, on the one hand I felt very liberated and free but on the other hand I also felt quite vulnerable.
The fourth chapter of Jan Chipchase’s book Hidden in Plain Sight deals with how we interact with what we carry. The notion of range of distribution is quite interesting in particular here in Singapore because it is very different from what I’m used to in France. For example leaving your belongings on a table, while you get your food is something that is very common here, whereas you would never do it in France (even on a campus food court). But then I guess it goes as a whole with the general feeling of security or insecurity of the country you find yourself in. Although risk of theft in France is not as high as in other countries, it can still occur, which is why people tend to hold on to their belongings wherever they find themselves.
The author mentions predictive shipping in this chapter, giving the example of Amazon which could send you products based on your previous purchases or search inquiries. I don’t necessarily think that it is a bad idea, because we know that big companies already do monitor everything that we do, so we (as consumers) might as well gain something from it as. And since we could have the possibility not to accept it, the risk for us consumers is very low. It is the company who would be the most at risk and would have to create very robust algorithms to know for sure the product they are sending us is something we would most likely to keep and therefore buy. This would however redefine completely marketing and advertisement strategies.
Another example of predictive shipping could be for medicine, say you look online at the symptoms for a cold or a flu on a dedicated website, a medicine manufacturer detects it thanks to an algorithm and sends you, with the approval of a doctor, the appropriate medicine.
Lastly, in regard with what the author says about modern technologies, in particular smartphones and cloud based services, I feel like our mind is more at ease when we go somewhere. When travelling for example, before you had to go through the trouble of printing your embarkation card and carrying throughout your journey, which can be stressful when you have many flights in a short period of time. Now everything is on your phone, you just need to have enough battery at the time of your flight, but that’s another issue.
Q1) In the chapter, the author mentions location based mobile data, and how they can allow us to “venture out in the world with a near-total lack of awareness”, but he only seems to view it as an advantage whereas this in my opinion can be a problem. This process inhibits our ability to make decisions on our own, we rely on information posted by someone else and therefore we miss out on what could be a great experience (wondering in a restaurant and being amazed by their food).
Q2) The triumvirate Money-Keys-Phone concerns today’s society, but I would like to know how it would have been 40 or 50 years ago for example, when there weren’t any mobile phones. For example did people carry around a textbook with the phone numbers of everyone they knew, or did they just not communicate as much as we do now ?
Part 1: In your group, organize your documentation and notes from the observation and analysis of the MRT and create a slide-show presentation that you’ll share in class. Observe, take field notes, identify where things go wrong and what idiosyncrasies you notice through your observations. What are some unusual things that you notice? Make sketches, notes and document with photos to carefully analyze the user experience during this field trip. Make observations on how other people move through public space.
What solution would you propose to the “things that go wrong”? Remember, to think about scale in that your proposal might be simple or more complex. Consider what the challenges might be to implement your proposal.
-> You can access the presentation i did on this subject, by clicking on the following link.
Think of a way in which you could develop an experimental map using images, sounds and stories. Some ideas… What else would we use if we didn’t use maps to find our sense of place? How would you map the sounds you hear every day? How would you map emotions? How would you map the overlooked peoples or places of Singapore?
I think virtual reality could be used in a very useful way in maps. For example when clicking on a point of interest, you could be immersed in that spot (thanks to virtual reality). Being immersed in the world could enable you to listen to testimonies of people who have been there.
We rely on maps because we deem that most of the time, street directions are insufficient. Therefore maybe we could work more on digital layering. A solution would be adaptable street signage. Every person would then see the signage they require (the street signage is linked to your personal account and has the information of where you wish to go for example and by wearing smart glasses, the signs displays the appropriate information for each individual). This way everyone has access to the exact directions they need.
Not having maps would also make us ask for directions and therefore have more human interactions with the locals, this would surely demand more time but sometimes provide us with useful information that cannot be found on maps or guides (hidden/secret places, local restaurants etc..)
Our ears are very sensitive to direction, maybe we could take advantage of the stereo sound systems in our cars and tell directions this way, if we need to turn right maybe have only the right side speakers say “ in 100m turn right” for example.
A good feature to add on a map would be to take into account flows of population. For example in touristic places such as Angkor Vat, it would be interesting to display on a map which route most people take and at what time, because a lot of people take the same route indicated by tour operators (first this temple, then this one etc.) . Having that knowledge could help you plan accordingly and take another route to avoid being in the crowd. This would also show us overlooked places in touristic cities.
Emotions are quite difficult to lay out on a map. Generally we tend to separate them into two categories: positive and negative emotions. In France and in most of the northern hemisphere countries, due to the geographical disposition of the territory, we associate the south with the sun, the beach and therefore happiness, pleasure etc. (i.e. positive emotions). On the contrary, the north is the coldest and rainiest part; therefore we associate it with bad mood, stress, disappointment etc. (i.e. negative emotions).
The most famous map of the emotions separates them into 3 categories: pleasure, desire and pain. In my opinion it is a quite accurate description of our emotions because as you can see on it, all of the emotions are somehow linked to these 3 categories.
It could be also interesting to map emotions geographically, according to the parts of the brain they emerge from, this way we would what parts of the brain are stimulated for each emotion.
Response to the 5th chapter of Jan Chipchase’s Hidden in Plain Sight
Jan Chipchase’s main idea in this chapter is cultural calibration when designing a product. Each region of the world has its singularities (behaviours, do’s and don’ts etc.). Therefore, it is vital to take them into account when designing a product, , if you want your product to reach its target audience. The best way to do so, according to him, is to immerge yourself in the culture, whether it is a just for a few hours or for a couple of weeks.
I agree with him in this point, it is impossible to really grasp a culture until you find yourself in the midst of the local’s everyday life.
I can speak about France for example because I can relate to it. If you have the “chance” to experience once in your lifetime a commute to Paris when you live in the suburbs, you can start to understand why Parisians always seem to be stressed and on a hurry. Regional trains and suburbian trains in the Greater Paris Area are a catastrophy: delays, works on the line, temporary shutdowns of the line for various reasons. All of which make the everyday commute to work a living nightmare.
Experiencing this can help you understand the needs of the users. For example, the success of mobile phones games and apps in France (Candy Crush and so on…) has a lot to do with this. It is a way to get your mind off the stressful commutes. And it is true now when you take the metro in Paris, you come across a lot of people playing games on their phone.
Question 1) The author talks about cultural calibration and I agree with him, but in my opinion it implies having a lot of resources and time to spare, however sometimes you need to be the first to get your product out on the market. Therefore spending money and time on this kind of research would mean that your competitor may release his product before you. And even if it isn’t as perfectly designed as yours, he will still have the advantage in the eyes of the public because he was the first to put it out there.
So the question that comes to my min is : is it acceptable not to be the first one to release the product on the market, even if it is better designed than the competitors’ product ?
Question 2) The author talks about breaching behaviors in this chapter and how for example it used to be seen as rude to block out noise of the city by putting on headphones. What causes a breaching behavior to evolve into becoming a normal behavior, can a technological advance be solely responsible for it or is it paired with a social evolution (more individualistic society)? And in this particular example, is it still seen as a breaching behavior in more collective societies, even though the technology exists?
Response to the 1st chapter of Donald Norman’s The Design of Everyday things
As well as D. Normal, I feel like feedback is an essential component of our experience as users and should really be taken into account by the designers. In my experience, I have found that sound feedback is one of the most important component of user experience. For example I’m used to filming my skiing adventures with my GoPro camera. This forces me to turn on and off the camera at any time (whether I am in the middle of a slope or not). Therefore the sound feedback emitted by the device when I turn it on is essential for me because it allows me to continue skiing without having to stop to check if the camera is on.
This is an example among many others in which the absence of the feedback would be disastrous for the user experience.
I also enjoyed the author’s insight on the cycles in product design and how with time designers and manifucturers tend to over-complexify their products. . However I feel like it is a point a view which only takes into account technological advance but doesn’t take into account trends. If you think about it, 10 years ago, digital (and complex) watches were a hit (Casio’s G-Shock for example), but now trends like minimalism have had a real influence on how we see watches. We have now mostly become attracted to more minimalistic watches, which only have one function (see Ice Watch 2015 or Daniel Wellington watches for example).
Of course there are still complex watches but their target audience is a niche market (runners …).
Question 1) The author talks about the over-complexity of some products but sometimes it is a trademark of the brand and it is how it can differentiate itself from its competitors, only real “users” will be able to use it. For example if you take swiss knives (Wenger brand) with a lot of functions. Does it make it a poorly-designed product?
Question 2) The question of affordance of a product is very important but it differs from countries and areas in the world, is it better to adapt our design to each part of the world we are aiming or should we actually be able to design a product which will appeal to the entire world ? This question concerns especially high-tech products
The first object I chose is the computer mouse I use every day.
It is a basic wireless Logitech mouse with one On/Off switch under it and the standard mouse buttons (Left Click – Right Click – Scroll). In my opinion it is very intuitive. If the device is off you notice it because the pointer on the screen doesn’t move, so the first reaction is to look for an On/Off switch and therefore picking it up and looking under it. There is a light on top the mouse to give the feedback that it has been turned on (Light turns green). There is one button to open the trap for the battery, which is labelled with a battery icon.
If I had to describe it to someone who had never seen one before I would say that it is a device which allows you to navigate on the screen of your computer. You use it by moving you hand holding the device in all directions, the immediate consequence is that you make the pointer move on the screen. You have however to maintain a contact between the desk/table and the device, otherwise the computer doesn’t detect the movement.
Here are some ideas of redesigns of this mouse
This is a simple redesign which deletes a movement (picking up the mouse and looking under it) because the On/Off is now located on the side of the mouse, where the thumb rests.
In this re-design, I changed the position of the left click so that the thumb now activates it. And thereby the scroll is moved in the left click’s original position so that the index now activates it. This way each finger is responsible for a specific function and it is even more intuitive.
Same as the last one, it is a simple redesign which makes the changing of the battery even more intuitive since there is no more need to pick it up and looking under it. Just sliding the trap does the trick. Adding a battery icon and an arrow to symbolize the movement on the trap makes it even more intuitive.
Second object – Shower Gel Bottle Tahiti
This is another object I use every day, it’s a shower gel sold in France. The particularity of this product is its packaging, in particular the retractable beak which gives the product a very cubic and compact aspect.
The product is very intuitive, the slot on the front suggest only one type of action possible by the user (pulling on the beak to get it out and pushing on it to put it back to its original position)
If I had to describe it to someone who had never seen it before I would say that it is a Shower Gel container which has a 90° retractable beak. This beak, when put back in its storing position (horizontally) avoids leakage or introduction of water in the container.
If I had to redesign it, I would add a transparent part opening on the side of the bottle. This would allow the user to see how much product is left. It is in fact a feature that in my opinion lacks in this product and makes the user experience a bit frustrating because you have to guess how much product is left, by the weight of the bottle.
In my opinion the NTU Campus Online Map has some critical design flaws, especially when using the search function.
The reason why I chose this map as an example is because I got lost on the first day when following this map. As you can see on the screenshot, I was looking for the Lecture Theatre number 13 with the “Search” tool. As a result a pin appears on the map revealing the supposed location of LT13 (A). On the map it seems to be on the same floor as all the other labelled Lecture Theatres (LT1, LT19A etc.…). However LT13 is located on the 4th floor, alongside LT14 and other lecture theatres. There is no indication on the map that tells us that it is in fact on the 4th floor and not on the 2nd floor like LT1.
To get this information, you have to look at the bottom left corner of the page (see part circled).
As I was unfamiliar with the campus and in a hurry, I had no way of knowing this and finally had to go find a physical map of all levels of the building in order to find my Lecture Theatre.
In my opinion, the map should be redesigned as to show the real level of the classroom/lecture theatre and not only one floor (the 2nd).
Well designed map
An example of a well-designed map in my opinion (although it is not a map of a building) is the map of the sports facilities at NTU.
In fact, it contains all the essential pieces of information one might be looking for. The location of the facilities is very clear and each facility is labelled. There are drawings to symbolize which sport is practiced on it, when there could ambiguity (Rugby / Football on the multi-purpose field).
Furthermore the color-code is efficient because it attracts the eye and the association of colors are somewhat natural (swimming pool in blue, fields in green and multi-purpose courts in a more neutral color).
In my opinion, this map is much more efficient than a non-schematic one.
The ADM building, because of its characteristic shape and architecture, provides the user with a very different experience from what he is used to. As most of the teaching buildings at NTU resemble each other (if you exclude the hive). This experience presents some very positive aspects but in my opinion there are also some aspects on which the user experience could be improved.
The presence of graphic elements, which contrast with the raw aspect of the building (concrete floors and walls, grass on the roof etc.), remind us that we find ourselves in an art and design building.
They attract the eye of the visitor. Furthermore signage is very discreet and quite tastefully chosen. For example the minimalistic metal plaques which fade in with the global design of the building.
The outside furniture and the lounge areas suggest a peaceful place to rest between courses and contrast with the purpose of our stay in the building (following a tutorial/ a lecture).
The entrances and more importantly the exit signs are visible from a distance. Finding your way out and your way in the building is never an issue.
The fact that you can enter the building from almost every side suggests a very open and collaborative space.
However in my opinion some aspects of the building could be improved. For example what disturbed me the most is the complete absence, at least from what I saw, of signage to indicate the location of the toilets, as you can see on the picture. When you are not familiar with the building, it is quite disorienting. You find yourself walking across the entire building just to find some toilets because you failed to see the ones closest to you.
In my opinion there are not enough maps of the building and they are not visible enough, on the contrary to North Spine where large and visible maps are displayed. And the places where you would expect a map are sometimes overloaded with posters/flyers.
Furthermore since there are so large corridors, I find that the labels of the classrooms are too small, you need to get really close to know which classroom it is.
One last problem which I noted concerns the outside doors. It is exactly like the example given in the reading for week 1, you have no clue as whether to pull or push the doors.