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What I Learnt This Week – Week 8 (mfer5686)

Michele Fernandez

We learnt about heuristics methods and how they are a flexible set of criteria to evaluate interfaces by “trial and error”. It would have been useful to know about this before testing our interfaces. I think the tasks we would have requested from users would have been more thoughtful that way. Maybe that´s Nik´s point… that theory can make your life easier because someone has already thought about possibles issues for you.

I specially liked the one about “Match between system and the real world” I feel that achieving that would really help to make an interface understandable, because users could emulate behaviors they already have.

The one that I would like to understand better is about Aesthetic and minimal Design, Nik said they didn´t mean the same than graphic designers by “minimal design”. I know that´s the way infographics work, by condensing complex data into simple representations, but i´m not sure if that´s what Nielsen implies by that.

Image source: mediamatic


What I Learnt This Week – Week 7 (mfer5686)

Michele Fernandez

I had not realized that pictures and icons were behind some of the “advantages” attributed to flat design. I felt uneasy about noticing that just after the lecture, because many of my designs in the last year were influenced by flat design. It feels bad realizing that you did something as part of a trend instead of looking for some factual basis other than “i read about this on x blog”.

Flat design was an overreaction to Really bad skeuomorphism… the well intended goal of simplifying design, lead to abandoning practices that when well employed made users´ life easier by informing them when some element was clickable or in a different plane through shadow or gradients.

As designers we are supposed to aim for functionality not just trends. I´ll try to remember this.

Image source: williforddesign

What I Learnt This Week – Week 6 (mfer5686)

Michele Fernandez

My list for this week goes:

  • Grids come from Bauhaus.
  • Design trends come and go and then come back again, but if we are aware of principles we can create timeless work anyway.
  • When in doubt go with black and white.
  • Gradients feel natural because that´s the way color works in real life.
  • We should be careful when using color scheme tools because “design evokes emotion, no computer can give you that” nik
  • Yellow and black are the highest contrast combination ever.
  • I still love Dieter Rams 🙂

Image source: pinterest

What I Learnt This Week – Week 5 (mfer5686)

Michele Fernandez

I learnt that  most people remember 4 items for 30 seconds so there’s scientific research to excuse myself for my bad memory. If i have to choose one thing i don’t want forget from this class is this fact. It should be useful not just to impress people with my vast knowledge of interface do’s and don’ts but to improve myself as a communicator in general. I already knew people have bad memory, but it turns out we are much worse than i thought.

I liked to find out about the F pattern and the golden triangle too. I knew that most websites place their logo and important content in the left top corner but i didn’t know there was such a clear pattern illustrating why this is common practice.

Also It was fun to see how each team organized their sections for a website, every group followed a different logic to do so and we got to sit on the floor 😀

What I Learnt This Week – Week 4 (mfer5686)

Michele Fernandez

To be honest this week was stressful. I enjoyed designing the slides but It was my first time doing a presentation in English and i was worried about it.

All in all It was a good class. I liked to see the concepts developed by other people, it always amazes me how the same brief can lead to so many different ideas.

The lecture about logo development left me thinking on all the different strategies to design one. It’s nice to revisit subjects. The approach in this class was much more analytical than what i had studied before. I liked that. Graphic design is intentional, it’s looking to achieve a goal, so it should be based on a long thinking process, that’s what I want to remember from this class, the design process should start by analyzing your goals and then making sure to translate them into graphics in a pleasing but also effective way.

About my favorite logo, I love logos with history behind them, so I chose the one used to promote tourism in Peru.


The spiral shape is thought to symbolize the continuity of life. It is inspired in the ones found in the old city of Caral, one of the oldest cities in south america (2600 BCE and 2000 BCE) 


Week 3 – Understanding users – mfer5686

Michele Fernandez

I wonder if there’s a word for the feeling of being familiar with a concept, but not being able to voice it until someone else describes it.

That would sum up this class for me. It was about understanding users, and I have been an interface user for a large part of my life now. So with each point in the slides about behavioral patterns I could recognize myself and think of some interfaces that I either hate or love depending on how well they understood my needs and expectations.

There were twelve patterns, but the one that comes to my mind first is “satisficing. It’s a useful new word for a familiar behavior. On a personal note this is something I’m trying to get better at in life in general. It’s easy to picture perfection, but real life is too chaotic. So it’s more efficient to aim for making “satisficing” decisions, and choose the best option at hand instead of wasting time chasing perfection. I intend to aim for that as a designer too.

During the tutorial we designed personas and moodboards suitable for them.  I was familiar with the concept of personas, having used them for startup projects. What was different this time was that all the people in my team had different backgrounds and nationalities, so the discussion about how our persona should be, was very interesting, and I think our persona was more real thanks to that discussion.

I had never created a moodboard before, and I loved the process, it’s a very visual way to get a feeling of general elements that might or might not end up in the final product. I liked that it’s an unintimidating way to start working and try ideas without investing too much time into them. I will definitely keep using moodboards in my future work. Thanks for that Nik!

Week 2 – Perception and Patterns – mfer5686

Michele Fernandez

I loved to learn that color perceptions are subjective and maybe even determined by our childhood environment and experiences. In my country the indigenous color palette is very bright. I read that in the Inca times only royalty were allowed to wear colorful outfits so when the Spaniards arrived and Incas rules were overthrown, everyone took advantage of the new order and started wearing colorful clothes.


Our native culture loves bright colors, I always found sad that those bright colors used to be despised by Peruvians from the cities (like myself) and dismissed as “huachafos” (the very Peruvian word for kitsch), but not anymore, very slowly and in part thanks to massive migration from the countryside to cities has invaded the cities with these colors.


Learning that color perception is subjective makes me wonder how it is that people from different cultures perceive color, maybe there were more than prejudiced explanations for that rejection of bright colors by some Peruvians, maybe Peruvians have an enriched experience of color now thanks to migration, maybe being born in Peru was a colorful gift for me that has painted my perception of reality in bright tones.


I also loved to learn about optical illusions and finding out that they too depend on the culture you were born into. We learned that illusions based on straight lines and arrows didn’t work on some village, because people there were used to organic shapes, so they didn’t have the same experience with perspective as do people from the cities used to straight line structures like buildings, furniture and so on. I wonder if these illusions would be perceived by Peruvians from small towns who still keep a traditional lifestyle.

We also learnt about patterns and how their use will make users life easier.

It keeps surprising me how much research there is behind the design of simple interface pieces that we are used to see so often and take for granted without actually noticing. There’s so much to learn, and so little time.

As a side note, it’s inspiring how being away from home and learning new things about design are coming together in my mind as reflections about my own perception of reality. There are things about myself and about my country that are only evident from far away.

What I learned this week – mfer5686

Week 1

  • Good design is about understanding people first, and designing a solution after that. It´s tempting to start thinking of solutions earlier but we should refrain ourselves.
  • Mental models mean our perception of reality is not as objective as we would like to believe and good design should take that into account.
  • Users should be given 5 pieces of information at once at most.
  • “Affordance” is a word, and it means that objects should make evident what they do by their design.
  • Gestalt is not just for psychology.  Also Gestalt laws must be really useful for composition. (I have to read more about that)
  • Gaming interfaces are among the best, and that makes me wonder who designed the games I’ve played.(I have to read more about that too)
  • The style of interface I like the best, is called Skeuomorphic, and is heavily influenced by Dieter Rams.
  • I also learned that I´ve been misusing the word “minimalism” for years. (and I will get picked on if I do it in class)
  • Reading “Smashing magazine” doesn´t count as research. (there went years of reading)


PS, Enthusiastic teachers are the most inspiring, so I´m looking forward to this class : )


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