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What I learned this week (Week 5 rnoo6951)

This week was a little bit information heavy (pun intended). I got a glimpse into the world of Information Architecture. While I am familiar with its existence, I perhaps may have been avoiding it purely for its daunting appearance.

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All text and no graphics makes Rez a dull boy.

But I’ll be lying if I didn’t mention how crucial they are to an organization. There’s only so much a graphic designer can do before the all the link arrangements simply don’t make any sense anymore. I have encountered this before when trying to make websites and trying to organize which links go where – they’re not as simple as I thought. Now if I had read up on Richard Saul Wurman earlier on, then I would have realized that there should be someone else planning the site. This is an interesting area of study because it seems to fall heavily on psychology. How does one quantify the importance of one set of information compared to another?

The Information Architecture checklist also seems a little bit ridiculous. That is a lot of considerations to take into account. Also FACCUCCALD isn’t an acronym that quite rolls off the tongue either. Information Architecture from what I’ve seen seems to be a job for the meticulous and detail oriented. I’m interested to find out in where this process fits into the workflow? If the Info Architect decides to change something do all the programmers/designers  gather to lynch him?

Another question I have is that what is the future of the Information Architect? This seems like an extremely important position yet there aren’t many university programs or career paths that lead to this. Will this job be merged with the User Experience designer? I’ve searched on Seek.com and it seems that this job pays very well. Again though, I personally am not sure if I can handle this lack of colours and pretty objects.

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What I learnt last week (week 4 rnoo6951 coz I was late to post this)

I really should get these reflections back on schedule. Perhaps it was the convergence of all assessments due around about the same time that threw me off track. But I digress.

In week 4, we actually all presented our early concepts for what we want to achieve in bookmarking. I learned that a lot of my classmates have a very good design sense. Their presentations looked very nice overall. I also realized that 3 minutes really isn’t much time so it was better to focus on the product pitch rather than too much user research. While I’m not discounting the importance of user research, spending too much time on that will really force you to compress the part where you’re actually pitching your product idea.

The class afterwards was focused on branding, something I’ve studied on and off over the course of the past 10 years. The ideas of the brand being worth perhaps more than the assets of the company was not really surprising, but rather inspiring. I guess a true brand is only built through time and history. This is the reason I personally feel why Apple is destroying their competitors. They have a brand. In fact they’re closer to a fashion label than they are a tech company. They never talk about specs, they talk about how wonderful their products are to use. Furthermore almost all celebrities use iPhones now. Android phones, while remarkable, are so concerned about specs and features – but their names just don’t bear any weight. HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Lenovo, Asus, Oppo, Huawei – these are tech companies or appliance companies – they’re not brands that excite the public.

Having said that – it’s not impossible to create a brand now. OnePlus and Xiaomi in China have moved away from the spec battle and created phones that resonate with the people. They’re not the most powerful beasts, but they are relatively well built (and cheap). However, if you look at their marketing strategies – Xiaomi is focused mainly on fun while OnePlus is focused on exclusivity. There’s something about the products that a company makes over time that creates an affinity towards them. Companies such as Dyson – phenomenal engineering with industrial designs over many, many years put them high above the rest in terms of desirability for home appliances. We must also consider consistency because you can ruin a brand just as quickly as you’ve built one. Sony is the biggest culprit here. They used to be the market leader making the most desirable electronic products. Somewhere along the line, however, they’ve lost their way and are contented in sitting on the bylines creating decent products but not products that affect the zeitgeist.

I’m also struggling to remember which logos I like best. There’s a game on the app store called “guess the logo” and they just show you logos and you have to guess what company they belong to. You’ll be surprised how many logos have been burned into your brain. Unfortunately, there seems to be a disconnect between the best brands and the best logos. There are plenty of wonderful logos out there, but they’re not connected to any super brand.  Anyways here’s my take on logos.

spartan-golf-club-l

This one is really popular on the design blogs. The Spartan helmet. Unfortunately, I’ve never heard of the Spartan Golf Club.

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Pepsi’s logo is funny because it looks like a fat man’s belly sticking out from under his shirt.

chupa-chups-logo-dali Chupa-chups.svg

Now this one is a personal favourite not because of how it’s designed, but rather because it was designed by Salvador Dali. The logo was revised to the one on the right in 1988. Dali was adamant that the logo be placed on the top of the candy so it would remain whole.

Also I found this blog that shows the hidden meaning behind some logos. I didn’t know Toblerone’s logo had a bear in it!

What I learned in week 3. – rnoo6951

Ok what I learned this week is that I had a lot more work to do than I thought. Just kidding! (It’s true though).

Anyways if I’m remembering the class correctly, I’m pretty sure we accomplished a lot of work in class, albeit at a much more hurried pace than what I would have preferred. We started the class with an overview of understanding users. Once again we are referring to Jennifer Tidwell, who’s book I’ve actually manage to acquire. It would be great to also acquire some extra free time as well to actually read it – but I digress. It’s definitely very convenient to have someone define the User Behaviour patterns into a common list. I might print out that slide in order to hang it over my desk.

I do remember we had a short discussion about how analogue is translated into the digital world. How people write reminders down etc. I said in class that I had used a notebook, which is partially untrue because I actually use a digital notebook – Microsoft Onenote. I use one note because it lets me take notes all over the page, like I do in a sketchbook (I don’t use ruled paper – blank paper is easier to sketch on). It is a digital version of an analogue method I used to use. I’m not a fan of post it notes because I find them horribly messy. In a weird way sometimes I write the reminder down multiple times so as to pseudo memorize what I have to do. Ultimately though, I just plan everything down onto a calendar (again, an analogue to digital application). I also rely heavily on my spatial memory, everything where I live has a set location. If someone were to move that object, I would probably be in high distress.

After that we discussed our user data and came up with Jane Bobble – a persona that would be an accumulation of our findings. Granted, it perhaps wasn’t the most scientific method of creating a persona, but it was nice to empathize and put myself into another person’s shoe. I did that quite often when writing stories back in my undergrad days for pitches. I wonder if perhaps writers might actually be good persona creators? After all the best characters are always the most realistic and flawed.

Finally we ended the class with moodboards. Now these were fun. Again I use to do these back when I was studying Animation, where we would create mood boards to determine the inspired look and feel we were attempting with our shorts. However, I do feel that moodboard development should be done slowly and with care. Not all images are a perfect fit for the mood we might be going for and sometimes careful research might actually end up inspiring us to pursue different design directions. It was also interesting to see different people’s interpretations – first of their own personal taste, then for another person’s persona. I particularly liked Gardenia’s colour scheme, beautiful pastel colours and then more elegant darker colours for Jane (if I’m remembering correctly).

Anyways, sorry if I’m sounding loopy or long winded – other classes might be driving me slowly insane. I’ve attached my moodboards below as well as Jane Bobble’s persona.

-Rezan

Jane Bobble-01 Moodboard01-01 Moodboard02

What I learned (week 2 rnoo6951)

Class 2 was heavily focused on Jennifer Tidwell’s Design Patterns. After a brief summary of how our eyes actually perceive light (and after some further reading – how lame humans are compared to certain animals such as the Mantis Shrimp that has 12 colour receptors compared to our RGB receptors and can see lights such as ultraviolet, infra-red and polarized light. That’s not all! The mantis shrimp also has a pseudo trinocular vision giving it the ability to still perceive depth in the event that it loses an eye). But I digress.

What was most interesting was Jennifer Tidwell’s Design patterns that seem to have been effective over the times that computer software has been developed. These are design patterns that I have probably used before yet didn’t realize the intention of it being there. Designs such as the escape hatch or breadcrumbs. I’d imagine a lot of mobile application these days would somehow adapt these design conventions as to not frustrate the user.  A lot of apps, such as tinder for instance, utilizes the card stack principle as to enable full screen content but has more content located to the left or right of the main screen.

All in all I intend to get myself a copy of Jennifer Tidwell’s Designing Interfaces book. It seems like UI designer’s bible of sorts. Furthermore it is an O-Reilly publication, which tend to have a pretty decent track record when it comes to technical books.

What I learned this week (rnoo6951)

Here’s a quick summary of what I got from that lecture:

  • There are a few names that we’re going to have to probably remember. Don Norman, apparent king of Design theory. Gestalt which is the branch of psychology that deals with  visual communication (and probably more, have to read up on that), Dan Saffer, the dude who made that really convenient venn diagram showing where we are in the design/engineering spectrum. Those are the ones that I can remember off the top of my head, I’m sure there are more. There’s a lot more science that goes into design rather than just “Ooh that’s pretty.” (<- My design philosophy btw).
  • Skeuominimalism. I’ve always thought that having ultra flat design as a response to the gross misuse of Skeuomorphism might have been a little reactionary. I didn’t see much flexibility in this ultra flat design language. It’s also apparent after the initial amazement at Microsoft’s Metro UI that we’re going to definitely need a little bit more depth in our designs.
  • How we tend to refer back to the analog world if we’re having difficulties in getting users to interpret digital structures. Such as folders for content, play/pause buttons on media players, bookmarks to remember locations online. The analog world is more important that you think.
  • Nik seems like a pretty fun (and talented) guy. Would love to see some of his comic book drawings.

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