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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.

368318

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 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.

marca

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) 

CARAL

What I Learnt This Week – Week 4 (hche4951)

“Branding..Logos..Lights..Cameras..Action!”

Alright..maybe it’s not so dramatic, but hey, I had a great time this week 😀

Presentations aside, the lecture on branding had been very insightful, and I really liked some of the logo designs and concepts Nik showed us. One such example that left a huge impression on me was the Bahamas branding and logo. I felt that the logo concept was extremely clever and it came complete with a holistic brand campaign. In my opinion, this is a fine illustration of the thought process behind design ideas and the true value of professional designers.

As for my champion logo, I have chosen Starbucks to be the benchmark.

starbucks-logo

Granted that it is easily one of the most recognizable logos in the world (I mean it is literally everywhere ._.), but it is what the design represents that truly puts it on a different level. Personally, I am someone who loves logos and brands with a backstory or a well-thought concept for its design. Like Apple’s logo being a tribute to Alan Turing or Sony’s Vaio portraying the company’s transition (I decided not to use these logos though as it seemed too typical to do so), Starbucks’ logo story is quite interesting too.

For starters, the design does not contain a single coffee bean or cup. Next, the lady on the logo is actually a Siren.

the_sirens_game_by_engendrarte-d6yhzna

Ok..maybe not so creepy..but she’s a Siren for sure.

And Terry Heckler (the designer) actually made this logo for two reasons. Firstly, he wanted to capture a nautical-sort-of-theme because Starbucks originated from Seattle, and secondly, it is because of what the Siren symbolizes; seduction and obsession. In myths, Sirens (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siren_(mythology)) are actually brutal sociopaths who drown you after they have lured you to them. In some poetic way, it kind of sounds like what Starbucks coffee does to you. After being enticed to drink your first cup, you probably want more of that overpriced elixir till you are hopelessly hooked on caffeine, and this is all embodied by that innocent-looking lady on each coffee cup.

To me, this is one hella of a logo with a twist.

– Louis

Week 3 – On Moodboards

Moodboards were something quite new to me. I haven’t done these in the past, but I can definitely see their utility. For my own moodboard, I was able to put things together, because I had a clear idea of what the application should convey. I typically went with bright colours for the icons, and large crisp text. I threw in some cartoony elements because I wanted the application to also be fun.

moodboard

It wasn’t as easy to create a moodboard for Jane Bobble, and that’s also because I don’t want to stereotype, and by extension dilute the person, by picking things women of her age might like or going with feminine colour schemes. My first instinct was to follow a more corporate feel in the colour and layout. This resulted in picking more conventional hues of blue, and I started going looking for other elements in the real world that Jane Bobble might appreciate – flowers and such.

jane_bobble

We also had a class and tutorial on building personas in the Design Thinking, and it was emphasized there that personas are archetypes, not stereotypes. And that makes a lot of sense. Ultimately, I figure it takes a lot of practice and experience to make great personas that feel closer to real humans, so we (and by that, I mean I) feel less worried about promoting stereotypes.

What I Learnt This Week – Week 3 (hche4951)

Because it is so automated, it is also extremely easy to overlook all the little behavioural quirks we have as humans (well..at least until we had this lecture). By categorizing and labelling them, it definitely shone the limelight on these patterns, and out of the 12 different types, I can personally relate to “habituation” totally.

As a user, I have experienced how a typically used methodology applied across everywhere else cause frustration when abruptly removed or be illogically unavailable as an interface standard. This is particularly significant for me because that frustration instantly translates into a negative impression of the website or the platform interface in general when it occurs.

Other learnings that I have acquired in Week 3 include:

  • Personas (Kind of reminds me of this awesome game series: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_(series))
    • Great way to classify and record my users’ interests and motivations (I became better at this after trying it out a couple of times during Design Thinking as well.)
  • Moodboards
    • This is not overly new to me, but when asked to create a moodboard based on whatever I like as a person, it was interesting to note that my style came out the way it did. At the same time, it was also refreshing to see the variety of styles everyone had to offer and allow my creative perspective to be widened by the entire experience.

Last but not least, here are my moodboards to end off this post 🙂

Moodboard - 1 Jane Bobble

– Louis

Week 2 – Perception and Patterns

This week’s lecture quite frankly blew my mind. To know that we will never perceive the world as it truly is, on some level, kind of sad. I’ve encountered some of these issues (usually in the form of annoying viral posts) in the past, but the lecture painted a comprehensive picture of how through culture and past experience and our brain makes us its mind about ‘what is out there’. As designers, we need to keep this in mind. There’s a lot of reading I need to do in this area.

Jennifer Tidwell’s design patterns formed the second part of the lecture. The first edition seems to have been written when desktop applications and web interfaces were predominantly used. The patterns do apply when moving to the current world of web and mobile applications as well, and the second edition expands the list of patterns significantly. It’s a good starting point to understand why a particular interface works or doesn’t.

The discussion of patterns in class also made me think of “Dark Patterns” (more here).

Disclaimer! Nik, I’m not sure if this is a reliable source. In fact, I’m going to dig up more research on this issue! However, it seems plausible to me that using our knowledge of human behaviour and cognitive perception, design patterns could be used for nefarious purposes.

The author of the website defines them as

“A Dark Pattern is a user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills.”

The site has some examples, and it’s an interesting read. Nik, maybe we could spend a bit of time on this in class?

Week 1 – What I learnt!

Quite a lot actually.

  • You should have proper justification, backed by research and theory, to explain why you made a certain choices in design. “Everybody does it” is not it. Which is great – this is what I want to learn in this class.
  • Skeuminimalism
  • The lecture slides are great.
  • Nik cares deeply about the UI and UX profession, and is very particular about the skills you need to have before “he’ll let you” join the ranks.
  • On that note, there is a difference between UI and UX.
  • The Gestalt principles were an eye-opener for me. They made a lot of sense, and will be very useful to understand why we perceive shapes and objects they way we do.
  • The principles of good UI design – a useful toolkit for UI designers.

I also learnt I should do this every week before the next class, which will happen now as the semester progresses!

What I Learnt This Week – Week 2 (hche4951)

Week 2 is over!! And as we are moving towards the 3rd week, everything has shifted gears with school picking up the pace. Not necessarily a bad thing since more stuff is being taught, more work is being done, and I feel a sense of momentum building up to get things up and running towards our assignment.

For this week, I learnt a great deal about visual perspectives and how our eyes can be tricked to see colours and images differently. I mean we might have seen some of the techniques (like the Müller-Lyer illusion) somehow or rather in our daily lives, but understanding why they happen brought me to a new level of interest (I mean..cultures actually made a difference. Damn.). Wikipedia has a list of more such illusions (inclusive but not exhaustive as always), and I found the Café Wall illusion particularly fun too.

On a more serious note, Jennifer Tidwell totally blew my champion UI out of the window. *cue epic explosion sequence*

Ok. That’s not Jennifer. But #closeenough.”

Anyway, my champion UI did not contain any of the patterns she listed in her book. Comparatively, Hyperlapse is kinda different in its design. It seems to have a linear sort of structure; basically, you record a vid –> edit its speed –> decide if you like it (X or ✓) –> either you start over or you save and share it. I guess, as Nik highlighted, depending on the scale of the design and how much content is required to be in it, Tidwell’s patterns will serve as a benchmark checklist to ensure that the application design is sound and user-friendly. Regardless, I feel this knowledge is a good set of tools to have cos they will definitely aid me in my future designs. I might be changing my champion UI too if it doesn’t fit what I’m gonna do for our assignment brief though.

Shall see how it goes. :X

That’s it for this week!

Louis

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