Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Final Blog

1. What seminar readings, exercises, or assignments were most challenging, interesting, or rewarding for you? Why?

The most challenging thing that we did in class this year was the Wikipedia paper. This piece by far was the most challenging because it was completely factual. Also, finding relevant and useful data to support our topic was very difficult. The most interesting thing we did this year was build the chair at the beginning of the year. It was very interesting to see how each chair turned out and what the design was for each. The most rewarding was reading The Design of Everyday Things. This piece made me have a better understanding of certain aspects of design and of possible flaws in current design processes.

2. What are the most important things you learned in this seminar?

The most important things that I learned this year in this seminar were how to spot flaws in design and how people react to certain design aspects. It was really interesting to notice that I am beginning to spot flaws in design in my everyday life. I notice things in the real world and think how a certain designer would not approve of it. It was also very interesting to learn how people react to design. Companies, stores and even streets are designed a certain way for a reason. Sometimes it helps the user or sometimes the design is used to deceive them.

3. How might you use this learning in the future?

I might use this in the future because I would like to open my own business. Opening my own business would definitely include aspects of design such as advertisement, architecture and the luring of the customer. The things that I learned in this class will be applied to my future. I feel as if I am already applying certain concepts and ideas in my everyday life.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Behavioral Architecture

1. What are examples of architectural design that you consider to be epic failures?

An example of architectural design that I consider to be an epic failure is doors. Some doors are designed in a good fashion and signs or visual clues tell you whether to pull or push on the door. However, some doors you have no idea how to open them. I have also encountered doors that you know you are supposed to push them. The only problem is you don't know what side to push on. Another failure with doors is the placement. I have been to store (meijer) where the entrance is on the left side. This can be very confusing to the user since we are a very right-handed culture.

2. Good, Bad & Ugly. Choose a building on K campus & analyze its behavioral and visceral usability.

A building that I think has good architectural design is Hicks. Not only is Hicks very appealing, but it is also very behaviorally sound. When inside Hicks you know how to get to a certain place. The visual aids and clues help a lot in navigating through it. The aspect that I like the most about Hicks is the openness. If you are confused about how to go to the second floor you can just look. Everything is so wide open that you can see the stairs and possible routes to your destination.

3. What is the flaw in the current design process? How could this problem be fixed?

The current flaw in the design process is the lack of feedback. People must first use a building and experience the good and bad aspects of it before a substantial amount of feedback can be administered. I think that this is a very difficult problem to address. During the design process of a building you must think of every aspect and consider all possible pros and cons of the design. This will help to predict the possible flaws in the design.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ads Fads and Consumer Culture

1. Select a brief passage from the reading and post it on your blog. Explain why you thought it was interesting.

"One can broadly be defined as cultural behavior and the other as people's or perhaps the collective unconscious. Focusing on individuals or groups of individuals in test studies frequently concludes that advertising plays no significant role in decisions making. An examination of advertising as a cultural phenomenon, on the other hand, suggests something quite different..."

I find this passage very interesting because I have always thought of advertising as a way to deceive the consumer. I feel that advertising plays a huge role the decision making process and is one of the main contributors to a consumer purchasing a product. TV has played a huge role in the deception and advertising of products. I feel that television tends to lean towards the second diagram describing how revenues are increased due to advertising. Businesses use television as their main source of advertisement and therefore revenues get larger and larger.

2. What do you think were the author's key points?

The author's key points about advertising were basically outlining the idea of deception and subliminal messages to the viewer. For example on TV, advertisements are very psychologically deceiving and trick the viewer into feeling something that the company wants them to feel. He understands that everything in our world today is based around the television and advertisements are seen all over the TV. This is a great way for companies to get their idea across while entertaining the possible customer.

3. Why is it important to have a psychological understanding when it comes to advertising?

Advertising is intending to be entertaining and through this entertainment the company can deceive and trick the consumer into feeling a certain way. Nearly all commercials, posters, billboards and ads try to force the consumer or recipient to have a feeling about their product or company. This psychological game is very tough to realize. If you have a good understanding of advertising and different techniques used to deceive the consumer then you will be able to recognize the advertising that is trying to trick you vs the advertising that is legitimate.

Link to Wikipedia Paper


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fashion Design

1. Why is fashion so reflective, when it could be purely functional and behavioral? (Why do people feel an impulse to express and redefine themselves through their clothes?)

People feel a great impulse to purchase clothes that reflect themselves because they want people to know who they are. What a person is wearing can tell you so much about them even before you get to know them. Every person is unique and has their own sense of fashion and clothing. What the person chooses to wear can give you hints about what type of person they are or what type of mood they are in at that time. The world is a very judgmental place and the first thing people notice about a person is what they are wearing. We can redefine ourselves simply by changing our shirt or wearing a different pair of shoes.

2. Jones discusses the importance of time as it relates to fashion-why does fashion change and evolve, instead of remaining static and functional?

Fashion does not stay static simply because people want to be different. As said above, all people want to be unique and have their own style and look. If fashion was static then they would not be able to express themselves and differentiate from others looks. Another big factor in changing fashion is popular celebrities and well-known people. What our idols wear has a huge impact on what the rest of the world will wear. Celebrities are always changing their style to keep up with the latest trends and start new ones of their own. This all returns to the idea that people want to be unique and separate themselves from one another. Fashion is one of the easiest ways to do this.

3. Based on the reading, make a checklist of principles to consider when designing a garment.

  • Comfort and feeling
  • What it is made of-Fabric
  • Style of clothing
  • Use-When will this garment be used (environment)
  • Will it sell? (Trendy? Price?)
  • What will others think? (Reflective)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Simplicity is Highly Overrated

1. Identify the thesis statement of this essay.

Because the people want the features. Because simplicity is a myth whose time has past, if it ever existed.

2. Identify at least three points the author makes to support this thesis statement.

Make it simple and people won’t buy. Given a choice, they will take the item that does more.

Haven’t you ever compared two products side by side, comparing the features of each, preferring the one that did more? Why shame on you, you are behaving, well, behaving like a normal person.

Yes, we want simplicity, but we don’t want to give up any of those cool features. Simplicity is highly overrated.

3. If you were to write an essay on this same topic, but with an opposing argument, what would your thesis be?

People want things to be simple. With simplicity comes a better understanding of the product and a much better chance to sell the product on the market.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Downtown Kzoo

1. Write a short evaluation of Downtown Kalamazoo's business area using specific examples from Friday's observations.

The downtown Kalamazoo business area is a very interesting place and a lot different from many other parts of Kalamazoo. The downtown area is filled with small shops and one way streets. There is very limited parking on the streets, but there are several parking garages near the downtown area. For the vehicle it may be very difficult to navigate through the downtown area if you are unfamiliar with the city. For people on feet it seems like a great experience. Walking through downtown Kalamazoo can be both entertaining and relaxing. There are plenty of benches and seats to rest when you need and shops all along Burdick St. You can also go inside to Mall Plaza and get away from the cold in the winter. I also saw that there were several restaurants and a few food markets in the area. Overall downtown Kalamazoo has a lot to offer to the ordinary person.

2. Give at least three recommendations to improve the downtown.

  • One improvement I would make to downtown Kalamazoo is the addition of drinking fountains. I did not see any drinking fountains for the people walking down the main streets. They had several benches and garbage cans, but the addition of drinking fountains would make the experience that much better.
  • The second improvement I would make is more signs. I would add directories throughout main street to show which shops/stores are near and how to get to these places.
  • The last improvement I would make is possibly something very attractive to bring people to this area. It seems that downtown Kalamazoo has a lot of unknown stores and shops that people would not really know anything about. If there was something that was very recognizable it may bring people in who are not just from Kalamazoo.
3. Select a brief passage from the article about Robert Gibbs ("What Main Street Can Learn from the Mall" by Steven Lagerfeld) or the reading on public spaces (from City by William Whyte) and relate it to Kalamazoo's downtown. Use specific observations from Kalamazoo to illustrate the point.

"At the opposite extreme from Lexington are the suburban shopping malls. Their walkways are wide-thirty feet or more. Originally, they were wider yet. The first regional malls had lots of green space, and their central walkways as much as fifty to sixty feet across."

I find this passage very related to downtown Kalamazoo, but in a sort of opposite way. Whyte discusses Lexington Ave and says how the sidewalks are much to big. He noted that the sidewalks were up to thirty feet wide and used to be up to sixty feet wide. However, in downtown Kalamazoo I noted that the sidewalks seemed to be the perfect size. There is not too many people trying to walk on the sidewalks at one time and this makes it very easy for the people to maneuver around. I watched people walk by each other on the sidewalks and realized that they had a very easy time getting by one another. I think that this is one of the very well designed aspects of downtown Kalamazoo.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

City/Egg Container

1. To what extent do Whyte and Gibbs approach city design from different perspectives? Do you find one more convincing than the other?

Based on the two readings I found that Whyte focuses city design on the details and not so much extreme design techniques. However, Gibbs is very big on drawing the consumer in and keeping them there. Whyte focuses on things such as the sidewalk and trash cans. These small aspects make the city a better place, but do not necessarily keep the consumer in. Gibbs focuses on the larger aspect of design such as stores and stories. He wants the consumer to feel drawn in by the cities design. Also to enjoy the experience so much that they come back for more. I tend to agree with Gibbs side of city design. I feel that drawing in people and giving them an experience they will never forget leads to the most success.

2. What elements of an urban area are particularly attractive to you? What elements repel you?

What draws me into an urban area is a lot of action. I like people to be around and things to do. Most of all I enjoy being outside. Rows of stores and shops really make me enjoy my experience. What repels me is too much traffic. I enjoy people, but not cars. Plus if I do drive to a destination I do not enjoy finding a parking spot.


Rob and I designed our egg container. We knew we wanted to put our egg in a box, but did not know how to protect our egg from being smashed. We decided that air pockets were the best idea. We used zip-lock bags. At first we were just going to use small air pockets and wrap the bag in rubber bands to keep the air in. However, we decided to blow three bags up about halfway. We then wrapped the egg in one bag and put the other two on the outside. Using tape we connected the bags together. Then we placed the bags in a box that we cut. The first test was successful, but our idea failed on the second test. The air began to deflate out of our bags and I think that is the reason for the failure. If we were to do it again I would probably figure out some way to keep the bags inflated longer or use something else for air pockets.