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Kolko Ch. 5 and 6 and Section 3 Essay June 4, 2009

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Chapter 5

This chapter talks about using aesthetics to inform experience.  It lists specific trends that Interaction Designers tend to follow.  However, the chapter begins and ends with the phrase, “Interaction design should be desirable … regardless of the medium chosen to visualize a solution.”  It’s interesting that the chapter begins and ends with this statements, but it also makes sense based on the overall topic of the chapter.  This chapter discusses trends that Interaction Designers follow, and they are as follows:  aesthetic relationships between nature and technology, where the example is of burrs and Velcro.  They look at nature and try to imitate it.   The second trend is visual form language creates product families, which is a way of thinking about groups of products in a static setting.  Interaction Designers work with graphic designers to establish consistent sizes, placement, shapes, colors, etc.   The third trend is the role of brand in visual families.   Brand experience is a vital component of product development.  Money is spent on raising brand awareness and not just focused on the sale of the product, which is interesting because one would think that the company would want to spend their money on selling the product, but if that brand is not out there and people don’t know about it, it is difficult to sell that product.  The fourth and final trend is moving from artifacts to experiences.  Aesthetic and experience closely because it is important to understand the structures of experience with artifacts.  Experience itself occurs during consciousness and has a beginning, middle, and end, while experience as a story is used to transmit, condense, and reflect on an experience.

Chapter 6

This chapter is about interaction design and communication.  Design can be thought of as a form of communication, according to the chapter.  A product attempts to convince.  The idea is to make the product come alive through communication of the product.  Product form language is the basis for how people generate and interpret their surroundings.   When viewed under the cover of language, these products become the fabric of society, and allow people to express themselves, communicate with others, and shape their environment in some way.    Some designers find the emphasis on styling and visual aesthetics to be superficial.   They believe that the designers offer intellectual contribution and the aesthetics and styling are only what captures the audience.

Section 3 Essay

This essay describes the relationship between the user and the “other”: a device, service, system, or even possibly a desginer.  If something is labeled interactive, it is modern and very marketable.  This is based on public perception because it’s not something that existed before.  Language is about meaning, the creation, and the delivery of linguistic value.  It is used to identify, qualify, characterize.  Metaphors are “ways of interpreting our daily world with previously experienced and known relationships/associations to enhance the meaning, and acheive a shared understaning,” according to Lakoff and Johnson.   For interaction to make sense, it needs language to communicate.  The meaning behind language lies in communication.

All of these readings talk about aesthetics of design.  Based on what I’ve heard in class or what I’ve read outside of class, aesthetics is a key component to design.  People are going to buy something that is physically appealing to them instead of something they don’t like.  However, when a designer is considering a design, they have to consider usability as well.  Aesthetics has to somewhat take a backseat to the technology itself, in terms of usability, etc, because if the product looks pretty but doesn’t work, that does not constitute a well thought out design and people will return it or spread the word aboutthat product and it won’t sell.  Aesthetics are important, but not the most important thing when designing a product.

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Comments»

1. seanryanconnolly - June 9, 2009

Reighanna,

This is good personalized summary of the readings and I think you have a good early grasp of the concepts and reflections in the readings. I can tell you absorb much from the readings. That’s great!

It would be nice if you could go a little bit further and extend a connection from the concepts in the book to the something that’s gone on in the classroom or that is part of your own personal repertoire of design experiences.

2. kh2011 - June 9, 2009

This is a great post. You touched on all the parts that I thought to be important. I especially like that you highlighted the part of the essay that emphasized the perception of an interactive product as “modern”. That is so true and such a necessary component of quality marketable products nowadays.


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