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

Posted by MidwestFit in Uncategorized.

In the beginning of the Kolko reading he speaks of technology and aesthetics and how design has gotten some of its aesthetics through nature. I will be honest I have never thought of technology design being inspired through nature…Obviously something like art would draw from nature since nature seems to be an inspiring thing. But for some reason I have never thought of technology being inspired in this way. I suppose if nature is unique and inspiring then it would ultimately make sense that it inspires technology design. Actually, the more that I think about it, technology is always evolving at a very fast pace compared to other forms of evolution. Like technology, the world (people, plants, animals, etc) is evolving all the time. I will just say nature for simplicity. But for some reason I like that connection and the more I read from Kolko the more I understand that inspiration and way of thinking about designs. Before today’s lecture I had not really looked at design in that way completely. I have always thought design is important and you must be able to really understand who you are designing for and what you are trying to “say” through your design but had not looked at far into it as maybe I could have been. Like for instance the Macintosh that was displayed in the slides. I did not realize their was no importance in the holes until the readings and the lecture. But now I can see the reasoning behind it.

I think what I am learning from this Kolko reading as well as the lectures is too open my horizons when thinking about design. Looking at nature for inspiration as well as other things really brings light on some designs I have dealt with and I think is something to note for the future. It really helps to understand how designs come about. I also think that from Chapter 6 the same “broading my horizons” effect took place. I was previously a business major so I really understand product branding and making a product more than about just the product. My brothers for instance own a customizable watch company for students who want to commemorate their education in other ways than the class ring (www.theclasswatch.com). They knew that they had to go about this in a careful way because customizing a watch to some could sound cheesy or not of high quality. But my brothers have some of the most high end watch companies lined up with agreements to customize and sell their products. What they wanted to sell was an image, luxury and class. Sometimes when you talk to them about the company you forget they are even selling watches but rather they are selling an experience. From the moment you log onto their site you can tell it is a high end operation. They made the site so that it is all about the user having total control of what they want. You can literally edit your watch online, send them your design and poof, your watch is in the mail. The customization process really allows the customer to become engage in the entire process. You do not jsut say what you want, you literally do it yourself if you want to. This is like the roller coaster story in that the user has become a complete part of the process. They did not just purchase a watch, they purchased an entire experience. What pops into my mind mostly though after reading from Kolko is the way my brothers have gone about the packaging of their product. Since they are trying to sell a luxury experience, your watch does not just show up in a brown box wants you receive it in the mail. They spent a large amount of time working on the packing so that it was as high end as possible. It may have set them back a few dollars but the people receiving the watches have had their expectations far surpassed just from the packing alone. When they receive it in the mail it stands out and it looks like it is clearly something special as opposed to other packages one may receive.

In the essay he first talks about speaking the language of the user and how you must really understand the user first. I think in my exam project I really tried to relate this and the importance of know exactly who you are designing for and their specific needs. Instead of just observing my location, I decided to engage in the activity of ordering food to better my understanding of the user. I really liked how he talked about going into a foreign land and not understanding the language but yet realizing the trememdous amount of possibility. I would have to agree I have had this same experience just in this class. When we started the eReader design I was a bit confused. I was not sure of exactly how to better the eReader experience so that it was more like a book. But once my group started diving into the project I began to realize all the possibilities that were out there and really started to enjoy it. So much that I wanted my groups to be the best idea.

The teddy bear was also a great example and I think it really shows a persons connection to a product. You begin to use something and as time goes on it becomes yours. Like a cell phone for instance. My phone has changed a bit since I got it in that I have added applications that suit me and the background is a picture of my dog. Like the teddy bears nose becoming bitten off my phone has evolved to suit me and I do not know what I would do without it. All in all it has really spoken to me and is no longer just a phone.



1. Will - June 8, 2009


Your point about the evolution of technology is very interesting and definitely something that I would agree that designers should be aware of. Making that connection with nature is important, but let’s remember that the connection is only metaphorical. What are some of the consequences of assuming technological evolution is the same as natural evolution?

As a user, it is not important that you understanding the reasoning behind various design decisions. But as a designer it is. It’s good to hear you are making those connections.

The story of your brothers’ watch company really adds to the reading I think a lot. In addition you bring up some interesting points. For instance, when are we talking about the experience of the product. Well there is actually wearing it (which you noticeably didn’t talk about at all), there is also ordering it online, receiving the packaging, also seeing the ads for it, seeing your friends wear it, and so forth. There is a great deal more to consider than that relatively small time of use.

Overall, I think you did a great job in this, and you really told a cohesive story here. Good job.

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