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Kolko Chapters 5, 6, and Section 3 Essay June 4, 2009

Posted by miacohen in Uncategorized.
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In the beginning of chapter 5, Kolko offers some of his thoughts about how some technology has gotten its aesthetics.  One way is that technology relies on nature to give it its feel.  For example, not many things in nature are perfectly symmetrical, so some designers purposefully have minor flaws in their shape and feel. Another way is to personify inanimate objects.  This gives the aesthetics of the technology or a product that “begs to be handled.”  The third way to style technology is industrialization, where the aesthesis of the objects feel advanced than they actually are.  An example of this that comes to my mind is body kits that some people choose to put on their cars.  They usually don’t add anything to the performance of the car but they do make the aesthetics of the car look better.  A contrasting view of how to enhance the aesthetics of a technology is the “less is more approach.”  This is where the less styling the better which will allow for a stronger connection between the designer and the customer.

An interesting point for me is the product families.  This is where all the products of a similar brand resemble one another.  Some examples of this that I can think of are the adobe products. Each of them has the same basic feel and style even thought they all do different things.  Kolko then describe how stores like Starbucks and even Apple have started to design their stores in such a way that the customers will first enjoy being at the store and the experience of being in the store and secondly the customer will want to buy the products.  By doing this brand loyalty is created.  One thing that really stood out to me in this chapter is the fact that designers can no longer focus solely on the product, but on the user, the product, and the context of use.

Chapter 6

Products have a dialog with the customers?  That is what Kolko is saying.  The designer designs their product in such a way that it will convince and persuade a customer to not only buy it but also to use it.  At first this did not make sense to me.  The example of how a tape player and a CD player were difficult for to design because the form followed the function because both the players had to be the shape of the tape or CD.  But with the MP3 player, it could look like anything and the design must convince you that it is the correct design for an MP3 player.  Apple succeeded in convincing the customers that the IPod is how an MP3 player is supposed to look, and that is why they dominate in that market.

Another thing that caught my attention is the roller coaster story and how it basically forces the user to be thriller or scared.  This relates to design because you want the audience of your product to be more than a user or viewer of the product, you want them to be actively engaged.  A good example of this is how Nintendo changed the video games so that you don’t always sit and move your fingers.  The Wii made it so you can stand and swing your arms to pitch a baseball or roll a bowling ball.  These games are getting the user to be actively engaged while using the product.

The next few section talk about how it is important to encourage a poetic and resonate interaction design. There are three parts that are necessary to encourage a poetic and resonate design.  They include honesty, mindfulness, and a vivid and refined attention to sensory detail.  So, when designing something, it is good to come up with a product that is engaging, appropriately complicated to the given task in order to encourage a mindful state, and highly sensory.

Contributed essay by Uday Gajendar, Cisco

In his essay, Gajendar describes his experiences with creating products that need to speak to the user.  He tries to create a dialog between the user and the design to understand its meaning and consequence, supporting the user’s expectations and goals. He then mentions some of the core elements that his designs try to achieve with regards to interactions.  They are control, feedback, productivity, co-creativity, communication, and adaptivity.  I believe these are important because as chapter 6 described it is important to have the user actively engaged.  This list allows people to check to make sure that their design is truly interactive.

Gajendar then brings up something that was talked about in the book for week 1’s reading.  This is using metaphors for design.  I remember taking an interest to these metaphors and blogging about them in week 1.  The metaphor that Gajendar mentions is the desktop interface as well as a dashboard interface that has real time performance metrics.  In today’s design activity, our group tried to make a metaphor of a book for an e reader.   The e reader had the exact two page layout of a book, and would feel like a book in that you have to actually flip or turn the page.  So far in my limited design experience I have always returned to metaphors of real life actions to help me design things.



1. seanryanconnolly - June 9, 2009


This is good work. You do a very fine job of expressing the readings and you show a good grasp of the concepts through your use of examples. You’re also haring the right type of information when you relate this to your experience with the e-reader.

Push further there. That’s a good space. You give the example of your e-reader design that was influenced by the literal form and feel of the book. But do metaphors have to be so literal? What might be different in the final design if we design to create book “experiences” vs create a techno-digital book?

2. toast000 - June 19, 2009

If designers are having to design for so many different areas at once instead of focusing on a certain task, would it make sense to break down the process and split it between other designers. For example, designer A works on the product, B works on the presentation of the store.

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