Fall 2010

7
Dec

Being a fresh-from-San-Francisco Californian, I really enjoyed this week’s discussion on design as and for social innovation. San Francisco is one of the more socially innovative cities in the U.S., at least as regards environmental and conservationist practices, so it was fun to see the design process that’s involved in creating the very systems that I have become so familiar with over the last few years living there (and which I constantly gripe about not being able to find here in New York).

Social sharing is the most state-changing of these developments in recent years—the prevalence of companies like ZipCar has made it clear that people want to be able to take advantage of the benefits of having these types of resources without having to front the entire cost by themselves (cost being defined as either literally the personal monetary cost or even the cost to the environment). In the past for whatever reason it has always been assumed that each person or family unit wants to live as an autonomous being, where their resources are their resources, not anybody else’s. But with growing economic troubles and a call to people worldwide to take more responsibility for the negative impacts of their behavior on the environment, we have seen an inspiring willingness and even desire for people to become interconnected and tackle these problems together. It is not enough to design a product for one user anymore— at the VERY least it now has to have the ability to interact with other users, if not simultaneously address the needs of all sorts of users in a social context.

I also thought the Open IDEO example that Nadiah talked about in recitation to be interesting as a concept. People have used this type of crowd-sourcing to decrease costs and increase opportunities in various industries (such as 99designs.com where people that might not ordinarily have been able to afford design work before can now receive multiple bids at the click of a mouse) but this is the first time I’ve seen it applied to humanitarian good. While I’m sure there are some details that still need to be hashed out in the Open IDEO model, I couldn’t help but wonder if it were in a way simply the socially-minded version of a 99designs.com? And if so, hopefully this will bring well-designed and implemented ideas to countless places that ordinarily could not attract that kind of help; somewhat in the way that 99designs.com has successfully brought well-designed logos to even the lowliest of frat theme parties nationwide.

Category : Design for this Century | Fall 2010 | Blog
2
Dec

Prototypes.

Look and Feel Prototype 1: The Overall Board’s Appearance

This would be the general lay-out for the board—cork and/or magnet board with the user’s own materials attached to it, surrounding screens with streaming data. These particular photos are low on the display side (I only have the one tiny one at the moment) but some of the magazine clippings can be visualized as larger LCD screens for the purpose of this prototype.

Online Inspiration Board Prototype

Online Inspiration Board Prototype

Look and Feel Prototype 2 : The LCD Displays

In order to show what the LCD screens might look like while rotating through feeds, I created some sample graphics and uploaded them to a digital picture frame keychain. These are a few screenshots (albeit a bit fuzzy) of what that might potentially look like once I’m able to either hack the keychain’s display or find another method of integrating an LCD display.

Online Inspiration Board Prototype

Online Inspiration Board Prototype

Online Inspiration Board Prototype

Implementation Prototype: Pulling Feed Text from Twitter

My current success hacking the digital image keychain is limited, so for an implementation prototype I wrote a script to pull down the text of the most recent tweet from four different users by adding to (and otherwise modifying) the Twitter Alert code from last week’s prototype. This code alerts the user when a new tweet has been posted and then displays the text of that tweet for the user to read.

The Code.

PHP


");
}
for($i=0;$i<(count($username));$i++){ echo ($statuses_count[$i]."\r"); } for($i=0;$i<(count($username));$i++){ echo ($text[$i]."\r"); } ?>



 

Processing


import processing.serial.*;
import cc.arduino.*;

Arduino arduino;
int[] ledPins = new int[4];

boolean manualReset=true;
boolean redbox=false;

String[] tweetCountText = new String[8];
String[] oldTweetCountText = new String[8];

PFont font;

int bgcolor=0;
String data[];
String websites[] = {
"rutledgecapital.com/ER/","lizrutledge.com/","a.parsons.edu/~rutle173/","pamelarutledge.com/ER/"
};
int whichWebsite=0;

void setup()
{
size(400,400);
background(bgcolor);
font = createFont("Verdana",14);
textFont(font,14);

//println(Arduino.list());
arduino = new Arduino(this, Arduino.list()[0], 57600);
ledPins[0]=11;
ledPins[1]=10;
ledPins[2]=9;
ledPins[3]=6;

rectMode(CENTER);

for (int i=0;i8) { //if getting a bad request/getting rejected by Twitter then move on to the next site
if(whichWebsiteint(oldTweetCountText[i])) { //if more total tweets than the last round
//if(oldTweetCount[i]!=0) {
// arduino.analogWrite(ledPins[i], 255);
redbox=true;
//}
}

if(redbox) {
fill(255,0,0);
rect(width/2,height/2,width/2,height/2);
}
fill(255);
text(tweetCountText[i+4],10,20+20*i);
}
for (int i=0;i

Measuring success.

The measures of success for this project will be varied since it contains several different components relating to different classes and disciplines. On a base level, I will measure a certain amount of success by whether or not the prototype functions in a way that accurately reflects the purpose of the final product, from the displays through the interface. On a design level, success will be determined based on user testing and feedback, focusing specifically on designers and creative professionals and students that might ordinarily use some type of mood or inspiration board in their daily work.

Category : Databases | Fall 2010 | Final Project: visualMUSE | Major Studio: Interface | Blog
24
Nov

I was intrigued by this week’s exploration of what culture really is, and especially by the definition that culture is at its base “a concern with keeping the forever inexhausted and unfulfilled human potential open, fighting back all attempts to foreclose and pre-empt the future”.

Similar to last week’s discussion of recouping the everyday as a way of holding onto that which makes us human, I think that it raises interesting questions as to our responsibility as designers to help maintain this open path toward the future. It also made me think about the ways in which technology shapes the ways that we approach things, including the creation of new technologies, and how if we don’t keep an eye open to the outside world it would be easy to corner ourselves in an ever-shrinking realm of possibility. Technology is at its core supposed to be undertaken in the interest of opening up the future by allowing things to happen that we never thought possible—but what happens if these technologies get so wrapped up in building upon the innovations of the last set of discoveries that we miss out on entire worlds of potential discovery?

It is important that we always look not only at the most recent precedents when developing new technologies, but also to the most fundamental human needs and tendencies so that we don’t effectively put blinders on our work. As long as we constantly consider the very qualities that make us human at every step along the way, we should hopefully be able to keep our culture moving in a direction that will keep this unfulfilled human potential open&mdashlinstead of closing it off with technologies that do some things with the utmost skill but create barriers to our simplest of needs.

Category : Design for this Century | Fall 2010 | Blog
23
Nov

In order to address the divide between digital imagery and analog inspiration boards, I want to integrate the two of them into one piece. The references below show different angles of some of the things I am trying to achieve with this project.

References and Inspiration.

Inspiration board posted on the Bright Bold and Beautiful design blog:

Inspiration Board Precedent

The placement of this oversized inspiration board directly over the two computers in the studio is an interesting blend of analog and digital—it is almost as the screens are part of the board. My inspiration board would aim to do precisely this but in a more integrated way, so that the user could still be on his or her computer doing something else while viewing inspirational imagery out of the corner of their eye.

Polyvore

Polyvore.com is a website that allows the users to essentially create their own digital mood/inspiration boards by pulling images of different products and including them in one composition. Other users can then comment on the looks that they’ve pulled together, giving this particular site a social aspect as well. It is an interesting precedent for this project due to the purely digital nature of what is essentially cutting images out of magazines and catalogs—yet what if you had a piece of fabric that you really liked for a certain look? The completely online interface opens many social doors for the activity but limits the user in what they can add to the compositions they create.

Image Spark

Image Spark

Image Spark is a membership-based online tool to create mood boards and share images by creating customized image libraries. It allows you to create boards and share the images with others. Image Spark is in a way the purely digital form of what I’m trying to do with this project—the integrated analog and digital elements in the board proposed in my project would be a way to use the internet as a resource to find images but allows the user to see them in a more tangible format.

Category : Fall 2010 | Final Project: visualMUSE | Major Studio: Interface | Blog
22
Nov

I thought that the discussion of souvenirs and the nature of the design object’s role in our everyday lives was interesting during this week’s lecture. The idea that design artifacts up until this point have largely been objects of utility and not emotion was surprising to hear at first, but then made more and more sense as it sunk in. Why is it that we all have souvenirs in our homes, regardless of socio-economic status? And why is it that capital-D “Designers” rarely stoop to designing them? The mere presence of these artifacts in our homes implies that the professionally designed objects are not taking care of this emotional niche.

I enjoyed the further explanation of this phenomenon as being an example of recouping the everyday as well—it really is a uniquely human and endearing quality that we can see the beauty and achievement in everyday accomplishments, and souvenirs are simply one way of attaching an emotion or memory to a silly object in order to celebrate this truth. I think that this would be an interesting area to focus on in my ongoing work: the idea that designed objects shouldn’t just be functional, but should further address the emotional needs of the user. A well-designed tool is certainly an asset, but if we can infuse all our designs with details that take care of other wants and needs that are inherent to the human psyche, we could elevate the entire profession of design to another level.

Category : Design for this Century | Fall 2010 | Blog
19
Nov

Role Prototype: Description of Purpose and Usage

The Online Inspiration Board is a method of addressing the growing disconnect between a physical inspiration board and the best resources for adding material to an inspiration board. These days the best way to find a large volume of ideas or inspiration is through images searches on the internet, Twitter feeds, or blog feeds—but these feeds and posts can’t be easily torn out like they could in a magazine.

With this product, the user would be able to input their favorite inspiration blogs (whether they be design blogs, home improvement blogs, or lolcats for that matter) into the interface, and have a number of LCD screens on the board that would then stream the information from these feeds. (Optimally the screens would be able to pull both text and images from these blog and Twitter posts.) Space would be left for magnet boards and cork board in order to allow the same functionality of an analog inspiration board, so that the user could still pin up any print outs, magazine clippings, swatches, etc that they want to include in their design—this way, they would be able to see the incoming feeds right up against the pieces they’ve already selected for the feel of their project instead of having to visualize these elements when staring at tabs on a browser.

Each feed’s display would also feature an adjacent button that would function as an “interest” button; if the user is interested in reading more about the particular story that’s currently featured on the board, they can push the button and have the link to the story or post emailed to them for further review (and potentially for printing out to pin onto a free part of the board.)

Look and Feel Prototype 1: The Overall Board’s Appearance

This would be the general lay-out for the board—cork and magnet board with the user’s own materials attached to it, surrounding screens with streaming data. These particular photos are low on the display side (I only have the one tiny one at the moment) but some of the magazine clippings can be visualized as larger LCD screens for the purpose of this prototype.

Online Inspiration Board Prototype

Online Inspiration Board Prototype

Look and Feel Prototype 2 : The LCD Displays

In order to show what the LCD screens might look like while rotating through feeds, I created some sample graphics and uploaded them to a digital picture frame keychain. These are a few screenshots (albeit a bit fuzzy) of what that might potentially look like once I’m able to either hack the keychain’s display or find another method of integrating an LCD display.

Online Inspiration Board Prototype

Online Inspiration Board Prototype

Online Inspiration Board Prototype

Implementation Prototype: Pulling Feed Text from Twitter

My current success hacking the digital image keychain is limited, so for an implementation prototype I wrote a script to pull down the text of the most recent tweet from four different users by adding to (and otherwise modifying) the Twitter Alert code from last week’s prototype. This code alerts the user when a new tweet has been posted and then displays the text of that tweet for the user to read.

The Code.

PHP


");
}
for($i=0;$i<(count($username));$i++){ echo ($statuses_count[$i]."\r"); } for($i=0;$i<(count($username));$i++){ echo ($text[$i]."\r"); } ?>



 

Processing


import processing.serial.*;
import cc.arduino.*;

Arduino arduino;
int[] ledPins = new int[4];

boolean manualReset=true;
boolean redbox=false;

String[] tweetCountText = new String[8];
String[] oldTweetCountText = new String[8];

PFont font;

int bgcolor=0;
String data[];
String websites[] = {
"rutledgecapital.com/ER/","lizrutledge.com/","a.parsons.edu/~rutle173/","pamelarutledge.com/ER/"
};
int whichWebsite=0;

void setup()
{
size(400,400);
background(bgcolor);
font = createFont("Verdana",14);
textFont(font,14);

//println(Arduino.list());
arduino = new Arduino(this, Arduino.list()[0], 57600);
ledPins[0]=11;
ledPins[1]=10;
ledPins[2]=9;
ledPins[3]=6;

rectMode(CENTER);

for (int i=0;i8) { //if getting a bad request/getting rejected by Twitter then move on to the next site
if(whichWebsiteint(oldTweetCountText[i])) { //if more total tweets than the last round
//if(oldTweetCount[i]!=0) {
// arduino.analogWrite(ledPins[i], 255);
redbox=true;
//}
}

if(redbox) {
fill(255,0,0);
rect(width/2,height/2,width/2,height/2);
}
fill(255);
text(tweetCountText[i+4],10,20+20*i);
}
for (int i=0;i

Category : Fall 2010 | Physical Computing | Blog
18
Nov

The Problem.

The Online Inspiration Board is a method of addressing the growing disconnect between a physical inspiration board and the best resources for adding material to an inspiration board. These days the best way to find a large volume of ideas or inspiration is through images searches on the internet, Twitter feeds, or blog feeds—but these feeds and posts can’t be easily torn out like they could in a magazine.

The Target: Design Professionals and Students

The main target of this product would be a number of different kinds of design professionals and students that use inspiration boards as part of their work or personal life. (Other creative hobbyists would be able to find use for the digital inspiration board as well; they are not, however, the target user group for this project.)

Proposed Solution.

With this product, the user would be able to input their favorite inspiration blogs (whether they be design blogs, home improvement blogs, or lolcats for that matter) into the interface, and have a number of LCD screens on the board that would then stream the information from these feeds. Space would be left open in order to allow the same functionality of an analog inspiration board, so that the user could still pin up any print outs, magazine clippings, swatches, etc that they want to include in their design—this way, they would be able to see the incoming feeds right up against the pieces they’ve already selected for the feel of their project instead of having to visualize these elements when staring at tabs on a browser.

Each feed’s display would also feature an adjacent button that would function as an “interest” button; if the user is interested in reading more about the particular story that’s currently featured on the board, they can push the button and have the link to the story or post emailed to them for further review (and potentially for printing out to pin onto a free part of the board.)

Category : Fall 2010 | Final Project: visualMUSE | Major Studio: Interface | Blog
14
Nov

Here’s the slideshow from my in-class presentation following Clive’s Critical in Design Lecture (which included Lisa’s intervention regarding the Discipline of Noticing). Click on any of the images for a larger view, or you can download the pdf file here if you want the whole slideshow as one file.

Presentation

Presentation

Presentation

Presentation

Presentation

Presentation

Presentation

Category : Design for this Century | Fall 2010 | Blog
13
Nov

As this was the second lecture on the critical in design, I’ll focus this post on Lisa’s intervention. I found her observations about “Discipline of Noticing” and modern fiction’s relationship with society and design to be particularly interesting; as an economics major it has been drilled deep down into my psyche that all work benefits when individuals in society exploit the concepts of division of labor and comparative advantage—and what better way to divide the “labor” of observing society than to join forces between design and literature?

Modern fiction writers specialize in scrutinizing society and creating works that often illuminate their findings in ways that are incredibly illustrative. And while designers also pride themselves on their abilities to observe, writers have honed a slightly different version of this skill. Designers have to focus on user behavior and the social climate as they relate to the creation of design artifacts. We are generally looking to modify or augment behavior in one way or another, and while we may not like to admit it, we can’t help but allow this ultimate goal to frame (even if ever-so-slightly) the ways that we observe people. Fiction writers come at observation from a different angle—they observe more just for the sake of observing, storing little visual and cultural bytes away in their mind to be recalled later in their work. They watch for anywhere from the tiniest quirky details to broad-sweeping social and cultural trends, and only after observing do they know what they want to do with the information. Their work is not necessarily intended to immediately bring about change or modify behavior in the way that a design artifact tries to, it is more to point out things that are happening in the world in a way that paints a vivid picture for anyone who picks up their novel.

As a designer, being able to ingest the research and work of other creative minds via literature is a wonderful (and efficient) way of synthesizing the work of many different skill sets, potentially introducing all-new types of ideas into a designer’s repertoire. Much social change has stemmed from critical design work or pivotal pieces of contemporary fiction; it would be remiss of designers as a whole to not tap into this resource as a way of finding inspiration (and direction) for their projects.

Category : Design for this Century | Fall 2010 | Blog
12
Nov

Racing Trains.

Pick a Song.

Paint a Picture [Online].

Baby Monitor.

Category : Fall 2010 | Physical Computing | Blog