May 05, 2005

Design is in the Details

Finishing my thesis project prototype this week, it struck me that there's a significant blind spot in CMU's program (and from what I understand, other interaction design schools' programs as well): working with developers on a prototype to get the feel of the thing right. Because at school you very seldom get to the working prototype stage (due to time and money constraints), you don't ever get into the finesse of an interactive design, those tiny things that make a huge difference. And those tiny things can usually only be seen in a working thing that can be played with and broken and fiddled with. Animations and delays and such don't appear in flat paper prototypes and storyboards. At least not well.

CMU is supposedly better at building things than some other schools that have lots of cool ideas and slick videos to go with them, but it could be better. I suppose one could argue that this is what the thesis project is for: to take an idea out to the working prototype phase, but it seems like too important a thing to save until the very end of your graduate education. Especially considering that many people don't make it to the working prototype phase in their thesis work, or do projects that would be almost impossible to do that with without a team of developers.

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March 30, 2005

The Process of Designing for Service

The process of designing a service is still being developed because it's new. Here are some of the stages and their steps suggested by Shelley Evenson.

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January 31, 2005

What to Model

From Shelley Evenson's conceptual models class: The types of things you want to think about modeling and why:

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January 19, 2005

The Ways of Representing Things

From Shelley Evenson's Conceptual Models class:

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December 19, 2004

Final Typography Project

Above is an image from my final typography project: two spreads and the front and back cover of a fake literary/arts journal called Cadence. I chose the 20th anniversary of White Noise, Don DeLillo's National Book Award-winning novel, as my subject matter.

Unfortunately, because of how I made this project (more on that in a second), I can't really post something that's going to do the final piece justice; even a pdf isn't going to look right.

In order to get an arty, grainy, 'zine-like feel, I used a technique that my professor Kristin Hughes taught me. First, you print out your pages backwards and then xerox them. Then you take lacquer thinner and paint it onto a sheet of newsprint (and thus stink up half of the second floor of the design building), then press the xerox onto the newsprint, smoothing it down. When you peel the xerox off the newsprint, the ink from the copy sticks onto the newsprint, giving it the texture you can sort of see above. It's a neat effect.

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October 26, 2004

System Boards

We were introduced to the concept of system boards in typography last week. System boards are to print compositions as the frame is to a house: something that defines the structure, but allows for both refinement and modification.

System boards allow you to work in pure line or form, making a skeleton of the composition. You establish an identity, a formal structure, then push and pull your content within that identity. In a way, it is the separation of information from the composition, allowing you to find flow lines, a grid structure, and modular/non-modular sections. I wish I had an example to show you; they look like very simple, grid-like sketches of lines.

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