May 11, 2005

The Role of Metaphor in Interaction Design

My thesis paper (340k pdf). I think it's an interesting piece of work and I'm proud of it.

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May 03, 2005

Last Days of D School

The last days of graduate school are surprisingly quiet, although filled with anxiety and a tinge of panic. I went to my last class last week, which, like my first class, was with the inspiring Dick Buchanan. My last crit was yesterday, for service design, presenting a rethinking of Pittsburgh's light rail service, the T. Next Monday, I present my thesis project and turn in the final version of my thesis paper to be bound. Thus, these last days are about the final polish on my thesis work: typesetting and proofreading the thesis paper while creating the presentation and process book for my project. I'm also sending frantic emails to my developer, Dave Rowett, about bugs and final features to make it into the project prototype. It's all coming to a close.

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April 22, 2005

Final Draft

I reached another milestone this week: I finished what is hopefully my final draft of my thesis paper. It's about 30 pages long, but still needs to be formatted, copyedited, and printed on heavy stock. But that's for the future; I'm just glad the writing is done.

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March 21, 2005


I spent a couple of hours doing something mindless but necessary: compiling the references section of my thesis paper. Thirty-two references in all. Or roughly one per page of the paper's body.

I'm trying to get the final version of the paper done by April 1st so that I can just put it to bed and not worry about it any longer. I've got probably three pages left to write and the document to format nicely, so my goal should be doable. But we'll see.

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March 07, 2005

Thesis Paper Presentation

I've finally posted a longer version (2.5 mb pdf) of the presentation I gave on my thesis paper back in January. I'm not sure if it will make any sense without my commentary, but some of the images are funny.

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February 26, 2005


In the last week, I

Anyway, this is what I've been dealing with. In this last semester, the schoolwork has gotten lighter, but the stress is still high.

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January 24, 2005

Thesis Paper Presentations

Last Friday, the graduating (!) students presented their thesis papers to faculty, students, and guests. A very nerve-wracking event: sets of 10-minute presentations followed by five minutes of Q&A. My presentation is the basis for the talk I'm giving in March at the IA Summit, so I won't give anything away here until after then. But here's some work that resonated with me:

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January 19, 2005

Making Bouillon from a Cow

This week for the 2nd year grad students has been all about preparing for this Friday's thesis paper presentations, when we get 10 minutes to present the 30-some-odd pages of our thesis papers to the other graduate students, faculty, and guests. Currently, I have about 30 slides, which is one slide for every 20 seconds speaking time. Thus, I'm trying to edit down.

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November 24, 2004

Fall '04 Final Projects

The last three weeks of the semester bring with them the final projects of the fall. Here's everything I have to do between now and winter break:

Obviously, a busy time.

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November 19, 2004

Like the Horizon

The more I write of my thesis paper, the farther away the end seems to recede. I'm trying to remember the immortal words of Chad Thornton: Don't overthink the thesis paper. But it's hard when there's reams of information on your subject and you want to include a decent sampling of the ideas in the space.

Anyway, I just sent in another 6 pages of the paper. It was supposed to be my last chunk, but it isn't. But I've written for nearly 12 hours straight and I can't write anymore.

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November 07, 2004

Write On

I cranked out another sizable chunk of my thesis paper last week, turning in to my advisor Shelley Evenson roughly another third, bringing me to around 20-some-odd pages roughly written. This last section I wrote was mainly about metaphor as part of the design process. The final section, which I'll be writing this upcoming week, will be on metaphor in interactive products. Looks like the paper will be around 30 pages.

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October 16, 2004

First Draft, First Third

I turned in the first draft of the first third of my thesis paper to my advisor Shelley Evenson yesterday. The first third is mainly on the traditional and current view of metaphor, plus the criticism of using metaphor in interaction design. The next part, the bulk of the paper, is about using metaphor in the design process. I'm hoping to have that part done in early-mid November.

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October 11, 2004

Obvious Observation on Thesis Paper Writing

In some ways, it's a lot easier to go to class and do projects and other homework than to sit alone in your office and write your thesis paper.

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September 22, 2004

The Writing Begins

Yesterday was a milestone: I started writing my thesis paper.

In truth, I've probably been ready to start writing for about a week, but the importance I've put on it was giving me writer's block. It's only some 30-40 pages and I've written that much before, with much less time. It just has a daunting name: "Thesis Paper."

To recap, my thesis paper is on the role of metaphor in interaction design. Metaphor is oft maligned and typically misunderstood as a tool for designers, but it can be used effectively in both the design process and within the products themselves. Indeed, digital interaction design would probably be impossible without it.

I'm trying to have a draft done before Thanksgiving, which means writing 3-4 pages a week until then.

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