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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Visualizing Information Space

The self-portrait project done with, we've moved on to another project for Design Studio: taking an information-rich object and re-imagining it in digital space. We were assigned the object, which could be anything from the New York Times Sunday paper, to magazines, to websites.

My object is a typography book on illegibility by Slovakian type designer Peter Bilak. It's an interesting book, but I have no idea yet how I'm going to re-envision it. A kinetic typography piece? A website? I have a month to figure it out.

posted at 09:50 AM in info design, projects, visualization | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Random Thoughts about CMU

Today's class was more of the same from yesterday, as we analyzed the current USPS Change of Address form, then began to sketch out some redesigns. Like so:

So I'll take this time to record some of the thoughts I've had floating around about CMU lately.

Fight the future: Every day as I walk to class, I pass by a classroom on campus filled with 10-12 year olds, busily working away on Macs. It's a Tech Camp for kids who feel that summer is overrated. And every day I realize the same thing: my competition for jobs in the future isn't going to be my classmates in grad school, it is going to be these kids, who grew up in a GUI world. My daughter, at age 2, is already surfing through sites and playing Flash games. Designing for these Millenials is going to be a challenge due to their sophisitication with UIs.

Locker room talk: The talk in the men's locker room at CMU is seldom about women: it's about nearly everything else. I've overheard conversations about everything from testing Unix servers to the acting techniques of Stanford Meisner.

Trucks: Pretty much the best food to be found on campus is doled out in styrofoam cartons from a row of food trucks that are parked in front of Margaret Morrison. Thai, Middle Eastern, Indian. It's all good, despite the initial reservations.

Office space: The design students probably have the best work spaces on campus. Our poor HCI classmates are buried deep inside windowless rooms in colorless buildings.

Assistantships: All design grad students get an assistantship along with an accompanying $8000 stipend. This is all well and good, but nothing compared with the deal that many of the HCI students get, with a decent salary and free or reduced tuition. We don't yet know what our assistantship for fall will be; they are going to tell us at Design Orientation on August 21st. They can range from being a TA to doing tech support. I'm eager to know what mine will be so that I have a fuller picture of what fall will be like.

posted at 02:24 PM in cmu, info design | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Monday, August 4, 2003

Information Design

This, our final week of CDF, is about information design, and is being taught by Bob Swinehart, soon to be the president of the International Institute for Information Design. [Ed. note: Maybe he can do something about the lousy information (and visual) design of their web site.]

Finally a topic I know something about! (Although, I am in school ostensibly to learn stuff I don't know.)

This week, like last week, is all based on completing a week-long project, in this case, redesigning the #2 form in America: the USPS Change of Address Form:

We broke into groups of three (randomly done so as to mix up the designers amidst the HCI folks), for two days of analysis and group discussions of the exisiting form and the user research that Bob and his researchers have collected about the form over the last year. I'm teamed with HCI master's student Rob and English master's student Sue for this analysis section. Each group is posting their "results" up on big sheets of paper like so:

After today and tomorrow, we head to InDesign to create prototypes of the new forms.

posted at 09:39 PM in classmates, info design, projects | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link





All straight lines circle sometime. - The Weakerthans