Reading Reflection Oct.17.

Reading Response

This was a very long reading and I tried to make my reflection as concise as I could.  With so many concepts to consider, I didn’t want to leave anything major out so I think this going to be a rather long post.

Cooper states there are three parts to the design framework: interaction framework, visual design framework, and industrial framework.  Interaction framework establishes an overall structure for product behavior and for form as it relates to behavior. (136).  Visual design framework is the overall look of the design. Industrial framework deals with the size and shape of the product, buttons, and in general the general physical form and input methods.  You should also check out the capabilities of custom software and how it can be presented or components that are necessary so you understand where they can be presented or hidden.  Then, the design goes into refinement stage.  After that, you begin usability testing and get feedback on the design.  Cooper presents a nice overview of the whole process but does not get into specifics.

The UX Book Chapter seven begins by discussing paradigms.  They recommend that a designer take a paradigm and change it to suit their personal needs for their project.  Next it goes into design perspectives. My personal favorite perspective is the emotional perspective.  I love using something that I love using. (There’s a slogan for a design agency!)  Next, we retouch on user personas.  (again) It is a nice description of how to create a persona. “A sketch is a conversation” (285)  (When listing sketching supplies, why did they feel the need to specifically say Scotch tape? Tape would have sufficed.)

I’d also like to note this book references Wikipedia. The bottom of page 294 shows its used as a reference.  I can’t decide if I like that but I do find it amusing they were brave enough to do so in their textbook.

Chapter 8 goes into mental models and conceptual design.  It begins by noting that all mental models can be viewed through any paradigm that the designer wishes. (I think good data can be gathered by looking at the same data with different paradigms)  The chapter notes that a conceptual design is the only way the designer and user can communicate.  It goes into metaphor which I think ties with the emotional perspective paradigm.  Storyboards are next which I wish they had included with sketching but it makes sense to break them up.  Sketching is about the design, storyboarding is more about scenarios and user experience. I am also uncertain as to why the authors advocate for concept mapping after sketching. To me, they would be likely going on at the same time.

The final chapter discussed design production. I feel like they are breaking down design iteration a little too much.  Sometimes it is better to be concise rather than thorough, especially when you do not have an example to give.  Now, we go onto wireframes. This is like blocking out your design, you put in what you need, where you need it, and it should be here due to this reason.  Later, you go into aesthetics.  I like the idea of using them like a deck of cards to show what the user would see  (rather like storyboarding again) The book also mentions custom style guides, which contain all the design decisions in one document that can be referred to for consistency. The chapter ends by discussing participatory design.

Overall, this week’s reading had a lot of great concepts.  There is so much to remember though that I would have to recommend multiple readings.  Or better yet, putting the concepts into practice in a mock design.  That is usually the best way for me to recognize the concepts.  I also tried to very briefly answer the suggested questions posted earlier.

1.             What are the products of conceptual design? When we are done with conceptual design, what tangibles do we have?

We should have a history of the design through sketches and prototypes and bits of paper with scribbles of words on them.  We should also have a design represented in some way.

2.             Some of the tools that help us come up and communicate the conceptual design are sketches, wireframes, and prototypes.  They have various levels of fidelity: low (sketches); medium (wireframes); or high (prototypes). Although we read about prototypes next week, try to figure out: Why do we use redundant tools at different levels of fidelity? And what does it mean for something to have less or more fidelity?

We can adjust easier, see things clearer. I would venture a guess that fidelity is referring to the level of trust in the design that the designers and creators have.  Each is more time intensive to create, more time involved.  You don’t want to commit to a prototype when you don’t have the first clue what it will even look like.  You start with a sketch, which is easily erased, thrown away and changed. Wireframes are more intensive in time but you can still change them and not lose a lot of time. Prototypes can be expensive.  You don’t want a prototype until you’re ready to present it as a nearly final product

4.             What are some major do’s and don’ts of conceptual design?

Don’t stifle ideation.  Begin as if you can do anything.  Afterwards, figure out what is feasible.

What role do users, user research, and user feedback play in conceptual design?

Their roles should play into everything! Its how the designer and user get on common ground.  You’re trying to match two mental models so that the end product is the best, to avoid these roles is to likely end up with a poor product.

I hope that in class we can go over the question, “What are other useful tools and techniques for creating conceptual design?” I was a bit stumped by this one. Or perhaps just overwhelmed with all the concepts from the reading.

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