It’s that time of the year. Private poster presentation of the semester-long capstone project with our our faculty to get enlist some final feedback.
Each year, at BCCC, as do many churches around the world, we remember Jesus’s death and resurrection during Good Friday and Easter service. This year, I decide to design a pair of post-card size cards to be given out for the service.
They both measure 8.5cm x 12.2cm.
The cards were designed in Photoshop CS 6, and printed at FedEx using 65lbs paper.
Spring break for a graduate student meant shorter trips and less crazy locations. So we picked New Orleans.
Yes, it has it’s party side. Bourbon street goes wild every single night. And the city parties 1 out of 3 days as one of our guides revealed to us there are 153 festivals in the city every year. That’s probably 100 more than most of us get out of our city.
Nonetheless, the city is filled with culture. It’s imprinted in the architecture, the art, the food and the people.
As we get older, we have come to realize why adults like to go to places with good food. Our taste bud had a gratuitous 4 days of fried, fresh, BBQ-ed meat and seafood. That’s worth the 28 hours drive to and back from Indiana.
I love the people, each of them have a character that is undeniably unique and characteristic. It’s not hard to find people opening their mouth and sang beautiful voices, or an old lady giving us a hug as we venture into the first African-American church we have been to. We truly felt like we are been welcomed like a guest.
I love the idea of the Spring Break, not because I can choose to stay home and catch up with the latest Modern Family or even studiously prepare for when the break is over. It is because it gives us a break from what we thought is our life and have the opportunity to appreciate life as it is.
With the predominance of work in our lives – the source of our anxiety and stress alongside fulfillment and enjoyment, we can sometimes mistaken that as Life. It’s not, life is about life. As the cliche saying goes, taking the time to smell the roses.
The 4d3n New Orleans trip was that rose for me. Excellent, excellent rose.
Jeremy Lin. Jeremy Lin. Jeremy Lin.
I want to say I’m not caught up in all the raves and hypes, that I’m just appreciating his skills. But then I will be lying. He’s a great guy, humble and professional. He’s a NBA player.
There is one thing that others have identified as his weakness: the number of turnovers. I don’t quite remember the stats, but it’s the most turnovers in a number of games since the start of NBA.
Yet, he kept on balling. And that says a lot.
Courage and Readiness
To me, as a designer, that is design courage. He had the courage to continue playing the game in his own style despite the errors that in other situations may have relegated him to the bench.
It also says a lot about his readiness to step up when given the opportunity. His passes, his dribbling, his 3-pointers were all ready when needed.
Think of it this way – his passing is like our wireframing, his dribbling is like our sketching, his 3-pointers are like our concepting or prototyping.
Would we, as designer, have the courage to stand up for our design, and step up when given the opportunity?
It’s a good time to ask these questions, since like Jeremy Lin, I’m also looking for a job.
Sometimes we take for granted the simplest things in life. Like crossing the road.
A few days into my Manchester (UK) trip, I start to get really frantic whenever I cross the road. Should I look right, left, right, left and right again? I find myself turning my head multiple time to make sure, absolutely sure that I’m not getting run over by an English driver.
It was horrible.
And then I arrived at Dublin, Ireland. And I’m instantly relieved.
This ‘TURN LEFT/RIGHT’ visual cue helped to relief my cognitive overload. I no longer have to have those tiny stressed out session each time I crossed the road.
This is an evidence for good city planning. The director from Urbanized would have love this small detail.
Recently, these bicycle repair stations start to sprung up across the IU-Bloomington campus. It has all the basic tools that you may need to repair your bike like wrenches, screwdrivers among others. There is also a basic pump attached to the side.
The repair station is structured so that you can hang up the bike during repair.
I’m not sure what prompted the university to install these stations, but it’s probably safe to assume that there was a demand.
Bike Repair Stations – design on demand.
Complimentary free drink
Services provides complimentary services. Product provides complimentary products. It gives them a little edge over competitors.
Money aside, it’s these little surprise that brings delight to the consumer.
If you have been to an AT&T store in the last 6 month or so, you will notice that in place of a physical clipboard is a “Please sign in here” booth.
It’s basically an electronic sign-in system that asks for basic information for your visit. The system also lets you see where you are in the line and what others’ in front of you are here for, probably giving you a better gauge on the wait time.
Now an interesting thing to note is that, despite having the system in place, the rep on the floor still have to interact with customer who’s coming in the door.
It’s more of an addition than a replacement. And I think it’s organization and feedback adds to the store experience.
Insert This Direction / This Side Facing You
In addition to the standard arrow, the added phrase give the instruction another degree of dimension.
*CTA = Chicago Transit Authority.
Candy Chang is becoming one of my favorite artist. I first came across her works with the Tenants’ Rights Cards. And she was also in Gary Hustwit’s new film Urbanized where her works in New Orleans were shown.
I really like that she’s a DO-person, that her works, all if not most of them, are participatory that involves people. Here are a couple of things that she has spotted on the go:
Just push the button and out pops a handy guide and a welcoming feeling.
That’s the feeling you want your tourists to have.
Such a great idea! I have never flew with Emirates before, but I have heard of their great services. This is another step up. It’s small details like this that makes a difference.
Designers talk about needs and wants – how much is too much?
I was just in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last week. And at this intersection there are 12 traffic lights too many. Utilizing minimalist design here may seem to be ideal, but could have just an opposite effect of confusing the drivers.
So the question now becomes, is it always bad when there’s 12 traffic lights at an intersection?
We all need fix-ups sometimes, whether temporary or long-term.
Where will you choose to go?
Color can add layer of dimensions to what may otherwise look like a flat surface.
It was a marvelous summit/conference. Not that it was anything out of this world, I’m sure everything discussed here had in one way or another entered the mind of the organizer, the panelist or the attendees. But it was the collective effort of gathering people together for a half-day event that focused solely on improving the city for better (Indianapolis in this case).
One phrase that stuck with me was during the panelist session of MOVE, a discussion in regard to moving people around the city through mass public transit. It went something like this,
“grown up cities should provide transit for its people to compete with other grown up cities.”
It make sense right? That the city should attract and retain talents and one basic question in relation to people is, can your city get the people to their respective jobs?
Anyway, it was a good exposure for me despite having close to zero prior knowledge in the area of architecture or urban design.
Gary had amazingly managed to capture a majority of what it is about a city – all the social phenomenal, and squeezed all of that into an 83 minutes film and presented it in a clearly articulate way that people get it2.
I understood that cities are not just cities of steel, concrete, etc. it can be crafted, it can be designed. And like someone mentioned in the film, you can’t simply copy what other cities are doing and try to reenact it, it’s not gonna work. You have to design something that works for your city.
I love the initiatives of people taking up jobs that the government was suppose to do. That the goals are noble.
After the train left and the screen darkened, I have come away having learnt something – that city should be carefully designed, not for novelty, not just for coping with economic development, but for the people. Because, for the same reason as the quote above mentioned, city should be able to attract and retain talents in ways that can further benefit the city. Compromise can come easy with large number of people and limited number of resources, but short-sightedness can be potentially costly in the long-run.
And finally (paraphrased),
It should be parked cars that protects the cyclist not the other way around. – an architect from Copenhagen
Fireworks is amongst the array of tools used to create prototypes and wireframes. Using it alongside Device Central gives a more holistic view of how the prototype will look on an actual mobile screen.
I have always been a huge fan of Manchester United, and like all the series of annual games (i.e. Fifa, Madden, etc.) I had an idea to create an informational app for their current 2011-2012 season.
Problem space: Sports fans love their favorite sports club. And much as smartphones are concern, users identify their phones as part of their own life where they can customize each mobile device to their own need. With that in mind, a sports club’s own app will not only provide information, but also give bragging rights and a sense of pride. This is more of a want than a need.
Approach: Instead of focusing on going in-depth with a vertical prototype, I want to first establish a look and feel with a more horizontal prototype. Future implementation will include more futures.
Identity: I wanted a font that’s serif (Archer) so as to show the boldness and the toughness in football (funny find). The black glossy bar on the top was inspired by color branding on manutd.co.uk. Helvetica was chosen whenever paragraph text is involved for clarity in reading.
Critique: Branding is definitely an important issue with mobile apps – that they need to translate to the users the same consistency as the brand identity. The font size was an oversight that could have very easily been avoided.
Reflection: On top of the familiar Layers, understanding how States, Pages, Master Page work with the Slice tool and Hotspot tool took some time to sink in. But once past the learning curve, Fireworks is a useful prototyping/wireframing tool. One mistake I made and wasted a lot of time on was on Nudges, adjusting Pixels, etc – they are more for Photoshop and Illustrator but probably not Fireworks, which should be utilized more for rapid prototyping. Something to consider and remember.
Click on the following image to launch the prototype. Please note: not all links are live.
Space Matters. In the words of Seth Godin1.
“It might be a garage or a sunlit atrium, but the place you choose to do what you do has an impact on you. More people get engaged in Paris in the springtime than on the 7 train in Queens. They just do. Something in the air, I guess.”
It must be the air, or the Eiffel Tower, or the ragged texture on the 7 train – an evidence of travel and history. It must be that space matters.
That is perhaps why people head to local cafes to work, the library to study (not so much anymore), or get on ferries to reflect.
Alongside the perspective of the physical space, you know, dressing up and actually leaving your apartment, mental space also matters.
In our class last semester, Professor Marty Siegel2 would often times play a piece of music – from a wide range of genre, right before the class. Everyone was suppose to stop what they are doing and listen to the music, digest it and allow it to take us into a different space – a mental state readying to think about design.
It worked. I became more focused and sometimes more able to generate critical thoughts than usual.
Carrying it to my personal life, listening to a track of music has helped me to get adjusted and adopt to the work that I’m preparing to do.
Space matters, especially when your mind and work is involved. Again quoting Seth Godin here1:
“Pay attention to where you have your brainstorming meetings. Don’t have them in the same conference room where you chew people out over missed quarterly earnings.”