How to Waste a Friday
I spent a large chunk of time today scoping out the latest Communication Arts Interactive Design Annual. Recently posted, the annual has a page dedicated to each inclusion, with screen shots of the piece (web, cd rom and games) as well as comments the judges, an overview of the work and commentary of the project's goals by the creators. There are also links to the actual websites where applicable.
I like the fact that you can navigate to the work by category or via a drop down arranged alphabetically. I managed to spend a ton of time going from page to page as well as visiting several of the sites. The online version of the annual is great because it doesn't try to be some fancy site in and of itself - it cleanly presents the winners and doesn't get in the way.
Posted by erin at 10:04 PM | in Sites of Note :: | Link
User Centered Design
A lot of discussion on the SIGIA list and the CHIWEB lists talk about User Centered design, but there isn't a ton of conversation or literature written about this from the perspective of the Design field. The design industry has seemed to ignore this important philosophical perspective of design - until recently. The latest issue of Loop - the AIGA journal for design education - is focused on User Centered Design with articles on methodolgy and practice from a team at Sapient and an overview of a workshop led by Paul Rothstein, Melissa Niederhelman and Katherine and Michael McCoy at Arizona State University. It is great to see the AIGA tackle this, as many designers are being asked to practice this. For many of us, the tools and techniques for bringing users into our process are not known and are not taught in the design schools (with the exception of a few, like Carnegie Mellon and IIT) although concern for the end audience has always been of primary concern.
To accompany this I thought I would also point the links to the Usability Toolkit site. This site has all sorts of tools, checklists and other how-to's for practicing user centered design. It is a very practical site and has come in handy for my team. Most recently they have posted information for making a Paper prototyping kit.
Posted by erin at 01:30 PM | in User Centered Design :: | Link | Comments (1)
Advance for Design Summit 4 Artifacts
The artifacts and presentations are finally posted from this summers Advance for Design Summit 4.
The recap page links to page descriptions of each presenter and a powerpoint preso. Good stuff.
My original recap of the event can be found here. If I get the time, I may link directly to the presentations.
Posted by erin at 06:16 PM | in AIGA :: | Link
Another Interesting Conference
First Monday - the peer reviewed journal that publishes a lot about Online Community - is sponsoring an interesting conference this November in the Netherlands. The conference New Definitions: Value, Community, Space seeks to discuss how technology and digitisation has changed our concept of society. Heady stuff. Speakers include Esther Dyson and Howard Rheingold and a lot of academic types.
Posted by erin at 10:53 AM | in Conferences :: | Link
Finding Words Again
Design has felt insignificant in the last two weeks as the Nation has come to terms the WTC and Pentagon tragedies. This site - re:constructions - is an on-line resource and study guide, designed to spark discussions and reflections about the media's role in covering the events of 11 September 2001 and their aftermath.
I felt it was a nicely pulled together site with interesting links and commentary of the coverage and conversations taking place over the world from the last week.
Posted by erin at 04:48 PM | in Sites of Note :: | Link
I am too astounded to speak. The day was spent glued to CNN, with a houseful of people, as we watched in horror as our fellow Americans were dying. None of us wanted to be alone, so we came together at my house. The tragic events of yesterday remind us all of how precious life is. How valuable our family and friends are. The last 24 hours for me have been filled with IMs, emails and phone calls as my personal network checks in. I came from the East coast, went to school in NY, grew up in a military house. I have tons of friends who work in Manhattan and in the DC area. Family friends in the Pentagon. So far, everyone has checked in, although there were some hours spent worrying. I am grateful to be here on the West Coast with my sister and thankful that my friends are ok. We have all been affected, no matter how far apart in distance we are.
Jason Kottke has great links and coverage from many personal perspectives.
Posted by erin at 02:25 PM | in Community :: | Link
Teaching Graphic Design
This study done at MIT Media lab, attempts to research and articulate the process and procedures for teaching graphic design. The study looks at a series of design books and draws examples of the design instructions and comes to conclusions about the examples and instructions.
While I find this interesting, I find it strange that the researcher did not study actual beginning design classes. Much of what is found in design books, is example of best practices or case studies. Many books are supplemental to the actual hands on practice and instruction done in the classroom. In many ways, studying design is akin to apprentice models. Learning from the master by example, trial and error and by seeing rather than by reading from a book.
Studying design is not a cookbook type activity and trying to draw those type of conclusions from samples and instructions in books is going to lead to disappointing results. I think the conclusions drwan in the study - "expert systems from graphic design must learn by example" - are very true and may be difficult to automate.
The final conclusion of the study - "We would like to enable an expert designer to communicate design knowledge to a computer in the same manner as he or she would teach a novice design student. We believe that this will be an important step on the road to intelligent systems for graphic design. " has me wondering - is this something we really want to do? Can we teach machines aesthetics and intuition? Can we teach a machine how to recognize harmony in page design and that feeling that a designer has when everything clicks. Those ephemeral parts of design that touch into the collective unconscious and are hard to articulate are often the very elements that move a good design to being a great design. Can a machine experience this? Can a machine create design with these qualities? I'll believe it when I see it.
Posted by erin at 11:42 AM | in Criticism :: | Link
Virtual Community: an idea out of control?
This article at Shorewalker.com talks about the failure of many companies with regard to community and building community. They cite Blue Mountain Arts as an example of a site billed as "Community" but in reality is a task based site like checking email, that has little "community" at all.
Posted by erin at 10:22 AM | in Community :: | Link
Wednesday 09| 5|01
I spoke last night, with Gabe Zentall of CarbonIQ, at the IA/UE Cocktail hour. We had a very informal discussion comparing and contrasting aspect of IA/UI from an inhouse versus consultant (innie/outie) perspective. It was very interesting and the larger group participated in the discussion in a lively way. I learned a few things and was glad to see that my experiences were not unique. Read some of our observations and attendee comments.
I am happy to see CarbonIQ also has started sharing case studies. Communication Arts, Design Interact features section regularly showcases a firm, project and solution as well. This months is on HaringKIDS.com.
I think that there needs to be more of this solution sharing in our industry and am working on adapting my own portfolio to this model. Do you know of other good sites that have descriptive case studies of their work?
Posted by erin at 09:54 AM | in Sites of Note :: | Link