Week 02 HW: Counting Object and Web Design Readings

Don’t Make Me Think:

The first thing that struck me about the reading was how old all the pictures were. It’s fun to look back and see how web design went from packed sites with lots of text to the “large picture, not much text” paradigm we see today. It actually speaks to the author’s idea of treating web pages like billboards and how users typically skim through a page to find an item close to what they thought they wanted to do.

It’s also interesting that modern web design has become a little more opaque than in the past and require more of an understanding of conventions (such as 3 dots = an expandable list). This is probably one of the downsides to moving away from words and may be inevitable.

The Psychologist’s View of Web Design:

This article reminded me a lot of the Game Design & the Psychology of Choice course I took last semester. Concepts like framing and reciprocity were covered with respects to user behavior. My biggest takeaways from this reading were the canonical view (new and useful concept for me) and how the emotional brain is so affected by pictures.

I was curious if the author’s use of “affordances” was incorrect or not.

Counting Object:

With little experience in formal design I kind of hacked together how to address the design of the counting object.

  1. First I looked at our two users. Both seemed affluent and professional. This led to a design constraint of an elegant and simple object that wouldn’t stand out too much on their desk.
  2. I also felt that the object should fit in the hand and be cordless. This came from the want to have the object be playful. It’s doing a simple task of counting and playfulness could keep the object from being just a boring tool.

Overall Design Concept:

I may have made the device too digital but the display would be a black glass front that would take up most of that side of the cube. I also decided to make the object out of wood. I felt that this would counter the digital display and simple design to make the object more welcoming to the touch. The main input is located on the top of the device as a single piece of black, capacitive glass that also depresses like a button. Along the centerline, there would be a textured area to delineate from up and down. The button would move like a see-saw with the pivot happening at this centerline. Finally, I put a textured rubber material on the bottom to avoid scratches on desks and to supply some grip to the bottom.

Bottom/Settings Area:

I was surprised how complicated the settings area became for the device. At first I was going to have the area concealed (with a twist off bottom) but then I figured to just have the area be recessed to cut down on parts. Seeing the object as a stylish item has me rethinking the bottom and now I would probably add the cover back on and remove the wheels locking mechanism.

Physical Object:

After fabbing up a simple mockup (with 3 poorly cut wood blocks), I actually felt the need to redesign the object. The first change was leaving a cube for a more rectangular shape. As a cube, the object looked and felt as if it was about to tumble over. A wider front gave the block a more appealing look. I also shrunk the object, and probably need to shrink it some more. This design change came from having the object in hand and finding out that it was a little large for female hands (at least for the people I handed it to). Lastly, my physical mockup also caused me to round-out the edges. Again, it’s not meant to constantly be picked up, but I wanted that action to be pleasurable.

Bad Design:

I have to admit that a source of confusion could be the arrows on the top. Given that they are “away” and “towards” instead of “up” and “down,” one could get confused as to which way to press the top button.

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