Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mini Project - Environment

Horribly long elevator waiting line in the building ( 2 W 13th St.) before class start times. The major cause of this problem is the inefficient use of the elevators (have each of them stops at almost every floor). This wastes time and causes long waiting line formed at the first floor.

Project Description
Purpose: Maximize the usage of limited resources.
Target Space: lobby at 2 W. 13th
Audience: people who have access to 2 W. 13th
Method: Design an environment that direct the users to designated elevators according to their destination.

Design Questions and Challenges
Best Practice - What's the best way to allocate elevators to floors?
Aesthetic - The design should not conflict with the original environment.
Flexibility - The design need to account for non-rush hour usage.

1. Existing Elevator System Models

2. Innovative Traffic Control - Technology and Practice in Europe

3. NY Subway - 7 Express v.s. 7 Local

4. Portable-deflatable Led-Matrix

5. Restaurant Logo Projection

6. Philip Color Kinetics - NECA 2008

Design Plan

Elevator Assignment

On-floor lighting instructions and traffic direction layout

Operating Hours
8:40 am - 9:00am
11:40am - 12:00pm
2:40pm - 3:00pm
5:40pm - 6:00pm

User Scenario: Off-Peak Hours

User Scenario: Peak Hours

Strength & Weakness

- Optimize Resources
- Blend in with original environment

- Implementation Cost & Technical Possiblity
- Is the proposed elevator assignment the best practice?
- Human behavior - will people cooperate?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Reading - Seamful Design

I like the idea of distinguishing "seamless" from "seamful." Due to technological limitation, delays and uncertainties are inevitable, especially in sensor-rich systems. But one important argument is that the designers should take the positive design approach - "allows seams to become a resource for users, rather than a system failing."

It is not to say that designing a "seamful" system is always better than a "seamless" system. I think the most important thing is to understand the nature and characteristics of the system, and use the best resources to design out the negative aspects that my exists and presented to the users.

Reading - Skateboarding and the Performative Critique of Architecture

I have seen skateboarders performing some extremely difficult movements on the street. I always thought that they perform on the street to get people's attention. However, I was amused when the author of this article states that skateboarders interpret the city in a different way by choosing the "left over" urban space to do their sport. I am not sure if this is really to "appropriate public space" or it's just to practice at some corner that won't been seen by the others.

However, it is interesting to think about how the urban spaces are viewed by different groups of people. For example, the same city "looks" and "feels" different from the eyes of it's dwellers than from the travelers. Because of the difference in each individual's relation to the city, the spaces are interpreted differently.

When I was reading this article, the Parkour came into my mind. Unlike skateboarders who explore the terrain of the city with a board, parkour practitioners use their body to move among the architectures in a very styled way.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mini Project - Object

What is the social consequences of online interpersonal communications and social networking?

1. The communications through IM, blog, or social networking sites are not as immediate as traditional communication methods, such as telephone.
2. Not every one is online. Even the internet users are not necessarily doing social activities online.

1. "Sense in Communication" by Dauglas Galbi
ense of presence in communication: face-to-face > telephone > IM/text based > social networking sites
2. "Generational Differences in Online Activities" by Pew Research Center
Teens and Generation Y find entertainment and social networks online. Older generations use the internet as a tool for research, shopping, and online banking.

Project Concept
Create an object that functions offline, and should be sustainable as a social tool which will stand the test of time.

Project Description
Be-In-Touch is a customizable cell phone reminder, which reminds people to get in touch with their contacts by making phone calls. Users can specify how long they want to keep in touch with each contact by modifying the "be-in-touch" length (in days) in the edit contact mode.

The target group of this project is Generation Y (age 18 - 32). The reasons for this is that Gen Y has the highest percentage of population doing social activities online. Therefore, this group of people has the greatest need of this application.

1. Facebook Birthday Reminder - same concept of giving people an opportunity to get in touch with their friends/families by reminding them to do so.
2. Cell phone Event Calendar Reminder - same technology
3. Pictogram - use simple graphics to represent the idea --> important in designing user interface

User Scenario
1. specify the "be-in-touch" length (in days) in the contact list
2. cell phone alerts when when user do not contact that person in the specified days


main screen

in contact list

in edit contact mode

done adding the function

the alert screen

the reminder

Click here to view full Presentation in PDF

Friday, February 6, 2009

Reading - Lumbar Thought

There is no doubt that how a person dresses reflect some part of his/her personality. When I go shopping, there are often times that I recall one of my friends when I see some type of dressing style. But I personally do not agree with being so aware about how other people will think of us every time we get dressed. For me, clothing should just come naturally. For me, I wear what I feel like, according to my mood, the day's weather, and the occasion I am going to. Two people could wear exactly the same piece of clothes, but they could have totally different personalities. Maybe there are some commonalities between these two people, but I don't think it is justified to group people by how they dress.

Reading - Why We Need Things

When I first started this article, I thought the author was going to talk about why people could not resist buying more things even when they don’t really need them. However, the focus and direction of the paper suddenly shifted to the relationship and the symbolic value between the objects and their owners. I found this shift was a little abrupt and was not smoothly transit into the main topics.

No matter what, I like the analysis of how objects relate to the three different human experiences: objects of power, objects and the continuity of the self, object and relationships. I found it most intriguing when the author talked about how a person is socially isolated when he/she claims there’s no object special to them.

Reflecting on the points of this article, I realized that all the objects I own in my room fall into two major categories: one I call “pure objects”, the other “meaningful objects.” Meaningful objects are the ones that have stories behind them, whether it reminds me of a person, a relationship, or part of my past. Objects that do not fall into my “meaningful” category are pure objects. For example, now I am sitting on a foldable chair in front of a white desk with a green cup on the side. The chair and the desk do not remind me of anything or anyone I know. They are necessities. They are pure objects. However, the green cup was a gift from my childhood best friend. It is a meaningful object to me. All the other cups I have in the kitchen are pure objects since they have no association to my experiences.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Domain Research

Mind Map

  • Sociology
Areas of Interest
  • Communication
  • Human Behavior
  • Online Communities
Possible Research Questions
  • How does instant messaging (ex: MSN, Gtalk) change interpersonal communication?
  • What is the relationship between a person's virtual identity and his/her personality in the real world?
  • Why people may have personality shift when they go online?
  • What are the societal implications of online social network (ex: Facebook, Myspace)?
  • What are the social impacts of online jargons?