Week 3 – Design Process & Developing Personas

16 Mar

Summary

An interactive design process has many steps in order to produce a working interactive tool or design piece. These include:
– The pre-project stage which covers the briefing of what the client wants out of this design process and the resources and time the designer has to do it in.
– The concept and Planning stage aims at the client telling the designer what their goals are, what message they want to give to the consumer and who their audience are. This gives the designer a basis to what his/her strategy will be allowing them to research necessary topics.
– The design, prototype and specification stage starts with the question of how they are going to meet the client’s brief. An idea is developed through rough drawings and computer testing then develops into complex diagrams and prototypes for the actual working design product or interface.
– The production stage focuses on the design going through a series of ‘builds’ (temporarily working instances) whilst it is being designed ready for the beta build.
– The testing stage requires every element of a designed object to be checked it is working effectively and efficiently. This stage can also work with the previous stage.
– The launch and maintenance stage may not be the end of the project but may the start as the website will need to be updated and managed as long as it’s up.

A user persona is a hypothetical user of the future designed product or interface which will guide the designer’s choices and thought process when designing the product. A user scenario is a made up narrative of a consumer who would be using the product in their everyday life. It aims to gather information about the users’ goals, expectations, motivations, actions and reactions in order it to be designed appropriate for the user. For example someone who would be in a hurry, they would want a designed map to be simple and to the point. A persona is the fictional user of your product and the scenario is the context in which they use it.

An artifact persona is the product’s personality. This relates directly to who will be using the product. For example something that is designed for elderly people  to manage their health will not be confronting or use bright colours but will be mellow and it would use soft colours. Developing key words about the product’s personality can help the design process making sure the designer is not steering away from the overall feel of the design.

Reflection

Developing a persona for an interactive design project is very important as it allows the designer to know who they’re dealing with. It ensures the functional and visual design of the product appeals to the user hence making the interface react the way the consumer wants and expects it to.

Week 2 – Interaction & Interactive Design

11 Mar

Summary

According to Winograd interaction design is “the design of spaces for human communication and interaction.” Bill Verplank says an interaction designer has three questions they need to ask. The first is how do you do? – or in other words how you will get the user to affect the world i.e. pushing buttons or the ability to grab things to manipulate it. The second is how do you feel? This refers to the look of the design. Do you want it intense or soft etc. The third is how do you know? This is aimed at the audience you are designing for deciding how you will let them know what to do next – or will you just assume they know.

You interact with a number of things everyday and each thing has a different level of engagement and reactivity e.g. a good book is more engaging than reactive because it is interacting with your brain and an online shopping website is more reactive because it allows you to actually do something physically.  When designing the interactivity of something it is important that you design the quality of the navigation. A fire alarm system needs to be very simple and clear although a computer game can be very intense and over the top, two different things relating to two different ways of interaction.  

Reflection

When designing the interactivity of something whether it is a product or website I think it is important we know who we are designing for and what the user expects the interactive thing to do. We need to consider whether it should be engaging or complicated to get the user to use their brain or whether it should be simple and easily navigated so anyone could use it.

Week 1 – Web 2.0 & Convergence

4 Mar

Summary

Web 2.0 refers to places on the internet that provide the luxury of allowing users to express their views and ideas within a certain social network, the most popular being Facebook and YouTube. This is rather appealing to people as it allows the user to read and write rather than just read what is there. This may be a strong reason why the internet has become so much more popular than television and radio.

As future designers we will need to start thinking about the ways we can make the consumer more involved in the things we design online and not just making something look nice. Websites should be more than just an information source but somewhere consumers can give feedback and interact with the product.

Convergence is how the three C’s (Communications Networks, Computing Information Technology and Content) cross-over to form the World Wide Web. It also refers to how different types of information are being viewed on all types of technology as well as technology being used for things it wasn’t originally designed for e.g. phones being used for games and the internet. This will affect us as designers as we will not only be designing things on the internet for use at home on a computer but also for things like phones and iPads.

Reflection

The knowledge that consumers want to express themselves is important to us as designers as it allows us to think of more creative ways to get them to interact with websites allowing them to create and give their opinions. Knowing what they are doing on which piece of technology will help us when designing an interactive website.