Tag Archives: visual hierarchy

Information/Instructional Design

25 Mar

Information design is the organization of data to make it easily understood or processed by the viewer. It is achieved by using the basic visual hierarchy methods such as scale, colour, typography and contrast which all lead to the point of interest, or the most important thing on the page – the title or topic. Information design is strongly used in web sites usually to categorize information and to establish a visual hierarchy. Usually the title of the website is at the top of the hierarchy and then often comes the ‘sign up’ button on websites that can be registered to in order to attract new people. Instructional design is ordered information that makes a process easier to complete. A task or process is divided up into single smaller tasks giving the person one thing to do at a time. Each is explained and a relevant image usually accompanies the description. This is often seen with a Lego set or when a house hold object needs assembling.

This website allows the viewer to watch any episode of The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, American Dad, Futurama or The Cleveland Show online for free. It uses basic information design to organize its data, strongly relying on colour to distinguish between each cartoon throughout. The website also uses large, bold text in order to pull the eye towards the name of the cartoon and utilizes columns in order to categorize particular episodes of the cartoon including the most recent, most viewed and top rated.

Here is an information design piece I did in my second year at Uni. It shows my recorded sleep and energy consumption over two weeks, the grey bars represent the amount of sleep I had and the white represents the amount of energy I consumed, relative to a required average daily intake of 10350kj and a required eight hours of sleep daily.

Here is an instructional piece I designed in my second year at Uni which shows you how to do a kickflip. The steps taken starting from one and ending in seven are easily seen given they are in red and the eye is able to read the process with no problems due to the use of a traditional reading pattern from left to right. Relating to informational design, the red marks on the skating figure draws attention to detail showing the skater what to remember in each step of the process. The large black heading also lets the viewer know what the topic is before they read further.

Week 4 – The Static and Kinetic Screen

23 Mar

Summary

Static refers to the motionless aspects on a screen or everything to do with a printed magazine. Kinetic describes motion and change over time which relate to elements on the screen found in interactive design. Focusing on Andy Polaine throughout the lecture, we understand his idea of what interactive design is and how we can use basic design knowledge for interactive projects.

As stated in the first module, his idea of interaction design is how each element of an interaction relates to one another in order to make something thought of as complicated; easier and pleasurable to use. The elements are as follows:
– what they do i.e. does it let you create music or does it make you create a virtual sandwich
– what they look like i.e. is it bright and colourful or does it contain disturbing footage of a crime scene
– what they look like they do i.e. does it look like it should tell you how to light a Barbecue or is it full of shit, blowing you up
– the experience of using them i.e. do they feel like an athlete playing FIFA on Xbox or are they annoyed at a computer voice telling them to turn around

Static graphic compositions reinforce the idea of making something complicated simple. Each element is treated differently and accordingly to help the viewer navigate around a designed page starting with more important to least important information. This is known as Visual Hierarchy as seen in the second module. Eye tracking can help measure the effectiveness of a design by measuring the time and path of someone’s eyes when looking at a static design showing the designer what captures the viewer’s attention and what doesn’t.

Here are some basic visual hierarchy methods:
– point of interest i.e. the starting point or leader of the visual hierarchy, the most important information. This needs to stand out the most achieved by the below examples.
– contrast i.e. the highest level is black and white with no tone
– tone i.e. darkness and lightness of a single colour, darker being the more noticable
– scale i.e. the use of size to symbol importance, the larger the more important. It also relates to things in the foreground/background where the larger things would be in the foreground
– colour i.e. categorizes information with the help of other methods such as tone, colour, scale, etc
– typography i.e. the legibility and readability of text based on scale and colour and the language and sentence structure respectively

Reflection

All these elements and methods come down to who the audience, which is the first thing that needs to be thought of when designing not only interactive but anything. It allows the designer to use this information to create an interface for a selected target audience making it easier and understandable.