April 24, 2011

Nelson Event: Saturday Testing. Children! :)

This is what I had on Friday: It was vertical, and there were hierarchy problems, some issues with the clarity of the maps, and the back needed some serious help.

Based on the feedback that I got on Friday, this is the map that I presented the kids with on the Saturday expedition. I focused on making the map the best it could be, and left the events page to be edited later ( since the kids wouldn't be using it at all).

On the positive note, the map was pretty easy to follow, and the verbal clues helped with the navigation once the kids were in the general vicinity of the sculpture.
But one thing that the children seemed to have a problem with was orienting themselves with the map. They wanted to be able to easily turn the map so that it faced whatever direction they were wandering in. This seems like an easy enough fix.

They were also bothered by the fact that they didn’t have anything to put their birds in. And I don’t mean the craft tree, I mean something like a pocket or envelope. And while parents might help with carrying things, this parent did not. Holding the map and the cards was a bit too much.
Engagement was the biggest problem that I ran into. Once the kids came to the sculptures, they got their bird card...and that was it. There’s not enough education happening, and not a lot of interaction. The cards are were this change needs to happen, and these need to give the kids some reason to reflect.
Lastly, it was a board. It shouldn’t be a board.

To combat the issues there, I gave in and made the piece fold-able. There is the title page, center page with the map and birds with the clues, and the back is the event listing. I've simplified the map a bit more and cut the top of the map off; who really needs to go up there anyway? There was a pocket function now, but I will be moving in the direction of the envelope (or the poor birdies will fall out). Now I need to focus on the cards, while finessing the map paper for Friday!

iPhone App - Exploring Visual Directions

Out of the three directions that I tried to play around with, I have ended up moving forward with a hybrid of the first two. The photo-overlay of the first style is nice, but the navigation of of it is pretty yucky. I enjoy the type and pattern elements of the version #2, as well as some of the more refined elements of the interface.

April 21, 2011

Precious Petals: Final Site

Precious Petals!

It's a real site!

Tailored iPhone App: Brainstorming and Wireframes

The three initial concepts that I came up with for the iPhone apps were for the Hiking subculture, which was technically specifically for older hikers. There was a trail index, with an option to "image map" trails through users photos of the trail, and a lot of stuff that would help you choose trails in your local area, as well as ones that you might like when you are traveling elsewhere. The second idea was an app that would allow you to scan tags of new equipment that you got or want to get, and it will give you user opinions and ratings, and some other information about the product.
The final idea, and the one that I moved forward with was the health related app. As older hikers, while they might be fit, they still need to be more aware of themselves and maybe younger hikers might be. For this, they can imput any health concerns they have (meds and vitamins they take, physical issues or other problems that could be affected by the environment, ect) and the app will remind them when they need to drink water, take their rest breaks, maybe take their pills, and then also guide them toward trails that suit them best. This app also sends an email to a friend in their address book with their plans, so that if something were to happen to them, someone would know!
So, these are the wireframes that I tossed around. I got a lot of good feedback and a lot of help and advice, which I needed. Changes to come!

Nelson Event: Peer User Testing

My new map and back are, if I'm allowed to say, very exciting! Or at least, I am excited about them, I'm enjoying the next, even more geometric design that I'm basing everything off of. After the user testing though, there are a lot of things I still need to work on. For one, I spent so much time on the map, that I need to bring the cards up to snuff now too. I'm also going to experiment with different layouts of the map, and a few new sizes.
This current map is 24 by 13.3, which I thought, on really thick paper, might be able to hold up. It would save with the folding frustration, and give the kids something big to work with. But, it has been suggested that I have it fold. I will consider this, but I'm not sold on it yet.


There was some more text on the back of Vi's, talking about adding more pathways, and the contrast of the map being low in black and white.

Nelson Event: First Round Refinements

More Birds! Everything is beginning to assimilate. Here are my first birds that got vectored, with their nests made of images of the sculptures. I also tried beginning to place them into their card formats, with either the trading card style or the cut out. It's all pretty rough still.

And as for the map, it's got a lot of work ahead of it. I need to keep everything from conforming to that odd slope shape, among other things. On the back of this would be the event listings, but I haven't designed those yet!

Nelson Event: Going Digital

So, these are the initial illustrations for the Nelson-Atkins birds and their sculpture nests. There are some readability issues with the nests, and for several of them it is difficult to make the connection that they are based off of the highlighted sculptures.

Map Iterations:

I'm going to continue in a more digital, geometric approach from this point forward. One thing that I thought was interesting was this map, which uses the photographs in combination with the bring colors. This is something else that I would like to explore, because I think that the combination of the photos and the bold, flat shapes can turn into something really exciting.

Some other things I messed around with, but will not be using:

April 20, 2011

Nelson Event: Initial Brainstorming

The event direction that I went along with was a theme of bird watching, but with a twist. The birds are the ones searching (with the children), so it is instead called "sculpture spotting."
Birds would direct you on the map towards the highlighted sculptures, and then once the kid discovers them, is rewarded with a card with information about the sculpture on it.

A couple of map variations, one with bird tracks and the other with a bird narrating the journey. I also played with different ways of indicating the sculptures on the maps, like with nests with eggs (a little too eastery though) or drawn icons of the sculptures.

And here were my rough (very, very rough) ideas for the birds that they would receive. I'm not sure if I want them to be trading cards or something that you can cut out and put in the craft tree that the kids have the option of making at the event. If they are trading cards, then after the event the become a little useless. If they're pieces for the tree though, it will last once they take the tree home, but what if they don't make a tree? Questions, questions.
Some birds:

April 18, 2011

Experimental Typography Test

This weekend I spent an extended amount of time recording type over time. I played around with flowers again, like in the previous class, and I also did a lot of type with water. I feel like I started to get something with the water, because of some variables that happened to be in the area I was filming. While this is a technical detail, it's still significant, considering the fact that that is the nature of the question I am asking.

In the flower piece, I waiting for either the flowers to wither or the wind to blow them away. Either element was fine, or a combination of the two, since that's just what happens. The wind was very mild yesterday, but after a few suprise gusts, the flowers were in a pretty good state of disarray, making it nearly impossible to read the word that it originally was.

In the first and second water test, I was trying to play with the nature of the water spreads. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in the degree that it did NOT spread. When I did initial tests—on a smaller scale—to the letters, there was a lot of spread of the water, which resulted in almost losing the letter's legibility altogether. Now that I've changed the scale of the letters though, it's not nearly as obvious.

After the first two tests with water, I realized that something more interesting than what I was trying to test was happening. I was filming on a slight incline, and the water was beginning to drip. This was a new factor that I had not thought about before, and for the third water test, I changed locations and tried to capitalize on this running water effect.

Type Experiments

Moving along with the nature theme, I tried to execute an experiment in which I set up flowers in their natural environment. This was not a time-lapse experiment, since I was just trying to make it believable that these flowers were in their natural environment. Since technical problems that we run into don't matter, I will try to focus on other areas. Right now, these letters are very simple, and also do not show any change. Continuing on, I would like to try and work on making the letters a little more detail, and get back to the original questions of the evolution or devolution of type that is reflecting its environment.

iPhone App Problem and Readings

For the final project of information architecture, I decided to go with the Jones Generation Hikers. They are baby boomers, which means they are concerned with their health. This of course, could contribute to the reason that they are hiking. But at this age, they are beginning to be concerned with many health issues.

For my app, I would like to create a program that will help the hikers remember other health issues that they need to be aware of before, during, and after their hike. This includes problems such as allergies, air quality, blood pressure, arthritis, and remembering to take meds at certain hours. While hiking is a wonderful exercise, it is good at distracting people too. So this will hopefully help.

The Readings:
  • Buttons should look like buttons, and not be hard to find or hard to understand as buttons. Too many visual elements can make it hard to read, but you do want it to have a degree of abstractness to it.
  • There are a set of standard tab icons. Use them. Certain icons have certain meanings, and if you stray from them then it is confusing for the user.
  • There are a lot of standards that are required for an iPhone app to pass inspection. If you're not within these guidelines, doesn't expect it to pass.
  • Along the same lines, it is probably a good idea to just stick with the gestures that the user will already know, instead of creating a whole new one just for your app.
  • It needs to be taken into account, to some degree, that a lot of the screen is covered up by the user's finger as they do a gesture.

April 15, 2011

Initial Experiment Inspiration


April 12, 2011

It is Beautiful, Then Gone

While the processes for both of the projects were interesting, I felt that the Sundance project was a more useful read. Venezky talks about the project being split into several pieces that work individually, and were created independently and then brought together. While the Reebok work was very different from what is normally done for Sports design, the unpredictability of the Sundance work really appeals to me and relates more to the experimental type that I'm doing.

While what we are doing are technically experiments, it really frustrates me and makes me nervous when I think about the prospect of them not going anywhere or failing completely. I've been working on several different works at once, trying to answer the questions that I posed at the beginning of the project.

  • How can human interaction change the form or legibility of type placed in nature?
  • How can time effect the state of type placed in nature?
  • How can type be presented in nature to make people more aware of their environment?
  • What kind of type can be placed in an environment without it effecting the well-being of the nature in it?
  • How can nature be manipulated to form legible type?
  • How can a font be made that expresses the environment it was created in?
  • How can typography reflect the patterns found in nature?
  • How can the unpredictability of nature be translated into typographic form?
  • How can type emulate the symbiosis of natural and manmade elements?
  • How can the passage of time evolve or devolve typography in nature?
While I think that some of my projects are beginning to answer the questions, some of them are not. And some of them are just not working. It's like the part of the Sundance work where they start to match the pairs of images and texts together, except some of them aren't matching at all. And also, even on the things that are beginning to work, it seems like they are unrefined pieces, not necessarily something that can be easily shown.

As I continue to work on more experiments, I will also work on refining their quality, keeping them in a managable time frame, and trouble shooting to resolve and prevent problems found in the past experiments.

April 6, 2011

PSA: Healthy Homes Final

Familial baby boomer caregivers are a group of people that commit their lives to the health and well-being of someone else in their family, like an elderly parent, a injured or sick spouse, or perhaps even a sibling. They spend most of their time in their home, assisting their patient. While interviewing and researching, one thing that caregivers were really concerned with was their own well-being. Because of their age, their health is beginning to degrade and they need to pay extra attention to that, as well as continuing to take care of their patient.

This brings me to the bigger societal concern, which is hygiene. It's all over the news, and a constant issue, especially when it's talking about people cooped up in closed spaces for extended periods of time (like in schools or offices). Caregivers are in this exact situation! So, as a PSA, and as an attempt to improve the health and environment in which caregivers spend their time, HEALTHY HOMES is made!

Healthy Homes is a PSA consisting of a series of seven reminder stickers. They are places in one of the only places caregivers go outside of their own home, the doctors office. These stickers are placed in proximity to objects that exist in both the doctor's office and the caregivers home. As the caregiver is waiting in the waiting room, or the examination room, or even visit the bathroom, these reminders call attention to spots that need some cleaning attention, but are often forgotten.

Visually, they are meant to be reminiscent of the visual language of the medical world, similar to the medicine bottle labels on their patients daily meds. The titles of each reminder uses coded language relevant to the jargon they have to deal every day. The copy is similarly styled, and while it still uses medical vocab, it’s lighter than the normally serious nature of doctor-talk. It’s also worded in a friendly manner, so the already busy caretakers don’t feel like they’re being commanded to do more work. By pointing out these objects (objects that also exist in their home), the goal is to alert them to the problem and give them the reminder they need so that when at home they will remember the objects (doorknob, computer keyboard, light switches) and clean them, improving the well-being of them and their loved one.