Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What you say isn't what I hear

"We think direct written and verbal communication is clear and accurate and efficient. It is none of those," writes Seth Godin. The implication: "Plan on being misunderstood. Repeat yourself. When in doubt, repeat yourself."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting Lost in Buildings

Donald Norman wrote about designers who can't figure out why users can't use the products they've designed. Boing Boing reports on a study by psychologists on why users get lost in award-winning buildings:
"Architects, on the other hand, may be among the class of people with very strong spatial skills, because their craft requires numerous spatial transformations, such as needing to envision 3D space from 2D depictions. One unanticipated consequence of such abilities is that they may not be very good at taking the perspective of a user with poorer spatial skills, and therefore may not be able to fully anticipate where users may have navigational difficulties within their buildings."

PowerPoint and Cognitive Science

Good design is more than making things pretty; good design communicates. IO9 posted on How Cognitive Science Can Improve Your PowerPoint Presentations based on a lecture by Stephen M. Kosslyn, author of Clear and to the Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations.

Here's an overview:
1. The Goldilocks Rule: present the "just right" amount of data. Never include more information than your audience needs in a visual image.

2. The Rudolph Rule: make information stand out and highlight important details — the way Rudolph the reindeer's red nose stood out from the other reindeers'. If you're presenting a piece of relevant data in a list, why not make the data of interest a different color from the list? Or circle it in red?

3. The Rule of Four is a simple but powerful tool: the brain can generally hold only four pieces of visual information simultaneously. So don't ever present your audience with more than four things at once.

4. The Birds of a Feather Rule is another good rule for how to organize information when you want to show things in groups. "

The examples in the original post are worth reading.

Thanks to Boing Boing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

First day of class

Our characteristics for evaluating a product:
1. comfort
2. durability
3. price
4. appearance
5. needs
6. stability
7. weight
8. efficient to produce
9. size
10. age
11. fit
12. material
13. reputation
14. type of use

If you're interested you can see last year's list

Friday, September 3, 2010

Welcome Kalamazoo College class of 2014

Welcome to K!

And welcome to the Design Intelligence seminar. This course is part of the Shared Passages Seminar program at K College. Like all of the First Year Seminars, much of our time will be devoted to discussion and writing. The topic of this particular seminar is design.

From the class syllabus:
This course will look at the role of design in the world around us. Our emphasis will be on features, feel and function of design. We will consider why some designs work well and others work poorly. We will think about how and why things are designed in particular ways. We will look at design choices from various perspectives.

The broader goal of this class is to develop and refine skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond. We will work on discussion skills, presentation skills, analytic skills, and writing skills.

If you are interested, you can find out more about the course by exploring some of the posts below or following some of the related links on the right.