MEDP 299.XX Hunter College at the City University of New YorkPosts RSS Comments RSS

AIDS awareness design

The idea of having user input in order to create effective design in a different cultural setting is driving in the point in understanding the audience that you are designing for. I would be able to make an ad for AIDS awareness in my own culture, no matter how flashy or provocative it is in the US does not mean it translate well overseas. The imagery made by the Kenyan audience-designers  did not speak to me because that sort of context is not effective in my cultural and visual language. However if such images were to go over well with other Kenyans, then the design is effective.

This reading reminded me of the Dezyne Klass reading where the student designers had immersed themselves in Hip hop culture to get a better sense of how it is a strong language and culture that you must really get ‘personal’ with the subject before you do create something based on it. Simply put, it is a matter of knowing your audience and being able to have a conversation with them through effective visual means.

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Link: Web design help

Thought this link was a good reminder of all the basics we’ve gone over in class to apply to our own sites.

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MP3, Cellphone/alarm clock design

Hi everyone,This assignment  I found was fun yet challenging because was had to incorporate many different aspects of design and technology into one piece. My thought while trying to create this was the fact that technology is ever changing and we are becoming more and more dependent on out cellphones and mp3 players rather than home or pay phones, cassette or CD players. When I wake up for school in the mornings I hate having to go to different locations to pick up my cell phone and MP3 player so I decided to create a doc that can hold both of these items. The best place for me would be on my night-stand by my alarm clock which wakes me up in the morning. this dock would be relatively cheap considering that alrmmp3phone-doc.JPG

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Multifunctional Clock/Alarm/Radio/Cd/Mp3 Player

Audiences: Aim for college students in the 18 – 23 Age range. Accessibility for the 14-18 range as well as the 24-35 range.
This is meant to combine all the basics of an affordable Clock, Alarm, AM/FM Radio (with digital tuning), CD and MP3 Player in one.

Unlike the iPod and Zune/ Mp3 player docking systems, this would include a plug to hook up your mp3 player to this and play your tunes.
You can also play cds while loading the songs into the hard drive to work as an mp3 player itself. The cd player function is kept for older adults who want to just use the cd player and can make it easy for them to upload their songs.

Instead of a touch screen display I’ve decided on a Multi functional button system that can scroll through the number of items shown on the screen. The button pad at the bottom of the machine, underneath the screen itself, allows

The technology I’ve chosen has proven to be difficult to design for all kinds of users to effectively use. I originally wanted to have a touch screen setting but designing a software for it would be too confusing in placing each button on the screen itself. Also to have touch screen ability would be limited in cases of the machine freezing and no cancel button other than what would be on screen would be efficient for the users. I’ve instead made a button pad at the bottom of the machine for users to look at the screen and use the buttons for easier functionality.

Research: There are a number of designs where I’ve based this system on. The biggest inspiration was the dock systems meant for the iPod. There were some designs that had it as a multifunctional dock machine that could function more than a simple speaker system. The only thing is that the designs seemed too complicated for older users to use. The designs were daunting but effective in making me reconsider how I should design the object as simple as possible for the user.

Conceptual Model:


research: orbitipoddockingstation.jpgjansenspeakerstandipod.jpgaxionaxn9905.jpgaxionb.jpg

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Multi-functional Object

  • Research: When my younger cousins were over in the past week, I realized that the younger generations are getting used to having the newest technology around more than ever before. I got my first cell phone in high school and it was the biggest deal at the time. Now, my 10 and 13 year old  cousins are texting me and know how to use every feature in the book. Technology has grown so much and it’s just going to keep on growing faster and faster. In my life so far, I already went through cassette players, cd players, mp3 players and ipods. By observing current phones, ipods etc. I realized that these items have features like alarm clocks and answering machines built into them already and there’s really no need to have a different machine for every single different use. People like to have sleek things like the iphone that have a variety of feature on one device. Also I think almost everyone today has some sort of internet access whether its from a pc or laptop. That’s why I decided to create something with the look of my phone (the Samsung ?) where you could flip it two ways, but where you could do many different things. My object would be more or less an ipod, a cell phone, and would have internet access as well.
  • Audience: My multi-function object would be created for the future teenagers/young adults who are still going to want things that are convenient, that have a lot of features, that are easy to use but that look cool at the same time.  
  • Affordances:When the device is closed, it will look like an ipod and take on its features (where you can listen to music, set an alarm…) When you flip it open upwards it will take on the features of a cell phone (where you can make calls, text, check voicemail…) When you flip it open to the side it will look like a mini laptop and will allow you to get access to internet and email… 
  • Constraints: The user will only be able to use certain features depending on how the device is turned or flipped (for example, if it’s on ipod mode, you wont be able to go on the internet or use the phone and so on so forth). 
  • Conceptual Model:When the device is in ipod mode (closed) it will look like a typical ipod with a screen to show what’s playing, and have a typical keypad with the buttons for menu, play, pause… The only difference will be that the keypad will be like a touch screen (like the front of my cell phone). When the device is in the cell phone mode (open upwards) it will have a screen like a regular cellphone on top, and the bottom piece will have a keypad that’s also touch screen (with number buttons, letters, send, end…) When the device is in mini laptop mode (turned to the side) the touch screen that was used for the phone will transfer into a keyboard touch screen.

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The Nostalgia

The Nostalgia Media Machine “Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent. In Greek, “nostalgia” literally means “the pain from an old wound.” It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards… it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. “

The Nostalgia is a portable media center that takes the various mediums through which you’ve recorded the moments, events and artifacts of your life, and makes  them available to you in a elegant yet simple package -an electronic book.


Having a portable media machine with a tape deck is definately something that befits a niche market. It suggests that whomever would be interested in such a product could either be: (A) Anachronistic or (B) Nostalgic.

So, this product is geared to an upper-middle to upper class demographic that tends to shop at places like Andrew Martin, where one is willing to spend several thousand dollars on handcrafted appliances.


The Nostalgia is essentially an amalgam of the iPod Touch, the Amazon Kindle, and the Nintendo DS (with an added tape deck). Thus, the research revolved around the idea of going beyond that. Something that would not only set it apar, but also apeal to a different audience.

Whatwith many studies showing that the human memory has become increasingly attached to technological devices like cellular phones and computers. Thus, creating a portable “memory machine” with a classic, leatherbound aesthetic appeared to be the best way to go.


The Nostalgia looks and somewhat functions like a book. This, coupled with a fairly intuitive interface, makes it so that the user’s experience is as natural as using a book. This is further simplified by the means of interaction; a iPod Touch, gesture-based interface makes it for a user-friendly experience that should please the older target audience.


The machine is roughly the size of a book (or DVD case). Though it has the thinnest possible technology embedded in it, the inclusion of the tape deck added a substantial size constraint. Thus, it becomes difficult to fit more media into the machine.

Conceptual Model

The Nostalgia Media Machine (detail)

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SoundBar for at Home

Audience: Directed to upper middle class/wealthy people who also look to incorporate design into their living room thats mostly already with high end furniture. These people can mostly afford Mies van der Rohe chairs and other fancy stuff. Age: yuppie to pre-retirement.

Research: In the age of multi-faceted media devices, some people have a stereo where they dont use the cassette deck and wish to be able to connect their iPod.

Affordances: The SoundBar is extendable to any kind of media device you use. The individual ad ons are sold separately. You can purchase two, three or even four cd players and snap them on. People with cassette tapes can buy the tape ad on, others who ceased using tape don’t need to worry about it.

Constraints: The Master Ad On needs to come with the sound bar. That is where sound preferences can be set, as well as the alarm and AM/FM radio. If there are many ad ons, the time display might be blocked.

Conceptual Model: A long Sound Bar with electrical tracks on both sides to snap on ad ons. The ad ons can be slided up or down. The SoundBar can come in two lengths to accommodate desired amount of ad ons.


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on Norman on Affordances.

in the design of future things, norman clarifies his updated view on affordances:

“It started off with an e-mail: Clarisse de Souza, a professor of informatics in Rio de Janeiro wrote to disagree with my definition of “affordance.”  “Affordance,” she told me, “is really communication between the designer and the user of a product.”  “No,” I wrote back.  “An affordance is simply a relationship that exists in the world: it is simply there.  Nothing to do with communication.”

I was wrong.  She was not only right, but she got me to spend a delightful week in Brazil, convincing me, then went on to expand upon her idea in an important book, Semiotic Engineering.  I ended up a believer: “Once designs are thought of as shared communication and technologies as media, the entire design philosophy changes radically, but in a positive and constructive way,” is what I wrote about the book for its back cover.”

–Norman, The Design of Future Things, pp. 66-67

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hotelroom media device.

i decided to place the media device in a high class hotel room.  it is made specifically for installation into one of these rooms, but i dont see why it would not be able to be placed in a private household, the only deterrent being its high cost.

 hotel room placement:  hotel room device setup.

control panel setup: control panel setup.

 Audience:  hotel room guests.  since they are not around the device for long periods of time, it must be easy to use and rapidly learned.  because of this, many cultural constraints and standardized buttons and symbols are considered in its setup.  led lights bring attention to items that require attention, such as the messages button.  play, pause, stop, eject, etc. buttons are themselves shaped in the standard symbols for their functions.  this also allows for easy use in the dark, as the buttons are easily distinguishable just by feeling them.  the lightbulb and headphones symbols are also easily recognizable.

Research:  devices like this are hard to come by.  i figured that it would be useful in a higher class hotel room.  i tried to make the design of the whole system itself as minimalistic as possible, as to not seem intrusive in a five star hotel room.  as a result of this consideration, the only visible parts of the system are the control panel (placed on the wall above a nightstand near the bed) and the speakers (placed on either side of the bed and in the ceiling).  because of the fact that norman believes that low visibility leads to a worse user experience because there is less feedback, a relatively large display screen was included to provide necessary feedback, which isnt much with a system of relatively simple entities such as these.  finally, consideration of the audience who does not get to spend much time with the device seems to be the most important research.

Affordances:  each button affords pushing.  the xm satellite radio button affords turning in addition to pushing.  the cd and usb drives and the headphones jacks afford inserting.  the lamp dimmer affords touching and sliding, as it is a smooth strip of touch-sensitive plastic.  the phone affords holding.

Constraints:  each insertion point can only be inserted with one type of device.  the ipod connection will only fit an ipod.  the input connection can only be placed into an out or headphones connection.  culturally, the symbols used are highly standardized.  the phone is not wireless, as to prevent theft.

Mapping:  each “section” is to be a slightly different shade of purchaser’s chosen color.  the visualizer/display screen will have one placemat.  the phone controls and the alarm controls will share another; when setting the alarm, the number buttons for the phone are used after the user is prompted to do so on the display screen.  the cd drive, usb drive, satellite radio tuner, and ipod/input device connections are contained within a third shade of color.  the light dimmer and headphones jacks are not on a placemat, but rather the standard brush-metal background plate.  for each device within these sections, the mapping is natural based on standardizations.  the phone buttons and cd control buttons are in natural order.  based on cultural constraints, the display screen is on the top left of the control panel, as we tend to explore from left to right, up to down. 
most importantly, the mapping is based on the fixed position of the control panel (in a hotel room over a nightstand on the left side of the bed).  this consideration places the light dimmer and phone closer to the right, on the side of the bed.  these two sections are more likely to be consistently used while in bed, and would be difficult to use if they were further away.  aside from the fact that the light dimmer uses plus and minus symbols, the mapping of “up is more and down is less” aids in the use of this device.  likewise, the radio tuner turns to the left to go to a lower channel and the right to tune higher.
the volume controls are paired with the speaker above the control panel.

Conceptual Model:  a user’s conceptual model of the device would point the “center” of the action of the audio controls towards the display screen.  based on standardization and the desire for feedback, this fact is considered in that all feedback pertaining to these devices is placed on the display screen (of course, excluding the audio feedback, which will come from the speakers).  the alarm clock buttons also convey a conceptual model of the device such that needed visual feedback should be displayed on the display screen, where the time is located.  users will automatically place the phone buttons in the realm of the phone itself, despite the fact that the receiver does not itself sit on the control panel. 
because of the placement, structure, and visual display of each part of the device, a user’s conceptual model will afford them with ease of use rather than confusion and a puzzle of parts.

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clockradioCDmP3phone player



-         Phone receiver is for holding and talking.

-         Grooves are for placing the phone receiver.

-         Touch screen buttons are for touching.

-         The CD drive is for pushing in/insertion.


-         The USB port is solely for inserting a USB device.

-         The CD/DVD drive is only for inserting discs.


My device was intended for use in the office. The ideal person is someone who has a lot of down time, but when needed, an important phone call be made.

Conceptual Model

The LED touch screen controls the entire device. If a phone call needs to be made, you press the phone/voicemail button, which then prompts you to enter a phone number, or check the voicemail/answering machine. All of the other options are controlled via the touch screen (mP3 player, CD, clock, radio).

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