journal


Thesis : 

One of the many qualities that make up human behavior is our desire to communicate and work with others.  In this digital age, it has become common for those lacking social skills to accomplish these desires to turn to online message board communities to interact with others.  However, not all of these message boards are set up as havens for the socially inept.  Could the true power and potential of community lie within social networks geared towards people with both offline and online social skills?

Statement: 

Men exist for the sake of one another. Teach them then or bear with them.
– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

I intend to look at a specific on line community and show how its members have used their various talents to create a vast and powerful network, despite at first only having their message board as means to communicate with one another.  As time went on and it became apparent which members possessed adequate social skills, this translated into projects and meet ups facilitated by offline interaction.  The ones who neither had this quality or simply weren’t interested in that type of social interaction eventually were pruned from the ranks.  This left a fellowship of like minded individuals who would not let the constraints of a computer screen hinder goals that in the past would only be possible with face to face interaction.  This is the digital age’s e-firm.  There are no physical offices, which is perfect when work needs to be done in Seattle one day, and in Houston or Barcelona the next.

This project will show the way humans need for community are being met with today’s technology, and the pros and cons of accomplishing them using this technology. Finally, it will show the boons of creating a community that makes the best of both the on and offline world.  Social networking does not have to be strictly digital, it is the hybrid version that will accomplish the most in today’s age.

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Current mood: Sick and Shaking Depressions

and it all caves in on itself, destroyed and collapsing
fallen farther than what it ever was before.
DOOMED::MORALEits over.
DISCOMFORTIts like a weight of sickness and emotion, pulling at the back of my skull and neck. My eyes feel heavy with something not quite sadness, and not quite anger. Something just………doomed. It drags me down towards the pit of emotion that has all my life’s failures and strugglesREVISITED
Teach me a lesson? My hands were chopped off at the wrists a long time ago, nothing to hold my own heart in now. Beat me downSICK

MOMENTS
I have these all the time. Reflections, thoughts, life comes at you and explodes into your mind, thoughts, and conscience all the time. Its how you interpret and express these thoughts that make you truly unique.
I talked with someone this evening about moments. It is oddly refreshing to hear with your own ears someone else describe you perfectly. Someone interpreted me exactly how I should be described. passages of passion:: i am still waiting for this moment

SOUTHERN::DISCOMFORT
YOUUUUR
JADED
HEART
SLAP YOU DOWN
ANGELS
AND GODS
WERE ALL GONE
OUTSIDE
THERES JUST ONE
GOD
WATCH OUT
YOUUUUUU
BROKEN
BURN

JUST
UNGRATEFUL
A JOKE WE ARE
WRETCHED
MEDIC
BLOW
MURDER
NEVER
DID
I TRUST GOD
GOD
WATCH OUT
GO DOWN
::
ALLLLL MY CHOKES
WENT APPLAUDED
WE ‘RE PRAYING
JUST
GRATEFUL
THAT I ……HAVE SHINED
ILL COME
TO SHUT UP
TRIPPING
WATCH
WHY

::SOUTHERN::DISCOMFORT::

Since my project deals with mobile technology in Estonia, and I am currently in Seattle, I will have to call on my memory for this journal assignment.  I will also compare how I observe mobile technology making an impact here in Seattle on a daily basis.

            We will start with how mobile technology appears to the human eye aesthetically and in a functional sense.  One trait that I observe humorously, is the continual use of the “flip” phone.  You know, the phone that you have to flip open to use when making or answering a phone call.  This seems like a stupid feature to have on a phone that you may be in a rush to answer or use.  Not to mention that some of them slam shut and hang up if you bend the phone in the slightest.  The observation that made me realize how unnecessary this feature is on a phone is when I watched a woman in Starbucks scramble to answer a call, and in her haste as she flipped open her phone, she lost her grip on the device and it “flipped” out of her hand and into her coffee!  Needless to say, I have not thought highly of the “flip” phones ever since. 

            My own mobile phone is a simple, slick one piece phone that fits easily in my hand and can be answered or hung up by the touching of two, easy to find, color coded buttons.  The most important features of mobile phones need to be kept the simplest.  I hate using friends phones and having to stare at the damn device intently just to figure out how to begin a call. 

            Most of the phones that I observed in Estonia (and elsewhere in Europe), had loads of features that made me immediately think of my laptop computer, as well as perfectly sized screens.  The graphic capability of the phones must be higher than what I am used to, all of the menus were easy to read and were crisp and aesthetically pleasing. 

            It was hard to observe what people were truly doing on their phones in Estonia.  While walking with my friend in Tallinn (Estonia’s capitol city), I saw her typing into her phone.  I asked if she was texting a friend, and she replied that she was checking the bus schedule to see if we would make our bus on time.  During my trip she also checked movie times, looked at her bank account, and did numerous other activities I would need a computer to perform.  So when walking around Seattle and I see someone typing away on their phone, the chance that they are sending their friend a text message is probably accurate.  However, in Estonia, they could be doing a multitude of other things. 

I did the wrong journal entry last week, so this week is actually on last weeks topic.  Sorry!

 

I took a look at two major news websites, the USA TODAY’s website, and the Washington Post’s web site.  Right away I saw some things that were good about both sites.  The USA TODAY’s site had an easy to use, color coded menu, which made sorting through the news efficient.  It was similar to the colors their actual paper uses, so I was familiar with the layout.  I had not read the Washington Post before, so I did not have anything to fall back on when looking at their site, but it had a very easy to locate menu, right at the top of the page.  The major stories of the day were convieniently located in the middle of the page, scrolling down.  At the bottom of the main stories and features was a banner with several video clips of todays news stories, which I found interesting and useful.

 

However, there was one thing that I found on both sites that drove me crazy.  The front pages went on and on and on!  It seemed like every possible section of the news paper was crammed somehow onto the front page of the website.  This made it very over whelming to continue to the bottom of the page, I did not even know where to start when trying to sort out all of the information being reported.  These sites took Maeda’s first law of simplicity, Reduce, and threw it out the window.  It felt like they just did not know when to stop when designing the front page of the website.  This leads us straight into law number two, Organize.  Organization on a news paper site is crucial to allow readers to find what they are looking for.  Otherwise, they will just get the news somewhere else.  I guess the TODAY and the Post just fell in love with law number nine: Failure.  Some thing just will never be simplified, although I do think a news site can be.  The designers and editors just need to seriously evaluate how cluttered that first page of the site looks.  

 

If you were to apply the design concepts of Shneiderman’s HMI, you would think the way to design the site to be comfortable to its human user would be to make the site as similar to the news paper as possible.  When we hold a news paper in our hands, we have an index on the first page that shows us what page certain sections are on, as well as the page numbers to some of the major stories featured on the front page.  The websites did this- and way too much more.  If I picked up a news paper and looked at the front page to see the clutter fest from those web sites, I would probably toss the paper into the trash before I sorted through all of that.  Information overload!

 

Joy Mountford is a designer who has been working on interface design for over 20 years.  As a manager of Apple’s Human Interface Group, she helped develop SonicFinder and QuickTime.

What intrigues me the most about Joy is the wide range of projects she has worked on.  She has developed interfaces for airplanes, computers, and consumer products, working with a number of different mediums.  Beginning her career in the aviation field, she came to the US on a scholarship to do research into pilot multi-tasking.  From there she went into Artificial Intelligence  at MCC, a research consortium in Austin, Texas.  There she researched developing a kind of display world, one used not by a pilot but by a knowledge worker involved with navigating large data sets in 3D.  Her big break came when someone suggested she look into a company called Apple, which was trying to start a starting a Human Interface Group.

Joy’s experience in design interface has allowed her to recognize what are bad interfaces in products she sees in everyday life.  Mountford states, “You can find bad design and poor interfaces everywhere. On the other hand, I do think the world’s appreciation of good design for and with people is getting better, and it’s easier to find instances of good design.”

One thing I thought was interesting was Joys view on todays “all in one” products, which seems to be the driving force in todays market.  “I don’t want everything integrated into one mega-product with swollen capabilities. I don’t think that helps me do anything. It’s not what I want, and I don’t think of doing everything all the time, so it is not useful or appealing.” As part of the ‘multi-task” generation, this is strange to hear.  I had thought multi-tasking and usability were the two most important concepts in the new technology that has been coming out in recent years.  In fact, in my groups brainstorming session last week, we had thought of an idea for a device that would control the mobile, monetary, and security aspects of someones life, in addition to controlling the features of the home such as lighting!  According to Joy, we were way off the mark.  I do feel that Joy is in the minority in regards to this issue, whether she is right or wrong.

Joy has continued her career by founding the idbias design group,  which is a company set up to develop novel and unique ways for people to interact with technology.  The companies service includes interaction design, design review, user studies, and also puts on educational workshops.

Joy also frequently gives lectures at various institutions, passing on her views on interactive design to the next wave of talent.