Monday, November 23, 2009

Design Ignites Change

From TagAlong's homepage screen the user can check out the contact section or any of the other general areas of the site. They are also presented with a friendly greeting, and for those users who happen across the site by accident they are given sign up screen right their.
In the contact section they have the option to send us requests or questions they may have about how the site is used. Also there is a prompt for users to earn points toward an oil change if they invite their friends to join. The oil change could be a potential future partnership with an auto body shop in Kansas City. They get free advertisement on the site in exchange for oil changes for TagAlong users. This is a more hypothetical future function.
The about section gives users an over view of what TagAlong's goal is and how it plans to achieve that goal through promoting carpooling.

In this schedule page once a user logs in they can see what their schedule is for the month, and who they will be riding with. The yellow indicates which day they are on, and they can click into a day to be presented with more information on their TagAlongs for that day. In their profile they can are instructed to indicate thins such as make and model of their car, where they work, what type of music they listen to, etc.
In this new section they can see who they need to pick up, and where. They also have the option to add a gas stop if it fits into their schedule. In the right column they are given "Suggested Rides" and "Requests to TagAlong". The suggested rides are people the system has recognized fit into the users schedule, and you can send them a request to ride with you. The TagAlongs are people who have requested to ride with you, or for you to ride with them.
If you roll over the people in these sections you are given more information on them, and they appear temporarily in red on your schedule so you can see where they fit in.
Here we can see the TagAlongs working the same way. You can either Confirm or Deny their request to TagAlong with you.
You can also switch your calendar to a week view for more information on your schedule.
Here again you can click into a day to get more information on what you will be doing that day, and who you will be riding with.
There is also an option to switch to day view, where the user can see by the hour what their schedule is.
Here there is no need to click into the hour because all the information is right their. From Here you can click on the Map if you want to.
The Map gives you a detailed route of turn by turn instructions on where you need to ride to pick up all your TagAlongs. Again you are given the option to add a gas stop if you're running low on fuel. Next, the payment section.
Since TagAlong knows what kind of car you drive, how far you are driving with your TagAlongs, and what gas costs in your area, it can calculate how much you are spending on gasoline and divide that number by the people in your car. That way TagAlong can automatically bill your carpool mates for you, and give them the option to either pay you in cash, or use paypal to make payments. Users can then rate each other based on if they are paying on time and this will keep people from abusing the system.
Finally we have a car tips section that allows the site to pull relevant videos from around the internet. These videos will contain useful information like; how to drive in the snow, how to get the best gas milage, how to keep your car from getting broken into, etc.

My hope is that this tool will encourage people in the Kansas City, MO area to carpool by giving them a range of tools to facilitate that interaction and make it an easy and fun experience.

Friday, November 20, 2009

MX: Wireframes

Thursday, November 19, 2009

MX: Reading 78-93

all users can speak the language of the interface.

No they don't, and I think this video pretty effectively refutes that claim. i do however think that all users can understand the interface, but this comes from repetition mostly. our moms know how to use computers because someone has showed them how, and they've done it lots of times, but have you ever tried to watch them figure something new out?

a language designed by a small group of people and adapted by millions of computer users.
this is crazy to think about. i always like thinking of the converse when i read stuff like this. so what is a language designed by millions of people for a small group? what is a language designed by millions of people for millions of people? (lol, ttyl, :), lmao, rofl, wtf, btw, etc)
i wonder if that counts. hmm...

are we wired to understand the interface? since we all adopt it so easily?
we adopt them due to their basis in previous paradigms.
how could we make a case that we are wired to understand the interface? i don't think it is my knowledge of physical desktop dynamics that allows me to understand the workings of my digital computer desktop. also, it isn't really an exact approximation of how the desktop works its just the language that is the same. people usually keep files in a filing cabinet next to their desk not on it, and who puts files within each other? i understand the desktop as a metaphor, but i don't think it's because of my knowledge of desktops that i understand computers. i think it is the human predisposition to systematize things that allows us to understand computers. is there a real world hunter-gatherer...thing (for lack of a better word) that would have evolved into an ability to inherently understand the computer interface? i think it's fun to think that there is.

the camera has become the metaphor for the 3D computer interaction.

directing the virtual camera becomes as important as controlling the hero's action.
i feel like i take this concept for granted. that direction comes out of necessity, and it has gotten better and easier to do, but i remember hating this interaction when i was a kid and 3D games first came out. previous games what is in front of you is to the right of the screen since these were "side-scrolling" adventures, but now what is in front of you is in the middle of the screen, but your character is in the middle of the screen, so how do they reconcile that? well, make the user move the camera. i want a better solution.

one wants the computer screen to be a dense and flat information surface whereas the other insists that it become a window into a virtual space.
but then to present the user with information in the virtual space a scrim masks the space and text appears thus breaking the experience. i still have yet to see a seamless integration of the two ideas. how can i present you with rich information, and make you feel as though you are moving trough a virtual space.

why am i pressing a button that presses a button?
i thought of this while reading. i have to press a physical button, that then presses a virtual button, that then makes something happen. strange. i want to eliminate one of these buttons. get rid of this stupid typewriter model of computer interaction. i don't always need the alphabet and numbers when i'm working on a computer, so why do i always have to look at it? make my keyboard change depending on what i'm doing. separate the interface from the interaction. dual screens, the lower that replaces the keyboard becomes a fluctuating touchscreen with the interface on it, while the upper is a data display space. hmm, would this disconnection destroy the ability for the user to easily know what buttons go with what?...hmm...HELL NO! lets do it!

MX: website Iterations

Check out this wireframe Eppelheimer!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MX: iterations

Iteration 01

so, with this interaction method the pane of images would run across the middle, and you would be able to scroll over each side to move the pane in that direction. it doesn't move the whole way yet but if i go with this method, i'll fix it. i'll also fix the fact that the pane bleeds off the stage. although i kinda like that.

Damnit! so I couldn't code the next two, so I mocked up screen shots. It's proving difficult to make that box that follows my finger interact with other elements on the stage. I know i'll crack it, just haven't gotten there yet. So next I've combined the modal nav with augmented reality. What should happen is the nav appears where your tracked object is at the snap of the fingers. The site utilizes the computers built in mic to pick up the sound of a snap and display the navigation.

Next this iteration uses the idea of the hot corner and works on a series of rollovers to access content.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

MX: Language of New Media thoughts

—In "meatspace" we have to work to remember, but in cyberspace we have to work to forget.
-this isn't necessarily profound, but i really like it for some reason. aside from terming reality "meatspace" it talks about the temporality of memory and how that doesn't extend to a computer. so when does a computer really forget? When you destroy them, but that no longer applies. With cloud computing it's no longer the disconnected computer, but rather a network of servers all remembering everything you do. What will the future be like when accounts of history are accurate? Hmmm...i kinda felt like i was going somewhere. Guess not.

—Most of the activity remains invisible to the user.
-wouldn't it be weird if it didn't? what if you saw all the calculations and processes that your computer was performing as you were doing things. Would it be beautiful or obnoxious? I think it has the potential to be beautiful, but would that add anything to the experience? no, probably not. What could it add to the experience. Think of a music visualizer for computer processes.

—A user does many vastly different tasks using the same few tools.
-i want users to do the same tasks using vastly different tools. so navigating the same website with your mouse, your keyboard, your microphone, your camera, your accelerometer...what else is there. By plugging things into your different ports! That would be weird.

—The computer moved from being a production tool to a distribution tool.
-is there another mode here we are forgetting? production, distribution...maybe utilization? but the computer is most certainly is a utilization tool, given the nature of the distribution. hmm...are there others?

—Netomat, and Webstaker are two browsers that purposefully (unlike ie6) display your content as it wants to, and not as you intend it to be displayed.
-this idea is just hilarious to me. i wonder what other things can be uncovered with this kind of thinking. I immediately think of the episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force with the e-helmet. The one that can download any mp3 and convert it to the same ragtime song. I like things that screw stuff up for the user intentionally. But how can that be used for good? How can I take something someone else made and display it in a better, or more efficient or prettier, or whatever way? I guess css allows for the disconnect between form and content, but can it go farther. can it be used for something other than form?

—there is no hierarchy with hyperlinking. one page doesn't have more weight over the other.
-I don't know that i agree with this. i think that the current page tends to have more weight, but it really depends on what you are hyperlinking to. if you are stumbling from link to link within wikipedia then yeah i would agree, but if you use the links at the bottom that show sources, it seems to me that those links would be hierarchically more important.

—time became a flat image or landscape

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

VA: thoughts on degree project

For my senior degree project I want to take the semester to design something that I feel will be relevant to people, society, good health and the world. By this I mean helpful in someway to those in need of help; and let us not pretend many are in need of help. However, help may take many forms: financial, educational, emotional, institutional, structural etc. There are many facets of life that are not well designed and it is my firm belief that I am not a designer in the traditional sense, but it is my duty to be a design thinker as a means of aiding those who cannot aid themselves. My wish is to use whatever insight I may have, (be there any at all) to bring peace to the most people for as much of the time as possible.

I do not want to do anything supposedly “green” fore green is a stamp of approval to mask short sightedness. I do not want to think sustainably fore sustainability is a bandaid on a broken bone. I do not want to keep it simple because simplicity will never take down the complexity of problems. I do not want to do anything interactive for interactivity’s sake. I do not want to make a website for a website’s sake. I do not want to make a video clip for a video clip’s sake. I do not want to make a poster for a poster’s sake. I do not want to letter press for letter pressing’s sake. I do not want to typographize for typography’s sake. I don’t want to design for design’s sake. Furthermore, and quite possibly most of all, I do not want to waste time proving in some banal and repetitive manner that whatever I have decided to do is worth pursuing. Nor do I want to ideate when clearly an idea has been hit upon that is worth my efforts.

Design is not solely about giving form to content. Design thinking is, and should be about making something more efficient, easier to use, simpler, cheaper etc. Design thinking should create new tools to improve quality of life or, more difficultly, improve existing tools for future use. Tool is used loosely here to describe anything human beings use to complete a necessary task. I add the caveat of necessity because I feel we must streamline the necessary tasks in order to enjoy the tasks of leisure. Design thinking must not always but in many cases include the people that the thinking is being done for. The reason for this is two fold: (1) they will learn, in some small way, design thinking (2) they will appreciate and understand more fully the tool that has been created for them. Understanding and appreciation are key to success fore without one or the other the tool would likely go not utilized, and therefore be an exercise in frivolity and futility.

As a concentration, of the afore mentioned facets of life that require the “help of design thinking”, education is one I am strongly drawn to. My reason for this is based on an idea I had some time ago: If you educate people, everything else will follow. It seems to follow reason that if more people were educated more of the time, then only good things could happen as a result. Economic, social, emotional, institutional, structural, financial problems would, at least in large part would be solved. I recognize that changing the world is outside the scope of this project; however, I do believe that I can come up with something that will be another step in the right direction. And if done properly it should be something that can grow and easily adapt to new situations as necessary.