Archive for ‘Martha’

March 7, 2012

Last Meeting before Orals & Next Steps


I have had my refreshing break and am now back to running in the thrilling thesis marathon! Below is a brief overview of feedback from my last meeting (On Feb 29th) with Denise, Scott and Martha:

  • Describe Priorities of interface
    • ie: TUI: gameplay, Community: motivator, GUI: collection space
  • List combinations of important actions
    • Actions could be the same throughout the process but change meaning because what has come before and after it
    • sets of actions should be pointed moments in the process
  • Storyboard/Sketch/Wireframe the interface and interactions
    • Focus on behaviors of interaction not form, ie: bristley vs. task completion etc
    • form increases desirability factor
    • form expresses tangible motivation
    • Hand sketches/lo-fi
    • What does it do, how does it work
  • Orals
    • Solid foundation
    • examples to prove/manifest ideology
    • key moments which led to other key moments
    • next steps
    • 30 minutes

Next Steps

This week I will be using “Designing Social Interfaces” as a guide, per Scott’s reference.Below you can see my list of “things to do” in one week, before Orals. Looks a little crazy but most things are broken down into smaller steps:

develop the sets of actions,
develop priorities of GUI interface and TUI interface,
wireframe the GUI & TUI interface,
create presentation of scenarios incorporating key moments of interaction with TUI/GUI/and overall system,
create nomenclature/language for system? (ie: buddy, task, goal, meeting, etc)

revise gameplay map,
bring question up to par,
type out objectives and observations from studies,
outline presentation,
represent morphing of question in presentation,
create presentation with key points & next steps,

am i missing some sort of maps: overall purpose or relation to other tools etc?,
update bibliography?,
outline for writing?

February 26, 2012

Lots of Feedback with a Speed Dating Cherry on Top

Feedback from Denise

  1. This tool is not subset of another tool (i.e.. as an app is to the iphone)
  2. The desirability must outweigh the inconvenience
  3. My work must focus on the entire system of relationships: the goal buddies, the TUI & GUI, and the greater community of goal buddies
  4. My investigation much be limited to the graphic designer’s scope, not the industrial designer or psychologist
  5. The purpose of my investigation is to figure out how the design of my tangible user interface would influence the reception and response of the goal setter, not how the question might verbally be framed differently, or how the refinement of the product might influence that process

Feedback from Martha

  1. Is it a game or a tool?: It is a tool with a gamified structure just as e-bay is a e-commerce website with gamified interactions
  2. Co-couseling can offer a good framework for buddy accountability
  3. The TUI acts as a “Boundary Object” which mediates the goal buddies conversations and meetings. Define what boundary object means in general and define it for the purposes of this tool
  4. In the vein of participatory design, people could tailor their experience with this tool by creating their own code and challenges which go along with the tool. This “code” or series of challenges would be shared between the two goal buddies and could be thought of as anything in between “trash talking” to a “best friends secret code” This participant created code could be linked to suggested actions or inquiries or could be completely made up by the pair.
  5. There must be a backstory to how the buddies are paired
  6. For Orals  I should probably have many iterations, and a few fleshed out, the purpose is to express the full story along with key decision points through my process.
  7. It would be good practice to begin transcribing handwritten notes from important texts. Doing this intermittently between iterations might help keep the blood flowing and focus strong. I will also display a tentative outline for my thesis book at my Orals

Speed Dating about TUI’s

I met with Amber’s New Information Environments Seminar class and participated in a speed dating exercise in which we debated our ideas about “one reason why tangible user interface is important to design.” It was through these discussions with my amazing and intelligent classmates that I found the following things out:

  • What I felt was the most important thing about TUI’s, that they decrease cognitive load and tap into the “metaphors we live by”
  • Some functions that GUI’s might do better than TUI’s
  • The difference in engagement between social metaphors vs. physical metaphors
  • And lastly, the discussions helped me brush up on the limitations and trends I read about in an excellent book I read this week on TUI’s

See more information on all of those points below.

Decreasing Cognitive Load:

My opening argument for speed dating was the following:

Throughout our life we are building an understanding of the world around us, TUI’s draw on that understanding, conversely GUI’s create a graphical environment which has it’s own set of physics and must be learned by the user. Since TUI’s draw on such a type of processing which is innate, when it is applied appropriately, it can decrease the cognitive load

GUI’s vs TUI’s

As I continued to speed date, we found holes within my argument. We discovered some significant aspects which GUI’s might more often do better than TUI’s. In some cases GUI’s might be more appropriate for handling large sets of memory. Enabling a zoom or any other frame to view macro as well as micro views of information also seems more applicable in a GUI. Both the zoom and memory aspects bring the third idea up: utilizing search functions.  (For these reasons my system will use an app or widget touchpoint to compliment my TUI and act as a repository for the long term goal management. )

Physical metaphors vs. Social Metaphors

If we are talking about TUI’s cutting down on processing by tapping into our embodied knowledge and experience, I think it can easily be argued that TUI’s have the opportunity to operate off of a universal set of controls, for example- humans everywhere are subject to the properties of gravity, up is always up and down is always down (I’m thinking about Metaphors We Live By by Lakoff, Johnson 1980).

However, an interesting point that was brought up when talking about the metaphor of the trash can on a GUI on a desktop computer, is the comparison between a socially learned behavior and an innate physical understanding. The Idea of the trash can got me thinking that a social metaphor might not be as universal but has the potential to be extremely engaging, and embedded within a larger context of actions. Is the social or the physical metaphor stronger? I think it would just depend on the operation that is needing to be done and the context of use.

TUI Book

This last week I also read the book Tangible User Interfaces: Past, Present and Future Directions (Shaer, Orit, Hornecker, 2009). I got so much out of it, I cannot explain it all now. However, I wanted to include the list of limitations and trends they mentioned in this book. I won’t go into detail but here is a list:

Limitations of TUI’s:

  1. versitility/malleability
  2. user fatigue (ie: using a mouse because it takes less effort)
  3. scalability/risk of loosing objects

Trends in TUI’s:

  1. Actuation (pushback, shape shifting etc)
  2. Organic TUI’s
  3. Focus on TUI’s as resources to incite and mediate action (as opposed to just being tangible solely for representation) This trend directly relates to my tool!!


Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. 1980. Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Shaer, Orit, and Eva Hornecker. 2009. “Tangible User Interfaces: Past, Present and Future Directions (preprint).” Found Trends HumComput Interact 3 (1-2): 1-137. doi:10.1561/1100000013.

February 3, 2012

Feedback & New Plan of Action

Revised Plan of Action:

Updated Thesis Milestones. Alexandria Jarvis


  • Create Outline for Final Proposal, Identify holes
  • Weekly Editing of Proposal Materials, Plan Session times
  • Literature Review?
  • Weekly plan to create 500 word responses along with seminal texts?


Steps to complete:

Create bullet point profile and write 3-5 paragraph description of audience


+ Receptivity Gradient: Have an opinion and ready to act

+ Address the socio-economic background

+ college education, transition period, recent graduate, upcoming graduate, within first 3 years in the workforce, unattached

+ Homogeneous group?


Steps to complete:

+ Develop criteria by which precedent will be assessed

+ Audit of existing long term goal sites & task manager tools

+ Write 2 paragraph conclusion statement outlining areas for improvement


Steps to complete:

+ Choose from taxonomy list of possible media (form/platforms)

+ Make list of possible objectives, purposes, & experiences

+ Create 3 or more combinations of artifacts with different purposes, perspectives, and approaches

+ Present through storyboards/wireframes/ etc.


Steps to complete:

+ Create list of key function/features. Use what you what you learned from 1. the audit 2. interviews and audience study to consider the context of use

+ Combine ideas from last phase and this phase to produce 3 different products, demonstrate through digital wireframes and/or physical prototypes

Final: Scenarios

(The role of the scenarios has become more of a storytelling or presentation device as well as something to work through the details of both the design and use of what I am making.)

Steps to complete:

+ Create episodes displaying the use of each product through hand drawn storyboards

+ Combine best parts of each scenarios into one

+ Produce a 5-7 minute clip of combined scenario

+ Publish online and ask for feedback, refine & adjust

+ Create introduction, pitch, or other things to frame narrative

+ Produce and publish online

Feedback from First Full Committee Meeting:

Feedback from Martha & Scott


  • Could incorporate David Roe’s “ready to know, ready to act etc” continuum to describe audience
  • The group you design for seems homogenous you must define and state those limitations or deal with those factors such as…
  1. is your audience “unattached” people who have to coordinate their lives with others (family, children) is much more complicated
  2. It seems you are addressing a certain socio-economic group, ie: college education, middle-class/upper middle-class etc.

Long Term Goals

  • Are we talking 1 year or 5 year goals?
  • You must remember that you cannot judge people’s long term goals
  • How will you deal with them when your system collects them?
    Will it be an open structure or will there be categories or buckets that would prompt them to reflect or record their goals

Designing the Functions of what is being designed

  • The age group you are talking about will already have behaviors learned from other interface experiences, you should use those instead of reinventing them
  • See the book: Designing Social Interfaces for a guide for designing UX
  • Your “three sets of functions” could be based around 3 personas (See Amina’s work for inspiration)


Major Holes- What tangible thing are you designing and when are you designing it?

  • Scenarios only address context and behaviors surrounding the use of the thing, not the actual design of the thing. Add that step, and take out others. Will it come in the form of wireframing etc?
  • What are you actually designing? What is the tangible thing?
  • Phases in Plan of action must have stop and start and relate to each other

Inform Committee

  • Talk with Denise and keep everyone informed with feedback notes
  • Establish next reoccurring meetings through e-mail


Feedback from Denise

  • Consider the feedback loop of the artifact and the relationships it creates
  • Sounds like it is more than an online interface design, will it be ambient? physical artifact? Etc.
  • Get your ideas out of your head. Document your ideas through sketches or some form so we can talk about them next week
  • A humanizing experience, an emotional/symbolic experience vs. productive online program
  • Look at Keetra Dean Dixons grad work (it assumes more of a commentary role) but it relevant to emotional and humanizing experiences