So, I have been in somewhat confused state lately. Since the semester is coming to an end, I am preparing my final capstone document; framing and re-framing things so that it makes sense to Eli and people who might read it.The journey of capstone is organic, the research phase never ends technically. But for presenting the project, I need to break things down , more specifically in PRInCiPleS format for the final deliverable.

Jeff shared an amazing framework of ‘What, How and Why’ to think about a paper or a design project. It totally made sense to me. I documented my capstone thought process in that flow. But as I was presenting it to Eli, I felt I was struggling a little bit. So, I mapped these two frameworks to understand how can they be related and came up with this:Image

What do you guys think ? How are you bridging this gap between documenting a process and presenting it? Would really appreciate some feedback..

I very much enjoyed the ubicomp paper by Di Salvo this past week. It had an explicit political tone which brings up a lot of important questions about the technologies we create. When and where do we draw the line? How do we draw the line? What does the power structure around this tech determine? Etc.

I wanted to post this video I saw today of a little kid wizard playing with the TV. It’s adorable, give it a watch.

I immediately thought of ubicomp and how cool it could be for kids to play with their environment with this sort of interaction. All the things toys that could be placed in a space could react to the cues providing ample opportunity for entertainment and learning. Imagine the opportunities if the star mural on the wall engaged someone this young instead of a video game. The implications on the future, especially with children, are endless.

Of course, the implications are endless. Where does this lead? What does the internet of things become for someone this young? We already live in a world where children are given devices at a young age and are subsequently glued to them as they develop. What about automation? We’ve seen the impact of robots doing the lifting and computers doing the deciding on auto industry. What skills could ubicomp render moot?

In my mind ubicomp is a slippery slope. I’m not sure I am ok with a WALL-Esque dystopia of slovenly unskilled self-centered society hell bent on ignoring the harsh realities of life. Yet, I can imagine so many other opportunities beneficial to our ability to learn and better society. The design of these technologies is highly dependent, as Jeff has often said, on us. Creating the right thing for the right reasons is super important.

Hey everyone, I’m in the process of working through the draft of my argument for my paper, and would love to get some feedback. This is all very rough, so feel free to ask for clarification on anything that doesn’t make sense. As a point of reference, I plan to take the ultimate findings from the process of writing this paper (namely the schema and/or persuasive patterns I uncover from my research) to inform the latter half of my capstone project on Dark Patterns.


Transactional trust towards a charity is earned over time, not inherently given, and is a byproduct of interactions that occur within the context of a user’s donation experience. (THE WHAT)

  • Trust is built through the fulfillment of promises. This includes the promises you’ve actually made to someone explicitly (e.g., contracts and commitments) as well promises that that are assumed or implicit (e.g., “this website isn’t selling my data”). (van Gorp and Adams, p107)
  • Principle of Earned Credibility: Credibility can be strengthened over time if computing technology performs consistently in accordance with the user’s expectations. (Fogg, p137)
  • The building and maintenance of transactional trust should be considered a pivotal stepping stone to increased donation compliance within an online donating framework. Instead of considering trust and donation compliance as mutually exclusive concepts, commercially driven issues of donation generation should be considered alongside the psychological concept of transactional trust. (Burt, C.D. and Gibbons, S. p192)

The trailing of charity websites to adopt modern e-commerce practices, coupled with the rapid rise of moral commodification of charitable giving has resulted in a unique set of problems of persuasion with respect to interface design. (THE WHY)

  • [G]iving to charity has been characterised as ‘the monetary purchase of moral satisfaction’ undertaken for the egoistic reason of wanting to feel better…The gift conveys a symbolic statement about the person that fits in with his or her self-identify. (Bennett, p120)
  • Overall the findings indicated that there was a lack of strategic intent to harness the potential of online social networks and evidence that charities are not mirroring the adoption of digital media that has occurred in the external environment in which they operate (Slater et al., 2010). There exists a lack of consumer orientation because charities have not embraced digital communications to the same extent as either their target audiences or for-profit based businesses. (Quinton and Fennemore, pp 44-45)
  • In the USA, internet donations for tsunami relief in 2004 accounted for more than a third of the total amount raised. Half of all the donations received following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were given online (NFG, 2006). It follows from the above that charity managers have become increasingly interested in the website designs and online fundraising tactics that are most likely to maximise the frequencies and levels of online donations. (Bennett, p117)
  • …[I]t is recognized by some (but perhaps not all) that charities are not businesses and therefore reading across and imposing private sector governance frameworks to the charity sector may not be appropriate, and indeed may be counter-productive. (Hyndman and Jones, p153)
  • A needs-based change, animated through a problem-solving approach, assumes that the right outcome is known from the start…Desire is the destabilizing trigger for transformational change, which facilitates the emergence of new possibilities and realizations of human “being.” (Nelson and Stolterman, p110)

A semiotic analysis of the design patterns used in charity websites will yield greater insight into their functions of address, and how the emotive modalities of a website (i.e. its interactivity) can establish a relationship between the donor and the charity. (THE HOW)

  • The ability to use various modalities enables technology to match people’s preferences for visual, audio, or textual experiences. Technology can also create a synergistic effect by combining modes, such as audio, video, and data, during an interaction to produce the optimum persuasive impact. (Fogg, p9)
  • Wider information, particularly relating to performance, is probably paramount in discharging accountability to donors; and this will require the telling of ‘the story’ of the charity (often from the perspective of beneficiaries—if it is possible to operationlize such a perspective. (Hyndman and Jones, p152)
  • Principle of Surface Credibility: People make initial assessments of the credibility of computing technology based on firsthand inspection of surface traits like layout and density of ads. (Fogg, p135)
  • As Forlizzi and Battarbee (2004, p. 264) put it, “emotions affect how we plan to interact with products, how we actually interact with products, and the perceptions and outcomes that surround those interactions.” (van Gorp and Adams, p39)

A framework is needed to better understand the user cognitive patterns that emerge in context, resulting in effective emotive persuasion. (THE CONTRIBUTION) 

  • Principle of “Real-World Feel”: A Web site will have more credibility if it highlights the people or organization behind the content and services it provides. (Fogg, p156)
  • [There are] four developmental stages of organisational websites: contact, interact, transact and relate. At the ‘contact’ level, websites are largely about promoting an image and providing general levels information; at the ‘interact’ level, there is evidence of of targeting specific audiences; at the ‘transactional’ engagement level, websites facilitate online purchasing; and at the ‘relational’ level, sites develop two‐way consumer relationships. (Burt and Gibbons, p192)
  • [There are] strong positive correlations between rated transactional trust and donation compliance ratings…consistent with the idea that building transactional trust in an aid agency is likely to lead to more productive fundraising outcomes (Burt and Gibbons, p191)


I’ll post more about my influential sources and such later…but this is where I’m at right now.



The study of ubicomp (particularly Mark Weiser’s vision for an interconnected workplace) has always been one of my favorite topics in my study of UX. But one thing I’ve always found lacking in ubicomp is a greater discussion of the political implications of ubiquitywhat the ramifications of embedding computers are in the scope of everyday life. Yvonne Rogers approaches this discussion  from the perspective of “calm computing,” and makes the argument that we need to move towards a more proactive form of ubicomp that does not explicitly rely on technology to catalyze creativity:

Instead of augmenting the environment to reduce the need for humans to think for themselves about what to do, what to select, etc., and doing it for them, we should consider how UbiComp technologies can be designed to augment the human intellect so that people can perform ever greater feats, extending their ability to learn, make decisions, reason, create, solve complex problems and generate innovative ideas. (Rogers, p411)

DiSalvo’s approach to ubicomp through adversarial design seeks to accomplish many of the same goals as Rogers, albeit by utilizing the technologies themselves (in the form of articulative collections) to facilitate more holistic approaches to design:

Within the frame of adversarial design, the tactic of articu- lation constructs linkages between objects, people, and actions that transform them into an agonistic collective—an open space of contest in which the elements gathered together are able to act out a plurality of conflicting practices, values, and beliefs. (DiSalvo, p96)

The articulation of different devices within a collective of interconnected technologies allows for a new form of politics to emerge, and prompts the people using it to think more critically about its implications. I feel that as our lives become increasingly connected with the Internet, it is easy to lose sight of the consequences of our actions, both in the real and online spaces. Rather than merely rejecting ubicomp’s proposition of interconnectivity, DiSalvo instead introduces the idea of a countercolletive, which “[unhinge] the joints that bind another collective together…by leveraging qualities of connectedness and the interrelated dependencies that characterized connectedness.” (DiSalvo, p109) The result is an almost critical perspective on ubicomp; a sort of introspective that brings users into the discourse through its experience. Through articulation, we can better understand both how elements fit together in an ubicomp interaction, and the implications of the interaction of those elements on the world at large.

When I read this paper, it reminded me of my own experiences (inspiring moments) and about Philippe Starck’s Squid lemon squeezer. Starck was of the opinion that it was his gift (my understanding of him, maybe not his words), but now that I have read this paper, it makes sense why he made those connections.

For all the fellow IDPers this was one of the first things we learned about the design process, Constrain your design. If we really think about what happened to Starck, I propose that the combination of Calamari, lemon and thinking about making a tray constrained his problem space. He started to see the connections and came up with his sketches.

Creative density means space for odd, surprising, or useless objects in the studio and the chance to find something unexpected in surprising or interesting combinations of those objects.

This is a classic example of constraining a design process. For example, yesterday I was trying to come up with an idea for still life photography for meaning and form. My topic was Propaganda and politics. I was drawing a blank until I saw the duplo animal figures lying about in the studio. By constraining my problem space down to Politics and animal figures….the idea became obvious; a still life on Animal Farm. Now this is not a case of talent or pure inspiration. It is the power of constraints.

The ability to see connections between different things can only take place when you have different things to connect. I think is what brute force thinking is all about. The people who say are being inspired by everyday things in my mind is essentially connecting themes together and synthesizing because of constraints. It is probably why I have such a hard time writing papers, because I almost never have examples to contraint my thoughts. Lesson learned!

The discussion we had on Tuesday reminded me this morning of a quote from Stolterman & Nelson in The Design Way:

“We are lame gods in the service of prosthetic gods.”

The word “prosthetic” was, I think, carefully chosen. According to the dictionary, a prosthesis is, “A device, either external or implanted, that substitutes for or supplements a missing or defective part of the body.” It’s an approximation, at best, of an organic limb or organ.

We closed class by establishing that Kieślowski used formalistic techniques to approximate the inarticulate felt experience of longing, and that this formalistic approximation was analogous to what we do as designers.

In the same way Kieślowski at best could only approximate that inarticulate felt experience, we can only approximate how people will react to and use our designs. Because of our education and experience we can make a pretty damn good guess, but a guess is the best we can hope for.

Technology is a means by which we can create prosthetics for our bodies and minds. We can remember things better, communicate over greater distances, and access information more readily than ever before in human history. But in the same way a prosthetic arm can’t communicate a sense of touch, our technology only can increase our abilities so much.

The best we can hope for is an approximation: there are a million to-do list mobile apps, but I still manage to forget to post on this blog; I can FaceTime with Hillary in Philadelphia, but it can never compare to sitting across a dinner table from her;  I can look up Nelson Mandela’s birthday with Wikipedia in an instance, but the same article could also describe Mr. Mandela as the spawn of Cthulhu. I think this relates heavily to several of Dennis’ posts from earlier in the semester regarding the danger/necessity of normative thinking in design practice.

We build prosthetics, supplements, substitutes, extensions…but nothing more. But my question is: Why not? Why can’t we do better than that? Is it a human shortcoming? Is our technology not “advanced” enough?

The philosophical version of that question could be this: If we could easily manipulate the very fabric of our reality, would we then be able to design the ‘perfect’ prosthesis? What do you think?

I am sort of confused about this paper so here are my thoughts

The author, creator, designer etc: I feel this is a paper written for HCI people or for people who attend ubicomp conferences. It seems like the author is trying to make a case for ubicomp and a potential use for ubicomp. He is proposing a new way of thinking about the use of ubicomp and design it-self.

The main reason I say he is proposing a new way of thinking about design itself is because he says “the design of spore 1.1 evokes political issues without resolving them.”  It isn’t really producing solutions but exposing current states. Which is similar to all the arguments we had towards why Warhol is art!

The work itself

The design of the system identifies the factors at play and establishes their relationships and possible consequences, but it leaves open the space of interpretation and contest. 

DiSalvo’s explanation on what spore 1.1 does would be my definition of critical design. Again he is strongly interested in highlighting existing relationships and leaving it open for debate. The interesting difference is in the notion of “connectedness“. Compared to Blood bag radio the designs DiSalvo talks about have a lot more working parts. The combination of several seemingly independent objects linked together creates something new and brings out something political in nature. The key emphasis the DiSalvo makes is that when the pieces come together, they form something with a completely new meaning which is more than a sum of its parts.

“As devices of articulation, the products of ubicomp join together, by design multiple elements in a manner that transforms the identity and meaning of those elements and results in a new object-an articulated collective.”

I seriously can’t see the difference between this and critical design. If we compare this to Dunne and Raby’s blood bag radio, I don’t see a lot of difference. Sure BBR has  less working parts, but when you look at the materiality of the items, the individual parts and their actual use, it is very different from the way it reads when you look at BBR holistically. For example; the bag looks like a bear. If you really think about it, a blood bag can infact look like a bear. Especially in the context of a children’s hospital. But the moment you attach the energy context to it, that the blood is from a pet, it changes the way you look at the bag. Now, it is a vision of the future. It exposes the energy crisis and potentially how far we are willing to go get energy for our radios.

From this point, things get a little blurry for me since he just seems to be interested in merging words! I will post more about this later, but does my summary make sense? Am I understanding this correctly or has this completely flown over my head?

What are your thoughts on this paper?

From the very beginning of the movie I just knew: if I hadn’t being doing all of these readings about embodiment and lived experiences, and most certainly if I hadn’t read Kickasola’s review, I would have been lost. in. the. sauce.

I believe this quote is attributed to Aldous Huxley, although I couldn’t find very much proof on the interwebs to back that up, but: “The more you know, the more you see”. Knowing, the little that I know, I enjoyed the movie. I wouldn’t be surprised if  the Hollywood style of storytelling has dulled my perception, and Double Life was certainly an exercise in perception. The symbolism and foreshadowing was very subtle, to my eyes, at least (thanks Kickasola!), but having spent nearly the past year learning about lived experience, I felt the sensory depictions in the movie were particularly strong.

I know they say that when you’re performing a play on stage, there should be no extraneous action or prop, everything should contribute to the story. What I really appreciate about Kieślowski is that he embeds the symbolism in a lot of actions that could be dismissed as extraneous, in that they don’t obviously tell a story. That technique really emphasizes the extraordinary in ordinary everyday things — and really heightens the sense of significance when you realize, for example, that when Weronika turns her little ball in her hand, she’s literally crossing the stars that are embedded in it. She’s holding an ill-fated life-world, symbolically and literally.

It’s striking how ordinary everything is. The most significant hints of the supernatural are expressed through the camerawork and the film score (which plays its silences just as well as it does its melodies). But apart from these cues, there’s very little else that says “Hey! Pay attention to me, the string Weronika’s wrapping around her finger — I’m a portent!”; well, except maybe the literal mirroring of Véronique that happens throughout the film, but you’re probably already primed to notice that from the title and the first bit of the film. And on that note, I’ll sign off — or I’ll be late to class.


I must admit todays reading ‘The later features: The double life of Veronique’ was one of the most engaging readings I have done for this class. The verbal richness describing the character, her experiences and intricate details of her feelings and conflicts blew my mind. I watched the film first and then did the reading. As I was reading, the entire film flashed through my mind subtly pointing out the scene details and connections between them. Elliot W. Eisner describes criticism as ‘the art of disclosure’. In his article ‘Connoisseurship, criticism and the art of education, he quotes Dewey - ‘Criticism, as Dewey pointed out in Art as Experience, has at is end the re-education of perception… The task of the critic is to help us to see.’  I believe this nature of criticism of the film ‘The double life of Veronique’ was very well done by Kickasola. ( Though I didn’t get all his points, I experienced some ‘ah-ha’ moments while I was reading).

Another thing that struck me was the subtleness of the clues in cinematic techniques and narration that contributed to the film experience. In designing user experiences, I believe we can take some inspiration from Kieslowski by making careful and subtle choices regarding design elements. For a ‘happy’ experience, the design need not scream ‘and now it’s time to be happy’ (hopefully this makes sense). The point I am making is by downplaying some elements or giving indirect clues, designers can craft more meaningful and deep experiences that can have a lasting impression on people.

I have to say, I did read the paper before the movie. There were a few paragraphs that made my brain go a bit fuzzy but I got the general idea of it. It did make the movie a lot more bearable because I was picking up on what was being discussed in the paper but it was still difficult to feel what all of the symbolism meant. I was trying to put it all together as I watched and it felt like watching the movie was becoming a bit clinical. It went something like oh, I remember reading about this, what did it mean again and trying to think up what the paper said and trying to analyze it at once and moving on. I guess that kept my brain occupied but near the end of the movie I stopped and just casually watched the rest of the movie while eating ice cream.

I think a part of my brain was also trying to make the movie into something that makes sense to me. Basically having the movie be about doppelgängers and these doppelgängers have some sort of connection to each other but they aren’t consciously aware of it.  One saw the other which is why she dies and the other feels the lost. This is something understandable to me and then I try to work out into the more unknown from there with the help of the reading.

Even with some of the understanding from the readings, this genre of film is still very foreign to me. I do watch some things that are ambiguous with symbolism and stuff in it but I am still very use to more mainstream media.  I wasn’t able to get as excited as Jeff with the reading but it did help with the thinking during the movie.


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