Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. I was most entertained and tickled during this whole read. You should critique Cross’s reading next!
I must really commend you on keeping the layout simple. Honestly, I don’t know if most writers understand how crucial this is for a person who’s attention is distracted when reading a paper that’s talking in circle. Thank you for that.
One thing I will say is to be careful of using our class as an example of how ‘ordinary people’ would aesthetically assess an artifact. To me, personally, I can no longer be addressed as an ordinary person, simply because my sense for assessing a design has been shaped and molded by experience from being in the HCI/d program. I get that you were providing a sound example to say how ordinary people address a piece of art, work, or artifact in an aesthetic way; however, how I look at it is that the way I looked at “Run Lola, Run” was because of my experience as a designer. An ordinary person in my eyes would have just took it for what it was (this is how I personally looked at things in the past) or brushed it off as they see no meaning to the opening credits. Most would probably fast forward to the actual storyline because opening credits are a pain to sit through and watch when we want to see ‘what matters’ in the movie. However, as designers, we are taught to look deeper into anything that is given to us, that every piece of the design must have a reason for being there, and that nothing is insignificant to the final product. I can say that I only could give you those insightful pieces of how I saw the opening credits simply because of the way this program taught me how to think. Since the topic is on the field of designing, art, and cognitive thinking; one could argue that using a person in either subject is not what you would consider ‘ordinary’. Ordinary to me is a person not coherent in any of the field, but I will give you props that you were trying to set a definition of for ‘ordinary’ when Tractinsky himself could not give one.
Other than that, I loved how the sarcasm and satire oozed out of this paper. I say my favorite part out of the whole paper is:
“Just as my insurance company won’t pay for voluntary cosmetic surgery to make me look more pleasing, I can’t imagine policymakers in this era of austerity investing in scientific research to make user interfaces more “pleasing.””
Once I could recollect myself from laughing hysterically at the metaphor, I nodded my head along with what you were saying. In fact, I will add that it wasn’t smart, as you brought up, for him to use the dictionary definition for something complex as ‘aesthetics’. Aesthetics then too has a different connotation across all fields from art to design. You cannot sum up the vastness of aesthetics with a meager 2 sentence definition from a dictionary. Our role, as designers, is to build upon what we know and don’t know of aesthetics, not take what the world has as an account to what it is and roll with it (my two cents…). I think the reason why you can’t make scientific research serious about ‘aesthetics’ is because of dictionary definitions only cutting off a small piece of a huge pie. Aesthetics is much more than just making something look pretty. Tractinsky wanted to emphasize what it was, but thank you for slicing and dicing him for the use of the dictionary. In essence, the dictionary is the box that keeps the true meaning of aesthetics in check. Let’s DEFAMILIARIZE!
Critique papers more often Jeff! I want more of these more often!