LOVE and HATE, the balance

February 8, 2010

Love: my cell phone Samsung J706

I recently just got this new phone and have  begun to master it’s functions. It is not the most flashy or technologically advanced phone but its simple and basic design make very appealing for someone that is not so good with technology such as myself. the mapping of the product is what makes the design most successful in my opinion. The buttons are large and easy to press which makes life way better for my stubby digits. The menu is very clear and allows you to access any function that is required. Also, two big advantages over my old phone is the fact this phone can record video and it has a functional blue tooth. Discovering these new features made me realise just how much I had been missing out on this massive influx of technology and the fact that socitey is able to mass produce such hi tech devices.

Hate: my HP 6150 Desk top

Technology has never been my strong point, however believe that weakness can be overcome with time and practise. My desk top wishes me to maintain this malpractise for enternity. As for mapping of the actual device, is fairly standard with a set key board and screen. However, the functions that are actually mapped succesfully, serve no purpose or simply do not work. For example that button to raise and lower the volume is place perfectly in the top right corner but it never wants to work. as for the performance of the device, it constatly requires maintanence and must be completely ersaed every couple of months in order to perform correctly. It gets bogged down constantly with too much useless information and software. he hard drive unit in terms of visaul appeal is not the best and could have been design better and it takes up quite alot of space.

Yan Zeng-love and hate objects

February 1, 2010

PS: I cant add picture to the blog! it says you have to delete some files to upload new!…i guess that means the library storage is full….

The object I hate is my LG The Shine cell phone. It has slide cover and a big mirror screen, which impressed me to purchase at first, and it has a higher resolution camera of my pervious one. It is really easy to take picture as just pressing the bottom on side. The bottoms on slide cover are simple and big but the middle bottom is one-four arrows bottom, which make me push to wrong way all the time and misleading function. There are no physical constraints for me to press the bottoms except I have to push the slide cover up every time I need to dial, just wasting some time.

Another function I feel designed miserable is the typing system. It can only type by each letter instead of automatically comes in word. Such as when I am typing message “hello”, I have to press the bottom 4 for twice to get the letter “h”, press the bottom 3 twice to get the letter “e”, etc. This interaction is really limiting its affordance.

The object I love is my Sony PSP. It is sliver, highly visible by its big mirror screen and pocket size that especially convenience. It has multifunction of media player for music, video, can play games, storage for files and pictures, and electronic reader for pdf and text file. Space of internal material are well used and compressed, so that it can insert with PSP CDs, memory sticks.

Affordances are feeling so cool to handle, bottoms designed for best holding position for both hands. There are some physical constraint, which the bottoms designed for gaming by only using thumbs and forefingers. It is easy to get an ache by constantly pressing bottoms. The interaction system of Sony PSP is really simple and easy to get hands on, because it only have four direction to go in every menu, one way in, same way out.

There are many other functions highly useful as an entertainment tool and portable output tool.

Exercise 5: Christine Chow- Object I Love/hate

February 1, 2010

I hate my conair hairdryer because it does not have  any visibility when I press the cool button. This is a problem because after I turn it on,  it is way too hot and when I press cool, I don’t get any visible feedback for how much cooler it is so I never have the right temperature to dry my hair, and I hve to suffer from the hot heat which means I can only keep it on for a few seconds before my head starts to hurt. Also this design is very big and bulky so its hard to store neatly.  On the back side there is a lot of dirt stuck inside, it is gross and  hate using it, but of course  have a new one that is wa better now.

This is my alarm clock, and I love it because of its cute and friendly appearece,  not only that but it functions great as well! The best quality about this aarm clock is its visibility. I am able to see the time when its on clock mode, and various blinking patterns when its on radio mode. Also, when you tap its head the alarm clock will give you a friendly smile indicating that it senses your touch and enjoyed it. It also has auditory feeback as well. This clock creates different sound patterns when you touch its head, and if you tap it quickly its arms will move like its dancing. Some physilogical contraints of this object that are useful is part of its mappings. There are switches on the back that you slide with labels underneath indicating alarn is on/off, and radio/clock mode. The volume are on the sides of the head, its clear which one is making the sound louder, and which one makes it more soft. Also on the back is a radio tunning wheel which is a good affordance for changing the channels. This alarm clock mades my room feel more comfortable while I am in the environment for studying and sleeping. It is an object that I would constantly look at all day to check the time so this design highly meets the goal for a great experience while using it.

Love & Hate, Felix Chan

February 1, 2010

Love : printer

The thing I love is the printer. The visibility are clearly shown and the instruction is easy to understand. It is a black printer and the color it uses for the button is a transparent gray which is easy to classify. The most impressive design is the mapping of the command on the screen in the middle. When I want to do scanning or copying, the screen will show me the optional command directly and I can clearly know what I can do at that moment. It is so convenient to finish within pressing the buttons few times. The methods are fast, stable and easy going. It always helps me a lot because the system inside runs really fast and do saving me a bunch of time.

Hate : Lamp

The thing I hate is the lamb on my desk. Actually the brightness of the lamp is really strong but at the same time it is also the disadvantage because the spot light is too strong and it kind of hurts my eyes sometime. Every time I try to turn it off, it will make a really loud “pop” sound because it stays beside a speaker which is very annoying. The physical constraint is the power button and a short pull stick under the light bulb. But this design causes bad feeling to me, when I try to pull the stick to adjust the angle of the lamb. It becomes hot quickly and burn my fingers, so I seldom use it except my house is in the darkness.

Exercise Five: Love n’ Hate.

February 1, 2010



My macbook pro laptop <3

With a combination of excellent mapping of keys, tracking-pad and speakers on either side, USB ports. power socket and audio jacks, are all familiar to  pieces of information because of the design is able to afford and as well as physical constraints the proper functions by being only able to insert certain objects into their appropriate slot. What is like is  when typing, assuming you are typing with both, your hands reach over the empty area, not interfering or signaling the touch sensitive keypad. It is not favoring either left or right handed users, but is also accommodating that it will be functional being located in the center. The obviously rounded corner box is the physical constraint of where your finger will be able to control the on-screen cursor. I love the charger cord that it come with, since I travel back home a lot and taking my laptop with me every time, rolling up the cord is actually a fun experience, especially in comparison to other bulky cords that are bound to be tangled. Keyboard has a satisfying feedback, as well as back-lit letters to aid with typing. As well as the obvious buttons with letters on then indicates its status to be used as a keyboard.




The visibility is clear, obvious that it is a floor lamp, that does a terrible job giving very dim light, even though it shines over a small, concentrated area. [Fail]  The object itself isn’t very maneuverable and the base of this lamp is loose and making constant sounds  of metal clashing. To turn it on, the switch has a physical constraint not to be able to rotate both ways, only one, is still pretty difficult to latch on and turn to on in the first place. [End up breaking and bending some nails] The number one flaw of this object is the huge huge huge power plug, it is so heavy that it end up falling over when used in wall outlets. Another downside to its bulkiness is that it blocks off the use of another outlet it is paired with.

Exercise Five: Angela / Love and Hate

February 1, 2010

Truthfully, I hate a lot of objects but there’s no other object that I hate more than my wallet! Do not be enticed by it’s lovely pattern such as I have been. Firstly, when the wallet is closed, there is a “button” which must be pushed down in order to open it. I have had many people, including myself, tugging sideways on the “button” because it looks more like the clasp on a coin purse. It is a major but luckily the only mapping flaw. The affordance of having a sleek looking wallet, created by a confining metal frame structure, conflicts with a wallet’s main function – holding cash (bills and coins), cards, receipts, etc. Once opened, the wallet is separated into two separate sides.

On side #1, the affordance of having a sleek wallet means that there are only four card slots: I have well over twenty but I am forced to pick only four. Beneath the four card slots is a larger pocket but it is so tightly sewn in that I don’t even bother putting anything in it because I know it will be impossible to take out.

On the side #2, (thank God) there is a larger pocket that expands to hold more content but it’s still useless because the physical constraint of the wallet refuses anything more than a single bill. Sewn to the pointless expanding pocket is a seemingly large coin pocket but, to my surprise (hint the sarcasm), can only hold up to five coins at a time. The usability of this wallet system are clearly visible (slots are for cards, zipped pocket is for change, etc.) and are a given. Best yet, the only good design of the wallet (the graphic design of the outer shell) has started to pill and rip although I’ve only had it for a month so I won’t be surprised if I have to buy a new wallet soon.

While there was an abundance of hated items battling for it’s reign as my-most-hated-object-ever, I had a considerable amount of trouble trying to find an object at which I’ve never once blurted obscenities. In the end, I feel slightly conventional in picking my iPod Touch as the object I love most but what can I say? I just love it! (If I could, I would end my blurb at “I-just-love-it-exclamation-mark”.) To begin, the iPod Touch is a masterpiece in terms of aesthetic greatness. The iPod Touch has not only the functionality of an MP3 player but it is combined with the functions of a video player, a photo album, an Internet browser, and an “Apps” player designed specifically for the iPod Touch and the iPhone.

Although a barrier may be viewed as a notion of negativity, they are the opposite for the iPod Touch. The iPod cannot be activated without pressing the first visible button distinguished by it’s round shape followed by sliding a virtual bar to “unlock” the iPod. This constraint proves to be especially useful when I want to listen to music on my iPod without accidentally changing the song or the volume. The iPod also provides psychological constraints such as the conventions of the “Play”, “Pause”, “Fast Forward”, etc., symbols that are universally recognized. Mapping is almost entirely virtual on the iPod but designed to simulate and sound as if I’m actually pushing a button or scrolling through CD albums. The iPod Touch, though a MP3 player, more so mimics the environment of a computer, yet the familiar knowledge of having icons imply it’s use. The iPod Touch is heavily dependant on visibility.

The affordance of having a touch screen means that someone who is visually impaired is, unfortunately, unable to experience this great product. The affordance of having a cool look means that the iPod Touch is built with a glass screen and a metal backing, both of which are easily scuffed upon it’s removal from the packaging unless a screen protector and case is purchased. I also hate the fact that my battery is drained only after what seems to be five minutes of playing my favourite App, Tap Tap. Regardless, the iPod Touch reached an all time high in the world of innovation and design. It reassures my faith in Apple and remains my favourite object of all time. Now, all I need to get is an iPhone and life will be complete.

Ivan Exercise Five Love/Hate

February 1, 2010

The Object I love is my wireless head set.

The practicality of this object lies in its affordance- it is wireless with a built in interface on the right side.

Although the controls are not visible when the headphones are in use, the mapping of the controls is very intuitive. For instance the ring surrounding the front face controls with the play/ pause icon is actually a forward/ back wheel, that controls the user’s song selection. That being said the most used controls are beveled out on the sides- like the play pause control and the volume control. The Bluetooth pairing function is mapped to the on/off button (the silver one next to the giant pause/ play button)- it has a beveled circle sticking out for a tactile recognition. That is the only confusing function, but it is followed up by a witty two colored light indicator- that signals the pairing and the on and off stages. It is just a matter of getting used to.

I like this object for the convenience that it affordance brings- by eliminating wires and extra weight.

The object I hate is my wire headset.

Its bulky size and its wire-radius constraint are the main apparent reasons for my hate. Although the sound quality is superior to that of the Bluetooth headset that I have, I do not use this pare that often because it is not as convenient as the other pare. The experience of the weight and the bulky corpus and the weight of the extra long chord, irritates me and hurts my neck- if I use them for long hours. The friction of the chord is enhanced by the type of plastic that its made from- for some odd reason it is really non slip. It catches my clothes, the table my hand and my mouse when I move- causing the muffs to slide out of place. Its mapping is meant to be agronomic- so that it fits on one’s head only one way left to left and right to right. However it is still mapped on each muff with little l and r symbols indicating a design flaw. In my Bluetooth model the headband goes behind the ears around the head so there is only one way you can put them on, while the cord model can be reversed. I like how the cord model has extra padding for the ears and how it blocks out the noise much better than the Bluetooth model-enabling me to lower the level of the audio I am listening to.

Exercise Five: love and hate -K

February 1, 2010

The object I recently like became by  MacBook Pro 15-inch:2.8GHz. It has 4GB  memory, which is enough for my needs  and satisfaction for now. The battery lasts f  or 7 hours, which also satisfies my needs.  The simple and intuitive design that does  not create confusion to the functions in fact  the Macbook makes the functions  convenient to access once you get to know  it. The features of disappearing notification  lights appearing when it is needed also  bring up an idea of technology breathing  and coming to life and the physical quality  of the laptop. The keypad’s size and ratio to  the size of the screen makes the visibility to be enhanced to its advantage as a laptop. With the idea of usage the basic commands to use the laptop is mapped with clear symbols and signs as an example the on/off button. Simple and clear design creating relation to the user to its highest capability.

The object I hate is my backup mobile  phone; Sph-m230 from Samsung. The  mapping of the keys/buttons and the  visibility of the mobile is basic but the  feature creates complexity in terms of the  amount of detail it requires. The battery  does not satisfy the user especially when  the phone is in use. The psychological  constraints of the mobile phone create  separation to the ideal object of the phone,  which is calling and answering. The  unneeded complexity makes the simplest  functions dispread from the mobile itself.

exercise five: sarah hates and loves…

January 31, 2010


this horrible mess is my residence’s “home” phone. the visibility of the actions possible is mucked up, with speed dial buttons mashed together with ‘tips’ and ‘notices’. the icons used are small pixelated and mostly hard to make out images which confuse instead of facilitate upon first glance. there is a messages waiting light which blinks when there are messages in your voicemail, which is great visibility, however any information on how to access that voicemail is ignored, which means that light has been blinking since september – no one else in my unit understands it either.

semantic mapping is used in that labels have been applied to each button, but the application of text and images mix together in areas which just makes things more irritating and confusing. there are also buttons for things that aren’t necessary like pita pit and primus. the bottom five buttons are actually hogging space which could be used to more adequately space out the already existing and necessary buttons and text.

you get the tactile feedback of pushing buttons, and the sound of buttons being pressed down on, but no visual feedback is provided (aside from that of the voicemail indicator). the old phone in a cradle model affords that the phone is to be picked up to be used, and to be placed back down when you are finished. simple, tried and true method. the physical constraint of the phone cord means that one can only walk so far from the base before the base decides to crash down onto the floor in an attempt to follow. all in all it is an ugly, annoying piece of junk.


the object i love would have to be my ipod. it’s sleek, and simple. the few buttons on the face of the product mean that you either touch the wheel and the ipod turns on, or if not you toggle the hold button. from there it’s smooth sailing: menu button brings you to a menu with easy to navigate sections.

feedback is provided through visual cues like the changing of the screen and scrolling, aural cues like the clicking as you scroll through the list, and tactile feedback of pushing the buttons all of which correspond with each other.

there are visual constraints of scrolling through the album covers or lists, and the physical rotary motion of using the scroll wheel, the play/next/back buttons being semantic constraints. everything works in harmony and i can operate it while it’s in my pocket – no eyes required.

Love and hate or love to hate. Greg McRoberts

January 31, 2010

Lets get it over with. The thing I hate is my computer. It is not friendly, it does not work properly, and it is unreliable. I feel the need to go deeper as to why. While it has good visibility, in that all the functions are clearly labeled and their function paths are clearly mapped, the buttons function in a way that act as physical barriers to allow a specific function to occur, however the internal paths and mapping often are in conflict. It lacks affordance to limit problems. I can’t wait to get a MAC. If I could change just one thing it would be a little more feedback to let the user know how to prevent problems, or I just might give it some feedback of my own.

My object d’amour is without a doubt my IPhone. This thing offers instant feedback from the clicking buttons, even though they are virtual. It has built in affordance to allow other third party software developers to make apps and help the device grow. The buttons are a physical constraint that allows a good path through the usage of the device. The functions are well mapped allowing the user to use the device with little to no prior knowledge of smart phones. It is reliable, witch I cant say the same for my PC counterpart, and offers convenience and instant results when used. The apps are chosen on a user to user basis and this affords a different experience for every user. Nice piece of kit.

Exercise Five: Dani Kuindersma <3&</3

January 31, 2010

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Hamilton Beach Grill

The grill has the obvious affordance of a handle attached to the front. The handle is indented to show you where your fingers are supposed to go and is tilted to indicate an upward lift to open the grill. On the inside there are grill plates on the bottom and top of the grill, indicating that you can grill food on both sides. Also the plug has 3 prongs, clearly indicating which way it should be plugged in. This is an affordance, but at the same time a barrier constraint.

There are multiple other constraints, all seen in the timer on the front of the grill. First, there is a physical constraint. It is also a barrier, because the timer physically cannot be turned counter clockwise. There are also two psychological constraints. The first is the use of symbols, seen in the dots on the timer. There are 4 dots between ever 5 minute marker, showing each minute. Since there are no dots between the 15 minute spot and the 0 minute spot there is a psychological constraint informing the user that the timer should not be turned backwards past the 0. There is also the convention of turning things clockwise, which we have all learned through the use of wall clocks.

Finally, the grill utilizes visibility with a bright orange light on the front which glows when the grill is on. This is useful because you know when your meat is cooking and when the grill is dangerous to touch.

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WAHL Razor Charger

This item has very little of the basic principles of design being used properly. It does have the affordance of a hole in the base of the charger, which is an obvious spot to put the razor. There is also a physical constraint in the form of a barrier, seen in the inability to put the razor in upside down. These are the only positive things about the razor.

There is no barrier constraint on the plug, which causes problems trying to plug it in. Also, the affordance of the hole is nowhere near perfect, because although the hole indicates the spot for the razor, it is not properly fitted to the size of the razor. While the razor is inside it can be moved around very easily. This, tied in with the fact that there is no visibility because there is no light or any form of indication of the razors charged state, gives the user no assurance that the razor is in fact charging.

Exercise Five: Love & Hate. Spencer Bryant-Longo

January 31, 2010

The Object that i Love is my tired old Samsung Flip Phone. Its Affordance is quite clear as it easily flips open to reveal a speaker to hear from and a microphone to talk through that end up lining up directly beside my ear and mouth (I often find myself laughing at people who use particularly small phones and can be seen moving the phone back and forth from their ear to there mouth as if the phone wont work properly in a stationary position). Psychological Constraints in the form of conventions make answering and ending calls (the primary function of the phone) incredibly easy as there is a green phone symbol for call and a red phone symbol for end call. Visibility is Clear and in abundance with this phone, even though i have broken the small front screen and i no longer can see the call or message information without opening the phone it still lights up whenever a new call or alert has occured causing me to check the inside screen for the new information. I also appreciate the simplicity of this phone and it is one of the main reasons why i haven’t replaced it, there seems to be nothing simpler out there on the market as far as phones go, call me crazy but i just want to have a phone to talk to people. i have a computer for all the other stuff.

The Object that i hate is my Crank Brothers Power Pump. Although this little pump is actually quite ingenious in its ability to change from a high volume to a high pressure pump, i regularly choose to not use it as it is almost impossible to get your tires pumped up to the required pressure. This device is certainly not designed for regular maintanance use and is more of a to get you home in a pinch (no pun intended for any bike mechanics out there). It uses Two different Axes as its Physical Constraints one in the form of the high and low pressure and volume selections on the bottom and one to determine which valve stem head you are going to inflate (i.e. presta [road bikes, mountain bikes] or schreader [Found on automobiles and many different types of bikes]). the Axes of the Valve selection is well mapped and makes it clear which selection has been made but the Axes for the Pressure selection does not indicate which selection you have made and therefore you must always check by seeing which way you can rotate the Axes to determine which pressure setting you have selected. The real reason i hate this pump is its compact size although wonderful for transport in the smallest of containers/bags Affords very little room to hold the head of the pump on the valve when pumping. If the design was to simply incorperate a short hose from the end of the pump to he pump head  that would remove the space issue without greatly increasing the overall footprint of the pump. The pump in its simple piston design does Afford pumping though and for this i do find it to accomplish its task, just not very easily.

An Object Andrew Loves, An Object Andrew Hates

January 31, 2010

Rui Felix : Love and Hate

January 31, 2010

Hate : Smoke Alarm

Mapping and Visibility are a problem as directions are hard to read, they are in the same colour of the device (white), for aesthetic reasons, the writing curves around the edges, so while you strain your neck looking up you also have to twist your head around to read.  When the alarm goes off your first reactions might be either/ or include both pressing the “test” button which will make the alarm go off even more or to twist in the direction given to remove item which will cause you to tug at the electric wires it is attached too.  Since the device is so sensitive it would make life so much easier to just have an “off” button, instead you have to run to it with the first thing you can get your hands on or just wave your hand insanely until it turns off.  At around dinnertime we can hear a synchronized symphony of smoke alarms beeping through out the building, and I can just picture numerous amateur maestros waving their kitchen towels in the air.  The purpose of the smoke alarm is to detect smoke and warn us of a fire.  There seems to be no constraints though to what it actually detects, as it will actually warn me that my toaster is on or that I have water boiling on my stove, my English muffins don’t even have time to get brown.  I am nervous while I toast my bread in the early morning because I am afraid the smoke alarm will go off and wake up my roommate.  It has to be one of the most annoying products in my house.

Love: Camera

I love my “point and shoot”, CANON POWER SHOT SD550.  It has sold me on the brand and when I do buy my digital SLR in the future, I have no problem if it is the same brand.  Maybe I am just impressed about digital cameras in general, as my last camera was a manual SLR and it did not produce anything close to what this one does.  The convenience of digital cameras is just spectacular compared to what life used to be; saving money on film, wasted prints, and just the instant results displayed on the screen.  The quality of image this little camera produces is great and makes me look like a good photographer.  It’s physical quality is also impressive, I have dropped the camera twice, and it is still “ticking”, it has come with me on many travels; rain, sun, sand, trains, planes, bicycles, in my back pocket, etc, and it is still going.  It is light and easy to use, I am able to operate the camera with one hand; focus, change settings, and take the picture.  The affordances are simple recognizable and make it for easy and fast usage of the controls.  Proper use of mapping and constraint is used is by only displaying the minimal required buttons in the back of the camera and the rest of the settings in an easy to navigate menu.  This camera has renewed a passion that was once lost.

Bailey Henderson: exercise 5

January 30, 2010

Love: Mechanical Pencil

I love this mechanical pencil because it is a comfortable size and shape for gripping and holding in one’s hand. This pencil affords griping because it has a soft, textured, rubber area towards the tip, where one’s fingers naturally should be placed.

The mapping of this pencil is natural: there is a button on the end, that when pushed down, protracts the tip. This button looks like it should be pushed. It is expected that this pushing will cause a protraction of some sort, which it does do. This effect corresponds to the expectation, thus the mapping is good.

This pencil also has good visibility in terms of it giving feedback. When the button is pushed, it makes a loud clicking noise. This click indicates that the action has been performed and completed. If ever the pencil does not make this click, one automatically knows that something is preventing the pencil  from working properly.

Overall, this is a comfortable and easy to use pencil.

Hate: Hair dryer

This hair dryer is irritating to use for a number of reasons.

The reach to the hair dryer is very uncomfortable because it is located too high up on the wall.

The constraint of this device is bad. The hair dryer is connected to a mount on the wall with a cord that is not long enough. This short cord does not pull far enough from the wall to provide a comfortable reach when drying one’s hair. This cord is a constraint, which complicates an otherwise simple task.

What is most irritating about this hair dryer is that to use it, one must constantly hold down the “on” button, which is located on the wall mount, which is hard to reach. This means that there is only one free hand to dry the hair with, which is more difficult to do. When one takes one’s finger off of the “on” button, the hair dryer turns off. This completely defeats the purpose of the “off” button, which does absolutely nothing to speak of.

This is bad affordance because one would assume that the “on” button would remain on, once pushed. One would also expect the “off” button to turn the hair dryer off. Neither of these things happen; one’s expectation is not met, which indicates bad mapping.

Sean Collins – Love/Hate

January 28, 2010


An object in my apartment that I love would be my iPod. Its design is almost flawless and can operate in multiple situations. The affordance also helps tolerate a multitude of actions. I can be in my room listening to music or even out on the go with gloves on and still be able to change songs or adjust my volume. The wheel is very accurately positioned creating an almost nonexistent experience. Basically the device is so easy to use, it becomes a second nature, and your mind doesn’t even need to think about it. The affordability also factors in people with hand mobility restraints. Not everyone is right handed so it isn’t fair to assume so. Apple designed the product to be the equal all the way though, everything is in the centre. This allows the iPod to adjust to the users needs, and not the other way around. A possible constraint would be for the visually impaired. In order for the object to function properly the user must be able to view and respond to its display. Apple has now designed ways to accommodate people with sensory impairments; however the model I have would most likely cause an unenjoyable experience for them. An iPod is also very well mapped out. Similar to a car, the first time you use one, it’s slightly confusing, however you become orientated quickly and it becomes a second nature. Visibility, although not completely necessary because of the simplicity of my object, is well mapped out. Each button or control is labeled with a universal symbol. This allows any language orientation to pick it up and understand the function of each individual button from the get go. Overall the iPod is very well designed, and therefore creates a great user experience.


An object that I am not so fond of is my showerhead. Generally I am a very passive person, and it takes a lot to make me dislike, or even hate something, however this is getting up there. Basically it is like a jet, and the power from it creates a wind tunnel in my washroom. The pressure is to the point of discomfort, and the knob on it that controls it has seized, making it is impossible to adjust. I believed the affordance of this object is accurate, however the factor that lead to its demise would be age. Also, the showerhead in its current state has poor affordability. If someone with sensitive skin, thinning hair, etc were to use it, they would find it very uncomfortable/annoying. This design also has poor visibility; the directions are very small and hard to read. Making it difficult to understand how to adjust it, even if it functioned properly. It wasn’t until after I removed it from the washroom that I realized how it worked. The visibility also affected the mapping. The knob that you twist to adjust everything was very hard to see. Than the directions explaining how the knob functioned were almost unreadable. Overall the object isn’t one of my favorites in the apartment, and that is directly related to its age and design.

Exercise Five – Braden Mangione

January 27, 2010

The item I love is my wireless mouse. It is just the right size to fit in your hand, brilliant affordance for such actions. More towards this same theme is how the buttons are in the perfect places for your fingers to be placed perfectly on top of them, for maximum clickable comfort. And since it is only comfortable holding one way, there’s no way one can mistake it for being held any ways but the correct way. It has little constraint, the only one being the click wheel which one may use to scroll through pages with. It turns on a horizontal axis towards or away from your hand, but never stopping at any point along the way. This is a very minor constraint if it can be considered one. Its mapping is perfect, having buttons precisely where your fingers sit comfortably when holding it in your hand. There are no confusing buttons or instructions or placements on it. Although visibility is not a huge factor when designing a mouse, my mouse still possesses it, clearly showing the boundaries of the left and right buttons, as well as the scroll wheel, and the small button which opens the battery compartment. It is an entirely intuitive devise and is an easy object with which to interact.

My coffee grinder is the thing I hate. It is an odd shape and weight, not making it incredibly easy to pick up or grab. Also the cord is short, which makes it hard to plug in. It doesn’t have much gripping or moving or placing affordance. The one constraint is the embossing on the top cover saying ‘do not remove cover until blades stop turning.’ Of course when your hand is on the cover holding it down, which it needs to be while grinding, one cannot see the warning. Excellent mapping skills were just a little out of reach I suppose. The other mapping flaw is the placement of the actual grind button. One approaches the grinder intending to lock the top cover down, and instead grinds whatever is in the way of the blades. They will also soon find that they need to hold down the button until the coffee grinds are ready, making it impossible to do other activities one would normally do while their coffee beans are grinding, like sleeping or eating or brushing his/her hair. There is absolutely no visibility on this design. There is no way of telling if you are doing the right thing, and even when you are, for example when holding down the cover until the coffee is ground, one must stop grinding to check if it is done, wasting time and regretting their choice to buy this coffee grinder in the first place.

An Object Jesse Loves, An Object Jesse Hates

January 27, 2010

An object I love is my STAEDTLER Mars technico 780 C lead holder. I have 4 of them. One I’ve had since 1996, and the rest I’ve acquired later. In each I keep a different weight of lead: 6H, 4H, 2H and HB.

Affordances are subtle yet clear. The knurled end gives a tactile indication of where to best hold the lead holder; the clip keeps it secure in my pocket protector (ha, ha). As we expect, the end serves as a push-button to advance the lead. More unusually, it also serves as a sharpener, a possibility subtly suggested by its size (the same as the lead) and clarified by a diagram on the Staedtler website.

When the end is depressed, the lead advances. One problematic aspect of the design is that unlike most lead holders, the lead does not advance incrementally. Instead, the push-button opens the jaws at the end that grip the lead, potentially allowing the lead to fall out of the pencil (an expensive error, at 2 bucks a lead). Once learned, it becomes natural to guard against this with your other hand when advancing a lead, and the infinite adjustability allows the lead to be sharpened to both a sharp and rounded tip, but perhaps a physical constraint could be introduced that prevents the lead from falling out completely.

There’s no way to automatically differentiate between the different weights of lead, as the only available colour is blue. I’ve added an ugly label made of masking tape to each, which provides crude visible feedback, but it’s an ugly solution at best.

[Disclaimer: I’ll concede that I don’t actually use a lead-holder much anymore. So perhaps there’s some wistful nostalgia in my praise.]

An object I hate is my Sony Ericsson W810i mobile phone. It seems clever, at first: I’m impressed with the fact that the camera elements are mapped to a conventional camera. To operate the camera, you turn the phone sideways, which places the shutter button exactly where you expect it to be. By taking advantage of my existing camera interaction model, Sony has made it easier to take pictures. . . if I could figure out how to turn the camera on. There are no physical constraints to keep me from pressing the buttons when the phone is in my pocket, and these affordances are way too small in the first place: I’m forever turning the walkman on when I want to answer a call, as the buttons for these functions are right beside each other.

The audible feedback is excruciating: why can’t mobile phones come with a normal ring tone? Why does my phone have to sound like a cat? I know, I know, I can download new ring tones – perhaps one of you can show me how.

[Disclaimer: As you’ve all seen, I now have an iPhone. RIP, W810i.]

Exercise Five: An Object You Love, An Object You Hate

January 27, 2010

In your home, find two functional objects: one that you love, and one that you hate.

Make a brief post to the blog where you describe your love/hate relationships, using the tools and vocabulary introduced in the Basic Principles of Experience Design presentation. Before you post, download and review the following terms in Universal Principles of Design: Affordance, Constraint, Mapping and Visibility.

Be sure to include photographs of your objects in your post. Make sure the photographs adequately represent the source of your love/hate relationship.

Exercise Five is due at 08:30 on Monday, February 1.