Exercise Six, Part Two: What is Fun?

February 8, 2010

Exercise Eight: OCAD Student Personas

February 8, 2010

“Personas (figure 5.8) are a documented set of archetypal people who are involved with a product or a service. . . . To create a persona, designers find a common set of behaviours or motivations among the people they have researched. This becomes the basis for the persona, which should be given a name, a picture, and a veneer of demographic data to make the persona seem like a real person.”

(from Dan Saffer, Designing for Interaction, 89-119)

In groups of four, generate one detailed persona from the list we generated in class. As per the example above, your persona must consists of a name, an image and a “veneer of demographic data.” This data provides the detail that helps make the persona seem like a real person. Provide at least twelve facts about your persona, including the answers to the following questions.

  • What do they wear?
  • What do they eat?
  • What do they listen to?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they love?
  • What do they hate?

Post your persona to the blog; remember to include the names of all the members of your group in your post.

Exercise Eight is due at 14:00 on Thursday, February 18.

Exercise Seven: Photoshop Tennis

February 1, 2010

In this Exercise you will be playing Photoshop Tennis: a game with a partner where you’ll create a series of images that will form an emerging narrative.

We will begin with a brief Photoshop tutorial, where we’ll go through the following steps as a group. It’s important that you follow these steps carefully so that your narrative emerges as seamlessly as possible.

1) One partner should open Temporary Storage, and create name a folder with the following format: FirstName1_FirstName2. For example, if Doug Panton and I were partners, I’d make a folder called <Doug_Jesse>.

2) Mine the web for image content. Go to:


Note that we should only use images that use an appropriate form of Creative Commons license. Read over the Creative Commons information on the right. The first category (Attribution License) is the most appropriate form for our purposes. Click on “see more,” or go to:


Now, find a few images that you like (do this quickly — you’ll have a chance to redo the exercise later), and download them to your desktop. Click on “all sizes” at the top left of the image. You want the file size that’s closest to 1024 x 768.

3) One partner should open Photoshop, and create a .psd file in with the following characteristics: 1024 x 768 pixels, 72 pixels/inch resolution, RGB 8 bit colour mode. Save this file to your folder using the same FirstName1_FirstName2 format, i.e. <Jesse_Doug.psd>.

Now, open the images you downloaded to your desktop in Photoshop. Cut-and-paste one of these images into your file to use as your background. This will begin your narrative. Cut and paste this image into your .psd file. Manipulate the image, and add content from your other images. There are many image manipulation tools in Photoshop. I’ll go over a few of them to get you started.

4) After a few minutes of playing around, you will prepare the file for transfer to your partner. Follow these instructions carefully.

Save your .psd file.

Select Save-as, select JPEG as your filetype, and change the name to FirstName1_FirstName2_FrameNumber, i.e. <Jesse_Doug_1.jpg>. In this way, you’ll end up with a .jpg “snapshot” of your .psd file at the moment of transfer.

Now, close the .psd file.

Please ask me for help if this is at all confusing. There should only ever be one .psd file per pair.

The second partner should now re-open the .psd file and add their own visual information to move the emerging narrative forward.

Don’t completely erase your partner’s work — that ruins the game and destroys the narrative. Whenever possible, use layers to separate the elements in your .psd file. This will give both partners more flexibility in re-working your collaborative creation.

5) Repeat the transfer step one more time to make sure that you understand it. This should result in a narrative that is 3 images long, and consists of four files, i.e <Jesse_Doug.psd>, <Jesse_Doug_1.jpg>, <Jesse_Doug_2.jpg>, and <Jesse_Doug_3.jpg>.

This exercise should be re-started at home, this time using transferring the .psd file a total of 5 times between you and your partner by email, resulting in a narrative that is 6 images long. In this case, step 5 reads as follows:

5) Repeat the transfer step 4 more times, progressively adding to the story until the “tennis match” is over and resulting in a narrative that is 6 frames long.

Take a moment to ensure that all your files are in order, and to post the six .jpg images in sequential order to the blog in a single post. Make sure both your names are in the post title. Be sure to adequately credit the source of your images as per the Creative Commons licence if you have not used your own images. As always, be sure to correctly categorize your post.

Exercise Seven is due at 08:30 on Monday, February 8.

Exercise Six: Deconstruct a Toy — What is Fun?

February 1, 2010

Part One (Before Class):

Please bring, beg, borrow or steal (OK, don’t steal) one or more toy from home or elsewhere to class next week. Our definition of a toy is as yet undetermined, so feel free to challenge our preconceived notions. The only restriction is that the toy not be something that you already have in your bag (i.e. not your cell phone).

Exercise Six, Part One is due at 08:30 on Monday, February 8.

Part Two (During Class):

Exchange toys with your collegues, and play with as many as you can. Rigorously observe at least one person playing with your toy. As noted in my Ethnography presentation:

  • Take detailed descriptive notes of what you observe.
  • Where possible, capture your partner’s views of their experience in their own words.
  • Clearly separate description from interpretation.
  • Include in your notes your own thoughts, feelings and related experiences — these are also field data.

Analyse your field observations by distilling them into a series of answers to today’s fundamental question: “What is Fun?” Record these answers on the sticky notes provided. Collectively we will use these sticky notes to interpret the structure of fun.

Exercise Six, Part Two is due in class on Monday, February 8.

PART 3 (After Class):

Post an image of your toy to the blog. Post the transcript of your field observations, edited for grammar and clarity but not content. I will post an image of our collective interpretation to the blog.

Exercise Six, Part One is due at 18:00 on Monday, February 8.

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.

Exercise Four: Make a Music Video, Make a Diagram

January 18, 2010

In Exercise Four, you will create a music video using iMovie HD, and then make a diagram of the interaction model of your experience. Please read the instructions that follow carefully, as there are many steps and a number of deliverables.

1) Locate the source files for the music video, located in TEMPORARY_STORAGE in a folder called “Exercise Four.”

2) Check out the video clips and audio files. You’re welcome to use your own video clips and audio files if you have any available.

3) Open iMovie HD, and save an iMovie Project to your desktop using a title of your choice.

4) Pick the audio file that you want to make a video for. Import it to iMovie HD by drag-and-dropping the file into the bar at the bottom of the iMovie screen. Note that this automatically changes iMovie from “clips viewer” mode to “timeline viewer” mode. You can also do this with the two buttons near the bottom right of the screen.

5) Pick some video clips that you might want to use to make your video. Drag-and-drop them into the “clips” pane at the right of the iMovie screen. From here, you’ll drag-and-drop them into the upper bar in the timeline, once you’ve decided how you want to use them.

6) Make your video! Play around. There are a lot of features in iMovie HD, but some that you’ll want to be sure to learn how to use include:
-the volume control on the audio clip (select the clip, View>Show Clip Volume Levels, fiddle with the audio “line”);
-how to cut the audio clip (place the playhead; Edit>Split Audio Clip at Playhead);
-the fact that iMovie measures time in Minutes:Seconds:Frames, and that there are only 30 frames per second;
-the fact that some of the video clips have sound in them already, which you may want to control/eliminate (again, select the clip, View>Show Clip Volume Levels, fiddle with the audio “line”), and
-the editing pane (the button for this is at the bottom right), especially transitions (once in the editing pane, the button for this is at the top right).

7) Keep making your video. Play for a couple of hours. Learn as much as you can. iMovie is a great tool for making quick videos, and will serve you well in Project One. Your final music video must be at least one minute long.

8) Remember to save your iMovie project often. iMovie doesn’t create a playable file directly — in order to do this, you’ll need to perform one last operation. Click File>Export, and then select “Web Streaming”. This will take a few minutes, and will create a playable Quicktime file, just like the video clips you were given to work with. Make sure you try this at least once before the end of class today

9) Post your video to the course blog. Note that OCAD’s WordPress implementation has limitations on the size of media hosted internally, so you’re better off to upload your video to the video-sharing service of your choice (i.e. Youtube, Vimeo, etc.), and “embed” a playable link to your video into your post. There are buttons for this where you make your post.

10) Last but not least, make a diagram of the entire interactive experience of creating your video and uploading it to the blog. It would be prudent to take notes throughout the process (it’s also always prudent to read all of the instructions before you start a task). Draw the diagram by hand, scan it and post it to the blog in the same post as your video. There’s a scanner in the lab, and the monitor can help you if you’ve never scanned before. Remember to name and label your post appropriately.

Exercise Four is due at 08:30 on Monday, January 25.

Exercise Three: Strategies for Conveying Information

January 18, 2010

Structure_MapsDiagram#FFF5C.pptYour Project One group has been assigned two or three examples of strategies derived from the Gestalt Laws of Pattern Perception that can be employed to convey information. The strategy assignments are as follows:

Group Sight: Alignment, Closure, Common Fate
Group Touch: Figure Group Relationship, Good Continuation
Group Taste: Highlighting, Interference Effects, Law of Pragnanz
Group Hearing: Layering, Orientation Sensitivity, Proximity
Group Smell: Signal-to-Noise Ratio, Uniform Connectedness

In your Project One groups, create a blog post that summarizes your assigned strategies for the class. Click here to download the relevant pages from Universal Principles of Design. For each strategy, include at least one illustration that is not found in Universal Principles of Design. Be prepared to briefly present your post next week.

Exercise Three is due at 08:30 on Monday, January 25.

Exercise Evaluation

January 11, 2010

As discussed in class, Exercises will be evaluated as follows:

  • Each Exercise will be evaluated out of 3. Exceptional completion of an exercise will result in a mark of 3; adequate completion of an Exercise will result in a mark of 2; inadequate completion of an exercise will result in a mark of 1, and non-completion of an Exercise will result in a mark of 0.
  • Exercises will be weighted at the end of the term, to reflect their relative time commitment. For example, an Exercise that takes most students 4 hours will be assigned 4 times as much weight as an Exercise that takes most students 1 hour.
  • Exercises constitute 20% of your final grade.
  • Exercises may not be submitted late for any reason other than a documented illness.
  • Unlike Projects, you will not necessarily receive regular feedback on your Exercise submissions, but you may request feedback at any time.

Exercise Two: Perception and Cognition Research

January 11, 2010


In the first class, your Project One group developed a mental model for one of the senses, to the best of your knowledge. Expand your knowledge by researching the sense in question, and post the results of your research to the blog.

Make your post succinct. It should no more than three paragraphs, and should make use of images where appropriate. Specifically identify any misconceptions in the mental model developed in class and correct them. Informally cite any sources employed.

Only one post per group is necessary. Please include the name of all of your group members in the title of your post. Be prepared to briefly present your post next week.

Exercise Two is due at 08:30 on Monday, January 18.

Exercise One: Blog Introduction

January 10, 2010

Your first task is to perform a number of administrative tasks that will help our section of Introduction to Experience Design run smoothly.

1) Log in to the blog. I have given all of you access and authorship permission on our course blog. Go to the blog; click on “Log in” at bottom right, and log in with your usual OCAD username and password. We’ll go over the blog interface together in class.

2) Make a post to the blog. Include the following.

  • Your full and (if different) your preferred name.
  • Your OCAD discipline.
  • A photograph of you, that clearly shows your face. This is so that your colleagues and I can identify you.
  • A brief description of where you see yourself in 10 years. You may want to be a small-town architect, the next Karim Rashid, an art director in New York City, a freelance illustrator, or a textile artisan — or perhaps you don’t see yourself as a designer at all. Be honest, be bold, and be concise. Your answer to this question will help me tailor this course to your aspirations.
  • A brief description of your general level of comfort with technology, ranging from “I don’t have a clue” to “I’m an expert at the use of all software and hardware.” Be specific: name the software and hardware that you know, and how well you know it. Your answer to this question will help me tailor this course to your skills.

3) Curate your post. Presentation is always important in design. Publish the post, and see what it looks like. If you’re not happy with the spacing, the image quality, or the graphic composition of your post, revise it.

Please title your post “Introduction: [your preferred name].” For example, my post would be called “Introduction: Jesse Colin Jackson.” Please check the box beside the “2.0 – Introductions” category provided. Please consistently follow these conventions for titles and categories in the future.

Exercise One is due at 08:30 on Monday, January 18.