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What is experience design good for? April 16, 2010

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Official stuff from Greg , add a comment

What did we learn?
Brief notes from class-wide brainstorm to discuss outcomes/takeaway from this course.

team 1

team 2

team 3

team 4

team 5

Best and Worst of ACTIVATE! (and Why) – due Apr 9 April 6, 2010

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Official stuff from Greg, Proj3: ACTIVATE! , add a comment

For your last exercise you will critically analyze and evaluate results from Activate! 2010.

Deadline: before our next class, 12 noon, Friday April 9

You have two choices:

  1. Critically review the Best Overall and Worst Overall project from the whole ACTIVATE! event. Do this if you saw and tried at least 4 or 5 of the other class projects (not including ours, which is off limits for this review). Did the project engage you in visceral, behavioural and reflective dimensions? Was the concept and mode of interaction clear, and were the touchpoints consistent? For the one that fell flat in the biggest way, what went wrong and how would you improve it?
  2. Critically review the Best and Worst Features of our own ACTIVATE! project, Chaordic Collaboratorium. Do this only if you didn’t see or actually try very many other class projects. Features include: brand touchpoints (were they consistent, appealing, memorable?); qualities such as immersion, sensual engagement, or suspense; human interactions (were the hosts/facilitators responsive, flexible, smart, agile?). Don’t be shy — learning how to critique the good and the bad dispassionately is a valuable experience!

Make sure to substantiate your judgements, using objective (‘the reason why it succeeded is ____’) as well as subjective criteria (‘it made me feel ____’).

Your exercise will be evaluated for:

Email me if you have any questions.

ACTIVATE latest ideas and next steps April 1, 2010

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Official stuff from Greg, Proj3: ACTIVATE! , 1 comment so far

We had a very good session today at sLab to develop the ACTIVATE project. I’m excited and pleased with the resultsand I think everyone felt that way

Thanks to those who were able to come. I won’t try to explain the whole thing here but as I said earlier, I will ask all those who were at the session today to communicate the ideas and decisions that came up to all others and teams. If you were at the meeting today, please identify yourself to the class by blogging on the pieces that you’re working on.

Its time to act and build. So please rally around the latest ideas, so we have focus and clarity. I’ll be mostly silent over the weekend, to give you all room to make this happen on your own.

project TITLE:
(check the spelling — its tricky!)

Someone from the session today, please draw the diagram we developed — similar to before but with a curtain — and post it on the blog. Someone must find a room in 113 McCaul with no classes Monday PM so we can borrow the black curtains.

Max agreed to provide her laptop for the ORDER screen. Calvin agreed to operate the “recording” function, capturing results from visitors’ collaborations. We need one more laptop for the “Chaos” and we need content — video, sound, for both CHAOS and ORDER. Someone needs to take the lead for those movies/sound etc, plus some way to transition from the one phase to the other.

someone post the steps we worked out to the blog — describe what we figured out, with the hanging “challenges” , keywords, etc, in the simplest way you can

What are all the different roles, and their spoken “lines”? what are people wearing? PLease post all this to the blog

If you are making buttons or any other publicity etc, please make a clear, readable logo. Many teams are making Facebook groups, or other alterntive publicity ideas etc — do this if it makes sense
The idea for “brand” images that everyone liked today was: brain + globe, maybe in 19th century engraving/woodcut style, very graphic

Anything I’m forgetting?

Please use the blog to share decisions, questions, etc.

If you need me for something critical, as a last-resort, text me at 416.689.9161 — only if there’s no alternative.

I’ll be at OCAD /sLab at 9 am Monday to mobilize the whiteboard, sign out the projectors and sound system, and bring those to the space

Everything else is class responsibility. See you then!

Let’s try to set up 9-10:30, rehearse 10:30-11:30, break for 30 mins, then run the show 12-3, then strike the set / return everything 3-4 pm

I trust you all to kill it! Good luck

Greg Van Alstyne gvanalstyne@faculty.ocad.ca

ACTIVATE! Official Info: space, guidelines, etc March 26, 2010

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Official stuff from Greg, Proj3: ACTIVATE! , add a comment


I’m looking for the PDF FLOOR PLAN and will post that when I find it

Date: Monday, April 5, 2010
Time: 12:00 – 3:00
Location: the Great Hall (270), the Lobby (175A) and Room 240

The Great Hall and the Lobby are booked from 08:30 – 22:30.
Room 240 is booked from 08:00 – 16:00.

2 sections: Jesse Jackson (01, 04)
2 sections: Shawn Micallef (02, 07)
3 sections: Alex Manu (03, 05, 09)
1 section: Greg Van Alstyne (06)
2 sections: Gustavo Machado (08, 14)
2 sections: Suzanne Stein (10, 18)
2 sections: Bruce Charlap (11, 16)
1 section: Emma Westecott (12)
2 sections: Priam Givord (13, 17)
1 section: Blair Brenot (15)
18 sections in total.

Please refer to <Activate_2010_SitePlan_EntireEvent.pdf> and <Activate_2010_SitePlan_MainSpace.pdf>, attached.

As per our last meeting, 13 sections have each been assigned 10’ x 10’ square locations in the Great Hall (the “Main Space”). I’ve arranged the squares into rows and provided a 6’ gap between the rows. I’ve given each instructor at least one space adjacent to a wall.

As per their requests, Priam and Alex’s 5 sections are sharing Room 240 (the “Video Space”) for the purpose of projecting video-based output.

The Lobby (the “Extra Space”) remains reserved for use as we see fit. Doug would like to use the space to launch the First Year Time Management Blog. Details TBA.

I need some information for Nancy Chambers: please send me an email with the following information ASAP:
-Project Name
-Project Size (all currently set at 10’ x 10’)
-Project Description (one sentence)
-Material Being Used
-Proximity to Lighting and Airflow Fixtures
-Use of Extension Cords (covers are required if cords cross traffic areas)

Routes may not be obstructed in any way and exit signs must remain clearly visible.

Any students that have a course conflict with the event should be instructed to speak with their instructor(s) right away. Doug will alert all First Year faculty about the event and encourage them to permit students to be absent from class if necessary.

Each section is responsible for promoting their Activate! experience as they see fit. As in previous years, the mass production of posters is not to be permitted. Doug will ensure that the event is listed on the OCAD website event calendar. We have decided to not pursue outside promotion of this event this year.

I’ve attached a logo for you to use as you see fit: <Activate_2010_Logo.jpg>.

Invariably there will be a run on certain types of equipment. Nothing can be guaranteed: first come, first serve.

If you would like to request any A/V equipment, contact A.V directly at x227 or by email at <avbooking100@ocad.ca>.

If you would like to request any display materials, send a work order request to <workrequest@ocad.ca>. Include the set-up and tear-down date and time, the exact locatioN, and the specific objects that you are requesting (i.e. 6 chairs, 1 6’ table, etc.). Send this email from your faculty account, which acts as your signature. You do not need to fill out any paper work: the email is sufficient.

Individual faculty are responsible for the ensuring that set-up and take down of their section’s experience occurs smoothly. We must ensure that the facility is returned to its original condition at the conclusion of the event. I will be on-hand between 9:00 and 17:00, but I will not clean up after you.

As in previous years, each section should be informed that their experience is not permitted to generate any non-recoverable waste. Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose.

Exercise 3: Write a User Scenario, due March 5 February 19, 2010

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Exer3: User Scenario, Exercises, Official stuff from Greg , add a comment

You must post your User Scenario on or before Friday March 5 (our first class after Study Week).

This exercise is tied to Project 2: Evocative Prototype. In Exer2: User Scenario, you need to write a brief User Scenario for your Evocative Prototype, describing the experience from the point of view of the user. It should be 250-500 words long.

Interaction designer Dan Saffer says a user scenario is a kind of prototype build out of words — a nice way to think of it

For info on scenarios, prototyping and more, download Chapter 5 of Dan Saffer’s Designing for Interaction, 2005, New Riders/AIGA: saffer_designing4interactionch5.

Example User Scenario
from a student of Hiroshi Ishii at the MIT Media Lab:


The Problem
To create a system that takes in user input and creates an output that corresponds to the user’s choice of affect [affect is a fancy word for emotions].

The Bottles
The system consists of three bottles that represent three emotions- Angry, Happy, and Sad. They are placed near each other and represent three possible emotional states of a person. These are emotions that can be bottled up inside. We chose these three for the simplicity of combination of emotional states (8 possibilities). Rather than be completely representative of the possible emotional state of the person, we wanted to concentrate on the interface between emotions, the interaction and meaning between clear emotional states. Whenever a bottle is opened, a vocal affective output that corresponds to the emotion in the bottle is generated as if the emotion within the bottle is let out.

User Scenario
Two people walk into the room mute. They look at each other and down at the bottles in between them. One person picks up the angry bottle, shakes it real hard, and releases the cap which flies across the room on a string, followed by a mad sequence of intensely angry words, nonsensical but intentional. As they fade, the person gives the bottle another shake that results in a quick, short outburst.

The second person picks up the depressed/submissive bottle and pulls up the spring loaded cap, letting out a smoky string of diffuse words, quietly stating and fading into silence. She cocks the cap to the side and pours the bottle out, letting out a stream of flowing sadness, punctuated by sobs of intensity, and falling to the floor in self pity.

The first person takes the sad bottle and shakes it into the stream of the angry bottle, resulting in yelping sadness and sad words purged by angry overlays. The second person takes the happy bottle, closes the angry bottle, and lies the sad and happy bottles side by side, releasing the lids. Out comes a bubbling stream of mixed emotions and apologies, slowing after the initial flow. The first person again takes the angry bottle and places it next to the other two, opening its lid as well. The result is neutral speech, spiced by words of emotion but with low intensity. A relaxed conversation and occasionally a friendly argument.

The second person places the bottles upright and closes them one by one – angry, happy, sad – and the two people walk out of the room in silence.

Exercise 2: Feedback Object, due Wed Feb. 24 February 17, 2010

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Exer2: Feedback Object, Official stuff from Greg , 1 comment so far
Can you image this pot lid as a door bell? bicycle bell? musical instrument?

Exercise 2 prepares you for “Project 2: Evocative Prototype” which deals with feedback, metaphor, prototyping, and usability evaluation.

Starting today you have one week for this exercise. Short presentations and “3 ideas” posts are due Thursday February 25 (Note this is later than the date given in the course outline).

In Exercise 2 you need to make, or find, and bring in to class, a device, mechanism, toy, gadget, piece of material, or some such thing, that creates interesting “feedback” when you interact with it. The task is to choose something interesting and post 3 ideas to the blog proposing how you might “repurpose” the feedback. Time permitting you should demonstrate its effect in class. Each idea will somehow change or adapt the form or meaning or effect of the feedback.

For example you could make a simple bell from a glass pot lid. Striking your “bell” creates a chime-like sound, the feedback. For your three adaptations, one idea might be a door chime that rings when a button is pressed; one might be to mount the bell on your bicycle as a warning bell; the last might be to build a percussion instrument with five different lids.

For the exercise all we want are your ideas. For Project 2, you will actually build the prototype. You can change your final idea at any time.

We’ll talk about feedback in class. For now you can think about it as perceptible reaction to user input. Look for phenomena that trigger the senses, such as vibration, sound, light, movement, etc. For great results, stimulate multiple senses!

What is this place? December 16, 2009

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Official stuff from Greg , add a comment

R U Experienced is the course blog for “Introduction to Experience Design,” (actually ours is just one section of many, in this required first-year course for all undergraduates) in the BDes degree program at the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto, Canada.

The course integrates principles of design process with an introduction to time based media and the methods used to design new interfaces, environments, services and products, through the orchestration of user experience. Students are exposed to the characteristics of new design opportunities made feasible by digital technologies and the pivotal role of time and attention in contemporary design.

Through lectures, analysis of a wide range of examples in communication, interaction and experience design, and through studio projects that provide opportunities for practical application and insight, students are lead through the basic concepts, methods, tools and techniques used in the definition and design of interactive experiences.

Enjoy your visit to the site. For more information please contact the instructor, Greg Van Alstyne by email: <gvanalstyne {at} faculty.ocad.ca>

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