Exercise Ten: Psychogeographic Mapping

March 13, 2011

The psychological basis of the metropolitan type of individuality consists in the intensification of nervous stimulation which results from the swift and uninterrupted change of outer and inner stimuli. Man is a differentiating creature. His mind is stimulated by the difference between a momentary impression and the one which preceded it. Lasting impressions, impressions which differ only slightly from one another, impressions which take a regular and habitual course and show regular and habitual contrasts – all these use up, so to speak, less consciousness than does the rapid crowding of changing images, the sharp discontinuity in the grasp of a single glance, and the unexpectedness of onrushing impressions. These are the psychological conditions which the metropolis creates.

Georg Simmel, The Metropolis and Mental Life, 1903

The production of psychogeographic maps, or even the introduction of alterations such as more or less arbitrarily transposing maps of two different regions, can contribute to clarifying certain wanderings that express not subordination to randomness but complete insubordination to habitual influences (influences generally categorized as tourism that popular drug as repugnant as sports or buying on credit). A friend recently told me that he had just wandered through the Harz region of Germany while blindly following the directions of a map of London. This sort of game is obviously only a mediocre beginning in comparison to the complete construction of architecture and urbanism that will someday be within the power of everyone.

Guy Debord, Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, 1955

Read and briefly ponder the above pair of excerpts regarding the psychological basis of our experience of the city.

Now: shake your arms, spin in a circle, and do a jumping jack: clear your mind.

Using the set of arbitrary directions you were provided with in class, trace a path departing from the Queen Street gates of Trinity Bellwoods Park. On a single sheet of paper, take sketch and prose notes of everything you see, think and feel. Scan your sketch and post it, unedited, to the blog.

Upon completion, re-read the collection of excerpts. How does the psychogeography of the city affect our ability to map its characteristics? You may find the psychogeographic approach useful in getting to know your Project Three site. Make an active effort to clear your mind of preconceptions and explore that which conspires to remain unexplored.

Exercise Ten is due at 15:30 on Friday, March 18.

This is your final Exercise.

Exercise Nine:

March 4, 2011

This exercise is designed to continue to get you thinking in narrative terms, and thinking about how narrative applies to user experience.

Using one of the attached grocery store receipts as your inspiration/evidence, create a narrative. Post your narrative to the blog. The narrative should consist of more than just prose — in fact, it need not contain any prose at all. Consider images, video, poetry and sound. Be creative! Here’s an example of a variety of possible responses to a single receipt.

Your receipt assignments (the page number) are as follows:

Nicholas: 1
Sohyun: 2
Renars: 3
Sandra: 4
Carrie Ann: 6
Prisilla: 7
Yizhen: 8
Amir: 9
Hilda: 10
Sharon: 11
Shi Tong: 12
Cindy: 13
Marco: 14
Brian: 15
Joanna: 16
Irene: 1
Hyun Ji: 2
Samantha: 3
Hung Hei: 4
Caroline: 5
Andrew: 6
Alexandra: 7
Fan: 8

Exercise Nine is due at 15:30 on Friday, March 11.

Exercise Six, Part Two: What is Fun?

February 18, 2011

Exercise Eight: OCAD Student Personas

February 18, 2011

“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 on one 8.5″ x 11″ page. 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 at a minimum 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?

Pin your provisional persona to the wall for the remainder of the class. After class, post your persona to the blog with any necessary enhancements, such as a photograph. Remember to include the names of all the members of your group in your post.

Exercise Eight is due at 12:00 on Friday, March 4.

Exercise Seven: Photoshop Tennis

February 18, 2011

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 “Actions > View 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 15:30 on Friday, March 4.

Exercise Six: Deconstruct a Toy — What is Fun?

January 28, 2011

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 15:30 on Friday, February 11.

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 Friday, February 12.

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 Two is due at 15:30 on Monday, February 14.

An Object Jesse Loves, An Object Jesse Hates

January 28, 2011

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 28, 2011

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 (as much as possible) the tools and vocabulary introduced in the Basic Principles of Interaction 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 sources of your love/hate relationships.

Exercise Five is due at 15:30 on Friday, February 11.

Exercise Four: Make a Music Video, Make a Diagram

January 28, 2011

In Exercise Four, you will create a music video using iMovie (or another movie making program of your choice), 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 your music video, located in TEMPORARY_STORAGE in a folder called “Exercise Four.”

2) Check out the video clips and audio tracks that I have compiled for you. You’re welcome to use your own clips and tracks if you have any available. We will, for the time being, ignore any copyright infringement issues. This will be discussed in a future class.

3) Open iMovie, and create a new 4:3 iMovie Project with a title of your choice.

4) Using File>Import>Movies, import all of the video clips into iMovie. From here, you’ll drag-and-drop them into the upper left pane, in order to add them to your Project.

5) Choose the audio track that you want to make a video for. Import it to iMovie by drag-and-dropping the file into upper left pane.

6) Make your video! Play around. There are a lot of features in iMovie , but a couple that you’ll want to be sure to learn how to use include:

  • Adjustments to your clips and tracks (hover over the element in question and click on the button that appears)
  • Photos, text and transitions, which can be added from the buttons at centre 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 about one minute long (and no longer). It must contain at least three video clips, one audio track, some transitions and a smooth start and finish.

Eight) 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 Share>Export Movie, and then select “Mobile.” This will take a few minutes, and will create a playable MP4 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 uploading your video to the video-sharing service of your choice Youtube or Vimeo), and “embed” a playable link to your video into your post. There are buttons for doing 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 upload 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.

11) Lastly, remember to name and categorize your post appropriately.

Exercise Four is due at 15:30 on Friday, February 11.

Exercise Three: Strategies for Conveying Information

January 21, 2011


Your 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, Highlighting
  • Group Taste: 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 15:30 on Friday, January 28.

Exercise Evaluation

January 21, 2011

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 19, 2011

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 15:30 on Friday, January 21.

Exercise One: Blog Introduction

January 19, 2011

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, and log in with your usual OCAD username and password. We’ll go over the blog interface together in class as necessary.

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 visually curate all blog posts (and any other material) you make in the future.

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 15:30 on Friday, January 21.