One Object I love and One Object I hate

April 12, 2011

The object I love the most is my IPad . The iPad is way easier to carry around than a laptop. I used to bring my old Dell laptop to school almost everyday. Its very heavy. And I also need carry the bulky charger and an external mouse which will add some extra weight. Although I cannot install Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator on this device, Apple provids some other great substitute applications like Photoshop or Adobe Ideas. Most applications are free or by a very little cost . The battery last around 10 hours. The tough and sensitive screen easily bring sense of interaction and fun, and the sketch board save me from the burden of real sketch book. I absolutely feel release after I had it. Now I just cannot leave it away, and I rely on it for my daily life and found a lot of fun with it.

The object I absolutely hate is my new SonyEricsson cellphone.  I got it from Fido just few weeks ago to replace my old LG phone. The phone looks fancy at first sight: It’s super slim and light. The phone comes with a 5 Mega camera which can also be used to take HD video. There are also some other cool features like FM radio and touch screen.  After a few days of using,I started to notice the flaw of its design. The battery is draining very fast and i need to charge everyday. The awkward touch screen couse me pressing so hard each time. The phone doesn’t use standard earphone so I need carry 2 pairs of earphones in my bag. Alrough it has it’s own ‘App store’, but only has very few applications to choose. The worst thing is that I signed a 2 year contract for this phone and I feel like I’m stuck in a bad merriage and cannot see a way out.

Exercise Five: An Object I Love/ An Object I Hate

March 5, 2011


An object that I am truly not a fan of would be my Kimchi Blue Floral Kisslock Organizer Wallet. Aesthetically and physically, the wallet is extremely pleasing, but what good is a nice looking wallet if she doesn’t work properly?! There is a clasp which is visible at the very top of the wallet, which is what is used to open and close it. The problem I found with the clasp, is that in time it bends and becomes loose, so loose to the point where the 2 clips don’t clasp together. It is especially difficult to keep everything in the wallet and keep everything from falling out, when it just wont close.

The wallet’s affordances are quite clear when the wallet is opened, but do not serve well for their purpose. There are little slots where debit cards and credit cards are to be inserted to be held in place, and are positioned in a way that you can see multiple cards at once. I find that the slots are much too small for the cards they are meant to carry, which results in the cashier waiting impatiently while i try to pry my debit card from my wallet. It’s frustrating, embarrassing, and extremely time consuming. Another physical constraint that restricts me from using this wallet is the zipped pocket that holds loose change. I can basically fit $1.50 in quarters, but anymore than around 12 coins in there, either the zipper to the change pocket wont close or the clasp on the exterior of the wallet will refuse to close.

Ultimately, when I use this wallet, I have to be extremely conscious of the coins I need for the day, and if I’m lucky enough to fit everything I need, I must have the wallet in a tight place that will hold it shut, like a small pocket in my bag, otherwise the wallet will hang open giving more of a chance of losing significants.


An object that I really appreciate, especially as one who loves to add colour to things, are the Prismacolour Premier Double Ended Art Markers. It’s a fairly larger marker, but applies to surfaces more smoothly than any other marker I’ve used before. They are more of a paint marker in the way that the ink must be stroked like a brush onto paper, very slow and consistent strokes. It has quite a bit of ink, but its recommended to be used this way to ensure a strong, vibrant, lasting colour.

The marker itself is very comfortable in the hand (not too thin and not too thick to hold). The method of the marker is quite visible and the mapping is quite clear of which way it is to be held. It’s a double sided marker, so each end is labelled with either a fat tip, or a thin tip. My favourite thing about these markers is that the ink is acid free. This means that there are no bleed through and no pooling of ink. If I were to colour something in with a Crayola marker, there would be lines and blotches of the shade I was colouring and the tone of the colour would not look solid. The awesome thing about acid free markers is that you can layer the same colour, and colour one area over and over again, and it won’t pool with ink or get darker. It will always stay the same shade.

These permanent lightfast markers are also water resistant, and will not smear when dry. For those who are looking for a smooth, vibrant, long-lasting solid fill, then I would definitely recommend Prismacolour. They come in endless shades and colours, and they also come in greyscale.

An Object that Andrew W. Loves/Hates

February 16, 2011

I positively love my millennium edition of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m so proud to own it, and I gaze at it lovingly each night as I go to sleep.

I don’t just love it because LotR is just a wonderful book, but also because it is divided into six volumes, plus the appendices, just as Tolkien intended the book to be read after he discovered he couldn’t publish it all as one enormous book. It also has a CD with recordings of Tolkien himself reading excerpts from the novel.

However, my real reason for loving this way-more-than-just-an object is because it has a simply stunning design. I mean, just look at the cover! It has got to be the coolest cover for any edition of LotR that I have ever seen. You can’t tell from the photo, but it has a beautiful glossy surface. The size of the books is also quite desirable. It has a very nice weight, and is much easier to carry with you than one of the bulkier combined volumes. All the books fit nice and snugly into their box, and I find it quite fun to slide the book perfectly into place with it’s brethren. Having the appendices in there too as a separate book is quite nice. It tells you a lot about the history of some of the characters, and what happens after the story ends. It’s a bit too complicated to splice into the three volume sets, and makes for good reading all on it’s own anyway.

It’s dazzlingly elegant, and something I am genuinely proud to own.

(If you just dismiss me as a nerd I swear to god I will crack your skull open with the anger of Morgoth.)

Something I really hate is this stupid thing.

I got it as a Christmas present from an aunt who has given me stupid electronic devices every year since I was 8. (dear lord I hope she never reads this) While it is pretty cool to look at, it has got to be the most idiotic device ever created. It’s called the Rubik’s Revolution. Basically it’s a toy that lets you play six different puzzle games. Sounds cool right? Well once you turn it on, there’s a horrendous cacophony that is meant to be a cool drum solo opening song, and an electronic voice says what I assume to be “Rubik’s Revolution,” But could just as easily be saying “Chex Mix Rub My Lotion,” which doesn’t sound like much fun at all. Then it shouts indiscernible instructions at you. So you try to move the cube around, like you would with a normal Rubik’s cube, but sadly, you are disappointed as you discover it’s all one solid piece of plastic that only LOOKS like it moves. After you flip your way through the tiny user’s manual to find out what the hell is going on, you decide that maybe you can figure this thing out after all. Then you press a button, and one of the games get’s started. Then you find out the games are absolutely no fun at all. Some of them require following the voices instructions, but you can hardly understand it. Others are just so mind-numbling simple minded you stop playing after you win just once because you know it won’t get any more fun after 60 more times.

And my particular one happens to be defective, so the green light doesn’t work when the cube is idle, which renders it’s only useful purpose; looking pretty, ruined, since green is one of my favourite colours.

There’s no way to improve it, other than just make it into a Rubik’s cube shaped lamp. Now THAT I would pay money for.

Sandra’s Love and Hate Objects

February 15, 2011

An object I love is my consistently used BlackBerry® Curve™ 8530 that I acquired in 2009. Since then I have been inseparable with this device. The reasons I am inseparable with this specific brand/device because it has never failed on me. It keeps all my contacts, text messages, and data plan that include Internet and networking in one place, that place being in my pocket when I am away from my phone. As well it has its own store called the Blackberry App World, where you can obtain many different programs that suit your everyday life such as, dictionary, the weather network, games and so on.

In this case the Affordances are clear for a person who likes to play around with gadgets. The main button and scroll pad give the indication of the cell phones movement, as well as the green talk button and the red end button. The structure of the phone is a called a bar, it is easy to maneuver, as all one has to do is take out the phone. There is no flipping or sliding necessary.

As mentioned above this phone serves as a day to day planner, it keeps my messages in order and my e-mails sent and received on time – no lagging – its what keeps me organized and up to date on a daily basis. The easiest ways to access my option elements are mapped to the Blackberry logo button and there you can access any folder. One or two problems of design is that on this model –Blackberry Curve 8530- the keys for calling and texting make an accumulation of noise, because of the popped up keyboard and small typing keys, which are irritating when creating a message. Compared to the Blackberry Bold that have bigger keys and the keys are flattened, reducing noise and irritation. Once you learn the technique of the phone it becomes natural and easier to operate.                                                  The cell phone itself has a very clean, unprotected surface and monotonous backing. So to improve this in the most creative way I could possibly think of was to reach out to my love and appreciation of art, and I have purchased a re-sealable sticker of Van Gogh’s famous art pieces called A Starry Night. And as well I have purchased a hard outer case called Otter Box. They specialize in creating covers for specific cell phone model types, which provide visible feedback and yet it’s the best solution, because it reduces scratches. I must admit the audible feedback hasn’t improved even though this is considered to be a “smartphone” but to overcome that obstacle I download ringtones or have my friends send me tones.

An object I hate plugging in is a 3-prong plug. It is known to be a great idea because its secure with appliances so one does not get electrocuted and having the third grounds the electrical current if you were to plug a thick strand of wire straight from the hot slot to the neutral slot of an outlet? Unlike an appliance, which limits the amount of electricity that can flow to 60 watts for example a light bulb or 500 watts for example a toaster, the wire would let an incredible amount of electricity flow through it. The fuse box, the fuse or circuit breaker for the outlet would detect this huge surge and it would cut off the flow of electricity. The fuse prevents the wires in the wall or the outlet itself from overheating and starting a fire. The affordances are indicative when plugging in a laptop that uses 3 prong plugs into an electrical outlet, the indicative is clearly shown that you must hold the bulky part of the cord to insert it into an outlet.  Once learned, it becomes natural to ease the prong at a faster pace to reduce the prospect scare of light that can create an electric shock. But a physical constraint could be introduced that prevents the light from being apparent while plugging the 3-prong plug into an outlet.   Now I use a laptop that uses 2 prongs and allow my fear of electric shock to be over. And it creates more ease than a struggle to plug into the wall, which provides essential visible feedback. Without having the constant fear that I may see the electricity light coming from the outlet.

Exercise Five

February 11, 2011

An object I hate: Patton PUH680

I can not say that I have interacted with a sufficient variety of space heaters to hold a preference or be knowledgeable of any models which would be completely satisfactory, but I find the presence of just about any space heater to be preferable to an otherwise inadequately heated room. It is for such reasons I find any poor function to be quite bothersome; any complaint is likely to apply to many different space heaters. The interaction model is fairly well mapped out: everything is labelled and usefully visible (aside from an off switch), appropriate physical constraints and affordances are in place, tilt sensors and indicator lights prevent fires… Why do I hate it? One naturally assumes that the thermostat will regulate the temperature at a stable comfortable level with little need for adjustment; one wants to set it and forget it. In practice, the temperature fluctuates widely,  the machine toggles on and off in annoyingly staccato intermittence, and requires constant adjustment and monitoring to avoid turning an insulated room into a sauna. An otherwise decent design fails to live up to the perceived interaction model because the system model regulates temperature by comparing the desired temperature with an internal reading of the machine rather than the ambient environment it is influencing.

An object I love: OXO POP Container

I, like most sensible people, lack enthusiasm for sealed containers given the numerous bad designs out there. One quality that makes OXO POP containers impressive is simply that they are able to elicit my attention at all. The widened square rim affords appropriate placement of the top. The push button pops out when open, affording a lifting grip and making the status of the seal visible. When sealed, the button is flush, providing constraint against accidental opening. The sealing mechanism maps a simple one touch operation and provides pleasant tactile, visual, and audible feedback when the operation is successful.

Choosing an object I hate was not difficult (choosing one I hate most might have been). I think the challenge I faced finding something I loved relates very deeply to the sort of massive dissatisfaction with design incompetence which drives me to industrial design. I can’t seem to delegate anything that I want done well so I must strive to satisfy them myself.

Exercise Five; An Object Mhairi Loves, An Object Mhairi Hates

February 11, 2011

An object  I hate is defintely my phone the Huawei U7519. I was drawn to this phone by the allure of having a touch screen at a lower price than an iphone. Unfortunately, the touch screen on this phone is not very responsive. I am constantly getting comments like ‘Why are you tapping your phone so hard, you are going to break it!’ and I have to tell them that if it I don’t press the phone this hard it won’t work.

However, I do think the mapping of this phone is okay. It is easy and intuitive to navigate,  most of the phones icons like ‘address book’ and ‘messages’ are easy to understand as they are used everywhere. The phone also allows you to drag out certain items and arrange them on the home screen much like an iphone organizes apps. The Huawei phone also allows you to hide the ones you don’t use very often or don’t want to see.

This phone’s affordance is okay. It includes the obvious call and hang up buttons a center button and a power button. There are volume and camera buttons on the other side both  marked with easily understandable icons. The only thing is that there are certain times when these buttons don’t serve the purpose you would expect them to. When I am saving a new contact I will press the center button to select a new heading. Instead of selecting this like you would think, the contact saves and closes. That doesn’t make any sense.

If this phone were to have a more receptive screen then it would definitely be way better. It’s unfortunate that everything else is spoiled because you can’t use the phone with ease.

An object I love is my laptop, a Compaq Presario CQ50. I’ve had this laptop for nearly three years now and I haven’t had any problems with it. The design on this is minimal and has lasted the constant stream of ‘new’ computers. The affordance of this laptop is great. Apart from the keyboard there are only two buttons; a power button and a button to turn  the wifi on and off. The visibility of these buttons is great, they light up and provide great contrast to the black of the keyboard.

The mapping of my computer is the same as any other vista machine. A lot of people complain about this system but I honestly have not had any issues with it. As long as you have used a windows machine before you can operate this with ease.

exercise 5. what kenny love and hate

February 11, 2011

by: Yizhen Jia (Kenny)

It is my pleasure to introduce the first object: my cell phone charger!!!

Yes! This cell phone charger is what I like the best in the package that came with the purchase of my cell phone.  it excellent performance won over both of my dad’s heart and mine.

the plug in affordance functions way better than the old style charger. By making the shape of the converter horizontal to the socket, this design saved space and its easier to unplug. after plugging in, the phone gives out visible, audio and physical feedback immediately. It lights up, beeps, and vibrates,  so the user knows that the cell phone is charging. While plugging in to the cell phone, the physical constraint of the two long plastic plugs hold on to the phone. Unless pull on it with a reasonable amount of force, the connection will not break off.

The only thing i don’t like about this charger is that it takes too long to charge the phone.

Next is something that i HATE: apple’s one key mouse

It’s an unforgivable bad design. This mouse has no other advantages other than good looking.

This mouse does not give positive feedback. When clicking the mouse, sound is really small and hard to hear. The mouse does not have a right key or a scrolling wheel, which effect the affordance of the functions greatly. You have to press down control key and click for right click and click and drag to scroll. The click and drag function of this object works really bad because you have to push down at the mouse when you are dragging a file while with other mouse you only have to hold on to one key. That constraints the user from finish dragging the file at once.

But as you can see in the photo, this kind of mouse was for the old emac, so WHAT are they doing in the ocad computer labs?

Exercise Five: Love/Hate Relationship of a Drummer

February 11, 2011

Vic Firth’s American Classic Hickory HD9 are drumsticks that I LOVE. I haven’t always been using these particular kind of sticks though. I went through many different brands and styles over the past few years before I used these and realized they were the perfect fit. The shape and feel of the sticks are perfect for my big hands and are the most comfortable to play with. One of the main affordances of these sticks is that they are going to be hit HARD on cymbals and drums and since they are long, slim and made of wood they are bound to break sooner or later. Out of all the drumsticks I have used, these are definitely the most durable. Hickory is a very strong type of wood and these sticks are thicker than most so they do last me awhile even though they take quite a beating a few times a week (I play in a hard rock/metal band).  These sticks are still not indestructible though (obviously) which is why I now buy them in bulk. It saves me some money and I know that when I break a pair, I still have an extra 11 pairs of my favourite drumsticks ready to go.

Last year, I realized that since I drum a lot louder than I used to, hearing protection seemed like a no brainer and I also wanted some good headphones to listen to music in my room (or to watch movies on my mac) so I bought these SHURE SRH440 headphones. I had never heard of the brand before but they were on sale at Future Shop and my friend bought a pair and said they were great so that was good enough for me. Now it’s a year later and I HATE them. It has nothing to do with the sound quality (they sound pretty good actually); they are just extremely uncomfortable! The inside of each earphone is not deep enough and the plastic presses right up against my ears and after about 20 minutes, they REALLY hurt. Also, the headband that goes across the top that does have a bit of cushioning on it is definitely not enough because it eventually puts pressure on the top of my head to make it hurt too. So, after about 20 minutes of trying to enjoy music, I have a headache and ears ache. The earphones themselves are also very bad at letting sound bleed out (even at moderate volumes) which is why I have never used them out in public. Lastly, the cord is one of those twirly kinds reminiscent of old phone cords but it may as well be a bungee cord because if I have them on and try to sit farther away from my record player, I feel this immense pressure trying to pull the headphones off my head. Couldn’t they have just made the cord longer instead? So overall, these headphones were not a great investment and I really wish I had saved the extra money and bought some nice noise-cancelling Bose headphones instead because they are super comfy (it’s like having lazyboy cushions on your ears), they’re more compact and the sound quality is amazing. Next time, I’ll know better.

And Object that I Love/Hate

February 11, 2011

An object that I really love is my DOMO bag. (see figure 1) Reason being, it is extremely functional, the mapping of the functions is clear, and obvious. I know that the zipper to the pockets are going to be at the side, and that they all line up at the right hand side.  The bag not only provides a clear purpose, but it also does a good job at doing so because it has good visability. The layout of all the functions (zippiers, straps etc.) are clear. The purpose of this bag is to support items, and the bag certainly does so. Finally, it’s a DOMO bag, it’s awesome and cute. What’s not to like?

An object however that I hate (and most people disagree) is my iphone. (see figure 2) Not only does this phone have medicore mapping, but the functions of certain aspects of the phone are horrible and constraining. A good example of this would be autocorrect and the keyboard. The keyboard of an iphone is difficult to use when typing fast. Often when you want to press one letter you press the one beside it. To help with this there is autocorrect which in my opinion is even worse than the keyboard. It corrects words into things that are nowhere near what you intend to say. An example that happened to me personally, Awwww – sewer. (and yes I did send it without knowing and my friend still thinks I’m weird) 

Also, for autocorrect example, see link.

Exercise five: An object I love, an object I hate

February 11, 2011

I love my Copic markers – particularly the type I have. Copic markers (from what I’ve seen) come in 4 types of marker shafts: ciao, original, sketch and wide. In terms of affordance, the ‘sketch’ type markers are in my opinion the best, hence why I prefer to buy those now. Not only does the oval shape of the shaft prevent the marker from falling off your work surface, I find that it is also the most comfortable fit for my hand while drawing. This may be a subjective factor, however I find that the ‘original’ shaft is too bulky and awkward to be comfortable for extended drawing.

The inside of the cap is constrained with a sloped surface to guide the tip of the marker as you cap it, it’s nice if you’re the type to quickly mash a cap on without thinking. This prevents the nib from wearing out quickly due to being crushed against the walls of the cap. The sound and feeling of a click indicates the pen is capped securely.

While mapping isn’t applicable to this object, the visibility of it is great. There are icons printed on the shaft to indicate which end is the brush and broad tip for first time users. But for users who are familiar with the object, there is a dark grey band to indicate the brush end for those who are glancing quickly. The colour of the marker is indicated at each end of the cap, and the specific number is also printed on it. There’s no possibility of picking up the wrong colour or even recapping the wrong marker, because those colour numbers are printed on the shaft as well.

An object I hate is my set of Staedtler Triplus fineliners. The supposedly ergonomic triangular shape of the shaft affects the affordance of capping the pen. Generally I have to stop and rotate the cap to match up the triangular shape of the shaft and cap before I can fully press the cap on. Little pauses like this add up to an annoying interruption while drawing. Though the triangular shaft, as well as the clip on the cap, prevents the pen from rolling around, I would much prefer a pen that is more efficiently capped.

Again, as with most, if not all, pens, the sound and feeling of a click indicates that the pen is capped securely. My set of pens came with a plastic case. The case is molded to constrain how the pens are placed into the case; there are rounded shafts to fit the pen. However, there is also an indent to fit the pen clip. So again, I have to rotate the pens to match the pen clip and shaft shape to the casing, making cleaning up a bit of a puzzle game. (You know that game from the 90s where you’re timed and you have to match up these little geometric shapes to holes in a board? Once the time limit is up, it pops all the pieces up at you.)

There is no mapping needed for this object, the order in which you put the pens in the case makes little difference (besides the purely aesthetic).

Visibility is good; the pen colour is indicated both on the cap and the end of the pen. There is even a little sticker to show that the case can be manipulated to make a stand, and the user gets feedback by the click of the casing.

Exercise 5: Object I (Tse Hung Hei) love and Hate

February 11, 2011

The Object that I love is my Iphone 4. As everyone know, Iphone 4 has many functions, such as calling, texting, going on internet, checking weather, gaming, and etc. The reason why I love Iphone 4 is that the affordance is simple and unique,  plus it upgrades a higher-resolution screen, which renders photos, text, and apps look nicely crisp and smooth. It’s also got a 5-megapixel camera with other improvements. The mapping of the iphone is good, once you touch the screen of the phone, its sensor will sense your finger very quick. Also, as a graphic student, one of the reason I obsesses with Iphone 4 is because there are many great photo editing apps, you can take a photo and edit where ever you are. Then there is FaceTime, the video calling feature. I can video call with my friends or family around the world without charging any long distance payment. Honestly, Iphone 4 is almost perfect, except the phone’s reception issues and the battery life of the phone.

The object that I hate would be my eye contact lens. Many people have vision issues, for near and far. They wear glasses or soft lens to solve the issue, and I am one of them who use both. Although, I admit that eye contact lens is one of the most successful inventions without a doubt. But, it actually has many problems to deal with before you put it on and as well as after you take it off. First, you have to wash your hands thoroughly before handling lenses, otherwise you might get infection. The lack of visibility is one of the reason I hate eye contacts, since you have vision problems, when you are wearing it, you might lost it and which make you cant find it easily. When stuff gets in your eye it hurts about a thousand times more while you’re wearing contacts, and then you got to take them out and wash them to fix the problem. Also, you can not wear them all the time, you got to take them out before you sleep, otherwise the contact lens might dry out and it break pieces inside your eyes. In addition, the worst thing about contact lens are, you got to keep ordering them, and in fact if you have astigmatism, the contact lens are actually cause a lot more than just normal near vision issues, which not all the people can afford. Other than that they’re very helpful, especially when you are playing sports or going out with out wearing your geek glasses.

Exercise Five: Objects that I, Caroline, love and hate

February 11, 2011

Hate: Earbuds

The object that I hate is my earbuds. It does its job, outputting music, perfectly. I don’t think I could live without my earbuds. They are one of the best inventions for avoiding awkward situations or just unwanted situations, of course second to texting. For example, if your mom is nagging you in the car, just plug yourself into your earbuds; and let her nag away, because you won’t hear anything. They are great, but that does not mean that they are 100% perfect.

There are 2 things I hate about earbuds, number 1 is the easily tangible wire. I swear, no matter have strategically you store the earbuds in your pocket, when you take it out it is tangled. Even when you are wearing the earbuds, they somehow always get tangled. I don’t know about everyone else, but I am sick of untangling those things. It’s crazy how tangled they get sometimes. It is ridiculous. I think that because they get tangled so often and easily, this affects the lifespan of the earbuds. Because it tangles, this causes damage to the inner wiring thus causing the quality of the sound to deteriorate and eventually the earbuds will break.

(note: I hate apple earbuds. I would rather pay “a little” more Dr Dre earbuds, no tangle. )

Problem number 2 is the shape of the earbuds. I know there are many many different shapes that have been invent, from ones that hook behind the ear to the squishy jelly ones that feel like someone gave you a permanent wet willie, but the earbud shape I am talking about are the Apple earbuds. At first they are ok, but after 3-4 hours they start to hurt. You’d think that by now Apple who have changed that problem.

(off note: does anyone get shocks from there earbuds? I get it alot. It worries me, but not enough to take them out of my ear)


Love:  Starbucks Splash Sticks

The object I adore are the Starbucks no spill stick things.  Before I discovered what those green sticks on the Starbucks counter were for, I always hated when my coffee spilled out of the cup and onto my hand. (note: I think Starbucks are the only place that have it.) It’s funny we have this exercise, because I just recently had an extensive conversation with a friend about how genius this invention is.

The affordance is clear and simple, pretty much a no brainer. The long shaft of the stick is to be inserted in the hole of the cup’s lid. There is the thicker part, “the plug”, at the top of the stick, will obviously plug into the sipping hole. This will stop all the hot liquid inside the cup from spilling.

A simple design but BRILLIANT. God’s gift to coffee loving  addicted people like me.

Object I love and Hate

February 11, 2011

The object that I love is my blackberry curve. Pretty much this phone is good for many uses such as going on the internet, calling, texting, and anything else. What I like about it is that blackberrys have the affordance to make texting much more simpler by having every single key on the phone like a computer keyboard. The other phones I have a few buttons that contain 3-4 letters per key which make it less convenient when texting. As well it has good physical constraints like a track pad which provides a control surface in a small space, and you can still move it around much like a mouse on a computer. As well, the locking buttons are also a good constraint because I don’t have to worry about accidently making phone calls unlike some touch screen phones. Not to mention like many other cellphones it contains the psychological constraints like conventions; the keys on the blackberry have icons and symbols that make it much more obvious as to what to click based on what I want to do on the phone. The only thing I have problems with the phone is that it freezes from time to time.

The object that I hate would be my M lance “T” ruler. As much as the idea is great to make lines straight when drawing the sides that stick out is a major physical constraint. I have to fully lift the ruler instead of sliding it around my paper because the plastic sides are thicker and gets caught on my papers a lot of the time. On tope of that, because the plastic sides are thicker it makes the entire ruler unbalanced, so when the ruler is placed on the floor there is a giant gap created between the opposite ends. Perhaps another physical constraint should be made to balance the ruler out so that when drawing, my pencil won’t slide under the gap and make my lines uneven. I barely use this ruler anymore after all the trouble it gave me.

Love and Hate: A Story of Two Phones by Marco Paravani

February 11, 2011

An object Inspector Gadget should never be without is the new iPhone 4. Of course, come summer it will be old news, to be overshadowed by its predecessor, the iPhone 5 (and surely enough, the iPhone 27 will come out shortly afterward). But alas, Steve Jobs and the Apple team’s marketing tactics are not the focus of this post.

To operate the phone, you simply push the only apparent button and proceed to touch the screen to use. Volume controls are found on its side. Often the trouble with phones is just how complicated they are. One might attribute this to having too many buttons! Having fewer buttons minimizes confusion. In conjunction with a touch screen, the simplicity of the phone allows the user to feel a more natural connection to their technology, rather than bringing attention to the machine in their hand.

As it would be nearly impossible to cover all of the great features available with the iPhone, I’ll go over the few affordances I believe to be the most note-worthy.

The first and most worthwhile feature is the phones multi-functional nature, as both phone and portable mp3 player. Before owning iPhone, I was lugging around an iPod, a phone and a wallet, all in two very bulky pockets. Having two in one makes for a lighter load, and of course, pockets free of stretch marks. The device also has a great camera, eliminating the need for yet another weight in your pocket. The front camera is a wondrous feature, finally putting an end to unwanted facial cropping and endless retakes. Call me vain, but it also makes for a useful mirror when you need it.

Apple’s App Store is total bonus. Especially when one sports a jailbroken phone, which allows users to run their own scripts, rather than restricting them to those authorized by Apple. This means free games, utility apps and customization! There is an application for virtually any activity, and if you’re one for smooth effects, the iPhones smooth graphic transitions and .

The only thing the iPhone is without is tactile feedback; while the device provides wonderful visual and auditory stimulation, it fails to respond physically to touch. Though personally, I can do without my phone vibrating every time I ‘click’ something. Aside from this, the fact that Facetime is a total gimmick that never works, the absence of Flash, and the mysterious battery life, which dies not when it should, but when it feels like it, the iPhone is one nifty gadget.

Finally, navigating the iPhone is simple, fast and intuitive. What you expect to happen when interacting with it will most likely happen. This includes pinch and double tap zooming, swiping to turn pages and tons of other small details that make this product the perfect plaything for adults.

While the iPhone 4 is the first cellular device I’ve ever purchased, I’ve also had the displeasure of carrying around my father’s LG Chocolate kg800; a phone I’m sure has a twisted mind of its own, and one that will stop at nothing to watch you tear every hair from your skull. If you’ve ever used an LG Chocolate past its prime, you’ll understand I’m not entirely delusional.

When it was first released in 2009, everyone I knew had one. The touch-buttons were evolutionary and slide phones were it. Unfortunately, the initial attraction died down, and what was left was a sleek black, plastic piece of stool (and that’s stool in the scientific application of the term, people). Besides the buttons eventually losing their sensitivity and having to literally hammer the keypad with your finger to get a response, the phone itself is just horrid to navigate. I’d spent 20 minutes trying to change a ring tone, a feat that would have taken a less tech-savvy user (my father) twice the time.

The phone would occasionally seizure, but not for any particular reason, and even power down spontaneously. It might even have had spasms without reason more often than it did to notify me of a text. In terms of sensory response, there was little. The touch button lost its attraction over time, which may be attributed to its lack of visual, tactile and auditory response. It could not inspire the same satisfaction as clicking a button.

two pots, two destiny

February 11, 2011

On object I love is the silver tea pot. I found in frozen in ice in in a construction area, and because it was in a good condition, I brought it back home. It is completely made out of metal; therefore it is useful for boiling water on my wood stove during winter.

What I like most about it is its affordance. The design is ergonomic and the function of every part is clear. The handle is dual-layered so it is somewhat heat insulated, which is extremely useful when the water is boiling hot. The knob of the lid fell off so my dad put a door knob on instead, but the original one is a loop, which is better because the lid can be pulled off easily. The spout has a little lid on it, with a hook that extends all the way back to the handle. There’s actually a clipper on the hook that fits into the groove of the handle to keep the lid open. I think this is a really smart design. It would be better though, if the pot can give some kind of audible feedback when the water is boiling, like whistling (my other pot does that), so I don’t have to hold my  face close to the stove(700F) to find out if the water is boiling.

The other teapot happens to be an object I don’t like. Although it is aesthetically better than the first one, the lack of physical constraints of the lid is very problematic. Once when I was pouring tea out of it the lid slipped off and fell. My toes saved it from breaking but nothing saved my toes. That’s why as you can see I added a string to restrain from further accidents. Also, the knob on the lid is way too small as an affordance.

But since it’s pretty, it serves as a decoration now.

Exercise 5: Sam’s Love and Hate Relationships

February 10, 2011

An object that I absolutely love is my Wacom Bamboo Tablet.

I guess the main thing that I love about the tablet is that it functions like a pencil and paper, easy and direct. There are two accessories that function with the tablet: a wireless mouse and a tablet-pen. In the center of the tablet, there is a sensor screen that mimics you computer screen. Wherever the mouse or pen are placed on the tablet screen, the blue circle above will light up and the mouse will also appear on the monitor (ie. pen is above the top left of the tablet, the mouse will locate itself at the top left of the monitor screen).  The mapping of the tablet is good; once you place the mouse or tablet-pen on top or slightly above the screen, the sensors immediately pick up and the mouse appears on your computer screen. This makes drawing/art using Photoshop not only easier then a normal mouse, but more accurate and precise in details. My tablet has already replaced my old plug in mouse which saves me USB cable space. Another thing I enjoy about the Bamboo Tablet is, like I said before, how it works like a pencil on paper, the main difference is that the drawing/action is all digital, which saves me the trouble of scanning my work and then trying to convert the lines, colours and background into a clean digital design. The tablet-pen has two ends: the bottom (smaller) end is for lines and drawing, and the opposite (rounder) end functions as an eraser. Therefore, the tablet affords better digital drawing. In all, the Bamboo Tablet is a fun and effective piece of technology for artists who create digital drawings and works. I don’t know what I’d do without it!

An object that I hate would have to be our old toaster oven. (I do not know what model this is…it’s that old!)

While it is a fairly useful at cooking frozen fries and chicken and making toast, there are lots of things that I find irritating about it. For one, the opening is extremely small height wise. Obviously it’s a physical constraint so the user doesn’t over-pile the oven and possibly break it, which I don’t mind. However, the inside and surrounding frame of the opening are made of metal, and are extremely hot after heating up. The oven rack is also metal and becomes hot even after toasting a piece of bread! Another issue which relates to this one is that to toast, you have to insert the bread farther back into the toaster, otherwise it won’t toast well. So, we have a piece of toast lodged way back in this thing, surrounded by a metal frame and a very hot oven rack below it. It’s a death trap for any hand reaching inside to claim it’s breakfast! I’ve had my fingers burned from this thing way to many times for my liking. Another reason why I dislike the toaster oven (as if burnt fingers wasn’t enough) is because there is no timing system to the oven. You place your meal inside, set the temperature correctly, and must sit around until you think it’s done. If you wander off for a bit while you wait and forget to check on your food, it will keep on cooking. In fact, the only possible way to know if your food is done cooking or not is by the smell: if it’s strong enough, it’s probably done.

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.