Conceptual Design

What does the product do?

More is Better: Why iPad doesn’t Satisfy Everyone

Swiss Army iPad

There have been a lot of complaints flying around about how iPad doesn’t do this, and iPad can’t do that, and iPad won’t work with that other thing. Some people are so obsessed about all the things that iPad isn’t capable of doing that they overlook all that it can do. By looking for failure, these reviewers lost sight of what iPad is all about. There are plenty of people who are defending iPad out there, so I was interested in why the people who dislike iPad so passionately feel the way they do. We, the people, tend to make our decisions based on little snippets of information that we find to be true and productive for solving various problems. “If something is steaming, it must be hot.” “Big things fall harder and faster.” “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” “If one is good, two is even better.” “If it looks clean…” “Little kids don’t lie.” “If it’s natural, it’s not chemical.” “Summer is when the Earth is closest to the sun.” “One can’t get fat eating vegetables.” These are the building blocks of our intuitions. We are all walking encyclopedias of folksy wisdom—common sense explanations that are consciously and unconsciously…

Do we want to be citizen or customers.

Article: Knight, M.  (2008).  “Do we want to be citizen or customers.”  CNN. Retrieved on 21 June, 2008. http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/06/12/Rykwert/index.html Summary: In this interview, Joseph Rykwert, an architectural historian, offers his view of the city and the transitions it has gone through. He points out that most people don’t like the new building and skyscrapers being constructed, often mocking them with sexual connotation. In the past skyscrapers symbolized the energy within an urban environment, yet as more and more are being built, buildings are now more of an eye sore. He talks about how gates communities and certain buildings (whether they are under high security or are just constructed to be uninviting) cut through public space, taking away a section of the city.  The need for gated communities is a recent phenomenon, and is a reflection of the growing inequalities of our society. He comments that tall buildings built after the 60’s don’t do a good job of integrating with the streets.   Their entrance halls have become less and less welcoming, characterized by tighter space, less public displays, and more security.  This is because the streets were no longer viewed as a safe place, which was reflected in the design…

Social Gaming Picks Up Momentum.

Article: Lee, E.  (2008).  “Social Gaming Picks Up Momentum.”  SF Gate. Retrieved on 31 March, 2008. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/31/BU5GVSA3F.DTL&tsp=1 1. Casual games built on top of social networks, known as social gaming, is becoming a new way for friends to reconnect and share past time each other. It has attracted users who were previously turned off by online gaming because players are playing against their friends instead of strangers. Because people are playing against their friends, there is less of a chance that the losing side will simply leave the game, which also makes the game more enjoyable.  Playing games is also a way to show how a friendship is important, and doesn’t require having a topic or a conversation. 2. Some games are modeled after existing board games such as Risk and Scrabble, or even role playing games on consoles. However, the social network has allowed new game play to be developed, taking advantage of the network’s inherent social value.  Friends for Sale, for instance, allows players to use their friends as stock and trade them. 3. Another innovation is people don’t need to be online at the same time to play a game together.  One could race a friend at…

The Seed of Apple’s Innovation.

Borrows, P. (2004). “The Seed of Apple’s Innovation.” Business Week. Retrieved on 12 October 2004. http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/oct2004/nf20041012_4018_db083.htm This article is an excerpt of an interview with Steve Jobs following his return from work from cancer surgery.  The interview focuses on Apple’s innovation process and how they differ from other technology companies. Jobs points out how HP’s philosophy of creating great products influenced Apple in its early days. Apple was at the forefront of innovation when it created the first PC and desktop GUI in the 70’s.  But because Apple had achieved a certain monopoly in the PC market, it shifted from an innovation/products company to a sales/marketing company.  This ultimately led to the Apple’s stagnant growth in the years before he returned. Jobs explains that people are loyal to Mac because Apple hires the right people for the job.  Their employees work tirelessly to ensure the highest quality of their products, often sacrificing sleep and holidays working on hardware and software details.  From a consumer’s point of view, this translates to enjoyable experience throughout the entire usage of the product.  Even when customers become stuck or try something unfamiliar, they can quickly resolve the situation because Apple considered and designed for it. Another interesting point Jobs makes is the…

Teaching Boys and Girls Separately

Article: Weil, E. (2008). “Teaching Boys and Girls Separately.” NY Times. Visited on 2 March 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/magazine/02sex3-t.html The article explores the potential impact that differences in emotional and/or cognitive development in boys and girls have on a child’s ability to learn.  In order to address these inherent difference and subsequently the ‘chronic achievement gap between richer and poorer students and between white and minority students’, one school of thought promotes gender segregation in schools. The most outspoken proponent of this solution and the main focus of this article is Leonard Sax, a former family physician with a Ph.D. in psychology. According to Sax, the basis for the need to separate boys and girls is biological as opposed to social. He sites psychological as well as neurobiological studies which utilize brain scan technology. The need to segregate boys and girls in the classroom is rooted, according to Sax, in biological differences such as: •     boys do not hear nor smell as well as girls •     boys and girls respond differently to different shades of light •     boys are more apt than girls to see action •     boys are not as capable as girls of recognizing subtleties in…

Miles of Aisles for a Gallon of Milk?

Article: Carless, W. (2008) “Miles of Aisles for a Gallon of Milk?” The New York Times. Visited on 10 September 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/business/10grocery.html Conceptual Design: In a world of giant grocery stores where consumers have to make mentally-taxing decisions on every product they consider purchasing, create a grocery store that caters to grab-and-go shopping patterns for prepared meals and a few items rather than the big shopping trip for the week. Tailor the experience to “time-starved” shoppers. The average person spends 22 minutes shopping which is not enough time to see all 60,000 products in the store. Interaction Design: User surveys have shown that consumers would rather have high-quality products they can trust than 50 feet of ketchups they aren’t sure about. The store should offer fewer choices to speed decision making on the consumer’s part. Personal extrapolations to Interaction Design: Optimize for quick sales and discourage long shopping trips which would in turn result in a consumer having a lot at the register to purchase which slows everyone else down. Interface Design: Lay out the store with fewer aisles, stocked with only one or a few kinds of each item (one spaghetti sauce that is really good as opposed to 50…

Mobile phones expose human habits.

Article: Fildes, J. (2008). “Mobile phones expose human habits.” BBC News. Retrieved 4 June, 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7433128.stm Summary: As the title suggests this article concerns the discovery of human mobility habits via the use of mobile phones. In other words over 100, 000 mobile phones were tracked in an attempt to build a comprehensive picture of human movements. The study showed, that humans are creatures of habit, mostly visiting the same few spots time and time again, and that most people move less than 10km on regular basis. The study is seen as important as it can help when assessing the situation during a viral outbreak such as the Avian Flu and in the forecasting of traffic. Previously similar studies had been performed with GPS which proved to expensive, surveys which proved unreliable and dollar bills. Dollar bills were tracked in order to reconstruct human movements however this seemed only to prove random patterns and did not give a complete picture of people s movements. The phone tracking worked differently. Each time a participant made or received a call or text message, the location of the mobile base station relaying the data was recorded. The results showed that people moved around…