Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Final Post

1) Looking back on the entire class, I feel that the combination of the two papers we wrote were the most challenging and rewarding assignments we did. First, the Wikipedia paper challenged us to take a neutral stance on an issue and forced us to be objective. This was a difficult task, to understand the argument and have a want to take one side, but instead remain neutral. The final paper was a nice step up from the Wikipedia paper, it allowed us to take a side of a certain issue and present a logical and substantiated argument. It was helpful to remain objective in the first paper, and finally take a stand on the argument in the final paper.

2,3) The most important thing I learned in class were discussion skills. We spent a lot of time analyzing not only the roles of people in a discussion, but we practiced them and even found people who fit the roles well. Discussion skills will always be useful, especially if I have a job that involves a lot of meetings. Being able to communicate with people and understand what they’re conveying is an important skill that will come in handy in many different facets in life. Outside of class, the most important thing I learned was the ability to critically read and analyze many different types of literature. As a class, we read a variety of different articles, ranging from shopping to the design of the iPod, but the common denominator in all of this was the ability to understand, discuss and defend our points of view. All of the aforementioned skills will be useful throughout our entire lives.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wikipedia page

Here's the link:


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Architectural Design

1) An example of architectural design that I consider to be an epic failure is the Sonic that currently opened near my house. The Sonic could not be designed worse, especially when dealing with a lot of automobile traffic. The Sonic has a row of parking spaces for people who want to be served while sitting in their car. The idea is a well thought out, and actually would work well if it weren’t for the drive through. The drive through line directly conflicts with the path to be served in your car, and if you want to go through the drive through, you have to maneuver through the entire parking lot one and a half times. Also, most fast food restaurants have cars exit through the drive through, but in this case the exit is in the back, and if you mistakenly enter the drive through, there is room enough for only one car, so you have to wait in the drive through line to exit. Cars are likely to enter the drive through line accidently because there are no signs depicting which way to drive. The behavior design of this Sonic is terrible, however from the street, the Sonic is lit up and looks very nice. It has the eye-catching persona and probably gets many customers just from the way its looks, and the name of the company.

2) The building on the Kalamazoo campus that I chose to analyze was Dewing Hall. There are many entrances to Dewing, four to be specific. If you enter either of the side doors, you will find just a set of stairs, pretty plain and uninformative. If you were a non-student this might be misleading and confusing. Also the registrar’s office is not well labeled and quite frankly hard to find. This is not good because many students need the assistance of the registrar and the office is hard to find it may frustrate or discourage kids from seeing the registrar. The building is also a relatively tall one, and if entering the building from a side entrance, one may have to walk up four flights of stairs. This is quite tedious, and the design of the elevator is quite poor behaviorally. For starters the elevator is ridiculously slow, and incredibly small. There are a lot of students who are either late/lazy and this hike up four flights of stairs is both time and energy consuming. I also noticed that if a handicapped person were to use the elevator, it would be an extremely tight fit, if the wheelchair fit at all. Most of the doors in Dewing have strangely tight hinges, and are easy to open at first, but once the door is opened past the half way point it is very hard to hold open. It is almost as if the door is pushing against the person who has it open. There have been numerous occasions where I have either ran into the door or the door has hit me in the butt as I walked through. Finally Dewing hall is not the most viscerally attractive building. The building has many neutral colors, which are bland and almost annoying to look at. However from the outside, the building looks nice, historic looking and gives off the impression of an Ivy League school.

3) The major flaw in the current architectural design process is that the user is not consulted in the design of the building. Heimsath states that, “Behavioral data are not currently developed and quantified for a building or planning project, nor is feedback a part of the process.” Feedback is an important step in the design process, something we have studied in class, and without it most designs are not as good as they could be. The user should be consulted at an earlier than they are now, which is after the building is built. The designers need to actually use the design themselves, and make sure everything works out, not according to the rules of thumb.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


1) “If we believe what advertising agencies (and the companies they make advertisements and commercials for) tell us, we have to conclude that advertising works in strange and mysterious ways and that although nobody is sure precisely how it works, it does have an impact - though its power to shape any given individual’s behavior is (or seems to be) really quite minimal.

This passage speaks of people who believe most everything they are told. There are people who will believe anything they hear, see or read online, which is unfortunate because in the end, these specific people usually end up with false facts. Arthur Asa Berger is saying that if we as the consumers believe everything advertisers convey, then they will have a large influence over us.

2) One key point of this chapter is advertising through television commercials. Berger gives data of how much a thirty-second commercial can cost, and the cost is usually between $300,000 and $400,000. These costs show that advertising agencies and companies will go to extreme lengths to get their product out there and it also shows how effective commercial advertising is. Berger also discusses how television has actually shaped our culture, and how “television is the most powerful socializing and enculturating force in society.”

3) Psychological understanding is very important in the field of advertising. It is important because the designers of the advertisement need to understand how the human psyche operates to be able to manipulate customers. If the designers have no understand of what will influence people subconsciously the advertisements will be ineffective.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fashion Design

1) There are many reasons as to why fashion is reflective. One reasons discussed by Jones is immodesty or sexual attraction. People often use clothes to attract others and to flaunt their availability. People also dress in order with their social standing or the social group to which they belong. People feel the need to express themselves through their clothing, some people use it as an outlet for their creativity and personality. Clothing is something that people have control over, they can choose to express themselves however they wish through clothes.

2) Fashion is constantly changing. The reason behind this change is because it is certain peoples job to be ahead of the curve and trendsetting. In order to be ahead of the curve, new designs and new trends need to be developed and set. I also believe that geographic location influences time. America is often said to be years behind Europe in a fashion sense, and styles that are popular currently in Europe will most likely be popular here in America in a few years time. Even more specifically within United States boarders, New York fashion will obviously be more advanced than the fashion styles in Montana or North Dakota.

3) Some principles that should be followed when designing clothes that Jones outlines in her writing are price, quality, fit and comfort. She also outlines more reflective principles such as brand name and current trends.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


1) The thesis of this essay about simplicity by Donald Norman is:

“Because the people want the features. Because simplicity is a myth whose time has past, if it ever existed.”

2) Support of the thesis:

2a) “Make it simple and people won’t buy. Given a choice, they will take the item that does more. Features win over simplicity, even when people realize that it is accompanied by more complexity.”

2b) “Marketing rules – as it should, for a company that ignores marketing is a company soon out of business. Marketing experts know that purchase decisions are influenced by feature lists, even if the buyers realize they will probably never use most of the features. Even if the features confuse more than they help.”

2c)“Would you pay more money for a washing machine with less controls? In the abstract, maybe. At the store? Probably not.”

3) In a world driven by technological advancement, people will choose simplicity over complexity.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Downtown Kalamazoo

1) Downtown Kalamazoo’s business area is designed in a functional way for shoppers. The streets can be easily navigated on foot, the sidewalks are wide, and the stores appropriately labeled. Along Burdick Street, the main shopping portion, the buildings are fairly new and have a modern look. Once the shopper walks away from Burdick Street, they will notice that the buildings look much older and more run down; also the safe atmosphere is eliminated once off Burdick Street. The streets are also one-way streets, which can create confusion for drivers who do not know the city.

2) The city of Kalamazoo should improve the trash system of its downtown area. The trash containers are very poorly designed, they are not open enough at the top and this can lead to littering and also people attempting to throw away trash but missing the container or the item falling out. Another suggestion is the city should improve is traffic flow. The streets are mainly one way, and traffic on Burdick Street could make people who are walking on the street feel uncomfortable. I noticed that the road seemed closer to the sidewalk on Burdick Street than anywhere else in the city. The city could make Burdick Street pedestrian only traffic, and create more two-way streets elsewhere throughout the city. A third improvement that the city of Kalamazoo could make to its downtown area is to renovate some of the older, run-down buildings that exist on the streets that surround Burdick Street. Revamping the buildings would have many desirable side effects such as an improved safety atmosphere, the attraction of more business to the particular buildings, and they could be potential generators for other businesses in the proximity.

3) “It was a very bad trash container. The opening at the top was so small that much of the trash aimed at it fell on the lid, from which it would soon be redistributed to the street by the slightest breeze. Because of the small opening, furthermore, the trash that did get inside was not compacted the way it usually is, and a relatively small volume of trash would be enough to clog the opening. All subsequent trash people would place on the lid, now functioning as a little dispenser.”

I found the waste system in Downtown Kalamazoo to be very interesting. First of all, there were not enough trash containers that were visible to the people. This is frustrating people who do not want to litter, but are forced to carry their trash inordinate distances to dispose of it properly. Secondly, the trash containers that were visible, were poorly designed. The opening to put trash in was not nearly large enough, and rather than being on top, the openings were on the side of the lid. Lastly, I did not see one recycling container. Recycling containers have a positive reflective design, and Kalamazoo can represent to its citizens and other people who are there to shop, that they care about the environment and are doing what they can to protect it.