Welcome to my point of view! :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Le Dernier Poste

No articles this time, all I will write here will be in reference to my memories and experiences of this class.

1.  What seminar readings, exercises, or assignments were most challenging, interesting, or rewarding for you? Why?

The readings I liked the most were the ones by Norman; The Design of Everyday Things and Emotional Design. I actually do not know why they were more interesting than others, it's probably just the concept. Also, in both articles rather talking about things I didn't know or I hadn't thought about, Norman talked about 'everyday things' — common knowledge everyone has but never names — and defined terms to address them. Maybe this was what made them interesting; being introduced a professional perspective to things that I was already familiar with.
When it comes to picking the best exercise, of course, It was the egg drop! (Or was it an assignment?) Either way, it was fun! And it wasn't just fun, we were introduced to a concept through it which lead to a discussion.
I also enjoyed talking about retail store design, how people make you 'get in there and buy stuff'. That really raised awareness in all of us, I believe. Now when I walk into a store, I check for the things that Paco had talked about. The discussion was also interesting until people started talking about store I had no idea about, I felt like an alien.

2.  What are the most important things you learned in this semester?

As I have said, the concept Underhill introduces were pretty important, and interesting. In addition to learning from a reading, I learned from experiencing. The group presentation for the 9th week was challenging but a very educational assignment. I had done group presentations but this was the most serious and the most intense one, however, I really liked how my group did. Especially, meeting at least two times before every deadline.
3.  How might you use this learning in the future?

I believe, in any job I will have in the future, I can and will use knowledge I acquired in this seminar. It was really mind-opening and didactic. 

I would also like to add something. It wasn't only when people talked about retail stores that I felt like an alien. Most of the time I didn't have much of an idea what people were talking about. People mostly talked about American culture and its elements, like Forever 21, American Eagle... I know, that that is the culture of most of the participants of the class and I cannot expect them to talk about the stuff in Europe, but still it was though for me to follow. I really had a hard time finding something to say, and also, I always debated whether to talk about something from back home thinking people would be like; 'what is he talking about?' Therefore my discussion participation was impaired. Both that I didn't understand what people were saying and that what I had to say would be alien to them... So, I would not advice this class to international students, it is do-able, but still a hard time.

Thank you for the quarter! In general I had a great time! Best seminar ever!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Everybody is going GREEN!

It is still the 19th of November; I hope this does not fall into late submission :)

The article for the last group presentation is The Secret of Turning Consumers Green by Stephanie Simon.
  1. What are the author's main points in the article?
    I believe the author has one main point. This main point is that peer pressure ads are very strong in directing crowds. He especially focuses on this technique's effect on going green.
  2. Do you think you would be more affected by peer pressuring advertisements than advertisements promoting green?  
    To be honest, I believe I would be more affected by peer pressuring advertisements. I also believe that not only on this topic, but on many other topics peer pressure is very important. Peer pressure is a very powerful tool in making someone do something. Most people, although they would rather not accept it, are easily affected by what the crowd does.
  3. Give a personal story of you buying a product because of its environmental design.
    After learning that spray deodorants contribute to ozone depletion, and after studying ozone depletion in chemistry, I bought less spray deodorants but more stick deodorants.
  4. Give specific examples of products becoming environmentally-friendly.
    • The new Hybrid Cars
    • Plastics bags changing into environmentally-friendly bags
    • Water bottles
    • Household items like cleaning items
PS: I tried to write answers as long as I could to these questions, but the way they are asked makes it very hard to have a long and information-full answer. Especially the first three questions can (and most likely to be) answered by one sentence.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Mountain and The Wave

Its time for my group's presentation! Here are the answers to our questions, and the article is "Specialty clothing retails this fall want to let shoppers know that they, too, are a brand" by Jennifer Steinhauer.

  • Select a quote from this article and explain how it relates to clothing advertising and brand identity.
    " 'Today brands are built emotionally,' Ms. Lastrina said. 'You have to get a message across and show what the brand ideology means to her life.' " is almost the whole point in this article compressed into one sentence. Also, it is very relative to clothing advertising and brand identity. This shows how important the reflective elements of the design and the company is. The products aside, the image of the company is very important. Companies need to address the people prospective costumers in the emotional aspect also. What a brand stands for, what its iedology means to someone is very important in advertising.
  • What are some examples of clothing companies that have iconic advertisements? Include an image of one of your examples and explain what it says about the brand. Who are they marketing to? What are they selling (both physically and reflectively)?
    I believe Quiksilver has iconic advertisements and an iconic image.

This is an example of an Quiksilver ad. The clothing is almost not visible. Obviously the guy is wearing some Quiksilver products but the main things on this picture are the board, which stands for surfing, and the wave/ the sea. The company is an icon for boarders; surfers, snowboarders, skateboarders... Although they sell all different kinds of clothing gear; from t-shirts and sweatshirts to wallets and bags, they promote themselves through ads based on one of these boarding sports. Their tactic can be perceived as just renewing and polishing their iconic image. They tell you; "if you want to be like a boarder, if you want to have their style, or if you are a boarder, you have to wear Quiksilver.
  • How has brand image influenced your decision to buy or not buy clothing? Do the clothes define the people, or do the people define the clothes?
    Never a brand image made me buy one of their products. For an example, (I know they are for girls, but even if there was an equivalent to them for men), I would never buy an Ugg. I do not care if everyone has them, I do not care if they are popular. I just dislike their looks. I see Ugg's as Medieval clothing; like a sheep fur wrapped around one's feet.
    Furthermore, I believe clothing defines people. Or maybe defining is a very strong word at this point. But from the cloths they wear, assumptions can be made on people, and just like any other assumption these need not be true. However, everyone is going to keep on making assumptions and assuming their through. Therefore, the clothing one wears has an effect on how one is viewed by others.

Monday, November 15, 2010

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

Answering questions on Cookie Cutter Housing: Wrong Mix For Subdivisions by Rick Harrison.

  1. What are the author's main points in this article?
    The main point of Harrison is that he dislikes Cookie Cutter Housing. His distaste aside, he has a few other key points. He believes in that ordinances should be reward-based instead of being minimum-based. The designers should think about the consumers, the people who will actually "live" in those houses. Another point Harrison emphasizes is that people should not be afraid to complain. He also points out that the area use of subdivisions is not successful.
  2. How do you feel about subdivisions after reading this article? Are they a positive addition to city layouts or is urban sprawl a negative phenomenon? Why do you feel this way?
    If I am right with the meaning of the word subdivision, there are some subdivisions I have seen that host the exact houses all through the itself. I believe that these somehow give the feeling of security and belonging. I sometimes like these, but I now also agree with Rick Harrison. If the case is more similar to what he speaks of, like, same subdivisions, same houses all through the city, then he is right. However, the subdivisions I am familiar with are mostly grouped. Each subdivision consists of similar houses but the houses are different among different subdivisions, which gives the area variety I like.
  3. Do you live in or near a subdivision? What about the author's viewpoints are true or false, in your view (how is this article relevant to what you know?)
    In Turkey, I do not live in a subdivision. On the opposite I live in the middle of the city, right next to the actual downtown and pretty close to the "social downtown". However, I have seen some subdivisions, which I have talked about in the previous question. I believe that answers this question also. The author has decent points on the concept he is talking about, however, not all subdivisions are like that, like I have said.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Don't Click Here"

An article on why web-pages fail with a lot of examples; "Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015" by Vincent Flanders. Here are some Q&A on it, as my assignment:
  1. How does this reading relate to the concept of user-focused design that we have discussed in class?
    This article is all about user-focused design. We basically said that things need to be easy to understand and easy to use for the user. This article says exactly the same. The second point of Flanders, "[people should] figure out what the site is about within four seconds", is very alike Norman's point that everyday objects' how-to-use should be understood in a few seconds. Almost all the other points of Flanders' article is about easy use: Links with explanation, user's needs before yours, not keeping the user from going where he wants to go, well-built navigation, etc...
  2. What points do you feel are most important?
    I feel like point 6 is the most important one. NO WEB-PAGE SHOULD EVER BE LIKE THAT!  I also believe that aiming the web-page towards the user and meeting his needs rather than the designer's or the company's need is highly important, since the user is the one who is going to use the web-site, eh? Point #4 is also crucial, since I can recall many times I was frustrated that I could not get to the end of something (like shopping) because the site would keep throwing things at me... Furthermore, a web-page needs to be light-weighted! Especially, when there are a lot of graphics the text loads first and while waiting for the graphics to load the "naked text" looks very awkward and uninviting. Also, people (like me) might just get bored and close the window/tab.
  3. Create your own list of important design factors for a web-page.
    Although being full of himself, Flanders' article is great. I believe it covers every point on the subject, I have nothing else to say but accepting his list as my "factors for a web-page".

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything: 42

As almost always the case is, I am assigned an reading assignment and questions on it. However, this time, I have four questions at hand, rather than the general three. For this post, the article is The Future of Retail by Nicholas Negroponte.

  1. Does Negroponte explicitly state his thesis? If so, identify it. If not, write your own thesis statement for his essay.

    Negroponte does not have an thesis explicitly stated in his article. My thesis statement for his article would be: "Retail is going to shift into digital in the future because it is, or will be with a few changes, more convenient than what retail is now.
  2. How does this reading relate to Norman's concepts of user-focused design?

    Negroponte's main reason for thinking in such way is that online shopping is more user-friendly. The buyer does not need to go to the store, does not need to walk around the store, does not need to carry the stuff he bought back, etc... Also, if the store does not have the product or if they are out, the user saves a trip. Negroponte also implies that the price of the products online are cheaper than in a store. These all apply to Norman's user-focused design concept: according to Negroporte, online shopping is more friendly to the user in every way. He further states that it is more convenient for the stores to switch to online retail, since they won't need to pay rent anymore.
  3. Negroponte published this in 1998; to what extent do his ideas remain relevant today?
    Negroponte's ideas have became true for today in the core. People are inclined more towards online shopping, however, not in the extend he predicts. Negroponte almost says that all the retail stores are going to be closed, however, if not more, there are as many retail stores and retail store shoppers as there was in 1998. His point about the bookstores is quite a description for the situation today. However, his predictions fail when it comes to online food shopping: we do not have refrigerator-mailboxes. It might be because people still like the physically feeling or seeing their product, or another reason, but online shopping for food is not a big trend. Negroponte further says peer-to-peer buying and selling will be more popular since people will want to buy homemade food. Yes, people dare more careful with what they eat now, however, rather than peer-to-peer homemade food shopping, we have huge companies selling organic food. Overall, he does successfully predict that there will be an in increase in the use of online shopping, however his guess is way too higher than the situation nowadays.
  4. What predictions would you make about the Future of Retail?
    I do not believe there will be drastic changes in retail. There will most likely be alterations. Since the humankind is more caring towards the environment now, to save energy almost through every aspect of retail shopping, online shopping might become more popular. On the other hand, people will still want to feel their clothes or food, these things will still be bought from stores. Other items however, like electronics, might be bought online more. Also, computers and internet access will be even more common in the future, which will affect this topic; probably increase the popularity of online shopping.

Monday, November 8, 2010

D town K

Last Friday, our task was to evaluate Downtown Kalamazoo. As we were assigned to do, we started with Burdick Street. A kind friend drove us there. Lead by GPS, we entered the street from the northern side. However, not soon after we had to make a turn since we were facing the part of the Burdick Street which was pedestrian-only. So we went all the way to the Kalamazoo Public Library and parked the car at where Lovell St. intersects with Burdick St. We got out of the car and started walking towards north, after we passed South St., I could feel the atmosphere of a Main Street. Simply, the detail and effort in the design of the street was saying "I'm the Main Street!". The red tiles caught my eye as we walked in. The tone of the red was perfect. Not very shiny of a red that has the feeling of wealth and showing of, but the mediocre red that is cozy and welcoming. The two-story, red-brick buildings contributed to that feeling. Except some buildings (like the indoor mall) the design of the buildings were going well together and creating a feeling of togetherness. The indoor mall's exterior was grey, and modern in design, which was standing out. I did not like this, believing in that it did not suit into that atmosphere. The mixture of the retail stores was well done. The street was home to a good mix of clothing stores, restaurants and miscellaneous shops. Combined with the emptiness of the streets, the types of the retail stores, the old design of the street as a whole gave the feeling that this place was for adults. To support my point I can say that I saw no other young person other than our friends evaluating the place. The street also contained benches and trashcans. Keeping mind that the street was aimed at adults, this was nice, since they might need to sit and rest. The vegetation was also appealing. In addition to contributing to the welcoming and friendly atmosphere, the short trees places through the sidewalk supplied shade to the benches and the people sitting on them. The street was open to car traffic at most of the parts, however, I do not believe this hindered the friendly atmosphere since the road was thin; only one lane. Every now and then a car wood pass, making a new sound, adding a new sight and breaking the monotonicity of the street; keeping it alive. Also, this made it easier for the shoppers to cross the street, making the shopping experience more convenient. As a whole, with the two-story red-brick buildings, with the vegetation and not very crowded pavements, it was as if the street was hugging the people on it.

My first recommendation will be to modify the indoor mall so it will suit the general design. Also, the color (green) of the benches can be changed. Lastly, it might be better to contribute to the feeling of safety through a way Whyte proposes.

In his book City, William Whyte says that a crowded Main Street is better since it draws people, and since people like other people. Downtown Kalamazoo fails in such sense. The streets are very empty, and with the wind blowing the leaves it gives the feeling of danger and loneliness.