Monday, November 26, 2007

Playing Paco Underhill

1. I went into Munchie Mart. This store is targeted toward college students and general young consumers.

2. a. The store appears bright and inviting. As with most liquor stores, they advertise alcohol with bright, exciting signs.
b. They have upbeat pop or rock music. This is most likely to appeal to the young consumer.
c. Everything is out in the open to see. Nothing is hidden.
d. Shiny floor.. always good.
e. Bright, flashy, beer and liquor signs. Neon signs draw the young customers in. Even if you have a short attention span, you can't help but notice them.
f. The cashier area is right at the front, with helpful people at the ready.

3. They want to project an exciting, convenient liquor store that appeals to the young consumer. They do this very effectively with bright signs and a funny name. Ask any K student about Munchie mart and they'll have no complaints.

4. People tend to go into Munchie Mart with a purpose. However, almost everyone gets distracted by flashy advertisements and ends up buying more than they intended.

5. I find it hilarious that all a liquor store needs to do to attract young consumers is to play off of their short attention spans. Most people walk in to Munchie Mart, mesmerized by overwhelmingly bright, neon signs and flashy adverstisements.

Friday, November 16, 2007


1. Packaging is deceptive. Have you ever bought something that was buried in the middle of packaging that was ten times the size of the product? Odds are you have. Companies often use massive packaging for small products so that the consumer believes that they're getting more than they actually are. I find that electronic products, in particular, always seem like they're packaged with numerous accessories because their packages are so unecessarily large. What's even more frustrating for the consumer is that there's no way of knowing whether the packaging is deceptive or if the product and its accessories really are that large.

2. Over packaging is one of the main causes of litter. As discussed in the first article, our oceans are getting more and more polluted thanks to plastic packaging. The problem is that because plastic packaging is so cheap, companies neglect their recycling duties, instead taking the cheaper route of simply producing new plastic packaging. Germany's policy of forcing the companies to be responsible for the entire life of their packaging is not only a great step toward solving the problem of waste, but also sets a great example for the rest of the world. The only way to make these companies care about stopping pollution is to make it their own personal problem. Once they suffer financially for not recycling, they'll undoubtedly start caring.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Product Packaging

1. Packaging is an extremely important part of product marketing. Very often the reason we buy the products that we do is that we are captivated by appealing packaging. As the article mentioned, browsing around a grocery store, the only way a new shopper can decide which products are best is by judging the packaging. This is especially true in the case of products like water, a product which doesn't change one bit from brand to brand. So why do we still buy the brand name water? It's because we're drawn in by packaging... Personally, I buy brand name cheeses because I love cheese and want to get the best cheese possible. Yet I've tried the generic brands' cheeses, and they taste exactly the same as the more expensive brand names; still, somehow it's second nature for me to go for Sargento..

2. Iconic packaging: Apple products, red bull, Hershey's, Kleenex - All of these brands have recognizable, iconic packaging that signifies quality and reliability for the consumer.

3. I have a major usability issue with the packaging of electronics. Typically they'll be a combination of plastic and cardboard surrounding the product. The problem is that every time I try to rip the cardboard off the plastic there remains a thin layer of cardboard. At this point (pretty much every time I try to open this type of packaging), I simply stab something through the cardboard and risk damaging the product.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Web page article

1. This article reverts back to Norman's overall message in the Design of Everyday Things, that the goal of the designer is ultimately to making things easy for the user. The article talks about how web-designers often stray away from this by using overly flashy graphics or by distracting the user with advertisements, etc. Just like designing a product, designing a web page requires the designer to always keep the user in mind.

2. The article makes a number of points which help the reader realize what makes an important web page. The author emphasizes that a designer must understand that web pages are meant to satisfy the needs of the user, not the designer. He also mentions that a well-designed web page should allow "someone from mars" to understand its purpose in four seconds. This ties right into his point about making everything on the pages straightforward and user friendly. Don't bog down the user with advertisements and marketing; this will not help the user. Overall the article explains to the reader that a good web page should look impressive, but also be informative and easy to navigate.

3. List of important design factors:
1. Ease of use
2. Visual appeal
3. Linking to other important sites
4. Easy navigation
5. Make things clear
6. Focus on the user's needs

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blog posts

1. In his post, Brandon does a great job of using what we've learned in class to question the devices around him. He mentions the poor mapping on both his remote control and microwave, something that Norman tells us is the hallmark of a bad design. Brandon also talks about the identically sized butons on his remote control, a poor use of shapes by the designer. It's incredibly useful to keep design principles in mind, so that you can recognize good and bad design.

2. I can relate to Alex' post. I've definately picked up products (controllers, etc.) that just immediately feel right. Ergonomics have such a strong influence on our outlook on a particular product. If a device eels comfortable and right, we'll be more willing and eager to learn how to operate it.

3. Robert's post brings up something that has been on my mind throughout this class. Before taking design intelligence, any time I ran into a product that I couldn't figure out, I simply worked harder to learn how to work it. Never would I consider that my problems were due to poor design, rather, I blamed my own incompetence. After all, I thought, it's a mass produced device designed by professionals; how could it be wrong? But throughout this class I've come to realize that bad design exists in a number of products, and that it's my responsiblity to discourage it, not cope with it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Keep it simple stupid

Simplicity is the essence of good design. Often when I'm shopping for something, I'm most impressed by the product which displays a ridiculous amount of features in a chaotic layout. Call me crazy, but the more buttons (unecessary or not) I see, the more useful I initially imagine the product will be. I recognize how irrational this reaction to flashy products is, yet my mind is somehow tainted; I need a constant reminder of how well-designed products actually look: simple and approachable. My initial reaction to products couldn't be worse, but as long as I keep in mind what is most important - simplicity and usability- I'm able to find good design amidst the glitz and glamour.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Kate's Blogpost

1. I was drawn to Kate's article because it is quite relevant to one of the topics brought up in The Design of Everyday Things: award winning products. I was very interested to see whether or not these award winning products were undeserving of their awards, as Norman seems to tell us in his book.
2. I was very interested to see that Norman is right to some extent. Although many of these award winning products are quite pleasing to the eye and are undoubtedly revolutionary, they appear somewhat intimidating to the user. They may have won design awards, but I'm not so sure they would earn usability awards. With that said, I was encouraged by the prevalence of eco-design products. If designers continue to push the envelope on eco-design, many of our future environmental problems could be solved.
3. This article does a great job of reminding us of Norman's point about the focus of design awards. If you can resist the urge to be mesmorized by the flashy appearance of these award winning designs, you can recognize the problem of usability in many of the products shown.

Kate's Blog: