Sunday, February 26, 2012

[ia] collection sorting methods

after exploring possible sorting methods for my collections website (as you can see, marbles), i've come up with the following:

divide by classification (colors/texture)

divide by opacity (translucent/somewhat translucent/solid) 

sort by contrast

sort by size

i have to narrow it down to three, so i'm thinking i'll probably take out the first one - dividing by classification. however, if the way i decide to do the website would look better having them all the same size rather than different sizes, i may swap that one in instead of sorting by size. 

sidenote: if i had an iphone, these photos would be much better quality. -_-

Friday, February 24, 2012

[type 4] experiment 3

so i ended up not getting as much response with this experiment as i have with my past experiments. i only heard back from a few people, and 2 out of those 3 just basically changed the colors around of the letters in the logos. i did have one, however, that had a more unique approach. she saw the word "nike" as a shape. here's the logo she created based off the shape she saw:

because not too many seemed very interested in trying to design logos based off their synesthesia perceptions (or this could have very well been a busy week for everyone), i've decided to take a new approach. based on their reactions to the other logos, i think i might make a few different logos that avoid things they didn't like. i'll then send them a few different options and see if that fits their perceptions better.

another thing i'm going to do with this along side with my next experiment is create a blog specifically for this project. this will enable the people i've been talking to to comment and see the reactions of others. i think this could turn out to be very interesting and promote more interest in participating with me on this project. the blog link is:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

[info arch] wurman reading response.

i found the reading by wurman both interesting and helpful. i think that he did a great job in his tsunami analogy illustrating how vast amounts of information are becoming too overwhelming to just let sit. he seemed to already be using his method of comparing new information to information we already know in order to help us better understand it.

the LATCH acronym came to be very helpful when considering ways to organize my marbles. because this is such an easy way to remember how to organize data, i can definitely se myself utilizing it in the future.

i also enjoyed how this article was written in the 90's and how he was stating that by now, information architecture will be a fundamental aspect of graphic design. although i completely agree with him, i'm not sure that enough schools are focusing on this huge importance of our ability as graphic designers. at least our kcai program knows what their doing. (:

Monday, February 20, 2012

[user] analysis techniques


affinity diagram:

task analysis:


[info arch] usa today redesign

my redesign for usa today is really focused on the social aspect. with all articles comes an instant feed to talk with other members/friends about the article. the user has the option to choose between different groups of people to discuss with. the user can also login to usa today through their twitter or facebook in order to better connect with your friends. this enables them to have a profile where they can post their favorite articles, recommend articles to friends, and view friends' profiles as well. 

another thing i took into account was creating better hierarchy than there is on the actual usa today website. i've created a dominant article based on popularity and was sure to make the secondary articles less cluttered and overwhelming. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

[user] wicca subculture

wicca is a subculture that is a mixture of ancient paganism and witchcraft. while some consider wicca as a religion, many wiccans consider it as more of a lifestyle. they live in a very close relationship to their God, the sun, and their Goddess, the earth. wiccans really focus on communicating with their deities very regularly, and many do five daily devotions. rituals are performed eight times a year where wiccans gather to worship the God and Goddess for the seasons changing, each ritual consisting of different activities.

while wicca is a very flexible religion in that it's different for each member, all wiccans strive for finding a balance between four elements: fire, water, air, and earth. each element represents something different and finding a balance between the four results in the spirit element. to help gain this balance, they utilize magic. while many misinterpret magic (as they misinterpret many things about the culture) as doing spells and chants, the magic they use is much different. wiccan magic has to do with energy and putting the right kind of energy towards what they want to happen. doing so, they can more easily achieve their balance through the guidance of their God and Goddess.

[type 4] logo analysis feedback + what's next

 so before i elaborate on some of the feedback i received from my classmates during presentation today, i figured i'd post a few examples of my findings:

like myself, everybody had a lot of fun with the responses i got to these logos. there's a lot that we've found to be really funny or just interesting. we noticed that a lot of the time people would relate to the letters as 'he' or 'she'. i also noticed that most logos generally had an overall positive or negative response. 

another thing we noticed is how judgmental and outspoken most responses were about their personal opinions and views. it seems to me that each person likes having their voice heard and they finally get the chance to criticize openly based on how they see the world. i can see how this could be frustrating to see logos and other things around you that don't make sense, but it's not something you can really make others see too. 

so, what's the next step? i've decided it would be extremely interesting to see what kind of logos they would design or direct based on their responses/views. i want to leave it pretty open, letting each person choose what logo they think would be fun to direct and giving me a good idea of why they want it like that. if i can build up some logos based on their ideas, i'd like to see how people without synesthesia read the logo. it'll be interesting to find out if the logo makes sense to them or not. i can really see certain things being able to relate, for example someone stated that the 'o' in DOLE looked like it was vomiting. i can see a lot of people seeing that, especially after it being pointed out. because those with synesthesia seem to treat each letter with more respect, i'm really excited to see the turn out.

chris pointed out that because the responses i received were so interesting and vivid, it could turn into a really neat book based on people's views. sort of creating a narrative based on what synesthesia see happening in logos and words. i really like this idea. we'll see what directions my experiments take me, but i think a book in the end could turn out to be extremely fun and interesting to both those with and without synesthesia. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

[type 4] experiment 2 progress

so this week i've decided to make up a new questionnaire that consists of two sets of logos - one highly recognizable section and the other section with logos that are very unknown. i sent these questionnaires out to some contacts that i talked to last time along with some i found on a synesthesia online community.

i asked them to look at the logos they recognized and tell me if they felt the logo fit with the company, why/why not and what they would change about it. then i asked them to take a look at the logos they didn't recognize and judge them similarly, but also explain what kind of company the logo seems associated with.

i sent the emails out tuesday morning, and i began to get a little nervous because i wasn't receiving any responses. i thought maybe the questionnaire i had given them was either frustrating or didn't make sense with their disease. but by wednesday night and thursday i finally started receiving responses, and everyone seemed to really like the questionnaire a lot! one of the girls that answered actually told me that these questionnaires have actually strengthened her synesthesia lately and she's really been enjoying it. neat! 

by thursday night, i've received four different responses. i've decided - both for myself and for my presentation tomorrow - to put the logos and the corresponding comments all together. this has really helped me to compare the different comments and see if i can find any commonalities. while some of the answers were extremely different and often relating to each person's specific synesthesia views, i did come a across some commonalties such as many thinking the ebay logo looked childish and nobody liked the MTV logo. it's probably a little tougher to tell these things with only 4 responses, but i still got many interesting responses, especially based on letter's personalities and how some completely conflicted with the logo's meaning while others fit really well. 

i found that logos that made sense with the person's perception of those letters made them really happy and excited to see a logo that made sense. i bet they get frustrated a lot seeing logos to companies that make no sense. however, this would be a difficult problem to fix since there perceptions are all so different. i did notice that they weren't to bothered when logos where all one color rather than trying to incorporate several different colored letters. 

it'd be interesting to see what types of logo synesthesia patients would design for companies. i wonder if their designs would make sense to the rest of the world, or if it would just confuse us greatly. 

in terms of documenting, i think since this is such a heavily research-based experiment, something either something more like print or a website would be best. actually a website or blog would be the better option since there seems to always be more to find out this condition and it's patients. a website could actually be really interesting cause it could give other syntesthetes the opportunity to share and demonstrate their views to others. perhaps this is even a possibility for a future experiment?

Monday, February 13, 2012

[type 4] experiment 2 direction

so for my next experiment, i've decided to take a closer look to how synesthetes interpret specific things, such as logos. it will be interesting to find if they find conflict in the logos through their colors, letterforms, associated business, etc. i will be developing another questionnaire with a list of logos - some highly recognizable one, others that will be unknown to the viewer. hopefully i can find some commonalities in their responses that can helps us as designers take this condition into account when designing logos.

we were told to better document this experiment as we go, so i'll hopefully be posting frequently about how the experiment is turning out.

[type 4] experiment 1: research

so first experiment i ended up conducting questionnaires with some contacts i found as well as looking up information online and on synesthesia online discussion boards. the more i find out about this condition, the more fascinated with it i become. in my research i found that there are so many different types of synesthesia - even dealing with letterforms alone. in my presentation i included some of these different types, some examples of them, as well as some positive and negative feedback i received from people having synesthesia. i also found some additional discoveries on discussion boards -  such as mixing up letters and numbers due to similar traits, or how synesthetes absolutely hate the google logo.

[user] affinity diagram

wellll, collin and i have all of our interviews finished! about a week ago, we interviewed a woman name erianne and she was extremely helpful. she gave us several different views from the previous information we collected which ended up being great. it helped us to get a wider scope of what the wicca culture is like from two different sides of the spectrum. based on our research so far, we've developed this affinity diagram to better organize it. 

[info arch] usa today skins

so i started looking at different ways to actually design the website in terms of color and design. i've decided that i want to keep the the way each sections of the website is broken down into colors and really capitalize on that. i did a few different variations of that, and here are my results:

so after meeting with marty, we decided we like the first skin the best. so i tweaked it a little more and began laying out my first scenario with this skin applied. here's what i have so far, but i'm in the process of making some revisions. by the way, these are showing up itty bitty on my blog, so you'll have to click to enlarge them.

[info arch] sitemap + final wireframes

sitemap for USA Today Money section:

complete wireframes with annotations:

Wireframe Annotations

Sunday, February 5, 2012

[type 4] first experiment take-off

some questions: is it possible to bring personality to letterforms and numbers in order to illustrate how a synesthesia patient sees them? is there a common link to the personalities seen in different letters? what would be the most beneficial and visually interesting way to turn type into a person?

so, for my first experiment i've decided to just start drawing characters that represent these letter personalities. i don't have a specific subject yet, but for now i have several people with synesthesia that have described their letter's/number's personality. i've actually found that this specific condition of seeing letters and numbers as characters is called "ordinal-linguistic personification".

anyways, i figured starting to draw these described personalities would give me a better idea of how i can communicate their descriptions in other ways also. i can explore ways to do this through their expressions, styles, environments, accessories, etc. drawing characters should help get me thinking of how these characteristics can be expressed through imagery only. then in my later experiments i can begin to test out photography and possibly other mediums. 

along with starting to draw out some of these characters, i'm also working to find a particular subject or subjects to base this project on. throughout my research, i've actually come across somebody that's done a similar experiment based on their wife's synesthesia. he created his type into drawn characters based on the personalities and colors she saw. he did an excellent job of illustrating their personalities. here's a few i really liked:



neat, eh? you can see the rest here:

so after class, i've decided to open up this experiment a little more and see exactly where it takes me. as chris said, rather than figuring out where you want to take the project, let the project take you somewhere.

so i'm trying to target some more contacts that can hopefully give me more information about synesthesia. i'm looking to find more information beyond the personality aspect - are word's meanings altered because of the relationship of letters in the words? can these letters be related or have similar personalities as other objects, colors, tastes, shapes? with numbers, does this make it difficult to do math? are the colors visible all the time when reading? what about when looking at letters that are already in color?

there's a lot i still have yet to view about this topic. hopefully by getting some answers, i can get a better idea of where this project "is going to take me". i'm hoping to get some answers earlier this week that way i can start experimenting around with this information by friday.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

[type 4] experimental type direction

okay, so after a lot of staring off in space envisioning endless possibilities of ways to experiment with type, i've finally come up with an idea that may seem a little out there. this idea could either turn out to be really awesome and different, or it may turn out to be a complete failure that nobody really understands the concept of... but this risk is what experimental typography is all about, right? right.

so while i was brainstorming ideas, i thought how it'd be neat if i could somehow give letters a personality. at first i tossed the idea, but then i ended up coming back to it. this may make me sound a little crazy, but ever since i was little i've always seen numbers and letters as having genders and sort of personalities. for example, i see "a" as a girl, but sort of a tomboy type of girl. i see "b" as this play young boy. okay, i'm definitely sounding crazy. but after i thought about this when considering the project, i didn't think it'd work because first off, other people may not see letters with personalities, and second off, because if they do, they most likely see them with totally different personalities than i do.

i decided to look into it a little more out of curiosity, so i google searched "letters with personality". i was surprised to find that several people have similarly seen numbers and letters having personalities, genders and colors. there's a lot of posts about people (also thinking they sound crazy) telling about how they see their letters and numbers, some even more in depth than mine. for example, one member said, "9 for me is a female who has a thing for 5, but 5 is 4's boyfriend." there are some other people with similar situations with their numbers and letters.

here's a couple of links if you'd like to read up on some of those:

with more research, i began to find that some of the websites shared a common word they kept mentioning – "synesthesia". i found that synesthesia means 'joined or multiple sensation'. this condition is also characterized by sensory overlap.  the most common form is seeing letters and numbers in colors, but other cases also include sounds have color, letters have taste, etc. this fascinates me.

so what i'm thinking is that i could ask around and see if anybody around here or anybody else i know shares this trait, whether it be with synesthesia or just because some people see things like that, especially us artsy individuals. if this isn't working out well, i could also focus solely on people with synesthesia using the things i'm learning in user experience to track down some of these people and find out how they see letters and numbers.
if this all works out well and i come up with a good amount of data, i'd like to find a way to show these different personalities/colors/genders visually. this could be digital, like actually dressing letters up to have these traits, or analog (which i'd prefer for this project). some ways i've considered so far for analogue is finding a character that fits these descriptions and painting them the color as well as with the letter all over them (see photo)... or maybe they wouldn't even need the letter, maybe i can just pose characters like this and add the letter digitally. however i decide to do it, i'd like to either contrast and compare different people's alphabets/numbers, or i'd like to focus on one person and display their entire alphabet. these could be a few experiments to try out. there's a lot of possibilities, and my brain is going crazy with them right now. so i'm sure three experiments should be pretty doable.

there's a lot up in the air about this idea depending on what responses i can get. but i'm extremely interested to find the types of results i may come across and to explore the topic more.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

[user] first round personas

below are two personas that we developed from our research so far. the first persona is thorgo, who's always been on his own path and has just discovered wicca. he's really into the mythological aspect of it.

the next persona is sita, a very earthy woman who is a part of wicca for the woman empowerment and because she is really into nature.

[user] sunday ritual notes

collin and i got the joy of attending an imbolc wiccan ritual last sunday at the aquarius bookstore. there were about 30-40 people attending which was a lot more than we had expected. afterwards we also were able to interview a woman named selene who has been a wiccan for 20 years and has been the high priestess for awhile.  it was all quite an interesting experience. here's the notes we took while attending. the interview notes will be up soon as well. 

behavior mapping:
  1. Everybody gathers in a circle, with the priest and priestess in the middle, and three tables located throughout the circle.  
  2. Priestess gives announcements such as the raffle donations that include jewels with special stones, a robe, tarrot cards, etc. 
  3. One lady leads song and everybody joins in with singing, clapping and bells. (" Holy Water, Sacred Flame. Bless my head, bless my hands, bless my heart."
  4. Everybody says a chant in unison while the Priest and Priestess walk around the circle. 
  5. Priestess begins prayer to the "great mother" (earth) and sprinkles water.
  6. Priest says prayer to the "great father" (sun) and waves hand over fire.
  7. A chalice of water and a bowl with fire are passed around the circle while everybody chants "Earth, Air, Water, Fire – return!". When a person received the water, they'd sprinkle the water as they spun in a circle and then passed it on; with the fire, they waved the smoke from the fire as they spun and passed it.
  8. Afterwards everyone claps and cheers.
  9. The Priest and Priestess instruct to "call to the East" and everybody turns towards the East and raises their arms in the air. One person says a prayer, lights a candle, traces the pentagram in the air, and says "Blessed be." This continues for each direction with different peoples and different candles on the other tables.
  10. The Priestess then instructs the females to step forward. They step into the circle and raise their arms up as the Priestess says a prayer to the Goddess.
  11. After the ladies step back, the Priest instructs the males to step forward and they cross their arms against their chest as the Priest says a prayer to the sun God. Each prayer finishes with "Blessed be."
  12. The Priestess explains that they are celebrating Imbolc, spring's returning celebration. She tells about animals and the promise of spring in a very casual, easy going manner. 
  13. The Priest tells us that four new people are "dedicating to walk the Wiccan path for a year and a day"" to see if the path is right for them.
  14. Four people step in to the center of the circle and the Priest and Priestess say a prayer to them individually and quietly. 
  15. One by one, they have each person repeat "May my heart be with you, May my eyes be with you...mouth...head...hands...May I travel the Wiccan path." As they say each body part, the Priest/Priestess trace the pentagram on them.
  16. They tie a white rope around each person to symbolize their dedication.
  17. A girl walks around the circle holding a basket of flowers while the group sings.
  18. The Priestess tells about Bridged's day, saying that she is an "awesome goddess" born with a flame shooting out her head, then follows with a joke. She goes on to explain that this is why this is the fire festival.
  19. The Priest says that he will now "invoke her" and everyone raises their hands. The Priest says a prayer about aid, healing, health, and inspiration in everyone's homes. Ends in "Blessed be."
  20. The Priest blesses a basket of candles with his hand and smaller knife. He asks Bridged for her assistance in lighting the candles and to bless them. 
  21. The candles are passed out and lighten one at a time from another candle while they sing. 
  22. The Priest says that any time you feel you need guidance or a mother, light the candle. 
  23. Afterwards, they instruct to put out the candle. The Priestess says if you feel disgraceful blowing it out, you can either put it out with your fingers or the flame  tool. Or if you feel your breath is sacred, you can blow it out. 
  24. The Priest and Priestess pass some cheesecake bites and some water around the circle. As these are passed around the circle, each person says to the next "May you never hunger" and  "May you never thirst."
  25. The Priestess asks if there are any announcements and a few people make some announcements about tarot card classes, etc. 
  26. All the men are instructed to step in again and give thanks to the sun God. Same goes for the the women with the Goddess. 
  27. They repeat turning in each directions giving thanks and put out the candles this time.
  28. They do a chant about opening the circle, but it never being broken. ("Magic of the circle remains." They hold hands during this closing chant. 
  29. Afterwards they "feast" with potato soup and other potluck items. 

  • The priestess where's a white robe, white shoes, and a headpiece of lights as she carries around a large wooden stick with a pentagram at the top. The priest wears a black robe and a decorative, gold head piece and carries around a long sword.
  • People of all ages, from children to elderly.
  • Everybody seems very happy and easy going. Jokes are even told throughout ritual occasionally.
  • Some are dressed in normal clothes, while others are dressed in robes with different colored cords tied around them, long skirts, or shawls with pentagrams. 
  • Some wear flowers or candles around their head.
  • Very diverse group.
  • Strong smells of incense fill the room. 

  • stick
  • tables with candles and decor
  • knife
  • sword
  • crown
  • flowers
  • incense
  • chalice
  • vase thing of water 
  • cords

[info arch] digital wireframes

 scenario #1 - navigating to an article

 this first wireframe displays the homepage. like before, the top section shows a featured story, some scrollable images, and an instant feed of people's thoughts and opinions.

i mixed up the bottom a bit. this time instead of having it made to scroll down, i've decided to have it scroll sideways instead (by just hovering your mouse in that direction). each section features three stories with stars indicating how many times they got "starred" - kind of like facebook "like"-ing. 
after the user selects money from the nav bar, a similar screen is shown. this time, however, individual articles are available below in the sidescroll area. 

after reviewing this, i see that it would be beneficial to add a "sort by" option, and also probably the subsections of money. so that'll be added soon. 
when the viewer decides to click on a story, it opens the story to take up both the top and bottom portions of the screen. the top displays the story with larger images. the bottom is made up almost completely with social interaction. the instant feed again, a discussion board, friends that have been to this story, and buttons to share, recommend or favorite this story.

scenario #2 - logging in

the home page again, but this time the user navigates to the login screen.

this the login screen where the user has the option to either login through facebook or twitter. this will connect them with their friends that are on the site.

after logging in, they are directed to their profile. this shows them they're recently shared posts, favorite posts, and any notifications such as messages or recommended articles.

on the side they also can view online friends and what they are currently viewing.

on the bottom remains the side scroll with a friend feed, showing what articles friends have shared and possibly newly added comments and discussions.