Technological developments for the digital environment

7. Design Matters

  • There are a variety of principle design imperatives:
    • Behavioral: usability & functionality
    • Reflective: meaning & orientation
    • Visceral: emotional, pleasure, aesthetic
  • The design should match the goals and demographic.
  • That there are a variety of goals DOES NOT MEAN that one can make just anyway, any old way, and then depend on it just "finding its market."
  • Technological designs often go wrong:
    • Innovation is faster than human evolution & adaptation.
    • Aesthetics do not equal usability.
    • Designers are not typical users.
    • Designers work to please clients, not end-users.
    • Design is for every-person; however, we are all special.
    • Gulf of Evaluation is too wide (difference between perceived and interpretable physical representation of system and intended actions).
      • Digital example?
    • Gulf of Execution is too wide (difference between user action intention and outcome).
      • Digital example?
  • Computer/software designs in particular often go wrong:break most of the rules of good design

    • End users can spend an inordinate amount of time working on devices and networks rather than on solving problems and creating meaningful content.
    • Creeping featurism.
    • Worshiping false complexity.
  • One can take steps to improve the outcome of technological designs
    • Perhaps close the windows: Right now, systems are designed for generalist use. Systems
      might work better as they are pruned and designed specifically for a smaller set of terms and functions.
    • Proper balance of required knowledge in the head and knowledge in the world.
      • Affordances (perceived and actual properties of objects which provide clues as to how they work)
        • Digital example?
      • Visibility (state of device and action alternatives).
        • Digital example?
      • Strong conceptual model (coherent, consistent, predictable system image).
        • Digital example?
      • Good mappings (clear relationships among actions-results, controls-effects, system
        • Digital example?
      • Feedback (full, continuous, accurate info. about the results of actions.
        • Digital example?
      • Test, retest, be flexible
        • Use a "dumb terminal" or it's not a real test
      • Plan back-from-the-deadline/back-from-the-goals to leave adequate time for testing (NASA handbook materials in FILES on CANVAS).

Concept 7 Application Analysis article:

"How TikTok's anti-aesthetic has molded popular culture."

Want to learn more?
Grab the NASA Schedule Management Handbook, Jan 2010 from Canvas Files.
Grab Design Thinking or IDEO_HCD_ToolKit from Sakai Resources &/or Tim Brown and IDEO on creative processes and design thinking from Canvas Files.
Vinay Dabholkar: Design Thinking Resources

Shailesh Shirali: Creativity and Insight in Daily Life
Lev Manovich. Software Takes Command. Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.
Software Takes Command is available free/online:
or here:

(A) Text Reading Analyses

(B) Concept Analyses

(C) Extra Credit (D) Grading
Special Considerations Concepts Schedule

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© Ed Lamoureux, 2022