ayana baltrip balagas | design : speak

Looking at process in User Experience

Posted in Business, Design, Process by ayanabaltrip on 2015/07/29

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In my last post, I talked about my quest into the world of User Experience (UX). Process is at the core of any endeavor, and most certainly UX. As a graphic designer, I’ve been intrigued to see how process looks in this area. As users, when we encounter interfaces, we often are left to our own devices in determining how to engage with them. UX helps refine the process for the user with clear, specific steps. User Experience addresses how a product, system or service behaves or performs, and what expectations users have in engaging with it. Users past experiences are key.

Below is a basic outline of three preliminary steps I’ve seen noted and have used that are important to this process.

• Define the users
• Identify the core expectations users have
• Look at how these expectations will play in the process

Brainstorming Alone

Posted in Design, Process by ayanabaltrip on 2013/04/04

A nice article at How Design outlining a 9-step process to brainstorming alone.

Here are the first six (6). You can find all via the link at the end.

Brainstorming alone often feels, to paraphrase Churchill, like standing in a bucket and trying to lift yourself by the handles. It can be a lonely and listless experience. No volleying ideas with partners. No yakking it up with teammates. No high-fives or shout-outs.

But not to worry. Here are nine steps to keep solo brainstorming from being a so-so experience.

1. Feed the mind.
Before you bounce into brainstorming, break out of solitude. Get outside. Look around — small scenes can lead to big ideas. Walt Disney came up with the idea of Disneyland while watching bored kids and tired parents dawdle in a dilapidated park.

Talk to other people. Ask questions. Actively listen. Take notes. Snap photos. And even when you’re stuck inside and alone, read books and magazines, websites and blogs, anything and everything.

“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines and music, said Ray Bradbury, author of more than 500 published works, “you will automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry period in my life because I feed myself well.”

2. Make time to brainstorm.
“Every morning between nine and twelve, I go to my room and sit before a piece of paper,” says writer Flannery O’Connor. “If an idea does come between nine and twelve, I’m ready for it.”

With deadlines on our backs, most of us can’t spend three hours waiting for muses. But we can carve out small chucks of time here and there. Make appointments with yourself to brainstorm. And make those sessions short, fun and furious.

3. Judge not.
Opening a meeting one day, Sam Goldwyn, the legendary filmmaker, told his staff, “I had a fantastic idea this morning — but I didn’t like it.”

Sound familiar? Probably. Because, like Goldwyn, we’ll have fantastic ideas one moment and then the next moment convince ourselves that they are utter nonsense. Catch yourself judging your own ideas and slam on the brakes. Brainstorming isn’t the time to evaluate or edit ideas. That comes later. Focus on quantity, not quality while brainstorming.

4. Go nuts.
“Learn not to be careful,” photographer Diane Arbus told her students. Post that advice when brainstorming with yourself. Go beyond safe ideas. Move past the weary and welcome the wacky. Sensible thinking usually proffers predictable answers. Non-sensical ideas often lead to sensible solutions.

5. Create mind maps.
Mind maps — also called word maps and semantic maps — are great for single-handed brainstorms. Take a blank sheet of paper. Write your topic in the center and circle it. As your brain makes free associations, follow along with your pen, jotting down words and connecting them with circles and lines. In 20 minutes, you’ll have a page crammed with ideas.

6. Unplug technology.
It’s impossible for your right brain to be storming with ideas while your left brain is sifting through e-mails, texts, caller IDs, instant messages and other distractions. Disconnect from technology before starting to brainstorm.

See all nine (9) here: Brainstorming Alone.

Also: Check out the Creative Marathon for more tips on turning on the creative juices.

Sharing with Students Today

Posted in Design, Design Education, Process, Teaching by ayanabaltrip on 2013/02/07

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Multimedia Content and Form Class Today

Posted in Design, Design Education, Process, Student Work, Teaching by ayanabaltrip on 2012/05/03

Student peer commenting on the final project.

I have begun to integrate a peer commenting exercise in my classes as a valuable tool to help students “get out of their boxes” and expand their perspectives by engaging each other around the projects and work. This exercise is received well and students truly become engaged and begin to develop more confidence in their work.

Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats – BBC Four

Posted in Design, Design Education, Design Matters, New Media | Multimedia, Process by ayanabaltrip on 2012/03/20

This is an incredible talk by Hans Rosling illustrating statistical data on the increase of the human lifespan from 1810 forward. Enjoy. (A teaching colleague, Marcia Beales brought this to my attention.)

Look

Posted in Process, Visual Research by ayanabaltrip on 2012/02/18

What Visual Designers Can Learn From Biggie Smalls | from the design mind blog

Posted in Design, LinkedIn, New Media | Multimedia, Process, Teaching by ayanabaltrip on 2012/01/07

I found this post by Andreas Markdalen (twitter.com/youthprojects) on Frog Design’s The Visual Design Dept. blog on design mind quite interesting. Here he discusses how design and design thinking can benefit from Chris Wallace’s (aka Biggie Smalls) creative process in constructing his raps.

In his post, Markdalen outlines five areas that designers can use to create a five-prong strategic process. They are:

-Create “A Central Theme”
-Create “A World of Context”
-Rehearse and Repeat
-“The Non-linear and Organic Process”
-“The House of Cards”

You can read the full article via the link below. What are your thoughts?

What Visual Designers Can Learn From Biggie Smalls | Blog | design mind.

Designing for Mobile Devices (via AIGASF)

Posted in Design, Design Education, Design Events, LinkedIn, New Media | Multimedia, Process, Teaching by ayanabaltrip on 2011/10/26
Great presentation by the SF Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Artists last week. The demand for design for mobile platforms is growing at a lightening speed. There is a great need for those of us teaching in Multimedia Studies programs to advocate for the inclusion of these technologies in our curriculums.

Thanking Steve Jobs for “thinking differently”

Posted in Branding, Business, Design, Design History, LinkedIn, Macworld, Musings, Process, Social Good, Technology by ayanabaltrip on 2011/10/06

Okay, here’s my tribute to the genius of Steve Jobs and thanking him for being a pentacle of the “think different” principle.

By creating the Apple Macintosh computer, he and Steve Wozniak changed my life, turning me into a geeky girl, and moving me into the world of graphic design, which I easily added to my early work as a performing artist and educator.

In the summer of 1989, I decided to take a basic computer class at Laney Community College, in Oakland, CA. The computers used in this class were Macintosh 512Ks. The 512K was released on September 10, 1984, and retailed for $2,795.00. (Source: Wikipedia) In this class we learned Microsoft Word 4, and Hypercard. I was hooked from day one.

Upon completion of the class, I found someone selling a used Mac Plus for $1000.00 (less than 1/2 the retail price) which my dear mother gifted me. The seller threw in a, now get ready, 20MB hard drive/power console combination unit. The operation system was version 6, and came on 6 floppy disks. I had a friend help me install it onto the hard drive, and imagine my delight after booting the machine and drive to see that I not only had MS Word 4, but Aldus Pagemaker and Freehand, Adobe Photoshop 2 and Illustrator 88. Hypercard was, at that time, part of the system software, so I had that too! I was totally hooked then and have stayed a loyal Apple Macintosh user.

After the Mac Plus (which I still have), I moved on to the Macintosh II Si, Quadra 800 (the first Mac tower), the iBook G3 (the white square one), the Power Mac G3 tower, the iBook G4, the G5 (dual processor), Macbook Pro (Intel Core Duo), Macbook (Intel Core 2 Duo), and as of last summer, the iMac (i3 processor, 20.5″). I still use the G5, Macbook Pro, and Macbook as well as the iMac.

In spirit, thanking you again Steve Jobs for being one of my examples always inspiring me to “think different.” May I too, inspire others.

And please support cancer research and all those working toward the eradication of this disease.

Think Different Ad

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My iBook G4 arrives. Mr. Big Fluff was more impressed by the box it came in.

Design is About Solving Problems | Design Informer

Posted in Commentary, Design, Design Matters, LinkedIn, Process by ayanabaltrip on 2011/09/07

One of my Twitter colleagues, Jan Jursa of Information Architecture Television (@IATV on Twitter) shared this interesting post by James Young on Design Informer (See link below) and I thought I would share it.

It is always good to step back and reassess where one is in respect to the design process. This is a good post followed by good comments. Enjoy.

Recently, a couple of things happened in my design career that have made me sit down and reflect a bit on where I’m at and how I can improve what I deliver to my clients and their users. I’d noticed that my source of inspiration had changed and that I was being inspired more by clever solutions and ideas than by visual flourish.

Like many designers, my RSS feed of inspirational websites is full of great work and posts. I’m also active on Twitter, and I meet up with other designers regularly at local events. But I find that at a basic level, I actually don’t draw that much inspiration directly from these things anymore.

The full article can be read here or via the link below.

via Design is About Solving Problems | Design Informer.