19 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2016
  2. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. One participant who abandoned the sorting exercise responded at length inthis vein:You need to spend time with some designers in an office or out in nature.Design just does not work this way. You are attempting to force a hypothesisand its [sic] just not going to work. People will try but this is missing the point.Imagine applying this to a piece of art for example. Art is no different thandesign in fact its the same thing just with a different outcome. You will thensee the absurdity of this process you are trying to force. Visual designcomes[sic] from seeing or rather observing and feeling how a form, colur [sic],texture peaks [sic] your senses and it is then further developed throughrepetative [sic] experimentation. this [sic] process of understanding takesyears to develop and you cannot just formulate rules—there are none. Iwould suggest you personally do something that removes you from theacademic world for a moment and gets you out into the world where youcan use your hands and mind and experience this for yourself. Take a potterycourse or a wood working course, or an elementarygraphic [sic] design course

      The participant who abandoned the experiment expressed themselves much. They raised valid points. And it is possible that the experiment did not work out in uniform as the conducter of the experiment expected. However, results were made and analyzed, and that can be built upon. I agree that design is like art, but there is more free form art than there is free form web design. It is safe to say that this experiment created an

    2. Two respondents specifically distinguished between “guideline” and“rule,” both saying that situation has an impact on how a design principle shouldbe applied. One elaborated by saying that “Principles are contingent general-izations;. . . their application depends on the particulars of a given situation.” Thissuggests that designers believe design principles should not fully determinespecific design decisions, but can provide a systematic way of thinking aboutthose decisions.

      This gives great clarity to the principles of design. As mentioned they are not set in stone, but they are more so put into play and addressed to explore strategies for website design. You should use the principles systematically or strategically. Content for one webpage may be sorted or should be sorted different for another webpage. Discretion should be used as to what principles are important for certain designs, or set ups but foundation is still yet important.

    3. hough a minority, some participants used these questions to express thatthey did not think that design principles are useful or desirable in educationor practice. Most strongly, one design educator said, “You only have to look atsome of the best designs to see that design prescriptions are for fools.” Othersstressed the importance of a good eye. For example, a design educator said, “Itis imperative for designers to trust their eye and design sense over the influ-ences provided by precise measurement, well-meaning computer algorithms and‘hard-n-fast’ rules.”

      Dealing with website design, I too agree with the importance of a "good-eye." A "good eye" helps to distinguish what's appealing and what is not. With a "good eye", balance, structure, color adjustments, reflections, and much more is noticed. However, I take a different approach to this statement as a "good eye" and the precise measurements on can go hand and hand in designing a website.

    4. In addition, I removed one participant from the cluster analysis who sorted allthe cards, but in such a way as to skew the results. With a sharp wit, this participantcreated only two categories: “Byproducts of nuclear decay,” which containedonly one card,radiation; and “What an academic thinks of when he or shemisinterprets design as the synthesis of a set of design principles,” which con-tained all of the remaining cards. I did, however, include this participant’ssurvey responses, as they reflected an attitude toward design that favored artisticsensibility over using more formal methods such as design principles or designresearch. I address this attitude more fully in the conclusion to this article

      This comment alone lets me know that this experiment was very carefully conducted, and that the person conducting the experiment was a very honest person. As mentioned there was a troll in the experiment, who created outliers, skewing the results, due to the way he sorted his cards and his results were eliminated. The fact that his text based responses were reflected on is important as it adds validity/creativity to that part of the experiment.

    5. Specifically, before the exercise I asked some basic questions about partici-pants’current design activities and roles. I also asked—before showing them the38 principles in the exercise, which might bias their responses—what designprinciples they had learned about in their schooling, training, or reading; whatdesign principles they use in practice; and how they would define what a designprinciple is. I worded these questionsto allow a participant to respond that heor she does not know about or has not used design principles. After the exercisegave participants an opportunity to think about design principles, I asked somequestions about when and how we should use design principles, particularlyin relation to the empirical methods of design research.In introducing these survey questions, I asked participants to focus specificallyon visual design principles. All of the questions asked for text responses exceptfor the first pre-survey question, which gave several options of positions fromwhich to choose. I did not require responses to any question except question 1.

      As stated previously it is impossible to eliminate all bias when conducting an experiment. However, these questions may have created bias, they also added validity, uniqueness, and credibility to the experiment.

    6. If I had used a traditional face-to-face card sorting exercise, however, thenumber of participants would be lower, and they would be less likely to be part ofthe group I wished to study: designers, design educators, and design students.Also, because I have authored a book on document design that includes designprinciples, drawing from my local population might give biased results becausemy colleagues and students have read my book. I also hoped that the surveyquestions would give some qualitative feedback to substitute for the talk-aloudprotocol. Finally, given the exploratory nature of my study, it seemed reasonableto use this online tool to gather information from a broader pool

      I too agree. The anonymous approach is usually always best when eliminating bias, and creating greater variation.

    7. The primary advantage of this online approach was quick and efficient accessto participants. However, there were two disadvantages. First, in a face-to-facecard sorting exercise, the researcher often observes the participant as he or shesorts the cards and uses the talk-aloud protocol to gather further informationabout participants’ thinking during the exercise. Because I would not attend thecard sorting, this kind of observation was not possible. Second, I would havelittle control over who agreed to participate. The possibility for spam is alwayspresent with online media.

      All experiments have disadvantages. However, I believe this was a great approach, as stated it was efficient, it eliminated bias, and provided feedback, as well as offering time to an individual so no one feels rushed, pressured, or influenced in matter.

    8. To expand the reach of my study, I used an onlinecard sorting tool, Optimal Sort (http://www.optimalworkshop.com). Instead ofindex cards, this online tool displays digital shapes that participants can dragand drop on screen to create groups, which they can then label (see Figure 2).This tool also allowed participants to provide feedback through before and aftersurvey questions.

      I too like the idea that the experiment was conducted online. This gives further credit to the research as computer analysis comes into play. This idea also provided feedback that could be useful for the experimenter and the experimentee (person controlling the experiment) with a preliminary and post reference.

    9. Card sorting is typically conducted in one of two ways: closed sort or opensort. In a closed sort, participants sort the cards into predefined categories.In an open sort, participants sort the cards into categories they create themselves.Due to the exploratory nature of my study, I used an open sort so designerscould group the design principles as they saw fit. I also did not require partici-pants to sort all of the cards, but restricted my analysis to those who sorted atleast 75% of the cards

      This further helps us understand how the research was conducted. I too, believe the "open sort" research design was a better idea. The "closed sort" is pre-controlled, and may contradict with the users choice. This gives the individual more autonomy, and also gives greater variation for research.

    10. Having determined which design principles are mentioned most commonlyin literature on design, the next question is, how do these design principlesrelate to one another? Rather than arranging the design principles accordingmy own sensibilities or some separate theory (Ahmed [12], Park [13]), Idecided that it would be more interesting to ask practicing designers, designeducators, and design students how they think these 38 visual principles shouldbe grouped.

      After doing synthetic research, only half of the work was complete. By going outside self, and questioning experts, or experienced workers of website design a qualitative study went into play. Although self observation is important, a second eye or opinion is always suggested/needed.

    11. These results offer some interesting opportunities for reflection. For example,balance, which I have always denigrated to my students as the most vague anddifficult of design principles, actually turns out as the most common, with 27texts (58.7%) listing it. Gestalt itself, despite the very strong influence of thisschool of psychology on two-dimensional design, appeared in only three texts(6.52%), although principles based on the Gestalt laws, includingalignment,proximity,grouping,closure,continuation, andfigure/ground, appeared as wellat a variety of frequencies.

      Noted as well from "Figure 1.Frequencies of principles mentioned by two or more works", the subject of balance seemed to be mentioned in most of the woks researched. I too agree that balance is the most important factor in designing a website, and perhaps it goes into play, and is connected to other ideas mentioned such as (structure, pattern, grouping, and alignment). However, this graph alone sheds so much light on what principles come into play when designing a website. This graph is very informal and useful for those choosing to enhance website design, or even new beginners.

    12. This quantitative review produced a raw list of 198 design principles. Thisnumber might seem discouragingly high except for two outlying works: Leborg[54], which lists 41 principles, 33 of which are unique, and Lidwell et al. [58],which lists 100 principles, 87 of which are unique. Lidwell et al.’s broader focuson “universal principles of design” rather than visual design principles meansthat many of their principles fall outside of the scope of my study. (Some evenstretch the concept of design principle—for example, “uncertainty principle”and “normal distribution.”) If we were to exclude Leborg’s and Lidwell et al.’sunique principles, the list of design principles contracts from 198 to 77—stillhigh, but more reasonable. However, because I included unique principles fromother texts, I retained all of Leborg’s and Lidwell et al.’s principles in the raw list.As might be expected, some of these principles are considerably more commonthan most. Overall, of the 198 principles in the raw list, 160 were mentioned inonly one work. The 198 design principles were listed cumulatively 420 timesin the 46 texts; 61.9% of these listings referred to principles used in at leasttwo works. Despite the large number of unique principles, they were used onlyin 38.1% of texts.

      This is very important in research, as the bigger the size of the study the greater the variation. I can also tell that there were some unique findings, and that great analysis approaches were taken. This experiment is noted to be very profound and useful for other technical communication website designers/ researchers.

    13. This study took the form of two stages: a quantitative literature review thatcatalogued and analyzed visual design principles mentioned in books and web-sites on design; and a card sorting exercise with survey questions (Texas TechUniversity IRB 100407). The first stage investigated what visual design principlespublished experts recommend most often. The second stage asked designers,design educators, and design students what they thought about design principlesand how they thought design principles related to one another.

      These are definitely important questions to ask when improving on a skill. In addition whom you asked these questions to are important. It is important that you ask experts with experience, or someone who has gradual knowledge. These individuals too may care about the subject a bit more than others. However though, questions to the end user may be important. At times experts may know whats best, but end users know what one may want or feel necessary for website design.

    14. So at best, design principles are a kind of lore. Lore is a kind of contingentknowledge based in practice, and as North has argued for composition studies, ithas a value that is often overlooked. However, lore being what it is—anecdotal,implicit, and often idiosyncratic—I think there is good justification to bringresearch to bear on it. Accordingly, in this article I apply empirical techniques tounderstand the lore of design principles more fully.

      Lore seems to be something of extended basic principles for designing websites. Although they are not set in stone, they may be good to note. Bringing awareness to the subject of lore is important, and there should be more writings and research done on the subject.

    15. A few,such as Williams and Stimatz [8] or Blair-Early and Zender [9] generally refer todesign principles as “rules of thumb”; as such, principles are heuristic methodsthat help us make design decisions quickly. But these rules of thumb can be vari-able and ambiguous, because they are based on individual designers’experienceand on the advice they absorb from their training and reading. Depending on thesituation, designers may employ different design principles at different levelsof consistency.

      This statement gives credit to those of the technical communication world which does not happened as often as should. Even though these principles are not set in stone, they give the basics from personal experience, and experience is the best key of learning. One is more prone to listening to one from experience, that may even be considered an expert, than one that is considered practicing or rookie so to say.

    16. This persistence invokes some questions:•What is a design principle?•How do design principles relate to each other?•How and when do designers use design principles, particularly in these daysof user-centered, research-driven design?

      I too agree with others, as these are all important questions to ask when designing a site. These questions help with how and what ways to convey information. They also help first timers who lack experience, or knowledge.

    17. One would think from this narrative that we have progressed from the murkydays of the craft tradition to the more enlightened and progressive landscape ofempiricism. But, in fact, design training still typically involves an introductionto visual design principles, which persist as criteria for judging designs andas heuristics for making design decisions.

      All things change in time, however foundation and principles usually persist. There are still elements and structures that we hold desigers to, in the same way there are still basic elements that one may use in writing a research paper, making sure the margins are aligned, and font is the same. Or even in scientific subject, there are still several ways to conduct an experiment but in all experiments there is foundation in (1) forming a question; (2) Doing research; and then (3) forming a hypothesis. However, the point is that there is basic foundations o structure in all subjects that one should abide by.

    18. n the 1990sour attention shifted to usability and usability testing, such as popularized byNielsen [2], Barnum [3], and many others. User-centered design, championed byscholars such as Johnson [4], became the watchword in fields including graphicdesign, product design, and technical communication. Today, design research hasdesigners involved throughout product development in an iterative design cyclethat applies research to successive prototypes, continually improving usability.The state-of-the-art of user research includes systems that continuously monitoruser interaction, gathering data for designers to use to make further improve-ments to websites, software, and hardware (see for example Johnson [5]).

      This is very imporant history to note. This factual evidence relates to one of the main objectives we learned at the beginning of the semester, and even more working with my clients for Georgia Childcare Association. When handling something for public view you have to realize, "It is not about you, IT IS ABOUT THE AUDIENCE!!!"

  3. Nov 2016
  4. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. Designersused a finely honed instinct to fashion objects that were useful and beautiful.In discussing and promoting their craft, they developed sometimes codifiedand sometimes implicit design principles to guide new designers. Accordingly,training in design often involved learning these principles, as we can see inJackson’s popular 1891 textbookLessons on Decorative Design, which discussedand gave examples of principles such as repetition, variety, contrast, radiation,and symmetry [1].

      This lays a foundation for digital designers. Although today, there is encouragement for freestyle designing there are still norms, and principles that designers still uphold in the digital designing field.