Archive for November, 2009

Log 6b: Interface in Real Life

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2009 by kbrodinterface

I know you probably can’t stand me complaining about my dorm anymore, but it really has terrible interfaces.

These are my awesome lightswitches.

Lightswitch A

Lightswitch B

What the lights in the kitchen and hallway look like.

These two always confuse the Hell out of me. Lightswitch A is supposed to control the hallway. Lightswitch B is supposed to control the kitchen. Yet sometimes, I find that both the lights are on but only lightswitch B is on. I haven’t been able to document it when I find it but I have no idea how it works.

Lightswitch C

This is lightswitch C, the one in my bedroom. I haven’t figured out what this is for. You would assume it would work like A and B, however, when you look at the cieling, there aren’t any lights to be turned on!

No lights in this room!

So, my next thought was that it controlled the outlets, but that still isn’t true. My lamp still turned on while the switch was turned off. So I currently have no idea why lightswitch C even exists. Even Norman would be confused. I don’t think he could find it’s affordance. There is no visibility of any use. It is just terrible.

This post was also inspired by watching this video of someone who also had lighting issues.

It can be seen here:

This guys also starts off with a Norman reference. Awesome.


Log 6a: Reading Response.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2009 by kbrodinterface

This week, the two articles that were read were from Malcom McCullough about situated types and a chapter on Service Design from Dan Saffer’s Designing for Interaction

The first talked about designing technologies for each place, and each person. Such as the needs or the work place, privacy in an office, digital tehnology and enough room for presentations in the conference room, etc. They also talk about what is needed at home, on the road, or on the town. With each location, we need to intereact with technology differently. We wouldn’t handle a business deal the same way we’d relax at home. However, technology and design shold be helpful and convenient at each point in the day.

As interesting as this chapter was, it was the Saffer article I connected with more and got more out of because it was a lot easier to make parallels to my own life.

Saffer talked about service design, and even though a service isn’t a tangible item to design, it is important to keep this in mind for most companies and brands. Each point reminded me of my job at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Before I get into that, though, I should probably go over the definition of Service. A service is  “a chain of activities that form a process and have value for the end user” The account fr a great portion of the economy and can greatly effect our quality of life.

The chain of activities led to a process of checking out a customer at the register and their value for the end user was wonderful products at BB&B (Bed Bath & Beyond). They are a business in our economy and the magaers drill into our minds to make sure the customer has a great time and a good quality of life when leaving.

Characteristics of a service are as follows:

Intangible: Can’t touch or see it, but you can see the physical embodiments. AT BB&B, you can’t see the service, but you can see your helpful employee, their nametag and their register.

Provider Ownership: They can’t own the service, but they can take something away with it, whether in my example, it’s a blender, a sheet set, or even money from a return.

Co-Creation: Services require the interaction with the customer, I can’t just charge the customer for something. They have to give me what they want to check out and with that, each service for each customer is going to be different, depending on their needs and their temperament, which leads to the next characteristic, FLEXIBILITY.

Time-base: If time is lost, it can’t be made up. Time is money.
At Bed Bath and Beyond, if we aren’t checking anyone out, we have to stand at our docks and talk to anyone that walks by. Not only are we not making money for the company, but you really don’t have any idea how boring that is until you’re standing there for a long… long… time.

Active: Services are produced mostly by human labor. The customer services determines whether that particular service was a success or a failure.   Customer service is the biggest deal at BB&B. They make you be the friendliest most helpful people around. No matter how many times you may see a customer, you have to greet them.  Even if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they will still come back in the future. Granted we were never perfect, and some customers are just EVIL, but it stil is a huge factor in make it a successful store.

Fluctuating demand: Depending on the season, demands and business will either be higher and lower.  BB&B is always in higher demand in the summer. At least, our store is. Of the stores in Jersey, we are considered to be the Shore store, so we get more of the beach and outdoor items to sell.

Elements to keep in mind when designing a service is the environment (where the service takes place), objects that populate the environment (Cash registers, check out counters, etc.), processes (how the service is acted out), and the people to make it alive.

At Bed Bath and Beyond, the environment is the store, the objects are the counter, registers, items for sale and the customer service desk, the process is finding what they want, bringing it to the register and checking it out (as well as returns, bridal registries, job applications, and exchanges) , and the people to make it happen are the fine employees and customers of BB&B.

Services are all around us, and in this age, they are just going to keep increasing. Designers need to be able to interact with both the tangible and intangible in order to fully enrich the quality of life around us.